During the Second World War, the Russian Army came up with an ingenious defence against German tanks. Starving dogs would have bombs strapped to them, and then sent toward the enemy vehicles. The dogs had been trained to retrieve food from under Russian tanks, and the idea was that they would dash under the German tanks, seeking food, and in doing so activate a large wooden trigger on their backs. Unfortunately, having been trained using Soviet tanks, the dogs of war much preferred running under Russian tanks. Added to that, the noise of the battlefield confused and frightened them, culminating in an entire troupe of bomb-dogs running amok in a battlefield, endangering everyone and forcing the retreat of the Russian forces. Although credited with the destruction of over 300 Nazi tanks, the dogs were retired from service shortly after.
M-388 Davy Crockett
Nuclear devices already rate pretty highly on the stupidity scale, in terms of general wanton destructiveness and lasting radioactive fallout. So what better idea could there be than removing all due process behind launching such a hell-spawned weapon, and instead put that decision in the hands of a lowly infantryman? The M-388 did exactly that – it was the world’s first, and thankfully only, handheld nuclear delivery system – an atomic bazooka. With a range of less than 3km, and poor accuracy even at that stones-throw distance, the Davy Crockett’s only effectiveness was one of area-denial, instantly rendering a battlezone an inhospitable, radiation-soaked hellpit. For at least 240,000 years.
The Liberator was a pistol maufactured in the US during the Second World War. Made from stamped and bent sheet metal, the Liberator was designed to be produced quickly and cheaply, and dropped into occupied territory as an insurgency weapon. With an unrifled barrel, the Liberator had a maximum effective range of just 25ft. Of course, “effective” in this occasion had little meaning, seeing as the empty shell casing had to be removed with a wooden dowel before the next shot could be fired. This way, the FP-45 took longer to reload than it did to manufacture – ten seconds to seven seconds respectively. In fact, the only useful function of the Liberator was to incapacitate someone long enough to take their weapon. In other words, the US could have shipped out the lump of metal they began with, and had an equally effective weapon.
No 74 ST Grenade
During the Second World War, the British military removed much of the bureaucy surrounding weapon development, hoping to foster an increased rate of innovation. This also allowed many absurd and impractical ideas to reach the front line, including the No 74 ST Grenade, or sticky bomb. The sticky bomb was designed to act against enemy tanks, and consisted of a glass ampule of nitroglycerin attached to a plastic fuse. This was encased inside a knitted wool ’sock’ coated in sticky resin, and the whole grenade then encased inside a protective metal case. Although effective in combat, the fragile glass casing easily cracked during transport, the explosive was highly volatile, and worst of all, the sticky coating often glued an armed grenade to the thrower’s clothing, making it a very unpopular weapon.
Japanese fusen bakudan, or balloon bombs, were used during the Second World War to strike at the US mainland. Small hydrogen balloons were fitted with anti-personnel and incendiary explosives and launched on trade winds toward the US. The idea was that the bombs would set light to forests and damage cities. In reality, of over 9,000 balloons launched by the Japanese, only 300 were sighted by Americans. Once the US forces realised what was happening, air patrols regularly shot down the balloons; in addition the campaign had begun in Autumn, when woodlands were too damp to ignite. The only casualties of the fusen bakudan were a group of Oregonian picnickers who tried to move a landed bomb. Early on, the US government imposed a media blackout on the balloon bombs, and the Japanese gave up their campaign just six months later, rightly assuming from the lack of panic that their weapon had been a failure.
THE MAN WITH NO FACE
Jose Mestre suffers from a very serious facial tumor called a haemangioma which has grown to a staggering 12 pounds and has obscured his facial features. A Jehovia's Witness, Mestre refuses to have certain procedures done to have the tumor removed. Mestre became blind in one eye, had difficulty eating, and began to have breathing problems because the tumor was starting to block his airways.
The good news is that this story does have a happy ending. Jose finally consented to the surgery in October of 2010 and had the tumor removed. As of this writing, he is expected to have more surgeries to correct his facial features.
OF ALL THE PEOPLE
IN ALL THE WORLD
IN ALL THE WORLD
Of All The People In All The World, a traveling art exhibit in the UK, uses grains of rice to bring the large numbers behind world populations to the grasp of the average human being.
In the exhibit, one grain of rice equals one person and those grains of rice are put together to represent all kind of statistics from the small (such as the number of people who have walked on the moon) to the large (the population of the United States as seen below).