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"Pain ray" to be tested on inmates

Posted: 08/26/10 06:00 AM

A new non-lethal device is coming to an LA County jail. The LA County Sheriff’s Department is calling it an Assault Intervention Device, but it’s more commonly known as a “pain ray,” and was originally developed by the military for use in Afghanistan. The device uses microwave technology to heat up moisture just below the skin, creating a sensation akin to a burn. But the pain is supposed to go away within seconds of moving out of the beam’s ray. The LA County Sheriff’s Department plans to start testing it in a dormitory at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, Calif., as a means to break up inmate brawls in common areas. We speak with Commander Robert Osborne, head of the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Technology Exploration Program, about why he sees the pain ray as a better and safer alternative to traditional methods of breaking up prison fights. And we talk with Brookings Institution senior fellow Peter W. Singer about why the US military developed the pain ray and then decided not to use it after all.

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Comments | Filed Under: military prisons weapons law enforcement

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What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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