Over at IEET, Maria Konovalenko writes against aging with characteristic transhumanist élan. Such enthusiastic rejection of limits serves as the basis for my continued affiliation with the movement. However, Konovalenko argument simultaneously raises perennial questions about to navigate a world of horrors and overwhelming diversity. Although I’m sympathetic to the strident anti-aging stance and consider it especially useful as a corrective to hegemonic discourse on the subject, the construction of aging as abhorrent holds worrying implications for the millions coded as old or elderly – especially coming a normatively attractive young person who mentions beauty. Konovalenko derides Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s promotion of adaptation and demands total victory over senescence, but what does mean in the present?
Police look at firing chemical irritants at rioters in search for ‘less lethal’ weapons, such as plastic bullets, to deal with civil disorder.
Future riots could be quelled by projectiles containing chemical irritants fired by police using new weapons that are now in the final stages of development.
The Discriminating Irritant Projectile (Dip) has been under development by the Home Office’s centre for applied science and technology (Cast) as a potential replacement for plastic bullets.
Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that last summer’s riots in England provided a major impetus to Home Office research into new-generation riot control technology, ranging from the Dip to even more curious weaponry described by Cast technicians as “skunk oil”.
The briefing by Cast for the Police Service of Northern Ireland says that last year’s disorder sparked a surge of ideas to the Home Office from the public as well as companies manufacturing police technology. To capitalise on the interest, Cast convened a “brainstorming” event in October. Participants included police from London and Northern Ireland, the Police Federation, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.
“No ideas too stupid or ‘off the wall’ to consider,” the briefing notes record.
The November briefing, The Development of New Less Lethal Technologies, suggests that the Dips would be loaded into guns used to fire the existing generation of plastic bullets. They would be intended to be accurate at a range of up to 65 metres.
It is understood that the Dip, which was originally supposed to have been introduced in 2010, would be loaded with CS gas, pepper spray or another irritant.
Other parts of the briefing, released under the Freedom of Information Act, refer to a need in the short term by police to develop “counter laser dazzle” technology to protect officers from being dazzled by people using lasers like those used in recent Greek riots.
Large sections of the briefing were redacted by the Home Office, which designated them as “commercially sensitive”. However, the Guardian understands that the “less lethal” technology discussed included heat rays and sound weapons. One weapon that particularly interested police officers was something Cast technicians referred to as “skunk oil”.