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  • US military uses genetic engineering to develop “living tripwires” for submarines

    Discussion in 'Mechanical Design news & events' started by john12, Dec 11, 2018.

    1. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      US military uses genetic engineering to develop “living tripwires” for submarines
      https://www.teslarati.com/us-military-genetic-engineering-life-forms-submarine-detection/
      10 Dec 2018

      This sounds like a crazy sci-fi plot at first - the US Department of Defense using "Synthetic Biology" to develop these living detectors (...which then go crazy and take over to world! Maybe!).
      But I suppose if you think about it we already use quite a bit of synthetic biology - the article mentions food additives, biofuels and so on. What do you think?

       
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    3. Dedeech

      Dedeech Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      I think this news/article is not strange at all. The whole point of other living beings is being useful for humans. The scientist takes instructions from animals, bodies, lives, etc. When we find an example in animals that can be used in our lives, the next step is to find a material that will solve this problem or make an innovation.
       
    4. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      I'm not sure the point of other animals is just to be used by humans... but I do see your point.
      Humans have a long, long history of using other living beings in warfare - from elephants and horses to the US training dolphins to sniff out sea mines!
       
    5. MSHOfficial

      MSHOfficial Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      I hope they test it, if its compatible with marine life. Turns out after releasing a batch into the sea all the waters have been polluted and toxic, causing harm to marine like.

      I don’t think this is even necessary point in the defense industry. But they keep spending in millions on these projects that would make no sense if we never had a war ever again.

      That also causes harm to the environment some way or the other.

      And here we are trying to reduce carbon emissions from gas turbine engines. Whats the point of all that if government and military operations would just keep disturbing the ecology by producing weapons out of everything.
       
    6. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Yeah, the military has some insane environmental impacts... from things like depleted uranium dust (found by some studies to cause cancers and birth defects in Iraq and other places it was used), to just chucking all of the navy's waste into the sea, to burning a load of fuel.
      There was even a study that linked the mass beachings of whales to the use of sonar by ships and submarines.

      I think environmental impact is pretty low on the list of considerations for most military tech (although it's interesting that the US military is one of the branches of government that's taking climate seriously!)
       
      Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
    7. MSHOfficial

      MSHOfficial Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Did you know about the experiment where US military used a Japanese island to do a atomic explosion test. They chose an island with 5 6 other nearby islands. They did evacuate the nearby islands but upto an exclusion zone, not after that.

      The explosion was 3 times bigger than expected which resulted in atomic dust cloud, known to cause skin cancer and organ failure. And also the islands rocks or soil was so porous that the nuclear waste swept through with water. Resulting in the death of all nearby corals and marine life.

      The atomic cloud also affected the Japanese ships in the area and also some of the islands that had not been evacuated before. The US military later provided compensation by moving the inhabitants to another island. But they have been barred from leaving that island ever since due to their high radioactive nature. The US military sends all required food, clothing and meds to the island.

      But, considering the impact it causes, I would ask is it really worth it to have tests of this sort on this planet, its our only home after all. And if they did proper calculations, or ran their calculations through other group of scientists before having an experiment most probably this would never have happened. But the US military, in secrecy, develops and executes experiments which harms the people and the nature. We only find out about this, if they succeed, or if they fail.
       
    8. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Yeah, well I suppose every country with nuclear weapons has done open air tests. It's kind of crazy really. I saw a video once that showed how background levels of radiation changed throughout history. When you get to the 40s and 50s, suddenly there's a massive jump that never goes back down again!

      I also read about certain sensitive scientific instruments need steel that isn't contaminated with radiation so they have to use steel produced before 1945. So apparently they used a load of sunken German battleships from WWI.
       
    9. MSHOfficial

      MSHOfficial Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      To be able to deem yourself as a nuclear state, countries do have to test nuclear power. But those tests should come after years of calculations and fail safes.

      There are many more nuclear states and none of them have leaked radiation as much as US (actually not even close to the US). I read in an article once that its generally because US army are the ones conducting the tests and they usually rush through them without consulting experts about particular problems because they think the leaked information about the conducted tests would provoke other countries to develop similar weapons and technology. Don’t know how true that is though.
       
    10. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Yeah, the US has done a lot more tests than most other countries though (not saying it's okay).
      Even the Soviet Union only did about 700 whereas the US did over 1,000.

      I do wonder about the leaked radiation results though - I'd imagine the US would be more likely to admit if something went wrong than the Soviet Union. Just look at Chernobyl for example. I know it's not a nuclear weapons test but the problem wasn't admitted for a few days, until it couldn't really be hidden any more. I think the first people to really detect it were the Swedes!
       
    11. tmark938

      tmark938 Moderator EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Governments must hate the internet as info can be leaked and spread around the world at the press of a key. The US and Russia have always been at the heart of nuclear testing (and the UK has also been active in the past) but North Korea seems to have joined the party of late.

      When it comes to using marine biology to create tools of war, we are starting to get into a deep and thought provking situation. The way we are going, wars in the future could be over in a matter of weeks or months. I often wonder what other "gems" the US government has been working on. I would love to be a fly on the wall in these top secret bunkers :)
       

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