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The KKK tried to build a death ray

  1. Mar 19, 2014 #1
    I know it's old-ish news, but I just heard about it in an engineering class recently while we were talking about ethics. Apparently two guys, one a member of the KKK, decided that they would try to hack some medical equipment into a serviceable X-ray "cannon" that would expose those they deemed "enemies of Israel" (read: Muslims) to a lethal dose of radiation. Thankfully, they were caught in time by law enforcement.

    But the story still kind of frightened me. I know it's a bit of a heavy subject for PF (involving some not-too-cheery subjects like racism and terrorism) but I really feel I need to ask...what if they hadn't been caught? Would such a device even be feasible, do I need to worry about lunatics running around with deadly homemade radiation guns?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Hi jack, apparently you did not read our rules before posting. Please post the peer reviewed study published in an accepted journal that verifies your claim, We don't accept anecdotes.
  4. Mar 20, 2014 #3
    He's not making a claim Evo. This was a news story....

    Pretty sure there are no peer reviewed journals out there discussing KKK members constructing death rays.

  5. Mar 20, 2014 #4


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    We still don't discuss a lot of stuff that shows up in 'The National Enquirer' or 'Weekly News of the World', either.

    You boys don't have a lot to worry about, at least, if you're not Muslim.
  6. Mar 20, 2014 #5
    CNN is comparable to the National Enquirer?
  7. Mar 20, 2014 #6
    It was in the national news from nearly every outlet I could find. I am only saying that I first heard about it in a class on engineering/technology ethics.




    And a copy of the official investigation report may be found here:
  8. Mar 20, 2014 #7
    I'm not, but that's not the question I'm asking. What I'm worried about is whether, if some malcontent were so inclined, for a radiation weapon such as that described in the news reports could even exist and be used.

    I'm particularly curious because issues related to nuclear/WMD disarmament (I know it's not truly a nuclear weapon, but it still feels pretty similar) are very important to me.
  9. Mar 20, 2014 #8
    I don't blame him, it does sound pretty ridiculous. But then again, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
  10. Mar 20, 2014 #9
  11. Mar 20, 2014 #10
    Ah, her, my mistake. Sorry, Evo!

    Thanks. That answered my question. Obviously if it was possible we'd hear about more people doing this, really should have thought of that before starting to worry.

    Also, I found the "90% less wrong than Michio Kaku" line in the scienceblogs article very amusing...not too difficult to do these days though :P
  12. Mar 21, 2014 #11


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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  13. Mar 21, 2014 #12
  14. Mar 21, 2014 #13
    It has been getting exhausting having to read a new peer-reviewed study after each post about Ukraine and the missing plane, so I'm glad the forum is relaxing its rules a bit....
  15. Mar 21, 2014 #14
    The KKK opposes Israel, not Muslims. Sure, they oppose everybody who is not themselves. But Jews are generally hated more than Muslims by the KKK. I guess this is an exception. I saw a documentary once on a group of neo-nazis who collaborated with some muslims on some anti-israel action. Enemy of my enemy type of thing...
  16. Mar 21, 2014 #15


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  17. Mar 21, 2014 #16
    Assuming the story is real and not something that's just completely blown out of proportion by the media or otherwise bizarrely elaborate hoax, I think it's safe to say the guy is crazy enough for specifics not to matter.
  18. Mar 22, 2014 #17
    Good point!
  19. Mar 22, 2014 #18


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    Staff: Mentor

    Lol, you're right, sometimes I just paste the standard blurb if I get interrupted while moderating. You guys are smart though and know when a mainstream article is appropriate. If you're not sure, just PM me and ask me if I posted the wrong instructions.
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