Questions Arise Over Experimental Warfare

More evidence has emerged to charge Israel with deploying experimental and illegal weapons during the 22-day attack on Gaza last month. Although the use of white phosphorus aroused a short-lived outcry, doctors who treated the dying and continue to watch over the wounded are describing injuries and symptoms unknown to medical science.

Speaking to Al Jazeera while still in Gaza, German doctor Jan Brommundt with Medecins du Monde described "widespread but previously unseen abdominal injuries that appear minor at first but degenerate within hours causing multi-organ failure." Such injuries are untreatable, furthering evidence that Israel's objective in its latest military offensive was largely psychological. Another weapon aimed at destroying the spirit as well as the body is a bomb that causes cancer: doctors suspect Israel of using Dime (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) devices. When detonated, a Dime device "expels a blade of charged tungsten dust, destroying everything within five to ten meters." NORWAC medic Mads Gilbert explained that it can be hard to tell whether a Dime has been used, as people rarely survive exposure. It will only become clear after a few months, should survivors develop lethal cancers.

The use of non-sanctioned or experimental weapons represents a long-established war tactic: the retroactive condemnation of such practices is nearly as widespread. How to prevent such weapons from being used in the first place? Click here for Big Think's conversation with Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, about the possibilities of using technology to defend human rights before they are abused.

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less