The X-Ray Death Ray

Jason Ditz, June 20, 2013

Physics lesson time guys.

So we’ve heard in the past 24 hours that:

a) Some guys totally built an X-ray death beam to kill Obama and/or “enemies of Israel”

b) Those guys were KKK but somehow pro-Israel too

c) The whole thing was a “portable Hiroshima” that ran entirely off the van’s cigarette lighter

d) They didn’t have the “radioactive” material yet

I’m going to just toss “b” out the window for the time being, because it’s just too damned stupid. There’s a lot of other stupid stuff here too, but I thought a little basic physics could clear up some misunderstandings about X-rays, death beams, and X-ray death beams.

Fact 1: “d” is just nonsense. You don’t generate X-rays from radioactive material – that’s just inefficient and dumb. If you have something so radioactive its giving off enough photons to be fatal, it’s going to kill you long before you install it in anything.

You generate x-rays from running a charge through a cathode (usually through thermionic emission, i.e. heating the crap out of a filament) to shoot electrons at a target in a vacuum tube. Neither the target or the filament is generally radioactive, nor would that be any advantage.

Now, if you think about it, cigarette lighters just heat up a piece of metal anyhow, so it’s not a huge leap to go from that to heating a filament. You can see where they thought it might be possible.

Fact 2: Let’s dispense with “c” real quick here as either bad science or crazy branding. The US attack on Hiroshima yielded 67 TJ (Tera-Joules). A good alternator operating at 100% efficiency (again, they just don’t) might kick out 2-3 MJ per hour, meaning that it’ll take that van 3,000+ years to produce the same amount of energy as Hiroshima, and that’s with the motor running.

As for “a,” I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s physically impossible to make an x-ray generator small enough that it would run off a cigarette lighter, but even the small non-killy ones that already exist need a healthy power source, and a car battery ain’t it.

There are huge sources of inefficiency throughout this system, and even when you’ve minimized them, electromagnetic radiation gets precipitously weaker the farther away the emitter is, so the idea that these guys can park this thing across the street and “zap” a crowd of Muslims or Democrats or whatever is just silly. Radiation doesn’t work that way.

That said, X-rays can be harmful with prolonged exposure, so if they got their “victim” to stand perfectly still right next to their generator-van, they might do him some harm eventually. But they’d probably have better luck throwing the thing at him.

There’s a reason energy-based weapons never really caught on, and it’s because they’re really energy inefficient. You might remember the Pentagon inventing that “anti-protester” ray gun awhile back. It requires a 100,000 Watt generator. So, not a car battery.

Oh, and it won’t kill you either. Not because the military wouldn’t like death rays, but because energy weapons don’t work very well.




10 Responses to “The X-Ray Death Ray”

  1. they’d kill a lot more enemies of the state by buying them
    a supply of airline tickets……let ‘em feel the burn of
    those TSA death-ray animate-your-junk machines.

    silliness aside…….read the full report, and you’ll see
    this is the same old story…….FBI trolls internet boards
    and mosques looking for disaffected, semi-retarded, useful
    idiots. sends in an agent (usually some loser in exchange
    for leniency) to befriend and encourage the retarded fool.
    and in the end, with 3 seconds left before detonation (just
    like in the moobies!), the FBI swoops in to save the day.
    and their budget.

    makes you wonder though….was oklahoma city just another
    FBI sting gone bad?

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  3. When first seeing this "KKK Death Ray" story, it read like the plot of an early 1940's era "Superman" cartoon.

    What's next, DIY mad scientist microwave beam weapons? Billion dollar heist of a bullet train? Mechanical men that rob banks?

    It's a shame I'm not a headline writer. The paper I worked for would not lack readership.

  4. Our mechanical men would never rob banks. They will blow the hell out of some Pakistani guy's house though.

  5. It will likely turn out that the FBI cooked up the "physics" and got a group of retards to "implement" the scheme. That's the pattern in these things.

  6. "It will likely turn out that the FBI cooked up the "physics" and got a group of retards to "implement" the scheme".

    & gave them $100,000.00 for "parts"…………..???????????

  7. Now we know why the mental hospitals closed

  8. Who dreams up these oh-so-scary bad science fiction plots?

    This is as stupid and unbelievable as the car salesman Mexican drug cartel killing the Saudi ambassador in Washington for those Satanic Eye-rainian Mooselems.

    It’s obvious that whoever conjures up these “terrorist plots” has such faith in the gullibility and ignorance of the Public that they don’t even bother trying to cover up such obvious plot holes.

  9. What the heck was that mom thinking? I am guessing that he was not supposed to be out that late at night and the mom is likely horrified. When a kid does something bad in the light of day it is one thing but when he sneaks out in the middle of the night it is hard to blame the mom I think.

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