The Whips of War: Hoopty Hacks in our Driverless Future

By Mark

“Nine-tenths of our crimes an’ calamities are made possible by th’ automobile. It has unleashed all th’ pent-up criminal tendencies o’ th’ ages.” -Kin Hubbard[i]

So we’ve talked about a few of the weird, wild, easy, and totally predictable ways cars can be physically weaponized. Pretty much anybody can slap a battering ram or some armor on a wheeled or tracked vehicle. This isn’t a problem that’s going to be solved by banning stuff because A) it’s ridiculously easy to do, and B) most of the materials can’t be banned.

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The Hunt for White Octubre: Narco-Submarines and the 4th Industrial Revolution

By Mark

It’s May 1944. An American submarine just sank several Japanese ships, and is now under a blistering counterattack. As a seemingly-endless barrage of depth charges explodes around the boat, one of the American submariners asks how much a depth charge costs. A crewmate guesses they cost about $600 each.

“Damn, we’re going to bankrupt these sonovabitches.”

And that’s about right. Except today we’re not bankrupting our adversaries. Our adversaries are bankrupting us. Continue reading

Mad Max Meets the Fourth Industrial Revolution: DIY Vehicle Weaponization

By Mark

In the old days of humanitarian intervention, international charities would hire private contractors to escort their shipments using 4×4 pickups with machine guns mounted on the beds. Since a lot of humanitarian groups don’t like to be seen paying for stuff like that, they’d write off these vehicle escorts as “technical expenses,” coining the term “Technical” for any 4×4 pickup with a mounted crew-served weapon. So the legend goes. Continue reading