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Fighting with Physics
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Wendy Wippel

Lost in the hurricane hysteria that has (appropriately) captured our collective attention since the middle of August was another story that ultimately could have much bigger repercussions.  Namely, sonic weaponry, used against American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba. It’s considered the future of warfare, but it may be as old as Methuselah. Or at least close.

Although sonic weapons have appeared in popular movies (Minority Report, Iron Man, and others). It’s escaped most of us, I think, that the development and use of sonic weapons has been a big focus with both military and commercial application, for years. Sonic devices that emit sound waves --at frequencies that discomfort but not injure humans-- have been used for scattering unruly crowds, incapacitating terrorists, and discouraging loiterers (as well as pirate attacks).

No Lie.

Audible frequencies of sound at high volume, we know, can make us uncomfortable (we’ve all had that experience here and there). Think of group of toddlers, or an AC/DC Concert. It can even burst eardrums.

But lots of sound isn’t audible. Low sound frequencies (infrasound) and high sound frequencies (ultrasound) are both generally inaudible in adult humans, although teens and children hear wider ranges. Ultrasound frequencies adults can’t hear are often used to disperse crowds of teens.

But that’s the basics. The weapon thought to be used on our diplomats was something more advanced. A group of US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba experienced an alarming set of symptoms about a year ago (the US Government sat on it for months trying to figure out what the origin of the event could have been, without success). A total of 21 people reported a disturbing variety of symptoms, including hearing loss, dizziness, nausea, and, memory loss, confusion, difficulty calling up words, and actual concussions, distortion of vision (due to vibration of the eyeballs, and --confirming the hypothesis of one researcher that suggested that sound at high enough frequencies could rattle brains.  And for some of them, symptoms have lingered. Which is scary.

But nothing that would surprise a stalwart warrior of scripture: Joshua. Who, using the Ark of the Covenant and a ram’s horns, brought down the city walls of Jericho.

But how, exactly, did that happen? God had given them detailed instruction for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, it’s construction and use, with strict instructions on who should come in contact with it and what and what not to do.

We all remember the story of Uzza, right? Who touched the ark despite warnings and was promptly electrocuted. What in the world was this thing God gave them?

Intriguingly, one of the worlds’s most famous electricians, Nicolas Tesla, was intrigued himself by the Ark of the Covenant and studied it, deciding finally that it was a powerful condenser, creating intense vibrations that created sonic percussion waves. According to Tesla, "it created intense vibrations that could smash solid stone".

A similar weapon, in fact, was a fundamental plot of the science fiction classic book “Dune”. But could vibrations alone really bring bring down a whole city? 

According to science, they can. According to mechanical engineer Steve Goldman, it’s just physics. Specifically, a phenomenon known as a pulse. (This is kind of over my head but here goes.) We know that Jericho was one of the oldest cities (fertile city and a land of milk and honey for a reason), thus not in shifting sand. And according to Goldman, in that environment, and with the loosely constructed, primitive stone walls that Jericho had (they had fallen several times before), the rhythmic thumping of 40,000 men as they circled the walls of Jericho sets up a physics phenomenon called a pulse, which serves to amplify what would otherwise be the normal affect. And the pulse phenomenon would cause vibration inside the structure that would eventually (as they go seven times around the city on the last day) bring the walls down.

Science at their service, essentially. Gold even had this published in a science journal.

One of the coolest proofs, however, came from something else I read.

Remember the fact from the Scriptural account? That God said that the ruins of Jericho were His and forbade the Israelites from looting?

Archaeologists have verified from the ruins that all the valuables—gold, silver, etc, were still in that layer of the Jericho ruins. God’s people obeyed.

At least that time. Scripture never lies.

About Wendy Wippel

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