Comparative Aesthetics of War

«… twelve stations: eight of them, each of the same construction like at Wardenclyffe (…)»

«A dozen such plants, located at strategic points along the coast, according to Mr. Tesla, would be enough to defend the country against all aerial attack».

«For this death-beam, he explained, could be generated only from large, stationary and immovable power plants, stationed in the manner of old-time forts at various strategic distances from each country’s border. They could not be moved for the purposes of attack. “An exception, however, he added, must be made in the case of battleships, which, he said, would be able to equip themselves with smaller plants for generating the death-beam, with enough power to destroy any airplane approaching for attack from the air.”»

«“The beam of force itself, as Dr. Tesla described it, is a concentrated current—it need be no thicker than a pencil—of microscopic particles moving at several hundred times the speed of artillery projectiles. The machine into which Dr. Tesla combines his four devices is, in reality, a sort of an electrical gun. “As Dr. Tesla explained it, the tremendous speed of the particles will give them their destruction-dealing qualities. All but the thickest armored surfaces confronting them would be melted through in an instant (…)».

«My invention requires a large plant, but once it is established it will be possible to destroy anything, men or machines, approaching within a radius of 200 miles. It will, so to speak, provide a wall of power offering an insuperable obstacle against any effective aggression».

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Medusa

«A perfect toxin-loaded killing machine, there is no creature on earth that can dispatch a human being so easily or so quickly. The box jellyfish is so packed with venom that the briefest of touches can bring agonising death within 180 seconds. And if comes under sustained attack it responds by sending its compatriots into a super-breeding frenzy in which millions of replacements are created. Trying to kill them had unleashed a breeding explosion because they are genetically programmed to ensure their survival by producing more offspring than normal when under attack.

The really bad news is that the box jellyfish and another equally poisonous species, Irukandji, are on the move. Scientists are warning that their populations are exploding.

The jellyfish have a formidable array of genetic equipment to help them survive:
– Four systems that operate competitively in the search for food.
– A highly complex sensory capacity and the ability to distinguish colour.
– The ability to live in inhospitable waters at a depth of up to 10,900 metres.
– A total of 24 eyes with moveable pupils giving them 360-degree visibility.
– Box jellyfish have 6-8ft long tentacles. Just 5-6ft across the body is enough to kill a human in 180 seconds.
– Venom is released on contact – even after it is dead – and each creature has 4000,000,000 venomous fibres.

Humans who have been stung and survived have needed 30-40 milligrams of morphine. A broken leg requires between 5-10 milligrams.

Despite decades of study scientists have been unable to unravel the mysteries of its complex venom but it is known to contain 20 different proteins.

The swarms of jellyfish are multiplying in the Western extent of the Pacific ocean and threatening 20,000 miles of coastline off Japan, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Scientists conclude that they swim towards land because it is easier to kill their main prey – fish – in shallow water off the coast which puts them on a dangerous and potentially fatal collision course with unwary swimmers.

In an experiment off the north Australia coast small netted pools were created and kept the large box jellyfish out but people were still being stung. They eventually discovered the tiny transparent Irukandji – almost invisible in daylight – was slipping through the holes in the nets.

The only deterrent so far found is a colour – red. The jellyfish simply ploughed through white-coloured poles in the water and swam round black poles but they stayed as far away as they could from red poles».

– See also Guardian

No brain, no heart, no blood

An adult jellyfish is a medusa (plural: medusae). The Japanese call them echizen kurage. There are thousands of different species of medusae, with more species discovered all of the time. Medusae have been around for more than 650 million years, due to its resistance in inhospitable ambiental conditions (polluted waters, very cold or deep waters, up to 11.000 metres) and because they are equipped with a powerful toxin.

Jellyfish belong to the phylum Cnidaria, (from the Greek word for “stinging nettle”) and the class Scyphozoa (from the Greek word for “cup”, referring to the jellyfish’s body shape). The jellyfish’s cnidarian relatives include corals, sea anemones and the Portuguese man-o’-war. All cnidarians have a mouth in the center of their bodies, surrounded by tentacles.

These plants and animals either swim and float in the water (box jellyfish) or let themselves to be carried by currents and winds which propel their horizontal movements. Although they live mainly in the ocean, they aren’t actually fish: they’re plankton. Some plankton are microscopic, single-celled organisms, while others are several feet long. These organisms are about 98 percent water. If a jellyfish washes up on the beach, it will mostly disappear as the water evaporates.

Jellyfish can range in size from less than an inch to nearly 7 feet long, with tentacles up to 100 feet long. Most are transparent and bell-shaped. Their bodies have radial symmetry, which means that the body parts extend from a central point like the spokes on a wheel. If you cut a jellyfish in half at any point, you’ll always get equal halves.

Jellyfish don’t have bones, a brain or a heart, though, they are very sensitive: they detect colours, vibrations, smells, and orient themselves through the multiple sensory nerves which cover their tentacles.

The jellyfish’s body generally comprises these basic parts:
•The membrane formed by three layers: the epidermis, which protects the inner organs; the mesoglea, or middle jelly, between the epidermis and gastrodermis; the gastrodermis, which is the inner layer;
•The gastrovascular cavity, which functions as a gullet, stomach, and intestine all in one;
•An orifice that functions as mouth, reproductive organ, and anus;
•Tentacles that line the edge of the body.

Probably, some of these features, being known by the Greeks, inspired the mythological legend of Medusa, a creature with snakes for hair who could turn humans to stone with a glance.

The box jellyfish relies on four systems operating competitively in the search for food: eyes, tentacles, sensory nerves, and about 4.000.000.000 very dangerous venomous fibres. They have cells called cnidocytes, which contain nematocysts, and located on their tentacles, mainly. Whenever a prey comes in contact with cnidocilia (structures of the cnidocytes), hundreds to thousands of cnidae (filaments of the nematocysts) are ejected into the prey ‘s direction; nematocysts’ cnidae inoculate a poisonous or allergenic mixture into the prey ‘s body; the prey, if alive, die by osmotic shock, paralysis or anaphylactic shock and is then brought to the mouth with tentacles or with oral arms.

If they feel threatened or in the eminence of dying, they launch in the water their millions of eggs. After the male releases its sperm through its orifice into the water, the sperm swim into the female’s orifice and fertilize the eggs.

They were even responsible for temporarily shutting a nuclear power plant after they lodged in its cooling system.

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