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back to article Enormous pain-ray patio heater towers erected in California

US weaponry globocorp Raytheon tried a small change of pace this week, announcing successful field trials of enormous microwave patio heaters intended to prevent frost damage in crops. Raytheon refer to their mighty oven-tower machines as Tempwave™. "Our expertise in radio frequency has enabled a disruptive product that frees …

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Even better for the environment...

... build some pubs next to them.

Then the smokers who have been banished outdoors can be warmed by the patio heaters, which are there anyway to warm the grapes, which are turned into wine, which now has less distance to travel (less "wine miles") because the pubs are next door!

This eco-shit is easy when you get into it.

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Unhappy

I guess the citrus farmers

Can expand their offering to take-away "chicken" dinners too, as I'm thinking there may be a bird or two in those trees...

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Anonymous Coward

up the noses of the environmentalist tendency?

The loss of a crop amounts to the loss of a presumably a large fraction of the solar energy incident on the field/orchard/whatever; presumably the microwave crop heaters consume a tiny fraction of this. Grid electricity may not be green, but at least it'd be used to reduce actual losses.

As opposed to the imaginary (cultural) losses offset by patio heaters, such as the perceived lack of cool (hah!) inflicted on those wearing appropriate outdoor clothing

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Nev
Black Helicopters

Philip K. Dick

They've obviously read "The Zap Gun".

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Black Helicopters

My guess is...

That Raytheon is secretly controlled by a shadowy figure known only as 'Kane' and that these will shortly be marketed as 'the Eye of Nod'.

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Coat

Dual-use technology...

...now includes chasing the undocumented workers out of the orchards.

Mines the one with the exploding microwave popcorn in the pocket. (No! No, it's just melted butter!)

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Anonymous Coward

Other applications.

I wonder how good it would be as a pest control device.

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Must be tough

Heating the water in the crops without heating it so much you rupture the cell membranes and turn them to mush.

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Is it really ...

"more energy efficient than other methods growers might use"

Including GREEN houses ?

Somehow I suspect possibly not.

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Black Helicopters

Gloabal Warming, what Global Warming

Run this past me again. We are in the middle of Global Warming, so why do we need these heaters? By the way we are still waiting for Global Warming to come to Alaska.

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Nothing good can come from this

Dump Ray Thaon stocks. They are evil. Worse than Monsanto,. Short their fucking ass, until the say, "uncle sam."

I am sick of these people.

Who cares anymore, let them keep destroying everything. Including themselves.

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Pirate

Idea in the making...

Once Raytheon proves the trustworthiness of these devices in relations to Agri-business, they can push forward with a wider-spread use as general space-heaters in populated areas (ie - city-wide patio heaters). We need never fear winter again.

At least not until the Aliens get here and turn the heaters to 11 to fry us all.

Maybe this is not such a good idea...

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Cost

Which would be cheaper then? A whole load of these things and their attendant electriciy bills. Or a batch of polytunnels? Maybe year one the microwaves would look cheap, but after a few years of 'leccy bills, maybe not so cheap.

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Unhappy

Okay, but...

IF you believe in human fuelled global warming, then why (once again) should the needs of business come before the needs of the planet? The only reason I can see is that the population will be able to buy cheap fruit. Well that's OK then.

Just like the hauliers who believe that they shouldn't have to pay the duty on fuel because it would make goods cheaper. Oh and as a side effect they would make more profit.

Even if you're not convinced that we are responsible for global warming I'm still not sure this is a good idea. Farming used to be about working in harmony with nature, ideas like this are about messing with nature to suit the farmers. Why do I have the image of the inventor of these gadgets rubbing his hands together while laughing maniacally? "Muah hah hah hah!"

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Joke

@Gloabal Warming

Palin rejected global warming... Her people elected her, not us ;-)

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Pirate

Hmmm Cook My Tea ?

I'd be able to save power by taking my tea out and holding it up in front of one of these things. If I could hold 50L of water up there for any length of time and then get it home before it cooled I'd be able to have a bath, a 3 monthly event ;-) !!

On a serious note, I don't see this as a good idea :-

I was in the Scouts. We regularly did night hikes, and occasionally we crossed fields of crops. Fried nobbly knees ? Great progress ! Baden Powel would turn in his grave many times. Long live the Scouts because it taught me lots of practical skills, and much more. Health and safety has no doubt stifled Scout activities to filtering tap water before drinking it. Anything else is prohibited.

Birds are actually a pretty effective pest control in their own right and we should do more to encourage their activities. My guess is the microwaves will kill the birds, but leave the insects unharmed. What about slugs & snails that need heat to move ?

They should duct the hot air from political centres around the country to the crops. Even allowing for cooling, the bullshit laden air from brown in parliament will still need mixing with large amounts of cold night air to avoid crop damage.

Aliens attempting to do some crop circle art may get the hump and zap us with a real death-ray.

Brainiac will have to do a series of 'don't try this in the fields' microwave experiments, which I'd actually enjoy, especially the bit about not doing it in your local fields. Which makes me think that these devices could be of entertainment value too if you had metal dishes and wire wool to hand. Hmmmmmm !

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hats?

So if I wander into the wrong area with my tinfoil hat I'm going to be nicknamed sparky?

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Orange and Lemons

What's this with greenhouses and poly-tunnels? We're talking fruit trees here, not raspberries. Do keep up.

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Paris Hilton

@Homard

"My guess is the microwaves will kill the birds, but leave the insects unharmed."

You could try the experiment. Put a bird and a fly in a microwave and see what happens. My guess is they will be transported to your neighbour's microwave curiously joined at the hip (if they have them)

Paris, for all the obvious reasons after mentioning hips.

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@BKB

"Presumably it's easy enough to compare this method of heating for its energy efficiency with the kerosene method"

Good point. As is the fact that the leccy can be sourced from other than fossil fuels.

The jokers in this pack are unit prices and fuel Vs electricity prices.

Does Raytheon know *anything* about consumer or *real* commercial pricing? Where you work out a project budget based on the target market size and a price you can make a profit (and your customers are prepared to pay) at, once you've hit your break-even quantity.

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Boffin

@BKB

"Presumably it's easy enough to compare this method of heating for its energy efficiency with the kerosene method"

Good point. As is the fact that the leccy can be sourced from other than fossil fuels.

The jokers in this pack are unit prices and fuel Vs electricity prices.

Does Raytheon know *anything* about consumer or *real* commercial pricing? Where you work out a project budget based on the target market size and a price you can make a profit (and your customers are prepared to pay) at, once you've hit your break-even quantity.

Not to diss Raytheon. When it comes to war tech, stock price management and government lobbying I'm sure they are in the front rank.

Actually making stuff people and real companies use at a realistic price that doesn't involve a government subsidy/contract/backhander ?

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Anonymous Coward

@Gareth Jones

So, you propose that it's much less wasteful to destroy entire crops of food and regrow them, than to turn on some heaters for twenty hours a year?

Or would you prefer that we just all not eat fruit, because only evil bad BAD people who hate mother earth would want to engage in such a flagrant waste of natural resources?

The irony here is that I have a feeling that the environmentalists who are decrying the use of these space heaters are also upset that we eat so much artificial sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and would prefer we have fruit instead.

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Unhappy

So...

... any bets as to how long it'll be before these are deployed along the Mexican border?

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TK
Dead Vulture

Yikes

So now migrant workers not only have to worry about illegal carcinogenic pesticides being used while the inspectors look the other way, but they also have to worry about being cooked alive when one of these shorts or takes a spike from the grid.

Not to mention that there's some investigation as to whether the increase in microwave towers like cell repeaters are contributing to the bees wandering off and not returning. I'd assume these wouldn't be running during polination season, but if they were, it could add to *that* problem.

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@Simon Williams

Yes, but these are armchair environmentalists. They don't know anything more about the country than the bits they see down the side of the motorway to work.

Apparently they use bigass kerosene heaters normally, and this is surely infinitely preferable to those; there's no explosion or fire risk- even if they're left out all year, they don't heat the air but rather just the crop, and even better they can be run on increasingly-green Nuclear power.

I think that this is a fantastic use of military equipment and should be encouraged. Until they start installing them in towns (without a way of ensuring they'll not be used for crowd control or "deterring hoodies from hanging around".

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Paris Hilton

err..

wouldnt it have been a better plan to prove its effectivness if they tested it say... somewhere that actually gets cold during part of the year?

paris - cause even she wouldnt be THAT dumb

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they were

they were right here , I turned on the heat and now the

bee's

workers

migrants

taxman

are gone

hmmmm can I set up a few in Washington?

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polytunnels

If Wembley can have a curtain roof, it should be possible to have some kind of structure in place to pull some kind of cover across a field of 20 foot trees or 8 foot vines when the weather gets iffy.

Couple that with the kero heaters and the energy consumption would drop dramatically.

The question is if it's economic to do it.

Before anyone cries "global warming" - it's just as likely to cause increased frosts in some areas as to warm overall, thanks to changed wind patterns (Think: warmer poles, hotter tropics and more wild/extreme weather in mid latitude regions as polar/tropical air gets greater incursion at various times of year.)

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Coat

Off to the island

How much to set up a ring of these as a fence around my house?

Not quite sonic, but it'll do for now.

Mines the one with the Dharma logo on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Jesus is fraud

Hmmmmmmmmm

HOT oranges on a COLD day.... delicious.

Pity they taste like shit.

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