Just like you, I lie awake at night and worry about life’s bigger questions, like: how quickly does chocolate spoil? Should I eat that piece of cake before morning? And then: Which is best at 3 a.m., whipped cream or ice cream?
Of course, I’m not always that deep. Sometimes I wonder: Just what exactly are The Authorities (who insist on the capital letters because it makes them feel important) doing to protect me from things like crime, terror, and boy bands?
To answer this question, I decided to do a little research. I discovered that Authorities around the world are spending your tax dollars like there’s no tomorrow, which would be a worrisome thought if it weren’t for the fact that the money is being spent to develop amazing new crime fighting tools. For example:
THE TOOL: The US Marines recently paid inventors to develop a special “snot-like” spray-on slime which can be applied to any surface, making it impossible to walk. Honestly, they did.
WHERE IT COULD BE USED: On the grass at the site of a riot to stop a mob advance. On the floor at a robbery-in-progress to prevent a getaway. On the deck of a ship for a really good practical joke on the new recruits.
WHAT IT MEANS: A) Training manuals titled: USMC Approved Snot Spray Skills and Safety. B) Victims suing the government for damages and the inevitable newspaper headline: Protestor Says: “I’ve been slimed!” C) Smug riot police, post-conflict, saying: “Ha! Scared the snot out of them, didn’t we?” D) Judges denying snot-related lawsuits, telling complainants: “If you can’t do the slime, don’t do the crime.”
THE TOOL: Researchers in Sweden have figured out how to make frog skin cells — which naturally change colour in reaction to heat, sunlight or predators — change in the presence of opiate drugs. Again, I’m not kidding.
WHERE IT COULD BE USED: Anywhere a portable, yet spring-loaded drug detector is needed. At a frat party, because you just know some college student will have heard that dumb story about licking a frog to get high, and will figure this is like, totally the right frog, dude.
WHAT IT MEANS: A) The new movie — Kermit: My Life as a Narc. B) Drug cops packing amphibians will have to be renamed frogmen. C) Some day there will be an unfortunate incident involved a drug-sniffing dog and a drug-detecting frog. D) Frogs exposed to too much heroin will croak.
THE TOOL: Forensic scientists in Britain have found a way to trap criminals by their breath. Apparently, traces of DNA can be found in moisture left on phones, masks etc.
WHERE IT COULD BE USED: Anywhere that hardened, experienced criminals stop to use the phone in the middle of a crime, or decide to take off their mask and leave it at the scene.
WHAT THIS MEANS: A) A whole new twist on the phrase “with bated breath.” B) Cops surrounding a suspect’s house and yelling through the bullhorn: “We know you’re in there, we’ve seen where you’ve been breathing!” C) Heist movies where the heroes have to cut the bank’s phone lines, carefully avoid the laser beam alarm triggers, blow open the safe, and gently substitute a weight in place of the large diamond they’re stealing… all while they’re holding their breath. D) Actors turning blue and hyperventilating as a result of having to retake heist movie scenes too many times.
THE TOOL: Back in the US, the Pentagon has announced that it has trained honey bees to sniff out and swarm to explosives instead of flowers. Eventually, they plan to place tiny tracking devices on the bees to be able to follow them.
WHERE IT COULD BE USED: Minefields. And anywhere a hive full of angry, bomb-detecting, buzzing bees could be placed inconspicuously. Like, say, right next to the airport metal detector.
WHAT THIS MEANS: A) On at least one occasion, bees will swarm their target just a little too enthusiastically, and we will suddenly have a lot of bee bits floating through the air. B) One day, someone will be swarmed at the airport and will fall down screaming: “I said bee balm! Bee b-a-l-m!!” C) There will be an unfortunate incident involving a bomb-detecting bee, a drug-detecting frog, and a drug-sniffing dog. D) Somewhere, there is a Pentagon scientist who just spent the last six months, saying: “There’s a good bee! Fetch the TNT. Good bee! That’a boy!”
So, now that I’ve put your mind at ease about world security issues, you can start contemplating some of those really important questions again. Like: how long will a chocolate bar stay fresh? If you’ll excuse me, I have one in my kitchen and I need to run a few tests.