As much as the Internet (fucking) loves science, we still tend to think of scientists as boring old people in lab coats who carry clipboards around all day before going home and reading whole medical encyclopedias for fun. However, scientists look for ways to liven up their daily grind just as much as the rest of us -- only they have funding and access to all manner of futuristic geegaws that are unknown to the general populace. The end result is that they end up playing God, but like, after He's had a few drinks.
6The Government Is Testing A Cannon That Shoots Salmon Over Dams
We all know that salmon swim upstream to spawn, making your failure to go out on Friday night because "your hair looks weird" sound pretty pathetic. Unfortunately, humanity has been sock-blocking salmon for decades, and it's only getting worse; many of the 80,000 dams across the United States serve as giant, fishy diaphragms. Since salmon sex is very important for the ecosystem, not to mention hot, we've tried everything short of loading the fish on pressurized tubes and shooting them upriver to get them home.
Wait, no, we have tried that. And it looks awesome.
While the concept sounds like something a panicked child would doodle on a trifold hours before the science fair, this is a legitimate system that can fire a salmon up to 230 feet in the air. The company responsible for this, Whooshh (good thing there's an extra "h" at the end, or it would sound silly), originally invented the cannon to transport fruit, until someone said, "Fuck it, let's put it a live tilapia in there and see what happens." Shockingly, the tilapia didn't come out as sushi on the other end, and so Whooshh is now officially in the fish-shooting business.
Michael Hoeweler/Popular Mechanics
30 feet per second! 40 fish per minute! 15 confused fishermen per hour!
The fish don't appear to suffer anything worse than temporary bafflement, although more extensive tests are still ongoing. If successful, salmon cannons could be installed throughout the country, and then hopefully human-sized ones will be put in water parks. The tests are being run by a government lab, although a sizable portion of the funding is coming from a mysterious outside benefactor known only as Y.B. (his address only says "Jellystone Park").
5RoboDeer: Part Deer, Part Machine, All Forest Ranger
A RoboDeer is exactly what you think/hope it is: a robot that is also a deer. And yes, they do technically fight crime, since they're being used to catch poachers in our parks, forests, and roadways. Imagine you just shot a deer, and instead of keeling over, it does this:
Custom Robotic Wildlife
Prime Directives: protect the innocent, uphold the law, eat grass.
Oh, and we're not kidding when we say RoboDeer is part deer; it's built by opening up a taxidermied animal, stuffing a radio control system and some moveable parts into it, then putting it back together while cackling manically as thunder booms in the background. Then you stick it somewhere you suspect poaching is a problem and make it flick its tail, turn its head, and move its ears until someone shoots it. It's essentially a Disney animatronic that can take a bullet. Or more accurately, up to 1000 bullets. Shit, forget RoboCop -- these things are one command to extinguish Earth's flora away from being cuddly Terminators.
Engineering & Technology Magazine
The one on the right looks a little uncanny-valley-ish.
And yep, they're working. Robot animals have been used for years, and poachers keep falling for them. The company that makes the RoboDeer, Custom Robotic Wildlife, also manufactures CyberBears, MechaWolves, TurkeyNators, and more (note: we invented all those names, but CRW can have them for free). So whether you're looking to capture people hunting illegally or just want to terrify your loved ones, you've got options. Planned future updates include a wider range of motion, an ability to question their reason for existing, and the desire to feel love.
Time and Life Pictures/Getty News/Getty Images
"I know it gets lonely out here, Johnson, but that's not what these holes are for."