Wednesday, April 20, 2005

police monkeys

From Back of the Envelope, this story about a police department that wants to train a monkey for the swat team:
Weighing only 3 to 8 pounds with tiny humanlike hands and puzzle-solving skills, Truelove said it could unlock doors, search buildings and find suicide victims on command. Dressed in a Kevlar vest, video camera and two-way radio, the small monkey would be able to get into places no officer or robot could go.
Over all, I think it's a cool idea and worth a try, but the Kelvar vest is silly. A typical bullet weight is about .05 pounds. A typical weight for these monkeys is 5 pounds, so the bullet would weigh about 1/100th of what the monkey does. A monkey hit by a bullet would be about the same as a 180-pound man being hit by a 1.8-pound bullet. No Kelvar vest is going to save you from a 1.8-pound bullet, even if it doesn't penetrate the vest.

Most handgun rounds are going to squish that little monkey like a bug, no matter how thick the Kelvar is. The monkey would be a lot better off if it were trained to jump erratically whenever someone points a gun at it. No one is going to hit an excited monkey with a handgun except by random chance.

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