It’s Raining Birds

Here’s something you don’t see every day.

Mystery Surrounds 2,000 Birds that Fell Dead from the Sky

Authorities in Arkansas are trying to solve a grisly mystery: What caused nearly 2,000 red-winged blackbirds to fall dead out of the sky on New Years Eve Night.

The carcasses of some of the nearly 2,000 red-winged blackbirds that inexplicably fell on an Arkansas town will be sent for testing to determine the cause of death.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says the state Livestock and Poultry Commission Lab and the National Wildlife Health Center Lab in Madison, Wis., will examine the dead birds starting Monday.

Commission spokesman Keith Stephens says the birds fell in an area about a mile long and a half-mile wide. He says it’s not the first time birds have dropped from the Arkansas sky.

Environmental workers finished picking up the carcasses on Sunday.

Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe says the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail, or may have been startled by fireworks.

See also:
Search for clues is on after birds fall from sky in Arkansas
What made thousands of birds fall from the sky?
Labs seek clues after 3,000 birds die in Arkansas
Why Did Thousands of Birds Drop Dead in the Arkansas Sky?
More than 4,000 birds fall from sky in Arkansas
Arkansas officials stumped as birds fall from sky
Why Did 5,000 Birds Fall From the Sky in Arkansas?
Angry Birds Blitzkrieg Over Arkansas
CNN: Thousands of birds fall from sky — why?
Dead-bird count passes 2,000

I’m certainly no expert, but I don’t find any of the three possible explanations particularly satisfying as to what might cause birds to drop dead out of the sky over an area one mile long and half a mile wide.

/all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not living in Arkansas

Defilade, What Defilade?

Finally, here’s a real magic bullet, not something concocted out of Arlen Specter’s imagination.

GIs testing ‘smart’ weapons that leave nowhere to hide

The combat zone just got a little more high-tech as soldiers in Afghanistan began testing and training on five prototype weapons that fire smart bullets.

Army officials are calling the XM25 Counter Defilade Targeting Engagement System revolutionary since it is the first time soldiers will have a smart weapon in their hands. Smart weapons have some form of a processing unit that allows them to be self-guided or, in this case, have self-adjusting sights and programmable rounds.

The XM25 — which is not much bigger than a standard service rifle — fires 25 mm rounds that can be programmed to explode on impact, in front of or behind an object. The weapon allows soldiers to kill enemies hiding behind walls or other cover by firing above, or to the side, of the wall from up to 700 meters away.

“We call it a game changer,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, the project manager for the XM25 with Program Executive Office Soldier. “From the dawn of direct-fire weapons, soldiers have always been taught if you’re getting shot at or something is being thrown at you, get behind cover, whether it is your shield or a wall. We are essentially taking cover away from the enemy forever with this.”

See also:
‘Nowhere to Hide’: U.S. Army Testing New ‘Smart’ Weapons in Afghanistan
‘Smart weapon’ rifle debuts on Afghanistan’s battlefields
XM-25 Goes To War
U.S. ground soldiers to test ‘smart’ rifle
U.S. army’s XM-25 soon be seen combating in Afghanistan
XM25 Airburst Weapons System
XM25 grenade launcher / air bursting assault weapon (USA)
XM25 Individual Airburst Weapon System

Afghanistan would seem to be the perfect place to test this new weapons system. I wonder how the Taliban feel about being the lab rats?

/don’t bother to duck, you’ll just die hunched over