The Heat of the Night?Can Be Seen

from the I-can-see-u dept

Gary Brown writes “Here’s a cool picture-laden article from HowStuffWorks that mentions how cryogenically-cooled thermal imaging devices can “see” a difference as small as 0.2 F (0.1 C) from more than 1,000 ft (300 m) away, which is enough to tell if a person is holding a gun at that distance! Generation-3 night vision devices (NVDs) are considered so state-of-the-art that they cannot be exported from the United States without a license from the U.S. Department of State that details the recipient and the purpose it will be used for. The article helps discern the bargain ‘military surplus’ night scopes seen in the mail order catalogs from the real NVDs. A really amazing ability of thermal-imaging is that it reveals if an area has been disturbed — it can show that the ground has been dug up to bury something, even if there is no obvious sign to the naked eye. Law enforcement has used this to discover items that have been hidden by criminals, including money, drugs and bodies.”

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Comments on “The Heat of the Night?Can Be Seen”

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Mike (profile) says:

Night vision goggles...

In the early nineties, when the Soviet Union was falling apart, I remember reading in Time magazine that you could buy night vision goggles from Soviet military people desperate for money for about 80 bucks. A few months after reading this a friend of mine went to Moscow to visit his cousin (who was a bureau chief for NBC or ABC news in Moscow). I told him to buy me a pair of night vision goggles if he could find them…

He called me (from Moscow) to tell me that he bought a night vision scope (not goggles) for himself, but didn’t buy a pair for me since the price had risen to a $120 from the desperate Russian army soldier he found. I told him to go back and buy it for $120 and yelled at him for being so stupid as to not realize I’d pay more than $80 for an authentic pair of night vision goggles from the Russian army. He couldn’t find another set. I think he really wanted to be the only one among our friends who had a toy as cool as that. Lucky bastard.

A couple of years later, a friend of mine’s father would travel to Moscow every couple of months for business. I told him the story of the night vision goggles, and he told his father to pick some up for both of us. His father went, and asked around and was told that that was a big no-no. In the years between, the Russians had tried to rebuild up their army and soldiers caught selling surplus equipment were getting into serious trouble… as were some people who were trying to buy the surplus equipment.

So… I never got my authentic Russian army night vision goggles.

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