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CROWD CONTROL STINKS

In recent weeks, Defense Tech has highlighted some on-the-cusp technologies that might help make military policing efforts -- like the one currently underway in Iraq -- a less deadly task. Popular Science has a few more, including malodorants, "the chemical brews that mimic revolting smells and can disperse attackers and crowds."

Pamela Dalton, an experimental psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, says a military group approached her organization...to study odorants likely to offend everyone, everywhere. "We focused on odors that had biological origin, reasoning that they had the best chance of being universally recognized and reviled," she explains. "Vomit odor, the odor of human excrement, urine, human sweat odor, rotting fish, decomposing bodies, burned hair."The Monell Center examined how the presence of a malodor distracted people from tasks they were performing, and researched the best strategies for developing chemical likenesses of the odor combinations. Although it didn't tackle dispersal techniques, Dalton says, "I can say from personal experience that the diffusivity of some of these odorants is quite high. As little as a few molecules in the AC system was capable of odorizingand evacuatingthe entire building."
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