Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hot lead and "Super-Soakers"

Gun control in action: Super-Soakers
Gun control in action: Super-Soakers

Sometimes it seems most of life’s problems can be solved with proper application of high velocity projectiles.

Take the “Chicken Gun”, operated by the US Air Force. It solved the problem of testing bird impacts on airplanes. It was too hard to fly around looking for a flock of birds to fly into, so they invented a cannon to fire freshly killed chickens at expensive airplanes. And in a pinch, it can be used as a weapon. While it might not create smoking craters, it would totally gross out the enemy.

This isn’t the only case of chickens being used by the military.

During the Cold War, the British Army designed a nuclear bomb to be used in the event of a Russian invasion. These nuclear mines would be buried in the fields of northern Germany. The problem was that cold weather made the electronics unreliable, so they actually proposed to include live chickens in the bomb’s mechanism, to provide warmth. It must be true, I found it on Wikipedia.

Another favorite is an invention created in 1982 by Dr. Lonnie Johnson, then an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was working on a heat pump that used water instead of Freon. He must have been working from home, because he had the thing hooked up to his bathroom sink, when it created a powerful jet of water that immediately drenched the bathroom.

He immediately said - and I quote -

“This would make a great water gun!"

He went on to develop the legendary “Super-Soaker” that defined modern water warfare, making 100’s of millions of dollars along the way. Dr Johnson is one of the world’s top inventors and is now working on a new ways of generating and storing electricity.

This week's Pop Quiz:

A) An angry rhino is charging at you on the African plain. Which gun should you reach for?

  1. Mauser 191 ought 7
  2. Burp Gun
  3. Super-Soaker
  4. Phaser

B) If cupid used a gun instead of a bow and arrow, what would he use for ammunition?

  1. Jujubes
  2. Sugar cubes
  3. Rose petals
  4. Sapphire bullets of pure love

C) What do Mommy and Daddy bullets make?





A – (3)  Rhinos hate water in the face

B – (4)

C – Little BB's

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KNKX since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KNKX “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.
John Maynard started working in radio in the seventies as a DJ at Seattle’s KJR AM which at the time was the dominant AM station in the Seattle market. After a brief stint as a restaurateur and night club owner, Maynard returned to radio with Robin Erickson, creating the hugely popular “Robin and Maynard Show.” In the more than 20 years under that marquee, Maynard flew with the Blue Angels, piloted the Goodyear Blimp, sang with Donny Osmond and hung out in a Universal Studios bar with Kojak (Telly Savalas).