That Time The USA Wanted To Turn The Earth Into A Death Star

Related: 23 Real-Life Mad Scientists Deleted From Your History Books

Not that the minor failure of Operation: Irradiate God discouraged anyone. That very same year, Christofilos suggested an equally bonkers solution to one of the Navy’s biggest problems. Radio waves dissipate in water, so the U.S. had trouble contacting submerged submarines, and it kind of defeats the purpose of an underwater stealth vessel if it has to drag a big-ass buoy behind it to pick up radio signals, which was the situation at the time. Christofilos suggested that this problem could be solved by simply making the radio waves huge — as in tens of thousands of miles long. But how could such waves be generated? Well, Wisconsin was just kind of lying around cluttering up the place. Why not turn half of it into a massive transmitter?

Yep, Christofilos suggested burying an enormous grid of electrical cables six feet under Wisconsin. When switched on, the current would flow through the ground itself, causing 41% of the state’s bedrock to vibrate and generate an ELF radio wave big enough to reach the bottom of the ocean. The granite of Northern Wisconsin was supposedly ideal for this — a dubious honor, to be sure.

They also secretly tested this idea in the Appalachian mountains by cutting everyone’s power at night and plugging the cables directly into the ground, which may explain West Virginia’s unusually high population of twitchy old guys muttering about secret vibrations. Incredibly, tests found that the idea would work, and the plan was all set to go ahead until the horrified people of Wisconsin found out and proved inexplicably unwilling to live on top of a giant speaker. Following a storm of protests and lawsuits, the plan was dropped, although they eventually built a smaller version using a “mere” 84 miles of cables instead of the 6,000 miles originally planned.

U.S. Navy“An antenna big enough to have its own congressman, and the break room TV still cuts out every time it rains.”

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