H.G. WELLS: 9 Predictions That Have, And Haven't, Come True

H.G. WELLS: 10 Predictions That Have--And Haven't--Come True
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H.G. Wells's deadly heat ray, used by invading Martians in 1898's The War of the Worlds, has become reality--albeit in a nonlethal form: above, the U.S. military's Active Denial System stands at the ready at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in January 2007. The device uses microwave radiation to make crowds uncomfortable enough to disperse.

(Related: "War of the Worlds: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic.")

H.G. Wells described his ray gun as "an almost noiseless and blinding flash of light"--nearly 60 years before the first laboratory lasers were invented. Some of today's lasers even use infrared light, "the definition of heat," said Gregory Benford, a science fiction writer and physicist at the University of California, Irvine.

Furthermore, Benford said, the most powerful military lasers deliver a sizeable blast of energy, which can subdue a hostile crowd without seriously harming anyone. "The upper limit is classified," he said, "but I can tell you it can produce megawatts."

More on H.G. Wells
H.G. Wells Predictions Ring True, 143 Years Later
H.G. Wells Birthday Quiz: The Man Behind the Fiction
H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic
Are Neighborhood Aliens Listening to Earth Radio?
Honoring H.G. Wells: Crop Circles Go Worldwide Overnight
ON TV: Time Machine, Airing Thursday, September 24
—Photograph by Elliott Minor/AP
 
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