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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Sheep Dip Isolator  
  A non-lethal malodorant weapon.  

In 2000, the Pentagon started work on the mother of all stink bombs, a malodorant device, as part of its Nonlethal Weapons Program.

Phil Dick was working on the same idea, conceptually, in the 1960's.

"We in the West," Febbs said, "have never smelled the Sheep Dip Isolator's implementing irritant. It's said to defy description... It descends in the form of condensation from a Type VI Julian the Apostate satellite. The drops spatter in an area of say ten square miles. And wherever they land they penetrate inter-mol-wise - intermolecularly - and can't be eradicated, even by Supsolv-x, the new detergent we have. Nothing works."

... he could imagine the Sheep Dip Isolator in Boise, Idaho. The effect on the million citizens of the city. They would awaken to the stench, and it would be inter-mol everywhere, on and in buildings, in sub-supra- and surface-vehicles, autofacs - and the stench would drive one million people out of the city.

From The Zap Gun, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Galaxy Publishing in 1965
Additional resources -

Obviously the idea of a stink bomb has been around for a long time; there is nothing new there. However, the idea of isolating an agent that could serve a formal military purpose is probably not so old.

It turns out that during WWII, the Office of Strategic Services thought up a secret weapon known affectionately as "Who Me?" The intent was to create a noxious fluid for use by the French Resistance to humiliate German officers.

Is there a smell that transcends cultures to offend everyone? One such mixture is US Government Standard Bathroom Malodor, a scent concocted to test the efficiency of deodorant cleansers. Reportedly, the stench is so awful that some volunteers began to scream and curse after just a few seconds exposure.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Zap Gun
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to The Zap Gun
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Sheep Dip Isolator-related news articles:
  - Stink Bullets And PKD's Sheep Dip Isolator

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