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The future's so invisible, I gotta wear ... ?

From the headline "Scientists create cloak of invisibility" one would think we are close to getting cloaking technology like that of a Romulan Bird of Prey, or Harry Potter's invisibility cloak... [yahoo news article here]

Of course, in reality, we are nowhere near there yet: gotta love how headlines shout out amazing breakthroughs, when in reality what they are trumpeting is extrapolation from very very basic and preliminary results.

To remind us of basic physics that we've thankfully forgotten from high school / college days: An object is visible to the naked eye when light waves that hit the object are scattered, and some of these waves are reflected back to the eye.

Similarly, equipment that detect things like microwaves and x-rays would be able to "see" waves scattered by the object, even if we can't actually see it with the naked eye. Radar and night-vision goggles pop into my head as examples.

Anyways - so you wanna render something invisible? Don't let it bounce back *any* waves that hit it. This can be achieved by making the object too small to be hit by waves [stealth technology]; making the object absorb the waves [wouldn't that cast a "shadow" though?]; or, in this particular case, making the object deflect the waves around it, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream.

So this new breakthrough? The "cloak" made the object ALMOST invisible.
To microwaves.
"Adapting the concept to visible light is good, but from an engineering point of view it is very challenging." Harrrumph!

But I do like the "... speculative application ... 'cloaking' acoustic waves, so as to shield a region from vibration or seismic activity".

HOWEVER... the pseudo conspiracy theorist in me is jumping up and down in concern, wondering if "bugs" have been ironed out since the Philadelphia Experiment... after all, that was an experiment to bend light waves around a ship to render it invisible... an experiment that supposedly went totally awry... of course the entire tale is entirely suspect because a main part of the tale is based on testimony of someone who has since been debunked as a fake...

... so how much of the tale is true?

Did such an experiment actually occur?

With so many people entrenched in their own views, it's doubtful that we'd recognise the truth if it came up and bit us on the nose, eh?


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