17 posts • joined 4 Mar 2011
A simpler solution
As Traveller was mentioned further up I thought I'd note another simpler approach that I recall first hearing about in that RPG about 30ish years ago. It always struck me as a very elegant and simple way to deal with directed energy weapons in space...
Use a "sand thrower", basically a big shotgun which you fire sand in the direction of a hostile ship resulting in a large obscuring cloud between you and her. Lasers etc. are easily absorbed / scattered by the cloud. It also provides nice cover while you deploy decoys & drones. Cheap and effective. When you shoot back you are much better off using good old rail guns... Plasma or sand aren't going to stop a slug.
I think any real space fights are going to be much more like the Wild West than Star Wars.
Good job sir!
Excellent article, very well balanced. It would be so easy to write Hawkins off as simply a crank with lots of money, but when you take a careful look, his ideas really do ring true. Best of luck to him.
I am surprised the guys at spaceX are playing around with building this sort of stuff themselves. If they really think this is going to help, then surely they should just fork out for some kit from Oblong? Then save all their innovation juices to use on rockets. I can only assume they think they can do it better in some way.
Well good luck with that, Boeing and the likes use oblong and it looks much more precise than something leap motion based. It would only take a few botched injectors or whatever to cover the extra cost. Plus oblong were the ones that actually designed the minority report set.
But to be fair, if I was that loaded I would happily spend the money playing with such kit.
You are doing it all wrong
Hey, I thought this was all sorted out already, with no real need for fantasy physics. In just a few decades from now we will be able to travel pretty much anywhere we at the (perceptual) blink of an eye. Basically, you serialise anyone who wants to travel. Store them in a massively redundant form in a dense, robust and stable substrate, I dunno say a chunk of quartz or something. At which point you have you perfect solid state astronaut. You can shoot him around the universe will little fuss. No need to waste energy accelerating a live support system, shielding, food, toilets etc. and he can take silly-g without becoming pâté.
Ok great, now duplicate him/everyone and fire them off in all directions. You can spend a little energy every now and then and boot up a virtual image to take a look around and make a course correction etc. Once you see a place of interest you spend the other half of your budget on stopping near a good energy source, build a big array of radio telescopes as a relay station, duplicate and send off another burst of seed ships. We can exchange diffs via the relay network to keep the whole lot coherent. Pretty soon the whole of humanity is a RAIDed cloud spread across a massive volume of space that is expanding at close to c.
Just try and wipe us out then you bastards!
The really cool thing is that we can play with our own clock speed at will, to fast forward through all that crawling about at c and then speed up to enjoy the good bits. Like downloading into a new body to enjoy some snu snu on Amazonia.
Serialisation gives you all this plus a whole lot more without the need for Trek style make believe. No new physics needed just a few decades of technology and neuroscience and we're off! I'd strongly suggest checking out some of the novels by Charles Stross to get all the details.
BTW if I kick the bucket before this all happens, I am going to have an extremely rude message to future humanity carved on my gravestone. That'll show them.
With you in spirit
Hey, thank you Andrew for a very thought provoking article.
I whole heartily agree with the spirt, especially the protection of property rights and privacy (and liberty). I also do not understand the arguments for treating the digital realm as some other special place removed from the rest of the world with its own special laws, that just seems absurd.
However, as others have said, I don't understand leap you make to associate ownership of data to those that the data is about. Surely, this is too grey an area to base your argument on. It will just attract examples of extremes that with just distract from the important main message.
Do they need to be linked? Is it not simply the case that we need to properly and consistently enforce the laws we already have?
In true commentard form I don't have any answers...
".. lensing effect of the atmosphere.." hmm.. I think you will find this is not true. Rather it is an optical illusion. Well that's what Patrick Moore told me once on telly.
Grrrr. Never mind FPS, reading this article makes me want to punch people.
I do hope so
I hope that this or one of the following missions do find life on Mars. It would probably be the most important historic event in my lifetime and I would so love to see it happen.
Of course, It would not make up for missing the singularity (bugger) but it would be a nice consolation prize.
One eyed astronomers
I assume those smart folks at NASA have considered any impact shooting a laser at Hawaii might have on the science being done by all those telescopes there?
I'm guessing that low intensity / narrow frequency means it isn't but then looking at all the fuss about laser guide stars, surely someone will have a beef.
No and thrice no!
No no no no ... No! If I wanted a laptop I would have bought one.
(plus if you need a case there are much better designed / quality ones out there)
@arctic fox (nasally challenged)
"ad hominem attacks that got up my nose"
Dude, this is the El Reg commentards section..
You're gonna need nostrils like zeppelin hangers if you're gonna hang out here.
Re big question
Come on, use your imagination! How about...
a pico projector
a semi conductor laser (low power for pointing/range finding or high power for small scale cutting tasks)
a far infra red camera
A thermometer / barometer / altimeter
A hazardous chemical sniffer
Hell how about an electric razor attachment?
Expectations set to zero!!
I have zero expectations. ZERO I TELL YOU!!!
Repeat after me. We will not disappoint you, we will not disappoint you.
history... rinse and repeat
Hey, wait before you reach for the tax payer provided pork-o-bank cheque book to buy your new fleet. Don't forget to check beneath the waves for those pesky u-boats. Lasers don't work any where nearly as well through water. Your hypersonic slugs won't make it much further either....
Is science a rude word???
I have disagree with many of the above posters. The methodological, experimental search for truth? This is science! My problem is they and many others don't like to use the word. I guess it would damage their viewing figures?
Don't get me wrong I love this show, I just wish they would add the odd plug for something I love so much.
Insert redundant rant concerning modern fashion to be anti science
Nice try Mr Reg
Ah you almost got me.
Christmas 1981 what a great moment for a 11 year old.
After 6 months hanging around in WHSmiiths staring at it and begging my parents.
Ah I can still vividly remember the absolute thrill and joy as I pulled the polystyrene packaging from the cardboard sleeve. Looking at the pictures, I can still remember the smell of it for heavens sake!
Then Christmas day spent typing in the first programs from the manual. Something about the price of oranges I seem to remember.
What a major pivot point in my life. 30 Years on and I've got kids of my own and we're living a great life style. In no small way, thanks to that little black box.
Sir Clive and everyone involved - Thanks from the bottom of my heart!
ps I have a 4 year old daughter who is teaching her two year old sister how to play cartoons on our old iphone. I wonder if they will have similar memories?
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