Monday, November 09, 2009

"I'll Take The Next One"

Are you shitting me?

The title of this post cracks me up!
Then my job is done.
It is hard to believe, but space elevators are a completely legitimate (though crazy sounding) idea. That article makes it sound as though they were Arthur C. Clark's idea, though they were actually proposed and discussed by people who actually kind of know what they're doing. And physics/engineering people (in my experience) tend to view these proposals fairly optimistically. The major hurdle is figuring out what to make the tether out of. It has to be strong enough to withstand the tension caused by the weight but light enough to resist weighing it down too much. They are not far off from figuring that part out, and could actually build these on Mars or the moon with existing technology.

It may interest you to know that I wrote about these on my blog two years ago in a somewhat mocking tone, and the expert who commented on it? A guy named Dunbar.
Cool. I just read a bunch of your post, and I hadn't heard about this at all until today. And note, my "are you shitting me" just meant, well, I guess I should have said something more like "holy shit." It wasn't meant in a "how dumb is this" way, but a "how cool is this" way. I was blown away by that picture.

I have so many questions about this. But not enough time in the world to figure out how to phrase them....
Now that all the problems in the US have been solved and nothing will ever be wrong again, I think this is an excellent use of superfluous tax dollars!
Clark is one of my 3 or 4 faorite writers, so I knew about this idea. I also know that when he wrote Fountains it was based on research that indicated the plausibility of the idea. He readdressed it in "3001". By that time, in his world, the elevators (there were 4 of them, spaced equally around the equator to balance each other) had been in use for centuries.
Just one example among dozens, if not hundreds, of Clark recognizing technologies that seem like fantasy, but are really within the realm of reality. I love Clark

If you think that the US government is spending a significant amount of its budget on scientific research, I'd love to move to your alternate dimension. While I'm there, we can reminisce about that time humanity waited until it had solved all of its problems before proceeding with the invention of the ipod.

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