Several Interesting Science & Tech Articles - Economist

DeltaV

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Nov 5, 2019
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The Economist has recently had several science and tech articles that might just open the door a very tiny crack to some
interesting future applications (reading them with SF in mind).

The Nov 7-13 issue had an article Can You Generate a Magnetic Field Remotely? The answer is apparently yes, based
on recent research. Researchers were able to generate a field 2cm outside of a cylinder of wires. A very small first step
to "Full power to the shields, Mr Sulu!"?

The Technology Quarterly in the January 9th issue features the Liberation of Light. Discusses solar panels, fiber optics,
lasers, etc.. For example, with the increasing power of lasers, one researcher believes that within 10 years they will be able to create
matter (and anti-matter) from energy (New Enlightenments).

I can't help but wonder if the recent US Navy anti-missile laser battery tests are going to drive nuclear energy technology forward.
If you want to eventually equip your warship with lasers in the hundred to thousand kw range, you're going to need some serious juice.

The same issue discusses military command and control (Warfare's Worldwide Web). What I found interesting was a brief
review of an autonomous robot V60 Q-UGV and the sensor capabilities it has. Boy, if the US military wants to find you bad
enough, there's no place to hide.

<This addresses a pet peeve that I have with some SF stories, where the intrepid (but foolish) adventurers set foot on an unknown planet
and are quickly attacked by various local creatures (Yes, I am thinking of Mr McDevitt's stories, amongst others). With robots like
this, send a few of them down first to check things out. But, to be fair, I guess this is another example of how the advances
in technology are jumping ahead of SF written only a couple of decades ago...>
 

.matthew.

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I can't help but wonder if the recent US Navy anti-missile laser battery tests are going to drive nuclear energy technology forward.
If you want to eventually equip your warship with lasers in the hundred to thousand kw range, you're going to need some serious juice.
Well, to be fair they already have sophisticated nuclear power onboard ships and submarines. The issue is with the skilled technicians needed and clean up after the lifecycle. It's why many navies still use fossil fuels without issue. However, the technology is already there to produce enough power for laser systems if needed.

Remember as well that lasers require a lot of power, but usually only for a very short time, so they would likely be fed by capacitors which could be charged slowly over time from less powerful reactors or regular oil diesel generators.
 
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