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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 04:37 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanc View Post
I know you're being facetious, but this is really the only semi-rational objection I can think of, and it's based on a very serious misconception regarding how big space is. If we ground up the whole planet and spread it all over the solar system, there'd be effectively no change in the density of the debris.

The only constraint I can think of on this approach is that you'd have to make sure you didn't accidentally hit satellites on the way out.

Cheers
You're right; I was being facetious. And I do have a fair idea of the size of space - it's, like, rilly rillly rillly ginormous.

I think the rail guns thing is still a ways off, don't you? Same with scram, bam, thank you ma'am... aren't there billions of dollars of investment and test tech sitting between us and the practical, routine use of some of those tools?

Besides which, blasting our garbage off-planet still strikes me as lazy thinking - yet more of the old soil-the-backyard mentality that's landed us in some of the worst environmental problems. Why can't we do more to radically minimize our waste footprint and find efficient, profitable ways to recycle most everything?
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 07:50 PM   #52
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You're right; I was being facetious. And I do have a fair idea of the size of space - it's, like, rilly rillly rillly ginormous.

I think the rail guns thing is still a ways off, don't you? Same with scram, bam, thank you ma'am... aren't there billions of dollars of investment and test tech sitting between us and the practical, routine use of some of those tools?

Besides which, blasting our garbage off-planet still strikes me as lazy thinking - yet more of the old soil-the-backyard mentality that's landed us in some of the worst environmental problems. Why can't we do more to radically minimize our waste footprint and find efficient, profitable ways to recycle most everything?
Remember the last guy trying to build a big gun...a Canadian no less? No one was interested, except Sadam Hussain and then...Bang!.. assassinated by the Masad. I quess we'll have to keep burrying all that nu-clear waste.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #53
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Yes, I do remember,kps. Gerald Bull, if memory serves. A whoppin' big gun it was, too. Seems quaint now, in our era of pilotless drones and spy satts up the wazoo.

If there's a way to turn cutting-edge tech into weaponry, we seem to be keen on doing that stuff. Heck, much of the great tech we rely on today percolated down to us from the military.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #54
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If there's a way to turn cutting-edge tech into weaponry, we seem to be keen on doing that stuff. Heck, much of the great tech we rely on today percolated down to us from the military.
Including this wonderful thing called the internet...lol
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #55
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Affirmative.. DARPANET or sometin' like dat!
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #56
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Earth Hour 2009

To participate, you can turn off your lights at 8:30 p.m. (whatever time zone you are in)
on March 28th.

This would be interesting to watch from a satellite imaging perspective. I hope that those who have access to those images do a time-lapse clip and share it.

Earth Hour 2009
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #57
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Thanks for the link, KC4. If the freezing drizzle and rain keep up, we won't have to turn anything off on Sat. since the power lines will be down and we will be in the dark. Still, I shall do it again this year if we do have power.
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #58
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Cold fusion breakthrough?

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Researchers are reporting compelling new scientific evidence for the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), the process once called “cold fusion” that may promise a new source of energy.
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #59
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Cold fusion breakthrough?
Sounds like a lot of the Popular Science/Mechanics articles, not very likely to get there in my lifetime.
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #60
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" ... Remember the last guy trying to build a big gun...a Canadian no less? No one was interested, except Sadam Hussain and then...Bang!.. "

Well, I wouldn't go so far as saying no-one was interested. We were, as were the Americans.

Gerald Bull was hired by the US Navy to improve the efficiency of their naval guns before the US officially became involved in Vietnam. Seems the guns could only fire about 16 miles, too short to stay out of Vietnam's 20-mile limit and still nail Hanoi. The US wanted to hit the North Vietnamese without actually declaring war or getting caught in an act of war. There was a close call with the Tomkin Gulf incident, where the US was doing exactly that. They were very worried about China entering the war.

They asked him if he could somehow get the guns to go 20 miles without retrofitting them all.

He did. 24 miles. Deniable naval bombardments of Hanoi were now possible.

The "big gun" you speak of was being researched at a private base that straddled the Canada-US border ... in the 1970's. It even had it's own Border Guards, but no-one was allowed inside. No-one before or since had ever been given such a site, (clearly it would be impossible now).

They built versions of the big gun and did research, but lost their contracts when the US pulled out of Vietnam and reduced military spending. Right from the beginning, Bull's research was aimed at using artillery to put objects into space orbit. It was his obsession and true belief that it could be done. He did military stuff to pay the bills, because no-one took him seriously about the ability to go into space with artillery.

What happened is after the Vietnam war was over, some genius in Congress noticed that Bull had been given total access to classified documents against US law in order to improve the naval guns; he was a foreigner and was ineligible for the necessary clearance (Canadian). They quietly passed a bill making him a US citizen, which requires unanimous consent of the House and Senate, by the way. Problem solved.

Later, he went to work making howitzers (field artillery) for the Austrians. The gun he developed is, to this day, 30 years later, the best field artillery piece you can get, in any army.

Then South Africa began manufacturing the Austrian field artillery. South Africa became subject to an embargo. Bull consulted for the South African manufacturer (because he cared about artillery, not politics). Now that he was a US citizen because he helped the US when asked to, the US threw him in jail.

He became bitter and vowed never to work for the US or Canada again, as long as he lived. That's why he ended up working for Saddam.

The US military took all Bull's research when they invaded Iraq during GW1, and the big gun project itself was subject to repeated secret raids by Israeli military during the 1980's. His "big gun" worked, and worked very well. Had he finished it, there is no doubt amongst the experts that he would have been able to hit Israel.

Note that Bull's work is 60's, 70's and 80's stuff; calculations happened mostly in his head and on paper; he never really had the use of computers capable of replacing his brain. Through out history, mastery of Artillery always goes to the guys who can do the math; it's all about the math.

Gerald Bull was a genius, in the true sense of the word. His work even today can't be completely replicated by anyone else.

And he was our genius, but we turned our backs on him and left him to fend for himself. You can only imagine what we might be doing now if he had been treated differently and been funded to continue his work in the 70's rather than forcing him to go scrounging for money.

He never wanted to make guns, but whether it was Canada, the US, or Saddam, that's all anyone was willing to pay him to do.

Last edited by gordguide; Mar 26th, 2009 at 02:31 PM.
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