Monthly Archives: March 2011

Good News For People Who Like Ray Guns

And it’s especially good news for one of my daughters, who has been talking about boats and engines since she could speak, and who has been talking about joining the Navy ever since she figured out that that’s where you can get a job riding boats and fixing engines. 

Chrissy, did you know the Navy will teach you how to kick the crap out of people, too?  Why, no, she says, I did not know that.  Intriguing.

Yes, and so even more intriguing to her is going to be something like the technology described in this article on Dvice, Navy laser will blast through 2,000 feet of steel by 2020.

A nice, descriptive title if you ask me, and it’s even fairly conservative.  It stops short of telling you that the laser cannon they are talking about will be able to blast through 2000 feet of steel every motherscratching second.

I mean, that ought to do it, right?  What we need to do is build a space station so big it can be mistaken for a moon, and put a couple of these suckers on it, get a black suit and helmet for whoever the President is by then, and invent white body armor for soldiers which for some reasons is really susceptible to laser attacks. 

Star Wars comparisons aside, there is a lot to learn about laser technology in the article, and I don’t know why I’m always surprised that we’re working on sci-fi stuff like this, when we’re all sitting around in the future like this, but I am, every time.  Invisibility cloaks, robot monkey suits, remote control cockroaches – all bets are off.  Let’s get it going, say the scientists – somebody’s going to be evil, so it might as well be us.

Currently, weaponized laser technology (you heard me) is not too impressive, but like anything, it’s all downhill from here.  Once they get a working prototype going, they typically do a pretty good job of improving it every six months until it’s right where they want it.  The first serious laser weapon they’ve built is about the size of a football field, and it’s only capable of blasting through twenty feet of steel.

Seems a little clunky, doesn’t it?  The only thing we can put something like that on would be an aircraft carrier, and then would there be room for aircraft?  I don’t know, but don’t expect to see any laser fire in Libya.  The boys in the lab have some work to do first.

From the article: 

“Currently, the free-electron laser is about the size of a football field, which is a bit too big to install on anything short of an aircraft carrier. But as improvements in technology enable the laser to shrink, it’ll also become more efficient, and by 2015 the goal is to get it down to 50 feet by 20 feet by 10 feet. And by 2020? It might be smaller still, able to fit into helicopters and drones, and it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine something small enough to be handheld by 2030.”

So I don’t know if you caught that or not, but helicopters with lasers that can blast right through entire cities within nine years?  And then a handheld version within 19? 

I think you’d all better start being nicer to Chrissy, because she likes boats, engines, the Navy, and I can assure you, she would like a ray gun, too.  Yes, just as soon as you can get her one. That’s the first thing she’s going to tell the Navy when she walks in the door – where do you keep the weaponized lasers, and who do you want me to point it at?

And that’s not the only thing she’ll have to play with – check out this electromagnetic rail gun, capable of hitting a target from a hundred miles away.  That’s fourteen years from now, according to Dvice, and I’m just doing the math, but that puts Chrissy at about age 27.  As far as patriotic carnage goes, she’ll be in her Destructive Prime.

And the good news is, nobody ever gets a hold of our weaponized technology and uses it against us, so old-fashioned, American world domination should be pretty much locked in by then.  I’m sure the Chinese are just sitting around over there weaving baskets and making noodles – no way they have any terrifying answers to either of these superweapons.  Everybody crack a beer and relax – there’s no way they’ll find out about that wamprat-sized Destructo Port.

I guess that such a laser beam could be used for mining or drilling, right?  Just point it down and turn it on, and you have a shaft down into the center of the Earth, where depending on what movie you are watching, dinosaurs live or Aliens fight Predators.  So it’s really a diplomatic tool, too – imagine if we have a Death Star and an alliance with Predators.

And you know, all you war protestors are probably feeling pretty silly right now, because without war, we wouldn’t have any need for cool shit like this.  It’s the answer to the age-old question – War – HUUU – what is it good for?

It’s not absolutely nothing, like the song suggests.  It’s ray guns.  It’s good for evolving toward the Death Star and we get to be the guys driving it – Eat it, rest of the world. We can slice this whole planet up like a raw potato, just clip you right off the surface and send your whole country spinning off into space.  We’ll probably get that refined to where we clip you off just above the oil, know what I’m saying?  Efficiency.

All right then, so okay, and now I’m going to go jump in the shower, because I feel guilty and filthy and wrong.  I think the Dark Side is going to take a little bit of getting used to.

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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in News/Commentary


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