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OT: Look What They're Doing Now!

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  • OT: Look What They're Doing Now!

    Things are changing fast these days and I'm having trouble keeping up with the new stuff.

    Allan Ostling's post on a new catalyst for hydrogen generation comes to mind, but there are others.

    One I read about yesterday is "plastic wood." No, not your stupid-heavy lump of melted plastic, but very, very wood-like structures. Basically, they take the resin and solvents, mix in some water, and put it in a mould. Then, they freeze the bottom of it in a very controlled way. Ice crystals form that mimic the structure of wood, then they cure the plastic. By varying the rate of cooling, the solvents, and whatnot, they can control the tube size, wall thickness, and a lot of other stuff.

    The result, plastic material that can be light and strong like balsa, insulate better than ceramic foam (like, a super-insulator), be flame retardant, and not rot when it gets wet. Or, they can go for more strength, bending or compressive, or... whatever you want.

    Then, there's Quantum Radar to detect stealth aircraft. The biggest problem being the generation of large quantities of entangled pairs... then there was the other article I read (but can't find the link to) about generating pairs by the literal bucket-load.

    Tonight, it was a cheap catalyst to make magnesite at room temperature, in days instead of hundreds of years. Magnesite sequesters CO2.

    So, how about a thread on this stuff, and any follow-ups you hear about?

    I remember reading about "the Internet," back when it was still a capital 'I' thing. One guy was saying it's going to be more important to humanity than the taming of fire. Hyperbole? Things are happening so fast now, that guy might have been right.


  • #2
    So many things are happening at a crazy rate of speed - so fast we can't keep track of them anymore, also so fast that there's not much question "if we should" ----------- it's more "if we can then lets build it" not good, in a day and age where its time to get selective were doing the exact opposite...

    not all is bad and in fact some is a Win-Win, that's where we should be focusing on...


    • #3
      It appears that the technologists (and I admit to being one of them, and having done these things) are working busily on things pretty much on a "because we can" and/or "because it is cool, and not easy" basis.... Essentially getting an idea and thinking "I/we can DO that", so off they go.

      I suppose that is inevitable, and it is actually predicted in Sci-Fi literature. In fact, as the things in Sci-Fi literature appear to become within the range of possibility, they are nearly instantly worked on.

      Is this good? maybe, maybe not.

      Many of these new things are termed "disruptive technology", and that can be a very apt term. Disrupting an industry is one thing, that has gone on for centuries. Disrupting social structure, which many of the new technologies can do, has many more implications, not all good, even though that has also gone on for centuries.

      The difference now is the speed with which both types of disruption occur. That speed, in and of itself, is quite possibly the most disruptive factor in all the new technologies. Before folks are even ready for what is happening, it changes and the thing that was hot yesterday is obsolete and failing. Examples: Palm Pilot, Blackberry, soon possibly Facebook. Things that were "required" are soon "old obsolete technology".

      Related to that is the advance announcement of upcoming developments, which are "expected soon". While the new development may not ever appear, the announcement, and expectation, are already influencing decisions before the new development is ready for introduction.

      of course, advance announcements can provide time for countermeasures to undesirable developments. Example: For crowd control of protestors, what are essentially open microwave ovens have been developed and discussed... they make your skin hot and drive you away. BUT, think of a large crowd all carrying corner reflectors composed of tinfoil wrapped over cut cardboard box corners.... That might make the "crowd control weapon" less than useful, "making it hot" for the operators and directors of the crowd control device. Notice is not all bad.
      CNC machines only go through the motions.

      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.


      • #4
        Remember that space elevator idea? The Chinese have developed (and patented) a carbon nanotube that is 10x stronger than needed for this. Oh, and if it were wound into a flywheel, it could have 40x the energy density that Lithium-ion batteries have. Or so the math says.

        I don't exactly know how weird it would be to drive a car with that kind of energy stored in something spinning. Grid storage might work, if it ends up being/getting cheap enough to produce.

        edit: Seems advanced high-speed flywheels are banned in some forms of racing. Torquing them the right way can do interesting things for cornering and acceleration. I know they make flywheels for boats... or rather the people prone to getting sick in them.
        Last edited by fixerdave; 10-29-2018, 04:15 PM.


        • #5
          It's all vaporware until it isn't. In the mean time, my current reality is grinding HSS bits, and trying out CCM(G)T inserts, and upgrading my 3d printer, and studying for my Captain upgrade.