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Thread: Trivial or non-trivial technology that amazes you.

  1. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Any time I ponder the future of technology, the impossibility of FTL movement depresses me. No matter how advanced we might get in other technologies, we're just stuck here.
    "Stuck here" is relative. There's a whole big Solar System to explore.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #212
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    And if you'd manage close to light speed, the next star would be "only" 5 years away which isn't that extreme. People study for 5 years to get somewhere in life too.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  3. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    And if you'd manage close to light speed, the next star would be "only" 5 years away which isn't that extreme. People study for 5 years to get somewhere in life too.
    What level of acceleration would you like to reach close to light speed. One g is convenient. Time then is 3.10^7 seconds or one year and another at the end to decelerate. I guess you could sell tickets for that!
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  4. #214
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    Someone mentioned "bucket trucks", aka "cherry pickers" in another thread which reminded me how amazed I am at the ones SpaceX is using in Boca Chica. Yesterday I saw a video of Booster 3 being moved to the launch site. It's supposed to be 70m tall and was on top of at least another 5m of transport stand and transporter. And when it got there one of those lifts extended itself up to the top for workers to attach the crane for moving it to the test stand. Which probably added another 5m for a total of 80 when they went up to disconnect it. Wow!
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  5. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I absolutely loved the idea of Niven’s teleport or jump booth. Not the same as a transporter, it didn’t take you apart and put you back together, but would look similar to a phone booth. You would go in, insert money and address and *flash* you were there, assuming there was another booth at the location. Every now and then something will catch my eye that I’d like to visit that is across the country or further, but not enough to book an air flight or something to go to. Still, if I could just step in a booth and be there . . .
    I always thought Niven's idea about jump booths made a lot more sense than Star Trek's. The idea of taking something apart and then putting it back together seemed absurd, and that you could do it without a receiver, even more so.
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  6. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I always thought Niven's idea about jump booths made a lot more sense than Star Trek's.
    Kinda like saying Gandalf's magic makes more sense than Merlin's.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #217
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    Special effects in film is usually pretty amazing, especially when you don't know that scene X was loaded with special effects.
    Solfe

  8. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Kinda like saying Gandalf's magic makes more sense than Merlin's.
    When we were ordering a mural painting for the children's room, my wife specifically asked a green dragon instead of a red one, because it had to be realistic. I shouldn't have laughed at that. Really shouldn't. Especially not that loud and in the presence of the painter.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  9. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    When we were ordering a mural painting for the children's room, my wife specifically asked a green dragon instead of a red one, because it had to be realistic. I shouldn't have laughed at that. Really shouldn't. Especially not that loud and in the presence of the painter.
    Sounds like maybe she knows something the rest of us don’t…
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  10. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    And if you'd manage close to light speed, the next star would be "only" 5 years away which isn't that extreme. People study for 5 years to get somewhere in life too.
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    What level of acceleration would you like to reach close to light speed. One g is convenient. Time then is 3.10^7 seconds or one year and another at the end to decelerate. I guess you could sell tickets for that!
    1G acceleration to 99% C would require working at the most extreme limits of the physically possible... which is not always achievable in practical engineering. More often than not, we hit limits.

    That would certainly qualify as technology that amazes, though.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  11. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    When we were ordering a mural painting for the children's room, my wife specifically asked a green dragon instead of a red one, because it had to be realistic. I shouldn't have laughed at that. Really shouldn't. Especially not that loud and in the presence of the painter.
    How many limbs did it have? Four legs and two wings is totally wrong!
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    Maybe dragons are insects?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  13. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I always thought Niven's idea about jump booths made a lot more sense than Star Trek's. The idea of taking something apart and then putting it back together seemed absurd, and that you could do it without a receiver, even more so.
    I don't recall Niven ever described the mechanism of the jump booths. It could work like the Transporter, as far as I know, just with far fewer dramatic malfunctions.

    Gene Roddenberry was said to regret introducing teleportation to Star Trek, as it made it all to easy for characters to get out of trouble, and trouble is what drives action shows. That's why the Transporter was always breaking down or encountering interference.
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  14. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Maybe dragons are insects?
    Oh, come on! An insect that big would CLEARLY violate the square-cube law. That's totally unrealistic.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  15. #225
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    So, uh, how about those fireworks, huh? Definitely impressive to me.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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  16. #226
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    Almost as impressive as fire breathing dragons!
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  17. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    So, uh, how about those fireworks, huh? Definitely impressive to me.
    It takes a lot of skill to put on a proper fireworks display. You don't just light them off willy nilly like my next door neighbors did.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It takes a lot of skill to put on a proper fireworks display. You don't just light them off willy nilly like my next door neighbors did.
    We saw the county-run show last night. The display execution and individual fireworks were impressive.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  19. #229
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It takes a lot of skill to put on a proper fireworks display. You don't just light them off willy nilly like my next door neighbors did.
    The little town of Oban in Scotland managed to set off all of a thirty minute display in about thirty seconds, ten years ago. I'm no great fan of fireworks, but I found the frenetic result quite pleasing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6QtigLJD_4
    More so than the thermonuclear effect that San Diego achieved the following year, where it all happened just too fast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrPCEubDZ9A

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  20. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I don't recall Niven ever described the mechanism of the jump booths. It could work like the Transporter, as far as I know, just with far fewer dramatic malfunctions.
    I do recall a story describing the energy equalization facility, so that someone boothing from the mountains to the seashore wouldn't suddenly become all hot.

    I also recall a story (not Niven) in which an expert needed to be teleported to a distant planet to save it from a looming catastrophe. He was reluctant but in the end agreed. The story ends with him stepping out of the receiving booth on the distant planet and getting to work; and simultaneously stepping out of the sending booth and going home. It was like a fax machine. Which actually makes sense.
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  21. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Maybe dragons are insects?
    Better have six legs and four wings, then!
    I seem to recall that Anne McCaffrey retconned the natural life Pern to have six limbs to account for her dragons having four limbs plus wings.
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  22. #232
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    Technology that amazes me: the internet with Google as the cherry on the cake. The internet gives you an insane amount of material. Google allows you to find your way through it all. I needed a picture of a UFO in the shape of a hamburger with "I want to believe" below it for...reasons. The endlessness of the internet meant that exactly this kind of picture was indeed available, in multiple variants even. Google allowed me to find them all within 2 seconds.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  23. #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I also recall a story (not Niven) in which an expert needed to be teleported to a distant planet to save it from a looming catastrophe. He was reluctant but in the end agreed. The story ends with him stepping out of the receiving booth on the distant planet and getting to work; and simultaneously stepping out of the sending booth and going home. It was like a fax machine. Which actually makes sense.
    That's also the method used in the Farthest Star series. It allows for a form of slavery where convicts are copied, and their bodies sold to aliens as remote-controlled meat drones. The copies' patterns can even be modified to tailor them for particular environments.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  24. #234
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    The folks in the Southwestern US drought states might have a less amazed view of fireworks, especially amateur users.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  25. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I don't recall Niven ever described the mechanism of the jump booths. It could work like the Transporter, as far as I know, just with far fewer dramatic malfunctions.
    I found two explanations on-line, unfortunately neither from Niven, but consistent with my memories of the idea.

    LINK1
    Niven tried to rationalize a workaround by postulating a teleportation device that worked by somehow inducing macroscopic objects to quantum tunnel from one point to another one.
    LINK2
    Niven's theory of teleportation seems to split into two streams, associated with the superficially similar but rather different "Known Space" and "Teleportation" universes. The Known Space version is undefined in terms of how it works; the other is explicitly defined as converting the teleportee into a "super-neutrino" of highly complex structure that moves at lightspeed. (This is rubbed in in one story where the destination TP is on board a ship several lightyears away.)
    The second one more closely matches my memory.

    One thing I do remember about Niven's is that the "home versions" were limited in how much they could compensate for changes in velocity and angular momentum between the sending end and the receiving end, and so they were pretty strictly just capable of local transports. If you wanted to transport to another city, you went to the local location where they heavy-duty versions could deal with this change. Those versions got located at the former airports (since airplanes weren't needed any longer).
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  26. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    One thing I do remember about Niven's is that the "home versions" were limited in how much they could compensate for changes in velocity and angular momentum between the sending end and the receiving end, and so they were pretty strictly just capable of local transports. If you wanted to transport to another city, you went to the local location where they heavy-duty versions could deal with this change. Those versions got located at the former airports (since airplanes weren't needed any longer).
    By the time of Ringworld, that seems to have been solved: Louis Wu party-hops around the Earth directly into homes, apparently.

    In the Traveller psionic (read magic) system, you can't even teleport up twenty feet without developing a high fever, special medical treatments are required for anything more.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  27. #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I also recall a story (not Niven) in which an expert needed to be teleported to a distant planet to save it from a looming catastrophe. He was reluctant but in the end agreed. The story ends with him stepping out of the receiving booth on the distant planet and getting to work; and simultaneously stepping out of the sending booth and going home. It was like a fax machine. Which actually makes sense.
    This seems to imply that the copy is a 'classical copy', so only includes classical information. A 'quantum copy' would use quantum level information, and you couldn't make an exact copy by this method, because of the 'no-cloning' theorem. Either the primary instance stays at home and doesn't get teleported, or the copy that is teleported is the primary copy, and the one that stays behind is disrupted (or vanishes completely, like in Star Trek).

    Personally I think that quantum copying of macroscopic objects is probably impossible, so if we ever manage to send objects vast distances as radiation, they will be classical copies. Or perhaps just blueprints. Very, very detailed blueprints.

  28. #238
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    By the time of Ringworld, that seems to have been solved: Louis Wu party-hops around the Earth directly into homes, apparently.

    In the Traveller psionic (read magic) system, you can't even teleport up twenty feet without developing a high fever, special medical treatments are required for anything more.
    In the first edition, he did it in the wrong direction IIRC.
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    The Wife is a tennis fan and she has been watching Wimbeldon for the past several days. I'm not nearly the fan she is but do I catch a bit of it here and there. Even though it's been in service for many years, I'm still amazed by the Hawk-Eye computer vision system that's used to review line calls. The process itself is fascinating but the speed of it is what really gets me. The player challenges a call, the chair umpire announces it, and a few seconds later, we have a 3D representation of its trajectory and point of contact in relation to the line...within about 3 millimeters. How it works.
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