The SR-71 was the evolution of the Wright Flier pushed to its very limit (well, the ramjet represents a slight break, but not a tremendous leap).
I think you'll find that the jet engine was a "tremendous leap" over the Wright Flier...
Am I right in thinking that data recovery firms (and government agencies) can pull data off a hard drive, even after it's been overwritten - possibly several times? (Yes, if you overwrite it with random noise, that might make it hard to guess what was there before, but if you just record a normal file or video over the top, that'll have a set of known statistics that make it possible to subtract out and recover the earlier data.)
And if that's the case, why can't they recover the original recordings - which must surely rank amongst some of the most important ever made? It's not like NASA doesn't have the money or the expertise to do this.
In order to make the "flashing light" appear as anything, it has to be several orders of magnitude brighter than whatever else it is around. If the sun is overhead, then it has to be brighter than the sun.
So how is is that people have been able to use mirrors as a means of signaling?
My bigger flash heads can give you an instant flash-burn if you were to stand directly in front of it, but will only give me about 20-30 feet of range in broad sunlight.
Irrelevant. Not trying to take a flash photo of the land here. How far away is that flash visible from (and bright enough to attract attention) from in front of the camera? I bet it's a hell of a lot further than 30 feet.
10 watts / square meter is only bright enough to be seen as a light in the sky, reflected light will be non-existent.
So how is it then, then when you have something like the lights on a fire truck, these are clearly visible reflected off the walls of all the surrounding structures, even during broad daylight, even though there isn't anything close to 10W/sq metre incident on those surfaces? I don't envision competing with the sun - like you say, that would take ridiculous amounts of power. But to produce a bright flashing light in the sky? I think that can be done for a lot less power than people here assume.
How bout this: Install sirens instead, as has already been done in places like Hawaii. Cheap, effective, and doesn't cost all that much since the range of the sirens is pretty good.
I'm presuming this scheme was aimed at places like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, rather than places like Hawaii, which are already well covered. How do you power these sirens in the absence of mains electricity? Would solar-panel-charged batteries still be able to keep a charge after say, 10 years?
There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)