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Comment Re: It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

Nuclear power isn't necessary. I don't think the Ponce is nuclear powered, and regardless the laser weapon includes its own generator. A ship like the Zumwalt would probably be able to field a variety of energy weapons simultaneously, but a single weapon like this doesn't need a nuke reactor.

I'm not suggesting anything about the practicality of using a precision weapon against a crowd of people though.

Comment Re: It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

I'm just going to throw this out there, but if the goal is the maximum number of casualties, civilian or otherwise, a weapon that needs to target people individually is probably less preferable to a big bomb. How many heads do you think you're going to explode before people decide to go inside at a fairly brisk pace?

Comment Re:It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

Fuck man, where were you years ago when the military was developing this? You could have saved the country so much money! They clearly never considered the impact of rain or fog, if only you were there to clue them in. I mean, shit, in the Persian Gulf where this system is deployed an analysis showed that Bushehr, where Iran has its nuclear plant, gets a mean of 6.8 days *EVERY YEAR* with precipitation of more than 10mm! That's each and every year, man! That means that on *any given day* there's like a 1.8% chance that a system like this isn't going to work at full capacity for the entire 24 hours! Why even bother with a failure rate that high! I mean, except for June, July, August, September, and October, obviously, when there are exactly 0 mean days over 10mm, but this is a serious problem that no one ever thought of, at all, during the entire lifetime of R&D for this project! You could have saved so much time and money if you just told someone. Obviously you're posting as AC to conceal your high-level government position, but come on!

Comment Re:Adjustment needed (Score 1) 155

Spain moved to Central European time to facilitate coordination with Germany during WWII. I believe it was in 1940. It is an hour later than what it was previously. When I say that clock time is arbitrary, I mean just that. There is nothing natural about sunrise being at 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00--it's just what we have agreed on. We could just have easily agreed that sunrise would be at 15:00, and if we had, that would seem "natural."

Well, yes - it's arbitrary in the sense that any old time-keeping system could have been adopted. We could have made hours 83 minutes long, and each minute could be the time it takes a feather to fall 8 feet, but we didn't.

Instead we went for a system of 24 hours in the day, with 12 noon being the time when the sun is highest in the sky. Spain is unusual in that it diverges a particularly long way from that convention.

It seems therefore that whilst you're right to say that the human race's timekeeping system is arbitrary (as are all our systems of measure), none of your post was relevant to what I said.

Comment Re:Adjustment needed (Score 3, Informative) 155

What a peculiar idea. Clock time is entirely arbitrary,

It's not clear what you think is a peculiar idea, but to say that clock time is entirely arbitrary is a ludicrous assertion. Clock time is always loosely based on the position of the sun. Spain is unusual in moving quite so far away from where their clocks would have been before the advent of railways required unified times.

All I was pointing out is that the Spanish don't in fact eat as late in the evening as they appear to.

The rest of your post doesn't seem to relate in any way to what I said.

Comment Adjustment needed (Score 5, Informative) 155

Bear in mind that, because Spain uses central European time, their clocks are between 1 and 3 hours ahead of what you'd get if you used a sundial. Most of Spain is west of the Greenwich meridian, and yet they use a clock time based on them being 15 degrees east of it.

Thus, when they start dinner at 10 p.m., it's merely 10 p.m. by their oddly set clocks. They're really starting somewhere between 7 and 9 p.m.

Comment Re:It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

Right, I wasn't talking about the effect on organics, I was talking about the destructive power against a target. I believe that any reflective surface would have to be nearly perfectly reflective in order to eliminate the runaway heating that is going to end up destroying the reflective coating before destroying the target. Even a smudge of grease or dirt on the coating would probably be fatal, it's going to get so hot that the coating warps or otherwise gets damaged, and the reduced efficiency is going to cause more heating and it's a runaway effect that destroys the protective coating. Even microscopic imperfections might absorb enough laser energy to cause them to overheat, warp their surroundings, and it's over. And I think it would be cost-prohibitive to produce such a perfect coating rugged enough to survive deployment in a battlefield and remain effective, and even if that was accomplished you've just lit up your vehicle like a lighthouse for any radar guiding a missile.

In short, I think that laser weapons like this are actually the game-changer that they appear to be and aren't going to be so easily defeated as a lot of armchair generals try to suggest. Let alone the fact that any existing military vehicle is already vulnerable, it's not like every possible adversary is going to be able to retro-fit their entire forces with laser protection and still remain militarily effective. Look at a country like North Korea, for example, we will be able to surround their entire country with ships fielding lasers long before they can retrofit even a tenth of their forces to counter those weapons.

Comment Re:It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

Let's assume for a moment that we're not going to replace all of our weapons with lasers. Your mirrored rotating fog-encased vehicle looks like a pretty attractive radar cross-section to the missiles and tracking systems we still have, and which are still going to be developed.

Let's also assume that laser development does not stop at the first version. You've got the systems necessary to defeat our 50kw red laser? Congratulations, let's try it out against this 150kw green laser. Don't spend too much time working on the armor for that one before you see our dial-a-wavelength version that hits the target with 7 different wavelengths at varying power levels if the target can last that long. We call that one Roy G. Biv, and Roy loves looking at things. Oh, you have reflective armor that can handle any wavelength? How about this rail gun projectile that can track your reflective armor and make course corrections in flight?

That's what irritates me any time we're discussing the next weapons systems under development. There's always someone to step up and shit all over it like the defense is so easy and no one ever thought of that.

Oh, you have a missile that can shoot down an ICBM? Well, that's completely stupid. All they have to do is encase the thing in 30 meters of pillows, and your missile is useless. We already have the technology to land a craft inside a giant air bag on Mars, literally all they have to do is put that on an ICBM (they're completely interchangeable, you know, I've seen videos) and all you've done is waste tax dollars.

C'mon, man. Between the Navy's rail guns and laser weapons we're finally getting into Freespace 2 territory. I know that any nerd like myself who played Freespace found themselves chasing a stupid little Shivan Dragon or Manticore or something that's dodging all over the place with your shots going everywhere except where the enemy is, and you're thinking that all you need is a laser and a computer to aim it. And then Freespace 2 comes out and you start yelling "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!" We're finally entering the age of general-purpose destructive directed energy weapons and there's no shortage of people who are going to step up and talk about how it's useless based on research that was conducted decades ago when the weapons themselves were impractical. It's 2017, the Navy is fielding these weapons (and no doubt developing their own counter-measures), and you're trying to use a program that was cancelled in 1993 as a reason why it's not going to work. Let's assume that the people working on the weapons are aware of SDI, and while we're at it let's also assume that SDI is about a hundred years down the road for people whose major capability is trying to field a swarm of small vehicles.

Basically what I'm saying is that this is badass, and I'm looking forward (in a technical sense, not a humanitarian sense) to the battlefield videos that show a laser system defeating any number of vehicles, with support from our existing arsenal of more conventional weapons and vehicles. Like I said, with most warfighting my interest in this is purely technical, I do not envy anyone who has to fire this or come up against it in a battle situation. Game-changing weapons like these tend to suppress war, when you have a division of tanks that each have a laser on them capable of destroying incoming anti-tank rounds, so that your tanks can't even get shot, then the game changes. Years ago we saw videos of laser systems detecting, tracking, and destroying incoming mortar rounds. This is great technology, this is the kind of weapon that saves lives.

Comment Re:It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

A reflective coating could provide a lot of protection.

You emphasized the wrong word, that sentence should look like this:

A reflective coating COULD provide a lot of protection.

I'm still waiting for a single demonstration of any kind of reflective or retro-reflective protective coating. Just a single video showing a higher-powered destructive laser being defeated by any kind of reflective coating at all. I realize the US military isn't going to release a demonstration of them defeating their own weapon, but I know they've done that research and I'm sure that there is plenty of room for amateurs to also produce similar demonstrations with destructive lasers that are less powerful than what the military is fielding. But, like anything else, until we actually see some practical demonstration all of this guessing about reflective coatings is just academic. It could be the case that the laser is working at such a high power that if the coating reflects any less than 99.9% of the laser energy, it's still enough to cause damage to the coating and a runaway effect that sees the laser eat through the entire protection in under a second. Like I said, without testing these things all we're doing is guessing. Yeah, a reflective coating *could* provide a lot of protection, but it could also end up being a very expensive way to manufacture and reliably deploy something that gives you another second of lifetime in the field.

Comment Re:It's a matter of time... (Score 1) 360

That sounds like a pretty hilarious idea. A mirror large enough to obscure the entire wing span of the drone constantly moving around a gimbled arm or something while the drone is in flight? What if the ship is the target, is the mirror going to obscure any targeting systems on the drone? And how about the effect of a flying object with a constantly shifting center of mass and changing aerodynamic qualities, how do you even fly that? Again, if these are the kinds of ideas we force other people to spend their time and money on, then that alone is a pretty good effect of fielding a laser weapon. You have a drone with a ridiculous looking rotating arm with a simple lightweight mirror on it, congratulations your drone can stay in the air for another second before the laser destroys the mirror and arm. Hope the R&D was worth it.

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As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.