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Author Topic: What if?  (Read 17026 times)

RAKe

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Re: What if?
« Reply #90 on: July 19, 2009, 09:25:00 PM »
LJ, how’s it going out there in paradise?  Regarding the government funding of projects, it is true that the deep pockets and the prior research of government are often required for a project the size of laser-guided and/or laser-powered travel.  But to complement any huge government investment into any idea, it is the numerous citizen scientists and inventors who contribute in small ways that facilitate the introduction of a product.

For instance, because of my aerospace background, I am deeply interested in hovercraft, which applies aviation technology to ground-based transportation.  I am sure you realize that hovercraft, or Ground Effect Machines (GEMs) have advanced considerably since their inception some fifty years ago.  There are now military, commercial, and individual uses for hovercraft (I am waiting for some manna from heaven so I can afford to build my first), and I foresee that the platform-based design of these vehicles with a lift system underneath the craft will adapt itself well to advances in platform-based propulsion systems of the future (such as laser-powered lift and propulsion systems).

There are any number of manufacturers designing and producing some really advanced GEMs. SevTec and Universal are among them—have you ever checked out the Hoverwing on the Universal site?  It employs stubby wings to enhance hovercraft abilities and performance.  I would suggest that laser propulsion technology will adapt itself well to GEMs, and I expect that as laser propulsion systems are advanced, such vehicles will be retrofit with the latest in propulsion systems.

LJ, although I now operate on a scale much like yours (minus the wealth of experience), I intend to begin with my existing set of plans from Universal Hovercraft, and as I gain experience with such construction, I will adapt my hovercraft using aluminum alloys and my unique ideas.  I will also stay abreast of the advances in propulsion systems and see if it might be possible to make such an upgrade in the future.  Who knows, either of us might become the next Preston Tucker—developing improved systems so valuable that the larger companies come to us for our design?  For what it is worth, an individual named Bourke has for decades now been trying to promote an advanced internal combustion powerplant.  I have ordered his plans, evaluated his idea, and it seems feasible to me.  His powerplant could be the link between what we now have and laser propulsion!  Nobody knows, but along with corporations, it is the thousands of inventors in their garages that hold the key to the future.  So continue with that rickshaw—who knows, GM executives might be visiting Tonga.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 03:15:33 PM by RAKe »
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ace.cafe

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Re: What if?
« Reply #91 on: July 19, 2009, 09:43:15 PM »
I have a rather different take on the situation.

I think that much of the "solution" may come from the communications industry.
Since the advent of the computer, many things have changed.
In many cases, people no longer need to commute to workplaces, and I think that will increase as time goes on and comm tech improves even more.
Also, much of industry has moved to other countries, so factories are not playing as large a role as before.

The concentration of large populations in the cities is losing it's raison d'etre. There is now not much reason to be piled on top of each other in cities, nor have the need for mass transit to "go there".
Cities have basically outlived their usefulness, and are on the way out as relics of times gone by.
As a result of this, I don't see the importance of large mass-transportation infrastructure which is primarily intended to serve commuters into mass-population hubs.
I think we'll see this drop off as more and more people "telecommute" by working at home on their computers. Or be involved in computer-based commerce.
Certainly there will be a good market for efficient delivery vehicles as more and more commerce and shopping are done via the internet.

Yes,there will still be some need for commuting in some cases, but I think it will drop off quite a bit in the years to come, and that will help to alleviate the fuel situation.
Probably, individual discretionary transportation needs will become a bigger segment of the transportation industry.

Perhaps even something like the "teleporter" from Star Trek might even be possible at some point, and eliminate transportation needs for anything except pleasure driving.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 09:54:28 PM by ace.cafe »
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rideOn

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Re: What if?
« Reply #92 on: July 20, 2009, 12:22:13 AM »
Perhaps even something like the "teleporter" from Star Trek might even be possible at some point, and eliminate transportation needs for anything except pleasure driving.

Arthur Clarke, the Space Odyssey author, was a mathematician and physicist who never believed that Star Trek's transporters would materialize, no pun intended!  ;D He believed transporters would have to remain mechanical.

I do agree that telecommuting is changing transportation habits. I also agree with the exodus from the cities. As a former manager with Tactor Supply, I saw the numbers and watched the company grow to a top 10 retailer capitalizing on the movement of people to rural areas with the ideals of self-sufficiency.
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geoffbaker

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Re: What if?
« Reply #93 on: July 20, 2009, 12:59:42 AM »
Space elevators are simple technology in need of a strong enough material... which we now have.

Teleportation, sadly, violates lots of physical laws we know. (You can't move matter at the speed of light without creating a singularity the size of the universe, you can't transport vast distances instantaneously without building up a staggering amount of inertial energy)... I'm like Bones, you aren't EVER going to MIX up my molecules and throw them across space..