Mar. 9th, 2018 11:12 am
miriam_e: from my drawing MoonGirl (Default)
[personal profile] miriam_e
I think in the future much of our electronics might be carbon-based rather than silicon-based. Graphene -- a single layer of carbon atoms in a flat hexagonal sheet -- has a lot of fascinating properties. It turns out that two layers of graphene where one layer is rotated 1.1 degrees with respect to another becomes a superconductor (conducts electricity without resistance). Unfortunately this double layer of graphene has to be cooled to about –271° Celsius to show this effect. It has another interesting trick too: apply an electric field and it turns into an insulator. That is, it can be a switch. (See )

Graphene is also much stronger than steel, is flexible, and can be made at very low energy. At normal temperatures graphene is about 40% better conductor of electricity than copper, yet far lighter. The raw material (carbon) is one of the most common on Earth, and if we made carbon-based things out of thin air, like plants do, building their structures from carbon dioxide, we might help counter greenhouse gas build-up.

The biggest drawback is that we don't yet know how to routinely construct arbitrarily large flawless sheets of it. But you can bet we will solve it.

A prediction from me: I think cables made from long graphene tubes (also called bucky tubes) wound together will be used to make the space elevator, which will bring extremely cheap space travel to everyone.

Date: 2018-03-10 11:00 am (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
I'm suspicious about graphene.
But, maybe.

wound together will be used to make the space elevator
There's nowhere to go.
I'm of the "space elevators are bad" thinking.
Then they break, or snap.... sheesh.

Date: 2018-03-10 11:10 am (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
Sorry, hit send because death!

I like to remain optimistic about graphine (and we can make synthetic graphite from methane and iron ore - check out the Hazer Process - which suggests a pathway for CO2 emissions and scrap metal to make graphine in the longer term) but I have been promised the future before.

Date: 2018-03-16 03:04 pm (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
We could even adjust Earth's climate to counter global warming.

As suspicious as I am of space elevators, I am really, really, really suspicious of geoengineering.

Robert Murray Smith seems awesome. As much as I think humanity dying off would be idea, people like him give me hope.

The Guardian had an article about an article this week about a hydrogen battery (Uni Melb) that seemed promising.

Date: 2018-05-12 01:45 pm (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
Eh, late replies? Dreamwidth is so dead "ain't no thang", as the kids would say, if they weren't texting with emojis.

I feel like I've read about the iceburg/Sahara idea, and it might be okay (can see no downside, and while not a scientist I can see it working to stop the expansion w/out too many issues, transportation aside) aside from the fact the polar caps seem to be melting and braking aster than anyone expected.

(Unrelated, but I have just spent an ungodly amount on ERB books. I have no real idea why, his characters are thin - if not offensive - and the fact the Man's Love keeps getting captured - but there's something about the pulps I love, and since you sent me all those Mars/Venuus books, I wanted to mention that fact. I dig the pulps, well rationed)

Date: 2018-05-18 01:06 pm (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
So if the ice didn't end up forming clouds it could exacerbate the problem

Cloud seeding! OBVIOUSLY!

I think I know why you are drawn into the Edgar Rice Burroughs books. He originally wrote most of them as serials in newspapers, so they had to hold people's attention.

I don't think so. I mean, I can see why you'd say that, but in his case, nope. I tried of this "catch and release' plots.
I like the fact the books are short, and the ideas are big, and the characters are simple, and there's no nuance or modern concerns (which makes them idea train reading), and there's no strict structure: the ideas are just chucked at the wall.

I'm surprised more haven't been turned into TV series. They are really perfect for that... although modern audiences might be too sophisticated for some of his characters.

(Probably like you) I grew up with the B&W Tarzan and the McClure movies (and these are probably my gateway drug: I own them all on DVD), and I've looked at the modern versions (saw the last Tarzan), and I don't think younger people can as easily imagine the world of ERB as we can, so why I can almost believe a Tarzan can exist, and Opar can exist, the "kids" look at Tarzan (et al) and see the evil White Man and a world where everything is connected. And they know Mars is lifeless (you and I probably knew this, but caught the edge of the canal thing) and the Voyager dream.

Personally, I've struggled with the Doc EE Smith Lensman books. Got two in, lost interest. Not sure what that says about me, other than I prefer swashbuckling and mighty thews to planet-throwing supercops.

On a related note, did you see the movie, "John Carter"?

I did. I loved it. Got the DVD. And books on why it failed as movie.

An aside: I've always been tempted to write "adaption" instead of "adaptation".

Me too.
It's a verbal tick I cultivate.

Date: 2018-05-19 05:08 am (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
I like that aspect too. Life doesn't have structure.

Terry Goodkind (who I suspect you've wisely skipped) does something similar with his books (or did), and while they're fantasy bricks, each 800-pager just rolls immediately into the next. It's the only modern version I can think of.

And I'm right there with you on the Lensman series. I've tried and failed to read the series a number of times. Never been sure why.

I ground to a halt after book two (Triplanetary and Lensman I think). I think there's just something stodgy about Doc Smith's writing. I see similar ticks to the likes of old Asimov/Clark and the like (I imagine every character is smoking a pipe), but somehow something like Foundation zips along where Lensman doesn't. I recently picked up an Edmond Hamilton book called 'Captain Future & The Space Emperor' and I'll be curious to see if it suffers the same.

I'll have to look into Gulliver of Mars! I'm not sure I've heard of it before.

Date: 2018-05-19 10:27 am (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
I have very little patience for fantasy. It always feels like a bit of a cheat.

I'd like to use the Clarke quote here!

I didn't really read fantasy until I hit 13 (before that tended to SF), but I someone moved from Wydham to Eddings, and then ended up playing D&D, which ended up with a few years reading the (then emerging) D&D novels (and then horror like King and Koontz) before I swung back.

I "regret" spending so much time down the tie-in fiction cul de sac (and parts of the fantasy avenue), but we are creatures of our time, and we make decisions at the time.

(I do regret reading Jordan and Goodkind, but that's a different story).

I didn't realise Leigh Brackett was his wife. I do have the one book they collaborated on though, "Stark and the Star Kings".

That one might be in the book I procured (The Gollanz Gateway Ombibus), listed as "The Star King". And somewhere I have the Star Wolves trilogy. Of course, I buy books faster than I can read them. I'll get to them or die first.

What little I've read of that (mostly pre-war) era suggest the SF/Fantasy/Horror divide was less obvious then, and it's one of the reasons I chase older stuff (although it's something I have come to realise)

Date: 2018-05-20 04:44 am (UTC)
greylock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greylock
Interesting. I just completed Brackett's Sea-Kings of Mars (no pun intended, but I found her style a little dry and it took me 10 years), and she seems to have a thing for characters called Stark (Eric John Stark, Hugh Starke), who I keep mixing up with CL Moore's Northwest Smith.

It seems as if Stark and the Star Kings puts Stark into the Star Kings series, so I guess I'll track it down someday, although Stark wasn't that compelling, but a copy of Tarzan in space (a savage, civilized, albeit on Mercury).

Baen Books is someone I tend to avoid because of the garish covers (although, I recently purchased "The Worlds of ERB", and it's sitting in a TVR pile with books I'll avoid reading on the train.

Yeah, I get books a lot faster than I can read them too. Project Gutenberg lets me be way too greedy. :)

One of the main reasons I don't have an e-reader is because I would get ALL THE BOOKS. Money and space at least act to limit what I own, and I'm still hit by choice paralysis when I go to pick up the next book.


miriam_e: from my drawing MoonGirl (Default)

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