Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cold War Plan Tried To Put a Copper Ring Around the Earth

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the now-let's-wrap-the-moon-in-tinfoil dept.

Space 184

Wired has the story of a plan enacted in the early 1960s by the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense that had the goal of safeguarding the country's long-range communications from Russian interference. The solution they came up with wasn't easy, but it was straightforward: launch hundreds of millions of thin copper wires into orbit in the hopes of forming an artificial ring around the planet. From the article: "Project Needles, as it was originally known, was Walter E. Morrow’s idea. He suggested that if Earth possessed a permanent radio reflector in the form of an orbiting ring of copper threads, America’s long-range communications would be immune from solar disturbances and out of reach of nefarious Soviet plots. Each copper wire was about 1.8 centimeters in length. This was half the wavelength of the 8 GHz transmission signal beamed from Earth, effectively turning each filament into what is known as a dipole antenna. The antennas would boost long-range radio broadcasts without depending on the fickle ionosphere. ... On May 9, 1963, a second West Ford launch successfully dispersed its spindly cargo approximately 3,500 kilometers above the Earth, along an orbit that crossed the North and South Pole. Voice transmissions were successfully relayed between California and Massachusetts, and the technical aspects of the experiment were declared a success. As the dipole needles continued to disperse, the transmissions fell off considerably, although the experiment proved the strategy could work in principle."

cancel ×

184 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sooo.... (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44557979)

So what you're saying is, we launched a crap-ton of space junk into orbit to test the theory that our leaders will buy anything as long as it's for the war on terr--er, communism. Sorry. Got my time periods mixed up there for a sec.

Re:Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558059)

So what you're saying is...

Some people have too much time/money on their hands.

Re: Sooo.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558125)

Your comments are all stupid.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558247)

And they always get marked as informative, when they're usually just misinformed flamebait.

Re: Sooo.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558299)

It's because the user is a transvestite. Slashtards always defend what few females are active on this site. Even if they're still in training.

There are posts from this thing admitting to being a tranny, but I'm not going to bother finding them.

That being said, I would LOVE to fuck a hot chick with a beautiful estrogen-rich body and nice fake tits but with a big cock. I'm definitely not against trannies. Don't know where to find one that will put out, though.

Where can I find a hermie?

Re: Sooo.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558443)

You're tellin me you can get modded up by just pretending to lack testicles?

Re: Sooo.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558817)

Just look - it happened - another 5 star dumbass post.

Re: Sooo.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559341)

Samefag.
That sure is a faggy conversation you're having with yourself.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558381)

usually just misinformed flamebait.

And this is going to be followed by a discussion of what exactly is wrong with the post? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Was it only a crap-halfton of space junk that your tax dollars launched into orbit to show them commies how government spending should be done?

Re: Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559191)

This comment isn't the best example, although the poster has made quite a record of bad posts on science topics, which get modded up despite being flat out wrong with many unmoderated replies pointing out in detail why the information is incorrect. I don't usually look at the user name of posts, but still after the occasional glance have come to recognize a couple screennames because they are so consistently very wrong on the topics I'm interested in and/or have a background in. It can be amazing how a very small number of people can spread so much misinformation by repeating enough of it, even if completely unaware of what they are doing. And while it is tempting to reply to them non-anonymously when my background is relevant, having seen how they respond anyway, I don't need my name associated with arguing with idiots on the internet.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559319)

No sarcasm intended - thank you for posting this.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558301)

Sssh! Past experience has shown that girlintraining does not take criticism well.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558541)

So it's more like princessintraining?

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558639)

duchessintraining seems more apt.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558867)

Nah...the Duchess is a far less skilled troll than GIT...not that that says much...

Re:Sooo.... (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44558251)

Close. If we were to launch ALL of the copper found on the earth, every last scrap of it, we could do what they wanted, problem is there would be no copper left to make radios to transmit or receive with. This was the problem, Yes it "worked" but the scale needed would have required global strip mining and launching every ounce of copper that this planet has in it's crust.

Re:Sooo.... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#44558281)

But...but...it is so we can fight those evil commies.

Re: Sooo.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558323)

Glad we can joke about it .... now.

Re:Sooo.... (3, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#44558653)

Close. If we were to launch ALL of the copper found on the earth, every last scrap of it, we could do what they wanted, problem is there would be no copper left to make radios to transmit or receive with. This was the problem, Yes it "worked" but the scale needed would have required global strip mining and launching every ounce of copper that this planet has in it's crust.

Citation needed. From what I read it seams they did a succussfull test that formed a belt. I think your thinking of an actual unbroken wire going around the earth. Instead they launched short segments of wire. There was some distance between each bit.

Early in May, 1963 a package containing 4.8×108copper dipoles, each 0.00178 cm in diameter and 1.78 cm in length, was placed into a nearly circular, nearly polar orbit at a mean altitude of 3650 km

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?reload=true&tp=&arnumber=1444922&isnumber=31060 [ieee.org]

Re:Sooo.... (3, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#44558275)

The US is like a billionaire who can't find enough ways to blow their money.

Re:Sooo.... (4, Funny)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44558387)

The Pentagon is like a coke whore who can't find enough ways to blow everyone else's money.

FTFY

Re:Sooo.... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#44558823)

is like a coke whore

They only have one way to spend everyone else's money.

Re:Sooo.... (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44558959)

I take it you haven't known any. They have an amazing imagination of what to blow money on. Shoes, clubs, drinks, clothes, anything a mind spinning at 1k rpm can come up with.

Job security (1)

rraylion (1406761) | about a year ago | (#44559027)

Unfortunately the government now funds NASA to find better ways of finding ever smaller pieces of space junk so that important items like the ISS don't get hit by stray debris.

How pissed would you be, to be one of the people at NASA or US Air Force on the project and then reading this story.... or would you be thinking "Hey,.. job security"

Re:Sooo.... (2)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about a year ago | (#44558401)

More like a broke billionaire who still spends like their wealth will never end.

Re:Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559377)

Are you stupid? "Broke billionaire?" WTF is that? Is it "broke" or "billionaire?" These things actually are mutually-exclusive.

Re:Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44558587)

But it worked. It did exactly what they said it would. It was a successful experiment that tested dipoles and orbital mechanics. That you didn't personally find it valuable doesn't make it so.

Just as war on terrorism! (0)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44559159)

But it worked

Just as war on terrorism!

Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? There are none now!
(Well, what do I know, at least there aren't any which isn't property of the U.S. or their allies I suppose.)

Planes ran into WTC? Haven't happened since the previous time.

And there's no Obama bin Ladin or Saddam Hussein!

Success!

Re: Just as war on terrorism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559291)

Don't do drugs.

Re:Sooo.... (1, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44559179)

hat you didn't personally find it valuable doesn't make it so.

Dude, Maxwell's equations predicted this some hundred years before this experiment was done. By the time it was launched, the equations had been thoroughly and rigorously confirmed. By the time they launched, this was on the scale of commissioning a study to test the theory that apples dropped in Texas fall at almost the exact same rate as apples dropped in the middle of the Sahara desert in a vaccum. It's a well duh sort of "success" story. And as far as orbital mechanics... dude... we put men on the moon that year. I think we had the "orbital mechanics" problem sorted by then!

No. I stand by what I said: It was a waste of money. This was a project funded solely and only because we were scared of the Russians having superiority in space, so we were throwing money at anything that could even be remotely construed as giving us the edge over them... and all of that because they launched a baseball into orbit called Sputnick and America collectively shit its pants. Let me reiterate: Paranoia and fear were the only reason this experiment happened. It had exceptionally limited scientific value. It did not, in any appreciable way, contribute either in raw data or in theory, to our body of knowledge regarding electromagnetic effect, orbital mechanics, or any other area of science.

Re: Sooo.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559257)

dude... we put men on the moon that year (...1961?)

Better to have people think you're a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559181)

Pearls before swine. S/he actually said the theory being tested was that "our leaders will buy anything" to fight communism. This was official policy after JFK's 'pay any price, bear any burden' inaugural.

But how s/he evaluate the results? Nowhere is the price of copper mentioned in the post, nor how to convert crap-tons into metric tons. It also displays a remarkable degree of hindsight bias regarding future of satellite technology and the outcome of the Cold War, combined with an ignorance of how long limited test materials would remain in orbit, as well as misunderstanding the definition of "junk". Presumably, components of an experiment are useful as such.

Then s/he humorously confused terrorism with communism. (Oooooh what could that imply!) All you're doing is adding substance and sense to a nonsensical inane 5+ post made by somebody who didn't even rtfa, rarely ever does so, and almost never has a clue about anything.

Re:Sooo.... (3, Interesting)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#44559091)

also back then LEO was about as distant and exotic as Andromeda galaxy, lotsa room for all kinds of stuff i.e. spent boosters, loose nuts, flaked debris (space FOD). Who cares? this was also in days of "gas washdowns" where fire departments respond to traffic collisions to use fire hoses to wash gasoline off the pavement into gutters or side of road (gasoline makes asphalt soft leading to potholes). Totally illegal these days but back then there was lots of room for pollutants. But "earthrise" picture from Apollo 8 changed all when we saw our only habitat is this small speck in vastness of space (terraforming Mars don't count).

Imagine (2)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#44557991)

Imagine looking to the sky and having a copper needle impale your eye.

Ah, cold war plans... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558025)

When America dreamed big, and the impossible fantasies were based on science, not religion!

Re:Ah, cold war plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558283)

Based on religion too: "In god We Trust".

Re:Ah, cold war plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558855)

that was added due to the cold war, so we could have smug superiority over godless commies.

Its hard to even write that with a straight face

Re:Ah, cold war plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559103)

Its hard to even write that with a straight face

I've reported you to the NSA, commie.

Re: Ah, cold war plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558357)

What does this comment even mean?

Re: Ah, cold war plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559097)

It's a metaphor for the Wizard of Oz.

Re:Ah, cold war plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558417)

s/science/ideological pissing contests

Your tax dollars at work (0)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44558037)

Government plans tend to make me wonder if they ever just step back and listen to what they just said before they go and do it.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (2)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#44558087)

No they make the determination that they don't have to make a determination.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44558367)

Government plans tend to make me wonder if they ever just step back and listen to what they just said before they go and do it.

It's not the elected leaders who come up with this stuff, it's the promoted leaders in the DoD. Internet was a good thing, but it probably started as some plan to wipe out communism using university research.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (4, Informative)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44559045)

Government plans tend to make me wonder if they ever just step back and listen to what they just said before they go and do it.

It's not the elected leaders who come up with this stuff, it's the promoted leaders in the DoD. Internet was a good thing

Past tense, well maybe depending on your point of view...

...but it probably started as some plan to wipe out communism using university research.

People are so cynical these days... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANET [wikipedia.org]

The ARPANET was not started to create a Command and Control System that would survive a nuclear attack, as many now claim. To build such a system was, clearly, a major military need, but it was not ARPA's mission to do this; in fact, we would have been severely criticized had we tried. Rather, the ARPANET came out of our frustration that there were only a limited number of large, powerful research computers in the country, and that many research investigators, who should have access to them, were geographically separated from them.

Of course the military wasn't to be left out of any hi-tech toys so they later created their own MILNET (in '83) that used the same ARPANET technology, but was totally under their control. In this case (as is often the case) the egg came first, then the chicken was adopted by the military.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44558435)

dunno, this sounded like pretty interesting research. had it worked a bit differently, it might have made communication link satellites obsolete for a lot of stuff.

certainly a lot better use of money than paying it off to private contractors to warehouse data that you had no business of getting in the first place.. or better use of money than half the aircraft carriers in US fleet. but you know, there used to be a time when they did actual research and trying out new stuff and this was part of that, like the nuke powered greenland base..

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a year ago | (#44558517)

Government plans tend to make me wonder if they ever just step back and listen to what they just said before they go and do it.

Given the problem and the technology available at the time, how would you have attempted to solve it? Many at the time thought war with the Soviets inevitable. Satellites were being developed but their feasibility never tested, and the scale we have deployed today was almost unimaginable then. An entire satellite network for people just to watch television? Preposterous! Space-based communication relays were completely and totally non-existent.

Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558063)

I bet his brother Edward talked him into it.

One ring.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558077)

To rule them all...

Aperture Science Was Real (3, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44558093)

This is Cave Johnson stuff. If we want to launch billions of copper needles into space to show those commies who they're up against then we'll do whatever it takes.

Re:Aperture Science Was Real (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558179)

"If life gives you millions of copper wires, make life take them back... or launch them into space."

Just don't burn your house down with them, like the lemons.

Re:Aperture Science Was Real (3, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44558317)

Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of copper poisoning show a median latency of forty-four point six years, so if you're thirty or older, you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator and it makes a happy face.

Re:Aperture Science Was Real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558365)

The beancounters told me we literally could not afford to buy $7 worth of copper needles, much less 70 million. Bought 'em anyway. Packed them on a rocket, shot 'em into space, and guess what: didn't scale worth a damn.

Re:Aperture Science Was Real (3, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44558507)

Cave Johnson was a parody, and any parody has to have a basis in the thing it's making fun of. The Cold War was filled with junk science and grandiose, delusional "engineering" projects to try to one up stuff that we imagined the commies were up to (and vice versa). Cold War threat assessment by both sides essentially ran on games of telephone and urban legends, and by god we would not have a mine shaft gap!

Try these links on for size, this article surprised you:
Nuke the Moon: 5 Certifiably Insane Cold War Projects [cracked.com]
10 Ridiculous Cold War Government Projects [listverse.com]
10 Creative Military Plans to Use Animals as Weapons [listverse.com] (half of which are Cold War era).

Me? There's almost nothing you could say that the US or the Soviets experimented with during the Cold War or thought about doing that I would immediately disbelieve.

Lot's of bizarre Cold War comm tech (5, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44558167)

There was quite a lot of bizarre technology pursued/developed in the cold war for communications, among other things. A similar system was meteor burst communications [wikipedia.org] . The idea was you'd bounce your radio signal off the ionization trail of a meteor for the brief time it existed then wait for the next and so on. This way you could communicate way beyond the normal horizon without satellites, ground repeaters, etc. Unlike many crazy Cold War ideas, it was successful and is still used for military, civilian and amateur purposes.

Re:Lot's of bizarre Cold War comm tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559169)

I have been doing meteor scatter for over a decade now. Crazy range at frequencies normally limited to the local area. Fun stuff although I wouldn't call it reliable.

Ring on it (4, Funny)

Ioldanach (88584) | about a year ago | (#44558181)

The politicians just love the planet so much they tried to put a ring on it.

Re:Ring on it (5, Funny)

Deflagro (187160) | about a year ago | (#44558209)

Well considering how often the planet gets f**ked, it's about time someone committed :P

Re:Ring on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558377)

A copper ring, not gold, and there is no mention of a diamond the size of the Moon.

Cost-benefit analysis (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#44558185)

Pro: Awesome radio transmissions
Con: Filling Earth's orbitals with junk that will fuck with spacecraft for centuries.

Hm.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#44558771)

Pro: orbital junk will funk with alien spacecraft

We paid for this? jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558195)

What a stupendous waste of other peoples' (our) money.

handy (2, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44558199)

the Soviet union also could have used this primitive system of global satellite coverage, somehow that fact got lost on our own boneheaded leaders

Re:handy (2)

RajivSLK (398494) | about a year ago | (#44558319)

No it's not boneheaded at all. The US would obviously only launch the rockets containing the copper filaments in the case of a communications failure. That is during an attack in which the soviets were able to knocked out American communication the copper filaments would be launched and be used as a backup.

Seems like a smart contingency plan to me.

Re:handy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558369)

Let's just ignore the little fact that there would be no launch facilities left, or anything to defend.

Re:handy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558503)

Because communications and launch facilities are always in the same place, no?

Re:handy (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#44559007)

the Soviet union also could have used this primitive system of global satellite coverage, somehow that fact got lost on our own boneheaded leaders

But Democracy thrives on an increase of communication. Socialism dies with communication; which is why the Soviets tried to hard to suppress free press, free speech, etc.

no more Beowulf cluster.. (1)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | about a year ago | (#44558225)

How about a Ringworld/Dyson Sphere of these?

Re:no more Beowulf cluster.. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#44558431)

Let's see...
Earth's orbit is on the order of 10^12 metres. "Whisker thin" isn't very specific so let's assume 1mm^2 for the cross-section.
That makes for about 9 million tonnes of copper, assuming an unbroken ring. Not all that much, considering.

On a related note (4, Interesting)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#44558231)

Could you string copper wire in such a way the rotation and magnetic field of Earth creates power?

Re:On a related note (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44558271)

Sure. You would slow the rotation of the Earth as you did so, but you could do it. And it would have to tie into the grid at one of the (rotational) poles. And it would be approximately as problematic as building a space elevator, for precisely the same reasons.

Re:On a related note (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about a year ago | (#44558277)

Could you string copper wire in such a way the rotation and magnetic field of Earth creates power?

But you'd slow down the planet! :)

Re:On a related note (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44558327)

Could you string copper wire in such a way the rotation and magnetic field of Earth creates power?

But you'd slow down the planet! :)

I'd say, "I could live with that, think of all the extra free time," but... well, we all know what would happen when the Powers-That-Be found out they could extend the workday by a few more hours...

Re:On a related note (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about a year ago | (#44558415)

Could you string copper wire in such a way the rotation and magnetic field of Earth creates power?

But you'd slow down the planet! :)

I'd say, "I could live with that, think of all the extra free time," but... well, we all know what would happen when the Powers-That-Be found out they could extend the workday by a few more hours...

I think the temperature swings would also be rather problematic.

Re:On a related note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558481)

Could we do this to Venus, Mars? The moon, perhaps?

Re:On a related note (1)

niado (1650369) | about a year ago | (#44558611)

Could we do this to Venus, Mars? The moon, perhaps?

You would need a pretty strong magnetosphere [wikipedia.org] . So, short answer: doubtful.

Re:On a related note (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44558293)

Get the Tholians to do it, wouldn't take them long.

Re:On a related note (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44558501)

Shiva!

Re:On a related note (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44559217)

I have been told that wrapping the planet in a loop around the equator will do this. Draw power, slow the planet. Add power, speed the planet. But you could add power anywhere, or draw it anywhere. Problem is, you need room temperature superconductors in order to even think about doing it, let alone to make it practical.

The person who proposed this idea to me sold it as Freeman Dyson's idea, and called it a Dyson Motor, but I haven't been to find a reference that puts that name together with this idea yet.

Tables have turned (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about a year ago | (#44558235)

Oh those Russians! However, I don't think Russia is the evil side anymore. We should find a way to block the US spying on the entire world.

Re:Tables have turned (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44558325)

Oh those Russians! However, I don't think Russia is the evil side anymore. We should find a way to block the US spying on the entire world.

Wait until the U.S. walks into Syria.

Re:Tables have turned (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44558333)

Oh those Russians! However, I don't think Russia is the evil side anymore. We should find a way to block the US spying on the entire world.

Not even the US has as pervasive in spying on its own people as the UK (and many UK citizens are all for it, amazing enough.)

Which is the most free country left in the world?

Re:Tables have turned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558737)

Which is the most free country left in the world?

Sweden? Iceland maybe?

I'm sorry, were you expecting the USA? Silly rabbit.

Re:Tables have turned (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44559073)

Which is the most free country left in the world?

Somalia.

Re:Tables have turned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558409)

Oh those Russians! However, I don't think Russia is the evil side anymore. We should find a way to block the US spying on the entire world.

We can. Those idiots were just using the wrong metal. We need a ring of tinfoil filaments around the earth!

Re:Tables have turned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559357)

Looking back on history I think the disturbing truth is that there were two evil sides and there were no real good sides.

As wild as piping Lake Michigan to Arizona (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44558287)

When I was a kid we heard a story going around about piping Great Lakes water to Arizona, a couple thousand miles of pipe necessary, and laughed it off as garbage. Reading Cadillac Desert I found it wasn't fantasy, but actively being pursued.

Nowadays our goal seems to sling BS around the world at the speed of light.

So... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44558297)

Instead of a copper ring, they settled on a virtual one, around the Constitution, around our e-mails, around our cell phones, hmmm.

That's actually...impressive (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about a year ago | (#44558335)

We forget how big some of the Cold War projects were. Nowadays, we have nuclear subs, international space stations, generations of supersonic aircraft and no-one against to use it. Back then when there was an arms race against an opponent who had some kind of budget, projects could scale up quickly.

Utterly unneeded, of course but wow, they knew how to think big in those days.

Re:That's actually...impressive (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44558725)

And the Soviets would counter all this gold-plated, high tech, astronomical-budget crap and counter it with something that cost a tenth of the price to make. The answer was always some platinum-plated crap then. The reason for the depleted uranium armor on the Abrams tank is because Soviet factories could pump out cheap shoulder mounted anti-tank missiles with a shaped charge warhead by the thousand that could take out anything less. Pentagon computer-controlled equipment need to be hardened because the Soviets could build an EMP weapon for a few thousand dollars that could take them out, while their own manually operated weaponry continued to function (yes, nukes did the same thing, but that wasn't the primary reason).

Re:That's actually...impressive (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | about a year ago | (#44559123)

And yet it was the Soviet Union that spent itself in to oblivion and collapsed first. History doesn't support your position.

Re:That's actually...impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559261)

US spending on the other hand is just fine?

Re:That's actually...impressive (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44559269)

That's the difference between the rigidity of their planned economy and slightly-organized chaos that makes up the capitalist system. Had the Kremlin stayed within their budget in Afghanistan it's likely that the Soviet Union would have been around longer. When combined with a couple years of bad harvests that necessitated importing expensive food it killed their currency.

I love mad science (3)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44558355)

Seriously... it might be out there... but I love it.

That sounds dumb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558457)

Why didn't they just invent a radio that could communicate via satellite relays?

What happened to the mylar balloons? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#44558595)

The nice thing about the plan is that, unlike active retransmitting satellites, there are no controls on it. A better design is the large mylar balloons also mentioned in TFA. What happened to those? I can think of many amateurs who would love to be able to bounce signals off of something like that for cheap, reliable international communications.

Think of the possibilities... Some have played with receiving TV signals from the other side of the planet via moon-bounce. A signal reflector so much closer would offer many more possibilities. It's an electromagnetic gateway to the other side of the planet. These days, it would probably get adapted to laser communications as well, while no current satellites have that option. Just as a test-bed for experiments like this which can't be performed economically any other way, it sounds like a great project to fund. Why haven't we even attempted any such thing, since active satellites became possible?

That's not crazy (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44558915)

At one time this would have sounded crazy....then came Hyperloop.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?