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!

Boeing Successfully Tests Anti-Missile Laser

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the where-was-gary-sinise-the-whole-time dept.

Technology 868

dankinit writes "MSNBC is reporting that a 'Boeing Co.-led team has successfully fired for the first time a powerful laser meant to fly aboard a modified 747 as part of a U.S. ballistic missile defense shield.' The test called 'First Light' has a budget of $474.3 million in the fiscal year 2005 and is part of a larger $10 billion dollar missile defense system."

cancel ×

868 comments

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

The codename for the 747s (5, Funny)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810221)

will be "Sharks", in fulfillment of the prophecy of Dr. Evil. . .

Re:The codename for the 747s (1)

Vrejakti (729758) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810244)

Let me be the first to say it.... It's a freaking laser!

Correction w/ dr evil soundboard (1)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810349)

It's FRICKIN LASER BEAMS attatched to their heads!

Soundboard: http://www.theflashgames.com/dr_evil_soundboard-sw f.html

Re:The codename for the 747s (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810332)

Didn't they just discontinue the 747? Oh well.

Re:The codename for the 747s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810352)

Holster

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Dorsai42 (738671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810222)

More and more, /. posts are days behind the rest of the news

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810417)

In summary, you FAIL IT

First (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810223)

This is my first first post!

Yes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810224)

FP

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810446)

YOU FAIL IT

Missile Defense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810225)

The USSR is dead. North Korea has missiles which we *theorize* can hit the western coast of the USA, and they're not crazy enough to launch them. I think that nowdays we have a lot else we can spend money on besides a missile defense program which only half works.

Re:Missile Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810279)

Like invading random countries! Bush can just spin his little Wheel of Doom and pick our next available Middle-Eastern state at a couple of billion bucks per play.

You and everyone else... (0, Flamebait)

MacFury (659201) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810287)

think that nowdays we have a lot else we can spend money on besides a missile defense program which only half works.

You and everyone else with half a brain. However, all of our bitching won't change anything. It's the rich taking our money and making themselves and their friends richer and richer.

It doesn't have to do anything. It just has to look like it does something, then they can smile and pretend it's a useful device.

Re:Missile Defense (2, Insightful)

asciiwhite (679872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810344)

I think that nowdays we have a lot else we can spend money on besides a missile defense program which only half works.


Not when your plan is global domination [newamericancentury.org]

China (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810354)

The Chinese, being the barbarians that they are [tibet.org] , have targeted most of their nuclear missles at us and Japan. Further, the Chinese intend to militarize space; their space program is entirely in the Department of War. By contrast, NASA is an entirely civilian operation.

That the USA has a successful test of a laser weapon is good news. I'd be interested to know what technologies the Japanese contributed to the laser weapon. It would be quite handy during the next submarine incursion.

The Japanese deploy a particle beam weapon and a laser. The laser knocks out the Chinese spy satellite. The particle beam weapon knocks out the sub.

sweet.

Take a gander at the Yahoo! News article about the shocking brutality of the typical Chinese [yahoo.com] .

Yahoo! News Article About Chinese Brutality (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810393)

Yahoo! News - In China, no money means no treatment

By Michael A. Lev Tribune foreign correspondent

The list of people who let down 25-year-old Huang Jin Bao--who, in fact, left him for dead by the side of the road--includes the police officers who ignored him and the ambulance driver who refused to pick him up because he had no money.

There was also the manager of the luxury townhouse development who took no interest in Huang's nearly lifeless body lying just outside his property, even though the incident began when one of the development's subcontractors fled without paying Huang's 800 salary.

This was why Huang, an itinerant carpenter, was standing outside Merlin Champagne Town with other construction workers demanding their money when a black Volkswagen sedan sped out of the parking lot and badly injured him.

For hours afterward, Huang lay unconscious, with a broken ankle and other injuries, disregarded by the development's security guards and passersby.

The police came and went, taking little interest. The ambulance driver too. When a second police patrol later grudgingly took Huang to a hospital--dumping him and several friends at the gate--doctors turned him away because he could not pay.

Back to the driveway

So Huang's friends, who also were fleeced by the construction boss, took him home. The next morning they carried him back to the driveway of Merlin Champagne Town. There they laid him, still dazed, on a cheap blanket as they wondered how to raise the 370 needed to get him medical care.

In China, it is survival of the fittest. It is a striking fact never addressed by the communist leadership that some of the biggest social problems facing China today--the big gap between rich and poor, the exploitation of peasants--are the same type of woes that led to the revolution of 1949.

The sense of enforced community that came with Chairman Mao's era is long gone, replaced by a burgeoning free-market economic system that rewards hard work but is not developed enough to offer protection to those who are vulnerable.

There are no broad government programs to guarantee medical help for indigents and only a weak culture of reaching out to strangers in need.

Chinese people in trouble will look for help from friends, or people from the same hometown or business partners, but there is little sense of trust among people who don't know each other. Perhaps it is because China is overburdened by its population of 1.3 billion, making it impossible for people to feel responsible for everyone they see in need. Many people also ascribe a loss of public spiritedness to the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, in which minding your own business was a matter of survival.

There are few charities in China because the authoritarian government does not easily ease its controls to encourage private groups to organize. Religion, too, with its teachings of compassion or being a good Samaritan, represents only a small voice in a society where the government promotes atheism.

In the end, it may have been that Huang was ignored out of a simple concern that whoever took him to the hospital would get stuck with the medical bill.

A system in chaos

The government acknowledges the need to create a social safety net. But in the whirl of a country in transition from communism to capitalism, the system of overseeing the 100 million migrant workers like Huang who leave their peasant villages to strike it rich in the city is chaotic.

In general, migrant workers are treated as low-status outsiders who get little respect. Many, like Huang, who has only a 7th-grade education, are barely literate. There are hundreds of thousands of these itinerant construction workers in Beijing. They move from city to city, job to job, and get no medical benefits. They are paid annually and are at risk of being cheated.

In the hospital that initially rejected Huang but where he eventually got treatment because a foreigner agreed to pay, the man in the next bed, a 58-year-old construction worker, suffered a crushed leg in a dump truck accident. The truck owner agreed to pay for his 1,000 operation.

For Huang, there was no responsible party to ask. The man in the Volkswagen drove off, and the subcontractor who hired Huang disappeared several months ago, leaving behind a note promising to pay his salary by mid-October.

How it happened

Huang and about 10 others were pestering the management of Merlin Champagne Town to make good on the subcontractor's debt, but management refused, claiming no responsibility.

Fed up, Huang was trying to block cars when the man in the Volkswagen was leaving. Assuming the man worked for the project, Huang was leaning into the open passenger-side window to say something when the driver roared off, Huang clinging desperately to the car, according to several witnesses.

The driver tore down the street, increasing in speed and then swerving in an attempt to dislodge Huang. After 200 yards, with Huang still holding on, the driver skidded into a tight circle. On the second turn, Huang was flung away. His leg was run over, and he struck his head on the street.

"When I saw him lying there, I thought he was dead," said Zhang Guo Guang, one of Huang's friends.

People crowded around Huang, but no one sought help. It was 45 minutes before a traffic cop stopped. He said an ambulance was responsible for taking him to the hospital, but it took 30 more minutes for one to arrive. The driver bandaged Huang's hand but would do no more without assurances that someone would cover the costs.

A second police car arrived after 90 minutes. The officer rejected an offer by an unidentified foreign woman to pay for Huang's care, most likely concerned that her intervention would be seen as a loss of face for the Chinese government. He eventually agreed to transport Huang to the hospital. The doctors would not treat him.

"We're not a charity," a ward nurse explained later.

The morning after the incident, Huang was in bad shape, listless and semi-coherent, when he was placed in front of Merlin Champagne Town. His friends hoped to draw attention to his situation, but the compound's security guards refused to intervene, except to call the police, who again came and left.

"We're the disadvantaged people," said Wei Bao An, another construction worker friend, as he stood watch over Huang. "We're poor. Nobody cares. The police are on the side of the rich. Who is on the side of the common man?"

Twenty-four hours after the accident, an American discovered Huang and took him to the hospital, agreeing to pay the 370 deposit required for treatment. An X-ray technician determined Huang had a fractured ankle. A doctor determined his head injury was minor and would heal quickly.

Casual police interest

Police took only a casual interest in finding the driver of the Volkswagen. After prodding by the foreigner who rescued the man, they spoke to managers at Merlin Champagne Town, who, according to the investigating officer, said the security camera trained on the front gate malfunctioned or the tape was erased because the time around the accident came up blank.

Huang's friends suspect the driver works for the real estate company.

A week after the incident, one of the managers of Merlin Champagne Town, Chen Lian Hong, slammed down the phone when he received a query from a reporter about the accident.

He called back 20 minutes later, apologizing and explaining that the image of his development was important to him. "I'm sympathetic," he said, explaining that he bought bottles of water for the migrants who were protesting their lack of pay.

Chen took no responsibility for the traffic incident or for the salaries owed by a subcontractor to a dozen men who helped build the 60 million luxury townhouse project. He said the driver of the Volkswagen was a prospective buyer who came to pick up a brochure but did not leave a name or telephone number. He denied that someone erased the security tape.

"From the perspective of morality," Chen said, "we do hope to solve this problem as soon as possible. The key is to find the driver. He should be responsible."

Otherwise, he wondered, "Who is going to pay the medical bills of a migrant?"

Huang left the hospital after a few days, having had an operation to place a stabilizing pin in his ankle. He still wants his money.

Re:Missile Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810375)

I don't think its a huge stretch to accept that because the US have long-range/intercontinental missles, someone may have them too. Given the performance of US cruise missles, I think this defense platform is more targeted toward applications such as fleet defense or protecting densely populated areas where Patriot missle systems fall short.

Re:Missile Defense (5, Informative)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810409)

This is not designed with US based ABM. Instead it's meant to be used over the battlefield, as a replacement for the Patriot missile system.

Re:Missile Defense (5, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810445)

and they're not crazy enough to launch them
Kim does not strike me as a particularly mentally stable. If, say, an invasion of South Korea failed, I could easily see him launching missiles on the rest of the world. After WW1 and WW2, we stopped a lot of programs and left our selves to some extent, vulnerable. Just because there may not be a clearly defined threat today doesn't mean there couldn't be one tomorrow. Who's to say there couldn't be a coup in Russia, or that Putin couldn't start to go back to the old Soviet days. Who's to say that China will never invade Taiwan. Who's to say that India or Pakistan won't try to start a nuclear war. Missile defense systems shouldn't defend just the US, they should defend our allies around the world who could be targets, and to say there's no use for them and that the world will live happily ever after is extremely short sighted and naive.

i hate to be blunt... (-1, Troll)

epiphani (254981) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810226)

but when was there ever a missile attack on any north american target? This money seems like a complete waste, that could have been spent on a much more useful project - like, say, an asteriod defence system.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810238)

Yes, until 9/11 there had never been a terrorist flying a plane into a new york skyscraper, so it could never have happened.

Oh wait... it happened twice

Re:i hate to be blunt... (0, Troll)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810247)

until 9/11 there had never been a terrorist flying a plane into a new york skyscraper

There is still no evidence it WAS a terrorist act.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810362)

What propaganda have you been reading that could lead you to believe that, even in spite of the fact that Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks? Please tell me you're not that stupid.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (2)

realdpk (116490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810400)

So, where is the evidence? Oh, that's right, they trucked it away as quickly as possible, and shipped it off to other countries, before the story could be verified.

Bin Laden can make whatever claims he wants, he has plenty of reasons to lie about it though, so I think we, the public, deserve more.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (-1, Flamebait)

epiphani (254981) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810286)

and look what its done to your country. Do you honestly think you're any safer, having pissed off the UN and the majority of the planet? Not to mention an entire major religion?

If someone really wants to blow up a building, they're going to blow up a building. Osama tried once, failed (1993) and didnt exactly give up. Its a completely false sense of security.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (3, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810339)

think you're any safer, having pissed off the UN

If you think the UN is going to provide you safety you are very close to totally wrong.

and the majority of the planet?

The majority of the planet is weaker than the US, dependent on the US, or desperately in need of the US for protection or stability.

Not to mention an entire major religion?

Yeah, well, that entire religion has hated us for the better part of 150 years. And in earnet since the end of World War II.

If someone really wants to blow up a building, they're going to blow up a building.

No, that's false. There are a lot more people in the world who'd like to blow up a building than there actually buildings that have been blown up. The actual sentence should read "a sufficently motivated and capable person who wishes to damage a sufficently unprotected entity will try until stopped or success is achieved".

Its a completely false sense of security.

The US is significantly safer in many, many ways. However, it is clearly not secure.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (2, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810390)

"Yeah, well, that entire religion has hated us for the better part of 150 years. And in earnet since the end of World War II."

Many portions of Isam feel that any other religion is inferior and almost sinful, and thus many hate Jews, Christians, etc. For instance, in the terrorst handbook thing the British found on a raid, there were discussions on why it is ok to torture. The basic idea was that Muslums are allowed to torture others because they are Gods children, while others are not allowed to.

On the other hand, I just see this as the progression of a religion. Chrisianity went through the same thing where they killed off millions because they would not convert. Now most of the countries who are predominantly chrisian are more civilized and educated and the religion (chrisianity) has become more civilized and toned down as well. I hope Islam will do the same one day.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810401)

The majority of the planet is weaker than the US, dependent on the US, or desperatel/y in need of the US for protection or stability.

This too shall pass.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (0, Flamebait)

epiphani (254981) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810418)

Insightful? Arrogant and misguided.

If you think the UN is going to provide you safety you are very close to totally wrong.

I never said the UN would provide safety. But seeing as the UN is a collection of the majority of the nations in the world, its not generally a good idea to piss them off.

The majority of the planet is weaker than the US, dependent on the US, or desperately in need of the US for protection or stability.

Canada is doing quite fine, thanks. Im sure there are quite a few nations out there that feel very much as though the US has hurt them far more than helped.

If your of the opinion that military might is what makes a country great, then perhaps you should evalute what your foreign policy has done to your image internationally. Get your head out of your ass and realize that the US is not the shining light in some world of poverty, violence and dispair.

Yeah, well, that entire religion has hated us for the better part of 150 years. And in earnet since the end of World War II.

Maybe that has to do with your foreign policy. Oh, and maybe a lot of them didnt have any problem with you until recently, when you invaded probably one of the more civilized of their nations in the middle east. You want a target for humanitarian reasons? Try Saudi Arabia. Oh right, they control a good section of your economy. Cant be pissing them off.

The US is significantly safer in many, many ways. However, it is clearly not secure.

Keep it up. Im sure your country will fall into civil war soon enough.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810436)

A Canadian who hates America... that's hilarious.

On so many levels.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810438)

Do you honestly think you're any safer, having pissed off the UN and the majority of the planet?

Whether you supported the Iraq war or not, I think the UN has shown time and again that it lacks the balls to actually act when things need acting upon.

Ask the Sudanese if the UN passing an almost strongly-worded resolution against the genocide there did anything more than make people chuckle. Christ, they couldn't even step up to SAY they MIGHT in the FUTURE stop a GENOCIDE. Is there a trigger for UN action in their resolution? Nope. Did they acknowledge it was genocide? Of course not! Because if they acknowledged it as what it is, they have legal obligations under the international law they claim to believe so strongly in to stop it.

So no, they slapped them on the wrist, and China talked them out of even using a ruler to do it. Frankly, until the UN proves it is willing to fulfil its obligations, I'm inclined to believe it's nothing more than a waste of time to even let them know what's going on.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810439)

epiphani wrote:
>>> but when was there ever a missile attack on any north
>>> american target? This money seems like a complete waste,
>>> that could have been spent on a much more useful project
>>> - like, say, an asteriod defence system.
I wrote:
>> Yes, until 9/11 there had never been a terrorist flying a
>> plane into a new york skyscraper, so it could never have
>> happened. Oh wait... it happened twice
epiphani wrote:
> and look what its done to your country. Do you honestly think
> you're any safer, having pissed off the UN and the majority of
> the planet? Not to mention an entire major religion?

Are you on drugs? what does this pissing off anyone have to do with anything? Are you even following a conversation?

Way to go in making two big false presumptions, that 1. because something hasn't happened, it won't, and 2. that I'm in the US.

People who make presumptions as big as you are worth ignoring in conversation, as they end up just having little side arguments with themselves that have nothing to do with the discussion.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810412)

So which is more likely, a terrorist/rouge nation launching a missle at us, or a terrorist/rouge nation driving a nuke by truck into a city?

Put it in a shipping container and send it by freight ship into NY harbor. It would be virtually impossible to stop that. The people operating the ship don't even have to know about it once you forge some paperwork. Customs doesn't get at it until the ship docks, and even then they rarely inspect more than 5% of the cargo!

It's neat, but this system seems to be too little too late in terms of national defence. I'm sure it will still prove useful to the military for protecting their own craft and such, but it does nothing for the safety of the nation in general.
=Smidge=

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1, Insightful)

toofast (20646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810256)

When was the last time I got into an accident? When will my house burn down? When will I die before age 70?

Insurance. It's all about insurance...

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810275)

Comparing small stuff like that to ICBMs is stupid.
True, you never know when it might happen, but can't we spend the money on making sure it never happens instead of a plan that might work if it happens 100 years from now when the project is done?

It's about deterrence (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810289)

If there's a good chance your ICBMs aren't going to work, you won't even try, considering the fact that the retaliation is _sure_ to work.

Re:It's about deterrence (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810350)

Isn't that what the whole Mutually Assured Destruction was all about?
So now, they won't do it because we might live and they will die instead of everyone dies?
If they are crazy enough to launch ICBMs at us, I don't see how your logic would effect them.

Also, I wasn't implying we shouldn't have a defense against ICBMs, but I don't think the laser idea is a good one. I think it sounds cool, and might be feasible, but there must be better solutions that would cost far less, like smaller faster missles with EMP bombs on them or something...

Re:i hate to be blunt... (3, Insightful)

Darth_Burrito (227272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810410)

When was the last time I got into an accident? When will my house burn down? When will I die before age 70? Insurance. It's all about insurance...

Hmm Insurance... Maybe defense spending should be allocated in a probablistic risk mitigation sort of way.

What is the probability of different kinds of nuclear attacks (obviously unknown)? What are estimated casualties? What is the cost and success rates of potential preventative measures?

Compare that to similar estimations for things like the cost to benefit return on mandating airbags, improving smoke alarms, or sponsoring aids research. Even if you don't know the value of something like the probability of a nuclear attack, you can try to calculate what it might need to be in order for specific nuclear defense research to be more valuable then an alternative protective investment.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810263)

heh. Or a bioweapon defence system.

Several religious cults are contemplating this plan: Take your chosen followers into hiding, vaccinate them, release plague, you and chosen followers inherit the world.

Now, it is possible that "christian right" nutters in the USA are the ones most likely to have the resources to do that, may even rationalise it with "the best defence is a good offence" and do it first to stop other cults doing it, but plenty of people outside the USA are similarly evil.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (5, Insightful)

arbi (704462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810284)

This project is probably meant for defense against China but they only pointed out North Korea for diplomatic reasons. :P

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

rzei (622725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810290)

First, if you've had reasoned it a bit, having a defense [system] BEFORE you get attacked gives you much greater chances of not having [so many] lives lost.

Secondly, I doubt that asteroid and ballistic missle defenses are so different cases, that none of the research outcome of ballistic missile defenses projects couldn't be utilized later on with asteroid defenses.. Though, defending with lasers against asteroids might be way off... Well.... :)

Re:i hate to be blunt... (5, Insightful)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810330)

but when was there ever a missile attack on any north american target?

Er, given that the device is mounted in an airplane there is no requirement that it shoot down missiles over America.

It would have been quite handy, for instance, when Iraq was launching Scuds in the first Gulf War. Those were nervous times.

It might still be handy in the airspace over Iran...

This money seems like a complete waste, that could have been spent on a much more useful project - like, say, an asteriod defence system.

Directed energy weapons are going to be a big part of future military technology. This program is as much R&D as anything else. We are already spending a lot of money on phase 1 of an "asteroid defence[sic] system". They're called "telescopes".

Re:i hate to be blunt... (2, Insightful)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810331)

When was the last time an asteroid of dangerous size hit North America?

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810381)

So damiangerous sez:

"When was the last time an asteroid of dangerous size hit North America?"

50 thousand years ago. Canyon Diablo, Arizona.

The last known planetary impact was in 1908. Tunguska, SIberia.

A couple of hours earlier, it might have hit England.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810423)

Yes, I know. It was a rhetorical question. :) It seems rather odd to use the justification of "X has never happened so why worry about it" and in the very next sentence instead advocate using the resources to protect against an even less likely occurence.

Re:i hate to be blunt... (1)

Gitcho (761501) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810357)

you're probably the type of person that would have said a billion-dollar homeland defense expenditure was a waste as well, before 9/11.

I would think that most people agree that a missle attack on US soil is at least a possibility (top military minds seem to think so) ... and if it is, what do you do with that information ? You spend the money.

Are they still.. (5, Funny)

thegoogler (792786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810229)

Calling it star wars? and are they going to get sued for that now?

Re:Are they still.. (5, Funny)

div_B (781086) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810254)

Calling it star wars?

Yes, except this time, America shoots first.

Re:Are they still.. (0, Troll)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810301)

>> Calling it star wars?

> Yes, except this time, America shoots first.

I can't decide whether to mod this Troll or Funny.

Re:Are they still.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810315)

It appears that the Reagan administration were unsuccessfully sued [wikipedia.org] by Lucas for using the Star Wars name in the 1980s.

Net result? Reagan missed out on a tour of Skywalker Ranch...

Just to make it easy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810230)

official america/military/bush/capitolism bashing thread here.

$10 billion dollar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810231)

10 billion dollar squared, that must be a lot of money.

From the Article: (5, Funny)

intangible (252848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810233)

And apart from a loud "BOE-ING" sound when the laser was discharged, all went well.

Sounds Great - can it fix Oakland's School system (4, Insightful)

mr_don't (311416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810234)

Oakland can use, oh, say $20million of that. That's all. Geez.

Oh yeah, and can it stop dirty bombs in suitcases, or monitor Oakland's ports for suitcase nukes? Nope.

Ballistics, while scary, are not our biggest problem.

Re:Sounds Great - can it fix Oakland's School syst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810329)

Problems caused by government are never solved by more money. Twenty mil will solve nothing except the wealth problem.

Re:Sounds Great - can it fix Oakland's School syst (1)

Rogue Leader (786192) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810353)

Great point, except that the Federal government should not be involved in bailing out any city's public schools. That is a local or state matter at most. This happened with Philadelphia schools a few years ago; they became the State's problem. Now tax money from all over the state gets to be thrown away on their failing schools.

Re:Sounds Great - can it fix Oakland's School syst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810442)

Of the 4 overrides in my town, NONE provided an increase in student performance. Given that spending has increased significantly since 1950, yet learning is down I somehow don't think money is the problem.

Article mirror (-1, Troll)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810237)

Here's an article mirror [com.com] in case this one gets /.'ed.

Re:Article mirror (1)

Xikteny (721781) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810296)

OH MY GOD! Do you guys even CHECK the links before you mod people up? That's a goatse link, you idiots.

The Official Site... (5, Informative)

the_mighty_$ (726261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810240)

The official site about this laser is here [boeing.com]

This is just budgetary gamesmanship (5, Insightful)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810246)

Relax, nothing to see here. This is just a test to show they can move things forward another inch toward their 1000-mile goal. By moving that inch, they get to apply for more money, which is the real point of this.

""It showed they work," Kenneth Englade, an agency spokesman, said of the laser's six identical, pickup-truck-sized, modules linked to fire as a single unit. "The rest is fine-tuning."

For "fine-tuning" read: "everything the system is supposed to ultimately do." It's like writing the first 10 lines of code in a large project and saying "the rest is fine-tuning."

"Philip Coyle, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester under former President Clinton and a critic of early missile defense deployment plans, described the test on Wednesday as very important to people working on the program.

"They deserve a lot of credit for having gotten this far," he said in a telephone interview. "But they've still got a long way to go" to demonstrate shoot-down capability."

That's all this is, something important to the people working on the program. They want more funding. But as far as actually shooting anything down, well that's an entirely different matter:

"Among other technical challenges, Coyle said, engineers must figure out ways to fire the laser for the longer time needed to zap a missile without damaging the optics through which the beam passes -- a kind of technical Catch-22."

Details, details. But give us money and we'll happily explore the Catch-22 for a lot longer!

Re:This is just budgetary gamesmanship (1)

s.fontinalis (580601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810311)

Thousand Miles? Their goal is on the order of 200. Even that's really pushing the limits of adaptive optics (basically mirrors that correct for atmospheric distortion) at the speeds they need. Remember the ABL is a theater weapon; Star Wars is the global solution.

Any problems? (5, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810248)

Did it accidently fire into some guys house and make popcorn explode out the windows and stuff?

Seriously, this is cool, but I personally feel that we should be working towards a small scale solution. I think the whole laser idea is so they can shoot down thousands of missles, which if that ever happened, man we must have pissed off someone pretty big. I think a smaller scale defense with 99.9999% accuracy, common sense in keeping good relations with larger sane countries, and decent border security to keep terrorists from smuggling bombs in is a bit more important than spending all this money on a laser that's nowhere near done.

Re:Any problems? (5, Funny)

Tirinal (667204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810403)

You misunderstand. The missile defense system isn't an insurance against pissing off someone pretty big, it's a validation of pissing off someone pretty big.

Welcome to big stick foreign policy.

Re:Any problems? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810427)

You mean a validation for pissing off someone pretty big?

I just think the whole big stick foreign policy thing doesn't work anymore.
Too many countries have too many kinds of big sticks, and those without sticks fight via terrorism (which has the bonus of deniability).

Re:Any problems? (1, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810432)

Not really, you need to do both. While the US may not fear missiles being launched at us, we do have allies, chiefly Israel, that do and having a defense platform like this flying around would limit Iran or Syria's ability to launch a few missiles their way. It could also be used to keep India and Pakistan from blowing each other up with their nuclear arsenals. This could potentially eliminate the threat of nuclear missiles altogether, leaving us to focus on other threats such as terrorists obtaining the useless nuclear material from newly useless missiles and making dirty bombs to set off at locations of their choosing.

Fools..... (3, Funny)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810250)

Using a whole 747, when a shark is more than capable of wielding a laser of "frickin" spec....

First proof of concept. (0, Troll)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810251)

They proved the laser worked for a fraction of second.

Now, they still must :

A- Improve duration & Power
"In coming months, Englade said, engineers hope to boost the duration and power of the laser's beam.

Among other technical challenges, Coyle said, engineers must figure out ways to fire the laser for the longer time needed to zap a missile without damaging the optics through which the beam passes -- a kind of technical Catch-22."

B- Shootdown test... destroy a inflight dummy missile
It will then be installed on a 747-400F aircraft for a test that includes shooting down a dummy ballistic missile over the Pacific. No date has been set for that test.


And i guess C, get nuked by someone with the capability (nukes and missile range)... which is... hmmm... the Soviets? Iran? No... North Korea? No... China maybe? Aliens? Terrorists? Anyone?

Now all we need.. (1)

isny (681711) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810269)

Now all we need is a house to fill with popcorn...
I know this because God has given me a sign. And told me to stop playing with myself.
-- Kent

Re:First proof of concept. (0, Troll)

SenatorOrrinHatch (741838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810282)

Why do you hate America?

Re:First proof of concept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810318)

Because they have become a fascist nation, quite literally - marriage of state and corporate power a la Mussolini.

Re:First proof of concept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810335)

Because it contains Utah!

Re:First proof of concept. (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810302)

And i guess C, get nuked by someone with the capability (nukes and missile range)... which is... hmmm... the Soviets? Iran? No... North Korea? No... China maybe? Aliens? Terrorists? Anyone?

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller? (wav [idiotsavant.com] )

The Real Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810260)

The real question is, can this technology be extended so we can use sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads to shoot down anti-ship missiles?

Dome (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810261)

Wouldn't it be just as easy to build a dome over the united states? a dome would be just as fesable and make as much financial sense as this missile system.

Re:Dome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810333)

Can the rest of the world have a vote to make the dome air tight?

Re:Dome (1)

I7D (682601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810391)

Apearently the rest of the world isn't taught basic geophysical science. Plants turn CO2 into oxygen. Making it "air tight" would have no effect.

Re:Dome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810405)

Let me introduce you to concrete: making domes "light tight" for centuries.

Re:Dome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810433)

How did this get an "interesting" score?
What the fuck? This idea is completely
insane. There are no materials suitable
for building a structure that's 1/10 the
size of the entire planet. There's no
labor force or technology capable of
doing this. There's nothing that can
stop air currents or weather on a
small scale. Even if transparent, the
dome would cook N. America like ants
under a magnifying glass.

Why don't we just start making super
heroes with amazing super powers, like
SuperMan or the Hulk? It's just as likely
to ever happen.

I'm amazed a moderator gave this a +1
interesting. What. the. fuck.

Re:Dome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810444)

Then you just need 2 missiles 30 seconds apart: one that creates a hole in the dome, and another that goes through the hole and hits the target.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810264)

A little more work [vkn.com] , another successful test [restless-youth.com] , and I think we can all grab some popcorn [restless-youth.com] to celebrate.

That's great, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810273)

...can it shoot down a suitcase? Because that's where the bombs are gonna be...

Re:That's great, but... (1)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810371)

...and those suitcases might also be in the baggage compartment!

shit (2, Funny)

swinehearted (818826) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810295)

(U.S. Army Air Defense Solider) looks like im out of the job lmao

Re:shit (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810310)

Uhh...right. You know, the first step to NOT getting modded as Funny is to put "lmao" at the end of your post. Seriously, when you be as sarcastic as possible the joke always turns out much better lmao

Re:shit (1, Flamebait)

swinehearted (818826) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810323)

ehhh ya, lighten the fuck up plz thnx lmao

Money (2, Interesting)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810300)

There hasn't been an attack because the threat of nuclear annihilation forced every war to be a COLD war.

But now america can threaten other nations with Nukes as much as they want! They have total defensive superiority!

I imagine the other countries could unite and have a ring of anti missile defense set up around U.S. Soil pretty quick but who wants another arms race? The American's that's who?

I guess that's why they never honour any treaties, what's the point if they can just NUKE everyone with NO HOPE of reprisals.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810424)

The US already has total defensive superiority over every nation on Earth that does not have ICBMs or sub launched nuclear missles. And since this has been true, the US has NEVER threatened any other nation with nuclear force as a means of coercion.
Not Korea.
Not Vietnam.
Not Panama.
Not Iran.
Not Iraq.

Hmm... (-1, Troll)

solistus (556078) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810303)

Is this technology meant to be used on civilian transport aircraft? Making my family vacation to California a military target for whatever theoretical enemy is launching missiles at us sure doesn't make me feel safer, how 'bout you? Also, as others have pointed out, aren't there more practical ways to use this money? The Fed is already creating an enormous deficit with its overspending- are the sci-fi dreams of a megalomaniac with brain disease really the most effective use they can come up with, given the imminent collapse of Social Security, rocketing tax burden on the middle class, a grossly underfunded education and public service budget, the floundering of oh so many state economies, and countless other fiscal crises?

Wait just a minute... (3, Interesting)

Performaman (735106) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810307)

This isn't such a big deal. All they did was fire a laser from a fuselage-sized building/room. They have not proven that it will work at high altitudes, much less actually hit the target.

$10 billion towards other things (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810325)

Just think what would happen if that $10 billion went towards a couple of public school systems.

Re:$10 billion towards other things (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810399)

Just think what would have happened if that $10 billion had been spent on hiring companies to build and test parts of this system. Those companies could have hired people to do all that stuff, and paid them salaries, which would have generated spending, which would have kept other people employed. Those people, let's call them employees, would have paid a lot of taxes. A lot of those taxes would have gone into the local and state governments. Some of it would have even gone to the federal government as well.

Just think if that had happened.

hmm.....

Re:$10 billion towards other things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810413)

The school administrators would squander it on useless projects. What exactly would be different?

What a bunch of crap! (0, Troll)

mr_angry (668532) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810355)

This is absolutely ridiculous, and i really think all this money should be invested to help the population. Some people are starving, some people are sick. Why must we all put our money in fucking crap like missiles, anti missiles, going on the moon and shit. Nobody wants to fix things here ?? Kind of like when you're a developer and you find it boring to fix old apps compared to building new apps.

Help the population, stop spending the money on crap like that. The whole terrorism thing is used by the american administration to manipulate the population...

10 billions of american dollars, this would help a great deal of people in need of basic things like a home, food and things more important than pr0tact1ng t3h us fr0m t4h m4ss1l3s!

I have a feeling than in many years ppl will laugh at this whole idea, pretty much like flying cars didn't happen when 2000 came. And the artist's rendition pic on the article page is just pure sci-fi stuff.

Lotsa money but for a good cause? (0, Troll)

pucko (68877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810360)

First $474.3 million and then $10 billion dollars..

Imagine how many people it could help if they were spent healthcare instead.
Or maybe fund research to help protecting the enviroment and endangered species.

Related to the pilot that got lasered? (2, Interesting)

zaren (204877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810367)

Anyone remember a few months back when an airline pilot got hit in the eyes by a laser beam while flying? I wonder if that was a mis-fire of this thing, and they tried to cover it up.

really a waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10810378)

I can't believe this funding... blah blah blah.. waste ... blah money better spent... blah blah.

when has miltary research ever helped consumer products and humanity in general with unforseen new products and spawning of newer greater more worthwhile ideas/theories in science?

My theory about this has been... (2, Interesting)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10810379)

That we're doing this as a hedge against a resurgence of hostilities against Russia. Russia's already increasing its spying in Britain back to Cold War levels.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?