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Good science fiction is only a step away from science fact. The authors that you mention research their topics and incorporate good science into their fiction.

The nice thing about R&D for space elevator technology is that the carbon nanotubes or whatever other super-strong material they come up with to use as the elevator's "cable" will have tons of applications on Earth, too.

Hey Lee, I was going to ask if you were related to kevin (as in Kostner), but guess you've heard that one a million times this week.

Great post, thanks to Pruned for the great pictorial tour & toroidal designs. The only thing missing, if anything was of "Yes" album covers fame, Topographic Oceans et al

Great read, fun, entertaining Science meets fiction, and Science catches up with fiction ... yep those latest mobile phones just got me itching to give my co-ordinates, but the mobile phone company already has them to localize (track) me. lol!

And what about Sat-Nav? ok so they send everybody to the same short cuts or side strrets in rush hour, and some times they send you up dirt tracks which a goat might consider twice before climbing, but hey this is in Real Time,right? as long as you remember that the map might be 18 months out of date - dodgy if you are attempting to drive thru Baghdad during US air strikes.

Oh, but hold on I'm getting lost here, where was I leading to - oh yeah, you know the only problem with teleporting - is that you need co-ordinates in space time and if somebody moved the office furniture or the cactus while you were out, well it could get prickly when you teleport back. lol!
Imagine teleporting to the 50th floor in the Twin Towers and they are no longer there, whoooa it's a long way down bro.

But hey, I guess a lift up to the top taipei 101 with the brakes off would give you a feel of what teleporting might feel like - or how about Mach 6 in the aurora jetfighter, without a pressure suit. Doesn't really matter if the pilot blacks-out, after all we have (use) fly by wire - computerised fly-by-wire. The human mind is too limited, and just cannot cope once you are steering at Mach 5-6 so you need computers at the speed of light to take over - Welcome to the holographic universe, Welcome to the Matrix, or if you are into Tina Turner and/or frankie goes to hollywood, "Welcome to The Pleasure Dome"

I was under the impression that the whole space elevator idea came about decades earlier, from Tsiolkovsky.

I read The Web Between the Worlds (by Sheffield) back in high school, and sometime thereafter became a bit of a Sheffield junkie.


Thank you for your kinds words, Lee.

"The space elevator is a primary sort of tool, a bit like the wheel. Once we make one and see how handy it is, no telling how many other uses we'll find for it."

Indeed. Another analogous technologies would be submarine cables - originally intended for data in the form of telegraphy, then hacked to carry voice and now (coming full-circle) carrying data again as we use them to browse the internet.

When you get down to it a space elevator is an economic hack - a way to reduce the transaction cost of transportation.

Doing that has always paid off in the past, and not just for the company that built the infrastructure; the Erie Canal fueled the growth of New York City (and the Ohio territory at the other end) enabling it to become the leading city in at least the Western Hemisphere. Of course the firms involved don't always survive but such is life.

"The biggest service this collection performs, and it does so with the help of the fiction it includes, is to make the whole project seem plausible and even realistic."

You have no idea how the existence of a book makes life a great deal easier when we pitch. Not going the self-publishing route helped, I think, as did the invaluable editorial skills of Mr. Fawcett, plus the cred having him aboard generates.

Still - being able to hand a copy to Newt Gingrich (or rather one of his assistants with the promise he'll put in in his 'to read' stack) or the director of NRL makes a huge difference.

"I was under the impression that the whole space elevator idea came about decades earlier, from Tsiolkovsky."

Turn of the 20th century, actually. Tsiolkovsky was looking at the then new Eiffel Tower and started speculating about a tower to space. It was thought up independently in the 60s by an American - one or both of those guys influenced Clarke and Sheffield.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.