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      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (130.1)
    Proving that real science can kick the shit out of fiction when it puts its mind to it, some University of California heads have proposed a scheme for an antimatter based gamma ray laser.

    The system is based on their new method of producing positronium molecules - positronium still being the most kickass concept ever realised by man, by the way - and could produce a gaser (gamma ray laser). For those unfamiliar with the electromagnetic spectrum, gamma ray photons are the ones in the leather jackets who kick you in the chromosomes so hard your grandchildren vomit blood.
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      CommentAuthorJaredRules
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (130.2)
    they also turn you into The Incredible Hulk!!!
    •  
      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (130.3)
    Hmmmm.... I want one. Backyard shed project, anyone?
    •  
      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007 edited
     (130.4)
    Mm. And I'm sure they're enjoying their military funding, but it just doesn't seem like a terribly viable system for a weapon -- not even a trigger. I mean, if I understand it right, we're basically talking about trapping bajillions (highly SCIENTIFIC terminology, yes) of positrons in something (relatively large and unwieldy), aiming the nozzle of that contraption at a tiny space, and hoping 1/200th of the ammo manages to grab an electron, bump into another one, and release some energy.

    And that's two guns before we even get to the aiming part. I mean, it's not going to stop me from putting the Goldberg Gamma Gun on my mantle, but it's just not going to be the weapon I reach for when the invaders land, y'know?

    (N.B. The above is all based on my admittedly limited understanding of the physics involved, and should in no way be taken as solid fact. And again, I still want one.)
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      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.5)
    Ariana: It's true that a lot of these projects get military funding (witness the recent Humvee laser, which could only look more like a Hasbro toy if it transformed), but I genuinely don't think this is a military project. The equipment you need to set up the population is far too bulky and, by nature, unminiaturisable. And it's not as if you can store Positronium for any length of time - you have to make it as you use it, so we're talking about buildings worth of equipment already. There are plenty of high energy experiments that could be accessed by a gamma ray laser.

    Besides, the one thing you wouldn't want to be carrying on a battlefield is a tank of antimatter.
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      CommentAuthorC.c.
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.6)
    This is juvenile, but seriously - a gaser?
  1.  (130.7)
    We must keep this weapon out of the hands of such nefarious villains as Chairface Chippendale.
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      CommentAuthorFredrik
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.8)
    One of these days the earth is just going to blink out of existence because some science project or other creates an unexpected quantum singularity in our backyard.

    My only regret is I won't be able to say "I told you so" afterwards.
  2.  (130.9)
    @hemlock
    This is a job for bi-polar bear... if only I could get out of bed.
  3.  (130.10)
    To Fredrik:

    Take heart! If time is cyclical, then you already have!
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      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.11)
    C.c. The first microwave based coherent emitter was a maser, then with visible light it's a laser. X-ray sources have been called Xasers (the name hasn't really caught on, despite being awesome). What's wrong with gaser?
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.12)
    ... because it's a 'gay'ser. Why d'you think he said it was a juvenile comment?
    •  
      CommentAuthoradamatsya
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.13)
    shows where my mind is - first thing I thought of was Gazerbeam, the skeleton superhero corpse in the underground cave in the Incredibles...
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      CommentAuthorC.c.
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (130.14)
    @Luke

    That makes me feel cheated when I wear my blazer. Yes, I'm warmer but SHOULDN'T SOMETHING ELSE BE HAPPENING?
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (130.15)
    I read about this in a science upsdates email a couple weeks back, which made sure to point out the possibly future military uses of this technology. I'm usually pretty desensitised to these things, but my first thought on this was "Do we REALLY need more ways to kill each other? The bullet doesn't make you dead <em>enough</em>??"

    *sigh* I'm going to go eat my own bodyweight in old car upholstery, now.
  4.  (130.16)
    C.c

    Perhaps install a Blu-ray drive in it?

    Or, if we're really going to get technical, perhaps work some Bio-Luminescent bits in, somehow?
    • CommentAuthorunclesean
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (130.17)
    This sounds really cool, but I'm not really clear on what the use of this would be. Can we use it to resurrect Ronald Reagan and blowup enemy missiles from Space? What about Gary Cooper?

    @adamatsya
    I was thinking the same thing.