99+% of people think it is a rude description of cold weather, and picture an anatomically correct or exaggerated statue of a monkey, cast in brass, and the testicles some how fall off.
The truth is back in the day a monkey was a plate with round holes in it, and you could stack cast iron cannon balls in a pyramid on the holes, if the monkey was made of brass, it has a different coefficient of thermal expansion to cast iron, so when it got very cold it shrank more than the cannon balls, and the cannon balls fell off as the pyramid collapsed.
Which brings me back to the previously mentioned HD forum and the oil filter thread, for my sins I pointed out that you NEVER pre fill any kind of filter, you fit it and bleed the system to fill it, that way you abso-fucking-lutely guarantee that nothing ever ever ever goes anywhere except through the filter medium itself.
So one guy says anyone who works on tier 4 diesels will know exactly what he is on about, everyone else takes the piss, been doing it pre filled for 40 years, maybe I should ride a british bike or a horse instead, yadda yadda yadda.
Fact 1, what I said was 100% correct.
Fact 2, 99+% of people pre fill the filter by hand.
99+% of people doing it DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
So… what can we learn from this?
well, tongue only slightly in cheek, we can learn that 99+% of people are stupid cunts, are proud of it, and have no intention whatsoever of changing any time soon.
It’s a *bit* like lasers, the science and technology isn’t actually all that hard to grep, sure, there is a whole load of real world practical stuff you’d need to learn that you possibly would not have thought of, but even that makes sense once you grep it.
So let’s look at lasers as death ray weapons, because it’s back…
Well, back when laser were just masers, some clever guy observed that creating a megawatt class laser wasn’t hard, nor was pointing it at a target, the problem was all the air in between the weaponised laser and the target, and you get something called “thermal bloom” which is like a huge muzzle blast of heat at the exit of the weapon, and bugger all energy making it down range to the target.
A notable exception to this is space of course, laser work well in a vacuum, just not a hollywood one, because they would not be green and red and blue and white, they’d all be invisible… vacuum see..
So while it is true that different frequencies have different atmospheric absorption properties, none of them are near as dammit zero, so none of them make megawatt class lasers practicable.
But, again, science, there is an exception.
You can buy commercial fibre laser modules for things like laser cutters and engravers, they tend to top out at around 100 watts so if you want 2 kw to cut thick steel you just mount 20 of them together and combine the beams, easier said than done, but still.
But, all of these fiber lasers tend to have one thing in common, you can alter the frequency of the pulses and you can alter the power of the pulses and you can do PWM etc, but you’re pretty much limited to 1 MJ per pulse.
I joule is of course 1 watt for 1 second, so a megajoule is 0.277 kwh, or 277 watts for an hour… but this is continuous power, say a third of a horsepower for an hour…. or a full horsepower for 20 minutes, or 20 horsepower for a minute, or 1,200 horsepower for a second, and my maths is drifting here, I’m about 10% low.
For reference 50 cal bmg is around 15,500 joules at the muzzle…. a one bar kilowatt fire for quarter of a minute.
So it’s a *reasonable* amount of power, and we can say that if a Bystronic 10 KW fiber laser can cut thick steel all day long, it will cut missile nose cones and jet aircraft engine pods all day long… except it won’t.
Targeting is just one issue, and you can indeed get galvo heads so fast and sensitive they can maintain a target lock on an aircraft 30,000 feet up and 60,000 feet downrange.
But without focused energy you aren’t going to do shit, and you only have to look at stars twinkling to know that focusing over large amounts of atmosphere is a *hard* problem, and it becomes n-hard when you are no longer just trying to get a sharp image for your camera, but are trying to focus a megawatt or so of laser energy, energy which is itself causing thermal bloom.
So essentially, ranged megawatt class laser weapons in atmosphere are a non starter, it’s an engineering problem akin to making a Nimitz class aircraft carrier fly… it’s not theoretically impossible, it’s just totally physically impossible and impractical.
But, when 99+% of people are assholes and want to stay that way, just say, “because science innit” and you’ll get funding to develop it and keep the pork rolling.
Or hyperloop, or small scale manned missions to mars that are only about 3x the size of Apollo, or dare I say it, draining the swamp.
I cannot speak for the USA as I do not live there, but I can speak for the UK, and it would be hugely erroneous to think that the UK swamp only extended as far as the outskirts of London.
It’s Everglades and mangroves and snowflakes all the way to the territorial waters, sure, the deepest and most primordial swamp my be Londinium only, but that shit has been spreading like cancer for 40 years, ain’t no part of this nation unaffected.
PS if this is all incoherent it’s because I am as drunk as a skunk.