Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?

(this is a hint)
The author of one of my favorite web comics, xkcd.com, takes a few minutes to hypothesize about what would happen if...

California designs a high-speed rail system

"Our business plan is predicated on having private operations after the initial system is built," [Dan] Richard [chairman of the rail authority board] said. "Turning the design of the system over to a private operator would have been a bad financial move for California taxpayers. SNCF's proposal was self-serving and not in the public interest."

California says that they know how to do it and don't need help from a world-class business that actually makes money in a country (France) that doesn't generally shy away from subsidizing businesses that can't make it on their own (Airbus and Minitel come to mind). 

Hmmm...  What could possibly go wrong.

(Click the articles' pictures to go to the original material.)

Directed Lightning Weapons!!

Very cool!

"If a laser beam is intense enough, its electro-magnetic field is strong enough to rip electrons off of air molecules, creating plasma ... The plasma channel conducts electricity way better than un-ionized air, so ... a high voltage source, the electrical energy will travel ...