I’m on a boat! With a laser! Strapped to its head!

by Jason on May 5, 2011 · 0 comments

I majored in physics, but I didn’t take Frickin’ Lasers 302 or whatever it was called after a bad experience with optics, so most of this post is conjecture.  But it’s also kinda cool.  And kinda scary.

The newest thing I know, as of today, is this: boats with laser weapons.  The video below of a recent demonstration is just an inkling of the potential destruction, but it hides the fact that the ray gun was actually on another boat that was a mile away.

To me, this solves one part of the problem (lasers are big, but so are ships, and I imagine lasers require lots of cooling, but ships have access to lots of water) but adds a new element (lasers travel at the speed of light and in a straight line, while ships bob up and down and so do their targets, making sustained precision difficult.)  From the look of the video, it seems like the challenges are being well met.

So this new thing tells me that we’ll see a lot of, well, near future sci-fi writers spinning tales of boat laser innovation, and then some craziness.  Waterfront property is still highly valued, but there’s a growing awareness of the threat of global warming rising the sea levels, so I’d imagine that waterfront property on a hill would be more treasured, because my knowledge of physics gives me license to theorize about real estate.  Anyway, now waterfront property with a clear line of site to the floating death ray?  Less valuable, says I, and more reason that cities will move underground.

Oh, and lots of stuff will get blowed up with esplosions and there’ll be more fear of esplosions from floating battle stations.  And people will go on about the American forefathers not anticipating boat lasers when they wrote the amendment about guns, even though it sounds like something cavemen would talk about, because on an “as long as nobody ever makes one” basis, it seems pretty nifty.  Until they make one.  Can someone do some curvature of the earth math to figure out what the closest distance to land would have to be for a target to be viable at or around sea level?  I’m going to be out back with the shovel.

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