Wow, a Real Update

Once again this year I've let three months slip without an update to the main pages. Last time I had the excuse of extreme distraction. This time I've been working on pages . . . it's just that I can't seem to get any of them done.

Maybe I'm trying to make them too grand and over-arching (as opposed to the simple pages from back in the day). After all, my simple stuff ends up here at the blog. But even relatively straightforward pages, however thorough, seem to take longer. Maybe I'm just getting slower in my old age, but whatever it is it's rather cumbersome.

In any case, I do have some new stuff on the main site page at the moment, and there's more to come. I'm working on a large update of the comparison page, including stuff on Imperial firepower and Imperial power generation, both now to include information from RotS et al.



Paint it Black

While some deride nanotech as dangerous or mock proponents for supposedly massively exaggerating its potential, the fact is that a lot of really cool and unexpected things can be done with it.

An interesting example is black metal. By using a laser pulse to create particular nanostructures on the metal . . . any metal . . . the metal can be rendered totally black, absorbing virtually all of the EM radiation falling on it. (That's definitely the must-have paint job for your next Sith Infiltrator. I'd love to see Vader in totally-flat-black.)

Also of interest is the nanotech-based "thermal rectifier". A rectifier is a device in electronics that forces a single direction on a charge, converting alternating current into direct current. Using special nanotubes, researchers have found a way to force heat to go in one direction, as well, even if the direction is toward greater heat. This rather effectively reverses the idea of normal heat flow, and could lead to a vast reworking of how we think of heat. Right now the efficiency is rather low, but theory suggests that it can be boosted . . . which could lead to such interesting items as (unpowered?) refrigerators that don't use compressor-based cooling and computer processor heat sinks that really don't screw around.

The potential there is profound. One of the first things I thought about was armor. Imagine a hull plate with a plate of highly efficient thermal rectifiers below it, drawing heat away from the hull, with other similar devices sending the heat toward a point where it can be dispensed with in some way, such as an exit point on the hull or, to adapt Saxton's interesting sci-fi idea, a low-KE neutrino generator. This would minimize hull damage fairly well.

(Of course, Saxton naturally suggests that such a technology is how Star Wars weapons fail to demonstrate even so much as Hiroshima-esque kiloton-nuke blast effects even in supposedly-gigaton ship-destroying shots in atmosphere. A brief discussion on that appears at StarfleetJedi's forums, wherein I noted:

"The idea is one that is very good science fiction. However, it isn't Star Wars. As seen in the film, the beams cut into the core ship and knock it down. So in order for us to fail to see anything resembling even a Hiroshima-class event, we must assume that even as the hull is blasted away the system is still effective at absorbing and redirecting the energy into a neutrino surge, even though the beams are cutting into the ship and damaging flight-critical systems. Presumably the absorption occurs within the interior of the vessel as well, since of course a directed energy weapon in the megaton range (as claimed for the beams that shoot down the core ship) are able to impact within the interior of the ship without a hellacious blast flying out of the new hole, nearby windows on the hull, et cetera.

It is, of course, a daunting task to believe that even as the ship was being knocked from the sky its uberarmor system . . . where the armor and ship's innards had already been penetrated . . . would fail to fail, even a smidgen.")

Fingerprinting for Methuselah

Here's a little something I found unexpected. As it turns out, Leonardo da Vinci's fingerprints can be reconstructed now. All we have at the moment is his left index finger, though since he was left-handed this is more useful than it might otherwise seem.

Not only will this be a boon for historical research . . . if an interesting document's authenticity or authorship is in doubt or uncertain you can check for prints in some cases . . . but there's also something far, far less important to consider:

After reading the story, I recalled Janeway, in "Concerning Flight"[VOY4], deriding Kirk's claim to have met da Vinci (in the guise of Flint in "Requiem for Methuselah"[TOS2]), saying the evidence was less than conclusive. This implies that at some point, presumably after Flint's death, Kirk and company spilled the beans about him, but either refused to specify his location or else Flint had M-6 destroy his body and all traces of him. Or, a third possibility is that, still not trusting Kirk, Flint packed up and moved as soon as the Enterprise left, so that no matter when Kirk spilled the beans there wouldn't be anything left to find.

In any case, though, one wonders what happened to the tricorder scans. I find it hard to believe that they could've parted with the treasures they'd scanned . . . new da Vinci pieces and new Brahms works come to mind, not to mention the genetic code of an immortal human.

And if the tricorder had his fingerprints, so much the better.