Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Death Ray

I was pleased today to see my childhood vision of the future coming one step closer today. A laser system for shooting down aircraft has been demonstrated. A lot of my reading as a teenager was of books where people were torn apart by ravening death rays, so this is way overdue. Death rays existed before the laser, of course (the Martians in War of the Worlds had them), but that invention did give a focus to hopes of futuristic death. A pity then that the main uses of the laser turned out to be stuff like survey equipment and playing CDs.
Raytheon CIWS system
I notice that the artist's representation can't resist the cliche of a brightly coloured beam linking the laser to its target. To be fair though, the conscientious BBC journalist did note that this is rubbish.

I bet the range is, and will remain, rather short. You just can't get round that inverse square law.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coastal walk

Thought I'd post-blog this.

Last month, I went on a nice (though damp) coastal walk from Cockburnspath to Dunbar.

The main attraction near the start was Dunglass Collegiate church, looking enigmatic in the warm July drizzle. To us now, it seems an odd use of land and resources. Is praying for your soul worth that much? The middle ages thought so.

Later, we passed Torness power station. This is a lot more interesting than it sounds, as its builders have fallen over themselves in an effort to be cuddly and inoffensive and give you information boards to look at. The sea defenses use piles of specially cast "knucklebones", which give the whole thing a futuristic air. I could see it as part of an episode of Blake's 7.

My companions didn't seem interested when I mentioned this. Different generation, I suppose.

Perhaps some future walker will find this piece of land use as inexplicable as a collegiate church.