Stun the Imagination?
I don't know...I can imagine a lot...
Topflight boffins believe they may be on the track of the fabled room-temperature superconductor, a technology which - if achieved - promises to revolutionise various fields including hover trains, electric power, mighty dimension-portal atom smashers and even supercomputing. The new science relates to the study of copper- …
... the opposite would happen. If energy was 'free' then oil prices would drop drastically, and the OPEC nations would go bankrupt. In trying to stay afloat they would try to get rid of all the US dollars they currently hold for trading oil and all those dollars would have nowhere else to go but the US economy, greatly dropping the value of the dollar. Suddenly the world banks (http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt) would be dropping dollars as quick as they could and the world's biggest economy would be out of business.
The current global credit crunch would be a walk in the park by comparison.
...because it's the nature of new technological discoveries for them to become instantaneously ubiquitous worldwide and freely available for next to nothing the very picosecond the boffins finish writing up their "Eureka! We've cracked it!" paper.
Oh. Apparently that's NOT normally the case and any half-arsed energy corporate management team would see this technology coming a mile off and start buying into it. Diversification isn't unusual in major multinationals.
Finding oil, sucking it out of the ground without dribbling it all over our nice, clean, oceans, carting it around the planet, then selling it to people who want to set fire to it is rather expensive and silly. Far better to sell it to people who want to use it to make plastic bags, bubble-wrap and those annoying blister packs that can't be opened without a chainsaw. Even with lots of clean, free energy, there'll still be a big market for hydrocarbons, so the oil wells won't be disappearing overnight.
Looks like those cable thieves (the non-electrocuted ones anyway) must have had a leg up on this information.
1) Steal copper cables
Looks like 2 was "Wait for boffins to invent copper oxide based superconductors"
Pretty amazing stuff anyway, might also be able to store huge amounts of electrical energy in superconductive inductive coils (or rather in the magnetic fields around them), which could replace battery tech.
Q14) Your sonar operator has suddenly discovered a new enemy target at close range. They have identified it as a "Canopy" class attack gazebo. How should you respond?
a) Change heading to a collision course with the target and accelerate to ramming speed as soon as practical. It is only a gazebo and therefore offers no threat to your vessel.
b) Engage the target using appropriate and proportional force. For example, a high-explosive Mark IV Picnic Table with a 30 second delayed fuse.
c) Your sonar operator has mis-identified the craft due to its pseudo-gap superconductor derived magnetic sheilding. It is in fact the much larger, and more deadly "Pavillion" class. Command your helmsman to take appropriate evasive action and deploy weevil based countermeasures.
d) Cower in fear at the mere thought of a submersible stealth attack gazebo.
There are already superconductors up to 100K or so, whereas space is pretty cold (below 3K) so you should be able to have your magnetic forcefield for interstellar travel already. Of course, there could be one or two other issues but it doesn't look as though the superconductors will be the problem.
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Not very practical for electricity transmission until it still works on the hottest sunny day, say >40C in some parts of the world.
Imagine the catastrophic failure when everyone turns on their aircon at just the same time as the power cables stop being superconducting.
No coat, mine's the sunhat.
Crikey, alien technology getting a move on ..... and Magical Mystery Turing? You do realise though that IT is All about messing around with Primitive Human Perception delivering Novel and Noble Apps in a Server-side HTML embedded scripting language ..... for Virtual Machines/Programmable Robots.
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If they succeed in making room temp superconductors, it will probably be the defining advance of this century, much as electrical generation and transport defined the last. This is disruptive technology in a much truer sense than "convergent devices." I wish all the scientists in this area the very best of luck.
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I thought the big discovery about 10-15 years ago with superconductors is that there was a magnetic feedback effect in proportion to the energy transmitted? Start shoving large amounts of power through a small wire and it generated enough of a magnetic field that it started generating a counter-current that shut down the superconductivity? Still means you can super-conduct, you just can't do it with a power line the size of a hair.
On the plus side, if loss-free energy transmission technology was developed it would be the cost-savings justification needed to largely rebuild the US power grid, as well as power grids elsewhere... something that is desperately needed.