China launches rival GPS satellite system (Update)

Dec 28, 2012 by Kelly Olsen
This file photo shows a China's Long March rocket blasting off from the Jiuquan launch centre in Gansu province, on September 29, 2011. China has launched commercial and public services across the Asia-Pacific region on its domestic satellite navigation network built to rival the US global positioning system.

China has launched commercial and public services across the Asia-Pacific region on its domestic satellite navigation network built to rival the US global positioning system.

The Beidou, or compass, system started providing services to civilians in the region on Thursday and is expected to provide global coverage by 2020, state media reported.

Ran Chengqi, spokesman for the Satellite Navigation Office said the system's performance was "comparable" to GPS, the China Daily said.

"Signals from Beidou can be received in countries such as Australia," he said.

It is the latest accomplishment in space technology for China, which aims to build a space station by the end of the decade and eventually send a manned mission to the moon.

China sees the multi-billion-dollar programme as a symbol of its rising global stature, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

The Beidou system comprises 16 and four experimental satellites, the paper said. Ran added that the system would ultimately provide global navigation, positioning and timing services.

The start of commercial services comes a year after Beidou began a limited positioning service for China and adjacent areas.

This NASA file image shows the Great Wall of China and Inner Mongolia, photographed by Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao on the ISS, on April 22, 2009. China has launched commercial and public services across the Asia-Pacific region on its own domestic satellite navigation network, built to rival the US global positioning system.

China began building the network in 2000 to avoid relying on GPS.

"Having a is of great strategic significance," the Global Times newspaper, which has links to the Communist Party, said in an editorial.

"China has a large market, where the Beidou system can benefit both the military and civilians," the paper said.

"With increases in profit, the Beidou system will be able to eventually develop into a global which can compete with GPS."

In a separate report, the paper said was seen as one of China's "strategic emerging industries".

Sun Jiadong, the system's chief engineer, told the 21st century Business Herald newspaper that as Beidou matures it will erode GPS's current 95 percent market share in China, the Global Times said.

Morris Jones, an independent space analyst based in Sydney, Australia, said that making significant inroads into that dominance anywhere outside China is unlikely.

"GPS is freely available, highly accessed and is well-known and trusted by the world at large," he told AFP. "It has brand recognition and has successfully fought off other challenges."

Morris described any commercial benefits China gains as "icing on the cake" and that the main reason for developing Beidou is to protect its own national security given the possibility US-controlled GPS could be cut off.

"It's that possibility, that they could be denied access to GPS, that inspires other nations to develop their own system that would be free of control by the United States," he said.

"At a time of war you do not want to be denied" access, he said.

The Global Times editorial, while trumpeting Beidou as "not a second-class product or a carbon-copy of GPS" still appeared to recognise its limitations, at least in the early stages.

"Some problems may be found in its operation because Beidou is a new system. Chinese consumers should ... show tolerance toward the Beidou ," it said.

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VendicarD
2.5 / 5 (13) Dec 28, 2012
So now we have 4 navigation systems, one from Europe, another Russia, now China, and of course the U.S.

None of these new entrants expect the U.S. to exist as a single nation much longer. Hence their need to produce an alternative.
alfie_null
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2012
... it will erode GPS's current 95 percent market share in China ...

I wonder what the other five percent is.

If the expected uptake doesn't materialize, I wonder if a law will be passed.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (13) Dec 28, 2012
four experimental satellites


Why bother with the spy satellites?

Google already shows you guys everything we have anyway, WITH a full 3-d street view feature, detailing where every single facility, both government and private, is located. You couldn't ask for better spies than Google.

That's okay though, I'm pretty sure the U.S. has space-borne lasers already. If it ever comes to a war, we should be able to shoot down their navigation system within a few minutes.

Of course, the Chinese might have lasers too, but I don't know. They are smart enough that unlike the U.S., they wouldn't tell us even if they did.

The U.S. has no tactical or strategic skill, since we tell our enemies what our super weapons are and how they work, while our enemies keep their secrets a secret. It's a pretty stupid country I live in, run by complete morons.
GSwift7
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2012
it will erode GPS's current 95 percent market share


Uh, GPS is free. There's no 'market' for GPS. This is entirely motivated by defense needs.

Some problems may be found in its operation because Beidou is a new system. Chinese consumers should ... show tolerance toward the Beidou system


It's almost worse than useless for its intended purpose, defense, unless it is 100% accurate. You wouldn't want to guide ships, aircraft or weapons with an unreliable navigation system. I'm surprised that they are still trying to get it working after 10 years of developement. Then again, GPS is extremely complicated and requires constant maintenance and adjustment in order for it to function. Not only do the satellites need adjustment on a minute by minute basis, the ground maps need to be adjusted periodically as well. The ground base stations that callibrate the GPS system move with the continents.
JRi
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2012
Good! I already get improved location by using both GPS and Glonas with Samsung Note. Hopefully this Chinese as well as European systems will be added to phones as well. The more satellites a phone can see, the better.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (12) Dec 28, 2012
The U.S. has no tactical or strategic skill, since we tell our enemies what our super weapons are and how they work, while our enemies keep their secrets a secret


We have weapons in most categories that cannot be matched by any other country. For example, we are in the process of upgrading our strike aircraft to third generation stealth with the JSF. Nobody else even has a first generation stealth aircraft. There's no need to keep something like that secret, since nobody has the money to develope their own version of it, or a counter strategy.

When you can establish total air dominance over a region in less than a week, with zero casualties, against the most sophisticated air defenses anyone else has, you have nothing to fear except WMD's and terrorists.

In the opening days of the 1st Iraq war, we faced top of the line Russian equipment. Mig29, T82, SA8, etc. and Iraq had the world's third largest armored force. They were neutralized in 1 day. Decimated in 1 week.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2012
While I agree that the United States military has absolutely zero competition right now I also think that it was ignorant to let stealth out of the bag fighting the Iraqi Army. Really? We needed to pull out that card to beat the Iraqis out of Kuwait? Personally I think not. I think we should keep things closer to our chest.

One of the biggest reasons (beyond the moral ones) we shouldn't have dropped the bombs on Japan is that we let the world know it could be done...period. We are so far ahead of everyone else it's silly to use our biggest cards playing in a "rigged" game. You don't need a howitzer to kill the mosquito on your arm.
GSwift7
2.8 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2012
None of these new entrants expect the U.S. to exist as a single nation much longer. Hence their need to produce an alternative


lol. I think you have the US confused with Canada. The only part of the US that talks about secession is Texas, and they have a legal ground to do so if they choose.

Here's the wiki page on Canadian secession movements:

http://en.wikiped...f_Canada

I particularly like this quote:

In 1990, just before the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, then-premier John Buchanan predicted Nova Scotia and the rest of Atlantic Canada would have to join the United States if the accord failed


Parts of England are having serious secession talks as well, and the European Union is in serious danger of falling apart due to the ongoing fincancial problems.

The US, on the other hand, has largely recovered from our recession, and the natural gas boom will accelerate that.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2012
We are so far ahead of everyone else it's silly to use our biggest cards playing in a "rigged" game


You really think the equipment that is on display to the public and even being sold to foreign countries, such as the JSF, is the best we've got?

For example, non-secret research into cloaking has gotten very close to being able to do some really amazing stuff. Imagine what the Pentagon might be keeping hidden in that area. Hypersonic aircraft. Airborn lasers. Stealth missiles and bombs? Do you think that we don't have a stealth nuclear missile? It's not public, but I'd be astonished if we don't have one.

Remote sensing is another area where nobody knows what our capabilities are.

You see, in today's wars, it's not only the weapons that matter. You can't successfully use a stealth attack plane without all the infrastructure behind it, such as satellite targeting, airborne refueling, secure global communications, etc. China with a stealth jet is still no match.
GSwift7
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2012
Continued:

Besides, large scale 'world war' scenarios are becoming increasingly unlikely. The major powers may have their differences, but mutual globalization of trade and finance is accelerating at an unbelievable pace. Countries are becoming so connected to each other and interdependent on one another that it is becoming increasingly beneficial that we all work together to ensure security and stability. Military action between the US and China would be nearly impossible at this point, and is getting more so every year. We depend on eachother for too many things for us to fight. Simply talking about a war would do so much damage to both sides that it is almost unthinkable, without even firing a shot.

It's similar to the mutually assured destruction of nuclear weapons, only its the food supplies, fuel supplies, metals, finished goods, financial services, communications networks, etc. rather than cities getting vaporized.
ScooterG
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 28, 2012
None of these new entrants expect the U.S. to exist as a single nation much longer. Hence their need to produce an alternative


lol. I think you have the US confused with Canada. The only part of the US that talks about secession is Texas, and they have a legal ground to do so if they choose.


Canada had better hope the US stays intact. Militarily speaking, Canada has been hiding behind Uncle Sam's coattails for a long, long time.

The libs on this forum are just typical libs - they stay in a constant state of panic, doom, and gloom. If scientists really want to study something that causes major harm to mankind and the environment, they should seek a cure for the mental disorder generally called "liberalism".
ScooterG
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 28, 2012
"You really think the equipment that is on display to the public and even being sold to foreign countries, such as the JSF, is the best we've got?"

Agreed.

One of the misinformation tactics employed by the US government is that of willingly looking like bungling buffoons. eg: releasing a known terrorist from Gitmo makes no sense, until you realize that we can follow him, listen to his conversations, learn about his plans, learn his contacts, etc - then kill him when we need to.

If we keep him in prison, we have to feed him, clothe him, doctor him, and we basically learn nothing of value.

I believe the Manning/wikileaks release of info was orchestrated by the US government. Manning is cannon fodder.
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2012
Why bother with the spy satellites?

Google already shows you guys everything we have anyway,

No it doesn't. Stuff that is flagged as 'sensitive' by countries is edited out in google maps.

I wonder what the other five percent is.

GLONASS (the russian GPS system), since it's the only other one operational at the moment. The european Galileo system isn't yet fully functional (first test sattelites are in orbit. Full deployment of all 18 sattelites is planned in 2014)

Hence their need to produce an alternative.

The need for an alternative is that it's never a good idea to be dependent on a monopolist that doesn't shy aways from cutting services for political or economic reasons. Especially if a lot of your own infrastructure (air travel, shipping, ... ) makes heavy use of that service.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2012
Nobody else even has a first generation stealth aircraft. There's no need to keep something like that secret, since nobody has the money to develope their own version of it, or a counter strategy.

That's actually not true. Some Asian countries have stealth right now and I believe both China and India are mass producing stealth fighters.

When you can establish total air dominance over a region in less than a week, with zero casualties, against the most sophisticated air defenses anyone else has, you have nothing to fear except WMD's and terrorists.

It doesn't do our troops any good, since idiot presidents and 4 star generals make the decision to fight urban warfare with infantry, getting thousands killed and tens of thousands severely wounded unneccesarily.

They were neutralized in 1 day. Decimated in 1 week.


I doubt it was top of the line, and I seriously doubt the Iraqi's had the level of training you'd expect from the Russians or China.
Lurker2358
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 28, 2012
Ok, and winning the Iraq wars 1 and 2 with very few casualties brought about little economic benefit to the U.S., because we don't take a reprisal from our enemies when we go to war, contrary to what a real strategist would do, and further, we spend hundreds of billions, even trillions, rebuilding the ENEMY army and infrastructure after the war...defeating the whole purpose of the war in terms of long term strategy.

If Ulysses Grant was President during the Bush senior years or the Bush Junior years, the U.S. would have bombed the hell out of Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia (all 4 of them were to blame for various reasons,) and then we would have taken all their oil for our own, because that is what would have made sense.

If you're going to fight a war, win the damn thing for REAL, not just "on paper" or in propaganda. And by God, make your enemies pay for the FULL COST of the war, in real assets.

We have IDIOTS making these decisions today.
Claudius
2.4 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2012
Use Google Earth to view some Chinese cities, and you will see where the U.S.A.'s wealth has gone. Then use it to view U.S. cities like Detroit. General Motors manufactures and sells more vehicles in China than in the U.S. The official policy of off-shoring American jobs is and has been a huge criminal conspiracy. The word "treason" is unavoidable.
Claudius
1 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2012
"For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
Page 405 of David Rockefeller's autobiography, "Memoirs", October 15, 2002 ISBN-13: 978-0812969733.
Modernmystic
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2012
That's actually not true. Some Asian countries have stealth right now and I believe both China and India are mass producing stealth fighters.


Untrue, and more important they have no way of detecting AESA radar systems where we can even with F-35s.

What they have is a low observable long range supersonic bomber (the J-20) in DEVELOPMENT which can be detected by our systems. Moreover the AESA radar they will be using can be tracked AND jammed by F22s and F35s currently...much less five years into the future when they MIGHT be starting to get them into service.
antialias_physorg
3.3 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2012
Since it seems rather trivial to detect 'stealth' aircraft its doubtful anyone will sink any more money into this technology. Nullifying the stealth effect has been done more than 10 years ago. No (additional) technology needed at all to do it, too. All you need is to have a country that uses mobile phones (which nowadays should include even the most backwater places). And since that infrastructure is distributed there isn't even a way to knock it out before the stealth craft swoop in.

http://www.telegr...ers.html

Stealth naval vessels may be a different issue, though (no mobile phone masts on the high seas). Several navies are investing in this (China has the 83 at last count, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, UK, India, Norway and France have some (the latter also exporting them to Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Singapore). The US hasn't yet finished construction on the first one (expected 2013-2015))
eachus
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2012
I'm pretty sure the U.S. has space-borne lasers already. If it ever comes to a war, we should be able to shoot down their navigation system within a few minutes.


AFAIK, the US does not have any orbiting lasers. What it did have is the ABL (Airborne Laser) YAL-1. Unfortunately the Obama Administration parked it earlier this year, and I don't know how much it would cost to put it back in operation four or five years from now. Yeah, pretty idiotic. The ABL is capable of shooting down short, intermediate, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, but it is a lot easier to melt a satellite in space as it passes overhead.

The advantage, of course, of the ABL as a system is not just that it can fly around to target satellites in multiple orbits, but the asymmetric advantage: the ABL has a lot more power available than a satellite, and is much harder to kill with lasers shooting down. (You would have to launch a missile a few miles from the ABL to have a chance to hit it.)
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2012
'Parking' the ABL was the only sensible thing to do. It's an idiotic weapons system.

It has enormous scramble times (and takes forever to get anywhere it would be needed), while the flight time of a ballistic missile is less than half an hour (and intermediate range missiles fired from subs much less than that)
The range of the laser was 300km (against solid fuel rockets) to 600km (against liquid fuel rockets) - both with the proviso that no minimal safety features are incorporated like reflective surfaces or giving the missile a spin. And then only during the 5 minute boost phase or the 2 minute descent phase (i.e. the ABL has to be at the right place at the right time)

Orbital sattellites (especially those for GPS) orbit at around 20000km which is WAY out of reach of such a laser (conversely space based lasers are useless for ground attacks or attacks on other sattelites. The ranges are just too enormous and the sizes of lasers you'd need WAY to costly to put into orbit.)
Howhot
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2012
The libs on this forum are just typical libs - they stay in a constant state of panic, doom, and gloom. If scientists really want to study something that causes major harm to mankind and the environment, they should seek a cure for the mental disorder generally called "liberalism".

In the mean time why you ignorant "conservatards" argue about the best way to teach creationism in schools, the billionaire Chinese communists just put up a full blown china encoded GPS system. You can read the liberal between my fingers scooterG treasonous tea-party looser.
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2012
Orbital sattellites (especially those for GPS) orbit at around 20000km which is WAY out of reach of such a laser (conversely space based lasers are useless for ground attacks or attacks on other sattelites. The ranges are just too enormous and the sizes of lasers you'd need WAY to costly to put into orbit.)


Wrong.

The atmosphere is the limiting factor in laser range, but once you are outside the atmosphere, a laser is not interacting with anything. The light travels on forever.

Military spy satellites orbit at an altitude of about 200 miles, which is well within the effective range of the weapon, and given some leeway for angular attacks within the footprint of the base of a cone with sides equal to the maximum range, we can see how the footprint of the weapon would be very large indeed, and vacuum does NOT count towards effective range.

This means a satellite laser with the COIL specs could have a footprint the size of the state of Texas, but orbiting the Earth.
d1492ay
4 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2012


Wrong.

The atmosphere is the limiting factor in laser range, but once you are outside the atmosphere, a laser is not interacting with anything. The light travels on forever.

Military spy satellites orbit at an altitude of about 200 miles, which is well within the effective range of the weapon, and given some leeway for angular attacks within the footprint of the base of a cone with sides equal to the maximum range, we can see how the footprint of the weapon would be very large indeed, and vacuum does NOT count towards effective range.


I am certainly not an expert in lasers, so correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't a beam lose focus over long distances? Even in a vacuum a laser beam would lose intensity over long distances.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2012
The light travels on forever.

However, lasers do not stay focussed forever. (Look up the terms 'Gaussian beam' and 'Rayleigh length')
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2012
I am certainly not an expert in lasers, so correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't a beam lose focus over long distances? Even in a vacuum a laser beam would lose intensity over long distances.


We're talking about a few hundred miles, not the opposite side of the solar system.

Losing a few percent isn't that big of a deal, because the secondary explosions and fires they cause will do damage anyway.

These lasers rupture the fuselage of rockets in flight, or detonate mortar rounds in flight.

If you aim this at the bridge of a ship, or the cockpit or gunwell of a tank, aircraft, or conventional gun on a ship, you will kill the inhabitants instantly, and fry the computers. This doesn't necessarily require as high of a temperature as directly melting or vaporizing the armor, because the heat will ignite gunpowder, or melt computer components at much lower temperatures, and will incinerate the senior officers at a mere fraction of the energy needed to burn metal...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2012
If you aim this at the bridge of a ship, or the cockpit or gunwell of a tank, aircraft, or conventional gun on a ship, you will kill the inhabitants instantly, and fry the computers.

I think you have a very romantic (read: hollywood/anime) view of what a laser is.

You might want to take a look at industrial lasers.
- what they can do (which is arguably cool but nowhere near miraculous)
- at what ranges (which are puny)
- and using what kinds of power (which is enormous)

Best way to attack a human with a laser is to shine it in his eyes. The eye focuses the beams on the retina and you fry it. Any other kind of application will just give you superficial burns or minor lacerations.

Even heavy duty industrial lasers can't instantly cut through limbs (maybe a finger) because the resulting steam quickly disperses the beam once it gets less than a few centimeters in.
(I once worked alongside a group developing lasers for surgical/bone cutting procedures)
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2012
Even heavy duty industrial lasers can't instantly cut through limbs (maybe a finger) because the resulting steam quickly disperses the beam once it gets less than a few centimeters in.
(I once worked alongside a group developing lasers for surgical/bone cutting procedures)


Military lasers are several times stronger than the strongest industrial lasers.

It has been specifically stated that if the beam of a THEL weapon crossed your arm it would cut it clean off.

http://www.youtub...wLJjzDJQ

HELLAD (wiki):

"The more powerful version will produce a 150-kW beam capable of knocking down missiles with the weight and size requirements for fitting onto fighter aircraft or a Humvee... ...A prototype is expected to be available by the end of 2012."

Just to put that in perspective, if the beam was a square meter footprint, it would be 150 times as energy dense as sunlight and would char a human. this is far more focused that than one meter.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2012
Lasers are huge. Their power requirements are huge. Creating laser light is a VERY inefficient process for strong lasers (actually CO2 lasers aren't that bad with 20percent efficiencies. But that's as good as it gets). The amount of energy storage you need to lug around for these suckers to get even one shot is enormous.

And they're strictly 'good weather' weapons. Unless you have weather manipulating machinery that's a bit of a gamble on a battlefield.

And to get back to the original point: There's a tiny difference between a test shot at a a few km range and up to (or down from) a sattelite up 20000km in orbit.
ScooterG
2.1 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2012
The libs on this forum are just typical libs - they stay in a constant state of panic, doom, and gloom. If scientists really want to study something that causes major harm to mankind and the environment, they should seek a cure for the mental disorder generally called "liberalism".


In the mean time why you ignorant "conservatards" argue about the best way to teach creationism in schools, the billionaire Chinese communists just put up a full blown china encoded GPS system. You can read the liberal between my fingers scooterG treasonous tea-party looser.


I missed mentioning that libs seem to be perpetually angry.

Howhot, generally speaking, I'm not an advocate of big-pharma medicine, but maybe a Valium would benefit you??
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2012
And to get back to the original point: There's a tiny difference between a test shot at a a few km range and up to (or down from) a sattelite up 20000km in orbit.


I already told you, It wouldn't be that far away anyway.

The real spy satellites are much closer than that in keyhole orbits: 200miles.

You don't want a spy satellite in geostationary orbit, silly, nor anywhere near that far away, because:

1, it won't have high enough resolution.

2, Because of 1 above, you want the spy satellite to be able to "strafe" the terrain and take high resolution images over the entire area, so you don't want it to be stationary.

3, Because of 2 above, a laser weapon on such a satellite has a natural "strafing run" on every orbit over an enemy territory.

WE also have that remote controlled space shuttle thingy, which is almost certainly a weapon, cuz I don't buy it being a spy satellite, and it can be in all sorts of orbits.
baudrunner
3 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2012


If China's GPS is as accurate as the West's, then they have the understanding of the temporal relativity of timing systems traveling at speed in the absence of gravity. Or, maybe they don't mind being thirty-seven feet off target. It's good to know that we're not.

@Lurker2358, are y0u just pretending to be stupid or what? Google's satellite and street view images are out of date the moment they are posted online. Are you thinking they're live? Whew.
GSwift7
2 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2012
Lurker,

Your views and opinions are very misguided most of the time.

In regard to the Iraqi army at the time of the first gulf war, they spent hundreds of billions in oil money and purchased top of the line gear from Russia, France, China etc. At that time, the SU27 and Mig29 were thought to be comparable to our F18 and F15. It turned out that we were able to easily shoot them down, but that was a bit of a surprise to some people.

As for the training of the Iraqi army, they were heavily staffed with experienced combat veterans from the Iran-Iraq war, with an experienced officer corps of professional soldiers. Some of them even trained at West Point here in the US.

At that time, they were probably the toughest military in the world after the US, Russia and China. But China and Russia are only dangerous because of large numbers (aside from the nukes). Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians haven't done a very good job of training and equipping though.
typicalguy
5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2012
None of these new entrants expect the U.S. to exist as a single nation much longer. Hence their need to produce an alternative


lol. I think you have the US confused with Canada. The only part of the US that talks about secession is Texas, and they have a legal ground to do so if they choose.

Here's the wiki page on Canadian secession movements:

http://en.wikiped...f_Canada

I particularly like this quote:

In 1990, just before the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, then-premier John Buchanan predicted Nova Scotia and the rest of Atlantic Canada would have to join the United States if the accord failed


Parts of England are having serious secession talks as well, and the European Union is in serious danger of falling apart due to the ongoing fincancial .

Texas does not have a legal right to leave the union. Maybe you're thinking of Texas' right to break into 5 states and have 10 Senators.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2013
I am certainly not an expert in lasers, so correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't a beam lose focus over long distances? Even in a vacuum a laser beam would lose intensity over long distances


The technical term is coherence. A laser will lose coherence over distance. There's an inverse relationship between the power of a laser and the distance it remains coherent, and it is an exponential relationship. This happens because a laser is made up of overlapping waves of light, in sync so that they amplify one another. The more power you want, the more waves you need to overlap, since there's a thermal limit to the power of emitters. Each time you add another overlapped wave, it multiplies the small differences between each wave. The law of diminishing returns applies here.

The laws of quantum physics place a finite limit on the ratio between power and effective range. Current generation lasers operate very close to this theoretical maximum efficiency.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
Actually the relevant term for a gaussian beam is the Rayleigh length zR (distance until the beam doubles in area)

This is dependent on the minimal beam width w0 (smaller aperture means shorter Rayleigh length) and inversly proportional to the wavelength (lambda).

By:

zR equals PI * w0*w0 / lambda

Example 1: A Humongous (very fictional) laser with 1 meter aperture with lambda 1nm (x-ray laser): zR = 3000km. But Xay lasers have abysmal energy efficiencies. Note that a 1 meter aperture is FAR greater than even the lasers at the NIF have, which fill entire buildings. (They have apertures of 12-25mm and produce laser light for only TINY fractions of seconds)

Example 2: Continuous industrial laser (CO2 laser for metal cutting): typically 4mm aperture. Lambda 10 micrometers: zR equals 5 meters. (remember: for every zR energy density drops by factor 4)

Well: You be the judge if that's a sensible weapon at great distances.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
Dammit...that should read:

Everey zR the energy density drops by a factor of 2. Not 4.
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 04, 2013
Actually the relevant term for a gaussian beam is the Rayleigh length zR (distance until the beam doubles in area)


That doesn't apply when you are building a laser weapon, because modern lenses can focus the waist of the beam far beyond the coherence length.

The coherence is actually a macroscopic manifestation of quantum effects. You actually run up against Plank's law when you try to make lasers in the 100kW range of continuous power. As the power of the laser increases, you lose control of the percentage of photons emitted at your desired frequency. This diminishes the coherence of your beam. Very low power lasers such as those used in telecommunications can stay coherent for about 100km. High power beams cannot stay in phase very far because they interfere with themselves more and more over distance. Larger amplitude waves have larger quantum variation, as stated by Planck's law.
Howhot
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2013
Your right G7 about the Iraq's army. Before Gulf 1, they were by best estimates the 4th largest army in the world; USA, Russia, China, Iraq. Quality wise, I would say they where 3rd world.

In regards to China, there is an old saying that goes; "Whoa to those that wake the sleeping dragon". I think they are fairly awake now. I for one, welcome my Chinese dragon wielding overlord friends.

The only thing the USA could do to really screw up things with china is for screw with the national debt, and if the Republicans decide to do that, I'm sure china will modify their monetary policy making them the global exchange rate anchor.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2013
The only thing the USA could do to really screw up things with china is for screw with the national debt, and if the Republicans decide to do that, I'm sure china will modify their monetary policy making them the global exchange rate anchor


That's an interesting point, and I agree mostly. They should have already done that, by any rational economic point of view, and they certainly already could have if they wanted to I think. The problem is that they don't want to. They are in a position right now where they actually benefit from keeping the US dollar as the anchor while they devalue their own currency. They are actually being very clever right now by not becoming the anchor. I've heard that the most likely reason they would think about changing that policy any time soon isn't because of anything the US may or may not do. They have a looming demographic crisis similar to the current US baby boomer problem, only bigger. They could re-value currency to help with that issue.