posted on May, 15 2008 @ 02:37 AM
Actually, such a technique, *if even possible*, would be hundreds, if not thousands or millions of times less energy efficient than simply pushing
boats around by having them push water around with propellers. Doing so is far more efficient than using directed energy to change the surface tension
of water, and it's far, far more efficient than tesla's original idea of turning the stratosphere as a plate of a world-capacitor. Furthermore, I'd
say it's almost certainly a horrible idea on many levels, not least of which is the direct threat it would pose to all the multicellular life on
earth that doesn't live on the ocean floor and eat chemicals.
First: He's suggesting we electrify the ENTIRE EARTH'S STRATOSPHERE. And people on ATS worry about the HAARP project. If they think that
piddling little setup could cause any major effect, imagine what the class of machine it'd take to charge the entire atmosphere as a capacitor would
do? I'm not the type who worries about HAARP, but a machine that lights up the sky, the entire world over with electric arcs? That's the point at
which we'd have to seriously worry about a significant portion of the world's breathable oxygen being turned to ozone, and everyone dying from the
UV radiation created by the effect.
And I'll have you know that all that energy that's lighting up the sky is being wasted. And being an electric arc, it isn't just visible light
either. It will run all the way from radio to UV.
Oh, and I hope you don't mind never being able to use a radio or broadcast television again. Honestly, I'd put good money on a system that turns the
atmosphere into a kind of parallel plate capacitor that ships and planes and cars and such can tap into for power would probably kill all electronics
that aren't specially hardened against EMP.
Now, air is a pretty good insulator. Or at least an OK insulator. It depends on the humidity, pressure, etc. But it's not a great insulator. This
system would be horrendously lossy. Unbelievably so. Like, on the order of less than one tenth of one percent. Even a crappy car can reasonably hope
for 20% efficiency at the wheels. Not to mention that it would take several times as much power as the entire world uses today. Even with all the
power everyone on earth uses directed to the goal, I don't think we could maintain a usable potential difference between the stratosphere and the
Finally, all the power is going to come from solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, nuclear, wind, coal, biomass, wood, oil, or natural gas power plants.
Mostly coal, nuclear, and natural gas, anyway. At the sizes ships come in, turbines on power plants won't be much more efficient than the turbines on
ships. Wind, and solar, of course, don't pollute, and nuclear is almost as clean as that. But the overwhelming majority of power comes from coal
(except in certain parts of Europe)
You'd be better off using something like a huge vaccuum bearing'd flywheel to store electricity from a land based power plant and using that to
power ships for short trips. Or, if you want to be far fetched, beaming down solar power from space with microwaves onto the ship. Or using sails. Or
fixing yokes to domesticated whales and having them pull you around. Or just about anything, really. I'm rather a pro-science kind of person, but
really, it's not every day you run into an idea that could accidentally cause mass extinctions when being used properly for peaceful uses.
Honestly, If I wanted to do away with over the road trucking (seriously, I do. It's so wasteful), I'd just build more rail. Diesel hybrid
locomotives would be quite efficient, and we all know trains can pull quite a bit of stuff around.
Furthermore, if your idea has a control station on either side of the ocean beaming power at ships, you'll be warned that if you plan on doing this
in a fashion that makes any sense at the ridiculous power levels involved, you're going to have to have line of sight with the ship. Which is a
little hard to do considering how round the earth is.
I have to give props to Tesla, the man was brilliant. He was practically the basis of my entire field of engineering before the 60s. He had some
brilliant ideas to his name. AC generators, motors, transformers. Radio, even. But he was certainly a dreamer. Many of his ideas were vastly
overstated in their capabilities. His turbine, for instance. Classy, yes. Clever, yes. Noteworthy in performance? No.
Many more of his ideas were simply unworkable. His death/peace ray, for instance. It was startlingly similar in concept to a weaponized particle beam,
which still have yet to be made, and could very well be useful. But the invention itself would have been worse than useless, giving everybody around
mercury poisoning, and never doing a thing to. Decent for science fiction, but unworkable in real life.
This idea is clearly unworkable, and even if workable, it would pose a major threat to life as we know it. Tesla was one of the first to put serious
effort into solving the problem of wireless power transmission, but he and all his successors to this very day have met with nothing but mediocre
results at best.