Electromagnetic Railgun

Submitted by: madest 6 years ago in

USNavy tests a railgun. As cool as this is, it"s a giant waste of taxpayer money.
There are 113 comments:
Male 620
You can blame the fact we dont have people living on mars right now on people that are against this research.
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Male 3,482
[quote]Load it up with a telephone pole, and spear of God their asses![/quote]
YEESSSS!

As you may have guessed from previous posts of mine... I LOVE the Rods from God idea, lol.
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Male 3,482
lol @ madest, he can`t come up with an argument because he`s a retarded partisan who just got actual facts thrown at him.
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Male 10,338
@barber:

Let`em bitch.

If it doesn`t cause fallout, then they can suck my ass. Load it up with a telephone pole, and spear of God their asses!
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Male 102
If they make a railgun powerful enough to be substitute to nukes, I have no doubt that it would end up classified as a WMD. Hence, it will probably end up being banned. Also, since the railgun isn`t quite a "conventional" weapon, it currently falls into a gray area. Odds are since we`re the only country with a decently functional prototype, everyone else will bitch until it gets banned from such uses.
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Male 3,482
[quote]Actually, that part has yet to be signed by ANY country, so as it stands, only nuclear weapons and WMD`s are prevented.[/quote]

Continuing on this, it`s called the Space Preservation Treaty, as an extension to the Outer Space Treaty, and while some NGOs and individuals, particularly in Canada, have SUPPORTED it, no countries have actually SIGNED it. There`s a MASSIVE difference, dumbass.

Besides, I highly doubt treaties like this will stand once we`ve actually reached the point of being a space-faring species. For a LOT of reasons. Peace on Earth and all that crap, but what happens if something else out there doesn`t like Earth?
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Male 3,482
[quote]What you and the moron before you don`t seem to grasp is the only place that THIS PROTOTYPE could be mounted on is a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.[/quote]
You just contradicted your own point by saying that this is a PROTOTYPE. In other words, THEY`RE WORKING TO MAKE IT BETTER. In other words, it`s only a small part of the process of research and advancement of the technology, which could and will eventually prove highly useful. In other words, it`s not a waste of money, because eventually it will be making money.

[quote]You saw WMDs and nuclear but if continued reading you would have seen that the treaty was expanded upon to include all weapon systems[/quote]
Actually, that part has yet to be signed by ANY country, so as it stands, only nuclear weapons and WMD`s are prevented.

Lrn 2 check facts.
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Male 10,338
The Outer Space Treaty represents the basic legal framework of international space law. Among its principles, it bars States Parties to the Treaty from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or to otherwise station them in outer space. It exclusively limits the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military bases, installations, and fortifications (Art.IV). <b>However, the Treaty does not prohibit the placement of conventional weapons in orbit.</b> The treaty also states that the exploration of outer space shall be done to benefit all countries and shall be free for exploration and use by all States.

dratSTICK!
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Male 10,338
"AJ, as barberthe pointed out we have treaties that won`t allow for space based weapon systems."

Conventional is allowed. Nuclear and WMD are not.
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Male 5,194
Doesn`t need a nuclear reactor. Madest doesn`t understand the difference between power and energy.
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Male 10,338
"In fact the only place this waste of tax dollars could ever be mounted is on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier"

Until they figure out how to make it smaller (which they will). Then it can be mounted on:

A satellite, A destroyer, A mobile armored vehicle, in a silo, etc....

It can be used for:

War, space exploration, delivering satellites into deep space, fast travel on Earth, etc.
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Male 620
"needs to be within feet of a nuclear generator"
Protip - The us has a navy powered by nuclear reactors.

you`re pretty ignorant if you think superconductivity is the only thing learned from these kinds of tests.

Besides, do you really think its going to be cost effective if/when we hang out on the moon on a regular basis a day to use chemical rockets to reach lunar orbit?
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Male 10,338
"This is a job for private industry not the Navy."

Private industry cannot afford it.

This is one area where government spending is warranted. Research to make our lives better.
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Male 1,834
lame
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Male 1,548
@Madest
Putting it on hold = scrapping it.
Where I think your misunderstanding lies is that you think that the money is being spent on the gun as a whole. The money is really being spent on "making superconductivity becomes a reality or inventing some other form or power supply". It is, in a sense "on hold", because what they are really working on is the superconductive materials and other technologies.
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Male 58
@madest If everyone took your point of view, we would all be living in mud huts using smoke signals as communication.

That`s the point of research. TO FIND A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM.

People have said in the past that trying to go into space was a waste of money, and now look at us. Satellites doing useful jobs. Numerous technologies coming out of it, that we now use in our own homes. Plus not to mention PROGRESS.

I would rather pay extra taxes so the Government can do research into new technologies than to pay less but slow down progress.
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Male 1,548
@madest
Without money, it won`t be overcome. Wow isn`t that simple.
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Male 3,482
[quote]@ Volsunga, That`s my point. Until that`s overcome this is a waste of taxpayer money. Wow isn`t that simple?[/quote]
Seriously, you have NO IDEA what you`re talking about, do you?

They have the rail-gun, so where do you think the f*cking money is going now?

You`re skull is too thick for actual reason and logic to penetrate, isn`t it? Been wearing a hard-hat so long it`s actually fused with your head, hasn`t it?
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Male 3,482
[quote]Instead of attacking everything I say think about what I`m saying because clearly you`re too dense to understand me.[/quote]
No, I think you`re just too retarded to understand the concept that sometimes money can go to multiple places at once.

The money being spent on this WHOLE PROJECT isn`t just going into making the rail-gun itself. They have it already. It`s ALSO going into making it practical.

I.e. They`re most likely doing research into superconductors and the like AT THE SAME TIME.

You don`t hear about that, because it`s boring. You hear about this because A) it`s cool, and B) it`s pretty obvious when they test it.

As for putting one in space... Like I said, Kinetic Bombardment system. Rods from God. Drop a telephone pole from space. And it doesn`t even violate the Outer Space Treaty because it`s considered a "conventional weapon," albeit gravity-based.
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Male 1,548
@Madest
The point I was getting at the first three times is that the money budgeted for the railgun project is being spent on "overcoming superconductivity at normal everyday temperatures". That`s the roadblock they have before this can advance further, so that is what the money is being spent on. That is how research projects like this work. Seriously, what do you think they are doing with the money?
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Male 267
"Instead of attacking everything I say think about what I`m saying because clearly you`re too dense to understand me."

Rofl, you don`t agree with my opinion so you`re clearly just plain dense. Awesome debate skills. Idc about this useless argument but that was too funny to leave alone.
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Male 1,548
"Until someone can figure out a way to harness an enormous amount of power in a significantly smaller device this will remain a pipe dream."

again, why the f*ck do you think they are spending money to research it? That`s the whole f*cking point. Do you seriously think that the entire budget for the project goes into the building of the device? F*ck no, the budget goes into experiments to make it smaller and more efficient. From what it looks like, there`s maybe about $2 Million worth of parts in that thing, which is a minute fraction of the project budget.

Please, stop with the luddite fallacy, you`re not impressing anyone.
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Male 102
DickenMcHunt, it could, but what would it be fired from? We can`t forget the conservation of momentum. If it were mounted on a modern spacecraft or satellite, the craft would be torn apart when the projectile was fired(not to mention thrown out of orbit). This is a result of these objects being made as light as possible in order to make them easier/cheaper to put into orbit.

In order to use this as an orbital weapon(which is against the Outer Space Treaty anyway), you`d have to have something with approximately the same mass as a modern battleship to make this effect negligible. A more practical method of using this from space would be to build the railgun on the moon(preferably underground). Again, this is against the aforementioned treaty. Possible, but far from practical(at the moment, at least).
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Male 5,194
>>something that needs to be within feet of a nuclear generator.
>>I know lots about railguns and their power requirements.

I don`t think you even know the difference between "power" and "energy".
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Male 10,855
@mvanglid

In time yes. Granted the way it is right now it`s VERY impractical. Ideas sometimes takes generations to become practical, but they eventually do. The idea of a rail gun has been around since the beginning of this century.
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Male 106
Does anyone else feel as though madest is a noob for this?

I do
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Male 587
I think you are clueless.
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Male 587
The amount you know about this could fill a thimble you are guessing and pulling stuff out of your ass. A little research into the subject would make you feel really stupid.
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Male 587
I wonder how many people complained about gun being a waste of money to research? Now look at us everyone owns one and they are not expensive to make weird how some research and development can be put to good use. Just cause you cannot see the good in it now does not mean it isn`t there. With this new rail gun they will learn more about how to use electricty to fire guns soon it will become more effective and cheaper then now. A little patience and some confidence in the people who have been developing and test a majority of your electronics and computers goes a long way. I give it ten years before they have a hand held rail gun.
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Male 587
Cannot be moved? Really dismantling something like this and putting it on a ship to take the place of a conventional cannon would be better in the long run. Even it if cannot be moved then who cares they can build another one on a ship instead, they have to have one to test anyways. The money saved on explosives used to propel the projectiles in our current weapons will save the money spent on building testing and mass distributing these things. Modern Aircraft carriers are Nuclear powered and make their own electricity therefore there would be no extra cost incurred for using this weapon. Awesome idea can`t wait to see it on all of our ships.
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Male 7
Madest

Did you just graduate from trade electric? 750MCM ampacity is more like 535A. (THHN of course) And how did you deduce what size they were anyway? I can`t tell. And the superconductors. We discovered that in 1911. (well, almost, within about 1/100 of 1 amp) All you need is a good conductor, like silver and really freakin cold temps.
BUTT.... putting it all together to form a totally bad ass super weapon that you can carry around, we have not.
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Male 487
you got to start somewhere madest... The first computer filled a large room for drat sake and basically ran a `hello world`
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Male 487
This is not a waste of money...
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Male 527
@Cajun, do you honestly think that this will be safer? When you store lots of energy in small spaces, there is always danger, regardless of the method used. Yes, gunpowder, TNT, C4, etc. are all dangerous. But so is the tech for storing electrical energy. Ever had a car battery blow up on you? It happens. Or did you already forget about Dell`s battery recall due to the fact that laptop batteries were catching fire when overheating? Then there`s all the failure modes for the mechanical and wiring aspects.

Anyway I look at this, I truly believe this money could have been better spent on developing other tech.
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Male 25,417
Cool but meh...
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Male 58
Calling this a waste of money is like calling research into renewable resources a waste of money.
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Male 44
\This is why I disagree with it being a waste.
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Male 1,299
Correct me if I`m wrong but a railgun shooting an object from outer space towards the surface of the earth would have the energy potential to cause devestation equivalent to a bomb without the need for a pilot, a submarine, or a ship- and the ammunition could really just be a massive piece of steel and ceramic.

A-Bomb power without the fallout is what I seem to remember them saying, on the Science Channel, nor the need to handle expolsive or dangerous materials.
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Male 1,505
Calling it a waste of money at this point is premature. I`ll reserve judgment until I see what becomes of this.
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Male 179

"They are using existing military expenditures to research this. They aren`t using extra money on it.

Understanding economics fail."

Using up their huge amount of allotted taxpayer money that they don`t need so that their percentage of the budget stays level or increases.

Understanding real-world economics fail.
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Male 158
maelstrom X: completely wrong, do your homework
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Male 10,855
@Maelstrom_x

Do you know how dangerous transporting gunpowder? With further research can have a smaller power source for this thing. Once that`s done there will be no need to carry around shells which, albeit given enough energy, can explode.
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Male 1,882
"As cool as this is, it`s a giant waste of taxpayer money. "

Couldn`t disagree more.
---------------------------

What makes you disagree?

Such a weapon as this is not feasible to use in war. We have bombs that can do far more damage without the crippling need for a huge energy source and a gigantic piece of hardware to lug with it. Missiles can be launched from ships and guided or from airplanes/drones much more efficiently. About the only thing this thing has an advantage to over a bomb or guided missile is that it is nearly impossible to stop with an interceptor missile or even detect in advance before it has already done its damage. Is this thing impressive? Of course. Is it really worth spending more money on, either to develop, test, and/or maintain? No, I can`t say it is.
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Male 10,338
"We have a way of justifying scientific research when it goes towards death and destruction."

They are using existing military expenditures to research this. They aren`t using extra money on it.

Understanding economics fail.
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Male 2,424
"As cool as this is, it`s a giant waste of taxpayer money. "

Couldn`t disagree more.

BTW- awesome vid.
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Male 2,868
"We have a way of justifying scientific research when it goes towards death and destruction. Our leaders in turn complain that grandmas social security check is too much. Even though they took her money for 60years straight. Where`s the scientific research towards balancing the budget?"

This.
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Male 527
Kula, I don`t know how practical that could be. You`d need a rather long tube, for one. Trying to build something like that would require immense support. You`d be better off tunneling into a mountain for the tube, preferably Mt. Chimborazo in the Andes. After that, then it`s a matter of electrical generation, buying the copper necessary to power it (because achieving escape velocity is no small feat), etc. Or, we can look to see if we can get there through carbon nanotube development to make a space elevator. There are issues there, granted, but the energy required to operate the elevator will be a fraction of what will be required to operate the railgun.
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Male 10,338
Imagine firing one of these off FROM space. You could achieve maximum velocity for minimal fuel cost.

Wanna go to Mars? Take a shuttle to a station in low earth orbit, then strap into a capsule fired by one of these. Trip time? 1 day lol.
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Male 661
This is a cool event, and I don`t think I`d call it a waste of money. It is completely useless now, and will be for a long time. Bombs, missiles, and the myriad of other military weapons do a better job, at a lower cost.

I`m one of those people (or idiots as some may call us) who believe that scientific and engineering discoveries are never a waste of money, knowledge is priceless. Plus this line of research does have non military possibilities; long distance mass transit, space travel, and hundreds of things we haven`t thought of yet.

Besides which is more fun, bitching about the problems, or dreaming about the possibilities?
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Male 2,402
It`s not a waste of Tax money. It`s a hell of a lot cheaper than surface to surface missiles.
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Male 527
I-is-bored, no, all electricity generation has a by-product of heat. Burning fossil fuels? Obviously heat generating. Nuclear fission? Heat is a definite by-product and requires water for cooling. Anything that turns a turbine (which is necessary for generating electricity) causes friction, and thereby creates heat. You can`t get around the fact that in order to generate power, you also must also lose energy, almost always in the form of heat. That`s the second law of thermodynamics.
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Male 527
Volsunga, they DID make better microchips. That`s what made your better computers. Furthermore, there haven`t been any real "eureka" moments in electricity in the past 100 years unlike the utilization of transistors in place of vacuum tubes in computers in the past 50. And you state that necessity is the mother of invention. While that is true, it would seem that the development of metamaterials (such as room temperature superconductors, carbon nanotubes, etc) should be far more pressing. Superconductors can not only power this type of weapon, but they can also lighten naval ships, making them faster and more fuel efficient. The technology can then be sold to private corporations in order to replace the existing electrical grid. This gun is sort of like Charles Babbage`s first computer language. You can`t use it yet, and chances are, when you can, it will be either useless or rendered irrelevant within a short time.
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Male 3,482
[quote]now point it down. lets see what breaks first. a chunk of earth or the gun[/quote]
Why waste a perfectly good rail-gun doing that when one could just produce a Kinetic Bombardment system. A.K.A. "Rods from God," lol.
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Male 159
There are practical uses for this, like launching people into space. Acceleration would be over a longer period though.
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Male 2,419
"To be able to generate that much electrical energy, a great deal of heat must be generated"

Ya, if you limit your definition of generating energy to burning stuff and then failing to absorb all the energy released.
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Male 57
now point it down. lets see what breaks first. a chunk of earth or the gun
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Male 2,441
Very cool in my opinion
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Male 1,548
@mvangild
Necessity is the mother of invention. Engineering is about making trade-offs, given time, all problems are minimized due to the switching out of old parts for new. A good deal of money is put into improving the parts so we can make those trade-offs, which includes your superconductors. It`s just like saying "Why work on a better computer? we need to work on better microchips!" They aren`t just sitting on their asses waiting for other people to invent better parts, they are actively improving them with the whole as the end goal. More than that though, engineering is about finding ways around problems. That takes research.
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Male 10,338
drating railguns! How do they work?!

Once we find out, our military budget will be sliced in half!
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Male 527
And to those of you who believe that the problems can be "engineered away easily", you obviously don`t have engineering degrees. I do. Engineering is about trade offs, about taking one problem to help to minimize another problem. The engineering issues with railguns are huge, especially since they take so much more power than originally thought.

So, to all of you shouting down madest because he doesn`t think this is such a good idea, maybe you should be asking yourselves, "why work with this when we should be working on other tech that can present so much more benefit at an equal cost?" What could that be? Let`s start with better body armor for our troops, better targeting equipment in order to prevent another tragedy like when the Reuters reporting crew were mowed down, developing superconductive materials to make our equipment more efficient, and maybe even remote controlled robots to send into dangerous situations.
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Male 527
So, why are so many people here for this thing? Because it is cool? Because somehow it will make life better, or will save soldiers` lives? Let`s face it, the electrical energy required to make that thing work is far more costly than the chemical energy needed to send a projectile the same distance. To be able to generate that much electrical energy, a great deal of heat must be generated, thereby adding to the current climate crisis (not future, current). The only other thing we can tackle in this is the production and transfer of electricity: superconductors. So, why the f*ck are we putting the cart before the horse? The superconductor should have been developed long before this tech should have been looked at. This is not science you see. This is a lot of flash, a lot of bang, but no science.
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Male 330
Bee tee dubs, just because someone is a creationist doesn`t mean they`re anti-science...

This gun could significantly change warfare. You really don`t even need explosives with this thing. Bunker busting capability from miles away is nuts.

And to the spending bit, this is something the government is constitutionally allowed to spend on, not like the other crap (museums, research for fish breeding patterns etc.). Military falls under appropriate spending.
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Male 3,482
@Volsunga

Thank you for wording it better than I ever could have.
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Male 295
This may have been brought up before, but think about how huge and expensive computers were when they were just getting started. Can you imagine what would have happened if they just said "It`s too expensive, damnit. Let`s just trash it". Things like this will save the lives of our troops.

On a side note, I also made one of these on my own. Wasn`t quite as powerful...
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Male 422
@volsunga

Well said. Bravo. Especially the part about madest being an ignorant bigot.
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Male 1,548
@Madest
"You`re for it, I`m against it. I won`t change you you won`t change me."

So you`re an ignorant bigot? You could change my mind if you present a reasoned argument instead of appeals to ignorance and emotion. The argument isn`t circular, it`s one sided. A circular argument is when you use a conclusion to justify a premise. What is happening here is that I`m talking to a wall. I might not change your opinion, but at least I can educate the lurkers.
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Male 3,482
[quote]I`m practical, You`re impractical.[/quote]
No, I`m looking at the potential positives of this in the future, you`re looking at the (soon-to-be-eliminated) negatives of this in the here and now.

Again, like Volsunga said, why do you think research is being done, you dumbass? So it can sit there and look pretty?

No, so it can be made more practical and efficient. So that his research and money spent will be justified. Because, otherwise, we shut this down and everything we`ve done so far goes to f*cking waste.
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Male 3,482
[quote]They know what it`s supposed to do. They know, technically, how to do it. What they work on, then, is taking the idea and making it real and practical. It`s how science works, in case you can`t figure that out.[/quote]
Also, somewhere along the line, they realize that whatever they are working on has other uses than it`s intended one.

For example, the microwave. Initially, it was used for communication. One day, a guy discovered that the microwave-producing machines he was working on had melted a chocolate bar in his pocket. He started experimenting with popcorn, from there he forced the microwaves into a metal box and *ta-da* he was able to heat food in the high-density electro-magnetic field he produced.
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Male 1,548
@Madest
"It`s takes up too much space. Requires too much electricity to even be considered practical."

Why the f*ck do you think research is being done? Those pitfalls can be engineered away easily. Most of them already have been. If we were spending money to mass produce huge monstrosities like this prototype, then I would understand your concern, but that`s not what they are doing in any sense. The money is being spent making this smaller, more energy efficient (not much of a problem on a modern nuclear vessel), and the REAL downfall that you didn`t mention, faster cool-down/recharge time.

It`s people like you that make scientists cry. They show you a proof of concept or an advance in development and you cry "IT`S NOT PERFECT YET, SHUT IT DOWN!". This kind of behaviour is what justifies opponents of transparency.
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Male 3,482
[quote]Altaru did you just compare this to a nuclear bomb?[/quote]
In a way, yes. In the way I intended, no, I was comparing it to the development of nuclear reactors to provide electricity. What does it matter?

They know what it`s supposed to do. They know, technically, how to do it. What they work on, then, is taking the idea and making it real and practical. It`s how science works, in case you can`t figure that out.
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Male 3,482
[quote]The computer shrank with the mover from tubes to transistors. No such technology yet exists for electricity.[/quote]
Science moves faster once it`s already in motion.

They know they can make a rail-gun. They realize it`s pretty impractical for the moment.

"Hmm? How can we make this practical?"

They start working on making it more practical. Eventually it becomes *gasp* practical and cost-efficient.

See how that works?
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Male 3,482
[quote]Do you think for a minute that the scientists who built this didn`t know what it would do beforehand?[/quote]
Yeah, and the people who worked on nuclear energy had a pretty good idea of what it would do beforehand. They still had to figure out how to make it work.

The man who built the first computer knew what he wanted it to do, and what it would probably be able to do. He still had to build it. Look what happened from there? A massive, impractical device that couldn`t even add 2+2 faster than a human being turns into the machines we`re sitting in front of today. On top of that, we`ve probably more than exceeded what that man thought possible with the internet.
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Male 456
@madest

"It`s takes up too much space. Requires too much electricity to even be considered practical."

Explain how the computer was when it was first born and where it is today.
Then: poo was huge.
Now: poo is tiny
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Male 3,482
[quote]It`s an impractical weapon system that may fit on a nuclear aircraft carrier.[/quote]
It may be impractical NOW, since it`s still in the early stages, but like most science, the value of something becomes most evident AFTER it`s started being developed.

Besides, I do believe this project has been in development for quite a while, actually, and stopping it now would be losing all the progress that`s actually been made on it.

Like Volsunga said: If we suddenly put a halt to the project, then the people working on it will have to go elsewhere (or would you like all those scientists to be paid through social security instead?), and once they`ve dispersed it becomes nearly impossible to find and gather them all again to work on the project.

As for current weaponry sufficing: The old stuff costs more to store and maintain, and if this is completed, we could scrap or sell it all.
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Male 69
"Please take your anti-science bullsh*t and go hang with the creationists and truthers. You`ll find more support there than you will here."

The Unibomber`s place is for sale. They should place a bid on it . . .
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Male 2,033
At its curren`t stage of development this is impractical, sure. Of course, like many weapons it will improve over time AND can be developed for reasons other than weaponry. Satellite launches without enormous amounts of fuel, anyone? the people knocking this are the same types of people who laughed at the Wright brothers.
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Male 1,548
@madest
you clearly have no concept of how international economics, government budget allocation, or research programs work. We are not "broke" in the sense that you are implying. We don`t borrow money by literally getting a loan from another country (not to mention that if you paid attention to current events, you`d have noticed that China is artificially inflating their currency to extort our debt and we are putting them on hold for it).
When you put a research project "on hold", you kill it. The scientists working on the project are there until the research is done. If you stop it halfway through, they all go find other projects to work on and you will never get them all back on board.

Please take your anti-science bullsh*t and go hang with the creationists and truthers. You`ll find more support there than you will here.
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Male 490
I love it how Madest doesnt see how practical this actually is, and how much it can (and will if it is refined and seriously researched into) save money. But hey, why bother paying for research that will put us ahead in weapons tech as well as possible space exploration technologies.
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Male 226
One of the most incredible things about railguns is that they have the capability to (theoretically, at the moment) accelerate a projectile to absolutely ridiculous speeds.

A 2 lb chunk of iron shot out at over Mach 10 has far more destructive potential than a similarly sized explosive device accelerated through conventional methods.
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Male 757
and this is what will send us to space in the future!
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Male 154
yeah this probably does have practical uses. unfortunately war drives the production of a lot of new tech.
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Male 3,482
I can see many, MANY ways that this could be useful in the future. And not just for war.

So no, it`s not a waste of money.

BTW, the minute you started calling people "Republicans," madest, you lost all credibility you might have had.

It`s a typical move of partisan morons with their heads up their asses to call anything they don`t agree with part of the other side. That doesn`t make you right.
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Female 134
I got to make one of these in class, but much less powerful. The concept it so simple too. Its kinda awesome.
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Male 1,548
@Madest
"Where is the scientific research towards balancing the budget?"

You`re looking at it. The purpose of the railgun project is to build a weapon that costs much less to maintain and operate while being just as, if not more effective than the status quo.
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Male 1,548
@slabofrage
Railguns don`t need to make their projectiles aerodynamic because the amount of force involved renders air resistance almost negligible. The shape is meant to serve as a sort of heat sink to prevent the projectile from vaporizing before it reaches the target.

@sbeelz
Name one technology developed for war that has NOT been deployed as something useful for civilian purposes. In this specific case, the railgun uses massive amounts of electromagnetic torque to force a projectile at high speeds. This could be easily applied in space exploration or medical science (many modern procedures involve the burning of unhealthy tissue).
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Male 2,388
if its magnets why all the smoke?
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Male 535
(yaay 983 character limit!)

Honestly, this liberal/republican garbage is just imbicillic. Grow up.
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Male 535
Actually - the military/navy aren`t going to give up their warships, nor should they, all "let`s just have peace" excrement aside. If they can replace the charges &warheads with capacitors & bolts, that will save a LOT of money, both in the reduced weight of the ships - saving fuel (if there are any that aren`t nuke at this point...) - & in the manufacture & STABILIZED STORAGE of the aforementioned weapons.

So in the long run, not only does this advance our fighting capabilities, improve our defensive capabilities, & improve scientific advancement, it also quite possibly will save military spending as well.

So, you anti-railgun liberals (who the hell decided that you had to be a republican to love railguns?! I guess by default, any idiots who don`t agree with the future savings potential here must be liberals then!) maybe you should think about everything before starting a politics flame war.

Honestly, this liberal/republican
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Male 2,868
@Volsunga-
Yeah- scientific research that actually BETTERS mankind is worth the money. Research into new and more expensive ways to destroy human beings does not better mankind.
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Male 769
that`s an odd projectile - any of you ubernerds care to explain it to me?

and... did anyone else that the bit 0:31 to 0:35 look like an old martial arts movie flying-on-wires special effects?!
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Male 535
"keeping America safe"
everytime i hear BS like that it makes me cringe! get your head outta your ass
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Male 5,194
Awesome != waste of money.
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Male 1,548
@Madest
Scientific research is always worth the money. I would gladly give up my social security to fund something that advances the knowledge of mankind. Science and education are the things I am glad to pay taxes to fund. Why pay for social programs for my generation when I can pay towards the possibility that future generations won`t need them.
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Male 347
it`s not a waste of money, its science!! this kind of military technology always evolve into stuff we can use, like microwave, gps and megan fox clones
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Male 30
Can you really put a price on keeping America safe?
Also, I am very glad that my money is going towards this.
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Male 21
Thank God these clowns are here to determine what is and is not a waste of TAXPAYER MONEYS
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Male 21
OMG TAXPAYER MONEYS
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Male 1,587
I don`t think probing the frontiers of science and everything we know is ever a waste of money.
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Male 2,056
i don`t think this is a waste, much like the avro arrow wasn`t a waste
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Male 141
waste of money, but i`m glad its not a waste of my money :D
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Male 227
This isnt going to be a waste of money once they put them on planes
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Male 10,338
Not a waste of money.
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Male 102
Also, pootio, this technology probably won`t be used for transportation. Too many potential problems.
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Male 102
It`s not a waste of money. It`s an attempt to replace our old artillery with something that doesn`t need explosive materials to propel a projectile/make it explode when it hits a target. This saves money, space, lives, and gives us a huge advantage against enemies.

The only problems with it currently are power consumption and wear on the rails. They have to be replaced frequently due to the great heat/friction they are subjected to. Once they develop a better material than the carbon impregnated copper they`re using now, these will be much closer to the battle field. As for power consumption, that`s what nuclear reactors are for :)
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Male 506
The public make worser non-practical invesments than this..
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Male 1,548
How is it a waste of money? If this research produces a usable weapon, then we can replace our hundred year old artillery technology and use a renewable method of projectile propulsion. Ignoring costs of implementation, this would cut spending on artillery ammunition by 90%. Not to mention that the theoretical range of ship mounted rail guns would greatly exceed that of our current artillery, which would create less demand for whole ships as weapon platforms.
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Male 3,076
sweet!
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Male 787
railgun a waste of money? If this thing becomes more practical, it will make lots of other things obsolete.
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Male 4,793
not a waste at all. gotta experiment with poo to discover poo to advance our poo.
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Male 490
Hmm, if they can work on the tech more and really refine it then it may actually be useful.
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Male 552
our taxes pay for military weapons?
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Male 106
Giant waste of money? Cut out the cost of the production of billions of shells worth of explosive material etc, and its a waste of money? Not to mention, with the correct application, this could possibly be related to ways to travel across long distances.
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Male 7,378
Link: Electromagnetic Railgun [Rate Link] - USNavy tests a railgun. As cool as this is, it`s a giant waste of taxpayer money.
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