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20 April 2012 @ 06:47 am
Never underestimate the power of a beer can  

I've been immersed in a book for about a week, and sff.net has Topsy-ed while I was away . . . two things, David, more or less relevant to the ongoing ramble –

Back in 1965 I wrote a program that could write World War I Flying Ace stories.  Two nested programs, actually, one in COBOL inside one in MAD (Michigan Algorithmic Decoder, a sort of Poor Man's ALGOL.)  The professor praised the programming and also said something on the order of "You oughta be a writer."  Okay.

Have you come across the model of the "beer-can starship"?  Basically a kind of low-IQ space probe that uses stacked propulsion systems, essentially redefining v-naught through a dozen different regimes until you have something the size of a beer can screaming toward Alpha Centauri at a significant fraction of the speed of light.  Do-able for less than the Apollo Project cost.
  
  
Joe

 
 
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
his wholiness the rev drjon: Che Chedrjon on April 20th, 2012 11:08 am (UTC)
www.baconorbeercan.com

Sorry, couldn't help myself.
joe_haldemanjoe_haldeman on April 20th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
I like "Hairpiece or herpes" as well . . .
hentaikidhentaikid on April 20th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
Charlie Stross had something like that in his novel Accelerando... I seem to recall he reads this LJ but he's probably too modest to blow his own trumpet. His version was loaded with digitized personalities as "crew", so it was a rather smart beer can.
joe_haldemanjoe_haldeman on April 21st, 2012 11:19 am (UTC)
Have to read that one, h. Haven't done the reading list for Longer Fiction yet; that would be a good one.

Joe


hentaikidhentaikid on April 21st, 2012 11:28 am (UTC)
It was initially released as short stories so each chapter is self contained
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )