Wednesday, 18 January 2017

like flies to wanton boys or pew-pew-pew

Capitalising on a property of refraction known as the Kerr Effect, defence contractors are developing lensing techniques that would from orbit turn a patch of sky into a temporary magnifying glass by heating the atmosphere with laser beams.
Not only would this technique from on-high allow for finer detail in surveillance, it introduces the art of designing sequences of moves and manœuvres for a choreography that will be executed at the speed of light. Harnessing the same properties, advancing columns or whole cities could cloak or distort themselves, tossing out mirages to cause systems to fire on the wrong targets. At a distance, vanishingly narrow defensive measures would also include the ability to cast a disruptive index back at an incoming laser. Either pitched battles—or surprise attacks, would either literally be Blitzkrieg or go on indefinitely, robot strategists perfectly matched. I can’t think of any non-defence applications for this technology but surely there’s something out there. Maybe we could observe alien environments on intimate terms without being obtrusive or seen ourselves, and I suppose it is kind of a solace to know that one could dodge a laser beam and there’s a way to countermand even what we experience as instantaneous, though I suppose you couldn’t escape, by extension, the cruel conceit of focusing the sun’s rays on some unsuspecting insects.