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My surprise is the number of reasonably qualified people who have pursued this idea for 125 years, when the calculations show that with current materials (over those 125 years), we many magnitudes away from being able to build such an elevator. There is only one reasonable explanation for that: These people never did the calculations. (And they didn't have Wikipedia to give it to them )
Even today, we are theorizing about nanomaterials that might be strong enough. I didn't see any estimate of the total amount of nanotubes required, but it occurs to me that those USD 6 billion for building the whole thing is slightly on the optimistic side.
If those estimates hold true, we might even use a similar solution for an electricity generator: Put a little extra weight on the counterweight to pull the rope slowly outwards. In the earth end, the rope is pulled from a huge spool; the rotation of the spool drives the generator (through an almost unimaginable gearbox that probably will require another nano-development of strong enough materials).
Maybe we end up with such a demand for carbon that we can't allow coal to be burned for heating...
That's good , the next time someone comments on state of my desk, my new (less antagonistic) response will be
"If it's good enough for the space station, it's good enough for me!"
"the debugger doesn't tell me anything because this code compiles just fine" - random QA comment
"Facebook is where you tell lies to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers." - chriselst
"I don't drink any more... then again, I don't drink any less." - Mike Mullikins uncle
Lightsabers! Jedi propaganda wants to make you believe how great these things are, but they never tell you how many batteries you need to carry around with you. Nothing is more embarrassing than to stand before a worthy opponent with only a dead flashlight in your hands. I prefer carbon nanofiber blades.
I have lived with several Zen masters - all of them were cats.
His last invention was an evil Lasagna. It didn't kill anyone, and it actually tasted pretty good.
Many years ago my son was at his desk doing his homework (on a desktop - when no one worried about a fashionable PC). He needed to leave the room for a bit and whilst he was out I scampered in and hid in the closet about 8 feet behind him. And waited.
After a bit, when I could hear his fingers dancing on the keyboard and he was thus well settled in I burst forth from the closet and exclaimed:
"Ah ha! No One Expects the Unexpected!"
His remark . . . "that was pretty good!" and went back to work.