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Phy
Jun 27, 2008





Fun Shoe

Godholio posted:

Gold spaceships. Hell yes.

Oh great the future is going to look like Donald Trump's restroom

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Uncle Enzo
Apr 28, 2008

I always wanted to be a Wizard

Solid gold would actually be a great material for a bunch of uses. Good heat transmission, totally impervious to corrosion. Excellent electrical conductor.

-Gold cookware, like pots and pans
-Gold faucet and hose fittings
-Anti-fouling hull coatings on ships
-Any outdoor metallic application where physical strength isn't a major requirement
-Anything touching water, especially seawater

Even at the current prices gold has a ton of uses. Lower the price and usage will explode. The comparison to aluminum is apt- used to be for the hyper-rich only, now it's used whenever it's properties justify the cost... but it's still quite a valuable material.

Cat Hatter
Oct 24, 2006

Hatters gonna hat.


Not just gold either. Looking forward to buying a weed-whacker with a catalytic converter.

Greg12
Apr 22, 2020


MRC48B posted:

Need more pictures of the Cow-bra

Wisconsin Air Guard

aphid_licker
Jan 7, 2009

eyebrowse


Pillbug

Could you basically use gold for a lot of stuff you use lead for except it's non-toxic? Ballast, shielding especially I suppose.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



I’ve heard of a space probe that was going to have gold plating to reflect infrared radiation, but it was using public funds and they worried what people would say.

So they coated it in platinum.

I don’t recall which probe it was supposed to be, and google’s index is full of legitimate applications of gold, platinum, and iridium (which I may have misremembered as platinum and is even more expensive), so take it as anecdotal.

Mortabis
Jul 8, 2010


Even if gold were cheap it's preposterously heavy.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



If all you want is conductivity for lowest mass, lithium is right there.

Mortabis
Jul 8, 2010


I recall reading that some university in Australia is trying to develop lithium-magnesium alloys and apparently came up with an adequately strong sample that didn't corrode instantly.

MrYenko
Jun 17, 2012

#2 isn't ALWAYS bad...


Mortabis posted:

I recall reading that some university in Australia is trying to develop lithium-magnesium alloys and apparently came up with an adequately strong sample that didn't corrode instantly.

Lithium Magnesium Alloy

Solubility in H2O: Reacts violently

Signal Word: Danger

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



MrYenko posted:

I still maintain that the biggest advantage of any asteroid mined metals is that they’re ALREADY IN SPACE, and thus don’t have to be hauled out of our gravity well. This does assume some level of microgravity refinement and fabrication infrastructure, but if you’re asteroid mining I think it’s pretty safe to say that you’re already there anyway.

When theorycrafting the coldwar space thing I assumed the Soviets were using asteroids that way. While I don't think it's impossible that you could send resources down to earth, having resources that you could then sell to other people in space, build space-side manufacturing processes, or even just use them to manufacture earthside technology in space, the whole "already in space" thing is the main moneymaker.

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



MrYenko posted:

I’ve seen the future, and it is bling as gently caress.

In one of the later, lamer 2001 books, I seem to remember DeBeers trying to stop space exploration around Jupiter because one of the Jovian moons had mountains made out of diamond or something

MrYenko
Jun 17, 2012

#2 isn't ALWAYS bad...


Nebakenezzer posted:

In one of the later, lamer 2001 books, I seem to remember DeBeers trying to stop space exploration around Jupiter because one of the Jovian moons had mountains made out of diamond or something

Ya, one of the side plots in 2061 was the ignition of Jupiter ejected the solid diamond core, roughly the size of Earth. A shard of it bigger than a mountain lands (violently) on Europa, knocking over the Europans’ monolith, and loving up the nascent Europan climate.

Seriously though, at this point you’ve either read 2061 or you’re never going to.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

You do want to bring the space materials to earth (especially if it does lower the price of such materials) because then we can move all of our most ecologically disastrous resource acquisition operations to space. Mining in space is way more green and environmentally friendly than on Earth; especially for rare earths.

Warbadger
Jun 17, 2006


Electric Wrigglies posted:

It varies but gold is discovered, mined and refined industrially for less than $30 a gram and like oil there are producers producing for far less ( than $5 a gram).

Also chat about a couple of tonne being dropped on the market making a difference is wildly off the mark (it’s less than half a days world wide production). I think there was anger a few years / decade ago when EU central banks dropped 1,400 tonnes onto the market over six months or so but the gold price still went up within a year or so.

The difference here being that unlike gold being dumped from an existing stockpile, (profitable) gold coming in from the asteroid belt demonstrates the opening of effectively unlimited reserves. As gold prices are largely driven by speculation predicated on its perceived rarity, suddenly making it super clear that gold is no longer a rare material would very likely tank the prices in short order. The uses for gold would probably expand as the price dropped, but at that point (assuming you can still bring it in at a profit after the price drops) you're looking at selling gold at narrow margins tied to the price of mining & transporting it more akin to modern day titanium or aluminum.

I thin the nearest analog I can think of would be if somebody invented a device that could extract pure gold from seawater at say... $40/gram. Not the cheapest way to get gold, but still profitable in the current market and with gigantic reserves to be exploited by basically anybody who can get their grubby hands on said machines. Gold rarity now depends entirely on how many such devices are built and speculators are going to have to consider that there are now literal mountains of gold out there for people to flood the market with at their expense. Prices are going to drop - probably ending up pretty low in the short term as investors/hoarders realize in terror that EVERYBODY might be able to afford their own golden toilet in the foreseeable future and eventually ending up tied closely to the price of extraction.

Warbadger fucked around with this message at 01:43 on Apr 27, 2021

Phanatic
Mar 13, 2007

Please don't forget that I am an extremely racist idiot who also has terrible opinions about the Culture series.


MrYenko posted:

We already have a ton of industrial uses for gold, so any significant drop in price due to an increase in supply would likely be tempered by near-immediate new demand for previously uneconomical applications.

Do we?

Unlike aluminum, gold’s mechanical properties are pretty crap. As an electrical conductor, it’s not as good as silver, and the only reason it’s used instead of that is its corrosion resistance. Cheap platinum would be a wonder, but gold isn’t a useful catalyst for such a range of reactions.

If gold cost as much as aluminum, what would we use it for? We certainly wouldn’t be building airplanes out of the stuff.

Phanatic fucked around with this message at 01:31 on Apr 27, 2021

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Warbadger posted:

The difference here being that unlike gold being dumped from an existing stockpile, (profitable) gold coming in from the asteroid belt demonstrates the opening of effectively unlimited reserves. As gold prices are largely driven by speculation predicated on its perceived rarity, suddenly making it super clear that gold is no longer a rare material would very likely tank the prices in short order. The uses for gold would probably expand as the price dropped, but at that point (assuming you can still bring it in at a profit after the price drops) you're looking at selling gold at narrow margins tied to the price of mining & transporting it more akin to modern day titanium or aluminum.

I thin the nearest analog I can think of would be if somebody invented a device that could extract pure gold from seawater at say... $40/gram. Not the cheapest way to get gold, but still profitable in the current market and with gigantic reserves to be exploited by basically anybody who can get their grubby hands on said machines. Gold rarity now depends entirely on how many such devices are built and speculators are going to have to consider that there are now literal mountains of gold out there for people to flood the market with at their expense. Prices are going to drop - probably ending up pretty low in the short term as people panic and eventually ending up tied closely to the price of extraction.

You're missing a very important consideration here; if the price of gold (and other materials) tanks sufficiently enough, then it will no longer be profitable to continue extracting them from asteroids which is again, bonkers expensive and would be priced in. There will eventually be a point where the price of gold and other precious metals and rare earths become cheaper, but probably only after the demand has grown to make asteroid mining sustainable.

You're still also missing a very important factor here, no asteroid mining company is going to do their own distribution. They'll use existing channels of existing mining companies who aren't stupid. They're not going to cause their own livelihood to collapse overnight, and will distribute only relatively smaller amounts; enough to recoup costs but not enough to tank the markets; and speculators will price this in. Speculators aren't going to look 100 years in the future, they will see what the space mining companies are promising and based their speculation off of that.

The historical trend of the price of asteroid minerals will push the price low, and there will be price spikes and drops but it will return to the median (gradually decreasing) price.

LRADIKAL
Jun 10, 2001
$10


Fun Shoe

Godholio posted:

Gold spaceships. Hell yes.

Gold everywhere that it is the best material for the job. IRON is what you want! There's so much iron out there to make things out of! Structures! Vehicles!... ANYTHING!

StandardVC10
Feb 6, 2007

Dreams, Amelia - dreams and false alarms

Megamarm

LRADIKAL posted:

Gold everywhere that it is the best material for the job. IRON is what you want! There's so much iron out there to make things out of! Structures! Vehicles!... ANYTHING!

Easy there Mr. Bessemer

Kesper North
Nov 3, 2011

EMERGENCY POWER TO PARTY

feedmegin posted:

The Soviet ship is, like, the main ship of the whole book, sent to find out what happened to the American one from 2001.

It looks pretty cool in the 2010 movie with Roy Scheider, too. (I actually thought that movie was decent.)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Kesper North posted:

It looks pretty cool in the 2010 movie with Roy Scheider, too. (I actually thought that movie was decent.)
It's a good movie! A perfectly solid mid-1980s SF movie. It gets dinged for the crime of Not Being 2001, which it was never trying to be.

I also have a soft spot for The Two Jakes, which is an entirely serviceable neo-noir, but everyone hated it because It Wasn't Chinatown.

MrChips
Jun 10, 2005

FLIGHT SAFETY TIP: Fatties out first

I don't really care if it's useful or not, I will lol forever when all the gold-hoarding survivalist doofuses have their stashes of gold coins lose 99.9 percent of their value

Kesper North
Nov 3, 2011

EMERGENCY POWER TO PARTY

FMguru posted:

It's a good movie! A perfectly solid mid-1980s SF movie. It gets dinged for the crime of Not Being 2001, which it was never trying to be.

I also have a soft spot for The Two Jakes, which is an entirely serviceable neo-noir, but everyone hated it because It Wasn't Chinatown.

Plus with the in-home dolphin pool Roy Scheider has at the start of the movie you're almost in SeaQuest DSV already!

piL
Sep 20, 2007
(__|\\\\)

Taco Defender

MrYenko posted:

I’ve seen the future, and it is bling as gently caress.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exRFQXX3oeg

Murgos
Oct 21, 2010


Phanatic posted:

Do we?

Unlike aluminum, gold’s mechanical properties are pretty crap. As an electrical conductor, it’s not as good as silver, and the only reason it’s used instead of that is its corrosion resistance. Cheap platinum would be a wonder, but gold isn’t a useful catalyst for such a range of reactions.

If gold cost as much as aluminum, what would we use it for? We certainly wouldn’t be building airplanes out of the stuff.

It depends on the application. We already use gold a lot in circuit boards where reliability and long life are concerned with thick layers of gold used on exposed connectors that see wear and many mate/demate cycles. Silver isn't actually a very good conductor in rugged applications where moisture is a concern, see Red Plague.

ENIG may already be the most common PCB tech, if not it's right up there. I expect that if gold were much cheaper MANY more uses would become available pretty quickly. Moisture is the #1 cause of reliability issues in electronics and gold is excellent where moisture is concerned.

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



I've been reading another book on Chernobyl. Stuff I've learned:

1. The Soviets had a big meeting just a few months previous to lay out the next five-year plan. At the time, the message was science and technology were going to rescue the necrotic Soviet economy. To that end, the Soviets planned to build a lot more nuclear plants in half the time it took before. To facilitate this ambitious task, they were going to adopt a co-currant construction model, where stuff would be built and developed at the same time. Oh, and during the construction of Chernobyl reactor 4, 70% of materials sent by subcontractors were flawed.

2. Reagan thought that the book of revelations prophesied the Chernobyl disaster, because of course he did.

3. The Soviets "celebrated" Lenin's birthday in the shittiest possible way: the Saturday nearest to the date was the day you went to work for free. This was voluntary*. I'm glad to see Soviet ardor was legislated in the same pain-in-the-rear end way Jennifer Anniston's "voluntary" flare pins were in Office Space. Frankly the Late Soviet era makes the USSR sound like a badly run, unfathomably giant corporation.

4. This book has interviews with lots of names you might know from the HBO miniseries. The basic characters, if you will, track with the miniseries characterizations, but also come off as more sympathetic. Even Diatlov, who's confusion as to what the Christ just happened is total and kind of understandable. Diatlov is the first person to pass on the important information that the explosion happened about 15 seconds after the SCRAM command was given. Frankly the confusion of the initial response is understandable. Briukhannov (Engineer in charge of the plant complex) reported that there had been an accident, there had been an explosion in a reactor hall and some fire, about 30 firemen had been sent to hospital, and we're going to need some people down here if the electrical production is going to be kept up. This was a report made at 2-3 am of the first night. Half the people at the site had serious radiation poisoning, and the other had heavy incentives to not report anything too bad.

*It was not voluntary

Phanatic
Mar 13, 2007

Please don't forget that I am an extremely racist idiot who also has terrible opinions about the Culture series.


What’s the book?

Kesper North
Nov 3, 2011

EMERGENCY POWER TO PARTY

Phanatic posted:

What’s the book?

You have to be a Kremlinologist to figure that out

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



Chernobyl - History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, by Serhii Plokhy

e: oops, misquoted a fact

quote:

The figures that Kovalevskaia copied added up to a terrifying picture. As much as 70 percent of the hardware supplied by one of the vendors had serious defects. Of the metal structures for the reservoir that would store used nuclear fuel, 356 metric tonnes (392 US tons) had major defects as well. Concrete panels supplied by another vendor were of the wrong size and had to be adjusted on the construction site. But the main problem was that even if some parts were up to specifications, others had not yet arrived—altogether, 2,435 metric tonnes (2,684 US tons) of metal structures were still missing. Kyzyma gave his go-ahead for publication of the article, which appeared under Kovalevskaia’s pen name, L. Stanislavskaia, in Tribuna ėnergetika on Friday, March 21, 1986.”



quote:

As far as Diatlov was concerned, the main problem was not with Kyzyma [ed note: boss of physical construction at the nuclear plant] but with the lack of a proper manufacturing base for the construction of nuclear plants, and hence the problems with vendors. Nuclear power stations like the one in Chernobyl were no longer the responsibility of Yefim Slavsky, the all-powerful head of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, which was the hub of the Soviet nuclear program and its military-industrial complex. Slavsky’s ministry was a virtual empire, a state within a state with its own manufacturing plants capable of producing most of the equipment needed for the nuclear industry. Those plants had been used to build the nuclear power station at the Sosnovyi Bor settlement near Leningrad, where the first reactor began producing electrical energy in December 1973. But soon after that the construction of nuclear power stations had become the responsibility of the Ministry of Energy and Electrification, which was not part of the military-industrial complex; it had a poor manufacturing base of its own and none of the political clout that came with Slavsky’s power and prestige.

As Diatlov later recalled, “the government resolution indicated that nonstandard equipment for the four blocks of the first of those stations [Nos. 1 and 2] would be produced by the same factories that produced them for the Leningrad station. But the Ministry of Medium Machine Building did not take the government resolution as an order.” No prime minister could control Slavsky, whose main responsibility was the Soviet nuclear weapons program. Nuclear power plants like the one in Chernobyl were on their own. “They said you have your own factories, so go ahead and make the equipment; we’ll provide the plans,” continued Diatlov. “I had been to several factories making auxiliary equipment for the Ministry of Energy—the machine tools were on the level of poor workshops. Commissioning them to produce equipment for a reactor was like making a carpenter do the work of a joiner. So there was constant difficulty with production for every block.”14

Complaints about difficulties with the construction of the new units were all but ignored at the top. After all, the Chernobyl power plant was assigned reactors of the type that in theory could be built by unspecialized machine-building factories almost anywhere by almost anyone at minimum cost. The Chernobyl plant originally was supposed to use Water-Water Energy Reactors (VVERs), the Soviet equivalent of the Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) in the United States. Like its American counterpart, the Soviet VVER originated in the 1950s as a byproduct of building reactors for nuclear submarines. In those reactors, energy was produced by placing fuel rods, which generate heat through the fission of uranium atoms, into pressurized water. Water is also used as a coolant, to prevent the whole system from overheating. The design was extremely safe. In the unlikely event of the failure of coolant circulation, the increased heat would effectively shut down the reaction (the less water there was in the core of the reactor, the smaller the neutron moderation effect slowing the fast energy neutrons produced by water on the radioactive fuel in the rods, which could not continue the reaction without water). The VVER reactors tested quite well at a number of Soviet nuclear power plants, which was why they were initially chosen for the Chernobyl plant.

In the corridors of power, however, the VVER reactors lost in competition with the RBMK, or High Power Channel Reactor, which used graphite to moderate the reaction and water as a coolant. The RBMK reactors had an output of 1,000 megawatts of electrical energy, twice that of the VVERs. And they were not only more powerful but also cheaper to build and operate. Whereas VVER reactors required enriched uranium, RBMK reactors were designed to run on almost natural uranium-238, with an enrichment level of a mere 2 to 3 percent of uranium-235. Last but not least, the RBMK reactors could be constructed on the spot from prefabricated components produced by machine-building plants that did not specialize in the production of high-precision equipment for the nuclear industry. As far as the party leadership in Moscow was concerned, it was a win-win situation. While the rest of the world chose VVER reactors, the USSR went mostly, but not exclusively, with the RBMK type. The Chernobyl power station was caught up in the new Soviet trend.

Nebakenezzer fucked around with this message at 18:09 on Apr 28, 2021

priznat
Jul 7, 2009

Let's get drunk and kiss each other all night.

https://twitter.com/vpkivimaki/status/1387820435186798594?s=21

Serious pucker factor being under that I bet!

BIG HEADLINE
Jun 13, 2006

Make your move...'cause mine's gonna be ugly.

"Buy 3, Get 1 Free!"*

* we're not feeling generous, it's just that our poo poo only works flawlessly ~25% of the time.

EasilyConfused
Nov 21, 2009


one strong toad

Nebakenezzer posted:

Chernobyl - History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, by Serhii Plokhy

I read that recently, it's quite good. Plokhy is a real gem.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


Raenir Salazar posted:

You're still also missing a very important factor here, no asteroid mining company is going to do their own distribution. They'll use existing channels of existing mining companies who aren't stupid. They're not going to cause their own livelihood to collapse overnight, and will distribute only relatively smaller amounts; enough to recoup costs but not enough to tank the markets; and speculators will price this in. Speculators aren't going to look 100 years in the future, they will see what the space mining companies are promising and based their speculation off of that.

The historical trend of the price of asteroid minerals will push the price low, and there will be price spikes and drops but it will return to the median (gradually decreasing) price.

Because if we know anything, it's that industry newcomers always prefer to partner with legacy firms to ensure an even distribution of profits rather than taking the whole market for themselves.

Warbadger
Jun 17, 2006


Arglebargle III posted:

Because if we know anything, it's that industry newcomers always prefer to partner with legacy firms to ensure an even distribution of profits rather than taking the whole market for themselves.

Also they will all definitely cooperate to carefully curate the market for the collective purpose of maximizing long term profits for their entire industry rather than trying to maximize profits for themselves. Massive short term profits will especially be sacrificed to ensure investors in the commodity market don't lose any money - and speculators will definitely trust them to do this.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Unless you look at relevant capital intensive industries with expensive setup costs, those tend to be de facto market monopolies or oligarchies/cartels. Suggesting that a asteroid mining company is also going to build its own parallel competing distribution network and related infrastructure isn't a credible claim. Its like suggesting rail companies or telecom companies will lay competing track/cables instead of simply choosing to cooperate. Just look at the US or Canada.

mlmp08
Jul 11, 2004


Nap Ghost

https://gfycat.com/deadlyhelplessjuliabutterfly

Warbadger
Jun 17, 2006


Raenir Salazar posted:

Unless you look at relevant capital intensive industries with expensive setup costs, those tend to be de facto market monopolies or oligarchies/cartels. Suggesting that a asteroid mining company is also going to build its own parallel competing distribution network and related infrastructure isn't a credible claim. Its like suggesting rail companies or telecom companies will lay competing track/cables instead of simply choosing to cooperate. Just look at the US or Canada.

None of this is true except for nobody duplicating the infrastructure for distribution part, and this is simply because said infrastructure to move minerals usually already exists and does not operate under a monopoly or oligarchy. When necessary you bet mineral extraction companies have built a shitload of roads, railroads, pipelines, etc. to move their product to market.

You used OPEC as an example. There are hundreds of oil producing companies operating rigs worth tens/hundreds of millions of dollars operating around the world. OPEC members have on numerous occasions ramped up production and crashed the price of oil in the process to make up for short term losses due to declining prices or simply to screw with rivals. They can do this not because they control the majority of oil reserves but because they have a lot of the cheapest to extract/refine oil, allowing them to dump enough oil on the market to create a glut and still remain profitable when the price dives. They explicitly do screw over investors and speculators by doing this, hence situations where fleets of fully loaded oil tankers have ended up sitting anchored offshore for years after oil prices crashed because those invested in the cargo can't afford to sell it.

But, at least initially, I'd expect asteroid mining to be nothing like OPEC and more like fracking companies. Which is to say they won't have the rock bottom extraction prices or easily scaled volume OPEC has (at least not for a while) - but will have access to effectively unlimited reserves available to as many entities as can afford the means to exploit them. And, like the less profitable fracking sites, they're likely to be vulnerable to the changes to the market their opening of these new reserves cause - including but not limited to speculators jumping ship while dumping a shitload of product on the market in the process to avoid being the bagholders and those rivals with better margins doing what they can to ramp up production in a bid to either stabilize their own profits or to keep prices low to crush the new competition.

Warbadger fucked around with this message at 17:39 on Apr 30, 2021

CarForumPoster
Jun 26, 2013
I have a high school diploma AND a hobby coin project

Now that you're sufficiently in awe, you motherfuckers shut up and let me tell you how human safety in your self driving car works in the REAL WORLD



This is neat, I didnt know about the 1992 Coup. The war zone made a post about this vid: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16565/watch-this-crazy-video-of-a-venezuelan-f-16-gunning-down-an-ov-10-bronco

Discussion Quorum
Dec 5, 2002
Armchair Philistine


Random trivia question that just bubbled into my brain: has the US ever shot down a hostile warplane with a SAM? Have ground/sea-based US anti-air defenses engaged or poo poo down any manned hostile aircraft since Korea?

I know Stingers, Hawks, and Patriots have all scored kills in foreign service. Also that US Patriot batteries have shot down a Hornet and a Tornado, and there was the Iranian Airbus (Sea Sparrow or SM-2 I guess) which is why I qualified that as hostile aircraft

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Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Discussion Quorum posted:

Random trivia question that just bubbled into my brain: has the US ever shot down a hostile warplane with a SAM? Have ground/sea-based US anti-air defenses engaged or poo poo down any manned hostile aircraft since Korea?

I know Stingers, Hawks, and Patriots have all scored kills in foreign service. Also that US Patriot batteries have shot down a Hornet and a Tornado, and there was the Iranian Airbus (Sea Sparrow or SM-2 I guess) which is why I qualified that as hostile aircraft

USS Vincennes . . . is probably the closest thing.

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