Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Even better duct tape?

I really like Wired magazine, and in the December 2005 issue, there's an essay by Bruce Sterling on the Dawn of the Carbon Age. I've been reading and writing a lot about space elevators, whose now-more-likely feasibility is based on the remarkable strength and light weight of carbon nanotubes (CNT). Sterling does mention space elevators in his essay, but suggests (gasp!) that a material strong and light enough to create carbon beanstalks into space might have a few other uses down here. Of course that's true, and the fact that there will be huge demand for CNT-based materials will help to make them cheaper, which will be a good thing when you need to buy a 100,000 km ribbon of the stuff for the elevator. Thus begins the Age of Carbon. Future readers of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will no doubt be advised to carry a roll of CNT duct tape in addition to the indispensible towel.

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