We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The particle that didn’t bark

When was the last time you heard anything about neutral particle beam technology? It seems like it almost vanished from the vocabulary after the 1980’s “Star Wars” program. From the information released by defense sources over the last few years one would conclude there isn’t much happening in that field. One might have concluded it was found to be a dead end.

But… why is everything to do with neutral particle beam technology included in the State Department’s ITAR Munitions List? In the most recent revision I’ve looked at (Sept 19, 2002) energy weapons technology has been promoted to an even higher profile. Neutral particle beams are included.

I wonder what’s going on out in the desert that I don’t know about?

3 comments to The particle that didn’t bark

  • Eric the .5b

    Easy. The people on that program keep perpetually reporting failure – but with promising new leads. The program perpetually gets refunded.

  • Kevin L. Connors

    This is interesting, Dale. My initial thought was that commercial NPB devices would be controlled just like supercomputers because they are useful for weapons R&D – semiconductors, nanotech, thermonuclear devices, etc.. Like you, I thought we were decades away from a NPB powerfol enough to use as a weapon. Then I read this from JAERI:

    It has recently succeeded in directing a continuous injection neutral particle beam with high energy (360,000 eV) and high power (2600 kW) into plasma for 10 seconds. This is twice the previously achieved duration.

    That’s a lot of power. If they can control the beam divergence, they might have something.

  • Would it be a defense to claim, when caught red-handed with a kilowatt-laser, that the prosecution only sees particles because they want to see particles, and if they wanted to see waves, they would see waves?