> That's wrong, I guess. You should slow the recoiling mass by equally vast
> expenditure of energy, rather than using the brake to generate juice.
> Otherwise it actually does balance out and you're left where you started.
> Or is this all totally silly?
Unfortunately, I'm afraid it is. It's like those cartoons where you
mount an electric fan on your boat to blow on the sail. It doesn't work
in the real world, and using a relativistic fan won't help.
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