Re: Powerful Extropian Memes

Michael S. Lorrey (
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 16:24:14 -0500 wrote:

> Michael S. Lorrey, <>, writes:
> > Well, yeah, but I've already got a solution for that too. Thermal superconductors
> > built into the sturcutre of sky-hooks will conduct excess heat out of the
> > atmosphere and allow it to be radiated away in space.
> Is there such a thing as a thermal superconductor? I've seen references
> in SF but I don't know if such things really exist. I suppose you could
> use a heat pump, in any case. How much heat could you really pump out
> in this way though? A sky hook is pretty small compared to an atmosphere.

While a literal thermal superconductor is not known to exist (with the exception of laser beams and plasmas), using current thermocouple technology and room temperature electrical superconductors (yet to be developed, but expected to be not far off) one could easily join the two technologies. Use the thermocouple technology at each end of a sky hook (or each end linked to heat absorption and radiation thermocouple farms), and use electrical superconductors to conduct the current generated by the thermocouple farms.

Laser beams could also be used in the blue-green wavelengths to transmit heat into space. On a related note, you may recall the 'sunflowers' that Niven described in his Ringworld trilogy. Niven mistakenly described the weather effects of the blight of these plants as heating the atmosphere up and creating a desert. Deserts get hot because the sand is a thermal insulator that reradiates much light as heat. The 'sunflowers', having reflective surfaces, would not degrade the light thus and so the region with such plants should become cooler. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but its kinda like a Bose-Einstein condensate in this way.

Mike Lorrey