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The Living Death Ray

A big, focus-changing death ray.
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Gotta love the title.

I was watching Mythbusters, and they had a death ray. Their death ray was a bunch of mirrors all arranged to create a focal point. They took this thing out in the sunlight and set fire to stuff.

It worked really well. So I propose: A focus-changing solar-powered death ray.

Using known technology, scientists can grow muscles in jars and such. Over a long time, enough muscles could plausibly be grown to put into the death ray. The death ray itself would be a flexible-ish substance coated with reflective stuff. Maybe chrome, or whatever a real mirror is.

A complex complex of complex complexities, or channels, shall be arranged within the death ray, to transport the proper chemicals. As we all know, muscles react to certain chemicals by contracting and relaxing. A computer would be attached to the death ray to control the movement of these chemicals. Chemicals move to the propler muscles, said muscles move, change shape of mirror.

Nothing overheats inside the death ray, because there's a giant mirror on the front and the muscles don't move all that much. Not like when you're running.

This death ray should be able to burn anything, from just about any distance, so long as there's sunlight. When there isn't, too bad. Use flamethrowers or something.

And of course the death ray computer has radar and infrared and such, so you can burn through walls to get to your target.

TahuNuva, Jan 03 2008

Solar furnace http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Solar_furnace
Like this ? [8th of 7, Jan 03 2008]

Massive Solar Collector Array (of Doom!) Massive_20Solar_20C...rray_20(of_20Doom!)
Similar idea - I referenced the same Arthur C. Clarke short story in this one, in fact [hippo, Jan 25 2008]


       I see what you are reaching for, but does organic mean living? Also you would need a lot of nerves to sense muscle position. I think our muscles have nerves, but these wouldn't.   

       PS Asamov did a great short story about this topic in relation to a soccer(football) match. He really did make a living death ray.
MisterQED, Jan 03 2008

       Why use muscles for this?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2008

       The title came first, obviously. Still, not a bad idea for an SF story, as I can imagine an alien lizard with silvery scales, adjusting them individually to blind it's food before striking.
ldischler, Jan 03 2008

       //PS Asamov did a great short story about this topic in relation to a soccer(footbal) match. He really did make a living death ray//
sp. "Clarke" (actually, sp. "Asimov" also, but it was Clarke who wrote the story, "A slight case of sunstroke")
sp. "football"
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 03 2008

       // does organic mean living //   


       // blind it's food before striking //   

       Gr: Its.   

       We can forgive alien's for the Grocer's Apostrophe's, but not you .....
8th of 7, Jan 03 2008

       Yeah, and Niven did sunflowers.   

       This is wordplay in search of an excuse. Computer-controlled mirrors with multiple small facets are done to death. Muscles are not needed, and this idea doesn't cover enough of the problems involved in making them work.   

       //It worked really well.// The Mythbusters death ray didn't work well at all.
baconbrain, Jan 03 2008

       [baconbrain] In "Revisiting the Archimedes Death Ray" they had at least 2 different ones that worked really well. They didn't make them, but they worked. Really well. [ldischler] Not at all what I was aiming for. Not an alien, a death ray. [MaxwellBuchanan] Why not? It seems like maybe it could work, and it'd be freaky enough to be sci-fi ish, so all the more cool. [MisterQED] No, it doesn't mean living. But it's kind of a neat title, isn't it? Better than "A Death Ray Which Uses Muscles To Control Its Focal Point But Isn't Alive"   

       So there!
TahuNuva, Jan 03 2008

       Actually, there is a species of beetle in South America which lives in colonies. They are unusual in that their elytra (wing covers) have almost perfectly flat tops, and are very reflective. When threatened, all the individuals in the troupe angle their bodies and raise their wing covers in such a way as to project a powerful beam of sunlight towards the predator, thereby dazzling it.   

       Oddly, there is also a parasitic nematode which infects these beetles and causes their elytra to become crinkly and non-reflective, rendering them more vulnerable to predation. The nematode itself forms larval cysts (under the elytra of the beetle) which will only hatch after they've passed through the digestive tract of a bird, thereby ensuring its dispersal.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2008

       If the above is true then I love this place.   

       If the above is false then I love this place.
DenholmRicshaw, Jan 03 2008

       I love this place, but I don't like this idea. As I said before, adjustable-facet mirrors aren't new. Throwing in muscles doesn't make the mirror a new thing. But doing so does require some explanation of how the muscles could be made to work, and that's "why not" to use muscles in a Halfbakery idea. This is just a WIBNI.   

       I didn't see a Mythbusters episode where the mirrors worked well. One close-range success doesn't make mirrors a truly viable weapon (you'd still need a night weapon, which might as well be the primary weapon).   

       This is one of those "idea" postings that could be deleted without affecting the world at all. Mirror weapons are very obvious, adjustable-facet mirrors are very obvious, and, if muscle-controls are ever possible, applying the technology to mirrors would be obvious. But it's also obvious that this will never replace a laser.
baconbrain, Jan 03 2008

       Funny, I don't feel like living death. My wife has taken ill recently, though...
RayfordSteele, Jan 03 2008

       //If the above is true then I love this place.//   

       I just went back and checked my old notes on "reflective beetles of South America (b)", and it turns out I was thinking of tapirs. My apologies.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2008

       Reflective tapirs are even more impressive.
ldischler, Jan 03 2008

       Let me get this straight - tapirs have reflective wing covers?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 03 2008

       Tapirs are given to introspection?
egbert, Jan 03 2008

       No, only their wing covers.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 03 2008

       //tapirs have reflective wing covers? //   

       Of course they do. Do you know nothing about tapirs ? Are you totally ignorant ? Who let you in here ?
8th of 7, Jan 03 2008

       //Let me get this straight - tapirs have reflective wing covers?// No, it was a filing error and a page was missing from my section on reflective beetles of South America (b). It's the spelling that confused me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2008

       //Do you know nothing about tapirs //
They're used to light candles?
//Who let you in here //
The back door was open - I just kinda wandered in.
Sorry, sir.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 03 2008

       //tapirs have reflective wing covers// That explains it.
DenholmRicshaw, Jan 03 2008

       There's a plastic that shrinks upon the application of an electric current so you don't need to vat-grow body parts.

       I watch Mythbusters, and frankly some of their stuff they don't try very hard to get it to work.

       Mind you, a few smoke grenades on the field and *their* radar still working and you're toast.
FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2008

       [FlyingToaster] Cool! I didn't know about that plastic.   

       I just thought, with muscles, a mirror could be controlled pretty well. And yeah, the Mythbusters do kinda screw up sometimes, but they're the only ones who do what they do and they're entertaining.   

       [AbsintheWithoutLeave] I gotta read that. I love Asimov, and sci-fi, and death rays...   

       Like I said, it sounded like a good idea at the time and that's kinda what this site's for, isn't it?
TahuNuva, Jan 25 2008

       O_o still sounds like a cool idea... and *at last* another use for my tinfoil hat. But, seriously for stuff like focusing light for solar-heating sort-of thing.

       If I remember enough words to describe the plastic that I mentioned, I'll google for it.
FlyingToaster, Jan 25 2008

       // If I remember enough words //   

       Don't strain yourself - stay below the two-syllable limit for now, pride (and ambition) goeth before a fall.
8th of 7, Jan 25 2008

       It was too hot. Not hot like molten fusium...but hot enough. She turned to the right and knew there was darkness...her multi-lensed eyes caught a darker form...shade, perhaps? She ran frantically for the shade. The heat was building fast and the shade was her only hope. Just when the heat was almost unbearable, she scrambled into the cool dark...thank God...it was shade. She froze, not wanting to let the least bit of her form out from under the cooler dark...the heat by now was combusting things out there...and it was non-too cool in the shade...but it was survivable.   

       Where did this heat come from? She had been in heat before...so hot, she thought her antennae would sieze up....but, nothing had prepared her for this. She lowered her head and peered from beneath the thin sliver of the shade bark. She saw, to her horror, Agral running back and forth, trying to dodge the heat ray that was following him...he was in agony, his thin flailing legs trailing thin whisps of smoke...his silvery mandibles gaping in pain...his formic acid was boiling...it was horrible.   

       Kenny laughed...damn ants...they sure were fast and agile....but he was better at chasing them than they were at running from his blinding little spot of sunlight. Gee, Uncle Lenny was sure nice giving him that great magnifying lense...he spotted another target....
Blisterbob, Jan 25 2008

       //Don't strain yourself//

       I won't, though if you think you can do it "in two syllable words or less", feel free; we're looking for a plastic that contracts when an electrical current is applied.
FlyingToaster, Jan 26 2008

       How much current are we allowed to use ? Shall we get Igor to start winding up the lightining rod again ? We like that.
8th of 7, Jan 26 2008


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