Graphene paper: next best thing to transparent aluminum

I love the goddamned 21st century. More inventions like this, I say! More!

It would be very nice if this turned out to be as good as promised. Heck, even a third or a fourth as good would still be good! Anyway, yay nanotechnology!

Edit: And now I realize that they’re comparing to steel, rather than to the best available carbon fiber, which is as far as I know also better than steel. Oh well, I remain optimistic.

Shame that it’s toxic, carcinogenic, causes pigeons in Zimbabwe to die, etc.

Nothing can be fully green anymore.

Well, actually we already have transparent aluminum.

Does this mean they finally have a substance with which we can build a space elevator?

Goddamn Zimbabwean pigeons, always standing in the way of progress.

Hello, computer!

I think they still need another factor of ten tensile strength for a space elevator. Still, this is real progress in that direction.

I’m not sure I would build a whale tank out of that.

How could this planet ever create a space elevator and protect it from sabotage? It seems like it would be such an easy target (with potential to make a real mess on the ground).

The level of international trust and government required does seem a whee bit more implausible than the elevator itself.

Also, who would ever want to listen to elevator music for that long? Nobody, that’s who.

Well, one possibility is that it might be more like a very long ribbon than like any kind of megalithic skyscraper, in which case if you cut it, it would fall actually quite gently without causing epic carnage below. In which case it would be kind of a silly terrorist target. Probably the elevator cars would have emergency rockets of some kind. Listen to me, it sounds more like Bourne 2040 by the minute. GOD I love the 21st century. Yes, I already said that.

Check out Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson for this scenario.

There are also limited choices in placement, none of which are ideal. Brazil and Indonesia are the only two that have anything nearing a modernized infrastructure. Maybe all of Europe/US/Japan/Canada/China could get together and purchase Sao Tome & Principe, extract all the islanders, and have it out there.

I believe that current thinking has the best solution as a waterborne platform - shipyard, somewhere at the equator. Probably in the middle of the giant Pacific garbage patch ;).

Heh, maybe I’m thinking of another book, but in that one when the elevator collapses, doesn’t it wrap around the equator with the end eventually going some non-trivial percentage of the speed of light?

Something like that.