Trivia Tuesday: What happens at Google X stays at Google X

No one knows where it is. Some people aren't even sure it exists. But sure enough, it's there, somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area: Google X Lab. Overseen by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, mad science runs amok here. And while it's not exactly true that everything happens at Google X stays at Google X (it's the birthplace of Project Glass), it's not far from the truth. To give you an idea of some of the crazy stuff that goes on here, let's take a look at some of the work being done far, far from prying eyes.

Space Elevators: One of the (wet) dreams of Sergey Brin and Larry Page is to create a space elevator – literally, an elevator, mounted into the Earth’s core, to carry ‘stuff’ into space. The idea’s been around since the 1800s, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why it hasn’t happened yet (it’s a freakin’ space elevator). Now, as to exactly how this fits into Google’s business scheme… your guess is as good as ours.

Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky created the concept of a space elevator way back in 1895

Robots & Driverless Cars: This one might be a little closer to coming true. As much as we love ASIMO and those little things that vacuum your floor, robotics has a long way to go before it pays off. Google is always thinking ahead though, and they’re already working hard on this. Heck, driverless cars are already post Google X – they’re being tested on the streets. Who knows, in a few years, your car just might be driving you. And covering your windows in holographic ads – all while you’re working remotely with your robotic face-projecting doohickey.

Google driverless cars, among other things, are legal in Nevada

Smart Appliances: Google would love to take smart appliances a step beyond Android@Home. Why stop at letting your computers talk to your refrigerator when your refrigerator can be a computer? Think about it – if you’re running low on milk, your refrigerator sends your robot out to grab some, and you never even know that you were running low. At least not until you see the bill.

Ever since the ancient Greeks, people have been dreaming about machines that could do 'stuff' for them

Collecting Information: Sorry, but we have to say it. Nothing is free, and Google’s business model does revolve around collecting information, not only to help them create better products, but to help them deliver better ads. And even though a lot of the ideas being worked on at Google X will never see the light of day, you can bet that most of them have a ton of information gathering material, whether it’s about your eating habits (smart appliances, anyone?) or your commute (driverless cars, of course).

We know that we're treading water here. Please don't be mean

Google’s Xerox PARC: In a lot of ways, Google X is following in the footsteps of Xerox PARC, or Palo-Alto Research Center. PARC came up with some of the driving forces of the digital revolution, from WYSIWYG text editors to the GUI, which famously inspired the original Macintosh and Windows GUIs (or one of the later two inspired the other, depending on which geek you ask). Google is probably hoping for better results, since most of PARC’s most successful inventions ended up being pioneered by other companies.

This unassuming little building has produced some big ideas

Last, but not least, if you're interested in finding out more about Google X, you're probably screwed. We know precious little about Google X, but what we do know comes from anonymous sources. But next time you see a whacky product from Google, it just might've been born at Google X.

However, Google X isn’t the only far-out research unit in the tech business. We’ve already mentioned PARC, which is still around, but don’t forget IBM Research and Microsoft Research. They’ve both got some great ideas, and some of them are just as crazy as what goes on at Google X. They’re a lot more transparent, too.

Images via The Daily Mail & Wikipedia
Space Elevator Image by Shutterstock

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Japan started building a space elevator a long time ago. It is already being constructed.

And while it's a cool thing, it's not THAT complex. It's a fiberthread which can stretch extremely far, and is incredibly durable. It's actually not a physical elevator.

It'll be used to launch nuclear waste out in space, to burn up in our sun, among other things.

http://news.softpedia.com/news...n-Four-Decades-254641.shtml

http://news.softpedia.com/news...et-to-the-Moon-288148.shtml

ffMathy said,
Japan started building a space elevator a long time ago. It is already being constructed.

And while it's a cool thing, it's not THAT complex. It's a fiberthread which can stretch extremely far, and is incredibly durable. It's actually not a physical elevator.

It'll be used to launch nuclear waste out in space, to burn up in our sun, among other things.

http://news.softpedia.com/news...n-Four-Decades-254641.shtml

http://news.softpedia.com/news...et-to-the-Moon-288148.shtml

I adore Japan! <3

GS:ios

ffMathy said,
Japan started building a space elevator a long time ago. It is already being constructed.

And while it's a cool thing, it's not THAT complex. It's a fiberthread which can stretch extremely far, and is incredibly durable. It's actually not a physical elevator.

It'll be used to launch nuclear waste out in space, to burn up in our sun, among other things.

http://news.softpedia.com/news...n-Four-Decades-254641.shtml

http://news.softpedia.com/news...et-to-the-Moon-288148.shtml

I am telling you right now. It IS that hard. The whole "project" if you want to even call it that is basically a PR stunt. Reasons it will never work:

a) The theory is to use "nano fibers" of which they are currently up to 1 metre in length- clap clap
b) No one would ever fund such a stupid project and no one has
c) The project has already closed down
d) There is no real science behind the theory

ffMathy said,
It'll be used to launch nuclear waste out in space, to burn up in our sun, among other things.
Ah yes, launch heavy metals into our sun who's life span relies on the lack of those heavy metals. Of course that's assuming it ever makes it to the sun. Let's see, miss all our space junk, active satellites, the moon, and 2 other planets. Now assuming you can navigate through these known objects you have to make it past comets, asteroids, and micrometeorites. Let's assume you make it through those and begin approaching the sun, how about those massive solar winds? It's like having a freight train going thousands of miles an hour pushing you in one direction. So you have a propulsion system and manage to blast past those winds (comets do it... barely. They're traveling at insane speeds also) the container would simply be vaporized before it ever reaches the sun and those materials would be shoved back in our direction. Now we would be protected from radiation but not from the heavy metals which are no less radioactive. Those will rain down on us like an invisible spring shower and thus we will have achieved nothing except epic nuclear fallout.

Have a great day

KCRic said,
Ah yes, launch heavy metals into our sun who's life span relies on the lack of those heavy metals. Of course that's assuming it ever makes it to the sun. Let's see, miss all our space junk, active satellites, the moon, and 2 other planets. Now assuming you can navigate through these known objects you have to make it past comets, asteroids, and micrometeorites. Let's assume you make it through those and begin approaching the sun, how about those massive solar winds? It's like having a freight train going thousands of miles an hour pushing you in one direction. So you have a propulsion system and manage to blast past those winds (comets do it... barely. They're traveling at insane speeds also) the container would simply be vaporized before it ever reaches the sun and those materials would be shoved back in our direction. Now we would be protected from radiation but not from the heavy metals which are no less radioactive. Those will rain down on us like an invisible spring shower and thus we will have achieved nothing except epic nuclear fallout.

Have a great day

Very informative. Now I WILL have a great day. Thanks for sharing this. You are an honored nerd.

FOR SCIENCE!

KCRic said,
Ah yes, launch heavy metals into our sun who's life span relies on the lack of those heavy metals. Of course that's assuming it ever makes it to the sun. Let's see, miss all our space junk, active satellites, the moon, and 2 other planets. Now assuming you can navigate through these known objects you have to make it past comets, asteroids, and micrometeorites. Let's assume you make it through those and begin approaching the sun, how about those massive solar winds? It's like having a freight train going thousands of miles an hour pushing you in one direction. So you have a propulsion system and manage to blast past those winds (comets do it... barely. They're traveling at insane speeds also) the container would simply be vaporized before it ever reaches the sun and those materials would be shoved back in our direction. Now we would be protected from radiation but not from the heavy metals which are no less radioactive. Those will rain down on us like an invisible spring shower and thus we will have achieved nothing except epic nuclear fallout.

Have a great day


Source?

cut said,

Source?
Wow, really? Which part? It's a known fact that there is space junk floating around and I hope you don't think GPS is Latin for magic.

There are 8 planets (9 for those Plutonians) and yes, Earth has a moon. Earth also happens to be the 3rd planet from the Sun which means we would pass 2 planets (Venus and Mercury) en route to the Sun.

The biggest fear of any person in space (or satellites) is: micrometeorites. Some smaller than grains of sand and traveling faster than anything you can imagine. You should research things like kinetic weapons, like mass drivers aka railguns. I assume you know what comets and asteroids/meteors are.

Of course there is solar wind and CME's to deal with. The electrons at terminal velocity are going around 400+ km/s. That charges other particles (including X nuclear waste container) and pushes them away. There's actual mass being ejected from the sun along with other small particles and radiation. During a CME even more material is released. In the area of 20,000,000,000,000 kg (20 trillion) and that's a low estimate. It's traveling at upwards of 4,000 km/s. You should look into something called a solar sail and also why a comets tail always points away from the Sun.

Of course this is all trivial when you realize that it would never hit the sun. It would melt well before then and those particles would become entangled in the Sun's magnetic bands before eventually being ejected with the rest of the matter. The corona is around 3,600,000 F (3.6 million F). Something tells me that no metal can withstand that for long before turning into plasma. Since this is far outside the strong pull of gravity (further you are from the core of an object the weaker the gravity, thus the lower the escape velocity) the matter would never reach the Sun and the solar winds would carry it away. You would never reach the surface of the Sun with a man-made object. In fact the only object capable of touching the surface of a star is another star. Go ahead, go to the Tokamak and stand inside while they fire it up. See how long you or anything inside lasts. You'll find out quickly why they use magnetic containment to prevent the plasma from contacting the walls.

You still need a source? Go to school. There's your source.

KCRic said,
Ah yes, launch heavy metals into our sun who's life span relies on the lack of those heavy metals. Of course that's assuming it ever makes it to the sun. Let's see, miss all our space junk, active satellites, the moon, and 2 other planets. Now assuming you can navigate through these known objects you have to make it past comets, asteroids, and micrometeorites. Let's assume you make it through those and begin approaching the sun, how about those massive solar winds? It's like having a freight train going thousands of miles an hour pushing you in one direction. So you have a propulsion system and manage to blast past those winds (comets do it... barely. They're traveling at insane speeds also) the container would simply be vaporized before it ever reaches the sun and those materials would be shoved back in our direction. Now we would be protected from radiation but not from the heavy metals which are no less radioactive. Those will rain down on us like an invisible spring shower and thus we will have achieved nothing except epic nuclear fallout.

Have a great day

Nah it's okay, all the aforementioned obstacles will prevent the radioactive contents from reaching us back.

Fred 69 said,

Nah it's okay, all the aforementioned obstacles will prevent the radioactive contents from reaching us back.

Of course. Everyone knows that particles and radiation are stopped by asteroids and satellites

Not saying it would hit us, the timing would have to be pretty spot on. Then again, since it would be dispersed over a larger area at that point, aim isn't exactly necessary. Still, would it honestly be worth the risk? We don't exactly have U-232 rain down on us everyday.

Some ideas and concepts on how to build a space elevator are fascinating even if they don't actually manage to build one.