Two different Silicon Valley experiments this weekend failed outright.
First, there was the space elevator competition at NASA. Nobody won the $50,000 prize because no one figured it out (free registration). Brad Edwards, former staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said it will be “one or two years” before a space elevator becomes a reality, as quoted by a Merc reporter. That seems pretty optimistic, no?
Second, an effort to set fire to a fishing boat by directing a sun beam from 150 feet away proved a dud. The idea was to reflect the sun’s powerful rays with a mirror-like device made of glass and bronze, in an effort to replicate the fabled “death ray” recounted in historical accounts about Archimedes’ contraption used to torch a fleet of invading Roman ships. It failed to spark an open flame.