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Japan seriously considers building real-life Gundam mechas for Defense:

Flying Dutchman
Except sailboats don't break the laws of physics, starting with the square-cube law.

I mean, you can make a rudimentary bipedal mechanized infantry suit, but that's useless in a fight. Anything approaching silly anime nonsense is right out and all the scientists would laugh at you for suggesting it, barring us discovering some fake super substance that we can rub on things and make them stop following the laws of reality.
"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

 77 Pykrete, Fri, 29th Jun '12 12:18:08 AM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
I can sort of see the benefit of a Starship Troopers-esque negative feedback powersuit, but yeah. I can't see any advantage whatsoever to a bipedal monstrosity.

Is that cake frosting?
I can see one advantage. By directing military expenditures towards unpractical, technologically challenging projects such as this, you can exploit human belligerence in order to make technological progress — and without the risk of creating something that will actually hurt people!

Hm, this sounds like a possibly useful idea. Perhaps the right way to convince NASA to get to Mars already might be to get everybody to believe that the al-Qaeda headquarters are there? tongue

edited 29th Jun '12 2:02:04 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

[up] Couldn't you do the same thing with sports and booze?

The cost of this could probably buy a lot of Sake and wide screen T Vs.

edited 29th Jun '12 2:39:58 AM by Natasel

 
 80 lord Gacek, Fri, 29th Jun '12 2:44:51 AM from Kansas of Europe
KVLFON
I remember a joke cracked after one of the recent discoveries of an Earthlike planet: "tell everyone there's oil in there and the Americans will mount a peacekeeping expedition in no time". cool
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
 81 RJ Savoy, Fri, 29th Jun '12 3:09:42 AM from Edinburgh Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Reymmă
I think all we need to know is: the people suggesting this represent a political party, not the army. Their concern is PR, not military effectiveness.

If you look at Israel, and this is a very serious problem, the politicians courting votes are often much more belligerent than the soldiers who would have to actually carry out the work. It's been suggested the incursion into Lebanon happened without the leaders thinking it was a good idea, because of an escalation process of the generals bluffing to scare down the terrorists, and the government trying to look tough.
 82 Kayeka, Fri, 29th Jun '12 4:35:50 PM from Amsterdam Relationship Status: Brony
World's biggest wannabe
Yeah, okay, but what kind of PR would they be getting out of this? The only people that would consider this cool are otaku, AKA nerds. Since nerds also happen to be the kind of people that get just how stupid of an idea this is*, it would actually loose quite a few votes for the party in question.

People outside of geekdom would either shrug or raise an eyebrow over politicians getting ideas from old cartoons.

Seriously, no matter how I look at this, I just can't find any sort of reason for making this announcement. The idea is bad and the PR gained is bad. And yes, when it comes to politics, there is such a thing as bad publicity.
 83 Nick The Swing, Fri, 29th Jun '12 6:13:54 PM from Ya really wanna know? Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
BFS Enthusiast
I'm getting dibs in advance on developing the floating weapons / drones.

Mainly because those things are so freaking cool. Namely, I intend to funnel some money into development in exchange for getting my hands on something cool.
Gunpla is amazing!
Hehe.

Funnel. (Only gundam fans will get that)

Also I'm of the camp who reluctantly acknowledges mecha to be 100% unrealistic except in very specific scenarios such as body armor, construction, and MAYBE super small sized ones like VOTOMS

 85 Trash Jack, Sat, 30th Jun '12 6:30:46 AM from Right behind you!
Apprentice Manipulator
So if Japan gets Gundams, does that mean the US gets MEGAS? Because that would be awesome. Completely impractical, completely stupid, but awesome as hell.
Steam URL: steamcommunity.com/id/trashjackthemad/
 86 The Handle, Sat, 30th Jun '12 6:37:06 AM from Location, Location, Loca
I'm exactly with Carfocius here. Let's invest in absolutely cutting age, blatantly awesome toys and make-believe it's for fighting. I would totally vote for a party that would redirect already-existing budgets for this. However, if one party were to actually suggest cutting down on defense and investing in eduation and health instead, I would vote for them.

Still, I very passionately encourage the Japanese to achieve this massive awesomeness. It's a gift to humanity, definitely.

And it's not impossible. At least, not if we're thinking ten-meters at most. An actual Gundam, though, might be a little too much. As for breaking the square cube law, that's only literally true if you keep using the same materials and the same structure.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
Wait, maybe they WANT this thing to be a huge failure?

It would be a perfect chance to skim funds off the project and line a few pockets. As long as they don't run into a Spring Time For Hitler scenario anyway.

(Or they are aiming high but expectations are low. Giant robot goal, but happy with power suit?)
 
[up]That's my theory. Either that, or as Kotaku and a couple of posters here believed, they're trying to win votes with the Otakus in Japan but don't realize that they're actually a pretty smart group for the most part... just socially stunted.
Finally uploaded myself an Avvie
 89 Tam H 70, Sat, 30th Jun '12 5:11:04 PM from 合計虐殺 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War ALWAYS changes. Man does not.
I think with advances in materials technology, the square-cube law, like many other sacred cows I will not mention, will end up getting a shoeing.

Btw, how does the square-cube law explain the Apatosaurus?
Is that cake frosting?
The Apatosaurus had a completely different body plan, though. It was quadrupedal, to begin with. And it had a number of adaptations to reduce its weight (for example, air sacs in the neck).

edited 1st Jul '12 12:02:10 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

Flying Dutchman
Btw, how does the square-cube law explain the Apatosaurus?

Presumably, it moved very, very slowly.

Likewise, it is perfectly possible to make a bipedal robot that can walk. It just will need to move very, painfully slowly, lest its joints collapse in on themselves. It would also be quite useless should it fall over, and being as slow as it would be, it would be a laughably easy target for missiles or even simple radar-guided artillery.

Barring silly science fiction nonsense (i.e. things that don't follow the periodic table of elements and current laws of chemistry), what you will have essentially have built with this "Gundam" is a very overpriced, overdesigned, and largely impractical and useless forklift. Which, if you're lucky, may have guns on it. Which, in the course of battle, will do you little good, as your time from entrance to the battlefield to killed-in-action will be less than the time it takes the writers of South Park to kill Kenny.
"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

Effective and efficient bipedal movement is an extremely important design goal in robotics, but anyone who has seen a bipedal prototype built for traversal will notice it looks NOTHING like a Gundam in any way, shape, or form — for good reason. As for military robotic technology, I have no expertise, but I can't imagine it would be all that different for most practical purposes. That calling a particular design a "Gundam" attracts novelty funding or a level of PR, as others have suggested, is the best explanation.

I don't know, have you heard about the robot legs that are based off human legs? Not ordinary bipedal but actually biomimetic legs. I heard they're more efficient, because they swing naturally without the need for elaborate calculations.
[up][up][up]"Oh my god! They killed Gundam!" "You bastards!" evil grin

[up] What you proposing would basically be building a giant, full body, prostetic human.

Think the Eddie Murphy movie : Meet Dave Had that in the story.

If anything, this would be harder to do than with a "crude" Gundam. Biomimicry isn't a fully fleshed out field yet.

edited 1st Jul '12 3:51:51 AM by Natasel

 
 95 The Handle, Sun, 1st Jul '12 3:53:57 AM from Location, Location, Loca
The naysaying here depresses me. It's not like it's the first time humanity went Beyond the Impossible.

Oooh, I see this thing and I can only feel Fear And Loathing.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 96 Inverurie Jones, Sun, 1st Jul '12 3:56:33 AM from Station 78 Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
'80s TV Action Hero
Meh, I figure it will take the same place in our world, as sail boats do.

The same place? The bottom of the English Channel?

edited 1st Jul '12 3:57:46 AM by InverurieJones

Winter is Coming

The building was on fire and it wasn't my fault.

 97 Ira The Squire, Sun, 1st Jul '12 4:33:28 AM from No idea. Measuring speed
Phyrexian Dalek
To be fair, it seems to me that a "mecha" nowadays include things that are more like an exoskeleton (think how Tekkaman Blade is part of Super Robot Wars), so I wouldn't be surprised that they are really building something more like an Iron Man suit or something not much bigger than a human, and "Gundam" is just a term familiar enough to people that will explain what they are doing. There's no reason to assume that they are making a 10-meter tall giant machine that look and expected to function exactly like Gundam.

Edit: now that I've actually read the link, it seems even more plausible that an Iron Man suit or something far more practical is what is being suggested, and the media picked this up and exaggerated it to be "Gundam".

edited 1st Jul '12 4:36:26 AM by IraTheSquire

1) Patent a deadly virus and its treatment. Spread it. Charge outrageous prices to anyone you want dead.

2) ???

3) PROFIT!
[up] In some parts of the world (Korea, for example), Gundam simply means mech. So it might just be either a cultural mistranslation or misappropriation of slang.

edited 1st Jul '12 8:26:04 AM by Discar

 99 RJ Savoy, Mon, 2nd Jul '12 9:18:27 AM from Edinburgh Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Reymmă
There's also something else to consider:

The purpose of a defensive military is to look powerful rather than actually work. That will ward off enemies and reassure the populace. And a military in good working order staffed by committed patriots is not entirely desirable; those people's thoughts tend to go: 1) We must keep our nation safe from enemies wherever they may be 2) The biggest enemy is this paltry democratic government that is too factional and election-obsessed to take decisive action. Much better to have an army that takes up plenty of funds but keeps wasting them into futile but impressive new weapons.
 100 The Handle, Mon, 2nd Jul '12 9:29:58 AM from Location, Location, Loca
Isn't that true of offensive armies as well? Especially that bloated monster that's the US military?
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
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