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Send Morse Code Over Stockholm By Laser 139

bigmac writes "KTH, Royal Institute of technology is celebrating 175 year anniv by making a very spectacular laser show. A green laser sent from the bottom of an old reactor building 30 meters below ground. The beam is then reflected over the city from the schools clock tower. And yes, you can send your own laser-morse messages through their homepage!" Here's an image to chew on.
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Send Morse Code Over Stockholm By Laser

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  • That looks real.
    • Sure does. They must be using the green version of the Laser they used in Real Genius.
      • They must be using the green version of the Laser they used in Real Genius

        Nope. They are using the Laser from the Death star from ROTJ.

        That's no moon....
    • Re:Oh, right (Score:3, Interesting)

      by djonsson (542920)
      I attend this school; why do I have to read this on slashdot? Noone here knew. But then again, students don't seem to be invited to the 175 year anniversary.
    • Yes, it does (Score:2, Informative)

      There's nothing to convince me that the picture's a fake.

      I've seen green laser that were intense enough to been seen by the naked eye.. If you look at it from the correct angle with respect to the polarization, of course
      • Yes, as long as the light's refleting off something. There doesn't appear to be anything in the sky in that picture for all that light to be bouncing off. There may be some particles, but certainly not enough to make the beam look solid. Even if the beam were reflected off the clock face, the light has to strike something and be reflected towards your eye, you wouldn't just see a beam zipping across your line of sight.

        Unless you're suggesting the laser is of sufficient power to ionize the surrounding air. I don't see that happening, either. Unfortunately, I can't find any details in a language I can read.
        • Actually it doesn't have to have sufficient power to ionize the surrounding air. Lasers are (if they're powerful enough) able to cause dipole radiation, without ionizing any molecules.

          the dipole oscillations are oriented with respect to the polarization of the light, so this light is most intense if you see it from an angle perpendicular to the polarization.

          It's true that weak lasers has to reflect of particles, but I'm sure that this laser is powerful enough to cause dipole radiation... (maybe the reason why the didn't just move the laser from the basement it's placed in)
      • Re:Yes, it does (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Max von H. (19283)
        I used to spend my summers nearby an observatory in the South of France, and they were using a pretty damn visible laser to measure Earth-Moon distance (I think). At night, a similar beam than in the article photo could be visible (can't remember the colour of it though), and that was 20 years ago.

        Pretty impressive thing to see when you're a kid in the middle of nowhere in the early 1980's.

    • It's a real photo, they just used a long exposure.
    • Oh, right, That looks real.

      Ummm... you are not smart.

      I remember when Pink Floyd [] came here (Philly, USA) in '92 (or '91, I forget when The Division Bell [] came out, I still have the shirt somewhere I think...), PHL [] had to redirect air traffic that night during the show because of the green lasers that they were using in the show. DAMN FANTASTIC SHOW, BTW, but the point is: yes, Green Lasers (especially) can be that visable and that vibrant.

      Please look into things a bit before you post. Thank you.
    • Lord Helmet (Score:1, Funny)

      by operagost (62405)
      I see your Schwartz is as big as mine ... let's see how you use it!
    • Re:Oh, right (Score:3, Informative)

      by derrickh (157646)
      It does look real. A green laser (Argon or DPSS) is 3-4 times more visible to the human eye than a red laser(which is the color most people think of when the word laser comes up). Since it's a direct beam and not being scanned to make pictures or effects, it looks even brighter. On a hazy night, a laser with a few watts (30-40) of power could be seen for miles.

  • Can google enterpret Morse code?
  • by Twintop (579924)
    'All your base are belong to us.'
  • Pretty impressive. I'm green with envy! PS: What's a lameness filter and why won't it let me list morse code?
  • hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hatchet (528688)
    If I don't understand swedish, I won't understand swedish morse code. Does any translator know swedish?
    • Does any translator know swedish?

      Yup, not a problem []

      Iff I dun't understund svedeesh, I vun't understund svedeesh murse-a cude-a. Dues uny trunsletur knoo svedeesh?
      • Iff I dun't understund svedeesh, I vun't understund svedeesh murse-a cude-a. Dues uny trunsletur knoo svedeesh?

        Translation: Om du inte förstår svenska, så förstår jag inte svensk Morse-kod. Finns det någon översättare som kan svenska?

        Oh, yes there are.

        Translation: Jo, det finns det.

  • by majestynine (605494) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:04AM (#4317660)
    I wonder if echelon will be monitoring these transmissions... because we all know this is what the terrorists of the future will be using..
  • by evbergen (31483) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:08AM (#4317669) Homepage
    ... that was up on slashdot a while ago. It allowed you to send messages that scrolled by on a 18x8 screen made of lamps in office rooms and play Pong on your GSM (see

    It's not even that original, considering the fact that (at least here in NL) a lot of clip stations are continuously scrolling by SMS messages from random people. Everyone his 5 seconds of fame. Hmm.

    The laser would be a fun way to ask a geeky other half to marry though.
  • by po_boy (69692) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:10AM (#4317675) Homepage
    Remind me not peer out the window next time I fly into Stickholm.
  • by hummer357 (545850) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:10AM (#4317676)
    Anyone notice on the site that the university is giving a doctorat (honoris causa) to Bill Gates?

    Nice one, Stockholm!
    • by Lars Arvestad (5049) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:23AM (#4317697) Homepage Journal
      Yup, a lot of people (well hackers rather) were awkward about that. The school has a tradition of giving honorary doctorates to successful entrepeneurs (i.e., people with lots of money).

      Please notice however, that Richard M. Stallman was given an honorary doctorate at KTH already in 1996!

    • First some background:
      Students at technical universities in Sweden generally own overalls in the colour of their student union section (a section usually roughly corresponds to one educational programme). These are worn at various parties. The students also design "patches" with their section or school logo, the "logo" of some big party or just a funny cartoon and sew these on their overalls.

      When Bill Gates received his doctorate, the IT section at KTH started distributing a patch with a picture of Gates wearing a doctor's hat and with the text "You pay - you get".

      It was immensely popular. I own two. =)
  • by DrunkenPenguin (553473) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:11AM (#4317679) Homepage
    Click on "Ljus Telegraph" to send your own message. Ditt meddelande = Your message. Avsändare = Message sender. That's it. Quite simple.
  • This may be of help (Score:5, Informative)

    by Adam9 (93947) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:12AM (#4317680) Journal
    You can get an English translation here []. Sorry, Babelfish doesn't have Swedish yet ;)
  • by Hunden (516276) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:20AM (#4317692)
    After learning morsecode in the Navy, four of my friends and I had a lesson in how to behave in front of women. Beer had caused an unusually deep load displacement, and we sat in a train compartment and morsed whatever dirty words or sentences we could come up with.

    Five drunken sailors and a young attractive(at least she seamed so, at that time) girl, gave us five hours of fun morsetraining. At her stop I found it appropriate to excuse for our childish behaviour - She replied that she had enjoyed our show, and as an old girl scout she had brushed up her morse code.

    Sending morsecode in trains have never been the same after that:) .... ..- -. -.. . -.
    • One of my favorite bits of code from the ioccc [] is one that will read and write morse. Here it is for your compiling pleasure:


      char*O,l[999]="'`acgo\177~|xp .-\0R^8)NJ6%K4O+A2M(*0ID57$3G1FBL";
      while(O=fgets (l+45,954,stdin)){
      *l=O[strlen(O)[O-1]=0,strspn(O ,l+11)];
      case 0: putchar((++O,32));}
  • Looks like the MCP from Tron drank some green beer. :-)
  • I think I will send this in hopes aliens from a distant planet just happen to pick up the laser.

    "All your base are belong to us"

    Well I did go to the trouble of typing my mesage out in morse code, but I have too many 'junk' characters to submit the post :( You mean to tell me slashcode can't recognize morse code???
  • by hatchet (528688)
    What about this? []
  • I bet you could really excercise your cat [] with that one, and do it over the internet, too!
  • by adadun (267785) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:54AM (#4317750) Homepage
    "Stockholm by night"

    In a symbolic meeting between academia and the rest of the world, Stockholm's night sky will be adorned by a beam of light. A beam that has its origins in history, is part of our time and endeavours towards the future. A beam reflecting the advancements of technology and enterprise. A curious beam.

    From a point 30 meters below the face of the earth, where once Sweden's first nuclear reactor was, a laser beam is produces and is reflected by the tower where pioneers once sent the first TV signals across Sweden. From here, the light is further projected over the city before reaching its goal: the City Hall.
  • Warning (Score:5, Funny)

    by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:58AM (#4317758)
    Warning: Do not look directly at laser with remaining good eye.

  • by Lepruhkawn (199083) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:01AM (#4317759) Homepage
    Some joyriding alien passing by Sol is going to pick up "All your base are belong to us" sent by some trite geek and thus begins the first interstellar war.
    • Some joyriding alien passing by Sol is going to pick up "All your base are belong to us" sent by some trite geek and thus begins the first interstellar war.

      Yeah. Those Vogans are so sensative. Actually, doesn't AYBABTU translate into, "Build a Hyperspace Bypass" in Vogan?

  • That image is... striking.

    This isn't for morse code, this is for playing Missle Command writ large!
    • The Zürich university sported a similar bright green beam shooting across the night sky last spring. My friends and I stopped in the street to look at it and were arguing what it could be. Then this guy turned to us and said, while drawing quotes in the air with his fingers:

      'It's a giant "l a s e r".'

      And all this time I thought it was the "Alan Parson's Project"!!
  • by MikeDX (560598)
    Looks like obi-wan left his lightsaber on again. :)
  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:26AM (#4317805) Homepage

    My message would be the source code to DeCSS, compressed, and alpha-encoded.

  • Could this be considered Green wireless networking [] ?
  • Check out all photos (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @04:43AM (#4317917)
    Check out all the other photos from the event here [].
  • This was very neat, although the concept is by no means new. An artist named Rockne Krebs has been using lasers since the late 1960s to execute new forms of art. Perhaps his most famous art piece was "Green Hypotenuse" (1983) : a massive laser show which beamed an argon laser from the Mt. Wilson Observatory in Pasadena to the wall of the Beckmann Auditorium on the Caltech campus over 7 miles away.

    The photograph [] on a webpage describing the art looks remarkably like the Swedish project. From the webpage :

    Rockne Krebs was born in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1961 he received a B.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Kansas. Though not a painter, his fascination with ideas of color, along with his passion for sculpture, spawned a desire to create a sculptural work entirely made of light and color. Eventually this led to his development of "laser sculpture." In 1967 Krebs obtained his first simple HeNe (helium-neon) laser and created the piece Sculpture Minus Object. In 1969 he was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to work with Hewlett-Packard. They collaborated on a design for a piece that Krebs presented in the 1970 World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. This piece featured the first ever laser beam switching system and the prototype of the first laser light show. In 1983, Krebs connected the over 5,000-foot Mt. Wilson to the wall of Caltech's Beckman Auditorium over 7 miles away using light from a single argon laser. He allowed the laser beam to spread so by the time it reached the white exterior of the auditorium it was a constantly changing "painting" of green light. For The Universe: Contemporary Art and the Cosmos Krebs is creating a new piece using lasers and mirrors to connect the Armory building with the park across the street. He is also represented by two drawings, a medium he has explored in depth since the early 1970s.

  • The distance from source to target is around three miles, give or take. The beam is horizontal [], some 50+ meters above ground.
  • Shark cage? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by carlcmc (322350)
    Tell me, is that green laser mounted on the head of a shark in a shark cage???????
  • CHA (Score:2, Funny)

    by jfunk (33224)
    After looking at that picture I started wondering if the moon will have "CHA" on it tonight.
  • "Do not hump the laser."
  • Urgent -- Need Help [stop]
    Send Sweedish Bikini Team [stop]
  • When can I get a laser pointer with that kind of power?
  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:19AM (#4318990) Homepage
    ... by the same group who did the show in the article

    I don't understand Knåkkebrøtish, but it looks kuhl.
    Check here []
  • Just heard about someone in the project team testing the laser, by lighting a cigarette on it.

    Oh and the proper message to send is "FIRST POST" of course :-)
  • I've got to get to that IO tower and communicate with my user.

    I SO want that laser in my town, although, you've got to wonder how that would affect pilots!
  • Supposedly the Swedes have received a reply in blue laser last night. 'We like talking to you better, those SETI guys are too serious.'

  • Chapter 1

    The story so far:

    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot
    of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -- Douglas Adams?

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton