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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Langston Field  
  A protective energy shield.  

A great defensive weapon. It felt very cold if you encountered it with some part of your body, since the very motion of the molecules would be slowed.

The Langston Field absorbed energy; that was its basic function. It absorbed even the kinetic energy of expanding gas or radiation particles, with an efficiency proportional to the cube of the incoming velocities. In battle, the hellish fury of hydrogen torpedoes, and the concentrated photon energies of lasers, would strike the Field and be dispersed, absorbed, contained. As the energy levels increased, the Field would begin to glow, its absolute black becoming red, orange, yellow, climbing up the spectrum toward the violet.
From The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Simon & Schuster in 1974
Additional resources -

Since the energy field tended to form in a circle around the generator, cities that protected themselves with Langston Fields were circular.

The Langston field is based on energy fields in E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series from the 1940's.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mote in God's Eye
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)
  Tech news articles related to The Mote in God's Eye
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)

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