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09:16 AM on 05/31/2012
Check out
09:12 AM on 05/31/2012
I think this is a discussion between motion being powered by substance or motion being powered by vibration. There was a lot of discussion for quite a few decades on where to draw the line between cause and chance and grasping(vibration) and substance. Free energy propulsion perpetual demands we understand to make some intelligence. Max Born, Einstien and Infeld in "TheEvolution of physics" attempted to compare the difference between the aether substance theory and the dynamic field vibration by distortion. See how clumsy this begins to get? The fact that many discussions are still hiding is like the appreciation of the 90 to 2000 computer theology which described how to try to apply computer programming to other kinds of disciplines vs when computers could mimic devices. I am making an analysis of the difference between the two directions and I would consider the first one a study of vibrations()grasping) while embedded devices I would consider that (substance) but the Genesis evolution (not Bible) but the scientific discussions that surround that word in several fields I can understand so why not read about it.
08:29 AM on 05/31/2012
Too cheap to meter!
paragon of paradigms
07:49 AM on 05/31/2012
We already have a magnificent fusion reactor called the Sun. If we could place colonist on the Moon, they would have all the solar energy that they need to convert the Moon into a habitat. Solar powered rail gun rocket engines that shoot iron pellets as propellant would enable Moon colonist to travel about on the Moon using the huge amount of metal found on the Moon's far side. All we need are solar powered robots that turn meteoric iron into stockpiles of small propellant pellets. It's not necessary to use solar cells on the Moon, only a heat engine would be needed whereby we have a solar hot side and a Moon shadow cold side.
Seriously, it's time.
06:53 AM on 06/01/2012
Excellent up until the end of the first sentence.
see biography
04:51 AM on 05/31/2012
"fusion energy is the power source of the future and always will be"
What we possibly need are scientists like Andre Geim, of graphene fame. Who can think outside the meme: If it could be done, then someone would have done it. Mix his method of reducing graphite to single atom thickness, with his magnetic levitation of water. Add in a couple of other odd yet observable manifestations relating to matter, and cold fusion might be our collective father.

"there's a lot of water."
There was once a lot of crude. Surely a closed circuit holistic system is the ideal. Such as energy splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen and oxygen combining, to provide energy with water as exhaust.

"by eliminating fossil fuels it also dispenses with other pollutants"
such as war, and other egregious byproducts.

"its multi-national management has been slow and inefficient."
There appear to be a number of nations conducting their own experiments in this field. What if they were approached with a view to engaging in a collaborative agreement? Whereby all breakthroughs and problems were pooled, for a share in the perfected system.
09:39 AM on 05/31/2012
he should have said there is a lot of salt water. We should not be using fresh water for any type of extraction purposes. The amount used for gas fracking is quite astonishing and awful...and of course it isn't even regulated yet.
only class worse than micro-bio was molecular-bio
10:57 AM on 05/31/2012
The amount of water vs the amount of crude are not even comparable. We would be using deuterium only. The atomic mass of hydrogen is 1.0079... That shows you the scarcity of deuterium (well, with a bit of tritium too). Will we convert all H2O to deuterium? Not possible... Because the vast majority of water molecules do not contain deuterium. Will we use all of the deuterium in fusion? It is possible, but not in the next millennium, even if our power consumption increases by a factor of 100.
Scientifically Progressive Libertarian Socialist
02:52 PM on 05/31/2012
You both have points, but I think that you vastly underestimate the exponential curve of energy use, especially if a new "inexhaustible" source were released to the masses. I think that factor of 100 would probably be met and exceeded within a decade or two. Things that are now rate-limited by the scarcity of power would no longer be, which would be good in many ways, but horrible in others.
David Dem
End the War
03:25 AM on 05/31/2012
I never heard of X-ray lasers until reading up about tokamek technology. This has to be sustainable research.
02:31 AM on 05/31/2012
BRILLIANT! Thank you! Now if only enough people can grasp the potential and get this DONE. Humanity is running out of time if we are to maintain a global technological civilisation with an eye toward developing a viable, sustainable and prosperous existence. We have until around 2040 or 2050 to have such a scheme in place; when we run out of proven oil reserves and it becomes more expensive to extract petroleum, we're in for quite a bit of trouble. Fusion is a promising way out of the crisis.
Seriously, it's time.
02:29 AM on 05/31/2012
A very honest and sensible piece. But is support for ITER really at risk?
04:06 PM on 05/31/2012
Not really, unless the EU implodes on itself. But they have been pouring a very large fraction of their total science budget into fusion for the last three or four decades... so why stop now throwing good money after bad?
See bio on the Aesop Institute website
01:48 AM on 05/31/2012
Much less expensive, safer, alternatives are in the birth canal. See Cheap Green and Moving Beyond Oil at for a few examples.

If the funding that has been available to hot fusion had been spent on the best of these Black Swans, highly improbable innovations with enormous implications, we would be able to rapidly end any need for fossil or nuclear fuels.

Decentralized renewable energy is now an insurance policy for human survival.

See Stop Both Ticking Time Bombs on the Aesop Institute site to understand the little known threats that can create nuclear nightmares.
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05:40 AM on 05/31/2012
Hey, one thing at a time. I'm still waiting for that avian virus thing.
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01:43 AM on 05/31/2012
Inexhaustible, carbon free, cheap. Certainly it would be a very large step in the right direction. But a step that needs to be taken in conjunction with others.

Without a fundamental change in a growth-based economic strategy, what does fusion give us? An easy way to continue to overconsume on a massive scale. Just sayin'...
04:04 PM on 05/31/2012
I would agree with you, but not even that is true. Fusion is not an economical process to make energy. So you don't even get that overconsumption piece...
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noblesse oblige
01:28 AM on 05/31/2012
Big oil, etc., will do everything in it's power to thwart alternative energy options, unfortunately. I say, phoque them, and let's get serious about fusion power.
12:54 AM on 05/31/2012
Fusion... the energy of tomorrow... tomorrow!

Just where did I hear that before???
Seriously, it's time.
04:50 AM on 05/31/2012
It's always been good to have something to hope for, 50 years in the future. ;-)

It could work eventually. The power densities in the machines are potentially very practical for long-lived safe operation. Although, great care will be needed concerning neutron activation of the box.
04:00 PM on 05/31/2012
I do have high hopes for fusion reactors... as propulsion for interplanetary and probably even inter-stellar spacecraft... from the 22nd century onwards.
Uncle Woofie
I Don't Solve Problems-I Beat Them Into Submission
12:15 AM on 05/31/2012
I wondered about the state of fusion thanks Mr. Greenwald...!!
Economic liberal, social libertarian
11:52 PM on 05/30/2012
What about the polywell device that Dr. Robert Bussard was working on? Wasn't it much smaller even then existing fossil fuel plants?
02:02 AM on 05/31/2012
Its energy output, for sure, was. But that was probably to be expected from a concept that can't work.
Economic liberal, social libertarian
04:11 AM on 05/31/2012
I did a Google search and it seems the work is continuing. Seems not everyone agrees with you.
Seriously, it's time.
02:21 AM on 05/31/2012
The tiny unicorn treadmill was a good idea too.
Former repub, still repenting
11:44 PM on 05/30/2012
Our electriic grid is obsolete and past its design life.. thus in either case it must be that cost remains the same...

Our electric system now, is only 30% as efficient as other developed nations due to age and our grid has 5 times the down time as in the EU or Japan.