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  1.  (179.1)
    Where once Magnetic Fusion was the most popular belle of the ball, Laser Fusion is now the IT girl. Didn't Doctor Octopus do this in Spider-Man 2? His wife got killed by flying glass! Do we really want something like this powering our homes?
  2.  (179.2)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    one day we will wake up and everyone will benefit from free energy.


    Or we may wake up to find we've all been sucked into some kinda artificial sun/black hole where the remaining moments of our lives will be held in agonizing pain.
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (179.3)
    Big Oil has sent LioGib the Lion Sock Puppet to give you this friendly message:

    "Magnetic Fusion killed my father, and Laser Fusion raped my mother! Only big oil and his super team can avenge us and bring about environmental change!"

    [insert picture of cuddly sock puppet here]

    <a href="http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=189441326">-Z</a>
  3.  (179.4)
    I can see this heading into the Zoo fairly quickly...!
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (179.5)
    Apologies.

    I mask my lack of edgy-ma-kation with puppets and dirty language.

    You may delete my speakings and allow the smart people to converse now.

    <a href="http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=189441326">- Z</a>
    •  
      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (179.6)
    I'm all for laser fusion...but in the short term, I really wish they could get just one of the methods of fusion to work with some semblance of reliable repetition. I mean, it's great that they keep doing it by accident and all, but, with all the money that keeps getting thrown at it, I'd like to see some real progress.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCOMTE
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (179.7)
    Agreed. Laser or Magnetic; I don't really give a good-golly-gosh-darn, so long as ONE of them works!
    •  
      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (179.8)
    Careful, this impatience could skid into the "Where are the results NOW that's it it's cancelled!" short sightedness that often murders science. This isn't airy-fairy like looking for the Higgs boson, this is an honest to god cheap energy science that WILL work, just a matter of time and fiddling.

    Not that I buy any of the "Free energy utopia" pictures for a second - we'll just find worse ways to waste it, or even better spend ten times the power preventing those without from getting the tenth they need. Still, non polluting power run by seawater without any of those horrible 100+ atomic number elements will be nice. Even if we do use it to run red-hot anti-intruder wire.
  4.  (179.9)
    Hell, how about we just fill an underground cavern with water and left off an H-bomb in it every so often?"
    •  
      CommentAuthorobliterati
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007 edited
     (179.10)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    They created Strange Matter with laser fusion at CERN in Switzerland a few years ago, by generating temperatures orders of magnitude hotter than the sun, I keep having this fear that they're going to rip the universe open one of these days.

    The impulse engines on Star Trek apparently work through laser fusion though and Star Trek can't be bad right?
    •  
      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
     (179.11)
    @Luke
    Careful, this impatience could skid into the "Where are the results NOW that's it it's cancelled!" short sightedness that often murders science

    Very true...and it's a pretty darn good thing that my impatience doesn't matter a lick to scientific development. However, they've been at it for over 40 years! I think it's a matter of their own impatience to see something they've believed in for so long actually work...that and the guys that started the research back in the day are all retiring or retired or worse yet, dead and the new guys want to utilize new technology...I am not against this at all (I really think lasers will win the race) but switching the focus means they're starting all over again.

    @obliterati
    What is this "Strange Matter" you speak of? Know of a good link?
    •  
      CommentAuthorobliterati
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007 edited
     (179.12)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Atomic nuclei are made up of quarks, and quarks are held together by these strange things called gluons. Gluons are unusual because they form a kind of attraction which is unlike pretty much every other attractive force. Normally, when two objects like magnets or planets or attracting bodies in general are close to each other, their attraction is stronger. When they're far away from each other the attraction is weaker. That's the way it normally works, but not with the stuff holding quarks together. Gluons seem to work more according to the principles of obsessive love than typical thermodynamics, the further apart their principals move then the stronger the attraction.

    What the CERN people did was superheat a sample of <em>something</em> using laser fusion until it was (if I remember correctly) about 11 times hotter than the sun, and then they shut the laser off and analyzed what they had.

    The sample had become so hot that the quarks started to float away from each other, with protons and nuclei breaking down into component parts and coming unglued, but when they'd shut the laser off and the sample suddenly cooled the gluons snapped back into shape as fast as they could go, and snapped back into shape all wrong, creating <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_matter">strange matter</a>, like the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.redorbit.com/education/reference_library/universe/strange_matter/247/index.html">stuff inside neutron stars</a>.

    This experiment had been done in 2000 or so, it would take a bit to find the original story.

    Here is a quote from an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-62102225.html">article</a> written beforehand addressing certain doomsday concerns about the whole thing:
    <blockquote>Strange matter is a hypothesized form of matter that theoretical physicists have been pondering for a number of years. Nucleon bags contain three quarks in combinations of the two lightest varieties (out of six) known dryly as "up" and "down." The next heaviest quark is called "strange." Strange matter simply has more quarks of a wider variety per bag. A "strangelet" typically has six quarks in various combinations of up, down, and strange. The catch is that, although QCD doesn't eliminate strangelets as a possible configuration of quarks, no one has ever seen such objects in the lab.

    According to some theorists there is a remote possibility that strangelets have a lower energy than conventional nuclear matter. After a string of highly unlikely possibilities, if lodged in a nucleus, not only could this object be stable, but the rest of the nucleus would reconfigure itself to be a strangelet too as it falls to the lowest possible energy configuration. In a chain reaction, these voracious strangelets could wander around converting every nucleus they touched into strange matter. Although the chain of events required is unlikely, the production of a hungry strangelet could create an unimaginable catastrophe. Scientists claim that such a situation is "highly unlikely." But how unlikely?</blockquote>
    •  
      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
     (179.13)
    @~Kim You're right about the loss of the old guard. I attended a high energy density plasma workshop over the summer, and it was really a fusion-research recruitment fair with lots of old professors desperately trying to convince us young scientists to come work in fusion. One guy practically promised a Nobel prize to anyone prepared to come and make the stuff work, preferably before he died of old age.

    There's still a lot of money and scientific interest in the field, so they shouldn't run out of people anytime soon. But it's definitely suffering from being less scientifically sexy than it used to be, with those hot young strumpets nanotech and biophysics seducing all the innocent minds.
  5.  (179.14)
    I'll hold out for magnetic laser fusion.


    Will
    •  
      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
     (179.15)
    Well, then again, I could be wrong about laser fusion winning the race...last year, it seems, seven different countries (European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, the PeopleĀ“s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA) have tossed in monies to the sum of 10 billion dollars in order to manufacture the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the South of France. They tout it as a fusion reactor but, by the looks of it, they will still be dealing with radioactive plasma, using superconducting magnets to send an electrical charge through it to produce the energy.

    Thusly, in my opinion, they've defeated the purpose of using fusion as a source of energy as, and correct me if I am wrong, but I thought fusion was meant to be a clean alternative to nuclear power.
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
     (179.16)
    ITER is clean. It's radioactive, obviously, as any nuclear plant must be, whether it be nuclear fission or fusion. But it doesn't produce radioactive WASTE. This being the key.

    It's the same as laser fusion, using deuterium/tritium plasma, just contained differently and with the reaction set off differently.
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      CommentAuthorOwesome
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
     (179.17)
    To my (ignorant) mind, magnetic fusion could do with a marketing overhaul. Magnets are so 1950s. Lasers are where the future's at.

    (Nods, sagely)