Another Route to Fusion
April 7, 2003 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Take enough electricity to power 100 houses for two minutes and use it to generate enough elecrticity to power one 40-watt lightbulb for one ten-thousandth of a second. What do you have? Nuclear Fusion.
posted by alms (17 comments total)
Those lazy scientists haven't cured cancer yet, either :)
posted by Space Coyote at 7:29 PM on April 7, 2003

Let's pray that it comes to fruition, and quickly!

I'm sick of these oil wars.
posted by troutfishing at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2003

it would be good as long as it was extremely difficult to do. if the barrier to entry to a technology that produced huge quantities of energy were too low...
posted by muppetboy at 7:51 PM on April 7, 2003

enough to power 100 houses for two minutes, and unleashing it quickly, which sets off a Rube Goldberg chain of events that leads to fusion.

posted by eddydamascene at 8:01 PM on April 7, 2003

Science has really been pulling its weight these last few centuries. Don't think I haven't noticed.
posted by Hildago at 8:08 PM on April 7, 2003

The potential ramifications of cheap, limitless energy made me shudder....

Perhaps science should turn it's relentless energy toward improving (somehow) human behavior.
posted by troutfishing at 8:51 PM on April 7, 2003

Just for reference, there's a pilot project for a fusion power generator using the competing tokamak-style technology. Any day now, they say....
posted by cardboard at 8:58 PM on April 7, 2003

Why , troutfishing, here's something. Better to make us into automatons working on an engineered response system then use cheap and relatively clean energy, huh? I dunno, I think any Brave New World you might imagine could do with lots of cheap energy, after all, it'll run forever.

In any event, I can't see a more just world without radical changes in the availability of energy, while I'm not some radical modern who sees the salvation of humanity who sees technological progress as the same as social progress, I think it's self evident that greater, and cheaper, resources can lead to the development of a society where people are better able to work toward their potential and their own happiness.

And besides, I really don't think we should be asking physicists and engineers to work towards changing human behavior. After all, it's not really their speciality, science isn't "Science!", some monolithic entity, 1950's B-movies to the contrary.
posted by Snyder at 9:32 PM on April 7, 2003

shadow45, that photo is incredible.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:56 PM on April 7, 2003

someone should just make a giant piston engine that uses hydrogen bombs rather then combustion to push them. That would be cool.
posted by delmoi at 11:04 PM on April 7, 2003

Troutfishing, mupprtboy--why the pessimism? Cheap, abundant, clean energy could go a very long way toward healing the major problems of the world. Water, food, fabrication of materials can all be had if you have the energy. And fusion plants could be given to third world countries more readiy than fission, because they don't make plutonium.
posted by Nothing at 11:36 PM on April 7, 2003

Yeah, I put it into Photoshop, darkened the thing a little.. now I got a pretty sweet background for my XP desktop :)
posted by shadow45 at 3:53 AM on April 8, 2003

"The Z machine can fire one shot a day." Yeah, well, join the club.
posted by newlydead at 5:35 AM on April 8, 2003

Geez, everyone is selling the bearskin before they've shot the bear.

This idea is at twenty years old. The idea to hit a pellet of deuterium with high energy lasers from all directions, mentioned near the end of the article, has been around about that long.

Cheap fusion power has been the dream of the future for a long time. It seems to be a really tough nut to crack. I suspect we'll get there eventually, but like that cancer cure, I'm not holding my breath.

btw, some cancers are curable right now, such as childhood leukemias and some lymphomas. others aren't. there probably will never be a 'cancer cure', because 'cancer' is not a simple, singular disease. we'll just have to figure them out one at a time.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:48 AM on April 8, 2003

Why don't we skip all the bs, and just start taking that energy from the sun?
posted by themikeb at 7:36 AM on April 8, 2003

Amazing photo. Thanks, Shadow!
posted by alms at 7:38 AM on April 8, 2003

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