All your science in here


Nuclear fusion is only 2 years away…and always will be


.… The problem is that until now every fusion experiment has operated on an energy deficit, making it useless as a form of electricity generation …

No. That is not The problem. That is A problem.

… Prof Howard Wilson, a plasma physicist at York University who works on different fusion projects, said: “The exciting part of this is the high-field magnets.” …

Good. Progress with the magnets is good. Now how about the ‘first wall’ problem ? How about the operational lifetime of the reactor vessel, and what you’re going to do with it once it’s been fried to death by the neutron flux ? How long will these magnets survive in that neutron flux (or how big a shield will you need to fit between them and the plasma) ? Can we live with the heat loss that seems to be a feature of compact toroids ?

Come on. The universe has already provided us with a stable working fusion reactor that runs itself. The sun. We need solar cells and better batteries.



I have long thought that placing large solar arrays into areas useless for agriculture would make good sense. With wind, solar and wave power together with a continental scale grid, I would doubt that we need nuclear at all.

But we do need something for spaceships, because my ideal isn’t going to happen and we’re going to fuck the planet. So yeah, carry on researching fusion!


This is true. The problem (OK, A problem, but still probably the most important) is a combination of economics and politics. The fact is that if your sunshine is more plentiful than the next man’s then you will be able to generate energy more cheaply than he can. Your energy industry will flourish and his will wither. That’s economics. The sunshine falls on places run by people whose hands we don’t want around our throats (these days that seems to be just about everyone, actually). That’s politics.

You could put a fusion plant anywhere and the fuels would be needed only in tiny quantities. They’d be available from sea water and all but free. If only it worked economically.

Space propulsion is interesting. When it comes to moving anywhere we need a) the energy to push our vehicles along and b) something to push against. On earth or other planets the b) part (the tarmac, the sea, the air) comes for free and we just need to sort out a). In space there’s nothing to push against, so to change our speed we need to chuck stuff out of the back of the spacecraft. This is true whichever energy source we use. Space is pretty empty and dark so the prospect of harvesting the stuff we need en-route isn’t great. So in practice what we tend to do is to get ourselves up to speed early in the journey, perhaps when we still have access to stuff from close to home, and then coast the rest of the way. It’s not clear that propelling a ginormously heavy fusion reactor up to interstellar speed would be the best way to go.



Pah, what would you know?



Yeah, we’ve had enough of experts, where have they got us…


I for one can’t wait for compact fusion engines, who needs a Tesla?


This is a very, very good point. Why has this forum not been deleted recently? This outbreak of competence and near adequacy is extremely disappointing. More fat-fingered fumbling needed.


Good suggestion - got the place to m’self for a couple of days, time for a Luxury Wank :ok_hand::eggplant:


Do you turn the Hecos around so that they don’t have watch?


It must be true. I seen it in a fillum



Hifi room is a No-splatter area :+1:


Not even a contra-rotating splatter?


Ah, right, as you were men :+1:


Slightly mad putting this in this thread, I know, but it is progress and it should influence how science is taught in some of the more regressive nations of the World, not least the US…


The problem in the US isn’t Catholicism, it’s the Evangelical / Baptist lots ((these guys will claim Catholicism isn’t actually Christianity due to various heresies). These are the full on literal Bible narrative folk that want creationism taught in a scientific curriculum in every school.

If memory serves the official position of the Catholic Church has been that evolution is fine since the mid eighties.


It was the full on religious nutjobs who were thrown out of Europe and went to America and they are still there.
It should be no surprise that the religious idiocy that was not acceptable in Europe in the 18th century is still not acceptable in Europe but is normality in the USA.


The US’s religious splinter-flakes don’t like it, but also can’t help referring back to the “mother church”. Will they change? Probably not - after all they have a profoundly vested interest in keeping their flock as ignorant and credulous as possible - but the US is no longer a WASP nation. At some point in our lifetimes English will become the minority language…