Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Vicariously Tour the National Ignition Facility

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the semi-disturbing-place-name dept.

Power 97

Dave Bullock writes "The National Ignition Facility (NIF) has been discussed several times over the years on Slashdot and just recently fired all of its 192 lasers. LLNL scientists predict NIF will attain ignition (controlled nuclear explosion) in 2010. For now, take a look at the photos I shot of NIF for Wired.com when I toured it earlier this year."

cancel ×

97 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I hope I'm not the only one... (1)

ikirudennis (1138621) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236241)

I hope I'm not the only one who immediately thought of this: PIZZA NIF [youtube.com]

Re:I hope I'm not the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236469)

I certainly hope I AM the only one who immediately thought of this: LEMON PARTY [collegehumor.com]

The photos are too small... (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238103)

... poorly compressed, and gratuitously spread out across 10 pages for no reason other than ad revenue.

Attention Wired: Look at how boston.com [boston.com] does it. They're doing it right. You're doing it wrong.

192 lasers? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236263)

Geez, how much does it take to keep all those sharks fed?

Re:192 lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236547)

Don't worry. Henchmen are always falling.

Re:192 lasers? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236647)

American's are fat and tasty. Why else is computer science in america shrinking In at least one way.

Re:192 lasers? (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237473)

Oh I can just hear the moaning from those who will say "just think how many poor could be fed with all the money bla bla bla"....

Re:192 lasers? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28238651)

That is short sighted thinking. A new source of renewable clean safe energy will feed vastly many more.

Re:192 lasers? (4, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237717)

Those Wired pictures are nice and all but if you want wallpaper, why don't you just go to the source, LLNL's Flickr [flickr.com] page? As an aside, as someone who works at the US's other major laser fusion facility (there aren't many, I'll leave it to you to figure out), I can tell you that all the scaled implosions we've been doing for the past 10 years here validate the expectation that NIF will achieve fusion ignition, burn, and high gain when they go to 2MJ cryogenic DT ice implosions next year. We are extremely excited. This will be the first time nuclear fusion breakeven and ignition will have been achieved in a laboratory. I want you to think for a little while about what the long term implications of fusion energy on technologically advanced human civilization will be. I still don't think very many people realize that this experiment is a MAJOR step in that ultimate goal.

Re:192 lasers? (2, Funny)

fosterNutrition (953798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237857)

We are extremely excited.

Not as excited as the lasers, I'll bet.

Re:192 lasers? (1)

vyvepe (809573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239721)

Why you think this is going to be cheaper than fission? I'm unimpressed by the project from the point of view of power genration. Otherwise it looks cool though :)

Re:192 lasers? (2, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239857)

Well you probably should be unimpressed by the project from the point of view of power generation, since it was never designed with the objective of generating power in mind. And in the very long term I DO think this is going to be cheaper than fission since its fuel source is water an pinch of lithium. Additionally, it will burn radioactive waste from fission plants.

Re:192 lasers? (1)

vyvepe (809573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28240109)

The fuel price does not seem to be such a problem with fission plants. It is something like 18% of the electricity cost. If we consider problem of waste then this will emit a lot of neutrons so it is probably comparable to IFRs in the terms of waste. For IFRs the cost of fuel should be neglible. So for this as a power source it needs to get at least as good as IFRs. I would like to know whether it has a chance. If it does not have a chance (which is what I suspect) it should not be tried to be sold to public as a future power source. Note, I like the project otherwise. I'm just afraid we are misled about it to be usable power source in the future.

Re:192 lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28239767)

"why don't you just go to the source, LLNL's Flickr [flickr.com] page?"

Gee, Goose shit, thanks.

Re:192 lasers? (-1, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28241661)

> I want you to think for a little while about what the long term implications of fusion energy on technologically advanced human civilization will be.

Exactly the same as fission, diddly squat. Greens hate the N word for one reason, it means energy independence. So they will hate fusion for exactly the same reason. If we had the will to ignore the greens we could be reaping the benefits of fission now and eventually have fusion as an incremental improvement and hedge against running out of fissionable material. Barring that improbable event neither will do us any good.

Greens seem to be divided into three groups. The group making most of the decisions are the 'watermelons'. Red Communists hiding behind a Green cover. The two groups had enough goals in common to make cooperation inevitable. And even if knowing cooperation hadn't happened subversion was a given, the Soviets subverted any organization they thought might be useful and the Greens are very useful to their purposes. Both Greens and Communists want to slow/stop western industrial civilization. Note that until the fall of the Soviet Union no major 'Green' organiation made much of a fuss about Soviet environmental disasters and outright crimes against nature and for that matter still tend to cover up for them. While the Watermelons make up most of the Green leadership, the bulk of the shock troops are even more dangerous; the Gaians. These self hating pieces of mental disfunction worship the Earth. And every time they pray to Her they seem to hear the same message, "Humans are a disease. Industry and the Civilization it makes possible are an abomination against Me. Smash it all, and I shall unleash the Four Horsemen to complete the task of erasing the scourge of Humanity from My face. For thy service to Me, you shall be granted the honor of dying last." Third and making up a percentage too small to make a difference are the responsible enviromentalists and conservationists.

Re:192 lasers? (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28244273)

> Those Wired pictures are nice and all but if you want wallpaper, why don't you just go to the source, LLNL's Flickr [flickr.com] page?

Hmm, what are those owls doing in the NIF?

I for one... (0, Offtopic)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236269)

... am looking forward to our nuclear shark overlords.

"controlled nuclear explosion" (1, Troll)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236277)

Um... wow. 'controlled nuclear explosion'?

I'm an utter layman - anyone care to explain why that shouldn't be shocking?

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (5, Funny)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236329)

Because it's controlled.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

IronMagnus (777535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236345)

^----This.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236615)

That's what they said about King Kong.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237593)

So obviously we need to provide the facility with Faye Wray in case of emergencies.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (4, Informative)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237843)

No. It's because it's very very very small. This is basically a nuclear explosion in the sense that the fusion occurs the form of a very short burst of energy, but the actual fuel capsule is tiny. It's about the size of a single grain of buck shot, and contains a tiny amount of deuterium and tritium in the center. There's no way the reaction can get out of control or create an "Emergency" because the fuel is so tiny that all the fuel is expended very quickly.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1, Informative)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236375)

"Nuclear Explosion" is a rather stupid way of phrasing what is going to happen, theoretically, inside the reactor.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236453)

Are you going to explain, or sit there feeling smart?

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239135)

You must be new here.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236659)

If things go wrong, they can say 'Hey, we told you, it's an explosion!'.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (5, Informative)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236501)

Here's a link [wikipedia.org] to a wikipedia section explaining what the summary means by "controlled nuclear explosion".

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236595)

Shocking is the whole point...

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (2, Insightful)

warpuck (825909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236753)

It is more likely to produce a black hole in a bank account.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

isny (681711) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237383)

Red hole?

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28239889)

Rimshot?

*ducks*

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1, Troll)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236771)

It is shocking.

Firstly, because it's basically a way around the bans on testing fusion weapons.

Secondly, because it's a really expensive way around the bans on testing fusion weapons. Multi-billion-dollar expensive.

Thirdly, because they like to pretend it has some relevance to civilian energy generation to help justify it.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236925)

1. In the same way civilian reactors are basically a way around fission weapon testing.

2. NIF is cheaper than a whole slew of other government programs that cost more than 5 billion and will contribute nothing in the long term.

3. Actually, NIF is very poor at simulating fusion weapons. It would not have received funding for civilian uses alone so it was sold as a weapons research facility.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237125)

1. In the same way civilian reactors are basically a way around fission weapon testing.

Just look at North Korea and Iran, sure, the US is a bit more stable than Mr. Kim's country, but its the same principle.

HAHAHAHA (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239143)

Firstly, because it's basically a way around the bans on testing fusion weapons.

Yeah, we'll sure be ready for the day when we get an enemy to sit still all day long while we fine tune 192 x ray lasers to fire all in sync at him.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (4, Informative)

clong83 (1468431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236841)

I used to work at LLNL on another project, but I'll give it my best shot from what I understood of NIF. I toured it once myself, if that means anything...

In a nuclear bomb, say, they would have several kilograms of nuclear fuel, and the catalyst for the reaction is usually another bomb of some kind. Very uncontrolled, just trying to make a big "boom". In this experiment, they are using very very tiny amounts of deuterium and tritium, and the catalyst is 192 lasers firing simultaneously. The energy output will have a very real ceiling that is theoretically well below what is needed to blow up the whole lab. (Still, it's probably bad to be in the room when it goes off...)

Their goal is actually to get as much energy out of this explosion as is possible, so if the lab did blow up, it would probably ironically be something of a success... Their real goal is to simply get more energy out than they inject via lasers in a controlled fashion. That would be a proof of concept for workable fusion powered reactors.

Note, this is NOT a power plant, and my comments should not be misconstrued to say "Hey, them there's a fusion power plant". We're still a long long way from that. Kay, thanks.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28250361)

We're still a long long way from that.

Twenty years. Am I right? I'm right, aren't I.

Re:"controlled nuclear explosion" (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236921)

What do you think it is, that is going on inside nuclear power plants?

Exactly.

Also a controlled nuclear reaction.

2010? (2, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236301)

That's a long time to be chargin thah lazers

Re:2010? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236657)

I believe the construction of the facility will take until 2010, not take that long to charge up the laser system. However, in the article, it did mention one aspect of the power amplification as:

High-power flashlamps, like the one in your camera but super-sized, are used to excite the lasers. Each beam starts out about as strong as the one in your laser pointer, but all together they end up pumping out 500 terawatts in two billionths of a second â" roughly 500 times the entire peak power output of the United States.

That's a lot of power! Must take some time to "charge up", right?

Even cooler photos from an earlier version of NIF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236335)

If you check out the photo on the lower left [zippo.com] you will see one of the largest of the old-style combustion reactors and many overweight boy scouts.

Re:Even cooler photos from an earlier version of N (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236667)

Just how broken can slashdot get?

Broken like this [goatse.fr] ?

What do they test the code on, a nigger with a cardboard box on her head being a computer?

Warning light? (4, Funny)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236353)

Throughout the entire NIF facility, emergency shutdown panels listing the status of the laser (using both text and light) provide a level of safety for the hapless scientist or technician who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time before a firing of the lasers.

Well, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that it was thoughtful of them to provide a warning light before they turn it on... ;-)

I also hope they have a webcam, especially in that room with the giant tubes (lasers). When the portal storm finally starts I'd like to see those cool lasers ripping through walls, headcrabs, and hapless scientists before I'm turned into a zombie myself ;-)

Re:Warning light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236427)

Scientist's last words: "Whoa, that's bright!"

Re:Warning light? (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237441)

Or the last thing we all hear: "It works!"

Re:Warning light? (1)

Lambticc (563530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236539)

I much prefer to watch from behind locked doors or unbreakable glass windows.

Re:Warning light? (3, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237283)

Yeah, but the trouble with the whole locked door and unbreakable glass window thing is that some idiot always leaves his coat behind in the test chamber, and goes back to fetch it just when the non-cancellable timelock you thoughtfully installed as a safety feature engages, with hilarious consequences when the beams power up. But the worst thing is you then have to put up with a giant blue glowing naked guy who spends most of his time pontificating about the illusory nature of free will as observed from his own godlike perspective, or something, which is never fun at parties.

Re:Warning light? (3, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238427)

But he's apparently fantastic in bed, without having to actually be there.

Re:Sit right there, make yourself comfortable (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236695)

I also hope they have a webcam, especially in that room with the giant tubes (lasers).

Obviously, you would want to have a workstation positioned directly in the path of the lasers, but does it really need a webcam?

Re:Warning light? (1)

bakedpatato (1254274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237111)

nice Half-Life reference. looks like read TFA all the way through, the last slide has a Half-Life mention. all it needs is a turncoat administrator...

Watchmen quote (1)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237255)

The Light...
The light is taking me to pieces.

Re:Warning light? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237557)

Throughout the entire NIF facility, emergency shutdown panels listing the status of the laser (using both text and light) provide a level of safety for the hapless scientist or technician who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time before a firing of the lasers.

Well, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that it was thoughtful of them to provide a warning light before they turn it on... ;-)

Well, given that they call them emergency shutdown panels, I assume they not only notify possible targets-to-be of their impending demise, but also provide them a way to avoid it by shutting everything down.

Re:Warning light? (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238973)

Yup [wired.com] . But of course nobody actually RTFA.

My one simple request... (2, Funny)

grepya (67436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236463)

... was to have missiles with frickin lasers attached to their warheads.

Streams (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236511)

Don't cross the streams!

Re:Streams (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236989)

But they will. 192 at the same time to be exact. On a tiny piece of whatever it will be afterwards. ^^

Run for the hills... of the GALAXY!

National Ignition Facility (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236629)

Smart naming, you can go a long way under such a guise and receive steady government funding.

That might explain why they carry on for decades without a sign of anything working.

I doubt they would survive under other name like '1000000 Jigawat laser experiment' or something similar, more crazy or more specific.

Re:National Ignition Facility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28236681)

Smart naming, you can go a long way under such a guise and receive steady government funding.

Yeah. Now I'm just waiting for the "National Ice Cream Eating Facility", "National World of Warcraft Gaming Agency" and "National Blowjob Bureau" to surface...

Better than: Controlled Nuclear Explosion Facility (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237247)

Smart naming, you can go a long way under such a guise and receive steady government funding.

Would any Congressman vote for spending for a "Controlled Nuclear Explosion Facility?"

With "National Ignition Facility," they probably think that it has something to do with NASCAR, spark plugs or better fuel efficiency.

Re:National Ignition Facility (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237793)

"That might explain why they carry on for decades without a sign of anything working."

Right, right, yeah exactly because they definitely didn't just report on their website being able to deliver >1 MJ of UV light to the target chamber like last month or anything like that. clueless.

Re:National Ignition Facility (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238005)

I am excited about this, of course. Just joking and poking around..

Re:National Ignition Facility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28243121)

I doubt they would survive under other name like '1000000 Jigawat laser experiment' or something similar, more crazy or more specific

Well, I don't know. In France we have the Megajoule Laser [wikipedia.org] which sound both similar and more crazy.

This is horrible news. (5, Funny)

chrispycreeme (550607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236677)

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) has been discussed several times over the years on Slashdot and just recently fired all of its 192 lasers.

You know the economy is bad when even lasers are losing their jobs..

*Ba-dum-cha*

The actual tour is better (1)

theltemes (645761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236757)

At least I hope it is when I go on mine in September.

Re:The actual tour is better (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28243411)

I just had a tour last weekend (For employee friends and family day) and let me say, the facility is amazing. We were shown nearly everything, from the power generation / holding systems (can you say giant capacitors?) to the conduits where the power of the lasers is amplified, the amplifiers use light & thousands of amazing custom made amber and glass filters. Then we got to see the test chamber, they even opened up the door so we could see INSIDE the chamber, where all the magic happens. All in all it was amazing.

One laser actually (5, Interesting)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236887)

The process starts with a single laser diode. The output of that is split and amplified to make the 192 beams. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Re:One laser actually (1, Troll)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238371)

The output of that is split and amplified to make the 192 beams. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

What's even more amazing is that the program will never result in controlled fusion for peaceful power generation. How can I predict this with certainty? Because the American government is running it. There are some things the American government does really well: build weapons (although they've been falling down on that lately, too), send spacecraft to Mars (so long as they don't screw up the units) and "defend" places back into the stone age.

What they don't do is finish domestic projects. The Yucca Mountain closure was just one more example of the American government in action. Or should that be inaction?

For all the cool research the American government has done over the years, it is clear that the basic institutions are so completely dysfunctional that it doesn't matter which of your Tweedledum or Tweedledee parties is in power in any particular branch, your government will still be unable to actually complete any long-term project. At least not without massive help from Europeans and and a bit from Canadians, as in the case of the ISS.

Re:One laser actually (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238383)

At least not without massive help from Europeans

Well, that does go both ways, bucko.

Re:One laser actually (3, Informative)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238631)

Right, much like the nuclear program never resulted in anything useful. Or the rocket program. Or the jet engine. Or ARPANET.

The reason Yucca shut down is due to the populace whining about how unsafe reactors are, beyond all reason. Nothing to do with the government; they were trying to BUILD it.

But wait, if you order before midnight, you'll get even more stupid: Hydrogen bombs are already fusion devices!

Re:One laser actually (2, Informative)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239845)

The jet engine [wikipedia.org] ? As invented by a British scientist and close to perfected by German scientists during the Second World War? The German version of the jet engine was limited by material science, as they used a layout almost similar to what we have today, but didn't have the materials to make it handle the temperatures involved.

Rockets are almost as iffy, as the V2 Rocket [wikipedia.org] was the first "real" rocket and a German invention.

Re:One laser actually (1, Insightful)

sponga (739683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28240343)

The Germans also killed a couple million people to accomplish that task, make sure to give them credit for that since you seem bent on making sure Americans get no credit as usual. Rocket clubs were all around anyways, it's just the development was accelerated by the war as it does anytime you make people suffer.

German scientist also perfected human guinny pig testing and human slaves that allowed for rocket development.

Don't cherry pick your favorite achievements by the Germans without ignoring the human slave labor that died trying to let those scientist achieve those objectives while you try to write off the Americans as a nobody.
The British would have long starved to death if it were not for us and would not be able to build rockets without our supplies, look at the material list for some of the rockets which could only have come from one country.

You know, it's as if killing Jews was so 'iffy' back than.

Re:One laser actually (1)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28242379)

The Germans also killed a couple million people to accomplish that task...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but killing people doesn't really help the creation of jets or rockets.

Re:One laser actually (1)

sponga (739683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28243983)

Actually yes it does, it allows you to have more resources and allocate the precious workers for more important task.
Slave labor is very simple economics as you can work the worker till he drops dead, it is very efficent since you don't have to feed or house a dead worker.

It is very cheap to bring in some Jewish labor to build your brand new factory for science and research.

Also there were many bunkers built by Jewish prisoners, many tunnel structures were dug raw by hand so they could continue their development without allied bombings affecting it.

One of the most famous V2 development camps was built by slave labor and housed hundreds of scientist, the allies caught word of the location of these scientist and bombed the shit out of it killing lots of scientist except the developer of the V2.
That is when they began using the slave labor to build a lot of the bunkers to continue the war effort.
Till they literally broke their backs and just bury them under the rubbel they brought back out from the tunnels.

Hitler loved building big projects and throwing lots of resources at it, even though they most likely were dead end weapons that have no affect on the battlefield.

Places like the 'Janowska concentration camp' where they had the infamous bone crunching machine and intense labor projects. Easier to have them dig digging a foundation for some scientist to continue their work in safety for the German Armament Works.
The Jewish people were the grease to keep the German war machine moving.

Re:One laser actually (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28244175)

Actually, I didn't cherry pick those two - they were plucked by the original poster. Some times it helps to understand a posting, if you also read the parent.

Re:One laser actually (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28241359)

Right, much like the nuclear program never resulted in anything useful. Or the rocket program. Or the jet engine. Or ARPANET.

Wartime/military. Military/cold war propaganda. British, not American, and wartime/military. Military. Granted, there have been significant civilian/peaceful side effects, but none of these projects were started by the US Government with civilian goals in mind.

GP omitted 'civilian', but was otherwise spot on.

Running windows!! (4, Funny)

jackchance (947926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236939)

Did anyone else notice that they are running windows in the control room?

That frightens me.

Re:Running windows!! (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238217)

Well the facility only needs to run for a few milliseconds so reliability isn't terribly important.

Re:Running windows!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28238291)

Can windows even run for this long reliably?

Re:Running windows!! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238397)

Did anyone else notice that they are running windows in the control room? That frightens me.

Windows does just fine as a display system: if that's all they're using it for I have no problem. Where I wouldn't want to see it is performing any kind of control function.

Re:Running windows!! (1)

jackchance (947926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238993)

Windows does just fine as a display system: if that's all they're using it for I have no problem. Where I wouldn't want to see it is performing any kind of control function.

So you think they watch how things are going in windows and then when the shit hits the fan they run over to the QNX machine? [qnx.com]

Re:Running windows!! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28259357)

Windows does just fine as a display system: if that's all they're using it for I have no problem. Where I wouldn't want to see it is performing any kind of control function.

So you think they watch how things are going in windows and then when the shit hits the fan they run over to the QNX machine? [qnx.com]

No, I just think they should use something reliable for the actual control loop, and if they really have to, use Windows for the front-end.

Re:Running windows!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28239365)

Sadly it looks like this particular experiment does it's control on Windows. It may run it to some supercomputers some place but nevertheless, if that's the control room, then it looks like things are controlled by Windows machines.

Re:Running windows!! (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 5 years ago | (#28251629)

That was probably to run QuickBooks to pay everyone.

National Ignition Key? (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236983)

Let me get this straight...they have this giant ignition facility but they don't have the giant ignition key to start it. Boy are they going to be embarrassed. I bet the president will be there and everything.

Re:National Ignition Key? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237617)

No, it's cool, it's keyless ignition. They've got the National Ignition Beepy Thing, so it'll all be fine.

I knew it! (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28237479)

The beryllium sphere featured here [wikipedia.org] and here [wikipedia.org] is real!

National Indignation Facility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28237797)

I initially read the title as "Vicariously Tour the National Indignation Facility" and thought, "They have one of those?"

Boondoggle (1)

LazLong (757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238203)

What is the US gov't's most recent acronym for boondoggle? NIF

Yet another "Aid for Dependent Physicists of the Cold War" program. Nuclear weapons are no longer anything more than engineering. Why do we have all these theoretical physicists on the payroll to make sure our bombs work? Just periodically refurbish the warheads by completely rebuilding them from pits to primaries, all we know they will work.

Think of all the better uses this money could have been put to....

What's it sound like? (2, Interesting)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238587)

I've always wondered what a place like that sounds like at the moment it goes off. Is everything so insulated you don't hear a thing? Or does everything shudder like when someone's blasting at a quarry a few miles away?

Re:What's it sound like? (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239445)

The noise is very unique. If you are near the laser bay the noise you hear is a LOUD BANG from the thousands of enormous Xe flashlamps going off simultaneously. The capacitor bay that discharges to fire the lamps produces deeper thud. The noise that comes from the target bay is very different. It's very similar to the quick fsss you hear when opening a can of soda (minus the click), but louder and more resonant. I suspect this has to do with the fact some residual IR light is absorbed by the backplanes of the turning mirrors, so this noise may not be present on all ICF lasers. The target in the implosion chamber itself can make almost no noise at all or a moderate muffled bang, depending on the target type and laser energy used for the shot. there used to be a recording of the GEKKO XII system in Osaka firing [archive.org] , but that site is gone now.

Is it running allready ? (1)

deep-deep-blue (1055812) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239425)

Because the first picture has something that resembles the experiment from half life 1.

Let me hi-jack this to ask a serious question.. (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 5 years ago | (#28240459)

How dangerous do the physics-nerds amongst you think this little gadget is: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6830 [dealextreme.com] ? From what I know, as long as it does not crack and I don't breathe the stuff, it's perfectly save to carry on on your keyring, but I like to triple-check in a case like this, mainly cause I don't fancy the thought of frying my crotch (or worse, destroying data on my thumb drive!). Sadly, I don't have a Geiger counter nor a way to test x-ray exposure (Bremsstrahlung..) so there is no way for me to actually check on this.

PS: It's awesome! Paired with a small Q5-based AAA flashlight on your keyring, you will never know how you were able to survive, before!

Re:Let me hi-jack this to ask a serious question.. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28242865)

It's utterly harmless unless you eat it. If you do so it will increase your risk of cancer by a miniscule amount (unless you swallow it whole).

Re:Let me hi-jack this to ask a serious question.. (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28246131)

It's literally entirely harmless. Tritium is a pure beta emitter (electrons). The maximum energy of a beta particle from a decaying T atom is 18.6 KeV. A beta particle of 18 KeV can penetrate no more than about 5mm in air or 6-7 MICROmeters in water (or your skin). Exactly zero beta particles are escaping the phosphor coated glass ampoule (let alone the plastic outer case). ok so now what about bremsstrahlung. Well the percent of incident 18 KeV betas on the glass ampoule that actually produce bremsstrahlung is VERY low, 0.1% at absolute most and remember, the number of betas emitted that are >than even 15 KeV is VERY low [www-ik.fzk.de] (few percent). This ampoule likely contains about 10 millicuries of T or ~370 million betas emitted per second. We can assume (extremely) roughly that 10K X-rays of >15KeV are produced every second from this source then. The half value layer of 20 KeV x-rays is 1mm for aluminum, so 3mm of aluminum will block ~90% of a 20 KeV x-ray source, I assume the thickness (mass) of the glass of the ampoule and the lucite plastic is at least roughly equal to 3mm of Al so now we're down to 1,000 x-rays per second emitted isotropically (500 per second toward you, ~half of which would be absorbed merely while penetrating your skin alone). Even this, though it's very tiny, has got to be a ridiculous over estimate. How do I know? Because fortunately someone has taken the time to measure the emanation from a HUGE tube of this sort taken from an emergency exit sign. What did he find? It was giving off 60 counts per MINUTE [angelfire.com] of x-rays. An utterly, totally trivial amount of radiation. You will get thousands of times this sort of dose from cosmic rays on a half hour plane ride.

Re:Let me hi-jack this to ask a serious question.. (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249403)

Thanks!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>