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North Korea Announces Achieving Nuclear Fusion

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the kim-jong-illin dept.

Power 372

aftertaf writes "North Korea claims to have achieved nuclear fusion by building what it describes as a 'unique thermo-nuclear reaction device.' This announcement was met by skepticism on just about every news website this side of Saturn. Pyongyang claims its latest scientific breakthrough coincides with the birthday of the country's founder and eternal president Kim Il-sung. This is not the first time it seems that the laws of nature have been bent in his honor. According to official biographies, when his son, Kim Jong-il, was born, a new star appeared in the sky." No doubt the Dear Leader combined the atomic nuclei by hand.

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372 comments

Microsoft Announces Achieving (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184382)

The programming language to rule all programming languages: Word !

Yours In Moscow,
K. Trout

Re:Microsoft Announces Achieving (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184546)

The next version will be more user friendly and targeted at the technically inept. It's called Word To Your Mother.

In related news (2, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184388)

The mothers of both Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons received Mother's Day card from their sons postmarked Pyongyang.

It's Cold Fusion! (2, Funny)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184408)

We know North Korea hasn't released any very hot vaporware lately, so obviously they've perfected Cold Fusion!

simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32185080)

Was it controlled reaction or uncontrolled?

Not a star ... (4, Funny)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184420)

It was actually an American spy satellite parked in geosynchronous orbit over North Korea. Wave for the cameras, Kim!

Re:Not a star ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184880)

ROR!!!

Parked? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32185082)

parked in geosynchronous

That's like saying a juggler "parked" a ball in a nice circular pattern of movement.

I think you meant geostationary. This is a lot more like parking, since the satellite would seem to stand still (to an observer on the ground) while the other stars move. Of course, that would make it a bit too conspicuous to be a good spy satellite.

In other top stories... (1, Offtopic)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184428)

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

I'm absolutely certain the highly advanced scientists in the PRK have succeeded in achieving fusion. Unfortunately for them the fusion they actually achieved was by patching together recordings of Dave Brubek and Dave Matthews.

eat repulsor-ray imperialist running-dog beeotches (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184822)

This just in, Kim Il-sung suffering from palladium poisoning.

Fusion isn't hard. (5, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184432)

You could build the equipment [wikipedia.org] yourself.

Getting more energy out of fusion than you put in... that's the hard part.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (1, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184494)

This was my thought--so what if they did? We did it more than 50 years ago, the Teller-Ulam designed warhead dates to 1951. Fusing two atoms is trivial.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184542)

it just takes a fission to get the fuse lit...

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (4, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184724)

it just takes a fission to get the fuse lit...

Not even. Read the GP's wiki link for a description of a "Farnsworth fusor" (not the Farnsworth you're thinking of, but rather his namesake). Making fusion reactions occur is trivially easy, to the point where there exists at least one hobbyist who's made a fusor in his basement. Betcha that's what NK has built, and the claim of it being a "unique thermo-nuclear reaction device" was likely tacked on by some lackey in the propaganda department. Again, old news in the fusion world, as fusors aren't useful for much other than proof of concept.

Getting a net gain in energy with a fusion reaction? Hard. The only way we've done it to date is in a thermonuclear warhead, and I guarantee Pyongyang doesn't have one of those yet, since they've had enough trouble getting basic fission bombs built.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184786)

On contrary, I think that is is "wink wink, nudge nudge, btw we have H-bombs now, beware cowards!" anouncement.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184972)

Fusors actually do have practical uses. Fusors have been used commercially as a compact neutron source that can be turned on or off easily. Note that the other commercial neutron sources of a similar sort actually also use fusion. They work by using a linear accelerator to collide deuterium and tritium.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185006)

Your stupid Earth mind cannot conceive power of Kim Il Sung Juche Physics.

Unless you send FIVE (5) million tonnes of rice, TEN POINT TWO (10.2) million tonnes of kimchi, FIFTY FOUR POINT SIX (54.6) million tonnes of ramen now you will be destroyed by my Solanite bombs.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (4, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184634)

This was my thought--so what if they did? We did it more than 50 years ago, the Teller-Ulam designed warhead dates to 1951. Fusing two atoms is trivial.

Hey, let's not burden the journalists with dry facts.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184670)

And that is likely what they have made. Of course it is a unique device. Any device that isn't in series production tends to be unique...

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184688)

You could build the equipment [wikipedia.org] yourself.

Getting more energy out of fusion than you put in... that's the hard part.

The Farnsworth–Hirsch Fusor, or simply fusor, is an apparatus designed by Philo T. Farnsworth to create nuclear fusion.

Good news, everyone!

p.s., captcha:dictator. I-RON-Y!

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (1)

astar (203020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184858)

As you say. I RTFA and it hardly made any claim, except perhaps optimism. Even in US advertising, puffery is not actionable.

But I recalling hearing there were perhaps a 100 sort of credible low-cost approaches. Pick one, spend a million dollars, and you could have scientific feasibility. I suspect their cost structure is different than ours, so they could have tried a number of approaches. Given that they did nukes, I am not sure really poor need be a big thing to get to feasibility. But whoever in the world makes a claim of net energy production on this will need to do more than a press announcement to be credible.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185016)

I wounder if they actually funded a Polywell reactor? If so someone needs to slap around the DOE and DOD.

Re:Fusion isn't hard. (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185020)

Actually at the next press announcement they are going to show the actual device, but they have to wait for it to rise first.

Now a credible threat to the west. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184438)

So let's just say they did achieve Nuclear Fusion. Clean cheap bountiful energy means overpopulation. This is an enormous threat to the world, even more dangerous than them having nuclear weapons. They could use the threat of releasing this technology to extort endless aid from the west.

Re:Now a credible threat to the west. (2)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184628)

I don't seem to remember many examples when the lack of "clean cheap bountiful energy" stopped people from breeding...

In other news... (5, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184440)

In other news, power in Pyongyang will only be available from 5:00 - 7:00 PM this week in celebration of the achievement.

He is small enough to do it. (5, Funny)

ad454 (325846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184450)

No doubt the Dear Leader combined the atomic nuclei by hand.

No doubt that he is small enough to have done it.

Re:He is small enough to do it. (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184616)

Of course, his cute little puppet hands would do the trick. Being created by those wacky South Park Puppeteers Matt Stein and Trey Parkhurst has its advantages. Team America, although huge dicks, should be alerted post haste!

In other news; I have just perfected Quantum Computing and the language of the Quantum Computer; QBasic, but am waiting to announce it on my birthday. We are still trying to license Q-Bert for our mascot. Stay tuned and subscribe to my newsletterings!

Re:He is small enough to do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184946)

Actually, he's too - er - busy to actually do rough manual labor. He just had them locked in a very small, spartan room, explained theirpatriotic duty to them (I suppose theu werer selected for patriotism and conformity, to begin with) and piped in every single patriotic government speech they had available. They caved in in les thana month, I heard.
But, hold on, I thought that, well, "fusing" was sort of frowned upon, over there? Or have social mores eased up a tiny wee bit?
Visiting tourist atoms, in special accomodations? Hm.

Nuclear Fusion the new softdrink (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184460)

4x the caffeine and fused with crazy to create the Nuclear Fusion Cocktail blend.
Side effects are mild hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, and inflated ego.

Re:Nuclear Fusion the new softdrink (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184970)

Just out of curiosity, what part of "No peasants are starving, our economy is great, everyone else in the world envies/fears us, and by the way we just perfected nuclear fusion!" is a *mild* hallucination?

Well, good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184468)

Now they can have the lights on to see if they got a bonus bit of cockroach protein in with their two blades of grass soup. Haute cuisine, Nork style.

Doesn't the star count (5, Funny)

SloWave (52801) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184484)

I figured he would have took credit for creating fusion when that new star appeared when his son was born.

I, for one, welcome our new North Korean Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184488)

Then again, I think I would prefer Vogons...

Already done (2, Interesting)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184490)

In 1949 one of the several nazi leaders that fled to Argentina claimed to have achieved nuclear fussion [wikipedia.org]. The president, a fascist who welcomed Mengele and Eichman, was not stupid, and a couple of months later he called a group of argentinian scientists back from europe to open an investigation, which led to the end of the project and the beginning of real atomic research.

Where does he find the time? (3, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184498)

I thought the dear leader was busy flying fighter jets, memorizing phone books, breaking golf records, and leading the NBA in rebounding.

If he can do nuclear fusion as well, then perhaps his talents truly are limitless.

Re:Where does he find the time? (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184790)

I thought the dear leader was busy flying fighter jets, memorizing phone books, breaking golf records, and leading the NBA in rebounding.

No, you've got that wrong. Kim Il-sung is only in second place for NBA rebounds.

Don't Discriminate! (5, Funny)

notommy (1793412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184504)

>> This announcement was met by skepticism on just about every news website this side of Saturn.
Sure! Make it sound like we on the other side of Saturn will believe anything. That's planetism sir!

Re:Don't Discriminate! (2, Interesting)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184554)

But at some point, shouldn't all the planets be on this side of Saturn? That is, if Saturn is on one side of the sun, and all the other planets happen to be on the other? This should eventually happen if none of their orbits is a multiple of another.

Re:Don't Discriminate! (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184974)

Sure! Make it sound like we on the other side of Saturn will believe anything.

It has nothing to do with what they believe; it just took that long for the news to reach them.

Thermo Nuclear Device (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184518)

Now, since we're dealing with N. Korea, what it really means is that they put some heavy water into a Thermos - get it, "thermo nuclear device"?

Hey, N. Korea! I need a job! I can come up with shit like that all day! I'll even get on my knees to kiss the Supreme Ruler's ass!

Good job North Korea! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184526)

Congratulations! You managed to announce achieving nuclear fusion!

The next step is to achieve nuclear fusion.

I'm sure you'll get there some day.

What if.. (4, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184534)

For some reason I can't help but think that it would be hilarious and kind of scary if everyone chuckles a bit at this and in a couple of months news reports come in saying that for some strange reason the long-running North Korean energy crisis seems to have been solved...

Re:What if.. (1)

mi (197448) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184720)

for some strange reason the long-running North Korean energy crisis seems to have been solved...

... by all the American stomachs roasted by the mujahedeen in Hell....

Oh, wait, that's from another regime's ministry of information.

Re:What if.. (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184722)

Makes you wonder what would happen then. I'm guessing a small nuke would go off in their research area, which the west would blame on their own experiments. At the same time, all nations of moderate or higher economic means would dump research into the subject under the idea that "if North Korea could do it, so can we".

Re:What if.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184756)

Yeah, by a device that runs on Asian hubris*.

* By that, I mean the mentality that says "I'm (or my kids are) better because I go to {big name university} and made {shit-tons of cash}!"

This is pretty much how we'll know. (1)

weston (16146) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184762)

If North Korea's done this in any meaningful way, then their economic troubles are over. They won't be asking for aid or concessions, they'll be getting rich selling energy and possibly even technology. They won't be testing missiles, they'll be developing frickin' laser beams.

I have my doubts, though.

Re:This is pretty much how we'll know. (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184840)

Would their problems be over? If it's something NK can produce, then it's a matter of a clever trick, not sophistocated technology. If they sold one to anyone else, then the secret gets out, and the game is over. If they don't sell one to anyone else, all they can sell is electrical power. And transmission technology limits how much and how far you could sell infinitely cheap power until it becomes cheaper to just generate it locally with Coal. Even if it's true, it seems kind of like a cave-man with a steam engine. It doesn't really solve all their problems.

North Korean energy solution (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184774)

Actually, North Korea has already done an amazing job of keeping down energy use. By restricting electricity to a handful of elites and starving everyone else, they've been able to reduce their carbon footprint to almost nothing. Just look at the results [globalsecurity.org]. Glorious leader has produced a much more efficient country than that wasteful South Korea!

Re:What if.. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184794)

No, it would be a great thing. Even if they are our 'enemy,' it is clear by this point that they don't actually want to fight us, and the technology would eventually make it to the rest of the world, much faster than it is the way we are doing it.

Of course, they didn't invent it, but if.......

North Korean energy crisis solved! (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184860)

There was a small problem with reactor. There is no more North Korea. Film at 11. Now, the latest sports scores. Back to you Mike!

Re:What if.. (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184918)

For some reason I can't help but think that it would be hilarious and kind of scary if everyone chuckles a bit at this and in a couple of months news reports come in saying that for some strange reason the long-running North Korean energy crisis seems to have been solved...

Well, North Koren could release another news report saying just that very thing and if nothing else satellite imagery could verify at least that much of the story by looking at North Korea at night.

But anyway, if they were able to do it, which I doubt, that would mean that it definitely can be done, it's just a matter of figuring out how to do it. Right now nobody knows if it's really even possible to do it or not. The main surprise to me is that they didn't give the Dear Leader credit for the breakthrough that allowed this to supposedly happen. If you've ever seen a documentary film about North Korea, you'll understand how the (late) Great Leader and the Dear Leader get credit for everything. I recently saw a short clip on the internet about a Canadian film crew that got to go to Pyongyang's movie studio. They spent most of their time at a rarely open museum where one of the tour guides personally gave Kim Jong-Il credit for inventing the idea of using multiple cameras at different locations on a set to shoot the same action from different angles. In one documentary I saw some kids singing a song that had some line about Kim Jong-Il or his father causing the sun to rise and I honestly don't know if it was just a case of simple exaggeration in a song's lyrics or if the people of North Korea actually believe he causes the sun to rise. In another documentary on the 1966 North Korean World Cup team (it reached the final 8 of the tournament before being eliminated - it's actually one of the all time great World Cup underdog stories), I saw some of the members weeping almost uncontrollably when they thought back on the death of Kim Il-Sung. I just can't imagine anyone in the west weeping 10+ years later for some dead American president and acting like it was some tremendous personal loss that he was gone. One day North Korea will fall apart and it will reunite with South Korea and then we're going to have a lot of seriously pissed off North Koreans who simply cannot believe that they fell for all that crap about the Kims for so long.

Re:What if.. (1)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185036)

One day North Korea will fall apart and it will reunite with South Korea and then we're going to have a lot of seriously pissed off North Koreans who simply cannot believe that they fell for all that crap about the Kims for so long.

I think it's more likely we'll have a bunch of confused North Koreans who don't understand why the rest of the world does not believe all the great things their "dear leader" has done - and probably alot of cults that try to spread their Kim-jong-il beliefs to "save" everyone.

In Other News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184548)

Iran discovers cure for AIDS.

Low tech but effective (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184558)

The breakthrough was made with a hammer and a small amount of nitroglycerin. The reaction released a great deal of energy and as soon as they can aford a new hammer they hope to continue testing.

It's just kimchi and soju . . . (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184566)

. . . eat and drink enough of that, and your breath can cause nuclear fusion.

. . . and you don't even want to know about "The Day After" . . .

. . . that picture is not a fake . . . Mr. Kim has just "let one rip" . . .

Low budget (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184674)

If you listen to some people, the west has been wasting a lot of money on things like ITER, when some cheaper, less brute-force, approaches could work better. If they're right, then a country that doesn't have the resources to try the large-scale experiments might have more success.

On the other hand, given the veracity of past press releases from North Korea, this reactor might be powered by powdered unicorn.

Star at birth (5, Interesting)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184690)

In ancient Greece and Rome, it wasn't unusual for someone to claim either that a new star appeared in the sky to herald a great person's birth or that they became a star following their death. This latter claim is known as catasterism and was pretty popular from the time of the Hellenistic kings to the Julio-Claudian dynasty at Rome.

Catasterism is a frequent subject on coin portraits, with a star positioned about the portrait of the ruler. There is a very famous series of coins depicting Augustus fastening a star above the head of Marcellus, the man he had hoped would succeed him.

Of course the import of all of this is that, as with so much else, North Korea is about 2,000 years behind the times.

Was expecting an Onion article (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184696)

I guess they didn't say it was useful fusion so I guess they could have fused some atoms in a reactor.

Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184712)

...As you can't make a fusion reactor out of two feet of rusty chicken wire, some rocks, three peach pits, a bent nail, and a leather shoe with little bites taken out of it.

Stone-age country is stone age.

What else have they announced? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184742)

Didn't they claim to have cured cancer at some point, too?

-jcr

It's true! yesterday I teleported to N. Korea (1)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184800)

and witnessed the experiment myself! If you don't believe me, just ask my good friend Chiron the centaur. He saw it too.

Hahaha!! Everyone have a good laugh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184802)

Meanwhile, N. Korean political prisoners are having chemical weapons tested on them at Camp 22, and the population is starving. Hahaha, so funny, right?!?!?!?

Aye... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184856)

And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon.

W T F... (0, Offtopic)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184874)

So you upgraded slashdot to accept custom icons, but still can't find the time to accept unicode in comments?

Hans Brix? Oh no! (1)

stazeii (1148459) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184892)

Kim Jong Il: Hans, Hans, Hans! We've been frew this a dozen times. I don't have any weapons of mass destwuction, OK Hans?

The most important question to ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184952)

Does it have 1.21 jiggawatts?

Corrigendum (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184982)

Upon consultation with actual Koreans, it turns out that the original press release said that North Korea had "nuked a Frusion".

The BBC apologizes for this error.

North Korea is BEST KOREA! (3, Funny)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185026)

How could we doubt someone with sunglasses that are so cool?

bah.. this is the death of the free market economy (1)

haschka (676958) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185028)

Probably those petrol firms that are in the fortune 500's and a mayor player in every western state have prevented that free market economy builds it..

Idle (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#32185044)

The North Korean government makes an announcement, and it gets reported on Idle.

Well, I can think of worse places for it to be reported, I guess...

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