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First Plasma on the Levitated Dipole Experiment

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the more-power dept.

Science 447

deglr6328 writes "In light of recent, somewhat disappointing news in the world of nuclear fusion research, it is worth noting that there are still reasons to keep up hope that some breakthroughs are yet to be made. At 12:53 pm on the 13th. of this month the Levitated Dipole Experiment achieved its first plasma. The Levitated Dipole Experiment(LDX), built at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center as a joint project of Columbia University and MIT, is a magnetic confinement fusion research device, that unlike all previous stellarator, reverse-field pinch and tokamak like experiments, uses a superconducting levitated torus to confine its plasma. The LDX's achievement of first plasma is, in a way, about 17 years in the making even though it has only been in construction since 1999. The concept for LDX was first considered by Akira Hasegawa as he was studying the data coming in from the Voyager missions which flew through the (dipole) magnetospheres of the outer planets. He noticed that unlike laboratory confined fusion plasmas which tended to be unstable, difficult to control, and which lost energy quickly, the plasma of a magnetosphere is intrinsically more quiescent, stable and actually reacts favorably (increases its density/temperature) to outside perturbations such as ie. bombardment by a solar storm. A highly informative and interesting video of operations on the day of first shot can be found here. Congratulations to the scientists and engineers who have worked very hard on getting the project to this point and here's looking forward to the possibility that LDX will reveal fundamentally new physics in the arduous quest for clean fusion energy."

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wow (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034554)

now that's a gay nigger

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034571)

Fr0st p1asma!

Re:FP! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034587)

luser

Re:FP! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034593)

Nigger.

Re:FP! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034603)

Kike

FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034555)

First Plasma!

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034563)

You fail it.

Loser.

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034588)

Dear Loser,

He claimed First Plasma, not First Post.

If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the money (2, Interesting)

hqm (49964) | about 10 years ago | (#10034566)

The plasma fusion guys seem to have sucked down billions of dollars to build their huge ungainly and ultimately unworkable Rube Goldberg devices.

If even 1% of that money were spent on cold fusion research, we would probably be having much more interesting results by now. The great physicist Richard Feynman once said that he didn't see any theoretical reason why cold fusion would not work.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (4, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 10 years ago | (#10034604)

The great physicist Richard Feynman once said that he didn't see any theoretical reason why cold fusion would not work. Then again, there is no theoretical reason why every subatomic particle in your body could not simultaneously jump one foot to the left.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

LeahofRivendell (797671) | about 10 years ago | (#10034613)

If that did happen, would you live through it?

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034637)

Why wouldn't you live through it, the better question is. What would happen if all the atoms in my entire body phasesd out of existance at the same time? Oh course they would all eventually phase back in, and retain they're states, so, no one would be any wiser....
WOOO I'M THE INVISIBLE MAN (on certain time scales)

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

LeahofRivendell (797671) | about 10 years ago | (#10034655)

So then the phenomenon of life is merely a complex arrangement of atoms and nothing more?

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034675)

Yes. But that arrangement is important.

Anyone involved in computer science should understand the importance of arrangement.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (2, Informative)

LeahofRivendell (797671) | about 10 years ago | (#10034717)

Absolutely arrangement is important. If it wasn't, nobody would ever die. But it being important doesn't mean it's the sole distinction between living and non living matter.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034738)

Well.... I dunno about that. Don't forget about the recent CONSTRUCTION of a simple cell in the lab. Now, that was nothing but arrangement of the pieces to an existing and not-wholly-understood pattern. But as far as I'm concerned, it demonstrates that all that matters is the arrangement...

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034829)

Life is just a definition anyway. It doesn't exist outside of our concept of it. It's something we invented.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034682)

No, you'd spend the rest of your life with your soul one foot to the right of your body. Maybe that would be handy, I don't know.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 10 years ago | (#10034684)

I see little reason to think otherwise.

There is more to it and what defines it as life, obviously, but assuming you could directly replicate every atom in a living thing the duplicate would theoretically be an identical living thing, would it not? Since you could construct a living thing atom by atom in that way it stands that life is, therefore, fundementally a complex arrangement of atoms although that does not mean it is 'nothing more' since that arrangement has many further properties.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

name773 (696972) | about 10 years ago | (#10034686)

as rocks have shown...

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (4, Informative)

k98sven (324383) | about 10 years ago | (#10034749)

So then the phenomenon of life is merely a complex arrangement of atoms and nothing more?

We have no reason to believe otherwise.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#10034793)

Bag of electronc parts, worthles.
Same electronic parts arranged into a radio, priceless.

Something can be more then the sum of its parts.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 10 years ago | (#10034808)

You can purchase a radio at Walmart for about $4.98

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 10 years ago | (#10034649)

Depends. If they all maintained their positions relative to one another, and you didn't hit anything unfortunate, I don't see why not.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034778)

That is if atoms are real. Has anyone ever seen an atom?

Science has tested theories that there are atoms, and everytime they've tested that I've heard of they've come out positive - but similar things could be said about "the earth is flat" argument several hundred years ago. We may not have the technology yet to really understand these things, even though we have "laws" and "theories" that describe them very well in most cases.

Let's not lose site of this otherwise we are not being open minded about our surroundings (I think science already discourages alot of research that may contradict currently accepted theories, but should it?).

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034814)

Has anyone ever seen an atom?

Not a single atom directly (large collections, sure...) - They're too small... but... with the aid of a tunnelling microscope, these days people regularly probe individual atoms. And even sculpt corporate logos out of small groups of them...

http://www.almaden.ibm.com/vis/stm/atomo.html [ibm.com]

*sigh* (2, Insightful)

K1-V116 (754806) | about 10 years ago | (#10034822)

Pons and Fleischmann style cold fusion does not and never has worked -- the excess heat the observed was an artifact from their calorimetery equipment caused by the fact that neither of them knew how to properly use it....and the pseudoscientists have been running with the idea since.

Show me an independantly verifiable cold fusion experiment that gives a positive result, and _then_ it might be worth funding. Until then, so-called "hot" fusion is the way to go.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034606)

Your priorities appear to be based on media exposure.

Funds, on the other hand, are assigned proportionally to the expected benefit (probability of success times benefit of success).

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034607)

They throw the big money cause they had big results.

Show us the proof on cold fusion. Right here on slashdot .. cut & paste it. If this effect is real can't you put up the designs for a cold fusion device on a file sharing network or a website and let us download it and build 'em ?

I mean CF whackos talk as if they have these super cheap working almost free energy devices ..somehow P2P has pr0n and mp3 yet.
Reason I said P2P for this is because the CF nuts say big oil companies may try to shut down any websites.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034628)

It's not cold but... [solarviews.com]

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1, Interesting)

deglr6328 (150198) | about 10 years ago | (#10034625)

Wow was he also able to see into the future? Feynman died in '88, the cold fusion nonsense didn't start until '89 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034648)

LOL !!! yet the parent post got modded up by the conspiracy loving modders of slashdot.

Well done .. another rational thought squashed by the slashdot mod squad.

-Johan

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (4, Informative)

Brand X (162556) | about 10 years ago | (#10034669)

Feynman died in '88, the cold fusion nonsense didn't start until '89
Feynman does say in his textbooks somewhere (don't ask me where, or for an exact quote, I don't have the lectures on hand, and it's been a long time since I last read them) that he was aware of no theoretical reason the deuterium/tritium reaction couldn't be made sustainable at low temperatures. "Cold Fusion" as a buzzword does not predate the legitimate attempts to achieve controlled reaction at non-plasma temperatures. The legitimate research was unjustly overshadowed by the bogus stuff...

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 10 years ago | (#10034688)

From your wiki link:

"The term "cold fusion" was coined by Dr Paul Palmer of Brigham Young University in 1986 in an investigation of "geo-fusion", or the possible existence of fusion in a planetary core."

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | about 10 years ago | (#10034710)

Yeah, the term was invented in an obscure paper where very few people noticed or used it until the fiasco of Stanley / Pons in '89 it was virtually unknown.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034638)

Did he happen to mention how exactly you can overcome the huge Coulomb barrier (ballpark: millions of electron volts) that ordinarily keeps separate nuclei separate? Especially using only "cold" (i.e., few eV or less) collisions?

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034641)

Gawd why is this being modded up??
Millions ARE being spent on cold fusion .. with no results. I mean NO results .. as in nothing.
"Hot" fusion does have meaningful steps towards realization.

If I said that chanting a voodoo spell will create limitless energy do I deserve 1% of the money spent on energy R&D ??

If there is no proof .. no interesting results whatsoever .. then too bad it gets no funding .. there is no other way to weed out the insane ideas.

True .. a good idea gets swept under the rug, but if it's really true it will be discovered eventually as theories are developed to explain experimental anomalies.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

tdvaughan (582870) | about 10 years ago | (#10034766)

The great physicist Richard Feynman once said that he didn't see any theoretical reason why cold fusion would not work.
And the great physicist Einstein objected to quantum mechanics on the basis that "God does not play dice". He was wrong [hawking.org.uk] . Being a great scientist does not preclude being completely wrong about something.

sure, don't forget that (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#10034781)

Hawking has never been wrong. . .

Any QP will tell yoy that we know very little about QM.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034769)

One can do cold fusion right now - muon catalysed. The problem is getting it to output more energy than one puts in (excluding the "frozen" energy of the mass that I'm trying to liberate in the first place...) - muon catalysed fusion will probably never reach break even.

Good farnsworth-hirsch fusors spray out loads of neutrons, and while they're not exactly "cold", they are "tabletop" and "buildable by smart high-school students". But they'll probably never reach break-even either. On the other hand, they are pretty amazing in their own right.

"classic" cold fusion i.e. Sitting a block of palladium (or whatever the hell the hydrogen-soaking-up metal was...) in a hydrogen atmosphere, passing a current through it, and sorta hoping... has never demonstrated fusion repeatably.

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (3, Interesting)

k98sven (324383) | about 10 years ago | (#10034774)

If even 1% of that money were spent on cold fusion research, we would probably be having much more interesting results by now.

No we wouldn't. Nobody is going to throw money at trying to do in practice something which doesn't work in theory. There is no theoretical model considered valid in which cold fusion works.

Paper and pencils don't cost much. Show the world a reasonable calculation proving from physics as we know it, that this is possible, and you can bet they'll get money.

The great physicist Richard Feynman once said that he didn't see any theoretical reason why cold fusion would not work.

Do you have a source for that? Besides which, that isn't relevant. There is a huge difference between showing something is possible and showing that it is not impossible.

Feynman himself also made a lot of good statements about pseudoscience. Perhaps you should read them? Unlike you, I provide a reference [brocku.ca] .

Re:If the cold-fusion people got even 1% of the mo (1)

Dr Tall (685787) | about 10 years ago | (#10034804)

There is a huge difference between showing something is possible and showing that it is not impossible.

Wouldn't one be the proof of the other? I mean, how can you conclusively show that something is not impossible without demonstrating that it is possible?

If they got 1% of the results... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 10 years ago | (#10034789)

Then maybe they'd get more money?

If cold fusion is feasible, then the scientists that claimed they achieved it did the field a disservice by lying about it. No one has been able to replicate the experiment, and it turned out to be just a bunch of lies to get media attention.

blah (-1, Offtopic)

g-to-the-o-to-the-g (705721) | about 10 years ago | (#10034572)

Soo....much....reeeaaading...

PS: RTFA is for the weak. The leet can simply read the headlines and know all the content.

cool! kudos to those guys... (1, Offtopic)

roadrunnerro (800862) | about 10 years ago | (#10034576)

And remember kids: in Soviet Russia dipols levitate YOU!

Re:cool! kudos to those guys... (1)

MicktheMech (697533) | about 10 years ago | (#10034719)

Funny, I always thought that in Soviet Russia they used tokamaks.

First plasma? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 10 years ago | (#10034815)

Is that like "first post!" for levitated dipoles?

What to do now? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034580)

So can we now make a flux capacitor?

Re:What to do now? (2, Funny)

tjc0 (469450) | about 10 years ago | (#10034618)

Only if you want M.J. Fox to nick your car while your been distracted by Libyans

Obscure article (-1, Troll)

Zorilla (791636) | about 10 years ago | (#10034581)

For those who do not understand the article at all, here is a visual aid [theimaginaryworld.com] to help you understand the mechanics of levitated dipoles.

Re:Obscure article (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034626)

Wow, Score:0, Troll, huh? For heaven's sake, the picture isn't even a goatse link. Aren't we glad we have moderators who mark things Offtopic at random while compost like this [slashdot.org] gets modded up?

Major setback (5, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 10 years ago | (#10034592)

Researchers were stunned on Saturday as they discovered that the key component of the new fusion bottle has gone missing. A late-night janitor reported hearing someone say "Mmmmmmm...levitating superconductive plasma donut" shortly before the crucial torus disappeared.

Re:Major setback (1)

kaleco (801384) | about 10 years ago | (#10034630)

At the moment, 80% of the posts I can see have been modded funny. I didn't expect this subject to elicit humour...

Then again, this is Slashdot.

Re:Major setback (1)

TheTrueGStu (740917) | about 10 years ago | (#10034819)

But that's probably becasue many slashdotters can't just put down an opinion on something like this discussion, 'cause most people don't have opinions on fusion energy like they do on censorship, or how "M1cr0$0fT IS THE DEVIL" or graphics cards, or any other slashdot topic. so i guess they're figuring "if i can't be smartest person here about it, i might as well be funny"

or maybe i'm just making something up
who knows.

Congradulations (0, Offtopic)

Bin_jammin (684517) | about 10 years ago | (#10034594)

Now when can I get one in my DeLorean?

Impulse engines (5, Funny)

Nebulaeus (459722) | about 10 years ago | (#10034599)

Now we can all keenly anticipate the first episode of Enterprise to mention the almighty superconducting levitated torus that has powered Federation impulse drives all long.

Re:Impulse engines (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 10 years ago | (#10034692)

Well the warp core does look like a stack of toruses (tori?) and it does contain plasma. Maybe they were onto something?

/me retires to geek hole...

Re:Impulse engines (2, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 10 years ago | (#10034725)

Maybe they were onto something?

Crack.

Re:Impulse engines (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | about 10 years ago | (#10034750)

Well not exactely, I was into Star Trek tech a couple of years ago and the blue/red lightshow doesn't contain plasma only the matter and antimatter stream respectively.

It becomes plasma in the round thingy in the middle with help of the mighty dilithium crystals

There's no fusion, no plasma and they're cylinders and not tori therefore, nope they weren't, at least not onto a levitated dipole experiment =)

Re:Impulse engines (1)

Nebulaeus (459722) | about 10 years ago | (#10034787)

From what I remember of my Trek lore, the impulse engines were the ones that used fusion, wheras the warp engines were powered by the matter/anti-matter reactions.

At least that is what Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise [amazon.co.uk] said... if memory serves me correctly.

wait...who was working on that? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034611)

is it just me, or does anyone else get a tad nervous when they see 'nuclear fusion' and 'akira' in the same context of an article discussing real world scientific research?

No matter.. (3, Insightful)

olman (127310) | about 10 years ago | (#10034627)

No matter how well it will work. No matter how safe they can make it. No matter how efficient it will be. No matter how clean the process is.

Greenpeace et al will still behave like this is the beast of apocalypse.

Just as they do with nuclear power. Such a horror. Clean energy replacing coal/oil plants spewing hundreds of metric tons of fossil fuel waste into the atmosphere each and every year? Surely it must be evil.

Re:No matter.. (5, Informative)

Stevyn (691306) | about 10 years ago | (#10034674)

Exactly. Groups like Greenpeace are so informed and ignorant they are hindering clean cheap energy. The amount of radioactive waste put into the atmosphere by coal is much greater than nuclear fission. Fission is clean and a lot more abundant than coal or oil. It will take some time but we should be gearing up for a hydrogen economy where hydrogen gas is used in everything from cars to cell phones. The hydrogen can come from nuclear power plants.

Call me crazy, but I think this is a good solution.

Re:No matter.. (2, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | about 10 years ago | (#10034687)

The parent post is correct, the burning of coal does introduce radiation trapped in the coal into the atmosphere. The parent should be modded up.

Re:No matter.. (3, Informative)

Stevyn (691306) | about 10 years ago | (#10034696)

Thank you for seeing that. Uranium is in the coal and it goes into the atmosphere when it's burned. I didn't know this was such a "secret".

Re:No matter.. (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | about 10 years ago | (#10034713)

Nuclear Fission is by no means the savior of humanity. Nuclear fission is not the answer. There is some hope with fusion, which would be a much safer alternative.

Although modern fission reactors are pretty good and stable, it's just absurd to split atoms when you could be smashing them into eachother.

WAY COOLER

Re:No matter.. (1)

Icarus1919 (802533) | about 10 years ago | (#10034733)

I don't think the parent ever suggested it was the savior of humanity, he was simply pointing out that the drawbacks compared with coal and other forms of fuel that powerplants are using aren't nearly as great, but that fission is underused because of the unfair stigma against it.

Sure fusion power would be great to have, but until we do, we need to weigh the pros and cons of what we currently DO have use of.

Re:No matter.. (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | about 10 years ago | (#10034783)

I don't think the stigma is unfair. I mean, fission reactors of modern times are much better than their ancestors.

But if a new technology (let's say, nanotechnology) went haywire and infected a whole town with some crazy nano-plague that turned them into mush, how quick would we be to use that technology in the future?

Re:No matter.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034826)

I mean, fission reactors of modern times are much better than their ancestors. in japan... [bbc.co.uk]

Re:No matter.. (1, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 10 years ago | (#10034754)

There are a bunch of folks who used to live near this place called Chernobyl. They might disagree with you a bit on that one. The ones that are still alive that is.

FUSION is the nice clean SAFE way to go for clean nuclear engergy. Fission reactors can get awefully dirty when something bad happens.

Except.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034756)

Instead of it being diespearsed throughout the atmosphere all of the nuclear waste is concentrated. Now you have to spend money to dispose of it somewhere, for at least 150+ years. Don't forget to heavily guard it because it can be used for weapons. But first you transport it to that place. This is an important point, look up the percentage of accidents per 1,000,000 truck miles/rail miles driven. Now figure out many total miles it will take to transport the waste from every nuclear power plant to these disposal sites. Do you think that there wont be any accidents? I dont't.

Re:No matter.. (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about 10 years ago | (#10034797)

The hydrogen can also come from fields of cheap solar panels scattered over Sahara. Then we'd be getting two birds with one rock.

Just Because It Isn't ... (0, Offtopic)

torpor (458) | about 10 years ago | (#10034707)

... Doesn't Mean that It actually Won't Be.

Sure, it may be 'safe' by our standards now, just like asbestos was safe enough to make underwear out of, and people used to get their toes x-ray'ed 'for the perfect fit' ... but who is to say there won't be horrible, unwanted side-effects from this, somewhere down the road, when someone else invents a technology that allows us to connect the dots together in ways we don't, currently?

The problem with Science is the same as the problem with Religion. Absolutes are un-attainable.

Re:Just Because It Isn't ... (1)

Icarus1919 (802533) | about 10 years ago | (#10034729)

It's easy to speculate that there may be a drawback to fusion power that would make it less than, but there are hundreds of scientists that make this their life's work, and I think that one of them would have raised a red flag by now if there were problems with pollution or otherwise that may arise in the future.

Re:Just Because It Isn't ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#10034740)

Lests top all technology advances now, casue we never know what mey happen.

Your logic is el'Crapo.

Re:No matter.. (1)

cortana (588495) | about 10 years ago | (#10034742)

The problem with nuclear fission is that Uranium is expensive and limited. I remember reading (no source, sorry) that if we got 100% of our energy from nuclear fission, we would only have enough Uranium to last 50 years. :(

You need clean energy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034631)

All you have to do is give a six pack of beer and a pizza to any chiacgo fireman... He can light up the city for a week with that.

disappointing (4, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | about 10 years ago | (#10034633)

it's nothing like the cool sun like plasma ball they showed in the spiderman 2. No indestructable antimagnetic hands with AI attached to some guy's back and head. I just watched the video and all they showed was some blue light through a looking glass in some ridiculous cylinder. They should take some pointers from the Hollywood producers and start making plasma balls in open space and have people with gigantic robot arms controlling it. Then maybe the will get more funding.

Re:disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034704)

it's nothing like the cool sun like plasma ball they showed in the spiderman 2.

I've got plasma all over my house and I'm not excited. It's more efficient than incandescent and the bulbs last longer, but it's not exciting every time I turn on a light.

I know, I'll never get fussion going, but they haven't tried either.

Re:disappointing (2, Funny)

Evangelion (2145) | about 10 years ago | (#10034736)


It's more efficient than incandescent and the bulbs last longer, but it's not exciting every time I turn on a light.


Oh, but it is getting excited :)

Making Plasma? Someone check their server... (3, Funny)

DraconPern (521756) | about 10 years ago | (#10034636)

Yum, video! They should have asked the /. crowd for help. If we can just get a few more people, their molten server would become plasma!

Too Much Text In Summary!!! (4, Funny)

Ira Sponsible (713467) | about 10 years ago | (#10034642)

Too afraid to RTFA with a summary that long. Brain hurts, must go lie down now.

Re:Too Much Text In Summary!!! (1)

Ira Sponsible (713467) | about 10 years ago | (#10034698)

I guess that wasn't funny at all. Damn.

Re:Too Much Text In Summary!!! (0, Offtopic)

Ira Sponsible (713467) | about 10 years ago | (#10034734)

I should start using the preview button. Now, not only do I look like a complete imbecile (I may very well be), but now I'm completely off topic. Let this be a lesson to you. Goodbye karma, I'll miss you. *sniff*

Re:Too Much Text In Summary!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034715)

Too afraid to RTFA with a summary that long. Brain hurts, must go lie down now.

If your brain hurts, just watch TV, I mean the video. There's nothing in there to think about at all.

Makes perfect sense (1)

ILL Clinton (734169) | about 10 years ago | (#10034653)

Yeah! That post made perfect sense to me.

Reminds me of the Retro-Encabulator... [ebaumsworld.com]

The original machine had a base plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in direct line with the pentametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marzelvanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbline was effectively prevented. The main winding was of the normal lotus-0-delta type placed in panendermic semiboiloid slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a nonreversible tremie pipe to the differential gridlespring on the "up" end of the grammeters.

ILL Clinton
Live Machinima Comedy Performance-August 28th-NYC [illclan.com]

Why do we not use the existing fusion reactor? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034662)

We already have a working fusion reactor [wikipedia.org] in our solarsystem - why don't we just start using that?

IMO there are 2 major drawbacks with this type of artificial fusion reactor:

1) The sun transforms 600 million tonnes of Hydrogen into Helium and energy every second. Why do we have to add to that number? If it is free hydrogen left in the inner solar system - lets save that for something else - like fuel for a future fusion reactor used in interplanetary travels, expeditions to the outer parts of our solarsystem (ie places far away from a natural fusion reactor). Or maybe we can use the nearby hydrogen to transform the carbondioxide in Venus atmosphere into water and graphite using the Bosh reaction [wikipedia.org] .

It seemes too me as a waste to use the hydrogen here on earth as a powersource - where we already have the ability to use the nearby fusion reactor.

2) We go from depending on oil, which we have limited amounts of, into being dependant on tritium that is also rare. What is the gain for humanity?? - However I do see the gain for energy corporations - non-commodity stuff rocks, wee.

(please enlighten me if I have misunderstood something)

Re:Why do we not use the existing fusion reactor? (1)

Icarus1919 (802533) | about 10 years ago | (#10034747)

Hydrogen can be easily obtained from water.

And how exactly do you suggest we magically fly to the sun to gain its power?

Solar power is great, but it requires large tracts of land that receive a lot of sunlight to be able to make use of it. Fusion would be a much better alternative, once we can get it to work.

Re:Why do we not use the existing fusion reactor? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#10034767)

create a solar array in space that focuses sunlight into a large solar furnance that creates steam.
You could have several of them.

Re:Why do we not use the existing fusion reactor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034764)

2) We go from depending on oil, which we have limited amounts of, into being dependant on tritium that is also rare. What is the gain for humanity??

You get a lot more bang for your buck with Tritium, and once the process of fusion is sufficiently improved we won't need to use it at all. The reaction can use only Deuterium, which is much more plentiful.

tritium is evenly distributed (2, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | about 10 years ago | (#10034765)

We don't have to buy out tritium from people
who hate us. That's a benefit right there.

Re:Why do we not use the existing fusion reactor? (3, Funny)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 10 years ago | (#10034803)

Tritium is a byproduct of the process. The neutron flux from the reactor would need to be blocked by a moderator like lithium. This produces tritium.

I must admire your long term view though. I had never considered the possibility of running out of hydrogen in the solar system.

Re:Why do we not use the existing fusion reactor? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 10 years ago | (#10034825)

It seemes too me as a waste to use the hydrogen here on earth as a powersource
I've got to admit, I've heard a lot of crazy "we're going to run out of X" statements before, but this has got to be the first time that I've ever heard of someone being afraid of running out of hydrogen.

In other news ... (2, Funny)

loconet (415875) | about 10 years ago | (#10034672)

Columbia University and MIT have decided to join organizations to now be known as UAC ......

Doc Tetrapus? (1)

oquigley (572410) | about 10 years ago | (#10034723)

And you've just got to see the incredible exoskeletal arms that the lead scientist uses to control the experiment!
I'm sure that he's taken ample precautions to keep them from taking him over....


Pretty pictures (2, Funny)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about 10 years ago | (#10034732)

Wow, that thing puts my blue LEDs to shame!

Cue Marvel. (1)

Lost Dragon (632401) | about 10 years ago | (#10034751)

Later experiments proved successful as Akira Hasegawa brought Japanese know-how to bear in constructing two pairs of robotic tentacles to control the fusion reaction directly. No word yet as to whether the experiment has foreshadowed the appearance of mutated spider people; "Spider-men" so to speak.

Still not doing Fusion the right way... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10034763)

And it gets even more maddening every single year I see this tired nonsense with the wrong way to achieve Fusion trotted out like it's something new. It really doesn't matter what process these so called highly intelligent people at MIT etc..use, the process is still the same, you're working against the Plasma rather than with. It's the equivalent of using Rockets underwater verses using fins. It's almost as if they want to fail in some perverse way. So much intelligence being squandered on these absurd Fusion methods.


The only clear way to do this is via Focus Fusion, which means one is working with the natural instabilities of Plasma rather than attempting to straightjacket them with massive Magnetic Fields. Nothing more really needs to be said about Focus Fusion from me so I'll just paste what they're saying here [focusfusion.org] :


Focus fusion is the only known method that can achieve hydrogen-boron fusion. It also has other advantages over tokamak based deuterium-tritium fusion reactors. Focus fusion reactors will be much less expensive for the same amount of power. Tokamak reactors generate electricity by boiling water for a steam powered generator (high energy neutrons provide the heat.) This is the same method that coal power plants use. The only difference is the heat source. In a coal power plant the steam generator is the most expensive part of the plant so replacing the heat source will not result in a lot of savings. Also, this method of generating electricity is limited by the fundamental efficiency limits of heat engines. Focus fusion reactors do not require a heat engine. They generate electricity directly. After all, electricity is just moving charged particles. The particle decelerators in a focus fusion reactor merely transfer the electricity of charged particle beams into a wire. This process does not face the efficiency limits of heat engines.


A focus fusion reactor should be able to economically generate power in quantities as small as 20MW from a power plant the size of a two car garage. This means they will be useful for powering individual villages in the third world where regional electricity grids are not as well developed. And in developed nations focus fusion power can be generated near where it will be used to reduce transmission losses and can be owned by the communities it serves to reduce dependence on speculative energy markets.

If there are any financiers out there who have the backbone to do what is right in this world and do what is right for mankind, I urge you to fund this research to banish forever the specter of Fossil Fuel shortages and associated ecological damage and begin a new era in Human History.

energy (1)

marboneau (134228) | about 10 years ago | (#10034784)

I am curious why anyone thinks having a infinite supply of energy would be a good thing?

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