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Bubble Fusion Inquiry Under Wraps 231

Posted by timothy
from the shhh-or-it-might-explode-or-might-not-explode dept.
hubie writes "Purdue University launched an investigation last March into the questionable research behavior and actions by Prof. Rusi Taleyarkhan following his controversial claims of achieving bubble fusion. The investigation has completed but the results are being kept secret. The alleged behavior is remeniscent of another tabletop fusion incident from a number of years back. Coincidentally, Purdue University has just secured Federal money to open up a new energy center. A more cynical person than I might suggest that there is a connection between the two."
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Bubble Fusion Inquiry Under Wraps

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  • by Umbral Blot (737704) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:05PM (#15773186) Homepage
    Must. Invest. Giant. Gobs. Of. Money. (thank god I'm not a VC)
    • Must. Invest. Giant. Gobs. Of. Money.

      Try to remember that fusion has always been said to be 10-20 years in the future, since the 1950s, for commercial use, and that cold fusion ... well ... let's just say investing in it would have hurt more than Enron.
      • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday July 24, 2006 @10:05PM (#15773540)
        But... but... Maxis says it will happen in 2050!

    • I think you'll get a better return if you invest in bubble tea.
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:06PM (#15773195)
    When I roll my chair wheels over that bubble packing material and pop the plastic bubbles, lots of neutrons come flying up from the floor. Has anyone else noticed this?
    • You've discovered the Plastic Neutron Bomb! Contact the Pentagon [npr.org] immediately!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:08PM (#15773202)
    I tried this bubble wrap fusion.

    there is an audible release of energy.
  • by eronysis (928181) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:18PM (#15773230)
    It's too bad about the series of car accidents, toaster explosions, and falling yaks that decimated the staff involved. Praise the Lord though we have clean burning coal!!!
    • by yoder (178161) * <progressivepenguin@gmail.com> on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:36PM (#15773289) Homepage Journal
      I was just about ready to laugh at your joke, but then realized you are probably spot on.

      If I was even remotely connected to the group that finally provides indesputable proof of cold fusion, I'd hide and keep running. The powers that be do not play by any rules, and anything or anyone who threatens their power are fair game. No doubt in my military mind about that.
      • Okay then, I'll take your place in becoming a billionaire.

        Do you honestly think there is some conspiracy to squash alternative energy? Perhaps it hasn't replaced fossil fuels because:
        A)Solar and wind don't provide enough power.
        B)Hydrogen takes more energy to make than it produces.
        C)Nuclear is dangerous, and has far more dangerous (though more manageable) pollution.
        D)Hydro electric won't provide enough power.
        E)Hot fusion isn't yet practical.
        F)At this time, cold fusion hasn't been proven to be possible.

        Rememb
        • How the hell can you say solar and wind dont provide enough power?

          Solar panels on house roofs would provide far more power than needed by the house (200m^2*200watts perM^2 at full power * 0.2 % average solar power (including day/night/cloudy etc) = 8 Kw....) , even at todays shitty efficiency rates, and I have no idea why you would say theres not enough energy in wind.

          As to cost, solar is a tad expensive at the moment, though sliver cells might help with this, but wind is less than $1 per watt.... How muc

          • Cost for instance?
            ie the cost of energy to produce a solar cell...

            if it costs more in terms of energy to produce the cell than will ever be produced by the cell, there is no point. Maybe things have gotten better but that was were solar was a few years ago

            your understanding of currency is stunningly idiotic. the dollar is universal irregardless of oil.
          • wind power is LESS THAN $1 per watt

            You mentioned this twice in your post -- It's not very clear what you mean. Watt is a measure of power (Power [in watts] = Voltage x Current [volt-ampers] -or- p=ie) Energy, on the other hand, is generally thought about in terms of how much power is used over time (er, watts per hour)

            To clarify: Energy is Power distributed over time and Power is the rate at which energy is expended.

            I'm going to guess that you mean to say that you can buy a wind-generator at a cost <$1

        • by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @07:01AM (#15774981)

          C)Nuclear is dangerous, and has far more dangerous (though more manageable) pollution.

          I'm going to make a wild guess and state that, in all likelihood, nuclear power has killed or seriously or otherwise harmed far less people than fossil fuel per megawatt produced, even if you count the direct and indirect victims of nuclear weapons and weapon tests against nuclear power.

          In terms of pollution, the very thought of comparing constant smog in every major city against a few tons of solid or liquid nuclear waste, buried beneath bedrock for the next few thousands of years at least, is ridiculous.

          Uranium is dangerous. Breathing oil fumes is dangerous. Coal dust is not healthy either. Which is easiest to contain and handle, a solid metal, a highly flammable liquid, or a highly flammable powder ?

          I'm really starting to hate the various enviromental groups that want to keep me from sucking up carsinogens and other poisons from coal- and oil-burning power plants, when there's a nearly completely clean alternative. All this because of the Chernobyl accident (the worst accident in the history of nuclear power (the kind of which is impossible with modern reactor designs) killed a whopping 47 people and is estimated to kill 4000 from increased cancer rates [wikipedia.org] - compare this to the 100 000 who are estimated to die in Europe from power plant micro-particle emissions alone (sorry, don't have reference for that)), the apparent inability to understand the difference between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear bomb, and the strange believe that "God created the atoms and they weren't meant to be broken" (which is clearly nonsense since they uranium is a radiactive material and decays on its own without any human intervention - and yes, this is an argument that I've actually heard being used seriously).

          Or, to be more exact: I support enviromentalism as in "Let's make sure we don't have to start wearing gas masks when we go out and can see plants and animals besides museums and zoos". The "enviromentalists" who are against nuclear power (and windmils, since they are "unnatural" and "spoil the view") are the biggest obstacle for meeting that goal, since it is not only illogical to simultaneously demand lessening pollution and demand that non-polluting power plants aren't built, and because such illogical demands make all enviromentalists seem like a bunch of hysterical idiots without capacity for clear thought.

          Oh, and we need nuclear rockets to make cheap space travel a reality. Chemical rockets can't do that, the amount of impulse needed to reach orbit makes that certain.

          • "God created the atoms and they weren't meant to be broken" LOL. Good thing we can just use Pu as a fissile fuel then - God sure as hell didn't create that :)
      • If I was even remotely connected to the group that finally provides indesputable proof of cold fusion, I'd hide and keep running.

        Really? I think I'd publish EVERY LAST BIT of info I had, as far and wide as possible, making it utterly useless to harm anyone over it. Patents, for one, and immediately and fully accessible to the public.

        But I guess I flunked my tin-foil hat class.
      • "If I was even remotely connected to the group that finally provides indesputable proof of cold fusion, I'd hide and keep running."

        You just saw _Syriana_ too huh?

        Scary. Very very scary.
      • From wikipedia:
        Allegations exhibiting several of the following features are candidates for classification as conspiracy theories. Confidence in such classification improves the more such features are exhibited:

        1. Initiated on the basis of limited, partial or circumstantial evidence;
        As far as I know, there has never been any evidence of "the powers that be" shutting down research on cold fusion.
        2. Addresses an event or pro
    • What's worse is that Hoosiers [wikipedia.org] will own it!
  • Conclusion? (Score:2, Funny)

    by hackwrench (573697)
    Achieving bubble fusion drives you crazy. Unfortunately, it's awful hard to communicate what's necessary to replicate the experiment while crazy, so practically all successful bubble experiments get written off as fraud.
  • by mechsoph (716782) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:38PM (#15773296)
    He's said the the experiments are incredibly touchy, and there are some days when it just won't work. Given that, it's not surprising others have had trouble duplicating the results.
    • i.e., the results are subjective.
      • defining subjective [princeton.edu]: taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias

        You can't bias physics. Obviously the experiment is not completely understood or there wouldn't be such trouble with repeatability. They are producing a reaction. It's hard, not fake.
    • by tpjunkie (911544) on Monday July 24, 2006 @09:21PM (#15773404) Journal
      Mod parent up. As odd as it sounds, the poster is pretty much correct. I've tried to do normal sonoluminescence in a lab, and mostly it just doesn't work. Everything needs to be precisely perfect to create the standing waves that cause the bubbles to "implode" and release light, so god only knows how much harder it is to actually cause fusion. Of course, when you do get it perfect and working, it's pretty damned cool. I wouldn't write this one off just yet.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:53PM (#15773331) Homepage Journal
    If this creates an unjustified surge of investment, is that a bubble fusion bubble?

    If the startups merge and shed employees and energy, is that bubble fusion bubble fusion?

    Sorry.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 24, 2006 @09:19PM (#15773400)
    Quote from second article:
    Karl Popper argues that a scientific idea can never be proven true, because no matter how many observations seem to agree with it, it may still be wrong. On the other hand, a single contrary experiment can prove a theory forever false. Therefore, science advances only by demonstrating that theories are false, so that they must be replaced by better ones. The proponents of Cold Fusion took exactly the opposite view: many experiments, including their own, failed to yield the expected results. These were irrelevant, they argued, incompetently done, or lacking some crucial (perhaps unknown) ingredient needed to make the thing work. Instead, all positive results, the appearance of excess heat, or a few neutrons, proved the phenomenon was real. This anti-Popperian flavor of Cold Fusion played no small role in its downfall, since seasoned experimentalists like Lewis and Barnes refused to believe what they couldn't reproduce in their own laboratories. To them, negative results still mattered.
    End quote.

    This seems a grand failure of basic logic. Getting negative results does not mean that something (in this case, cold fusion) can not actually happen.

    For instance, I make an announcement that I have tied a piece of string to an object, threw the object in the air, and it stayed up floating for over an hour. Seems impossible, but heaps of people try to replicate it. Some try tying string to a wooden table, and throwing it in the air. It comes down after a couple of seconds. Other try other objects with similar failures. However, someone tried attaching string to a sheet of paper, and it floated for over 20 seconds before coming down. A partial success perhaps? But most people look at the equations of gravity and acceleration, and say that nothing will stay up for more than a few seconds, depending on how high you throw it. The original announcement is written off as a joke.

    A few years later, it is well known that if you shape paper over a frame of rigid sticks in a diamond shape, add a tail, and have an air flow of at least so many metres per second, the object will fly so long as the wind keeps blowing. It is now called a kite. So do the initial negative results mean that the positive result is false, even though there was currently no known theory??

    I respect several people who work in my field of science and they are not idiots. I assume the same applies to other scientific fields. So when several top-class individuals (eg. McKubre, director at SRI) say after a period of time they have achieved worthy cold fusion experimental results, I assume they are not incompentent or idiotic, and have actually achived something worthwhile. Perhaps one could be wrong, but the if all of them are wrong, then we are talking mass hallucinations of a lot of previously highly respected and compentent (in their field) people.

    Or I could believe the other side, who seem to all have multi-trillion dollar interests in keeping cold fusion passive for as long as possible (energy companies and high energy physicists eg. CERN).

    • Unfortunately for many, science has been plagued by some spectacular frauds lately . The result is that skepticism runs high, especially when you follow an experiment and cannot reproduce the results and then the original scientist who claimed the results simply says you aren't doing it right and hides behind intellectual property rights to avoid revealing their "secret". I've been following this bubble fusion for a while now (I work in magnetic confinement fusion) and it seems to have all the warning sig
    • This seems a grand failure of basic logic. Getting negative results does not mean that something (in this case, cold fusion) can not actually happen.

      Quite the contrary... it would seem to my uneducated mind that if it works sometimes, but not reliably that this, in a very Popperian way, disproves the theory that cold fusion is a myth.

    • high energy physicists eg. CERN

      Excuse me sir, but I must protest. I am a high energy physicist currently working at Fermilab (CDF). High energy physics today has nothing to do with fusion, except in that it might occasionally occur as a side effect of our collisions. Ah wait, there is one other regard in which we would be concerned with fusion, and it is the same as for everyone else: cheap, clean power. The electric bill here is in excess of 1 million USD a month. If cheap fusion power were available

      • The best explaination that I've heard that supports F&P having achieved cold fusion sounds a lot like the kite example. Just because they weren't able to come up with a description of how to achieve cold fusion doesn't mean they didn't get it to happen in their lab by dumb luck.
        • The fact that they cannot come up with a description of how to do it suggests that their explanation is flawed.
        • Just because they weren't able to come up with a description of how to achieve cold fusion doesn't mean they didn't get it to happen in their lab by dumb luck.

          Actually, the fact that they are still alive proves they did not achieve it.

          Cold fusion requires that virtually all of nuclear physics be wrong, and that virtually all of solid state physics be wrong.

          This is why: cold fusion (DD) will either produce neutrons, gamma rays, or very fast moving 4He nuclei, although the latter requires magic to occur. To
      • Nicely said. I'm a microbiologist, and the lack of understanding of how science works is pretty painful, even (especially?) on Slashdot.

        OK, so I am willing to accept that the equipment is finicky and the process only works 0.1% of the time, even in the hands of the original researcher. That puts the burden on that original researcher to be very explicit in explaining how to do it (if he wants other people to replicate the results so he can be famous) or to be very close-mouthed (if *doesn't* want replicatio
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .retawriaf.> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:03AM (#15773857) Homepage
      This seems a grand failure of basic logic. Getting negative results does not mean that something (in this case, cold fusion) can not actually happen.
       
      For instance, I make an announcement that I have tied a piece of string to an object, threw the object in the air, and it stayed up floating for over an hour. Seems impossible, but heaps of people try to replicate it. Some try tying string to a wooden table, and throwing it in the air. It comes down after a couple of seconds. Other try other objects with similar failures. However, someone tried attaching string to a sheet of paper, and it floated for over 20 seconds before coming down. A partial success perhaps? But most people look at the equations of gravity and acceleration, and say that nothing will stay up for more than a few seconds, depending on how high you throw it. The original announcement is written off as a joke.
       
      A few years later, it is well known that if you shape paper over a frame of rigid sticks in a diamond shape, add a tail, and have an air flow of at least so many metres per second, the object will fly so long as the wind keeps blowing. It is now called a kite. So do the initial negative results mean that the positive result is false, even though there was currently no known theory??
      [Sorry for the long quote - it's needed to retain context.]
       
      That people failed to replicate your initial 'experiment' stems from sloppy description of the initial 'experiment'. The actual failure of logic is yours - because you shift frames of reference in mid-tale. In this case the flight of the kite is a false positive in the context of 'something floating' - because a kite does not float. (In any scientific usage of the word 'float'.)
       
       
      I respect several people who work in my field of science and they are not idiots. I assume the same applies to other scientific fields. So when several top-class individuals (eg. McKubre, director at SRI) say after a period of time they have achieved worthy cold fusion experimental results, I assume they are not incompentent or idiotic, and have actually achived something worthwhile. Perhaps one could be wrong, but the if all of them are wrong, then we are talking mass hallucinations of a lot of previously highly respected and compentent (in their field) people.

      'Mass hallucination' (as you so charmingly put it) is hardly unknown in science. Nor are false positives.
      • in this case the flight of the kite is a false positive in the context of 'something floating' - because a kite does not float. (In any scientific usage of the word 'float'.)

        Arguing semantics aside, replace 'kite' with 'balloon' and his analogy is true, AND meets your pedantic requirement of the definition of "float".
        You are still correct that the problem of reproducibility stems from a poor description of the experiment, but playing devil's advocate for a moment, who's to say this is not what's plaguing
    • many experiments, including their own, failed to yield the expected results. These were irrelevant, they argued, incompetently done, or lacking some crucial (perhaps unknown) ingredient needed to make the thing work. Instead, all positive results, the appearance of excess heat, or a few neutrons, proved the phenomenon was real.

      Most proponents weren't -- and aren't -- quite that extreme. They argue that excess heat, neutrons, helium, etc prove that some phenomenon not explainable by conventional nuclear phy
    • two word (Score:3, Informative)

      by aepervius (535155)
      Experimental protocol.

      Fankly who modded that insightful ? It ain't even a good thougth experiment since the protocol would have inside "incredible when I add a piece of paper in such and such form now the piece of wood float in the air for a few second. And if in addition there is such and such wind condition it can stays in air for hours !" that is what experimental protocol are for : to enable other to reproduce under the same condition the experiment.

      There are good reason to not ignore negative res
      • There are good reason to not ignore negative result in science : because those are NOT failed experiment. They are *RESULTS* in themselves.

        I used to work in "physics beyond the standard model", which is a cornucopia of negative results, and after a while got to telling people who measured non-zero phenomena, "Hey, don't worry--a postiive result is just as important as a negative result." The joke being that all of us who measured zero year after year got tired of being reassured that a negative result is j
    • When I started reading this I thought you were going to say you tied your string to a duck.
    • This seems a grand failure of basic logic. Getting negative results does not mean that something (in this case, cold fusion) can not actually happen.

      Your extremely poor (in science it would be considered dishonest, unprofessional and possibly fraudulent) experimental description aside, this is a standard line trotted out by defenders of irreproducible phenomena, and it actually has some merit.

      I was involved in the 17 keV neutrino mess, wherein there was evidence from a couple of different experiments that t
    • So do the initial negative results mean that the positive result is false, even though there was currently no known theory??

      Not at all! But they do mean that the initial explanation of events lacked sufficient explanatory power and so were discarded in favor of theories that did not. Later on you get a better understanding (e.g. one that includes wind), and you can explain the results you got. You see now that you have a very specific set of data ("If you tie this paper-and-stick apparatus, weighing no m
  • Not spectacular (Score:4, Informative)

    by The_Wilschon (782534) on Monday July 24, 2006 @09:27PM (#15773421) Homepage
    Even if what Taleyarkan claims is true, it is nothing spectacular. Tokamak research (for one) is really much farther along the road to viable commercial fusion. All that Taleyarkan is claiming is that his lab has acheived fusion, a milestone passed in the 1930s (timeline [wikipedia.org]). It is crucial to acheive power output greater than the power input. Several fusion projects have acheived this. However, it is also crucial to acheive a self-sustaining reaction, something not yet done.

    From last semester's Intro to Nuclear and Particle Physics textbook, The Physics of Nuclei and Particles by Richard A. Dunlap, 2004:
    [Unthermalized breakeven] refers to the situation where the energy output of the reactor is equal to the energy input but the plasma conditions have been augmented by neutral beam injection. ... thermalized breakeven where the plama conditions themselves are sufficient for net energy production. ... ignition where the energy output is not only sufficient to yield a net energy gain but is also sufficient to maintain the plasma conditions. This is a self-sustained fusion reaction.
    According to a plot in the book, magnetic confinement projects (tokamaks, stellerators, etc) have just barely entered the thermalized breakeven region. It is not clear from another plot where inertial confinement projects stand, except to say that they are still quite far from the ignition region.

    Anyway, all that to say that even if the Purdue claims are correct, it isn't anything to get too excited about, merely yet another technique for producing extremely endothermic fusion.
    • However, it is also crucial to acheive a self-sustaining reaction, something not yet done.

      Actually, it is not necessary to have a self-sustaining reaction to have a viable fusion based power source. High power amplification (Q) of 50 or even 1000 would be suitable. In fact, from what I've recently read on ITER and plans for future machines they would actually prefer a finite Q since it introduces another method of control into the system. The actual Q required will depend on the plant efficiency.

      You
    • However, it is also crucial to acheive a self-sustaining reaction, something not yet done

      It is crucial to achieve a controlled and/or contained self-sustaining reaction. If they ever get a self-sustaining reaction then it's also important that it be kept within tolerable limits. I've always wondered what would happen if some private individual manages to start a tappable fusion reaction, but isn't able to control it. You might think this unrealistic but I do remember reading a true story where a kid was
    • "It is not clear from another plot where inertial confinement projects stand, except to say that they are still quite far from the ignition region."

      Not exactly. In fact thermonuclear ignition will occur in the laboratory in ~3-4 years in an inertial confinement device. That's why they call it the National Ignition Facility [llnl.gov]. all scaled implosions and 3d simulations are pointing to fusion burn and HIGH GAIN from the NIF once its complete in a few years.
  • by nmullerny (976243) on Monday July 24, 2006 @09:44PM (#15773470)
    If you were to read the articles on Wikipedia and around the web in general regarding cold fusion, somoluminescence, and other "cold" fusion reactions you would come away with two very wrong impressions. First would be that these technologies are very close to fruition and second that they are the holy grail of energy production and the answer to all of our problems. You would think that the fusion reactions are not dangerous, do not pollute, and the fuels involved are of infinite supply.
    The reality is that the only reproducable, controlled, fusion reactions mankind has managed to generate in a reproducable manner consume much more power than they generate, and are many, many years before becoming a source of power.
    Regarding fusion by-products, the fact is that most fusion reactions produce deadly forms of radiation, weather "cold" or "hot", and the fuels required for a-neutronic reactions are not in infinite supply.

    Granted that the idea of "Mr. Fusion" powering our automobiles on flat beer with helium, water vapour, and heat as it's only waste is captivating. Having a near infinite supply of energy would solve many of our and the world's problems (and I'm sure cause many of it's own as well).

    We should not lose sight that there are real, proven sources of energy that are renewable, cleaner and longer term than fossil fuels, that also require our investment of research, money, time, and education. Although they are not a "Magic Bullet" like Cold or Bubble fusion, they are the reality we should be focused on.
    • by The_Wilschon (782534) on Monday July 24, 2006 @11:57PM (#15773840) Homepage
      The reality is that the only reproducable, controlled, fusion reactions mankind has managed to generate in a reproducable manner consume much more power than they generate, and are many, many years before becoming a source of power.
      Only half true. Magnetic confinement fusion has definitely passed breakeven. The amount by which the output power exceeds input power is still sufficiently low (ratio around 1.2), however, that it is not yet a source of power, and probably will not be for several years yet.

      Regarding fusion by-products, the fact is that most fusion reactions produce deadly forms of radiation, weather "cold" or "hot", and the fuels required for a-neutronic reactions are not in infinite supply.
      Which fusion byproducts were you thinking of? Helium? Not particularly deadly or radioactive. Shielding from the radiation produced during the fusion reaction itself is trivial, and as I said, you don't really get much in the way of dangerous byproducts. d+t fusion gives Helium-4 (perfectly safe), and d+d fusion either gives Helium-3 (again, safe), or tritium. The tritium is radioactive, true. Most of it will likely be consumed in d+t reactions, and whatever is left over (if any) is enormously less problematic that fission byproducts. The halflife is ~12 years, compared to halflives in the thousands or millions of years for fission byproducts. Aneutronic fusion is not necessary. Desirable, perhaps. The aneutronic reactions produce significantly less energy than d+t, but on the other hand, it is much easier to capture and use. But certainly not necessary. And the fuels for neutronic reactions are available in enormously abundant supply. FUD.

      You would think that the fusion reactions are not dangerous, do not pollute, and the fuels involved are of infinite supply.
      Yes. Yes you would think that. For a very good reason. It is very nearly true. The danger is nearly zero (in an accident, the machinery necessary to sustain the plasma would be destroyed very quickly, and the remaining plasma would not last long enough to do nearly any damage at all.), the pollution is nearly zero (see what I said about byproducts and radiation shielding above), and the fuel is nearly inexhaustible (The sun is likely to go nova (thus ending the possiblity of, say, solar power...) before we use up the fusion fuel available in our oceans).
      • by Anonymous Coward
        What about neutrons, buddy? The neutron capture reactions in the surrounding vessel, magnets, etc. will produce highly radioactive material. And if you ever got commercial magnetic fusion, the neutron flux would destroy the stainless vacuum vessel in a matter of months.
    • I think I understand the point you're trying to make, but I think there's a serious flaw in your logic, and in the argument of many alternative-energy boosters.

      The problem is this: alternative sources of energy are hard. As in really tough problems. They require a lot of effort, and investment of time, energy, and materials to solve. Almost all alternative sources of energy are like this. Large-scale geothermal power extraction (from areas not located on geologically active zones) is hard. Tidal power: hard. High-efficiency solar power: very hard. Fusion is likewise hard.

      The other problem is that only a few of these sources could, by themselves, satisfy our demands for energy.

      Given that as a civilization we have a basically limited amount of resources at any given time to commit to researching new energy sources, it's understandable that we tend to focus our attentions on the few sources that seem like viable wholesale replacements for our steadily depleting fossil fuels.

      To put it bluntly, until it becomes clear that fusion simply won't work, it's going to receive most of the attention, because the possible payoff there is much higher than in any other avenue of research. Most alternative sources only make sense as aspects of a larger plan, consisting of a mix of sources. While this diversity is probably wise in the long run, it also represents a huge investment of time and effort into each source. And as the fossil fuels run out and energy becomes more expensive, the research becomes more difficult and our options more constrained. There is a risk, I think, of spreading ourselves too thin and not having a viable replacement for petroleum when its time is up.

      It is a mistake to view fusion (or any other single source) as a 'magic bullet.' However, it makes a certain amount of sense to want to secure a source of energy that can replace fossil fuels first, and then research other alternatives in order to diversify our societal energy portfolio afterwards. To do otherwise might risk us not finding a replacement for our energy needs before the fossil fuels run out, which would be a disaster of unthinkable proportions.
    • Wow so I guess from the "oh noes teh neutrons" drivel you're spouting here that you've never actually even read the wiki articles on fusion which all seem to address the issues of viability and neutronicity in extreme depth? Yeah, thought not. [wikipedia.org]
  • ...that is, you must first pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, so that one of his Noodly Appendages whips through the ether and ** pop ** goes your fusion bubble! Without that, the repeat experiments are doomed to failure....

    On a more serious note, this is more about psychology than physics. The ability of man to fool himself is unmatched.
  • It's "reminiscent".

    If you can't spell, and even if you can, use spellcheck when submitting something to be read by upwards of a million people. Don't expect the editors to fix it.

  • In the petroleum business theres are these "secret deposit" scams going on. Some turn out to true, but most dont pan out. They are either poor science or schemes to bilk investors.

    One going on for twenty years was the claim by the recently deceased Cornell professor Thomas Gold (and some Soviet Union geologists) that oil or natural gas comes from primordial methane deep in the earth from original earth accretion rather from buried plant decay like most convential geologists believe. That would predict

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