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Comment Re:Fusion energy is impractical (Score 1) 98

The core fusion plasma must not actually touch the first wall.
ITER and many other current and projected fusion experiments, particularly those of the tokamak and stellarator designs, use intense magnetic fields in an attempt to achieve this, although plasma instability problems remain.
Even with stable plasma confinement, however, the first wall material would be exposed to a neutron flux higher than in any current nuclear power reactor, which leads to two key problems in selecting the material:
It must withstand this neutron flux for a sufficient period of time to be economically viable.
It must not become sufficiently radioactive so as to produce unacceptable amounts of nuclear waste when lining replacement or plant decommissioning eventually occurs.


Comment Fusion energy is impractical (Score 3, Informative) 98

As a former program officer for the Office of Fusion Energy, US Department of Energy I can assure you even if the Stellarator "works", it will not be a practical source of power. The complex engineering and cost make harvesting energy from fusion impractical.

I could fill a page on enumerating them. For one -- fast neutrons can destroy any material known. No one has come up with a design for the the first wall that captures the neutrons and energy.

The old quip is "Fusion has been 25 years in the future for the last 50 years.

Comment Re:End anonymity for cash (Score 4, Interesting) 158

The largest bill is now $100. This is equivalent to $10 in 1948 according to the CPI inflation indicator. .

As time goes on, I doubt ( barring runaway inflation ), the US will print larger bills, so the $100 will become less and less.

During the Iraq war, the US airlifted $12 billion of $100 bills, which weighed in at 363 tons. This shows that cash is no longer useful for large transactions already.

As a side note: most of it was untracked, and melted away. I know of a distant relative who worded as contractor and returned home to Turkey with suitcases full of cash.

Comment Re:Easy to Use ? (Score 1) 220

I remember the physics department department's computer in 1960. An IBM 1620, the size of a teacher's desk, costing ten times as much as my parents' house, and the power of a $10 Casio digital watch.

We loved it. It could do in an hour when took us months of slide rule or mechanical calculator work.

Now a cheap desktop could do the work in a small fraction of a second.

Comment Massively Unpopular (Score 5, Interesting) 43

During the TPP fast track debate I looked at comments about it in the New York Times. The comments were massively, almost unanimously, against the treaty. I asked myself "Well liberals are against it, who is for it?" Off I went to the National Review Online to see the conservatives' opinion. Well the comments there were unanimously against the treaty too.

I wonder who is for it. Why did Congress pass the fast track? I leave the answer as an exercise for the reader.

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Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long