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+ - Lockheed Martin Claims Sustainable Fusion Is Within Its Grasp-> 1

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Imagine a source of electrical power that uses water for fuel, produces byproducts that are totally safe and releases no air pollution. Then imagine that once it's up and running, it'll be so portable that an entire power plant could fit into the cargo hold of an airplane. Now, imagine that it'll be running in prototype form in five years and operating commercially in ten.

The fusion is powered by a combination of two isotopes of Hydrogen, Deuterium and Tritium, both of which occur in nature and which can be extracted from water. "Our studies show that a 100 MW system would only burn less than 20 kg of fuel in an entire year of operation," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told eWEEK. "Tritium fuel is continually bred within the reactor wall and fed back into the reactor along with deuterium gas to sustain the reactions."
In other words, the fusion reactor creates most of its own fuel as part of its operation. The Deuterium gas is simply a normal hydrogen atom with an extra neutron, creating what is sometimes called "heavy hydrogen." Deuterium can be extracted from the hydrogen obtained from electrolysis of water. This may sound complicated, but it's a process that has been routinely performed in college physics projects.
While the fusion reactor does create a radioactive byproduct, it's recycled for use in the reactor itself. There is no radioactive waste problem such as exists with nuclear fission power plants. "The waste footprint is orders of magnitude less than coal plants which require huge landfills to contain the toxic ash and sludge wastes," the spokesperson said in an email.
"A typical coal plant generates over 100,000 tons of ash and sludge containing toxic metals and chemicals each year. The first generation of fusion reactors will run on Deuterium-Tritium fuel, but successive generations would use fuels that could eliminate the radioactivity altogether," she said.
Currently Lockheed Martin is in the process of testing a magnetic confinement bottle, where the Skunk Works team has apparently made significant progress. In terms of how a fusion reactor would be created, the magnetic bottle is the primary hurdle.
If that's accomplished successfully most of the science and engineering is known. However, that doesn't mean that building the prototype fusion reactor is a done deal. Lockheed Martin is looking for industry partners to help develop the Compact Fusion reactor into a real product.
The goal is to create a fusion reactor that can generate heat to use in existing power plants, where the reactor would replace existing fossil fuel combustion. This means that existing power generation and distribution infrastructure would be retained, which will dramatically reduce the cost of implementation and dramatically speed up deployment.
The existence of cheap, portable power will transform the world in many ways. A statement from the company envisions ships and aircraft with unlimited range, spacecraft that could reduce the travel time to Mars to less than a month.
Perhaps most important to the most people, it could bring vast amounts of power to anywhere on earth, providing among other things economical water desalination to developing regions of the globe, which are not only poor, but short of clean water, by removing energy scarcity as an insurmountable problem.
If Lockheed Martin can pull this off, and given the reputation of the Skunk Works for routinely doing the impossible, I suspect it will, the results will be transformative.
While it doesn't mean free energy, it does mean that the cost of nearly unlimited energy is very low, and with unlimited energy, there's no end to what can be accomplished. To say that the Skunk Works is on the verge of changing the world is an understatement. This development could well define the future."

Link to Original Source

+ - Technology's Legacy: The 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times Magazine has an insightful article putting into words how I've felt about information-age culture for a while now. It's about a phenomenon dubbed the "loser edit." The term itself was borne out of reality TV — once an outcome had been decided, the show's producers would comb back through the footage and selectively paste together everything that seemed to foreshadow the loser's fall.

But as the information age has overtaken us, this is something that can happen to anyone. Any time a celebrity gets into trouble, we can immediately search through two decades of interviews and offhand comments to see if there were hints of their impending fall. It usually becomes a self-reinforcing chain of evidence. The loser edit happens for non-celebrities too, using their social media posts, public records, leaked private records, and anything else available through search.

The worst part is, there's no central place to blame. The news media does it, the entertainment industry does it, and we do it to ourselves. Any time the internet gets outraged about something, there are a few people who happily dig up everything they can about the person they now feel justified in hating — and thus, the loser edit begins."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Easier to Analyze or Change == More Maintainabl (Score 4, Insightful) 245

by Wraithlyn (#49176763) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

My thoughts exactly. More maintainable code IS higher quality code, in my opinion.

Making code run faster has a completely different name, it's called optimization (and is frequently the root of all evil). And it often involves the exact opposite of things you do when refactoring. Eg, unrolling a loop to make it run faster is pretty much the exact opposite of refactoring for maintenance & readability.

Comment: Re: Morale of the Story (Score 1) 217

In the general sense, "Investment is time, energy, or matter spent in the hope of future benefits actualized within a specified date or time frame." (Wikipedia)

In other words, it doesn't have to involve ownership. The key phrase is simply "in the hope of future benefits".

Comment: Re:Right, but does it correctly model... (Score 2) 244

1) Head to a large multi-story building (like a big school)
2) Destroy all staircases leading up from the ground level
3) Grow food on the roof, use rope ladders to send out raiding parties for other supplies as needed

Seriously, I am so sick of the protagonists in zombie movies & shows always hiding behind stuff that can simply be pushed over by a mindless horde (chain link fences, doors, etc). Gain some elevation that requires equipment to ascend. Or even use something like a simple commando-style rope bridge that requires intelligent motor co-ordination to traverse.

Humans are infinitely more mobile & dextrous than zombies (esp. with the use of tools), there's no reason they shouldn't be able to exploit that to create a haven which is completely inaccessible to zombies by its very nature.

Of course this presupposes the typical George Romero/28 Days Later/Walking Dead type of zombie, as opposed to the World War Z ones which conquer every obstacle with self-organizing meat mountains.

Comment: Re:Live (Score 2) 232

by Wraithlyn (#49165767) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

it is meant to demonstrate that even with an alternate future from the original movies [...] they couldn't escape their shared fate, or their shared destiny

You REALLY think these movies are interested in exploring pre-destination, determinism, destiny, fate, etc? (If you are interested in such topics, go watch Predestination, it's based on a Heinlein short and is great)

Bullshit. They rebooted it with a fairly conventional time-travel plot device, then brought Kahn back to sell tickets. That's it. No deeper meaning.

I mean, are you not aware of JJ Abrams previous projects? The illusion of deeper meaning is kind've his thing. (See: Lost)

Comment: Re:Department of Fairness can not be far behind (Score 1) 631

by Wraithlyn (#49140267) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

From your own link:

In 1969 the United States Supreme Court upheld the FCC's general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited. But the courts did not rule that the FCC was obliged to do so.[3] The courts reasoned that the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum, which limited the opportunity for access to the airwaves, created a need for the Doctrine. However, the proliferation of cable television, multiple channels within cable, public-access channels, and the Internet have eroded this argument, since there are plenty of places for ordinary individuals to make public comments on controversial issues at low or no cost at all.

The Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987. So you're frothing at the mouth over a doctrine that was discontinued almost 30 years ago, and was intended to promote discussion of public issues on a scarce medium, and you think it is somehow relevant to the Internet in 2015.

But hey, don't let actual details get in the way of your breathless hyperbole.

Comment: Re:Oh? (Score 1, Flamebait) 139

by Wraithlyn (#49139363) Attached to: 12-Billion-Solar-Mass Black Hole Discovered

Considering he made the exact same mistake twice in a row, it seems like more than just a one-off typo don't you think?

And your response to someone teasingly pointing this out, is offensive name calling?

What are you, twelve? From the generation where nobody is ever told they're wrong and everybody gets a participation trophy?

Mature adults acknowledge their mistakes and attempt to learn from them. If I was repeatedly making a mistake like this, I would WANT it pointed out to me.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.