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Comment Re:Nights (Score 2, Interesting) 635

"And don't forget that these superconducting grids will be dangerous as hell, if you're pushing enough current through a cable to power north america and any part of the cooling system fails the resistance goes from zero to anything non-zero and your superconducting cable explodes extremely violently.

I'd agree these superconducting cables have issues, but exploding really isn't one of them. Most modern superconducting magnetic coils and cables are designed around quenching and have copper dump loads built into the cables. The real killer for power is the energy required to keep the cables cool...

IMHO, the solution to solar would be affordable large scale energy *storage* (magnetic energy storage, large vacuum composite flywheels, etc.).


Submission + - The Hobby of Energy Secretary Steven Chu (msn.com)

quanminoan writes: Nobel Laureate and United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Chu) has continued to publish even while in office. While previous research topics include gravitational redshift (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7283/full/nature08776.html), Chu has coauthored a paper entitled "Subnanometre single-molecule localization registration and distance measurements" which discusses a way to optically image objects as small as 0.5 nm — a large step down from the previous limit of 10 nm. Chu does this in his free time, claiming "I just consider it my equivalent of ... vegging out in front of the TV".

Submission + - U.K. Designer “Grows" Clothes From Bacteria (ecouterre.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Experimental UK designer Suzanne Lee "grows" clothes from bacteria. She has developed a method for growing clothing from yeast, a pinch of bacteria, and several cups of sweetened green tea. From this microbial soup, fibers begin to sprout and propagate, eventually resulting in thin, wet sheets of bacterial cellulose that can be molded to a dress form. As the sheets dry out, overlapping edges “felt” together to become fused seams. When all moisture has evaporated, the fibers develop a tight-knit, papyrus-like surface.

Comment Re:Slashdot trolled (Score 1) 578

The AFMs you cite only use stepper motors for the first stage of precision movement. The precision movement at the atomic level is handled by piezo devices (i assume called piezoelectric actuators). These are very difficult to control since they have complex hysteresis involved with their movement, and change their properties over time. Expensive as well. He *is* better off using the hard drive components to do what he wants...

Comment Re:Actively stabilized fusion (Score 2, Interesting) 147

Polywell more wacky than this? There are a number of things I can't see them getting right with this piston concept any time soon. Personally, I don't think they can make a uniform shockwave using pistons, but we'll see I guess. The plasma vortex rings sounds interesting. I guess my primary question would be using the lead lithium blanket next to the plasma. Invariably, you'll have some vapor in the plasma region, and these higher Z atoms should wreck havoc with Bremsstrahlung radiation. The polywell already produces neutrons from fusion, avoids Bremsstrahlung more than the original "fusor" concepts, and should be scalable. Granted, I actually feel that the more conventional schemes have a greater chance of success currently. ITER should break even...

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The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of space and time. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge