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Power

Submission + - A timetable for nuclear fusion

IAmTheRealMike writes: This article offers an in depth but readable review of the current state of fusion research, along with a timetable for the future, a description of what still needs to be figured out and a fascinating look at what it'd take to scale up to worldwide commercial generation levels. Executive summary, by 2100 if all goes according to plan fusion might be able to generate 30% of Europes present day demand. The delay is largely due to tightly limited tritium supplies. Whilst a sustainable fusion reactor will produce tritium, it would do so only in small amounts so a reactor would take 2-3 years to produce enough tritium to "give birth" and start another one. It looks like even with the most optimistic assumptions, by the time Tokamak based fusion can meaningfully contribute we will likely be deep in the midsts of an energy crisis.
Privacy

Submission + - UK Govt plans centralised citizen database

axel_pressbutton writes: The uk govt is pushing forward on indroducing a national id card and has been selling the idea on the back of promising reduction in fraud, protection from terrorists. Unfortunately it will cost a fortune and wont work too well.
Some bright spark has worked out that if you glue together all the databases held by the Health service, police, local authorities, tax office and any other govt database it might work. So it was announced on the news this morning that Tony Blair will start pushing the project on Monday.
You really could make things better making good use of information.
Things could also be a lot worse.
Ever since Walmart / Tesco successfully introduced loyalty cards I thought this move was inevitable.
My best example of good use is in providing benefits to pensioners. In the UK pension benefits are means tested, the trouble is the take-up rate is low, due to the need to fill in a 45 page application form. With an integrated database you would get the benefit without filling in the form.
What good / bad uses can you think of?
Privacy

Submission + - New Spin on "Big Brother" database for UK

POPE Mad Mitch writes: The BBC is reporting that in a move that both the opposition party and the Information Commission have condemned as another step towards a "Big Brother" society, Tony Blair is on monday going to unveil planas to build a single database to pull together and share every piece of personal data from all government departments, the claimed justification for which is to improve public services. Sharing information in this way is currently prohibited by the "over zealous" data protection legislation. An attempt to build a similar database was a key part of the, now severely delayed, ID card scheme.
Data Storage

Submission + - Storing unused hard drives?

An anonymous reader writes: Over the years, I've acquired several hard drives, many of which are in use in various machines, but some of them don't have a home. I'd like to keep these around for later use, but I don't seem to have a place to put them or know how to store them. When new ones come in the mail, they have protective shells. Should I look for a place to buy some of these, or is there a better way to do this?

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