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Power

'Star In a Jar' Fusion Reactor Works, Promises Infinite Energy (space.com) 431

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: For several decades now, scientists from around the world have been pursuing a ridiculously ambitious goal: They hope to develop a nuclear fusion reactor that would generate energy in the same manner as the sun and other stars, but down here on Earth. Incorporated into terrestrial power plants, this "star in a jar" technology would essentially provide Earth with limitless clean energy, forever. And according to new reports out of Europe this week, we just took another big step toward making it happen. In a study published in the latest edition of the journal Nature Communications, researchers confirmed that Germany's Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device is on track and working as planned. The space-age system, known as a stellerator, generated its first batch of hydrogen plasma when it was first fired up earlier this year. The new tests basically give scientists the green light to proceed to the next stage of the process. It works like this: Unlike a traditional fission reactor, which splits atoms of heavy elements to generate energy, a fusion reactor works by fusing the nuclei of lighter atoms into heavier atoms. The process releases massive amounts of energy and produces no radioactive waste. The "fuel" used in a fusion reactor is simple hydrogen, which can be extracted from water. The W7-X device confines the plasma within magnetic fields generated by superconducting coils cooled down to near absolute zero. The plasma -- at temperatures upwards of 80 million degrees Celsius -- never comes into contact with the walls of the containment chamber. Neat trick, that. David Gates, principal research physicist for the advanced projects division of PPPL, leads the agency's collaborative efforts in regard to the W7-X project. In an email exchange from his offices at Princeton, Gates said the latest tests verify that the W7-X magnetic "cage" is working as planned. "This lays the groundwork for the exciting high-performance plasma operations expected in the near future," Gates said.
Power

Alphabet's Nest Wants to Build a 'Citizen-Fueled' Power Plant (bloomberg.com) 157

Mark Chediak, reporting for Bloomberg:Alphabet Inc's Nest Labs is looking to enlist enough customers in California to free up as much power as a small natural gas-fired plant produces, helping alleviate potential energy shortages in the region following a massive gas leak that has restricted supplies. Nest, which supplies digital, wireless thermostats, is partnering with Edison International's Southern California Edison utility to get households enrolled in a state-established energy conservation program. The company wants to attract 50,000 customers through next summer that could shrink their total demand by as much as 50 megawatts when needed, Ben Bixby, Nest's director of energy businesses at Nest, said by phone. "We are building a citizen-fueled clean power plant," he said.

Comment Whenever this question comes up.. (Score 1) 876

It reminds me of the one of the finest comments I ever read on here, from joss:

"If the kind of drag and drop stuff you are proposing was a better mechanism for creating complex programs than languages, then we wouldnt use languages to communicate with each other. Instead we would push a bunch of colored blocks around and drag string between them. I don't think we're going to start doing that anytime soon either."

Submission + - Slashdot Finally Totally Broken

BigBlueOx writes: After years of declining usability, the geek-friendly website "slashdot" is now totally broken according to reports from slashdot user "bigblueox". "I'm presented with the message 'you have 15 moderator points — use them or lose them' but when I try to moderate a discussion there's no "moderate" button available. I also cannot type a comma into a slashdot text box without having it appear as a ;. Screw this. I'm going to go look at porn.", he reports.

Submission + - Telemedicine: Something to get excited about ? (blogspot.com)

maharg writes: A friend of mine has just written his first blog post, regarding the potential for 'telemedicine camps' when combined with a telemedicine community portal, allowing doctors to volunteer their time to help flood-affected people in Pakistan remotely. That's a pretty neat idea.. I'd like to help him but I don't really have the chops. How would you go about getting this off the ground ? Can any of the Slashdot crowd help him out ?

Comment Re:lots of pot smokers on there (Score 1) 332

I personally challenge David and Nick to sit down with some quality organic ganja, a vaporizer, and a copy of Peter Tosh's 'Legalize It' and leave the room without having firmly decided to end the ridiculous persecution of otherwise law-abiding people who wish to exercise what is basically a consumer preference.

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