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Inside Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion Company General Fusion

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the miles-per-rod dept.

Power 117

quax writes "Slashdot first reported on the Canadian start-up company that is attempting piston powered nuclear fusion back in 2009. This new blog post takes a look at where they are now, and gives some additional behind the scene info. For instance, a massive experimental rig for magnetized target fusion in the US is currently underutilized, because ITER's increasing costs absorb all the public fusion research funding. Because this Shiva Star device is located in an Air Force base, security restrictions prevent any meaningful cooperation with a non-U.S. companies. Even if U.S. researchers would love to rent this out to advance the science of magnetized target fusion, restrictions make this is a no go."

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HOAX ALERT II !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818539)

Oh my what has slashdot become !!

Re:HOAX ALERT II !! (1)

quax (19371) | about a year ago | (#45820505)

A hoax Jeff Bezos invested in [reuters.com] . I'll take it you didn't bother to read any of the links.

Re: HOAX ALERT II !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45822149)

Poor Mr. Bezzos

Re:HOAX ALERT II !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45822881)

I'll take it you didn't bother to read any of the links.

Who has time to read anything when they're gunning for FP?

1st Nigger!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818543)

Nigger jokes - because being as mild and inoffensive as possible just to please you isn't important. Get the fuck over yourself.

You were taught to hate that word the same way people back in the day were taught to hate blacks. Auto kneejerk style. You fucking hypocrite.

What? (3, Insightful)

wiggles (30088) | about a year ago | (#45818545)

That summary made no sense.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818573)

That summary made no sense.

You were expecting somebody with the job title of "editor" to actually act like an editor. On this site?? Oh. Yes I suppose you are disappointed. If I performed my job as incompetently as Slashdot's "editors", I would be fired. So would you and so would anyone who reads this (except the pissypants editor who uses his infinite mod points to mod it down).

Slashdot "editors" are editors the same way the garbage truck driver is a "sanitation engineer". In this job market, Dice Holdings Inc. could hire better more competent people and probably spend less doing it. Maybe that case could be made to their management?

Re:What? (3, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a year ago | (#45818895)

Slashdot "editors" are editors the same way the garbage truck driver is a "sanitation engineer".

Sanitation engineering is a real thing (different from driving a truck). Real sanitation engineers are civil engineers who design landfills, wastewater treatment plants and recycling facilities.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818985)

I think that was his point.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819469)

Real engineers drive trains (at least that's what people think when I tell them I'm an engineer). So it's logical that driving a sanitation truck would make you a sanitation engineer.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818585)

Ok, lets try it in English then.

There are some Canuks trying a specific type of nuclear fusion. Two other groups seem to be doing similar research, but one has been effectively denied funding because of a different project getting headlines, and the other is a military research so it has no headlines until the USAF decides to get some mass-produced.

New Slashdot paradigm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818609)

...Find an old Slashdot story, write that it's time for an update, then add random justification. Step (3) - Profit!

Re:New Slashdot paradigm... (1)

quax (19371) | about a year ago | (#45820353)

Could you explain the profit part to me? That'll be most interesting.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45818861)

Here's a new summary for you:

Tiny fusion project that's functionally pretty cheap wants more money, and publishes some promising, but uncertain results.

I could use that same summary for several different projects today.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818953)

You can never take these things seriously when the never present their results at meetings like

APS DPP [aps.org]
Sherwood [sherwoodtheory.org]
MHD workshop [gat.com]
IAEA [iaea.org]

Re:What? (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45819809)

Well, I know what that published unprecedented energy density results in the journal of plasma physics. I'm not aware of any meetings they attended, though.

Re:What? (1)

quax (19371) | about a year ago | (#45820249)

They hold a couple of patents [google.ca] and published three papers [generalfusion.com] (the rest in the list is references on their approach to fusion).

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45824471)

The journal of fusion energy isn't a scientific journal. It's the news letter of a think tank. They'll be taken seriously when the publish in Nuclear Fusion.

They do present (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45820519)

They always seem to give poster presentations at DPP and I've seen them at a few other conferences as well.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819039)

In fairness, it captures the writing style of the article well.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819101)

TFA is complaining that the ITER, an expensive experimental fusion reactor, is getting most of the fusion research money. This compares with the Canadian startup, and the Shiva Star, which don't receieve enough money to proceed as fast as they could.

Personally I don't think TFA's tone is useful. Sure, ITER is funded, but it should be funded; torus reactors (ITER is a torus reactor) are a well established line of research and it is important to follow that line of research until the end.

What should happen of course is that ITER should maintain its funding while other experimental fusion reactors should get more funding.

In-fighting among the fusion community is likely a sign that budget cuts are hurting.

General Fusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818559)

So when's the people's Mr. Fusion model come along?

Re:General Fusion? (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#45818577)

I ran out of oil once in my car and my gasoline engine did piston fusion into a single block of metal

Re:General Fusion? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45818841)

If Robert Zemeckis is to be believed, in less than 2 years.

Re:General Fusion? (5, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | about a year ago | (#45819033)

but in the Zemeckis causality, a genius inventor with no regard for preserving the natural timeline traveled back to 1885, and then abandoned a highly sophisticated laboratory capable of refrigeration and probably other disruptive technologies. In other words, the 2015 we saw in Back to the Future, was heavily augmented by timeline disrupting technology injections in both 1885 and 1955... and 1985 for that matter. Chances are, most of that stuff could not be invented as early in our timeline, because in the BTTF timeline, doc brown and others saw the various technologies in action, years before they were duplicated/invented.

In my opinion this same phenomenon explains perfectly why the JJAbrams Star Trek is perfectly justified in having more advanced ships and transporters than the Roddenberry continuity. 8 minutes of sensor scans of a ship 129 more years advanced than anything ever witnessed would change the course of technology forever.

Re:General Fusion? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819109)

Refrigeration wouldn't be disruptive, there were commercial ice-making machines in 1855 [wikipedia.org] . Now, all the DeLorean/time machine parts lying around are another story.

Effect of DeLorean parts in 1885 (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about a year ago | (#45820559)

. . . would be to set back the development of a reliable automobile by over a century! (ba-doom, boom)

Re:General Fusion? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#45820881)

It has been a while since I have seen the movies, but was he building a vapor condenser?

I ask because while they were around almost nobody used them. Far more economically to harvest ice in the winter and store it for the summer. I mean today we have jet packs and space rockets but they are not “consumer grade”, like today’s refrigerators or the future Mr. Fusions.

Re:General Fusion? (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#45820605)

8 minutes of sensor scans of a ship 129 more years advanced than anything ever witnessed would change the course of technology forever.

If and only if the scans expose the core technologies in ways that you can understand ---

If and only if you can reproduce the core technologies or their precursors on less than 120 years.

Doc Brown's refrigerator and telescopic sights were mid-nineteenth century tech. The really interesting possibilities open up only when you can build an air conditioner and have refrigerants safe enough for domestic use.

Funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45823547)

...and here I was explaining the discrepancy by figuring it was the mid 1960s and Desilu Studios had fuck-all for special effects. Oh well.

Awesome (1, Interesting)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#45818631)

It is my layman's barely informed opinion that this scheme has the highest chance at success in the next 10 years at achieving practical electrical output from nuclear fusion reactions.

Re:Awesome (0)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#45819711)

How is my opinion "over-rated"? I think GF has the most practical approach and isn't working on dead-ends or defense-type research reactors. They are progressing and are quietly moving along. I also like the fact they are Canadian, like me! And maybe there is some hope that Canada can still produce something besides sand.

Re:Awesome (3, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#45820059)

Better than Polywell fusion? They're still under a publishing embargo, but if the Navy progress report is to be believed they have managed to demonstrate p-B fusion last year which is practically the holy grail of fusion for electrical-generating purposes - no neutron flux from the primary reaction, no clunky inefficient heat engine necessary to generate electricity, and the main researchers seem to have mostly all jumped ship to found an energy-related company.

Re:Awesome (2)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#45821849)

Yes. The biggest problem of all the other fusion power approaches are the output part: how do you get electricity from fusion? Believe it or not, unlike Star Trek, we'll be using steam and turbines to spin a generator. Tokamak reactors need a complex thermal blanket on top of the complex plasma containment. GF has cleverly bypassed this by making the reaction occur in the thermal blanket.

Again, this is my opinion so it will be modded down.

Re:Awesome (1)

HiThere (15173) | about a year ago | (#45822193)

That's probably the best approach, but there are a few others. MHD might work.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45822965)

Believe it or not, unlike Star Trek, we'll be using steam and turbines to spin a generator.

You say that like it's a bad thing. We've gotten pretty good at handling steam, even when it's slightly dirty as with PWRs. A fusion plant that outputs steam has a handy fringe benefit: if the reactor is small enough you can retrofit existing power stations.

Re:Awesome (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#45824901)

Not necessarily - using a turbine or other heat engine is only necessary it the energy has been thermalized - which yes, to the limits of current scientific understanding is necessary for any fusion reaction that releases the bulk of it's energy as fast neutrons, and may be the most practical route for reactions that release most of their energy as gamma radiation as well, at least until we develop high-efficiency gamma-radiation "solar cells" (gamma-voltaics?).

But p-B fusion is something special, it doesn't emit gamma radiation or neutrons along the primary reaction path - instead the resultant Carbon-12 atom is excessively energetic, and immediately fissions into three high-velocity Helium-4 nuclei, and there are far more efficient methods of converting the kinetic energy of charged particles into electricity than by using them to boil water. Especially if they just happen to already be at the bottom of a spherical high-voltage potential well. The only reason so few researchers discuss it is that the reaction cross section is 100x smaller than for deuterium fusion, and thus far out of reach of the energies available to most reactor designs being explored.

There's also another practical consideration - we haven't yet managed to developed any materials that can survive the combination of heat and neutron flux that would be present in a megawatt scale hydrogen fusion reactor for prolonged periods. The flux rate can easily reach 5x-10x the number of neutrons/joule as for a fission reaction (which release most of their energy as relatively harmless gamma radiation), and neutron bombardment does really nasty things to most solids - the few we know of that can survive the flux can't survive the heat. Sure we could replace parts on a regular basis, but that's dangerous, time consuming, and produces a stream of medium-high level radioactive waste that dwarfs that produced by a fission reactor. I haven't actually studied the GF solution in depth though, their website provides only the most vague description of the implementation details. If the reaction is occurring within a fluid neutron absorber then they've likely managed to bypass that caveat, a feat only to be envied by the particle-beam fusion projects. I would be most obliged it you could point me towards a clear and concise summary of the technology, I don't care to spend hours digging through dry scientific papers, nor "science news" articles/videos created by people with delusions of comprehension.

Sucks to be a foreigner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818675)

ITAR's a bitch ain't it?

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818859)

As someone who has worked for a UK defense company - ITAR is more of a problem for the US than it's allies. The US has a nightmare contracting out work to european companies that have a technology/experience they need. You should see the time and money they waste, it is extraordinary.

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (4, Interesting)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year ago | (#45818885)

ITER is an initiative 45% funded by the EU and 9% funded by the US, that Americans repeatedly complain about sucking away all of America's money, even though it was America's idea to build it in the first place, America gets an equal share of the knowledge gained and America only has to pay one 11th of the cost, despite having the largest economy out of the participants.

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (0)

HuguesT (84078) | about a year ago | (#45818919)

Interesting, thanks, mod this up!

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (5, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45819037)

Actually the EU has a higher GDP than the US, the usual marker for the strength of an economy. Mostly that's due to the greater population (505 million EU citizens compared to 310 million or so Americans) as per-capita GNP in the EU is a bit less since we don't have quite as much raw materials production (oil, gas, coal) which inflates the figures.

The US tried withholding its funding contributions for ITER during the run-up to the off-the-books trillion-dollar war in Iraq after most of the other participants in the project decided it should be built in Cadarache in France, home of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys, instead of Japan. It didn't work, America decided to rejoin the project and they're pouring concrete this month in southern France for the reactor vessel's base.

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45819255)

per-capita GNP in the EU is a bit less since we don't have quite as much raw materials production (oil, gas, coal)

Do you have figures that show that that's the main difference in GDP/capita? (GNP is not usually used these days).

As for "raw materials production ... which inflates the figures", by that standard the GDP's of Norway, Canada and Australia are even more inflated.

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45819557)

Yep, that's why Qatar's per-capita GNP is twice that of the US. Moving money around also inflates the GNP figures hence the appearance of Monaco, Leichtenstein and the Bermudas at the top of the world tables. Japan has virtually no raw materials it can export and it's not a financial black hole for rich people to hide funds from their national governments but it still holds up well in terms of GNP per-capita due mainly to its industrial base.

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45819987)

Yep, that's why Qatar's per-capita GNP is twice that of the US.

And your point is? Qatar does have a GDP/capita about 2x the US. Do you think that's fake money? Parties outside of Qatar seem to happily accept it.

While we're at it, you still haven't cited figures showing that most of the difference between the US and the EU GDP/capita is due to differences in raw materials production.

Moving money around also inflates the GNP figures hence the appearance of Monaco, Leichtenstein and the Bermudas at the top of the world tables.

Yes it does. I think a good chunk of that (including Wall Street and the City of London) is rent seeking and activities that should be banned, but it still doesn't change the fact that it's real money they get for it.

US vs EU GDP (4, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#45819705)

Actually the EU has a higher GDP than the US

Depends on how you measure it. The EU has a higher nominal GDP but a slightly lower GDP under PPP [wikipedia.org] . Both are right around $16-17 Trillion in 2013.

per-capita GNP in the EU is a bit less since we don't have quite as much raw materials production (oil, gas, coal) which inflates the figures.

As for GDP per capita, it isn't even close. The US population is around 315 milliion versus 510 million in the EU. Since the GDP is roughly the same, the US GDP per capita is about 40% higher at around $52,000 versus $34,000 for the EU. The differences in GDP are not explained by energy production [wikipedia.org] . The EU is the 7th largest energy producer and 2nd largest consumer) while the US is the 3rd largest energy producer and largest consumer (with China catching up fast). Both economies have services sectors that comprise around 68-69% of the economy. Both have similar sized manufacturing sectors and agriculture sectors. Frankly the US and EU economies are remarkably similar in many ways.

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819497)

ITAR, not ITER.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITAR [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sucks to be a foreigner (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#45822049)

So because America has more money, they should pay more?

Hint: that philsophical, political and economic system doesn't work.

A problem with Canada? (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45818747)

Because this Shiva Star device is located in an Air Force base, security restrictions prevent any meaningful cooperation with a non-U.S. companies.

We have a problem with Canadians because of security restrictions? WTF - NORAD is a joint US-Canadian operation. The 2nd in command is always Canadian. If that's not giving Canadians access to important military operations (specifically USAF no less) then I don't know what is.

Re:A problem with Canada? (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45818791)

Apparently you don't know what "access" is, in a government-secret sense.

We've built up a program as a joint effort. That's fine for that program. That does not mean there's a blanket trust for Canadians to access all programs at all locations. Military secrecy is handled on a need-to-know basis, and outside of NORAD, the Canadians do not need to know.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45818921)

Nobody is talking about giving them access to nuclear weapon or stealth research. Shiva Star hasn't been used for military research in almost 20 years. It's been re-purposed for civilian research, and happens to be located on an AFB for historical reasons. If this is anything like other civilian research in the US, it involves many foreign nationals whose allegiances are far more questionable than Canadians.

Re:A problem with Canada? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818959)

But Canada and everyone else will be buying their fusion power plants from General Electric and/or Westinghouse. Security is in place to see that nobody else gets a piece of the action.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45819165)

But Canada and everyone else will be buying their fusion power plants from General Electric and/or Westinghouse.

As designed and built in their Chinese facilities.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45818997)

It doesn't matter much what Shiva Star is used for. It's still on an Air Force base. What else is on that base that the foreigner can get to more easily because of his access to Shiva Star?

Re:A problem with Canada? (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45819051)

What else is on that base that the foreigner can get to more easily because of his access to Shiva Star?

Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, Mini Wal Marts and other hallmarks of American 'culture'. You want to be careful letting these things out in the world - they can cause amazing damage in the wrong hands.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45819141)

It's still on an Air Force base.

There are plenty of US military bases that just about any civilian can enter. I've done it myself on a number of occasions. Access is compartmentalized. Getting to the PX is a lot easier than getting to the nuclear weapons storage.

Ever visit the USAF museum? Anyone can go there, and it's sitting right on Wright-Patterson AFB, where lots of highly classified work is done.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45819221)

...And which compartment is Shiva Star in? The anybody-can-access public space?

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45820045)

If it's not in a separate security zone than weapons (nuclear or otherwise) or other purely military activities (e.g. intel) then they're got a serious security problem. There are loads of civilians on any military R&D project that are not authorized to come near purely military operations.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45820409)

...American civilians? Or foreigners? Even without a security clearance, American civilians are allowed to work on export-controlled materials that foreigners aren't allowed to see. Some of that work is indeed done on military bases, regardless of whether or not there's an immediate military application.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45821653)

American civilians are allowed to work on export-controlled materials that foreigners aren't allowed to see.

Who said this was export controlled? As I mentioned, this hasn't been used for military research in almost 20 years. Also, if we're so concerned about sensitive things that should be export controlled, then why the hell are we letting GE teach China how to build better jet engines? At least Canada is an ally.

Re:A problem with Canada? (2)

jeff13 (255285) | about a year ago | (#45819953)

Dude, it's the Pentagon. The Pentagon considers the US a foreign country. ;p

Re:A problem with Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818835)

Ahem, TFA did say "civilian Canadians"; the NORAD 2ic is not a civilian.

Re:A problem with Canada? (2)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about a year ago | (#45819763)

You can't let them in here. They'll see everything. They'll see the big board.

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45820075)

Thank you Gen. Turgidson. That only applies to Russkies though - Canucks already get to see the big board at NORAD. They still haven't let us see their top secret battle moose battalions though.

Re:A problem with Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819979)

Of course we have a problem with Canada. China's been using them as a backdoor into US military secrets for years. [arstechnica.com]

Re:A problem with Canada? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45821807)

Of course we have a problem with Canada. China's been using them as a backdoor into US military secrets for years. [arstechnica.com]

I don't know why they bother with the back door when they just walk right in the front: G.E. to Share Jet Technology With China in New Joint Venture [nytimes.com] . Nor does it matter that it's supposedly for civilian applications - if ever there was a dual use technology it's jet engines. There's a reason why the three major Western jet engine companies (GE, Pratt-Whitney and Rolls-Royce) make both civilian and military engines. Also, all three of those companies have been in the business since the end of WWII, which shows what a barrier to entry there is in this field. It's also no secret that China's biggest stumbling block to making "all Chinese" high performance military aircraft is the engines.

fotoselli kaplar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818757)

I thank you for your shares soon follow. http://www.ankaotomatikkapi.com

MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (3, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#45818765)

MIT Prof Peter Hagelstein, one of the rare true believers in battery-type cold fusion is teaching his cold fusion seminar [mit.edu] again. Just about everyone else in academia does not believe him. Peter has done brilliant work in other subjects such as Xray lasers, so MIT tolerates him.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818905)

Just because you went to MIT or teach there doesn't mean your smart. The most successful fusion researchers came from Madison WI.

There will never ever be cold fusion. Over coming the Coulomb barrier is an inherently thermal process.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819005)

The most successful fusion researchers came from Madison WI.

Are you talking about D.T. Anderson, or someone else? I had him for undergrad electromagnetics, and he is an excellent professor. I still remember the two dumbed-down lectures he gave on his quasi helically-symmetric stellerator.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819283)

I meant the students they teach.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819139)

There will never ever be cold fusion. Over coming the Coulomb barrier is an inherently thermal process.

Oh really? This does not seem to be a problem for muon catalyzed fusion.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819195)

That is still thermal. It just lowers the barrier but the barrier still exists.

Re: MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#45819297)

I overheard this being put to a very senior researcher at the Joint European Torus since time ago.

He said that they've cracked the heating problem, and have done so for years. Also, muons are very expensive to produce.

Tokamaks work well. All the required technologies have been tested in isolation and have been shown to work. The issues now are engineering an economical, scaled up, integrated prototype. That's ITER.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819163)

Over coming the Coulomb barrier is an inherently thermal process.

This isn't logic. Overcoming the barrier requires energy, sure, but it doesn't have to be random.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819209)

Not only that, but cold fusion by definition cannot be all that energetic to be useful. You take megawatts of anything in a confined area and it will be HOT.

If they mean "cold" as in ... controllable....well, then how is that "cold" then?

Granted that's not dismissing "cold fusion" as a process. For all we know, it happens all the time, just on scales nobody cares about (kind of like natural fission in rocks).

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (4, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year ago | (#45819643)

There will never ever be cold fusion.

Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#45820305)

The laws of physics are a lot more friendly to flying machines than contained and controlled fusion.

Fusion researches have told us that they were 10 years away from a huge breakthrough for 40 years. Is it possible that my home will be powered by a fusion reactor in my lifetime? Sure. But I would not bet a dollar on it.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45820867)

The laws of physics are a lot more friendly to flying machines than contained and controlled fusion.

Sure junior. Show us your CV and what you've accomplished and maybe we'll take your word for it.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#45821193)

I took Physics 101, which is all that is required to know that. Did they teach physics back when you were in school or just alchemy?

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45824819)

While not a nuclear scientist, as an engineer I've taken undergraduate coursework in modern physics (e.g. junior level atomic physics). I think that trumps your tard physics 101. If you're relying on high-schoolesque physics you have no way to even appreciate what you're saying.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45821307)

The laws of physics are a lot more friendly to flying machines than contained and controlled fusion.

That's easy to say on this side of it. The path to controlled fusion was a lot more clear in 1980 than the path to controlled flight in 1880. See this graph [imgur.com] and this story [slashdot.org] for an understanding of why fusion is taking so long.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45821333)

There will never ever be cold fusion.

Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.

Those two statements aren't even remotely close to being analogous. Heavier than air flying machines have existed longer than humanity itself, most commonly in the form of "birds".

- T

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year ago | (#45823669)

It's a historical anecdote - Lord Kelvin, a renowned physicist is behind the quote about flight. A nice example of Clarke's first law [wikipedia.org] .

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

liquidrocket (3439123) | about a year ago | (#45824537)

The point is, the statement was known to be false even when it was originially made, regardless of who made it. This is simply not the case with "cold fusion". In fact, most of the people who still insist on it are not even claiming that it's fusion anymore. Last I heard the current theory had something to do with the weak nuclear force instead, and there are still no published peer-reviewed results.

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (1)

liquidrocket (3439123) | about a year ago | (#45824633)

This is simply not the case with "cold fusion".

That should, of course, say "is not the case with the criticism of "cold fusion".

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45822441)

Cold fusion has as much scientific validity as finding the either.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson–Morley_experiment

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45820235)

says someone that doesn't know the difference between you're and your, or that overcoming is one word...

Re:MIT teaching COld Fusion seminar in January (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45824375)

Says someone dosen't understand the sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period.

Sounds Very Steampunkish (5, Insightful)

cruff (171569) | about a year ago | (#45818873)

For what ever reason, "piston powered nuclear fusion" sounds like it belongs in a Steampunk novel or movie!

Re:Sounds Very Steampunkish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819669)

Well, I piston powered your Mom last night and she called you a punk. How you like that?!

you *do* realize... (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about a year ago | (#45819149)

"piston powered nuclear fusion" sounds an awful lot like a technical description of an internal combustion engine.

Re:you *do* realize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45819213)

Except of course for the nuclear fusion part of course.

Mr. Ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45824801)

Of Course.

Wait for it (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#45819187)

Soon to be acquired by... Apple, Google or Facebook?

Re:Wait for it (1)

quax (19371) | about a year ago | (#45820391)

Try Amazon, after all Jeff Bezos already invested. [reuters.com]

Brilliant Summary (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#45819333)

Slashdot has finally found a way to force people to read the article before posting.

In all seriousness, it's nice to see new approaches to the problem of creating a fusion reaction that produces more usable energy than it consumes. Between the National Ignition Facility (which unfortunately was largely but not entirely dedicated to military research at the first sign of success), going massive with ITER, and this piston powered approach, I believe we will one day get there. We may try and fail and try and fail, but ultimately there is no stopping humanity.

Canada should be jumping all over this (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#45820257)

"Canadian technology!" is going down the tubes now that Blackberry has failed. But this can put Canada back in the lead as the global technology powerhouse.

Don't look to the Americans. All they care about is making a quick buck. Their best and brightest minds are busy at work trying to figure out how to get more people to click on website ads, or how to make portable electronic gadgets a "magical experience".

Road to nuclear fusion piston-power P-51 Mustangs! (1)

leftie (667677) | about a year ago | (#45820783)

Even a small chance of this leading to nuclear fusion piston-powered P-51 NukeMustangs must be supported!

It's possible.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45821873)

You just need a couple of high-speed maglev trains with giant pistons on the noses coming at each other at full speed.
When the pistons are a micron apart, inject a little deuterium in between them and look really close for the flash....

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