Homepage Forums Story, Art, Song, Self Expression Sci fi vs. Fusion Legitimacy

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  • #822
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    This statement just came in my inbox.

    It’s a fun game to seek fusion references in film –however, a successful campaign to bring onboard fans of sci-fi may only serve to undermine the fusion campaign effort. The work of Cowley here in the UK and that of JET is far more important for advancing the legitimacy of fusion.

    Opinions? Reflections?

    #6812
    Avatarjamesr
    Member

    I have been to several talks & seminars by Steven Cowley. For those that don’t know he is the head of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, which hosts the European JET and UK MAST tokamak programs.

    Although his role now may be slightly more political and managerial, he is a scientist through & through. A good entertaining speaker, that can tailor the level of a talk well to appeal to the audience in question.

    Being very much in the mainstream of fusion research, and the one who is requesting large sums of public money to fund the programs, I think there is a careful campaign by the CCFE to portray the tokamak approach, and the whole program leading onto ITER & DEMO as a low risk, inevitable and necessary project, that just needs time (&money;) to provide the worlds energy needs in 50-100 years time.

    There is a resistant to anything, that distracts from this message.

    #6813
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    It’s a fun game to seek fusion references in film –however, a successful campaign to bring onboard fans of sci-fi may only serve to undermine the fusion campaign effort.

    I think it’s accurate. “Fake fitness” being the key term.
    http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/why_we_havent_met_any_aliens/

    As recent, general traffic on the forum site seems to be covering the AGW debate, and movies, and games, better than real progress toward exceeding unity, I’m finding myself suddenly deeply dissatisfied.

    #6814
    BreakableBreakable
    Keymaster

    If we are not plasma or EE scientists how can our discussion about the topic of fusion be of any scientific value?
    The only thing I think we can do (other than wait) is to spread the awareness about alternative concepts that other people are working on.

    #6815
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    vansig wrote:
    As recent, general traffic on the forum site seems to be covering the AGW debate, and movies, and games, better than real progress toward exceeding unity, I’m finding myself suddenly deeply dissatisfied.

    I find the AGW stuff dissatisfying because it goes nowhere. The games and movies are about public outreach and have a purpose. There is no relevance for the AGW talk, except that achieving net energy would help make the conflict moot.

    I have threatened to shut down that conversation in the past. But I’m from Iran, and have a real hard time with censorship, since it’s what I fight over there. Then again, we’re not censoring anyone, they are free to express themselves elsewhere. We are trying to keep the topic here focused.

    OK. I’ve been dithering long enough. Time to shut it down.

    : )

    #6816
    AvatarPhil’s Dad
    Member

    vansig wrote:
    As recent, general traffic on the forum site seems to be covering the AGW debate, and movies, and games, better than real progress toward exceeding unity, I’m finding myself suddenly deeply dissatisfied.

    I too, like just about everyone else on this site, would like to see more progress on the real science – but it will come when it comes.

    In the mean time Breakable is spot on. For the non-scientists among us; the best thing we can do for now is spread the word (and maybe do a little fund raising on the side)

    It is quite a serous point that some may try to bury FF if it proves viable (possibly including the author of the original e-mail to Rezwan) and the more people who know of it the more difficult that will be.

    As for science-fiction undermining science-fact there are countless examples of a fictional idea prompting a real world solution. Jules Verne got to the moon long before JFK. If need is the mother of invention, imagination is its father.

    PS If others feel it is inappropriate to continue I will happily drop the whole AGW thing as a thread topic; as FF will be a big step forward either way.

    #6817
    AvatarPhil’s Dad
    Member

    Rezwan wrote:
    OK. I’ve been dithering long enough. Time to shut it down.
    : )

    Done :zip:

    #6818
    AvatarPhil’s Dad
    Member

    Does it help with this discussion to note that NASA has released their first iPhone game. It’s called the NASA Lunar Electric Rover Simulator.

    #6819
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    oh wow, that was a whole lot weaker a response than i had imagined was possible. how depressing. i’d sign that DNR waiver, but i’m inclined to believe that the whole species is at stake, here.

    if we are not worthy, we can pay penance by immsersing ourselves in non-fiction, brushing up on maths an science topics by answering a thousand questions on http://answers.yahoo.com/ , selecting a research direction for a masters degree,
    and attempting to give quantitative answers in our posts here.

    please, someone, at least tell me what are the next hard problems to solve, this month, for Focus Fusion?

    #6820
    AvatarIvy Matt
    Participant

    Stephen Hawking once appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m not sure how that affected the legitimacy of his views on cosmology.

    As for nuclear fusion, I’d say its use or non-use in science fiction, or its attraction to science fiction fans, has little to no bearing on its current legitimacy. Far more important are the claims of the scientists actually doing the research and, of course, how the results stack up against those claims. In the case of fusion, I suspect most knowledgeable people will want not just results, but widespread replication of results. Followed by demonstration reactors. Until then, controlled nuclear fusion as a useful energy source is science fiction.

    vansig wrote: please, someone, at least tell me what are the next hard problems to solve, this month, for Focus Fusion?

    Or, maybe, what hard problems they solved last month? We could extrapolate from there…

    What’s left, anyway?

    Increase voltage to 45 kV.
    Increase pressure to about 40 torr.
    Achieve a peak current of 2 MA.
    Replace electrodes with shorter ones.
    Introduce heavier gases: D + He (+ N).
    Introduce p + B11.
    Achieve fusion with p + B11.
    Demonstrate net energy with p + B11.

    Am I missing anything? Supposedly the first two or three steps were completed last month, leaving the heavier gases as the main unknown.

    #6823
    Avataremmetb
    Member

    It’s quite a condescending statement.

    Rather, it’s a good thing that FFS exists to make known the work of LPP who are doing the hard science.

    I’m sure, if asked, Lerner would also give a talk at TED, like Cowley:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_cowley_fusion_is_energy_s_future.html
    …to bring onboard an even more pluriform group of concerned citizens.

    As this is such an important topic, that concerns us all, it would be nice to see an open panel discussion on the directions of fusion energy research take place. Since the interests are so great, for political reasons, this will most probably never happen. Exuding an impression of consensus to the general public and the decision makers is far too important for the people involved in mainstream fusion research. This strategy will backfire. People like Cowley have a societal responsibility to engage in a debate with legitimate proponents of alternative fusion energy concepts, like Lerner.

    #6825
    BreakableBreakable
    Keymaster

    vansig wrote:
    please, someone, at least tell me what are the next hard problems to solve, this month, for Focus Fusion?

    While this months problems will come an go, the biggest future problem will be extracting energy.
    Eric has presented some hypothetical methods, but to realize them there will probably be a lot of challenges to overcome.
    I think this is the direction somebody could actually prepare himself to help with (independently or not). My guess it will be so hard as to take >5 years to address.

    The issues as I see them are:
    Thermal management,
    Material degradation due to ION flux,
    Electron recombination and efficiency in X-Ray converter (the biggest issue IMHO).

    I really wonder what will be the response to FF achieving break even – is everyone going to hop on board or will LPP stand alone to address the rest of the challenges?

    #6845
    AvatarGlenn Millam
    Member

    vansig wrote:
    I think it’s accurate. “Fake fitness” being the key term.
    http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/why_we_havent_met_any_aliens/

    As recent, general traffic on the forum site seems to be covering the AGW debate, and movies, and games, better than real progress toward exceeding unity, I’m finding myself suddenly deeply dissatisfied.

    Read that article you linked. I think that it’s author is misguided. Look through history and you will find people lamenting the “current” state of people’s laziness and our impending failure. The author just fails to see that he is just another in a long line of doomsayers.

    I see a situation quite opposite from him. He predicts a dying humanity which fails to procreate due to laziness and bad eating habits. I see a world that is still reproducing way too fast and is using up its resources without properly recycling them. He sees movies and games as idle entertainments that substitute for real exploration and growth, and I see these things as human expression and necessary for the exploration of truth.

    Are we fit to explore the stars? We don’t even have the means. The first step in doing so would be to create a cornucopia energy technology, like focus fusion. Wasn’t this project an outgrowth of a spacecraft propulsion research project at NASA?

    I also don’t like his assumptions about how human evolution could not prepare us for the world we have today. Yeah, we have junk food and porn. But this is not new. Just look at the Kama Sutra. People have always like to eat too much and have sex. They also have always liked to do a lot of things. We have also always liked to get to the point where we do whatever we like.

    Humans will always be “lazy.” Why? Because laziness is the way to efficiency. Oddly enough, it is our urge to be lazy that pushes us to achievement, since we are willing to go through short-term effort for long term laziness.

    http://twentytwowords.com/2008/07/16/how-laziness-breeds-efficiency/

    The focus fusion project seeks to turn several years of research and development time into thousands of years worth of practically free energy, which will pay for “laziness” on a massive scale and allow for new forms of “laziness” as yet undreamt of. And we humans will work hard at it, trust me.

    #6868
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    I’m all for transcendental laziness.

    The essay about the aliens identifies the folks we’re trying to address here.

    …MIT graduates who apply to do computer game design for Electronics Arts, rather than rocket science for NASA

    There is a generation out there of bright, talented people. Lured by technologically delivered fakeries.

    Actually colonizing the galaxy would be so much harder than pretending to have done it when filming Star Wars or Serenity.

    We’re trying to re-connect the dream and the real. Keep re-grounding the dream so they don’t get so far out of synch.

    Our job is to keep bringing up the fact that, AHEM, it’s still fantasy. How’s the real thing coming along? Have you taken any action towards making the real thing happen yet? All right, then get back to work, slackers.

    Geoffrey Miller paints a dire picture, but I think we can have an effective balance of fun and reality.

    #6869
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Speaking of synching sci-fi and reality, I attended the “Science of Star Trek” panel discussion at the World Science Fair.

    They were talking about how close were were getting to the world of Star Trek. Interestingly, the talk kept coming back to replacing humans with artificial intelligence, and the infamous holodeck, where people are amused by the fakeries described in Miler’s essay. There were some pornographic suggestions there.

    But I don’t buy that human beings are all a bunch of wankers who want to replace themselves with robots.

    Of course, I don’t really find the 3-d movies that great either. A good story trumps effects every time. And I really enjoyed seeing the live performance of Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, et al on stage rather than a movie. You know it’s slightly different each time. The actor might try something different. Something untoward will happen with a prop…it’s unpredictable.

    Of course, live is much more expensive.

    We’re not lazy, we’re cheap.

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