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    Neither “fiction”, “speculation”, nor “simulation” will do. “Science” is the correct word. Science is a process, a complicated set of activities that improve our understanding in an uniquely reliable way. Knowledge is often referred to as “scientific” when it has been developed through such a process and has come to be judged highly reliable because of it. However, this is just a shorthand to identify the knowledge’s provenance. What is going on today in focus fusion is a mixture of science and engineering.

    There is a term, “visioneering”, used by W. Patrick McRay (in his book, “The Visioneers”) to describe a set of activities that are essentially political, but backed by sound science and engineering, which promote a particular technological vision of the future. He gives space habitats and nanotechnology as his two paradigm examples. I’m sure we have some “visioneering” going on around fusion in general at the moment – although we don’t have the very high-profile “visioneers” like Gerard O’Neill and Eric Drexler to push the fusion agenda.

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