Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This is freaking kewl

Today minister's (you have to realize, by the way, that I put that apostrophe there for the sole purpose of annoying the heck out of all you people who find that sort of thing annoying) from seven international partners signed a 12 billion dollar agreement to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)--the world's first ever working, viable fusion power plant (well, sort of). They are going to freaking heat up hydrogen isotopes to 100 million freaking degrees and then force them together to make them fuse and thus give up part of their mass as energy, something that normally only happens in totally uncontrollable places like stars and hydrogen bombs. How totally gnarley is that? (answer: very very totally gnarley!). Unfortunately, if you are over 70 years old, you probably won't live to see actual online fusion power plants for electrical energy, which probably won't finally happen until 2040 (or so they predict). But still, it's pretty damn kewl. Now I wonder if we could do this any faster if, for instance, we had taken the 400 billion we've blown on the iraq war and used that money to speed up viable controlled fusion. Oh well. You can read more about ITER on their web site.

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