Monday, June 23, 2014

Solving Fusion - Excuse Me But...

For the robust, an error is information; for the fragile, an error is an error.
Nasim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed Of Procrustes, p.72

The Oracle of Ottawa has been hearing that fusion is just around the corner since he was a teenager in the 1970's. And like the end of the world, and that Canada is going to run out of natural gas next year, the Oracle of Ottawa is still waiting. The only difference between then and now is that now the Oracle of Ottawa's bags are packed.

Tokamak - We just need a simpler tube?
 You wonder is what going on the world of big egg headed science. The Oracle of Ottawa has commented on this subject at least once before in this humble blog. Deep into the darkest night the Oracle thinks things. And when  it comes to fusion the Oracle wonders why mere mortals keep thinking that they can create a star process on earth. And then he thinks some more, and wonders why would you even want to do that?

Most mortals alive today at the time of this writing cannot even begin to visualize the sheer massive magnitude of the space, materials and utter sheer physical forces required for a star to kick into the fusion process. How much larger is our sun compared to the mass and volume of the earth? Well the suns diameter is 109 times greater then the earth, and it weighs 330,000 times more than the earth. And it has a surface temperature, that is on all the time, of about 5,500 degrees C! And somehow we are going to copy this awesome force on puny little earth. Give the Oracle of Ottawa a break.    

 And as the Oracle of Ottawa was watching another utterly futile piece of fusion propaganda on You Tube, he came to a rather startling realization. A Tokamak is nothing but a great big vacuum tube. How about the irony of that? Over half of the people living today have never even seen a vacuum tube, let alone know what it is. But the Oracle of Ottawa remembers them very well indeed. They were in everything once. And the really old fashioned tubes were honking large and ran very, very hot. Come to think of it, the whole point of this fusion thing is to boil water at around 100 degrees C. Why in hell do we need a process with a minimum temperature of 5,500 degrees? D'ohhh.....

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