Scientific Sense Podcast

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fusion, fusion everywhere but not here

Recent news that NASA may be making progress toward fusion rockets for inter-planetary travel is encouraging. Given the level of knowledge humans appear to posses, it is embarrassing to be in a situation that limits available energy. Everywhere we look, energy is free and it comes from fusion. The inability of humans to master this universal trick is puzzling, especially because zero cost energy would have set them free – with unlimited food, water and automatically cleaned and stabilized environment for ever.

Digging toxic materials out of the ground and burning them in their unstable green house for energy seem to reveal a level of societal stupidity that is incomprehensible. The tree huggers and hipsters, perhaps with better intentions but with equally stupid notions of energy creation have been clamoring for wind, photovoltaic cells and nuclear fission. Is this because of lack of understanding or is it driven by localized incentives that simply will not allow societally optimal solutions?

Energy creation has to stick to a few simple constraints. The process cannot create waste that needs to use energy and time to process, it cannot affect habitats and the environment and more importantly, it cannot consume more than it produces. What is left?

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