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Energy From Nuclear Fusion Just Got A Little Bit More Feasible


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7 hours ago, Vmedvil2 said:

It will eventually happen, technological progress goes at a snail's pace. 

That's the thing; it doesn't.

We first got cellphones about 40 years ago.  Within 10 years they fit in your pocket.  10 years after that we got the first real smartphones.  Then they went digital.  Then they got color screens.  Today we have small devices that will run for a day on a charge, that are small enough to lose on your desk, light enough you don't know you are carrying them, have more memory that most people will likely ever use, can access all the world's information, play movies, pay for things, store all the music you've ever owned etc.

In only 40 years.

Likewise, in 40 years we've gone from quantum computing as an interesting science fictional concept to IBM selling a quantum computer - one that has already achieved quantum supremacy.

In 20 years we've gone from quadrotor drones being remote controlled oddities to artificially intelligent autonomous vehicles that can explore the inside of a building without human assistance and report back to its operator.  And they are now so cheap that they are sold as toys.

In 20 years we have gone from EV's being underpowered golf carts that only geeks would ever own to the fastest cars on the road, and manufacturers can't keep up with demand.

In 20 years we've gone from lithium ion batteries being used only in expensive satellite phones where there were no other options, to a battery that is in almost every piece of electronics we own.  Small enough to power your bluetooth headset, powerful enough to drive EV's.

In 20 years we've gone from solar power being an expensive way to provide a few watts to power remote weather stations and outposts to a mainstream source of electricity that supplies 16% of California's power.

And over longer timescales it is nothing short of miraculous.  My grandmother was born before the first airplane.  Now we have spacecraft that use boosters that land themselves for reuse.

So no, technology doesn't usually move at a snail's pace.  But when it comes to fusion it has.  That's not because it's impossible, but because it's very, very hard.  We've made a lot of advances but we have a long way to go before it's a usable source of power.

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1 hour ago, billvon said:

That's the thing; it doesn't.

We first got cellphones about 40 years ago.  Within 10 years they fit in your pocket.  10 years after that we got the first real smartphones.  Then they went digital.  Then they got color screens.  Today we have small devices that will run for a day on a charge, that are small enough to lose on your desk, light enough you don't know you are carrying them, have more memory that most people will likely ever use, can access all the world's information, play movies, pay for things, store all the music you've ever owned etc.

In only 40 years.

Likewise, in 40 years we've gone from quantum computing as an interesting science fictional concept to IBM selling a quantum computer - one that has already achieved quantum supremacy.

In 20 years we've gone from quadrotor drones being remote controlled oddities to artificially intelligent autonomous vehicles that can explore the inside of a building without human assistance and report back to its operator.  And they are now so cheap that they are sold as toys.

In 20 years we have gone from EV's being underpowered golf carts that only geeks would ever own to the fastest cars on the road, and manufacturers can't keep up with demand.

In 20 years we've gone from lithium ion batteries being used only in expensive satellite phones where there were no other options, to a battery that is in almost every piece of electronics we own.  Small enough to power your bluetooth headset, powerful enough to drive EV's.

In 20 years we've gone from solar power being an expensive way to provide a few watts to power remote weather stations and outposts to a mainstream source of electricity that supplies 16% of California's power.

And over longer timescales it is nothing short of miraculous.  My grandmother was born before the first airplane.  Now we have spacecraft that use boosters that land themselves for reuse.

So no, technology doesn't usually move at a snail's pace.  But when it comes to fusion it has.  That's not because it's impossible, but because it's very, very hard.  We've made a lot of advances but we have a long way to go before it's a usable source of power.

40 years is a long time for a person not for civilization which has been alive for 10,000 years and likewise it is absolutely insignificant the scales of the universe as things last for millions and billions of years. For you or I, 40 years is a long time as it is half a lifetime basically before anything "Cool" happens we will all be dead.

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6 hours ago, Vmedvil2 said:

40 years is a long time for a person not for civilization which has been alive for 10,000 years and likewise it is absolutely insignificant the scales of the universe as things last for millions and billions of years. For you or I, 40 years is a long time as it is half a lifetime basically before anything "Cool" happens we will all be dead.

And 20 years is 1/4 of a lifetime.  Enough time to go from no solar to huge amounts of solar.

Look back at the 1300's.  That rate of change happened every few hundred years back then.  For example, the blast furnace took 200 years from first concept to a working, regularly used method for refining metal.

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9 hours ago, billvon said:

And 20 years is 1/4 of a lifetime.  Enough time to go from no solar to huge amounts of solar.

Look back at the 1300's.  That rate of change happened every few hundred years back then.  For example, the blast furnace took 200 years from first concept to a working, regularly used method for refining metal.

I understand but it doesn't change the fact that it happens at a slow enough scale that for a human lifespan basically it may as well be not even be progressing. Who cares about future generations all that matters is how it effects you. I am sure that future generations will be immortal Gods that are all rich and do nothing having slave robots do all the work however that doesn't matter if you are dead. Think about it like this does it really matter if immortality is ever discovered after you die if you aren't around to live forever and reap the rewards?

"Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill."

Edited by Vmedvil2
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53 minutes ago, Vmedvil2 said:

I understand but it doesn't change the fact that it happens at a slow enough scale that for a human lifespan basically it may as well be not even be progressing. Who cares about future generations all that matters is how it effects you. I am sure that future generations will be immortal Gods that are all rich and do nothing having slave robots do all the work however that doesn't matter if you are dead. Think about it like this does it really matter if immortality is ever discovered after you die if you aren't around to live forever and reap the rewards?

"Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill."

Homeostasis can continue indefinitely if you keep growing vertically

Edited by JeffreysTubes8
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3 hours ago, Vmedvil2 said:

I understand but it doesn't change the fact that it happens at a slow enough scale that for a human lifespan basically it may as well be not even be progressing.

????

In college EV's were big jokes.  Glorified golf carts with 30 mile ranges.

At my second job after college I drove a prototype by Ford.  (We were doing work for them.)  Still lead acid battery but much better controller; it was like driving a real car.  Acceleration was almost as good as my CRX.

About five years later, at a telecom company, I designed a satellite phone using the very first available lithium ion 18650 cells.  They were 1300mah, which was the best they could do.

Today I have a car in my garage that's five years old that has thousands of those 18650's in it.  It's faster than almost anything else on the road, has a range of 300 miles, and it's charged 100% by solar power.  Each of those cells contain twice as much energy and can put out ten times the power as those first cells.

And it's not even the fastest, biggest or longest range EV out there.  You can now get EV's that will go 500 miles without needing to charge.  You can even get EV's that cost $28,000, about half of what the average car in the US costs.

You call that "may as well not even be progressing?"

Quote

Who cares about future generations

Uh - anyone with children?  Anyone who can see beyond their own comfort, convenience and greed?  Anyone who has friends younger than they are?  Anyone who wants the human race to do well?

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1 hour ago, billvon said:

????

In college EV's were big jokes.  Glorified golf carts with 30 mile ranges.

At my second job after college I drove a prototype by Ford.  (We were doing work for them.)  Still lead acid battery but much better controller; it was like driving a real car.  Acceleration was almost as good as my CRX.

About five years later, at a telecom company, I designed a satellite phone using the very first available lithium ion 18650 cells.  They were 1300mah, which was the best they could do.

Today I have a car in my garage that's five years old that has thousands of those 18650's in it.  It's faster than almost anything else on the road, has a range of 300 miles, and it's charged 100% by solar power.  Each of those cells contain twice as much energy and can put out ten times the power as those first cells.

And it's not even the fastest, biggest or longest range EV out there.  You can now get EV's that will go 500 miles without needing to charge.  You can even get EV's that cost $28,000, about half of what the average car in the US costs.

You call that "may as well not even be progressing?"

 

That is just a minor advancement let's talk about something a bit more difficult like interstellar travel or something, the EV example is like saying that we have gone from gigaflop personal computers to teraflop personal computers in 20 years basically barely advancing at a very slow pace. It is like saying "Damn the GTX 1080 TI from 5 years ago is so much less advanced than the RTX 3090" even though it is a difference of 10 teraflops versus 30 teraflops over 5 years which is a minor improvement not a major one.

Edited by Vmedvil2
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