Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nuclear fusion

Another solemn cheque-signing [BBC report] and confirmation that, at €10 billion, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) will be the second most expensive experiment of all time. Fusion scientists are pulling a fast one playing on gullibility and vanity of politicians... in return for hugely expensive and enjoyable research spend they are offering the empty promise of endless energy, allowing us to fill that mental void marked "answer to world's energy problems" with something looking suitably futuristic.

There's a (lame) joke about fusion and its constantly shifting promise of jam tomorrow: "did you hear that the fusion research programme has discovered a new fundamental physical constant - and it is equal to 40? As in "40 years from now".

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