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The interesting science thread

DaveW

Space Monkey
Jul 2, 2001
10,339
1,916
The bunker at parliament
A thread for science research that you find interesting.

I for one welcome our new algae overlords

A battery filled with algae is somehow managing to power this computer for months: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2319584-computer-powered-by-colony-of-blue-green-algae-has-run-for-six-months/

No-one's quite sure what's going on. Possibly the algae is serving as the medium catalyzing the interaction between the anode and cathode in the battery.

Except research shows the anode isn't degrading, which suggests ...

... the *algae* is producing the electrons.
 

DaveW

Space Monkey
Jul 2, 2001
10,339
1,916
The bunker at parliament
My brother in his spare time runs a computer, IT and science group for kids.
His son Jasper is a chip off the block and has become quite the data geek.
Here's a vid of a project Jasper created for GovHack.

Not sure if your power grids over there make generation data as available to work with, but what Jasper's doing is a pretty cool way of tracking power generation and how clean it's production is for people on a centralised pwoer grid fed by multiple generation sources that fluctuates depending on demand.

 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
16,658
7,596
AK
Extremely skeptical, they really been cooking these claims for years. Ill post a vid a bit later on this.
Heres the video. TLDW, these are not near the claimed numbers and there are serious barriers (like where to get tritium). The video is worth a watch though.

 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
16,658
7,596
AK
net positive for .3 seconds is still technically net positive
Now that im reading the articles, it appears to be the old trick of using Qplasma/laser not Qtotal.

In other words, they are saying x watts of fusion released for y watts of laser energy, not how much it actually takes to power the laser and the facility. Like the energy of the beam itself, and the laser isnt close to 100% efficient. So the actual watts produced are far less than what is going into it. Its going to take some ungodly amount of energy to power the laser, far in excess of the beam energy

Is it a milestone? Sure its moar, but its nothing new really and borders on intentionally deceiving. Watch the video i posted and reread these articles. It appears they are referencing the laser energy, not what it takes to power the laser and everything thrown into the reaction.

The reality is it has a long way to go. The misrepresentation is why people keep thinking its “just round the corner”.
 
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eric strt6

Resident Curmudgeon
Sep 8, 2001
21,276
10,823
directly above the center of the earth
this is what my fishing buddy who is one of the top geeks at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory wrote in response to another friends question.

"People have asked me if I worked on NIF. Yes, for a couple of years at different points in my career. Early on I worked on the system that measures the x-rays he mentions (News Conference). About 10 years ago they were having problems with the laser damaging itself which stopped them from turning the intensity up. I worked on finding the problems and helped design and instrument that measures amplitude "noise" on the pulse at key places in the laser amplifier chain."

he has to be reasonably vague because most of what he does is classified
 

Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
13,915
2,184
Hypernormality
My understanding is JET and ITER are still much more likely to result in a useful result, sooner. Plus there’s an American private co that looks good, but I forget their name.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
16,658
7,596
AK
My understanding is JET and ITER are still much more likely to result in a useful result, sooner. Plus there’s an American private co that looks good, but I forget their name.
There's the one design that uses the "twisting" plasma field that doesn't have the same containment problems as the traditional tokamak reactor, that contorted plasma-field design has some sort of potential to breed tritium. Look up tritium, getting moar of it is a big problem, the reactors that used to breed it are shut down and the world supply is a few pounds or something. For any of these designs to be successful, we have to get moar tritium.