Saturday, November 25, 2006

Finally something to be optimistic!!!!!!!

Fusion... and I am not talking about deodorant or a new scent for men or a new car---I am talking about the real thing.. where atoms combine and generate energy.

Nuclear Fusion is the process powering the Sun and stars. In the core of the Sun, at temperatures of 10-15 million Kelvin, Hydrogen is converted to Helium by fusion - providing enough energy to keep the Sun burning - and to sustain life on Earth.
A vigorous world-wide research program is underway, aimed at harnessing fusion energy to produce electricity on Earth. If successful, this will offer a viable alternative energy supply within the next 30-40 years - with significant environmental, supply and safety advantages over present energy sources .

To harness fusion on Earth, different, more efficient fusion reactions than those at work in the Sun are chosen - those between the two heavy forms of Hydrogen : Deuterium (D) and Tritium (T). All forms of Hydrogen contain one proton and one electron. Protium, the common form of Hydrogen has no neutrons, Deuterium has one neutron, and Tritium has two. If forced together, the Deuterium and Tritium nuclei fuse and then break apart to form a helium nucleus (two protons and two neutrons) and an uncharged neutron. The excess energy from the fusion reaction (released because the products of the reaction are bound together in a more stable way than the reactants) is mostly contained in the free neutron.

I have been interested in fusion and fusion research since I was a university of Toronto student 25 years ago. I used to tease the anti nuke protesters and drive them crazy. They had no answer for the fact if you didn't continue to develop nuclear energy you would never reach the holy grail of fusion power. why am I optimistic? Because..........

The Globe and Mail reports this week that the ITER nuclear fusion project has been approved for $12.8-billion USD. Although the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has been in the planning and development stages for more than ten years, it is well supported by most of the world's leading countries that include the U.S., China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the European Union.

We are talking about investing money to better mankind.. .. The target date for a fusion reactor which generates electricity is 2040. In my lifetime. Imagine the power of the sun here on earth.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Maybe we have just moved on?

I was in Arizona all week with my colleagues from work mostly all Americans. We had meetings we had dinners.drinks.. .played golf.. (The hockeyman needs to stick to hockey) I was thinking on the plane coming home that the war in Iraq was not mentioned once.

I understand that in America particularly corporate America you do not talk about who you voted for or who you supported. The corporate uniform indicates that you are by default a republican although I am sure many vote democrat, but you do not sit around and talk about who you voted for. So maybe the recent election results quelled the conversation on the war, but it does seem striking that not one mention was made of it.

I wonder what it was like in world war two.. maybe it was like this, not much news until there is a major event. I will ask my parents. I myself find myself less interested in the news. 5 more killed today, car bomb killed 29 Iraqis, 7 policemen found bound and dead seems like this is the news everyday. Maybe the armchair quarterbacks don't have any solutions? I sure don't -- send more troops restore control disarm the populace, or set a timeline for withdrawal to put pressure on the country to restore order. Neither plan strikes you as a winner...

I will ask the folks about WW2 and let you know. I just hope we don't forget about these soldiers who are doing a very very tough job.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Glory of Life

At times I think we have to remind ourselves that in the midst of news of war, and poverty and crime that there is a lot of good in the world. Even in our own lives we look around and we see things that cause us pause and make us feel mad or sad, we have to shake ourselves and see the good around us.

I was mad at the world feeling mad about really nothing important, getting pressed for work, minor inconvenient in life.

My walk in the woods cured me. These are the good old days by many many measures. There is always poverty and violence and bad drivers and inconsiderate people, but I have to look past that a little, put a smile back on my face. It was beautiful out there today.. Bright sunshine almost 50 degrees, snow covered areas, peaceful ponds, rushing rivers, and majestic mountains.

I started out mad at myself for various sins and let the outdoor therapy pound away at me until I came to realize that life is grand. not perfect but life is good... I need to smile and hope this infects the world to be more charitable, to be less angry, more secular, and generally happier...

It was fabulous today....