From The Wilderness
WE ARE LITERALLY STANDING ON THE THRESHOLD
By James Strauss
The study of physics is the study of the way things are. Those questions we occasionally tussle over when left to contemplate life and its meaning, such as “how did we come to be here?” and “what is ‘here’ anyway?” are the pursuit of this discipline of science. Eventually, these kinds of questions, derived from the macro world we live in, reduce themselves to resultant answers arising out of our understanding of the nearly invisible micro world. The world of atoms, nuclei, and even smaller particles. The micro world explains how the sun works and what the materials surrounding us all on earth are made up of. It also explains how they work. And the conclusions we are forced to come to from these scientific results are as staggering as they are obvious. The future we are all building toward is a future that must be powered by the forces we can only unleash from the micro world. It is very interesting to be living in a time on this planet when these things are understood and the capability to make the transition to powering our drive into the future is within our capability and grasp. Before we can make the social leap to really put our backs, minds and money into moving toward this future we must understand it, however.
A kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of any matter (deuterium is preferred for a number of reasons) exchanges itself, under 100% conversion (fusion), to energy in electricity sufficient to power a 100-watt light bulb for close to 30 billion years. That’s the same as 30 billion light bulbs for a year. Since there are about 15 billion light bulbs (and other light equivalents) on the entire planet, that is enough power to light all of them 24 hours a day for two years. From one kilogram! It is simply astounding to consider how much power there is in the matter we are made of and that we encounter around us all the time.
Our future on earth, where today we use fossil fuels which must end, is at stake, as well as our future in space and beyond. If civilization is to survive, prosper and continue its advancement then fusion power is absolutely required. It is safe to assume that we cannot, as a race, retreat back to a pastoral farming species. Wind and waterpower are not going to come close to allowing civilization to expand, while gas and oil will remain only a holding action until we can develop the will to put the resources we have into the development of fusion power.
We are much more likely to be trapped, not by the limits of energy inherent to the planet earth, but by our own inability to come to terms with the results physics is presenting us. We may be too specifically selfish to bind together sufficiently and allow ourselves continued survival at or beyond the level we have already reached. We must break the atom at our pleasure, but first we must break the social bounds of disbelief holding us back. Fusion, as a source of allowing humanity to power all of its needs, as well as permit the species to eventually travel to and control the rest of the universe is at hand, which is the good news.
The bad news is, that even though fusion power has been initiated at more than ‘break-even’ amounts (allowing for the construction of power stations all over the world producing basically free energy in unlimited amounts, there seems to be no rush to take advantage of this new discovery. The publishing of this quite potentially most important discovery of all time is being ignored, as the results of that successful experiment at Lawrence Livermore laboratory in California were published last December 5th and has not caused the creation of a project that should have the funding and be the size of the Los Alamos effort to build the first atomic bomb.
Why doesn’t the mass media care? Why doesn’t the government care? As this article is written the powers that currently exist across the planet are all concerned about raising a debt limit in the United States, an off and on-again war in the Ukraine, civil disturbance in Sudan and the usual litany of human endeavors, but there is nothing about this vitally important discovery and what’s being done to convert all energy output to it. Solar, wind, sun, nuclear, gas, oil, and all other energy sources should be abandoned on a timely basis and every bit of the country’s energy effort put into this one project. Of course, none of the people making tons of money from these other energy sources are going to want or be willing to give up that income.
Unfortunately, it would give every appearance, in studying human history, that ‘survival of the fittest’ has been affirmed to be a true conclusive statement about humans acting with one another.
That expression does not read ‘survival of all.’