Imagine for a moment that the skies are overcast, like today in Toronto, and you are pining for the joy a little sunshine brings into your life. Unfortunately, the sun has decided to take a much-needed break from your neighbourhood so you’re left digging deep into your reserves to muster up the energy you need to get through the day. If the greyness hovers over your head for much longer you may even start to run out of heat in that belly of yours. After a week you may begin to feel SAD as you fear turning to fossil fuels as the alternative energy…really.
The Woman Not Waiting in you gasps in horror!
Fear not my valiant Steward! Scientists are working on the perfect solution to all your solar woes. Yes, I know I’ve been a little critical of my engineering kin with their Mirror Mirror musings, but this time they are focusing their genius on more practical inventions. The Sun-In-A-Box.
(Actually, I am attempting an exercise in diplomacy by calling it “more” practical. It’s all relative.)
The Sun-In-A-Box is an experimental magic box that puts out more energy than it consumes once you get it started. When you push the button, there is no joker with a creepy smile popping up at you but rather a bright bundle of energy affectionately known as sun on earth. It is a nuclear reaction that smashes atoms together, notably Nickel and Hydrogen, to produce energy rather than blowing atoms apart, which is what the common nuclear reactor does.
And all this happens without melting the makeup off your face…or your skin. Greaaaaaat!
With your own personal Sun-In-A-Box you could conceivably power your home, your car, and your patio lanterns without any nuclear waste since no radioactive materials are needed to get the ball of fire rolling. Just like an extraordinary house plant, all you would need to do is remember to water it to keep it going. It sucks back the hydrogen in water and transforms its metal self into a brand new self. It’s The New You show of the periodic table.
Just think. You’ll never need to plug into the grid every again!
But wait…didn’t I just say it needed water?
That’s OK. We have TONS of it…just like wood, coal, oil, natural gas, bitumen. All we need to do is siphon it from the water cycle and steal the hydrogen to feed it to the nickel and voilà! We can create copper and inert helium. We can even use the helium byproduct as a party trick to sound like Mickey Mouse. Sweet!
Hmmm. Is this concept a hoax? Well, it’s referred to as cold fusion and not exactly understood or proven yet.
So let’s look at Sun-In-A-Sturdier-Box…fusion at ultra high temperatures using lasers.
Hot fusion technology is under serious investigation in order to create a super secure compression mechanism to entice the hot little bundles of energy to fuse (see the HiPER project). Then they can give birth to wild and restless neutrons whose energy is tapped for our uses. It’s like roping a wild bull. Yeeehaaa!
Here are the touted benefits according to the HiPER project (perfect name by the way):
- “Fusion produces no CO2, the gas widely associated with global warming”— it produces hyperactive neutrons instead
- “Fusion produces no long-lived radioactive waste to contaminate the environment”— just short-lived ones
- “Fusion fuels are found in abundance, in both seawater and the Earth’s crust”— so more mining and now taking water out of our ecosystem…PERMANENTLY!!!
- “Fusion does not rely on a large fuel mass within a power plant, and so ‘melt down’ is not possible. The worst possibility for failure would be no energy output”— actually the worst possible failure would be that the neutrons escape and start colliding with anything in their path…think free radicals…they can induce radioactivity in most substances they encounter including human skin. You’ll need more than SPF 2000 to protect yourself against THIS sun.
I’m all for innovation and expanding the potential of the human mind through thought, but could someone please tell me what is wrong with our heavenly sun that we feel the need to recreate her on earth, or rather as scientists assume possible…to “control” her?
Furthermore, have we not learned that the concept of “fuels in abundance” is an illusion?
And finally, wouldn’t it make more sense to redirect the millions or billions of dollars being invested in hot fusion research towards increasingly effective technologies that harness the unlimited power of our Sun Glorious Sun in the sky already and maintenance FREE?
To quote the infamous Mugatu: “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” How about you?