Futuristic Fusion Finally Fires Up

Fusion power has been just a decade away for decades, or at least that was the joke. Yesterday it became outdated because it was revealed that nuclear fusion was ignited, stabilized, and proven to work reliably. Fusion energy is carbon-free energy production which has the potential to revolutionize how we use electricity. Hopefully we will be able to replace major power plants with this carbon free fusion solution.

To be clear, there’s still a lot to do to get fusion energy connected to the grid. We still need to focus first and foremost on renewable energy sources.

“The pursuit of fusion ignition in the laboratory is one of the most significant scientific challenges ever tackled by humanity, and achieving it is a triumph of science, engineering, and most of all, people,” LLNL Director Dr. Kim Budil said. “Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit—a continual process of learning, building, expanding knowledge and capability, and then finding ways to overcome the new challenges that emerged. These are the problems that the U.S. national laboratories were created to solve.”

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NASA Starts Spotting Super Methane Emitters

Natural gas, AKA methane, is really bad for the planet, and since it occurs some places “naturally” we need to find these new sources to stop them emitting. A classic example of “natural” methane production is a garbage dump in which the organic compounds mix together and release natural gas, another example is cattle farming (cow farts).

NASA now has a satellite that can detect and therefore monitor these sources of methane. This is really important for two reason: it allows us to better model climate change since we can detect unaccounted for natural gas sources and the other reason is that we can then go and shutdown these previously unrecognized sources.

“Reining in methane emissions is key to limiting global warming. This exciting new development will not only help researchers better pinpoint where methane leaks are coming from, but also provide insight on how they can be addressed — quickly,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

Green and other EMIT team members gave some examples of the instrument’s sensitivity during the Tuesday media call. For example, the instrument detected a plume of methane — also known as natural gas — at least 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) long in the sky above an Iranian landfill. This newfound super-emitter is pumping about 18,700 pounds (8,500 kilograms) of methane into the air every hour, the researchers said.

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Use This App to Avoid Shady Companies

Argument analysis flowchart

Too many companies say they care about an important issue, sponsor events, and then turn around and fund organizations (or politicians) that actively fight the important issue. This behaviour by corporations is unethical and wrong. One person got so sick of companies claiming to be in favour of issues only to fund campaigns opposing it that he built an app to out the corporations. The Bobbele app allows you to scan a barcode and see what corporations fund behind the scenes, plus any controversies the companies are embroiled in.

A good example is Google since they gave up on doing no evil their controversy list is rather long.

From the creator of the app:

I use the wikipedia dumps that are provided monthly and go through all articles to filter out company and product related ones and all the relevant sections which might be controversial. I do a lot of post processing then to link all the companies based on the parent and owner information so luckily no manual labour and its easy to keep up to date!

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Find Products That Last a Lifetime (and those that don’t)

tape and tool

Having to buy things is always a nuisance, but sometimes things are needed, so when that happens be sure to get things that last. That’s the premise of Exit Reviews, a new site that asks people to review products once the product breaks. Thus, you can research which products last and which component is the most likely to break. It’s a neat idea to help stop people from buying weak products.

Find out how long products last, where they break, and how to fix them

?Common stress points

Find out what the common failure modes of product are.

?Quality declines

See if a product’s/brand’s quality has changed or gone down at some point. Let’s keep corporations accountable.

?Average longevity

Learn how long products of a brand last and compare them with the average longevity of a category.

?Repairability

Everything breaks eventually, but when it does, can you easily repair/fix it?

Check it out.

Let’s Green the Gaming Industry

computer screen

Games are fun and we should play more of them! That being said, we should also be conscious of the impact our technological-driven gaming has on the environment. Ben Abraham recently launched a new project called Greening the Game Industry to promote the concept of sustainable gaming. The project stems from his work on a very good book, Digital Games After Climate Change, and he hopes to get more people thinking about ways gaming companies can better respect the environment.

One of the best ways to reduce your impact in any industry is to buy second hand and use things to their end of their life. Thus, the thinking of a “patient gamer” is one we should all follow.

The initiative is called the “Games Consoles EU Self-Regulatory Agreement”, and I won’t go into the details of self-regulation but suffice to say most of what you need to know is right there in the name. This is not the EU trying to bring energy-profligate console manufacturers to heel, and is more like a simple mechanism to get them all to the table to see what stuff they already agree on and can codify into some (not even particularly binding) rules of the road. It is also not really a climate-focussed initiative, at least not primarily, which might work backwards from the known impact of the industry and/or a given constraint and say ‘you can use this much no more’ (and there are substantial barriers, practical and conceptual, to being able to do that yet anyway). Since the EU already has rules about “vampire power”, or the power consumed when switched off or in standby.

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