January 11th, 2008


Bussard's WB-7 has been built and is being tested.

EMC2 Fusion has built an upgraded model of Bussard's last experimental plasma containment device, which was known as WB-6. "We got first plasma yesterday," Nebel said - but he and his colleagues in Santa Fe, N.M., still have a long way to get the WB-7 experiment up to the power levels Bussard was working with.

From the descriptions it is clear that the IEC fusion devices are far simpler than the ITER tokomak fusion devices. It is also simpler than nuclear fission reactors. Unlike current fission reactors which take 4-6 years to build, these IEC fusion reactors might be buildable in 1-3 years. There is still the issue of licensing and regulatory approvals. It is not clear what that licensing/regulatory process would be but it should be shorter than nuclear fission licensing as the IEC fusion is easier to shutoff and does not have nuclear fuel or waste.


It's still unclear if the Bussard Whiffle-Ball design will work in practice or not. However, if it does, the benefits will be staggering. Clean fusion power with core machinery the size of a mini-van.

Airport security hassles are poetic justice.

In the end, I'm not sure which is more troubling, the inanity of the existing regulations, or the average American's acceptance of them and willingness to be humiliated. These wasteful and tedious protocols have solidified into what appears to be indefinite policy, with little or no opposition. There ought to be a tide of protest rising up against this mania. Where is it? At its loudest, the voice of the traveling public is one of grumbled resignation. The op-ed pages are silent, the pundits have nothing meaningful to say.

As for Americans themselves, I suppose that it's less than realistic to expect street protests or airport sit-ins from citizen fliers, and maybe we shouldn't expect too much from a press and media that have had no trouble letting countless other injustices slip to the wayside. And rather than rethink our policies, the best we've come up with is a way to skirt them - for a fee, naturally - via schemes like Registered Traveler. Americans can now pay to have their personal information put on file just to avoid the hassle of airport security. As cynical as George Orwell ever was, I doubt he imagined the idea of citizens offering up money for their own subjugation.

How we got to this point is an interesting study in reactionary politics, fear-mongering and a disconcerting willingness of the American public to accept almost anything in the name of "security." Conned and frightened, our nation demands not actual security, but security spectacle. And although a reasonable percentage of passengers, along with most security experts, would concur such theater serves no useful purpose, there has been surprisingly little outrage. In that regard, maybe we've gotten exactly the system we deserve.


(via bruce_schneier)

Correction - YOU have gotten the system that YOU deserve. I have been screaming my head off about what a bunch of blind moronic sheep YOU are, and am already executing on a plan to GTFO this proto-fascist excuse for the ruins of a once great republic.

On a related note: I keep seeing a lot of articles about how $PERSON is calling for impeachment. I can't stand the pathetic, stupid naivete of the people who keep putting up these false hopes, so let me say this again, for the record:

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As always with these predictions, all I ask is to be proven completely and utterly wrong...

Edit (late breaking): First Amendment Rights? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS? No freedom of speech for you - at least not outside of governmentally-mandated "free speech zones" (conveniently located half a mile from anywhere that matters)! What's that you say? You think your constitutional rights are valid anywhere in the USA? Well now, Emperor Dubya disagrees! Why do you ask... citizen?

The accusations of racism against Ron Paul are almost certainly bullshit.

I worked for Ron Paul, in his Washington D.C. office, in 1998-99, seeing him almost every day, and saw absolutely no indication of him being racist, and in fact, I saw many reasons to know he is not racist. I am of Hispanic decent, and quite proud of it. My family on my mother’s side were migrant farm workers and my Great-Grandfather even rode with Pancho Villa. I am also part American-Indian. That heritage not only makes it rather difficult for anyone to smear me as somehow being a white racist (which is good for me if I am ever foolish enough to run for office), but also cuts against Ron Paul's supposed "ties" with white supremacists and this latest smear campaign based on what some employee of his wrote fifteen years ago.

Not only am I outspoken about my heritage, I don’t work for racists and I would never have worked on Ron Paul’s staff if I had any suspicion whatsoever that he was "racist." And I wasn't the only staff member of "mixed race." There were several others and he never gave it a second thought. One of them was a young woman who is half Panamanian, with an obvious dark complexion. If Ron Paul were some kind of racist, who thinks non-whites are inferior, why would he hire her, or me? Was it some kind of elaborate, clever cover? No. The reason he did not care about our race is because he is a libertarian who sees people as individuals, not members of groups, racial or otherwise.

I have seen nothing, in all my interactions with Ron Paul, to ever suggest to me that he himself is racist. To the contrary, I have every reason to know he is not. And the same goes for his supposed hatred of gays. That is also total hogwash. Ron Paul does not care what someone is. He sees us all as individuals with God given rights. If you value liberty and the Constitution, then you are Ron Paul’s brother or sister in liberty, whatever your color, creed, or sexual preference.