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The Dead Hand Journal

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Excerpts

18

Something is stirring in the fusion energy scene. "Cold fusion" is back as something called "nuclear electrolysis" – well funded by taxpayer money this time.

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18
Why have pollution-free electric cars never caught on?

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18

Two energy options are frequently advocated by nuclear power opponents: locally produced solar energy and ethanol.

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15
Solar Power is a lot more than just using pipes of water to capture the sun's heat, or silicone wafers to capture and convert its light into electricity.

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15

Containing the energy released in a fission reaction is relatively trivial and easily accomplished. We do this literally everywhere on Earth in nuclear reactors. The amount of energy released in a thermonuclear reaction, however, is enormously greater and very much more difficult to contain.

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11
Okay...we made a political decision back in 1977 that has resulted in piles of long-lived radioactive material that we are not supposed to use for anything. Since the half-life for some of this stuff is around 25,000 years, what we do with it is not trivial. Consider that 25,000 years ago, humankind was barely more sophisticated than modern tribes of great apes. And now we have stuff we need to store for another 25,000 years. If you thought the ozone hole was a political football, check this one out.

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11

In our earlier discussion about how fissile Uranium-235 drives a reactor, we also learned that Uranium-238 participates in the process by transforming into Plutonium-239 which is fissile like Uranium-235. In fact, this isotope of plutonium produces significantly more energy than Uranium-235. And the process continues to produce Plutonium-240 and 241. This raises an interesting question. Can we take these fuel rods that contain all this plutonium, separate out the plutonium and whatever uranium was not used, and make more fuel rods? You bet. In fact, we actually end up with more fuel after the process than what we started with.

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11
Uranium exists in nature, usually as a pitchblende ore. Pitchblende is mildly radioactive from its load of uranium, which means that it spontaneously emits alpha particles. The level of radioactivity is very low, however, so there is no threat from mining and transporting the ore, and in any case, as we learned earlier, alpha particles pose no threat outside the body anyway. The uranium normally extracted from pitchblende typically takes two different forms, called isotopes: Uranium-235 and Uranium-238. The technical difference between them is that Uranium-238 has three extra neutrons in its nucleus than does Uranium-235. About 99.3 percent of uranium in the Earth's crust is Uranium-238; only about 0.7 percent is Uranium-235, along with a trace percentage of four other isotopes. This is important because the 235 isotope of uranium is the basis of most current nuclear power generation.

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11
Electricity, in its simplest sense, is electrons flowing through a conductor. We're not talking here about high-energy beta particles but about simple electrons moving relatively slowly in lockstep through an elongated piece of metal. We can pass this flow through a tungsten filament under the right conditions, and we get a glowing light bulb. We can pass it through a special rod consisting of several materials, and the rod gets hot – convenient for space heaters and hot water heaters, among other things. By applying a bit of ingenuity, we can create pulsating rotating magnetic fields that will turn a magnet-covered shaft. We call this a motor.

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10
The Chicken Littles have so dominated today's media that the very word "radiation" strikes fear into the heart of the ordinary person. Yet, as related earlier, we are inundated by radiation every moment of our existence. Have you ever heard that you can get cancer from using a cell phone? Have you heard that living near power transmission lines will make you sick?

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10
Remember the little black and white Scottie terrier magnets from your childhood? When placed nose to nose, they repelled each other. Let's conduct a mind experiment. Imagine a pool table with balls that consist of only the noses of these Scottie terrier magnets. Now place them around the table in any configuration you wish. Once you have this picture firmly in mind, imagine rolling one of these "terrier nose" balls across the table. As it moves through your arrangement, other "terrier nose" balls are repelled in all directions, and these repelled balls further repel other balls. By the time your ball reaches the far side of the table, you will have disrupted most of the balls you originally placed on the table.

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10
Near the beginning of the twentieth century, physicists developed a picture of energy as waves moving through something they called the "ether" – try to envision waves moving across a pond of water. Much of what they observed about the behavior of light and other forms of energy could be explained using this analogy.

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17
The only significant exception to solar-generated electricity is energy derived by releasing the binding energy of atoms, either as fission when we split heavy atoms like uranium, or as fusion when we combine light atoms like hydrogen. We are expert at the first, but we haven’t quite figured out how to accomplish the second.

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11
Humans have captured this energy in different ways for millennia. The ancient Egyptians placed crude paddlewheels in flowing water and used this power to grind wheat into flour and for other purposes. An obvious improvement to this method is to dam a stream to generate a more powerful flow of water that can turn a larger mill or drive a faster machine.

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01
Solar energy plays two direct roles: it evaporates water and, by warming the atmosphere, increases its ability to carry more water vapor. Solar energy also plays a significant indirect role. Some places are warmer than others. By a relatively complicated mechanism, these differences in air temperature result in pressure differences. Air located in an area of higher pressure will naturally flow towards areas of lower pressure. The exact path the air takes is a function of many things, including the shape of the land and the rotation of the Earth. The net result, however, is wind. When you think about it, therefore, the motion of the air – the wind – is a form of solar energy.

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The Chicken Little Agenda: Debunking "Experts’" Lies

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