Wednesday, April 16, 2008

5 Trillion Watt Laser Slated To Make Miniature Star in California: Energy Solution Vs. Total Plutonic Reversal

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area has built a facility that takes a single 1/billionth of a joule laser, splits it into 48 beams that are amplified, split again into 192 beams and further amplified exponentially, eventually building to "1.8 million joules of ultraviolet energy", which is 1,000 times as much energy produced by all U.S. power plants, a staggering 5 trillion watts. This energy will be directed into an ignition chamber wherein lies a frozen hydrogen fuel cell in a gold-plated cylinder, dubbed the "hohlarum". There, the lasers will be transformed into incredibly intense x-rays that will compress the hydrogen almost instantly, fusing the atoms together and essentially creating a small star.

Wow. Should we be excited that our energy problems are at an end or should we be worried that we'll pull half the solar system into a laboratory-generated rip in the fabric of the space-time continuum? This type of research is really exciting, just like nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, and other forays into quantum mechanics, like Cern's Hadron collider. As we learn more about our natural world on a smaller and smaller level, and gain the ability to manipulate these properties, we truly begin to have power over our material world. We have the potential to cure disease, stop world hunger, to solve our energy crisis, maybe eventually to travel across space and time and communicate with other civilizations, and other concepts that thus far have been reserved for science fiction novels. Unfortunately, our track records as humans has shown that we, in general, lack the foresight and wisdom to properly develop and use these technologies. Capitalism, greed, and lust for power drives these industries forward, pushing them for marketable results, often without considering the possible ramifications or side effects of the wonders that we create. We've created transgenic crops that have both helped to feed starving children, and at the same time left subsistence farmers hopelessly in debt and committing suicide by the thousands after promised engineered cotton crops have failed. Nuclear fission has powered our homes, yet it has killed hundreds of thousands of people, contaminated soil and groundwater, and caused significant human illness and morbidity. These technologies are child's play next to nanotechnology and quantum manipulation. The potential for good is incredible, yet the potential for disaster is as, if not more amazing.

Should we ban genetic manipulation, nanotech, and quantum physics? No, definitely not. Advancing scientific knowledge is imperative for the human race to survive, especially with the path we've taken - we'll need advanced technologies to either reverse the damage we're causing, or to make conditions habitable enough in spite of the damage. We should, however, be frightened enough of the potential catastrophies to be wise in it's use and ensure oversight and regulation of these technologies as they develop.

via Gizmodo


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hohlraum, not hohlarum.

10:17 AM  

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