BTW, Fusion is Not Dead

A while back, lots of folks got excited by the news that someone had managed to create a fusion reaction at room temperature. There was huge media interest. And then it faded when no one could duplicate the result.

This led to a certain number of folks saying that the promise of fusion was overstaed. Building commcercially viable fusion reactors was too difficult and expensive.

Fast forward to today. Experimmental fusion reactors work, but consume more energy than they produce. But MIT researchers have come up with a new fuel mix that radically enhances the amount of energy output (by 10x). The result has been duplicated.

Hmmm … fusion is still not here yet. But it is far from dead.

Stay tuned!

Finance the Wall, or I will Shoot this Dog!

Anyone remember National Lampoon’s cover from January 1973?

Image result for Buy or I will Shoot this dog

It was funny. And in a weird way, it illustrated what some people actually do to get power in real life. Their message is simple, “Do what I tell you, or I will destroy the thing you love.” You might call it extortion. BTW, that is a crime.

Fast forward to the present. Donald Trump has just sent a message to Congress. Finance the wall or I will shut down the government.

Now I ask you, is this dude fit to be president?

thorium Reactor Test

Readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of testing whether thorium reactors can provide a safer and more reliable and cost effective way to produce energy than the nuclear reactors we use today.

That is not an endorsement of thorium as the answer to our energy problems. It is an endorsement of testing to find out more whether this technology can help us.

The Dutch firm NRG is doing that kind of testing, and they have just brought a test reactor using thorium molten salt online.


Wow! A Mega-Deal brings Kyrie Irving to the Celtics

This is a huge deal that exchanges key players between the two teams that met in last year’s Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics and the Cavs.

In sum, Kyrie Irving goes to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, other players and a 2018 first round draft pick.

Here are the details

Here is an initial assessment of winners and losers

Very interesting!

My initial read is that the Cavs have come out ahead here. They had to trade Irving, and probably did not expect to get as much for him as they did. But the Celtics now have two major vets – Irving and Heyward, along with some talented rookies.  That will be a very interesting combination.

More reasons to look forward to the new season!

Yawn! Trump Goes Bonkers Yet Again

The other day, I watched coverage of Donald Trump’s speech on Afghanistan. The journalists criticized Trump for his apparent endorsement of war without end. More specifically, Trump wants the US to stay in Afghanistan until the Afghan government can stand on its own feet, while at the same time gutting the financing of efforts to help the Afghans achieve that. Pouring oil on the fire, Trump also insulted the Pakistanis and called for India — Pakistan’s mortal enemy — to play a bigger role in Afghanistan. Not a recipe to calm things down!

In an ordinary presidential cycle, that would be big news. In this presidential cycle, it is a footnote because the very next day, Trump went bonkers in Pheonix, Arizona. Am I exaggerating? HuffPo’s article coveirng the event is entitled “American Psycho“. At the same time, it is reported that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  privately doubts whether Trump can “salvage his administration”.

My best guess is that the news about McConnell’s “private” misgivings is the most important in the above news cycle. McConnell just lived through an intense humiliation trying to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  Much of the blame falls on him as the tactician in the Senate that caused such an enormous fiasco.  It would not be a  huge surprise if McConnell would like to change that narrative. How? Well, Trump has no allies in Washington and he has no credibility. Moreover, he is perceived to be a menace to the country by many outside of Washington. I am sure that McConnell is tempted to see if he can get some credit for abandoning Trump in order to save the country, not to mention the Republican brand.

If McConnell does not distance himself from this report with an unequivical denial, we can be more confident that he is starting the conversation about a Trump end game.

The games continue!

Quick FollowKeith Olbermann shares my view that Trump’s tenure in office will end suddenly.  Check out the link for his review of news tidbits that lend credence to this. If Keith is right, McConnell probably has gotten wind of the inside story. His private misgivings leaked to the press may be just a CYA type of thing as he gets with the new programme.

2d Follow – McConnell usually does not comment on this type of story. In this case, he has, saying that all is ok with Trump. Interpretation – the leaked NYT story was a warning shot. Next chapter in this story – Will Trump head the warning? Of course not. But that has not happened yet! Stay tuned!

John Oliver Meets Legal Godzilla

You may have heard about what happened to Gawker Magazine. A billionaire backer funded Hulk Hogan’s defamation suit against the magazine, and the litigation drove the magazine to bankruptcy. The magazine simply did not have the financial resources to appeal the huge jury award.

This same strategy is being pursued again. This time by coal mine owner John Murray, against TV personality John Oliver. Murray claims that Oliver defamed him in a TV show about coal mining that highlighted certain aspects of what Murray has said and done. In the segment, Oliver hurls invective at Murray (not actionable) and repeats information from public sources about what Murray has said and done (not actionable). So you would think the case has no chance. But as Mashable reports, if Murray can get the case in front of a state court jury, the risks to Oliver become significant.

If you watch the TV segment (availabe at the above link), you get a sense of why this case is worth following. The whole point of Oliver’s piece is to demand a more open and honest discussion of the future of coal mining in America. Pursuing that, Oliver calls out hypocrites who pretend to be advancing the interests of coal miners in order to make a buck. That is something worth knowing, and if Oliver is to be punished for doing that, we lose a valuable voice in media.

Stay tuned!