Tag Archives: energy

Very Complex Fusion Reactor Finally Ready

The Wendelstein 7-X is a fusion reactor that took nineteen years to build. A supercomputer was used to design it, so that it would provide the best possible magnetic field to provide a sustainable reaction. Take a look at the video about this Stellarator reactor.

It’s different than the tokamak reactor, which is the standard design, and is said to avoid problems related to high current which is required to operate the tokamak reactor.

There are two major problems with fusion reactors at the moment. One is the inability to maintain a reaction for a significant period of time. The other is the inability to have a reaction that produces more energy than is required to start and maintain it. Efficiency is terrible. But it’s improving. If these two obstacles can be overcome, then nuclear fusion is the best choice for energy and electricity production.

Don’t let the word “nuclear” fool you into thinking this will produce a lot of dangerous radiation or radioactive byproducts. In fact, the fuel is hydrogen, and what results is helium and energy. There can be no runaway meltdown. Once the source of energy is removed, the reaction stops. The byproduct is an inert gas that will have no effect in the atmosphere.

Fusion is the future of energy, and it couldn’t come any sooner. We need it as soon as possible.

The Universe Is Dying and I’m Doing Fine

I read this article on the Huffington Post today, and thought I’d tell you all the good news. The Universe is dying! It has passed its peak, and is on its way down, slowly becoming dimmer and dimmer.

Of course, it’s not exactly going to affect us. The Earth still has a long time left in its life, though the sun will be too bright for life to survive in a few hundred million years. And in about five billion years, the sun will swallow the Earth and shrink down to a white dwarf. Still, the Universe will be there, even though we likely won’t. We won’t see the end of the Universe. Apparently, the Universe will just get dark and cold filled with husks of stars and planets, no longer radiating heat or light.

I feel fine about this. How about you?

Energy, Why Have You Left Me?

Yesterday was the worst day for allergies so far this year.  Today looks pretty bad, too.  As a result, the medicine didn’t work at all.  I have been completely sapped of energy, too.  It’s possible I may have a cold at the same time.  I can’t tell, they’re so similar.  Today’s going to be fun.

I’d intended on doing some writing today, but just didn’t have the energy.  I’m also behind on replying to comments.  I’ll get caught up, don’t worry.  My fingers just don’t want to move very much at the moment.

Well, must get ready for work.

Exercise’s Effects on the Mind

For the past five years, I’ve been a walker.  Not the zombie type, but someone who likes to go out for walks.  When I walk, I feel my mind is clear and I can think, especially if I’m somewhere more natural and away from people.

I started off exploring neighbourhoods, and I noticed I was becoming much more aware of my surroundings.  I was more alert to what was going on around me.  I then started challenging myself to long distance walks.  I regularly walk more than 10 km these days, but four years ago, I walked 35 km in one day.  It was incredible.  It was an eye-opening experience, and gave me a sense of adventure.  I saw places I’d have never seen if I didn’t walk.  But walking alone and walking with someone are completely different.  Walking with my wife, we tend to talk a lot more.  Walking by myself, I can get lost in my thoughts and I can clear away any stress I have.

Walking does something to my energy levels.  I have a lot more endurance and can walk for longer periods of time, but I’m still quite tired when I’m finished.  I want to sleep.  I don’t have any energy for anything else.  Running would do the same.  High energy cardiovascular exercises would drain me.

Last week, I started something a bit different.  I’m now doing strength exercises, the very simple push-ups and sit-ups.  I’m amazed at how much of the body is worked on during push-ups. To keep the body straight, the muscles in the back, stomach, hips, and legs are all given a workout.  I also noticed on day one that my arms felt dead.  It had been years since I’d done a push-up, and I realised how out of shape I am.  My arms felt weak for two days after the first session of push-ups.  But on the second session, which was two days after the first, it was easier.  And my arms didn’t feel rubbery.  I had my third session today, and while it was more strenuous, I feel fine now.

So, what does this do to my energy levels?  I’ve found that on the days I’ve done push-ups, I have more energy.  I feel more awake during the day.  I feel better.  Who knew doing a few minutes of push-ups would give you more energy, more alertness, and a much better feeling.

This is great for keeping my mind more alert, and this can only mean it’ll help me with my writing.  That’s right, exercise helps with writing, or at least the thought process.  I’m going to try to keep at it.

For another writer’s perspective, check out Shannon A. Thompson’s post here.

For those of you who write, do you find that exercise helps you?

Ra Has not Been Merciful

It may as well be Egypt here.  Since Thursday, it has been at least 35 degrees every day.

Thursday’s 35 degrees gave way to Friday’s 36, and the hottest day of the year so far.  Saturday dropped down to 35, but it went up to 37 on Sunday.  Add in high humidity, a couple thunderstorms, and you have Ra and Thor conspiring to steal all the energy I have.

This weather just makes it difficult to concentrate, because all my energy seems to be gone.  I just want to sleep.  Camp NaNoWriMo is ending soon, and I haven’t made any progress.  Far too busy and a lack of energy make it difficult to get anything done.  Not only that, it seems like the heat only makes my daughter stay awake longer.  I finally got her to bed a few minutes ago.

Well, I have some cleaning to do, then it’s off to bed.  I really can’t do much in the way of writing.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the prospect of having plenty of delicious liquid sustenance.  Summer makes me want to drink fruity drinks.

Colonising a World: Energy

Is electricity absolutely necessary?  No, but with a technological society, clean water, reliable light, and heat require power.  And if they want to travel anywhere without taking weeks, they need powered vehicles.  So, electricity is needed.

There are several options for generating electricity.  Considering that the colonists likely want to avoid using polluting fossil fuels, they’re out.  And on a world like Ariadne, there’s no guarantee that there is an adequate supply, as the world is only 3 billion years old.  Renewable sources are needed.

Hydroelectricity

Settlements near rivers can use the power of the water.  Large dams aren’t necessary, as the settlements are small.  A much simpler system could be utilised that would use the movement of the water to turn turbines containing magnets.  It’s clean, safe, and has low impact on the environment if small enough.  Larger systems can disrupt the local environment and harm aquatic animals, however.

Wind Power

Wind turbines can be used to generate electricity.  Small ones can power small devices, but large ones would be required for an entire town.  They can be rather unsightly, though.  Not only that, they could injure flying animals, and may be noisy.  They’re also unreliable when there’s very low wind.

Solar Power

Great for areas with abundant sunshine.  Solar panels can be placed on the roofs of buildings to power those buildings, but also a larger solar power plant could be constructed to power an entire town.  Low impact for the environment, as it doesn’t harm anything.  However, colonists must find the materials to make additional solar panels.

Geothermal

This is an excellent source of power, but only viable in areas that have hot springs or volcanoes.  Other areas can’t use it. It is low impact, and should be used in those areas.

Nuclear Fusion

In the time of the Ariadne colony, fusion was used widely on Mars.  Fusion is low impact, non-polluting, and does not produce radioactive waste.  It’s an amazing source of power that uses an extremely abundant fuel, hydrogen.  The trick is storing it and extracting it, especially if deuterium or tritium is used. Unlike nuclear fission, there are no runaway reactions resulting in meltdown, no uranium or plutonium.

So, what’s the best option?  In the early days of the colony, solar is a good choice, though a simple hydroelectric generator is a good option near rivers.  If there are fusion generators included in the colony’s manifest, these can be set up in the primary settlements.  And of course, in the seismically and volcanically active areas, geothermal is a great choice.

What would you choose for a source of electricity in a colony?