Atom Wave: January 2009

Atom Wave

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cold Fusion

Wishful thinking can take people a long ways these days. I wish that I made more money! I wish that I didn’t have some job that a trained monkey could do! I wish that my girlfriend would marry me! The list goes on, you get the idea. One permanent element of science that persists like a ghost in the laboratory to this day is nuclear fusion: nice in theory, lousy in practice.
Ever since the 1950’s, scientists and engineers have been pursuing fusion power. They achieved it quickly, in the hydrogen bomb and the Farnsworth Fusor. Neither turned out to be any good for much unless you wanted a city vaporized, or your friends impressed, or both. In all the time elapsed since scientists have been strikingly incompetent in manufacturing any practical power plant.
The conventional research approach for the last few decades has been either inertial confinement or magnetic confinement. In inertial confinement, a system of high-energy lasers is used to implode a fuel capsule within the confines of a radiation chamber. The approach of magnetic confinement, usually the Tokamak is to magnetically trap hydrogen plasma and heat it to ignition. Despite several decades of research, each effort has failed to produce a net energy output.
Now I am not of the opinion that fusion is impossible. If someone says that something is impossible, than it is probably possible. One century ago, few people believed that our Astronauts would ride machines of steel and fire into the sky. It is just that after decades of disappointment, maybe there is some fundamental flaw in the design of these machines.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Disgusting Cell Phone Incident

You’re not going to believe this! Recently in Pennsylvania, three teenage girls and three boys were arrested and charged with child pornography. Judging by that blank stare on your face, you may be asking how children can be charged with child pornography. You know, I wondered that too. It seems that these criminals deliberately stripped themselves naked, photographed themselves, and sent the photos to friends. These hardened criminals have already been charged with manufacturing and possessing child pornography. The photos were uncovered after their phones were seized at school.
Now this isn’t an Onion story, nor is it an isolated incident! In Florida, two teenagers were arrested after their e-mail revealed photos of themselves engaging in the kind of hot steamy activities that would give you an instant boner. No one said how police learned of the contents of the e-mail.
Now I always figured that teenage extracurricular activities were their own business, there are some things that you just don’t want to know! It seems that that is no longer the case, should they take a photo.
Know I’m not a lawyer, but I do believe that the constitution gives each American a right to privacy, yes-even children. In Pennsylvania, the schoolteacher searched the seized phone and found the disgusting racy photographs. Now I’m old school, anyone wanting to search my phone would need a warrant, otherwise the only way they would get it would be from my cold dead hands! Since the teacher was clearly not a police officer with probable cause, he (Mr. Garrison) had no business with the phone anyway. His lack of experience with the force really should be no excuse, remember those peeping tom laws?
Staying on the issue of privacy, it has long been known that children don’t have the same legal rights of adults. They can’t vote, they can’t drink (but plenty do), and they can’t take a bullet for Uncle Sam. Add sharing nude photos of yourself to the list. Any adult would never face a day in court for similar actions, so why kids. This stinks of a double standard. Since these children are being tried as felons, very adult crimes; it isn’t unreasonable that they should be treated to the same legal standard of adults, in this case no crime at all.
One of the recurring arguments against this is that once they photograph themselves, the material will inevitably reach the Internet. My only response to that is that it would be punishment enough.
What’s next, are teens going to be arrested for masturbation?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Enduring Jokes

One of the enduring jokes of American politics is the continuing need of our politicians to write new laws after each new tragedy. Take Minnesota, only a few weeks ago several teenage girls were fired after being accused of physically and sexually abusing helpless nursing home residents under their care in Montevideo. The Local Prosecutors are already working on charges against them. Today our legislators are busy writing new laws to combat this, including requiring remote cameras and tighter penalties for abusers. Somehow I feel completely confident. We all know that once an activity becomes illegal, people give it up! People have been sexually abusing other people long before politicians devolved from the species and they will continue to until the bitter end. Should the leaders of our dumb world have any real intelligence, they would be attacking the root causes of the abuse. Perhaps funding the development of psychology tests to weed out the people most likely to abuse during the application process.