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We are getting new Star Wars movies. Blacklight Power is back and claiming they have made breakthroughs which overcome past problems.

The Chicago Pile was the first artificial nuclear reactor. The first man-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1 on 2 December 1942, under the supervision of Enrico Fermi. Fermi described the apparatus as "a crude pile of black bricks and wooden timbers." Made of a large amount of graphite and uranium, with "control rods" of cadmium, indium, and silver, unlike most subsequent reactors, it had no radiation shield and no cooling system.

A Chicago Pile moment is when a radical new technology achieves technological takeoff.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 3rd, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC)
"Hydrinos"? Really? A "lower energy state hydrogen"? "watts per alloquat"? It uses PV cells inside a box?

Yah, I expect that's *just* around the corner.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
Remember, this was written by people who aren't that well-educated scientifically, for enthusiasts of space travel. There are some glaringly obvious errors in there, and you caught them. When I linked that article here I was very tired, and hadn't read it over in detail. I apologize for the silly stuff.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
One of my college profs worked on that reactor and was there when they powered it up. Very interesting man. Incredibly smart too, possibly the smartest man I've ever met in my life, and I've met a lot of them.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 09:43 pm (UTC)
That was quite a project. ISupposedly they weren't sure exactly what would happen when the first fired it up, but it seemed to go all right. I hope your professor wasn't one of the people who went blind working on that project -- back then, they still "teted the melt" of the molten (power) metal by opening a small door fairly high up in the side of the container and checking up eye to see if the molten metal was the right color and so on. What they didn't realize then is that the radiation from it would do real damage to the eye, especially if you performed that type of test many times, which some of them did. So some of those working on that project and the Manhattan Project lost their eyesight, which is how scientists found out about that particular problem.

In fact, scientists didn't realize until the 1950s all of the damage radiation like that could do. If they didn't, neither could President Truman, who wasn't a scientist, know it when he made the decision to use the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Political activists accused him of using the Bomb in spite of knowing the genetic and other harm it would do to those exposed to it, other than burn trauma. They were lying through their teeth. Truman could not have known those aspects of radioactive materials and use of nuclear bombs at the time he made that decision. Did those activists know that? Maybe not -- but so many of them were Communist/Soviet sympathizers or even agents that it's clear they were trying to get the US to get rid of its nuclear arsenal so the Soviets could do what they wanted to us (they had the Bomb, too), and lyin has always been a frequently-used tool in the Left's toolbox.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
OH! 2 separate things! Emdrive DID pass a test! That's awesome!

Blacklight power... Yeah, not buying that one.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
What exactly is Emdrive? I'm not that up to date on space technology. And Blacklight -- don't know what it is. And thanks. :-)
Aug. 3rd, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC)
Emdrive is an impossible drive mechanism that, despite not obeying the first law of motion, nonetheless works. It's a "reactionless drive", that basically amounts to a microwave emitter in a closed container. Shouldn't work, but evidently does.

Blacklight is an energy production piece of pie in the sky that is making rather exotic claims. Basically, they're saying that they run high amperage, low voltage electricity through what is basically water, and the hydrogen in the water drops to a "lower energy state of hydrogen" that they're calling "hydrinos". The FAQs on black-light are loaded with *really* meaningless technobabble, like "alloquats" of fuel. An "alloquat" is a dimensionless portion of a whole.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That's good to know. :-)

Okay, Emdrive exists, and I should just ignore claims about Blacklight.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
Yesterday, I would have said that we should ignore claims about emdrive, so I won't preclude the possibility. But I will say that Blacklight has a LOT of the hallmarks of a scam.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it. But the guy who wrote that up wasn't a scientist, and may have misunderstood what the engineers or whoever were involved with Blacklight were trying to say. If NSS_Seattle puts out something on Blacklight that sounds less implausible, I'll post it here for picking apart (a.k.a. torturing it to death ;-)).
Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
Actually, most of my objections to blacklight come directly from their own press releases.

Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
Oh. Yeah, that looks like it's a scam -- lots of technical-sounding language which, upon analysis (it doesn't take much), turns out to be horseshit of purest ray serene. In other words, so much snake oil. Thank you for the link. I just may use it to reply to the next email from NSS_Seattle about the wonders of Blacklight in a way that makes it clear that the claims are so much gobbledygook.
Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:55 pm (UTC)
"Hydrinos" indeed. What "lower energy state"? I'd love to see Leonard Susskind's analysis of it -- I do believe Susskind can peel paint off the walls when inspired by balderdash such as this.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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Yael Dragwyla

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