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Science

Giant International Fusion Reactor Draws Nearer 967

Posted by michael
from the down-to-the-wire dept.
nnnneedles writes "BBC is reporting that scientists are deciding on where to build the world's first big fusion reactor. The international effort is described as the boldest nuclear initiative since the Manhattan Project, and holds promise for future unlimited, clean energy. The choice on where to build the reactor currently stands between Japan and France, but apparantly, the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq." There's also an AP story.
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Giant International Fusion Reactor Draws Nearer

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  • Okay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haxor.dk (463614) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:05PM (#7774361) Homepage
    "So now we know where to build it, and who will help in doing it. But how do we make the darn thing WORK?"

  • by endoboy (560088) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:05PM (#7774362)
    Fabulous concept, but we've been 20+ years from having fusion power for about 50 years now... Of course, "we can do it in 20 years" is bureaucrat speak for "we don't have a clue, but why don't you give us some money anyway...."
  • by Surak_Prime (160061) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:05PM (#7774365)
    Wouldn't fusion have to have been made practical for terrestrial power generation before anything like this should be started on? Or did I miss a memo?
  • Childish behavior (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nempo (325296) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:07PM (#7774379)
    The choice on where to build the reactor currently stands between Japan and France, but apparantly, the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq.


    Not to sound like an ass or something but this seems like a really childish behaviour.
  • by Ataraxy Oyez (729472) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:08PM (#7774382)
    Everyone opposed the Iraq war, even Britain. The only difference is a handful of chicken countries (Britain being the largest) cow-towed for financial or political reasons because the U.S. wields the biggest stick.
  • by tealover (187148) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:11PM (#7774406)
    Or, those handful of countries acted out of principle and learned the lessons from WW2 while other nations tried to politicize an issue for other esoteric reasons (US geo-political containment, concealment of violations of UN orders, etc.)

    But your worldview is very intellectual so perhaps it is right.
  • Don't be stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FredFnord (635797) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:12PM (#7774413)
    It's not because they are peace-loving (France doesn't exactly qualify, historically), and it doesn't even have much to do with them not supporting the war in Iraq, though that made a good litmus test.

    Basically, the current US administration wants to hurt, as badly as is conveniently possible, and as often as is conveniently possible, any county that does not cooperate fully with the whims of the US government. Regardless of the convictions and ideals of the populace or the government.

    So, since France's people overwhelmingly did not want to be a party to the war in Iraq, and because France's government actually listened to its people, instead of listening primarily to the US and only secondarily to its people, it is clear that France is not sufficiently in thrall to the US, and therefor must be punished.

    Iraq was just a test. France failed.

    Or passed, depending on your viewpoint.

    -fred
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:15PM (#7774432)

    You can't have a civil discussion with an atheist. Atheists like to think of themselves as rational, but if you observe their behavior you'll find they are anything but. They are full of anger and bitterness, and react with frightful outrage whenever they encounter someone with different views from their own. Even people who think that atheism is a reasonable philosophy must admit that most atheists did not arrive at their point of view through anything resembling a rational process. Rather, they are poorly socialized individuals who are lashing out angrily at anything which they perceive to be valued by "mainstream" society. You really shouldn't take it personally. It is the result of an angry and profoundly unhappy psychological condition on their part, not due to you or your Christian beliefs.

  • Ah, Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThisIsFred (705426) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:17PM (#7774451) Journal
    Who in the US administration actually stated that the US opposed a French site because of their opposition to the war in Iraq? What does this have to do with Iraq!? Wouldn't France be the obvious choice? The French have the most experience, e.g. keeping a whole country full of fission reactors humming along.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:17PM (#7774457)
    What principle? The US and other countries aided Iraq for years before turning their back on Saddam. Then 9/11 happened, Bush decided to tie that event to Saddam the best he could (which was all nonsense to begin with), and you have the current quagmire.
  • by HeghmoH (13204) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:20PM (#7774472) Homepage Journal
    But it is expensive. Having your multi-billion-dollar reactor destroyed in an earthquake or typhoon would be embarrassing.
  • by adrianbaugh (696007) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:22PM (#7774488) Homepage Journal
    How do you reach that conclusion exactly? Other than not supporting a war without a second resolution I haven't noticed the French supporting much terrorism. You never hear people in Camp X-Ray breaking down and saying "okay, I give in. M. Chirac made me do it."
    France does have a large muslim population due to its old (fairly disastrous) colonial association with Algeria but, as many people have pointed out, muslim != terrorist. I'm sure France is making every effort to root out any terrorists that may be hiding there.
    There is far more evidence for active terrorist cells in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Birmingham than France. That doesn't make Germany an untrustworthy country, either.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:25PM (#7774509)
    Oh, you seriously believe the French government sponsors terrorists, or would ever let terrorists access to highly sensible technological facilities? Can I see sources, facts, proofs?

    American media has once again played on words. Terrorism is relative; Americans call them terrorists when they are against them and "freedom fighters" when they are on theirs.

    And I would like much better this reactor being in France than being in a country which is actually the puppet of the nation most likely to use it for war (ya, that's YOU if you can't read between the lines). We have seen that treaties didn't mean much for the US, so I would let such a toy at baby Bush's grasp.
  • Fucking americans (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:25PM (#7774516)
    ...the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq...

    Its exactly this provincial thinking that exacerbates, and perpetuates, the incorrect assumption that the usa rules the world. Lets face it, OUTSIDE of america, very few care about america. Let those that want to manage/run this effort not be burdened by the american dogma thats stagnated that country.

  • by Feztaa (633745) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:29PM (#7774547) Homepage
    he U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq.

    So instead, they thought they'd like to build it in the country that bombed Pearl Harbor?
  • by rtaylor (70602) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:31PM (#7774560) Homepage
    No, fusion is not clean if you look at a short timeline. I understand the irradiated components will become safe within 100 years, and can be recycled at that time.

    So, if a reactor is active for 30 years, stored for 100, then recycled into a newer model I think we're doing pretty good.

    There isn't much we do that has an effect on the local environment (inside the structure only!) for that short of a timeframe.

    If you consider this prototype is 500MW and nuclear reactor prototypes are 500kw to 1MW -- with production being close to 1GW... I predict a fusion reactor with 1TW output levels within 50 years.
  • by mlg9000 (515199) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:32PM (#7774565)
    For all those that are undoubtely going to post something about how America and President Bush in particular are evil for doing something like this here's a little factoid:

    Europe did it first to Spain for it's SUPPORT of the Iraq war. If you don't believe me here's a link (NYT -registration required etc..):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/27/international/ eu rope/27BRIE5.html?ex=1072069200&en=bf36a06d6e81a8a b&ei=5070

    Not that's I'd expect Slashdot (or the BBC) to get the whole story. As much as I like Slashdot this place is definitely ultra liberal and has an agenda to go with that... so always helps to verify anything you hear on this first before you believe it. (As everyone should on ALL media sources before they go spouting it as fact)
  • by tealover (187148) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:34PM (#7774578)
    The article states that the US backs Japan to avoid backing France because they opposed the Iraq war.

    Yes, the article states it. Without giving us any facts or pointing to any sources. The writer gave us his opinion. Whether you decide to implicitly trust anything that comes out of the pen of that writer or the BBC in general is up to you. They certainly have a willing and receptive audience. I'm not part of that audience, however.

    If you know of a better source than the BBC to back your claim as to why the US backs Japan, please post it.

    When the author of the article can actually give us one source, then perhaps I'll spend some time looking for sources to repudiate it. But since it wasn't important enough for him to do in this article, I don't feel compelled to dispute his opinion

  • by Nagatzhul (158676) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:37PM (#7774599)
    When a known terrorist can openly fly into a country with no challenge at arrival, when funds, accounts, and property that belong to know terrorist groups are protected, when transactions that are illegal in other countries can be pursued openly, and when you sell countries materials forbidden by international treaty, I call that openly supporting terrorism.
  • by TheFlamingoKing (603674) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:40PM (#7774615)
    The AP article lists reasons why Japan is a good site.

    Most important among these (IMHO) is the nearby ocean port. The Japan site will allow parts to be transported by sea to the location in one piece, as opposed to the French, which requires a 41 mile trip, then assembly. It will also allow easy harvesting of deuterium ions for fusion from nearby ocean water.

    I would also add that France and Japan are both allies of the US. Given recent events, which is a "better" ally?

    So which is the "better" choice for all those extra jobs?

  • Re:Don't be stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by That's Unpossible! (722232) * on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:40PM (#7774617)
    Basically, the current US administration wants to hurt, as badly as is conveniently possible, and as often as is conveniently possible, any county that does not cooperate fully with the whims of the US government. Regardless of the convictions and ideals of the populace or the government.

    Yeah, it's called looking out for your nation's best interests, and EVERY nation does it.
  • by fastidious edward (728351) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:42PM (#7774632)
    Well, no. If a country (and by this I refer to the elected government) sends troops to fight and possibly be killed then I say no, they did not oppose the war.

    Tony Blair (UK's prime minister) has come under huge political attack from this stance, almost losing his job, and the UK benefits little from post-war reforms ($10bn of projects matters little to an economy which is performing well, having avoided the global recession at the beginning of the decade).

    Italy has suffered losses and come under domestic political attack for supporting the war. Spain has had less losses but is also under political attack.

    The main political attack in countries pro-war was not alone financial nor political lines, but that the war was formed on lies. Most poeple in these countries supported ridding Iraq of Saddam because of the crimes he had done to Iraq and it's people, but the force that was needed to get over war inertia was WMD.

    Britain, Italy, Spain, Turkey and many others supported the war. France and Germany opposed mainly because of their isolated, non-political confrontational views. These countries are very muslim hostile (witness Turkey's denial from the EU, instigated by France/Germany, despite a better political system in Turkey than many Eastern European countires that were granted access); these countries are very isolationalist, very Europe-centric but world-isolationist. Please do not confuse Europe for the Franco-Germanic pact.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:43PM (#7774636)
    and after all the blood we poored for them in WWII.

    Yeah, after somebody else started shooting at you first... Unlike other countries, such as most of the commonwealth countries.

    I mean sure, Nazi Germany probably would have one if the US hadn't gotten involved, but stop acting like the allies one JUST because of the US. The US sluffed off and stayed out of most of the war, and it's contributions were no where NEAR as overwhelming as you seem to be implying. The US didn't - and COULDN'T have - won WWII on their own.

    And frankly, I think the French leaders show some backbone in telling the US "We don't agree, now go away" on ANY issue.
  • by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.Traeger@goA ... l.com minus poet> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:48PM (#7774673) Journal
    So you were talking about the US.
  • by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:50PM (#7774684) Journal
    I am so sick of the how the stories that get posted on Slashdot always have some wording to get this site going on a political bent. This story could have stimulated some interesting technical discussion - but because it had a tag line that mentioned the French / American thing, it will degrade into yet another Slashdot American / European / Asian / etc. bashing....
    Please PLEASE keep it about "News for Nerds" and "Stuff that Matters"
  • How do they know? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mc6809e (214243) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:50PM (#7774688)
    The article asserts that the US is opposing the France option because of the Iraq war.

    Just because some reporter makes this claim doesn't make it true. What is the source of this? There is nothing in the article to back it up. Maybe the claim comes from a source that is simply guessing as to the US's motives. Maybe the source is trying to divert attention from legitimate objections by claiming this is all politically motivated. We don't know.

    Take this article with a grain of salt.

  • Shut up US (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:54PM (#7774714) Journal
    What the hell does Iraq have to do with it? France have every right to hold their own opinions, does America think that just because they caught Saddam they now have the moral superiority of everyone? The site should be chosen on scientific suitability and somewhere where it wont be at risk of sabotage or control by any one government, it shouldnt be chosen based on the political views of some government in a totally unrealated matter. Its just childish like the Galileo demands.
  • by AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:57PM (#7774732)
    "If a country (and by this I refer to the elected government) sends troops to fight and possibly be killed then I say no, they did not oppose the war."

    Nice rhetoric, now try to look at what the people in those countries thought. In the UK Blair went against the wishes of a vast tract of the British public, cabinet ministers resigned over it and it came close (unfortunately not close enough) to destroying his career. He basically acted like a dictator, overriding the wishes of the country. The same thing happened in Spain, where Aznar faced huge opposition from the public. The story is repeated in every country that "supported" the US: in Turkey the pulic opposition was near universal (98% opposition in one poll).

    No, the spineless governments decided to play nice with the new global empire.
  • Re:That's it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by psifishdot (699920) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:59PM (#7774748) Homepage
    I don't think you've thought this through. Some of the most political people I know are also some of the most scientifically minded people I know. Some of the most political organizations are scientific organizations. With big science, you can't escape politics because there is a limited number of resources. Someone might want to spend $500,000 on MRI technology, while someone else wants to buy a $500,000 STM. Which one is right? Well, that's a political decision.

    You can't excape it. You might as well learn to live with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:02PM (#7774762)
    yes, because french restraunts in the US are not actually owned and run by french nor do they employ french..

    So basically the US constitution applies equally to everybody. Inalienable rights, as long as your ancestors were not from France? At one point the US stood for freedom and equality. Quite a shame that it's degraded to this. A person from France can move to the US, attain citizenship, yet because of their name, accent, or history they will be boycotted? I have no problem with you or anyone shunning somebody based on their beliefs or actions. But if you shun someone based on their heredity, that makes you a bigot. Either treat people equally or move to another country where they don't have such a constitution.

    Or are you so deluded as to believe that a person's cultural background always implies that they mimic the opinions of that culture's leaders?
  • by Grei (69192) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:04PM (#7774779)
    Ok, I read both referenced articles...and even looked around for some others. Frankly the AP article and the others that I found were frankly just light on details of the delay and hyping up the Japan site.

    While the BBC article was detailed on what they think is really going on (admittedly, it's probably what's going on, but I put that disclaimer in there just in case) with the delay.

    And you know what? I think I have a little more faith in the BBC article than I do in the AP article...it's almost a certainty that it's a political issue and not just a 'which site is better' issue.

    Grei
  • by fastidious edward (728351) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:05PM (#7774782)
    We are veering OT, but I do not believe in posting my opinions as AC, so here you go:

    France was conquered by Germany in WWII in a very short period of time. There was a valant fight by some (French and British), but the country was militarily impared to begin with.

    Hitler was happy not to go to war with Britain, but (and this was a very very controversial decision at the time in the UK), Britain decided to stand by her European neighbours, hence the squadrons of French, Polish etc pilots fighting Germany stationed in Britain.

    The sea got in the way of Germany's conquer of Britain, plus after France the German army was getting overstretched and needed to consolidate. But Britain could not have survived the turn of the decade were it not for very heavy supply support from the US. Fact. It had the men, the pilots and soldiers to protect the country despite heavy losses, but not enough ammo, not enough food, not enough materials. The US was invaluable to the UK's survival on the stance it had chosen, and hence invluable to the future recapture of Europe.

    The UK could have defended itself, possibly indefinately, but it could have never retaken Europe.

    An alliance (as the 'allies' were in WWII) means the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The UK chose to defend Europe, the US chose to defend Europe and the UK... it was an alliance. What was achieved would not have been possible were one part left out of the equation. It takes guts to stand up and fight rather than being assimilated, but Britain had it, the US (already stung by WWI) gained it and France did not like being assimilated(well, this is for debate for large sections of France).

    As regards WWII, please do not pick on one counrty, it was a world war and it was an alliance. It is pointless to point anything regarding WWII to one country, one action would have not have been achieveable without another.
  • by wmspringer (569211) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:08PM (#7774805) Homepage Journal
    Right on!

    Heck, most people in the US don't agree with Bush; what makes them think that the French agree with Chirac?
  • by defwu (688771) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:11PM (#7774825) Journal
    The AP story doesn't prominently mention the us objection to France because of their object to the war in Iraq. Conversly, the BBC story makes ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION of what the "us objections" actually are. I have not been able to find any credible mention of who and what the actual objections are. Is this just a quote from someone with an axe to grind?

    The technical aspects of this are much more interesting than the political ones.

    Technology will always devolve to the least common denominator. Polictics will always devolve to the marginalized just bitching.
  • Re:Don't be stupid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:18PM (#7774885)
    except for the fact that the US is still whining to other countries to help pay for it, and still not offering a cut in the 'spoils' to these countries. the 'spoils' as it were, are just a way for george w. to reward his friends with huge contracts at the expense of the american taxpayer.
  • by God! Awful 2 (631283) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:21PM (#7774903) Journal
    England, Canada, Australia all joined the war after Germany had attacked 2 countries. The US waited and waited and didn't join the war until they were eventually attacked. Why? Because the majority of the US public was opposed to the war.

    In the case of Iraq, a slim majority of the American populace was in favour of the war. In many other countries, public opinion was almost unanimously against the war, and yet the US berates them for not supporting it.

    -a
  • Re:Shut up US (Score:3, Insightful)

    by praksys (246544) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:30PM (#7774958) Homepage
    France have every right to hold their own opinions...

    ...but the US has to "shut up"? Don't the Americans have a right to have their own opinions?

    If the US wants to help the countries that help them, why souldn't they do so? If the French want to make matters difficult for the Amereicans then they should feel free, but they shouldn't get all whiney when the US then decides to help someone else.

  • by rsidd (6328) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:37PM (#7774977)
    You're almost certainly American. (You could be a particularly obnoxious Brit, I guess.)

    Your email address suggests you could have Indian origin. I'm from India, and even during the worst India-Pakistan tension I never saw the sort of crap in the Indian press about Pakistan that I continue to see in the US press (even "liberal" media like the New York Times) on a daily basis. At exactly the time when the US media was reporting on French exchange students being refused accommodation with American families, the Indian media was full of goodwill stories about a Pakistani girl who was undergoing a heart operation in India.

    I lost all illusion of the US being a progressive country when I saw that anti-French onslaught. It's not just the Bushies, it's the entire media.

  • by Dysan2k (126022) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:51PM (#7775070) Homepage
    At the hell point does Bob wearing a crucifix, James wearing a star of David, Anna wearing a veil and Lindsey wearing a pentogram ever play into forcing you into a religion in the first place? Hmm? If they, say, prayed in schools, or you had a mandantory protestant religion class, then sure. You might be able to argue that point. But having a diverse group of students displaying the religion they follow is HARDLY forcing anyone. In fact, more intelligent folk would look at that as a chance to speak with folks and learn about all sorts of different beliefs.

    As for the French, however, I have no problem with a great majority of them. But every Parisian I've met has been a complete stuck-up, arrogant piece of trash, talking about how "backwards" or "unrefined" America is. Well, in that case, get the f*** out of my country before I throw ya out. Am I saying that all Parisians are like that? No, but so far I'm batting 1.000.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:51PM (#7775074)
    Of course, there have been no successful major terrorist attacks in France while the US can't even keep their own airspace secure. And while we're at firing cheap shots, I have a hell of a lot more confidence in French democracy than I have in American democracy.
  • by tealover (187148) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:55PM (#7775102)
    What the US is doing here is ridiculous. Oppose the French solution, fine, but do it for technical or financial reasons, not political ones. The US is the only country doing this, which is even worse.

    If this is what the US is doing, it is no different than what the EU did when it choose the French site over the Spanish site. The EU chose the French site over Spain because Spain supported the Iraq war.

    If you don't like the injection of politics into matters of science, I'm sure you'll rebuke the EU for what they did to Spain.

    Or perhaps you'll ignore it since it fits into your worldview.

  • by xcomm (638448) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:58PM (#7775115)
    For God sake - I hope the Fusion reactor will not come to Europe at all for security reasons!

    For the politicial assault in the teaser of the article against France - here we go:

    There is not much difference between 'Old Europe' and the US till the end 199x. And for am I was born in Eastern Germany behind the wall there were a lot of reason to thank the US for standing and thus save whole Europe (otherwise there had been no hold for the russian divisions at all).

    But since the neoconservative Bush junta has taken over the power in the US all our picture of you has changed as dramatically as it could. Maybe we are driven apart before, but maybe all Europeans loved Clinton too much to see it. As where we stand now for me I can say: I see really two USA and they are as different as they could be. It's like you are a other land after the change from Clinton to Bush.

    As where we now stand I would suggest you in the US to read 'After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order' by Emmanuel Todd - despite it will hurt you should get a lot of truth from it.
    One of the main conclusions in this book is the change of the habbit of the US empire after the beginning of the 1990's from a good saving empire to a aggressive imperalistic empire.

    Here are some main differences between the US and Old Europe as good as I get it together. Hopefully we do not see here a other clash of civilisation Huntington may have left in his book.

    1)
    We do not believe that your President has been legitimated in a fair democratic election at all.
    (In no land in Europe this whould be able to happen - to have diffences in voting machines between 2-10% - and not count all votes via hand or arrange a new ellection.)

    2)
    Dead Penalty is not human and is showing a low state of civilisation.

    3)
    The agenda of Kyoto has to be ratified by the US as the biggest destroyer of our enviroment.

    4)
    The international curt in the Haag is the only authority for war crimes. Nobody here is seeing where you will have the right to think you would be out of this!

    5)
    You have no right to begin assault wars without legitimation of the UN security counsal - there will be no world order without the rule of law.

    6)
    There is also a big thinking of standing out of the law as empire. You have no right to deal like you do in Guantanamo! This is the tradition of Stalin and Hitler.

    So we see a fall of democracity in the US swapped against nationalism.
  • by Man In Black (11263) <ze-ro@shawNETBSD.ca minus bsd> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:10PM (#7775178) Homepage
    I would also add that France and Japan are both allies of the US. Given recent events, which is a "better" ally?

    Does no one else remember Pearl Harbor? Or is it just short attention spans? Yeah, that was a long time ago, but I don't recally France ever actually attacking the US at all.

    Frankly, I think this whole thing is stupid. What bad would come of a French fusion reactor? It's not like they're going to steal it and use it to power Iraq or something.

    Just tell Bush that if the reactor explodes, this way it would kill French people instead of Japanese... maybe that would change his mind.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:12PM (#7775185) Homepage Journal
    Building a stable, sustained, controllable fusion reaction is relatively easy. That isn't, and never has been, the problem. You contain the plasma in a magnetic field that has a single half-twist in it.

    That was solved by the Russians many decades ago. The only problems they had before then were the appearance of regions of instabilities - the plasma would pinch itself off at certain points. Switching from a ring to a torus solved this problem.

    Ok, so why don't we have fusion reactors? Because to build them powerful enough to generate more energy than they consume has been cost-prohibitive.

    All anyone really -needed- to do was build a reactor similar to the UK's JET reactor, but a few thousand times larger, and with magnetic fields many orders of magnitude stronger.

    You also want to start it from very cold. The idea here is to pack as many protons into the reactor as you can. The colder they are, the more you can pack in.

    Once you ignite your super-cold plasma, the nuclei are already much closer together, and can't move apart (density too high, plus magnetic field containing the plasma). Your ideal starting material would be a Bose-Einstein Condensate. You cannot get a better density than that, using just conventional means.

    This is why you'd need the stupendous magnetic fields. What I'm suggesting is not fusion of a low-density gas, but fusion of a pseudo-liquid or pseudo-solid. To retain that kind of density, when the material is undergoing fusion, would require fields vastly greater than those currently used in fusion research.

    The longest-lasting fusion reaction so far demonstrated is that of the hydrogen bomb. The reason it works better than the research reactors is that the designers wanted to maximise the energies, not keep them within a level that can be controlled on some PhD grant.

    The idea of my little idea above is to go the same direction. Forget the design parameters, get the energies to where we know sustained fusion will take place, and then figure out how to keep the thing from splitting the planet in half.

    With this kind of physics, this is the only way you can work. Single-team budgets will never yield enough cash to do what you want, so instead of "making do" with what you have, go for something that'll work well and make it irresistable for investors.

    What I am picturing eventually happening is someone building a reactor comparable in height to the proposed "Freedom Tower" (French Tower? :) - about 1700 feet - and then about 1700 feet in radius.

    Why so big? Well, the actual core - where the reaction would take place - would be very small. It doesn't need to be any larger than current systems. However, you have four other important components to consider.

    First, the electromagnets. We want something that'll contain a fusion reaction in what would be hydrogen metal, if there were any electrons present. Even without fusion, the pressures involved are going to be substantial. The idea of the supercooling is to keep the pressures within reasonable limits, prior to fusion taking place.

    But once fusion starts - at that density, you'd be looking at the kind of energy released in a few dozen hydrogen bombs, and you're trying to keep it compressed to something the size of a small two-storey house. Besides cost and effort, the other reason research reactors use gas is to keep the speed of the reaction slow. We're talking about throwing that out the window, and letting the reaction run as hot as we can possibly contain.

    The way you'd work it is, once the reaction is started, expand the bubble the reaction is in, rapidly. The reaction is then uniform, but is slowed down by the expansion. Hopefully, by enough that you can keep the thing from either exploding or shutting down.

    The second problem is getting "spent" fuel out. The larger a nucleus becomes, the l

  • by Vihai (668734) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:20PM (#7775233) Homepage
    here it is 2003 and we still havent even reached ignition Sorry but ignition has been reached ad fusion sustained for minutes.
  • Re:Don't be stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:25PM (#7775251) Homepage
    Yeah, it's called looking out for your nation's best interests, and EVERY nation does it.

    Yes, but some country's leaders are smart enough to do so without being obvious enough to turn the rest of the world's countries against them. Our current leader, sadly, does not appear to be that capable. He does seem to be crudely effective at bombing relatively defenseless countries into rubble, though, so that's something. On the other hand, I don't see much benefit from doing that without some additional international political action, so unless you get off on watching rubble bounce, there ain't much good to say about our current leadership. I didn't feel much threatened after 9/11 and I don't feel much threatened now, so I guess I just don't fit neatly within the parameters of their political strategies.

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:31PM (#7775291)
    I really don't know why.

    Excuse me but what statistics have you read? The war was probably about a 50/50 split in the US. Where did this slim minority BS come from?

    Ok, so where are your stats.

    Yes the many other Islamic countries were against the war. Islam has taken over 100 countries in the world now. If they feel threatened by anyone dealing with another Islamic country, then that's life.

    There are a few interesting things I'd like to point out here. First, your use of 'taken over' in reference to Islam. How many countries has Christianity 'taken over'? Why do you think the country has been captured by a religion? And which hundred countries do you suppose this has happened to? I bet you can't name a dozen.

    As far as France, Russia and Germany, yes they also didn't want the war. They were supplying Saddam and were owed billions. They still are. People forget that France was making the planes that Iraq used to gas its own people. That is why there was so much pressure against it. Those countries stood to lose money they were owed if the US invaded. You people are so easily swayed by propaganda instead of looking at facts that you really piss me off.

    Ah, yes. It pisses me off too, which is why I'm replying to your bad information.

    France, Russia, China, the USA, and Germany have all provided military equipment to Iraq. The USA has additionally outfitted Iran and several neighbours. The Russians, Germans, and French are owed money largely for infrastructure, electrical generators, sanitation equipment, and the like. But get this straight - no one is innocent in this, and the USA is certainly, far and away, the worst offender.

    The helicopters - not planes - that Saddam used to gas the Kurds were from Bell Helicopter Textron and Hughes, [gwu.edu] which are both US companies. Any planes Saddam had have been grounded (and indeed, literally buried) since the No-Fly Zone was established after Gulf War 1.

    So go check out that link and educate yourself, before the next time you go spouting off about things you know nothing about.

    Fuck France

    Oh, you don't want to get into that. France has much more effective curses to hurl back at you.

  • by jadavis (473492) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:53PM (#7775436)
    You have no right to begin assault wars without legitimation of the UN security counsal - there will be no world order without the rule of law.

    Sure we do... it's called "National Sovereignty". That means that our country can do what's in our best interests, and we don't have to answer to a self-appointed world government (U.N.) unless we choose to.

    By the way, I understand that you have difficulty with English, but "Rule of Law" means that people obey what's written in law universally, not what's decided by a political powermonger. If France obeyed the rule of law, they would have enforced U.N. Res. 1441, like the U.S. did.

    Now, bad things happen in any country. I would say the U.S. has a pretty good record overall. I bet it's better than whatever country you come from.

    Maybe if the countries in the U.N. rose to our standards of a free society ruled by its people, then maybe we'd be more inclined to give the U.N. some of our power in the name of global interests. The list of the countries that are part of the U.N. presently scares me away, however.

  • by deglr6328 (150198) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:58PM (#7775476)
    Sorry but you must be on a different planet with more advanced fusion technology than ours. Ignition has NEVER been achieved, certainly not for minutes. The definition of ignition is a plasma undergoing fusion at a rate sufficient that the alpha particles alone are enough to heat and continually sustain the reaction. You are confusing this with the sate of breakeven, where more energy is given out by the fusion reaction than is put in, and even then stable modes are only sustained for a few seconds at most.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:59PM (#7775483) Journal
    Not allying with USA doesn't equal allying with terrorists, merely thinking there could be another solution to the conflict than war.
  • Re:Don't be stupid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:09PM (#7775544)
    I wouldn't mind if the United States did go to war to advance its' own interests. The problem is that the Iraqi war is harming US national security.

    First, you give a reason to spawn a whole new generation of Islamic terrorists by giving them a new reason to hate America. Think about how many card-carrying members of the NRA would rise up against a Saudi occupation of Hawaii or Alaska. Fighting terror is not just killing terrorists; it's taking away the cause they're fighting for.

    Second, you drain the US budget with a near record deficit. The new medicare bill that just passed is going to cost 400 billion dollars; less than a month ago, we passed a 100+ billion dollar defense spending bill. Any economist will tell you that massive federal deficits hurts the economy.

    Third, you alienate a significant portion of the developed world. France, Germany, and Russia may have opposed the word, but keep in mind they do hundreds of billions in trade with the US every year; we want to maintain a cordial, if not friendly, relationship with these countries. Slapping them in the face, like Mr. Wolfowitz did, is not a great way to do this.

  • Funny... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blingin' AMD (625054) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:10PM (#7775548)
    How all the people I've ever come across that think the French people aren't on the level have never been to France. I mean, it's one thing to say "Well, All the French people I've met have been arrogant pricks, but I've never been to France," but quite another to generalize a country based on the actions of a: it's leaders or b: the damn few transplants you've seen in your hometown/area. I apologize to all the armchair bigots for going to France a few years ago, but When I asked for directions to, say La Defense (pardon the spelling if it's wrong) or the Champs-Elysees, or the palace of Versailles, (heck, even the nearest place to eat) I was given them, and given them very cordially and they even asked for my map and traced out the route. Shame I can't get the same service here in America. I live in Florida and there are a lot of New Yorkers in my area. All the ones I've come across have been arrogant pricks, but last time I visited NYC, even the Brooklynites were happy to tell me which lines went back to my hotel (Manhattan) and even recommended ones for cleanliness/safety/speed. I recommend actually visiting before making your umbrella statements about a given society.
  • by gaijin99 (143693) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:22PM (#7775621) Journal
    Basically they are saying our schools are secular and so all religious identity is banned. I really don't have a problem with that. People can believe what they like but I don't want it forced on me
    You've fallen into the same trap that the Fantatical Minority (or Religious Right as they choose to call themselves) has. Seeing a symbol (or person, or activity) that you disapprove of isn't having it "forced on you". A Christian wearing a cross, or a Muslum wearing a veil, neither of these are people trying to force their religion on you, they're simply practicing it. You can consider it obnoxious, or irritating, or whatever, but it doesn't infringe on your rights. Exactly the same way that when one of the Fanatical Minority sees a gay couple walking hand in hand it offends them, but it doesn't infringe on their rights.

    More to the point, I can't agree with you that a public school can force a person to behave in a secular manner any more than I cann accept that a public school could force someone to behave in a religous manner. Forcing someone *not* to wear a cross is identical to forcing someone *to* wear a cross. Its religious oppression either way you look at it.

  • by God! Awful 2 (631283) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:28PM (#7775669) Journal

    I don't consider 72% in favor of a "slim majority"...

    Sure, maybe 72% were in favour of the war after the invasion had begun. That is because 10-20% of Americans appear to be mindless automatons who automatically support their president during wartime (a sensability that is much lauded by the American media).

    In the weeks and months leading up to the war, public opinion fluctuated daily (also depending heavily on what question was asked). Go read some of the other surveys on the site you referred to, including this one [gallup.com], taken shortly before the war began, in which the exact words "slim majority" are used to describe support for an invasion without a new UN resolution.

    -a
  • by operagost (62405) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:45PM (#7775776) Homepage Journal
    You are so wrong. Unfortunately I already posted or I would mod you Overrated. That's simply not true. Do you remember Desert Storm in 1991? You're probably too young. The last time we even came close to "supporting" Saddam was while Iran and Iraq were at war. Mostly, it consisted of blaming Iran for prolonging the war when the Stark was attacked by Iraq. France, on the other hand, supplied weapons to Iraq. Iran had suffered a coup at the hands of Islamic theocrats, seizing innocent U.S. citizens and holding them hostage. They ignored all diplomatic attempts. What would you do?

    You also obviously never cracked a book or else you would know that the French helped Saddam build a plutonium-enriching facility [fas.org], which Israel destroyed for fear Saddam would have nuclear weapons within the decade. We'll never know for sure how much we owe Israel for doing that. They got their hands dirty and took the criticism of the world for it, just like the U.S. had to do in Iraq.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:47PM (#7775788)
    "I have a hell of a lot more confidence in French democracy than I have in American democracy."

    Let's see... in recent years we've seen France finish up their campaign against free speech (making sure folks like Yahoo don't publish things the French government doesn't like) and now they're moving against free expression of religion in schools (starting young). I see no reason to believe they'll stop there. Democracy is rather useless without free thought. At least in the US our courts are making headway in protecting personal liberties again.
  • by SpaceCadetTrav (641261) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:58PM (#7775871) Homepage
    Why would the terrorists attack the French? They're on the same team.
  • by SonnicBoom (468819) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:48PM (#7776118)
    Right.. because using the F word in a debate is oh so refined, and throwing people out of your "free" country because they don't agree with you is so progressive.

    Take a look in the mirror. Maybe the French ( and the rest of the world for that matter ) see something you don't...
  • by aled (228417) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:51PM (#7776134)
    So? The same could be said of US. First they support Saddam, when gets out of control then is the son of Satan. After 9/11 there was a lot of antiarab in the press. Bush has the monopoly on caring only in their economical-political interest?
  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @09:18PM (#7776268)
    but given that humanity survived for millions of pre-historic years without music, literature, or science, it seems probable that one could survive with one of the three.

    A: There are 10,000 year old cave paintings that show that humans were artistic, and probably spiritual, beings long before they were scientific beings. I suspect that the tradition continues long before we have any record of it. For as long as we've had brains sufficiently complicated that emotional well being was an important concern, we've probably been trying to figure out our place in the world. At the earliest points it would most likely have been through spirituality and storytelling, and possibly some forms of art.

    B: The Hierarchy of Needs is a fairly well accepted theory of psychology. If you're eternally on the edge of starving to death, your emotional devlopment or lack thereof isn't going to concern you much.

    C: Given current human psychology any attempt to perform this experiment will fail. The person in the example given in the grand-parent(?) post eventually found a form of art that allowed him to develop his spiritual/emotional/artistic/whatever side. If nothing else such a society would eventually develop something like case moding into a national art form.

  • by jadavis (473492) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @09:43PM (#7776401)
    I didn't say that the U.S. enforces all the U.N. resolutions. But facts aren't what matter to you when you can call me a dumb American.

    I was simply showing the fallacy of his argument regarding the rule of law. The U.S. blindly surrendering its power to the whims of U.N. officials has absolutely nothing to do with the rule of law.

    I don't want the U.S. to surrender its power to the U.N. any time soon, and I don't think it's going to happen. Why does a nation like France get the same vote on the security council that we do? They have lower population, lower GDP, less land, and less military power. Not only that, but France isn't exactly the model for a free state.

    When the political structure of the U.N. makes a little more sense, it is more likely that the U.S. will join more completely.

    I bet France would just love to have all kinds of power over the U.S. because they have been marginalized in the last century. Maybe there are some ulterior motives in accusing the U.S. of not playing well with others. A lot of people want to see the U.S. out of power.

  • by eric76 (679787) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:28PM (#7776609)

    There is some serious question over whether President Kennedy won the popular vote in 1960.

    The technique used to decide who got the popular vote quite probably awarded votes to President Kennedy that he did not, in fact, get.

    The following is from another source, but unfortunatley, the attributions are not there. My guess is that it is from the Wall Street Journal, but I am not sure.

    The effect of potential vote stealing on the outcome of the election was not the only historical argument cut short by Kennedy's assassination.

    Kennedy's edge in the nationwide popular vote was the equivalent of less than one vote per precinct. The Associated Press reported that Kennedy's plurality was just 112,827 votes nationwide, a margin of 49.7% to 49.5%. But was Kennedy, like George W. Bush, actually a "minority president," elected without a popular-vote plurality?

    It's uncertain because in Alabama, JFK's name didn't actually appear on the ballot. Voters were asked to choose between Nixon and a slate of "unpledged Democrat electors." A statewide primary had chosen five Democratic electors who were "loyalists" pledged to JFK six who were free to vote for anyone.

    The Democratic slate defeated Nixon, 324,050 votes to 237,981. In the end, the six unpledged electors voted for Sen. Harry Byrd of Virginia, a leading Dixiecrat, and the other five stuck with their pledge to Kennedy. When the Associated Press at the time counted up the popular vote from all 50 states it listed all the Democratic votes, pledged and unpledged, in the Kennedy column. Over the years other counts have routinely assigned all of Alabama's votes to Kennedy.

    But scholars say that isn't accurate. "Not all the voters who chose those electors were for Kennedy--anything but," says historian Albert Southwick. Humphrey Taylor, the current chairman of the polling firm Louis Harris & Associates (which worked for Kennedy in 1960), acknowledges that in Alabama "much of the popular vote . . . that is credited to Kennedy's line to give him a small plurality nationally" is dubious. "Richard Nixon seems to have carried the popular vote narrowly, while Kennedy won in the Electoral College," he concludes.

    Congressional Quarterly, the respected nonpartisan chronicler of Washington politics, spent some effort in the 1960s to come up with a fair way of counting Alabama's votes. Reporter Neil Pierce took the highest vote cast for any of the 11 Democratic electors in Alabama--324,050--and divided it proportionately between Kennedy and the unpledged electors who ended up voting for Harry Byrd.

    Using that method, Kennedy was given credit for 5/11ths of the Democratic total, or 147,295 votes. Nixon's total in Alabama of 237,981 remained the same. The remaining 176,755 votes were counted as being for the unpledged electors.

    With these new totals for Alabama factored in with the vote counts for the other 49 states, Nixon has a 58,181-vote plurality, edging out Kennedy 34,108,157 votes to 34,049,976. Using that calculation the 1960 election was even closer than we thought.

    There was also a question over vote totals in some states, Texas was one of them, that could have easily changed in favor of Richard Nixon. But Richard Nixon gracefully accepted the reported totals as true.

    So, if this is true, I wonder how many Democrats (or Republicans) would argue that President Kennedy stole the election.

    The fact is that our Presidential election is based on electors, not the popular vote. If the election was for popular vote, it is quite clear that the candidates would campaign quite differently.

    For example, in 2000, there was very little campaigning in Texas. It was quite clear that Bush would win the state even without spending campaign funds in Texas and it obviously would have been futile for Gore to campaign in Texas.

    If the popular vote was what mattered, both candidates would have campaigned differently. Both would have spent

  • by penguin7of9 (697383) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:44PM (#7776676)
    If this is what the US is doing, it is no different than what the EU did when it choose the French site over the Spanish site. The EU chose the French site over Spain because Spain supported the Iraq war.

    Really? Care to provide any evidence for that? Searching on Google, I found no articles among the top 20 that suggested any linkage between the decision for Spain to drop out and Spain's support of the Iraq war. Several of them said things like:
    Spain dropped out of the contest to build the project to strengthen the European position against contenders Canada and Japan, the source added.

    In fact, even if Spain's position on Iraq played a role, European diplomats would be less likely to do something as foolish as publicly stating it as a reason.

    If you don't like the injection of politics into matters of science, I'm sure you'll rebuke the EU for what they did to Spain.

    Here, I'll state it: any nation that determines the location of an unrelated scientific research facility based on whether a war they started was supported by other nations is behaving in a childish manner. Furthermore, if the diplomats and research establishment of that nation publicly give lack of support for the war as the reason for their decision on the location of the research facility, those diplomats are incompetent.

    I don't see exactly how the EU could have done what the US did, given that the EU has not started any wars recently, but if they have and if they make such a foolish decision, then, yes, I fully condemn their actions.
  • by tealover (187148) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:10AM (#7776993)
    Yeah, that's the official French line but everyone knows that it was directed towards the wearing of the hajib...oops, the veil. It appears France is even afraid to say the word "hajib".

    Liberty seems to have a capricious definition in France these days.
  • by GCP (122438) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:12AM (#7777251)
    You just have to look at Pearl Harbour and 9/11 to see how badly the US take to threats to the 'homeland'.

    I agree. Look at Pearl Harbor and notice how the US treated the defeated Japanese as well as they treated the defeated Germans. You're right that the US takes threats to the homeland badly, if you mean very seriously. You're clearly wrong about it having anything to do with US magnanimity in victory.

  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:05AM (#7777462) Journal
    ...show backbone when we say, "Uh.. Ok, but then don't come back with your hand out later." Which is of course what they've done.

    Let's not forget our good friends the French who, AGAINST WORLD OPINION decided to do a bit of above ground nuclear testing off of New Zealand back in '95-'96. They essentially told everyone else to fuck off and mind their own business when they did what they pleased. In the process, they ended up spewing even more radioactive waste across the planet. Yes, what peace lovers the French are, yes?

    Thanks to that thoughtless move, Pakistan and India thought the time was ripe, after all, if one of the primary signatories of the test ban treaty can break it, why shouldn't they?

    So let's cut the hypocrisy here. It wasn't even that France decided that THEY didn't want to go to Iraq. That would have been acceptable to the U.S. No, they went one step further, going around the world and trying and convince OTHER nations to bury the U.S. in the U.N. as well. All for their oil contracts in Iraq. That's not simplistic neutrality - that's fucking HOSTILITY!

    France pissed the U.S. off - perfectly within their rights - but they shouldn't reasonably expect everything to be business as usual afterwards.

    And as to minimizing our contributions in WWII, I have to just say, Fuck You. There are members on my Dad's side I never got to meet because of that war. You might be confusing WWI with WWII - which is understandable - both wars were created first in Europe and our contributions were not as great in WWI (not to minimize our role there either).

    As with Bosnia, the U.S. was there to clean up the mess in Europe's own backyard.

    Go ahead, mod me down for being an American about this, but I think many forget the price of blood and sacrifice and put it all down to numbers.

    At least I'm not being an Anonymous pussy in my reply. My karma and your self respect is at your mercy...

  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SurgeonGeneral (212572) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:45AM (#7777602) Journal
    Is it possible that the sphere of science and technology has expanded so much since the Benthamites that one actually could enjoy a healthy and creative life, full of symbolic meaning and structure, in pure science and technology? Music and literature are awesome, I wouldn't want to live on Super Technocrat Island of Technofun as proposed here, but given that humanity survived for millions of pre-historic years without music, literature, or science, it seems probable that one could survive with one of the three.

    A good question, but I think you would be sorely mistaken if you ever thought there was a time in which humankind existed without a symbolic backdrop. Look at African tribes: they are millenia behind us in terms of technology and many are still living in the stone age. Yet they have some of the most rich, meaningful musical and spiritual cultures on the planet. I do not believe there was ever an age where humans did not feel the urge to express themselves in an irrational and creative fashion. Its simply our nature and a necessary part of our existence to be expressive.

    Do I think that in the last 100 years things have changed so drastically that its possible to live as you have suggested? No. Facts and numbers simply cannot replace that intangible essence that defines humans. They simply cannot carry the great burden of existence that we all must bear. But I'm also not sure that we are even apt to comment on a purely scientific existence since our lives are so full of symbolism and culture.

    The ritual containers that shape our lives and give them meaning have simply mutated, as they often will, yet become in many cases they've become quite perverse. The dollar is used as a measuring stick of ethics and values, including our own environment and minds. Advertising is the primary source of information and thus shapes the structures that govern our behaviour, hence rampant consumerism. If anything we need literature, music and spirituality more than ever, though not necessarily in the traditional sense.
  • by Corbin Dallas (165835) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:50AM (#7777613) Homepage
    but the purpose of a school is to educate. If religious symbols provide a focus for disruption (for instance, in the same way that gang colours would), is it not reasonable to remove that disruption from the educational environment?

    It is not reasonable. If a child can not behave in a respectable manner around other children who happen to be wearing a religious symbol or article of clothing, then the problem is the disruptive child, not the religious reference. That child needs to be disiplined and shown the correct behavior that is expected of him.

    Same thing with gang clothes. The clothes themselves are harmless. It's the child's reaction to the clothes that is wrong. Educate the child. You'll find that he or she grows into a much better adult.

    And for those slashdotters reading this who are thinking: "Don't shove your religion in my face!", you're exactly the kind of ignorant asshole that should have been taught better as a child. You have no right to dictate what other people may express. If you find such expressions offensive or disruptive, then YOU are the problem due to your intolerance. I believe in God. There, I got IN YOUR FACE with my RELIGION. Can you handle that? No? Tough shit.

    After all, we're all going to have to live on this planet with people of different religions. Where better to learn about them than at school?
  • by fenix down (206580) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:05AM (#7777650)
    France != America

    France's constitution explicitly demands secularism. This stems from France's roots as a Catholic state, they've had their own Popes and whatnot, if you remember any European history. After they had their little revolution, although they were largely modeling their new constitution after ours, they felt that explicitly stating a goal of secularism was what they needed. Instead of the the US's extemely heterogeneous population in terms of faith, France was all Catholic at that point, so if any leeway in terms of religion could be expected, they would have to keep religion off the streets.

    The US could afford live and let live, because everybody was a minority. Everybody could start hatin' on the Quakers, and the Quakers would be screwed, but then the Calvinists or whatever could just as easily be next. In France, if the Catholics decided to start opressing Lutherans or whatever, they had no other group to keep them in line.

    This is pretty much still true. France is 80, maybe even 90% Catholic still, and anti-semitism and crap like that are always right under the surface. If they don't want an entire country of Northern Ireland-esque religious riots, forcing religion to stay a non-issue is what has to happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @09:09AM (#7778525)
    It does create problems when the male parent of a pupil refuses to talk to a female teacher on religious grounds.

    The buck has to stop somewhere. Stopping someone from wearing the veil or the cross is not the same as prevening them to go to the mosque or the church.

    In America I understand there is this no-tolerance policy in some areas where people can go to jail for smoking Marijuana. Does the smoker inpinge on your liberties?

    Don't you see a parallel there?
  • by El Camino SS (264212) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:16PM (#7779311)

    I mean, besides that whole concept of "liberty" and stuff... oh, and they:

    *aided us with ships and arms in our most important time in removing King George from the colonies
    *provided money for the expansion of our navy to defend our trade to the Barbary Coast
    *became our number one trade partner when no king's nation was buying American goods
    *admired and respected us that they acted in same manner to start a revolution for their people
    *loved us so much that they gave us the Statue of Liberty, and we loved them so much all of our fashions and opinions came from France
    *is our oldest national friend, and the first place that really recognized our sovereignity
    opened our cultural gates to Europe when we needed help
    *has been our staunch ally on the security council, believed with us that the spread of communism in Vietnam was so important that they got involved first, almost religiously backed our initiatives until we freaked out and launched a war unprovoked
    *generally put up with our crap, and we them, for generations, out of FRIENDSHIP

    *And most importantly, they would LISTEN TO US AND WE THEM WHEN WE DISAGREED

    Besides that, what has France ever done for us. And by saying "done for us" I mean the LAST TWENTY MINUTES. After all, America is not good on remembering the truth about France and America, who were, at one time, the only two democracies backed into a corner in the world, struggling for the freedoms of their citizens.

    NEVER FORGET THAT.

    Take that you anti-France bastards. We're old friends, it is about time you honored the contract, and listened to your friends, you petulant children.

    By the way, we had larger influences in Iraq than you think. Read a little.

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