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Power Science

Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the tried-everything-else dept.
katarn writes "General Fusion is a startup proposing they can create commercially viable fusion using acoustic shock waves, triggered by 220 precisely controlled pneumatic pistons. Their approach is based on a US Naval research concept called 'Linus' and old research done by General Atomics. They feel we now have the high-speed, digital processing capable of pulling off this feat, where decades ago the technology was not available. I think we can hold off on the 'vaporware' claims for a bit; everyone is aware of the horrible track record for turning fusion concepts into reality, but they don't claim to be the first with the idea or that there are not substantial challenges in the way. If nothing else, it is a fascinating concept." Los Alamos National Laboratory has further details on this type of fusion, and longtime LANL researcher Ronald Kirkpatrick did an external assessment (PDF) of General Fusion's plans. Popular Science had a lengthy story about the company a while back. The reason they're back in the headlines now is that they've secured enough funding to begin work on a prototype reactor.
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Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion

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  • Steam punk angle? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:16AM (#28905875)
    I mean, come on, this is just begging for some steam punk artwork!
    • "Somebody described it as a thermonuclear diesel engine," Laberge says, perhaps undervaluing a potentially awesome marketing phrase. "We compress the fuel. It burns."

      Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel would be proud! Really, what human with a Y chomosome wouldn't want to drive a big-rig with a freakin Thermonuclear Diesel Engine!? Steampunk, but with 3 orders of magnitude more available enthalpy! We're talkin locomotive to the stars, here!

      • I instantly thought steampunk too. Now you've got an image in my head of a master engineer with steampunk goggles pulling a lever, custom brass components whirring and chugging, and then a train silently roaring across the frame, occluding the stars, and disappearing in the distance toward Jupiter.
  • Gawd (Score:3, Funny)

    by tetrahedrassface (675645) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:18AM (#28905889) Journal
    So a project code named "linus' makes the tag sharks think we are all idiots and can't read the article? This has a chance of working. It might be an off chance but anytime Los Alamos is involved you had damn well better put some stock in it. On second thought... Linus made linux, and this was code named 'Linus". Therefore we can now call it Fusex.

    Soon everyone will be asking hey.. Does that reactor run Fusex?

    I think you get the point

    • Christ, even night carts only had 50 pisstins.

      On the other hand, think how fast your fusion powered car would go, given 220 pistons!
    • So a project code named "linus' makes the tag sharks think we are all idiots and can't read the article?

      You must be new here.

  • OK, interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:19AM (#28905901)
    Skimmed the article, they're planing to do with pistons what would be done explosives in a normal nuclear bomb.

    Wouldn't it be funny if it worked?
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:23AM (#28905923) Homepage Journal
    ...with the fission component replaced by good old fashioned pistons? I bet it sounds great. There has certainly been a lot of modelling in this direction.
    • by jpmorgan (517966) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @03:45AM (#28906917) Homepage
      Only in the vaguest sense. The secondary stage in a thermonuclear bomb is triggered by a fission primary, however the secondary stage in a thermonuclear bomb is not a purely fusion weapon. It's a multilayer sandwich. The secondary starts off with another fission reaction (the plutonium spark-plug), which helps trigger the fusion reaction (lithium deuteride), which in turn boosts the ongoing fission reaction in the spark plug, which in turn boosts the ongoing fusion reaction. Finally it produces a neutron flux which detonates and consumes the secondary casing (depleted uranium, U-238). Most of the energy in a thermonuclear bomb comes from the fission of the depleted uranium protective casing. Thermonuclear bombs do fission 'better' than purely fission bombs. For the record, this was discovered accidentally when Castle Bravo was a much bigger bang than the designers expected.
      • by kohaku (797652)

        Finally it produces a neutron flux

        Hah, yeah right! You're going to have to make up some more believable sounding sciencey words before we fall for THAT one. Why don't you just go reroute the flux capacitor through the deflector to invert a tachyon pulse while you're at it?
        Comedians...

      • which in turn boosts the ongoing fission reaction in the spark plug, which in turn boosts the ongoing fusion reaction. Finally it produces a neutron flux which detonates and consumes the secondary casing (depleted uranium, U-238).

        Dear sir
        I would like to personally thank you for helping us the great people of North Korea to finalize our procedures.
        Kim Jong-il

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @10:21AM (#28908513)

        The huge yield of Castle Bravo was more due to the unexpected reactions with lithium-7. It wasn't expected to react, but it does capture neutrons, then decays into tritium + a neutron. The tritium quickly fuses with deuterium and releases yet more neutrons. Much of the yield was from the uranium casing, but the reason was the extra high energy neutron flux from the lithium-7. And the secondary in a TU design has the fusion squeezed from both the spark plug detonation (plus a lot of neutrons) and the ablative pressure, on the tamper, from the primary. I'm going to guess that they used a larger amount of the lithium-deuteride because it was only partially enriched. Which meant a lots of unexpected extra energy and neutrons from the lithium-7.

        Mr. Burns: [over the hotline] Oh, meltdown. It's one of these annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus.

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:25AM (#28905943)

    Colonel Fission is pissed and has vowed to crush General Fusion's puny attempts at creating nuclear energy!

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:28AM (#28905957) Homepage

    There's been some modest interest in actively stabilized fusion for a while, but this is the first mechanical scheme.

    The basic problem with fusion reactors is that the plasmas aren't stable. Most work to date involves trying to come up with some geometry that produces an inherently stable plasma. So far, nothing works, although some geometries almost work. But it's not that hard to build a small machine that has an unstable plasma. The original Stellerator, in 1951, did that.

    The instabilities occur on the order of milliseconds, not microseconds or nanoseconds. That's slow enough that some kind of active stabilization scheme to nudge the instabilities back in line might work. Something with a large number of sensors and actuators. But I'd been expecting electrostatic deflection plates or magnets, not physical pistons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)
      I wonder if this could be turned into a rocket engine? It has an EE Smith feel about it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
        That might explain the spinny engine bits on the Serenity.
      • by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:28PM (#28910099)
        I think it could. (IANARS, but I play one on /.)

        Not a ground to orbit engine, the assembly would be too heavy for the max thrust of current non-chemical fueled engines. But once in orbit the energy generated could run a VASIMR, conventional ion or water/steam based thruster quite well. With something like that Mars would be less than 6 month round trip, the outer planets and more importantly asteroids would be within practical reach. This kind of engine could be used to bring an asteroid into Earth orbit for mining or divert a rock on an impact trajectory.

        The more I think about it the more I think this idea is just crazy enough to work.
    • by ClosedSource (238333) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:46AM (#28906057)

      You could attach four smart mechanical arms to someone's brain stem (with an inhibitor chip of course). Those extra arms could make the millisecond adjustments to keep the instabilities in check. I have to admit this sounds familiar ...

    • by Daetrin (576516)
      So in order to maintain the fusion reaction they're going to physically shove the plasma into alignment whenever it develops an instability? Are you saying that Spider-Man 2 was actually correct about its physics? I'm not sure if this means i should be looking forward to flying cars in the near future or watching out for an attack by super villains.
      • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:06AM (#28906163) Homepage
        They're not going to stabilize the plasma at all, if I understand this right (IANANP). It's a pulse fusion model: put your hydrogen in the middle, surround with a working fluid that they refer to as "liquid metal" (made of lead + lithium), fire off pistons to make a pressure wave in the liquid metal and make a burst of fusion in the middle, generating heat. This makes the molten lead even hotter, and it's circulated through a heat exchanger. The cool part, I thought, was that the lead also absorbs radiation so the casing and equipment doesn't fall apart after a few months because the neutron flux made it brittle. That's a neat trick.
        • by Rei (128717) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:26AM (#28906259) Homepage

          One neat thing that they didn't mention: having lithium exposed to a high radiation flux will breed more tritium. It makes its own fuel.

          • It's a shame it breeds more tritium and no di-lithium ...

          • not if you reverse the polarity of the main deflector

          • by radtea (464814)

            One neat thing that they didn't mention: having lithium exposed to a high radiation flux will breed more tritium

            And having lead exposed to a high neutron flux will breed all kinds of long-lived nuclear waste, which has generally been one of the advantages of fusion (looking past the whole "doesn't actually exist" thing.) That said, the waste will should still be more managable than fission products, and the production of long-lived actinides will be small, if non-negligible.

            Overall this looks like a really

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jamesh (87723)

          What happens to the lead when it absorbs the radiation? If it's fusion then there aren't a lot of neutrons let off but does it still remain stable (ie remain lead) over a long period?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by physburn (1095481)
          Yeah the lead will absorb radiation, but when it absorbs those fast neutrons from the fusion reaction, it will split like uranium does in fission. Except some very nasty radioactive daughter products. With the lead, this is not be clean energy, it will rather dirty indeed.

          ---

          Nuclear Power [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

          • If it works, it's still damn better than oil, which is dirty energy we have to buy from dirty people.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        Are you saying that Spider-Man 2 was actually correct about its physics?

        It was correct about everything else wasn't it? Why would the physics side of it be any different?

    • by j-stroy (640921)
      I've been waiting for this (acoustically contained/pumped fusion). Its just one more way to add energy, create confinement and maintain resonance. And whats with Sonoluminescence [wikipedia.org] anyways? The whole tokamak thing seemed a little ill conceived when I heard how difficult it is to keep the vacuum from being poisoned and energy from leaking away from the desired chain reaction.

      Btw sound waves are observed>/a> on the surface of the sun. [space.com]
    • by deglr6328 (150198) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:44AM (#28906341)

      Uhhhh, what are you talking about? The plasma parameters are not by any means, in so far as I can see, actively controlled in any way in this scheme. Their plan is to launch two colliding toroidal vortex rings of hot plasma into the vorticular void of a large sphere or rapidly spinning molten LiPb metal. Then, using pistons, they launch an imploding spherically symmetric shockwave into the metal to converge upon the merged spheromaks at the center of the setup. The TOTAL confinement time looks like it'll be measured in microseconds at most on this thing, no way is there time for active control of the plasma during a shot like that.

      As fusion schemes go, I am obligated to express my opinion that this one is way fucking wacky, however, it is significantly less wacky than a lot of other ideas out there (polywell, I'm looking at you) and it does not appear to have any immediate show stoppers associated with it which would allow me to dismiss it out of hand. I am not a physicist, but I did just get home from my job working on one of the nation's largest conventional (laser driven) inertial confinement fusion reactors and I have a very deep enthusiast's interest on these matters. On the laser fusion device that I work on, we have recently begun shooting MTF targets (we call it MIF or magneto-inertial fusion though) on our system as well [rochester.edu], and the results are quite interesting. We use a centimeter scale, single loop Helmholtz coil setup with a conventionally laser-driven fusion microcapsule sitting at the center of the coils. The laser fires, compressing the D-T fuel to tremendous pressure and temperature (higher than in the sun's core) and just before the exact moment of maximum compression and fusion burn (bang time) the Helmholtz coils are fired with power from a couple hundred Joule capacitor bank, thereby producing a huge magnetic field in the compressed target capsule and hopefully increasing the plasma confinement time from a mere few picoseconds to several times longer (the Larmor radius of charged particles in a magnetic field of the intensity we produce is on the order of the size of the compressed capsule, it effectively suppresses electron thermal conductivity and confines the hot plasma within itself). Proton deflectrometry has been successfully used to validate the expected ~.2 megagauss magnetic fields in our setups. The work ahead of the guys with this piston driven shockwave idea is enormous, but the field of plasma and fusion physics is still rich with exciting discovery. I wish these gentlemen the very best of luck.

      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday August 01, 2009 @02:32AM (#28906541) Homepage Journal

        So what's your opinion of Dense Plasma Focus Fusion [focusfusion.org] then?

        • by deglr6328 (150198) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @03:15AM (#28906779)

          I won't sugarcoat my thoughts on that one, I'd say it's nothing more than a fraud. The lowest of the low, vastly kookier than even Bussard's Polywell. I have followed discussions about Eric Lerner and focus fusion VERY closely on the wikipedia pages and I have little to no respect for that man's ideas about fusion or his tactics of argument. He does not have a PhD and he is not a physicist. His ideas about the "electric universe" are idiotic pseudoscience. I will refer you specifically to the plasma physicist Art Carlson's highly thoughtful and reasonable objections to unconventional fusion schemes in general on this issue, and his objections to focus fusion in particular (all on the wiki pages). His credentials and intellectual honesty in these debates seem, to me anyway, to be impeccable.

          Robert Bussard can be forgiven for his sin of the polywell. He was a really good scientist who achieved some truly admirable things in his career, but at the end I think he realized that he was getting old and would never live to see his dream of fusion power come true, and he started making wacky claims when things became desperate (like extrapolating his supposed observation of three -count em- THREE fusion neutrons from one of his setups to commercial scale power cost estimates, that's just pain nutty). It's unfortunate but entirely forgivable. Art Carlson's criticism of the polywell device as a non-starter due to its being classified as a reactor whose plasma is in thermodynamic disequilibrium (Todd Rider's MIT thesis on this showed that the bremsstrahlung losses are insurmountable) are highly convincing, and the waffling and flouncing about that the polywell supporters do in the face of these criticisms seem highly dubious.

          • Personally I'm holding back on putting the 100k down on the Tesla 2020 with 220 cylinder fusion engine. But I wouldn't claim a University of Wikipedia education to condemn a new idea; I wouldn't want to make a statement on the workability without a Ph.D. in high energy physics myself. Compared to the billions spent on the confined plasma schemes, pulse set-ups are cheap to implement and see if you get excess neutrons or not. The one thing we learned from the cold fusion disaster, the claims don't last long
          • by Zobeid (314469)

            Eh what? Please excuse my ignorance, as I have only been following this casually, but. . . .

            I thought it had been long shown that Todd Rider's paper doesn't address (i.e. is not applicable to) the Polywell device.

            I seems to me that most critics of Polywell go off track when they start describing the ions in the reactor as a hot plasma (as if it were a kind of tokamak), when it would be more apt to view them as a converging particle beam. The type of directed (as opposed to random) kinetic energy those par

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Entropius (188861)

        I don't know what's scarier: that your post was so full of technical jargon, or that I understood all of it.

        I think I need to switch fields.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by quanminoan (812306)
        Polywell more wacky than this? There are a number of things I can't see them getting right with this piston concept any time soon. Personally, I don't think they can make a uniform shockwave using pistons, but we'll see I guess. The plasma vortex rings sounds interesting. I guess my primary question would be using the lead lithium blanket next to the plasma. Invariably, you'll have some vapor in the plasma region, and these higher Z atoms should wreck havoc with Bremsstrahlung radiation. The polywell alread
        • by deglr6328 (150198)

          I am in agreement with most of your thoughts except the polywell neutron claim. Have they published with statistically significant neutron yields? I'd like to read it if so. The General Fusion guys will definitely have to deal with severe Richtmyer-Meshkov instability when the shockwave breaks out of the molten metal into the plasma at the center, and then Rayleigh-Taylor instability when the plasma itself if compressed. Question is, how uniform of a shockwave will they need? Who knows. The CDX-U and LTX to

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Animats (122034)

        The TOTAL confinement time looks like it'll be measured in microseconds at most on this thing, no way is there time for active control of the plasma during a shot like that.

        I see that. So what do they want all the compute power for? I'd assumed I was reading an oversimplified version, and all the compute power was to actively stabilize something. If they just need a simultaneous push, they don't need compute power. I'm missing something.

        There's work on active stabilization. See "Active-Feedback Con [aip.org]

        • by Plekto (1018050)

          There's other work like that, and hope that one of the designs that's almost stable might be nudged into stability with active control.

          But there are practical issues to deal with, assuming that they even get it to be somewhat stable. Exactly how long can they maintain it before one of the pistons fails? What happens if one fails? How do they capture and utilize the energy created?(big one here) How much heat eventually will end up being radiated back into the machine itself and the surrounding area?(ca

        • by deglr6328 (150198) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @05:28PM (#28911903)

          I don't understand why they need the computing power either.

          here's work on active stabilization. See "Active-Feedback Control of the Magnetic Boundary for Magnetohydrodynamic Stabilization of a Fusion Plasma" [aip.org]. That's a 2006 paper on a scheme involving 192 active feedback coils to stabilize a plasma. There's other work like that, and hope that one of the designs that's almost stable might be nudged into stability with active control.

          Yes but that work was done on the reverse field pinch device called RFX-mod ( http://www.igi.cnr.it/rfxmod2009/ [igi.cnr.it] ). It's a tokamak-like magnetic confinement device so it probably has shot times measured in the multi-second range. Plenty of time for active stabilization but way different from this new MTF approach.

      • by moon3 (1530265)
        Your laser compressed, ignited and magnetic flux stabilized fusion scheme looks more reasonable and promising than this (TFA) mechanical molten lead and piston driven foolishness, hopefully you guys will be able to produce some real word energy producing setup soon.
    • by mako1138 (837520) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @04:57AM (#28907203)

      But it's not that hard to build a small machine that has an unstable plasma.
      The original Stellerator, in 1951, did that.

      Uh, the advantage of a Stellarator is that it's a stable configuration... relatively speaking.

      And indeed it is not difficult to build a machine with an unstable plasma. The history of magnetic confinement fusion research is "oh I've got this great idea for a stable plasma configuration" followed by "we built it and found out that it's not stable enough."

  • by Cidolfas (1358603) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:41AM (#28906021)
    The research team's other concept, which created fusion by enticing atoms with footballs only to pull them all away at the last second, was named 'Lucy'.
  • p11B (Score:4, Informative)

    by pitterpatter (1397479) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:58AM (#28906125) Journal

    Perhaps if the D-T reactor does really well they can redesign it to handle a fuel composed of hydrogen ions (protons, in other words) and Boron-11 ions. The products of this reaction are helium-4 ions, which are not radioactive and do not induce radioactivity in their containment vessel if they are captured electrically. Electrical capture also avoids the losses associated with converting heat to electricity.

    I really hope General Fusion gets this to work, but if I had any money, my money would be on EMC2 Corp, which is working on inertial electrostatic fusion. This [blogspot.com] or this [emc2fusion.org] should get you started on a search for more information.

    • Perhaps this [blogspot.com] is a better link for Polywell Fusion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      If you read the site, you'd see one of the tricks they have up their sleeve to deal with the radioactivity problem: they surround the actual fusion process with a working fluid of molten lead (and lithium) which not only transmits the shockwave from the pistons, but also absorbs neutrons. If the reactor does well, they shouldn't have to change the fuel at all.
  • Interesting... (Score:4, Informative)

    by kabz (770151) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:58AM (#28906127) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if this is related to the suspected fusion that occurs during ultrasound induced cavitation.
    • by Entropius (188861)

      It's the same idea, essentially -- a shock focused from all directions onto a point in the middle.

      Ultrasound pumped into a resonant cavity is just a different way of starting the shock (and you get many shocks per second with a higher efficiency -- whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on what you're doing)

  • I don't know about their fusion reactor, but as far as web servers go that startup appears to be way ahead of LANL.

    • by waferhead (557795)

      Yes, slashdot has apparently DOS'd a guvmint lab.

      Expect the black DHS helicopters to arrive in 3,2,1... ;-)

  • Well.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:14AM (#28906197) Homepage
    Well, it looks like they're finally going to hammer out fusion power.
  • by robbiedo (553308) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:19AM (#28906221)
    "General Atomics" Sounds like a company from a 1950's Robert Heinlein novel.
    • by evanbd (210358) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:44AM (#28906333)
      There's a reason fifties novels sound like that. It has to do with art imitating life, not the other way around. General Atomics was real. So were General Dynamics and General Electric. So were companies like North American Aviation and The Aerospace Corporation. Some of them even still exist.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by amRadioHed (463061)

        Was real? My office is just down the street from them. Sure they aren't doing that cool Project Orion stuff anymore but they're still here.

    • by Nethead (1563)

      Your thinking General Services from "We Also Walk Dogs."

  • Nice try (Score:3, Funny)

    by beej (82035) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:31AM (#28906281) Homepage Journal

    But that's never going to fit on a DeLorean. Why don't these guys ever plan ahead?

  • Who knew? (Score:3, Funny)

    by tchdab1 (164848) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @01:50AM (#28906361) Homepage

    that the Batmobile had a 220-cylinder engine?

  • VSE (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by epine (68316)

    I've lived in the area for a long time, and never heard a good story about the VSE (RIP 1999), it's remains, but not the lingering stench, since composted into the CDNX.

    Wikipedia just provided me with a funny story about the VSE I didn't know, but find all too typical.

    The history of the exchange's index provides a standard case example of large errors arising from seemingly innocuous floating point calculations. The index was initialized at 1000 and subsequently updated and truncated to three decimal places on each trade. The accumulated truncations led to an erroneous loss of around 20 points per day. Over the weekend of November 25-28 1983, the error was corrected, raising the value of the index from its Friday closing figure of 524.811 to 1098.892

    Are these the same people who are proposing to solve the fusion problem with 220 synchronized penises? Good god, I hope not.

    For the record, here's what $500m typically buys you in British Columbia.

    Fast Ferry Scandal [wikipedia.org]

    Amazing, just eight hours a

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Luxifer (725957)

      Wow, you're too bitter to be a Canadian by birth, and you didn't apologize once. So..er.. where you from originally?

  • New Idea? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:16AM (#28907485) Journal

    Maybe we should just move all companies and their fusion experiments to one, single 'fusion science park', with each building next to each other in a ring. We then use large bulldozers to smash all the buildings towards the centre at the same time and see what happens?

    It's an idea? No?

  • FTA : "half used to create steam that spins a turbine for power generation"

    Why do we still pursue solutions that end up relying on 19th century technology?

    It's like a space ship's hyperdrive being powered by coal. Even Douglas Adams wouldn't have put that in a story.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxume (22995)

      Because it works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by michael_cain (66650)
        Because it works.

        To expand on that point, because it's inexpensive, it uses common materials, and it scales. The problem of "I have an object here that produces lots of heat energy, I'd like to convert that heat to useful work, please" is harder than it sounds.

    • Why do we still pursue solutions that end up relying on 19th century technology?

      Even worse, we are still moving most of our stuff around on 5th century BC technology! This is simply inexcusable!!

  • a startup proposing they can create commercially viable fusion using acoustic shock waves...based on a US Naval research concept called 'Linus'

    In other news, Naval research has noted ongoing changes in dolphin behaviour, six days after Linus Torvalds shouted at Alan Cox.

  • A series of financial shock waves squeezed my retirement plan into the size of a helium atom, so I don't see why sound waves can't do the same for a couple of deuterium atoms.

  • Nice to see that Piston [rubyforge.org] finally gets the recognition it desserves!

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Nice to see that Piston finally gets the recognition it desserves!

      I see inanimate carbon rod has had its fifteen minutes of fame.

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