Author Archives: LastTechAge

About LastTechAge

I am a physicist with years of work in fusion labs, industry labs, and teaching (physics and math). I have watched the tech scene, watched societal trends and am alarmed. My interest is to help us all improve or maintain that which we worked so hard to achieve.

Obama, Overtime and Saez-Piketty

Obama’s new overtime rules will change business practice. What does they speak to: injustice, inequality or something else? The July 1, 2015 New York Times Business section carried an analysis by Noam Scheiber on proposed new Overtime rules, Obama Overtime … Continue reading

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TPP to Piketty – The Slow War

Trans  Pacific Partnership, Retirement Security, and Piketty income inequality are backdrop to slow but very real warfare. The TPP issue is not an isolated topic but part of deep background to an unspoken but real efforts to change the structure … Continue reading

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NIF Notes_Hohlraum Spring-2015

Tiny target chambers may become rugby footballs. Will these save ICF/IFE? During the early spring (2015), the National Ignition Facilty (NIF) at LLNL released/published several modifications to the target design that are worth mentioning. One is the realization that the … Continue reading

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Physics – Science or Ideology?

Should physics theories be tested – or just accepted?  So asks essay the in New York Times Adam Frank  and Marcelo Gleiser discuss whether Physics has moved beyond the need to be checked.  Their essay (Sunday New York Times 2015-Jun-7) … Continue reading

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NIF Notes_tents Spring 2015

The NIF fusion lab reports that their target support structure could hurt implosion results – our discussion. During the early spring (2015), the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at LLNL released/published several modifications to the target that are worth mentioning. One … Continue reading

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NIF Notes_shells Spring-2015

NIF reports tests with capsule designs that illuminate the path toward great results During the early spring (2015), the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at LLNL released/published several modifications to the targets worth discussing. One is the realization that the gossamer … Continue reading

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Fortunetelling killed by Time’s arrow

Precognition / clairvoyance / prescience?  Not in our universe! The gypsy soothsayer says “Cross my hand with silver and I will tell you your true future.” If such actions could be possible, over our past 70,000 years, the soothsayer’s guild … Continue reading

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KMS Fusion – an addendum

KMS Fusion, an early ICF group mostly remembered for its mashup of good science and bad politics. This is our historical addendum. An excellent article on the beginning of ICF (inertial confinement fusion) was posted on January 28th by ScienceLine’s … Continue reading

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KXL threatens US environment -Not energy -Not climate

Keystone XL is is a threat to US environmental integrity. Its Senate vote is near. The bill forcing development of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline build is about to be set before the president.   The proponents say it is about … Continue reading

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Fusion Paths Not Taken -4

Secretive Tri Alpha Energy makes fusion progress. Has private backers and Government ones too, but –Russian– not U.S. We finish our Fusion Paths Not Taken  series by looking at Tri Alpha Energy (TAE).  TAE was started with the explicit goal … Continue reading

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Fusion Paths Not Taken -3

Outlier LPP proposes Dense Plasma Focus and the hardest fuel!  Do they really have a chance? In these final two posts, we discuss proposals that use magnetized target fusion ideas but both have the goal using p-11B fuel at successful … Continue reading

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Fusion Paths not taken 2

Do magnetized plasma targets offer options for smaller, cheaper fusion power? In this part -2 of our Paths Not Followed series, we discuss 3 proposals that show promise of being fusion game changers.  All consider manipulating blobs of plasma isolated … Continue reading

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Fusion Paths Not Taken – 1

Magnetically confined plasma fusion was abandoned decades ago. Has their time come? Magnetic fusion concepts require coils to form the field.  One path that is still being proposed is to embed the coils into the fusion-grade plasma because confinement can … Continue reading

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Stirring the Fusion Pot

8 companies are looking for non-government funding of their innovative fusion ideas.  Hoax or real? There are a number of reports in the recent months of Amazing! New! and Simple! ways of generating fusion power. Fraction of the cost of … Continue reading

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Saving Production Rules

If California can do it for chicken eggs, why can’t we do it for all goods sold in America? The Oct 4 print copy of the New York Times Business section has the report (on-line) on the recent United States … Continue reading

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How To Peel A Mango

Peel a mango, remove its pit, without mess and in less than a minute. Same for any other stone fruit. Mangoes are my favorite fruit.  This even though they have a bad reputation for being really messy, wasteful to peel, … Continue reading

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Gini Index demonstrates Saez-Piketty Inequality

The Gini index demonstrates Saez-Piketty trends. These two very different markers show that inequality is increasing. The trend line for the Gini index (Gini)  is well correlated with the trend line from Saez-Piketty Inequality (SPI) studies, although these two ways … Continue reading

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Business Startups and Inequality

FiveThirtyEight posted on the decline of startups.  Who would have thought of Saez-Piketty inequality? New information shows that startup businesses in the U.S. have been following a declining trend since 1977.   This was posted by Ben Casselman, chief economics … Continue reading

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Are Tuition Costs Exaggerated?

Claims that college tuition rate rises cause problems are wrong. Or are they? Do rising college costs exclude some and force others into crippling loans that weaken their future?  Maybe that’s nonsense!  Maybe the exact opposite is true – aren’t … Continue reading

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Should oil trains get limited liability?

Exploding oil cars do not deserve a waiver from the costs they generate. Warren Buffett has requested that oil train companies get a liability limitation – just like nuclear power plants, so reports Heather Smith  in her 2014 Aug 6 … Continue reading

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