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This is why you can't have nice things

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Virtue Signalman First Class:
Have you ever wondered what the quality of life would be like in Western countries if we didn't have to spend so much on "dem programz"?

In this thread we discuss this very question.

First of all, let's look at energy. Specifically, fusion energy or rather the conspicuous lack of it. As you know, we as a species use a lot of energy. Most of our electricity comes from non-renewable sources like coal and gas, which are not very efficient and can be quite damaging to the environment (not CO2 as such but mountains of radioactive coal ash). We have a fair number of nuclear fission plans, but most of them are old: very few new ones are being built. They are better than burning coal but hugely expensive and they produce dangerous radioactive waste. If you think solar panels and wind farms are going to save us, you are very mistaken.

So what is the solution to all Earth's energy problems? Fusion energy. The same process that takes place in the Sun and all the stars in the Universe. Hydrogen fuses together to produce helium and other heavier elements and releases massive amounts of energy in the process. We can't really even dream about fusing pure hydrogen so most experimental reactors are looking to fuse heavier versions of hydrogen like deuterium and tritium. Fusion energy is *very* tricky. You have extremely high temperatures of plasma (hundreds of millions of degrees, a few billion degrees in some cases). But.. we don't really have an alternative, we have to get fusion working. Coal, gas and oil will run out eventually. Solar, wind and hydro together can provide only a fraction of the energy needed. Nuclear fission plants are expensive and there isn't that much fuel for them in the ground.

Hydrogen, on the other hand, is the most common element in the Universe and deuterium can be found in sea water all over the world.

So let's take Germany for example. They have a very interesting experimental reactor, a type called stellarator. Wendelstein 7-X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendelstein_7-X
It's been under construction for 18 years and the money spent by most estimates is around 1.2 billion dollars. Now, that sounds like a lot of money, doesn't it?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/germany-puts-migration-related-costs-at-over-86-billion-over-next-four-years-1467392402


--- Quote ---The German finance ministry expects to spend 77.6 billion ($86.2 billion) over the next four years feeding, housing and training refugees as well as helping their home countries to stem the flow, according to updated budget estimates for the period from 2017 to 2020. Adding budgeted costs for the current year would bring the total to 93.6 billion between by 2020.

--- End quote ---

In case you couldn't quite grasp the meaning of that paragraph, let me rephrase it in this way: Germany is spending 1.2 billion over two decades for a potential solution to all of humanity's energy problems, while spending north of 100 billion in just four years importing people who can't read and write in their own language, let alone someone else's.

OK, let's take a look at leader of the free world: The United States of America.

You know that country that took the humans to the Moon? Speaking of that, did you know that USA doesn't currently have a manned vehicle that is capable of taking astronauts to orbit and the International Space Station? Because it cancelled the previous Constellation project and doesn't seem to find the money for the Orion project to accelerate development and testing. The Orion Project has received just 12 billion of funding between 2005-2016 and the first manned test flights are not expected until 2021-2022. So the great United States has to rely on an ancient Russian vehicle called Sojuz to get their astronauts into orbit. Ouch.

Incidentally, to change the subject completely, did you know that USA spends around 30 billion every year on Section 8 housing, which has been by every conceivable metric you could think of, a MASSIVE FAILURE and has arguably greated more problems than it has solved? It's funny that USA took once pride in leading the space race with putting the man on the moon, the Space Shuttle program, taking the first vessels into Jupiter and Saturn and then the interstellar space (Voyager program), and now you are reduced to begging for a spot on an ancient Russian rocket while spending tens of billions a year for a housing subsidy program that creates more problems than it solves.

So where are our priorities as the leaders of the human civilization? We have thrown trillions at all sorts of welfare programs and trillions into fighting {{{someone else's}}} wars in the Middle-East. Why can't we seem to find a few hundred billions to solve all our energy problems and to finally send astronauts to Mars?

Backpfeifengesicht:
At a more micro level, the costs that trickle down to individuals in day to day life (in the US at least) is called the Nigger Tax:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASE35lQSaEg

Dealing with a bloated government bureaucracy staffed by Rachel Jeantels? That's the Nigger Tax.
Talking to a corner store teller through a speaker because he's sitting behind bullet proof glass? That's the Nigger Tax.
You kid's school no longer offers art or music, but it has ten Spanish-language classrooms? That's the Nigger Tax.
You live in the suburbs and have to get up early to commute to work in the city? That's the Nigger Tax.
Can't enjoy an NFL game on Sunday any more? That's the Nigger Tax.

kornbeef:

--- Quote from: Virtue Signalman First Class on January 28, 2018, 07:20:09 AM ---So what is the solution to all Earth's energy problems? Fusion energy.

--- End quote ---
Thorium fission breeder reactors.  I don't think we'll have a controlled fusion reactor in my lifetime, much less a profitable one.

Virtue Signalman First Class:

--- Quote from: kornbeef on January 28, 2018, 12:55:03 PM ---
--- Quote from: Virtue Signalman First Class on January 28, 2018, 07:20:09 AM ---So what is the solution to all Earth's energy problems? Fusion energy.

--- End quote ---
Thorium fission breeder reactors.  I don't think we'll have a controlled fusion reactor in my lifetime, much less a profitable one.

--- End quote ---

It's because we have sunk so much money and time into projects like ITER which are a massive bureaucracy. It's more of a job security thing for physicists and engineers rather an actual attempt at cracking fusion. Many people who vouched for huge tokamaks are now saying it was a mistake and they will probably never work. ITER certainly wont generate a watt of electricity (it will not have steam turbines).

There are some very exciting small companies trying various approaches with private funding. Hydrogen-boron fusion seems to be the most tantalizing at the moment, because it produces absolutely no radiation and the energy can be converted straight into electricity, without bigass steam turbine fuckery. It could also be used for space propulsion drives, because the alpha particles can be magnetically directed and used for thrust.

For example: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171213104941.htm

Procrustes:
Im not a fan of govt social programs outside of disability and short term unemployment pay but it needs to be strictly and rigorously regulated and means tested but lol at the idea that without nuggets thered be fusion reactors or that you can just throw money at science to get results faster.

May as well say that without social programs wed have pet dragons and the water fountains would dispense soda and uh two lunch breaks for all seniors SAN DIEMUS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!!!!

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