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Fusing the desktop with non standard kgs

Science special

Letters Desktop fusion. Hmm. Could be anything really, couldn't it? A new design paradigm from Apple; a local sandwich service for busy desk jockeys...or a small tub of stuff that makes neutrons.

Hey you guys are SO behind with the News. I mean EVERYBODY knows that the discovery by Seth Putterman's UCLA team of the lithium tantalate crystal predated the discovery of Dillithium crystals by Geneva Institute of Science in 2160s. This was based on the work of the Control Systems Group of SLS at PSI.

Mr. Spock discovered the formula for creating synthetic Dilithium in 2286 (vis Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986))

All this is from the Encyclopaedia Galactica (2241 Edition) which was the last NON politically correct edition, afterwards all the words "American" were changed to "Planet Earth" ie American Scientists -> Planet Earth Scientists.

references :-


What's most exciting about this to me is something that people seem to be evading: this is yer actual *cold fusion*, matey. Doesn't need ridiculous pressure and temperature like the big tokomaks and it's not quite the way Fleischmann and Pons said they did it - but it's room temperature (more or less; actually a bit colder than that) and the fusion is occurring in the solid state as I read it here.

Please will someone shout this from the rooftops?

Why? Because I was very unhappy about the way that cold fusion research was virtually laughed out of existence back in the early 1990s. Something bad happened then - maybe the particular experiments being worked on and the models they developed were bollocks, but the idea should have been allowed to have been explored properly because there were definite anomalies that needed explaining. But orthodoxy shouted down the dissenters - this is never good for science, what with all major breakthroughs ever having been things that overturned orthodoxy.

And now it seems that cold, solid-state fusion might well have been observed for real - well, *someone* ought to shout about it in public even if it is not practical as anything but `a cute little neutron generator' (according to Michael Saltmarsh, a physicist who has retired from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US).


Interesting article about "UCLA demonstrates desktop nuclear fusion". However, the way the article is worded makes it sound like they're the first group to achieve desktop nuclear fusion.

Actually, that honour goes back over 50 years to a guy names Philo T. Farnsworth (Yep, the same guy who invented practical television.) with his inertial electrostatic confinement fusion device, traditionally called a fusor. There have been a handful of amateurs who have built such devices (in their basements!!!). One of the leading amateurs has a web-page.


Have the researchers been watching a lot of Star Trek? DiLithium crystals are what they always used for fuel... (Without ever explaining what DiLithium is of course...). Would that make the technique unpatentable - prior art? *grin*



Rumsfeld's requests for a funds to develop a ground penetrating nuclear missile have amused you, no end. Particularly his remark about 70 countries stockpiling bad guys in secret underground lairs:

I was recently in Vietnam on holiday, and visited the tunnels. I felt then that it's probably the old story of generals still fighting the last war but one -- the top brass have deep scars on their psyche from being beaten by someone who used tunnels and they can't shake it out of their system. The one-eyed Taliban man's secret weapon was not caves, it was a motorbike, for heavens' sake.

best regards


Dear Mr Haines,

How many of these 70 countries are supposed allies of the US? Not only that but the phrase "subterranean facilities" is a wonderfully obscure, after all a mine contain can contain "subterranean facilities". Maybe its just Rumsfelds wonderful logic, 70 countries wish ill towards the US. These countries are led by evil men, and as we all know an evil man must have a secret underground lair in which to hatch dastardly plans. They can even use the same artists impression they used for Bin Ladens secret underground bunker complex in Afghanistan, its good to recycle.

Yours sincerely,


Possibly [they arrived at this figure] the same way that they arrived at Saddam's huge WMD arsenal and 20 minute (was it 20 minute? I forget) launch window? I know, let's put the word terror in every second sentence, that'll make it more likely to get funding :)

Hmm. Something smells fishy, methinks.


More council tip madness this week, with the discovery that your local rubbish dump is a better bet than Dixons if you are looking to get your hands on a decently priced laptop. With or without secret MOD data:

"Sounds odd but apparently you can get anything from working stereos to PCs from council dumps, apparently. Steptoe and Son, eat your heart out"

As any self-respecting hippy-traveller type will tell you, this is absolutely true. What happens is the better off amongst us (and this especially applies to people who work for corporations or government entities that have limitless funds to replace old kit) just dump their old stuff when the next new shiny object appears in their favourite electronic superstore.

Often the dumped goodies are in perfect working order, so the guys that run the dump cherry pick the best stuff then sell it on cheap to whoever they can.

Which of course brings out the "chavs" in droves, who will try to infiltrate said dumps posing as employees and try to grab anything that looks okay as you toss it. Unfortunately these individuals have a much lower standard when it comes to what they think is valuable, often taking such riches as old tires, shoes, and stuff made out of wood that roughly resembles what it used to be.

Selling this on to punters, so they can "get some milk for my baby" is their way of contributing to the recycling industry, in other words trying to sell you back your garbage for 10p an item.

So if you're really hard up and need to get hold of a cheap TV or whatever, try the dump - however you'll need to be prepared to answer questions like "why does your tv smell like rotten cabbage?" when you next have someone over.


Hi John,

Council rubbish tips? The last time I went down to our local one all I saw were people throwing away failed DIY projects, carpets, fridges etc. Nobody offered me a laptop, desktop or even a Psion. Perhaps I missed the PC World outlet made out of recycled monitor boxes in the corner of the yard. Is it just specific tips or is this a now accepted way of dealing in used IT kit? No wonder eBay's shares are dipping.


A nasty virus, designed specifically to munch its way through a particular kind of Romanian folk music. Naturally, you could tell us a bit more about the exact kind of music, and its origins:

FWIW, manele is technically not "Gipsy music". It's a combination of real Gipsy music and what is called Romanian "drinking music" (which in turn is derived from traditional Romanian folk music and the old pre-WWII "romance" genre).

While these other genres have their merits as being "serious", established genres with a traditional following, the manele combination is widely regarded as a fly-by opportunistic genre, attracting and promoting inculture and the some of the nastier and lowest aspects of show-biz and social behaviour.

While some similarities between manele and other "anti-social" genre's in history (such as rap) have been pointed out, it's worth noting that manele seems to have no redeeming qualities. While rap and other genres were the means for certain social categories to express themselves, manele has nothing to offer. It's simply bad music, feeding on inculture.

Perhaps this will help you understand why the anti-manele reaction is so strong and why Antiman has great chances of spreading even further. Already, Romanian online communities are openly encouraging the spread. While some people voice concern about what is essentially a destructive worm, and even though some point out the hypocrisy of the situation, the spread continues.


Is there perchance a Romanian pikey version of the RIAA? Has anybody approached them for comment? We should be told.


Next up, a bunch of US boffins want to redefine the kilogram so they don't have to fly to Paris every 40 years or so. Lots of different thoughts from you on this one:

I must say that bananas are sold by unit not by weight. That's a terrible mistake! And believe me, being from Brazil I Know what I'm talking about. A serious publication should not let somebody who doesn't know how to buy bananas write without supervision, but I believe people deserve a second chance, so I will keep reading The Register everyday as long as this does not happen again...



I know it's not a hugely serious article .. however :

The metre originally was two marks on a piece of similar material (platinum iridium alloy, say). I doubt any SI unit has ever been officially designated as an impossible- to-measure unit such as a 'ten millionth of the pole/equator distance'. And of course it's not now defined as the distance light travels in some period of time - but rather the length of a certain number of wavelengths of a certain frequency of light (generated by a certain type of laser), in, of course, a vacuum. Nothing is ever simple.

Counting atoms in any substance is extremely difficult, and is one of the primary reasons that the kg hasn't been redefined in those terms. The numbers involved in making up a kg are mind-boggling, to say the least.

The amount of magnetic force required to levitate an object? WTF is that all about, I wonder. What object, for a start, and how do you determine its mass? (Maybe compare it to a lump of metal just outside of Paris.) Plus there's the issue that if you're competing with gravity, then the results will vary slightly (but measurably) at different places, due to the non-spherical nature of the planet - even if you tell everyone that it's to be taken at sea-level only.

This subject comes up every few years, and the proposals that accompany it are either before their time or ill-considered or both.

Final note - the first time I visited the ol' Dart, back in '80, metric was just starting to be embraced. The last time I popped over, in 1999, I noticed that metric was just starting to be embraced.


We're still thinking about it...

Do subatomic physicists order subatomic particles by the kilo ?

Why would a standard kilo that is 'over 50 times more precise' be of any use (apart from to the subatomic physicists) ?

Will my local supermarket be installing a Watt Balance, so I can check my bag of sugar ?

Pip Pip !


Are you sure that none of this comes from the US not wanting to be beholden to a country of alloy-referencing surrender-monkeys ?

Regards, Mike

I am totally in favour of redefining the kilogram.

Imagine if terrorists manage to get it under their control. They could hold it hostage ... or return only half of it - instantly doubling the worlds mass! We would all be crushed to death!

We need to act now!


Lastly, more US boffins found a way to force bacteria to work four times as hard in hydrogen production:

Ms. Sherriff!

On behalf of all microbes everywhere and the Bacterial Rights Now Movement, I would like for you to know that we will be filing a complaint regarding the electrocution of billions of microbial creatures to satisfy the needs of energy hungry multi-cellular organisms such as yourself. Bacteria have rights to!

Bobo DeClowne

That's all folks. Enjoy the weekend. ®

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