Monday, February 13, 2006

Cold Fusion and the lost generation

NY team confirms UCLA tabletop fusion | Science Blog

This is, unfortunately, not as exciting as I'd hoped:
"Nuclear fusion has been explored as a potential source of power, but we are not looking at this as an energy source right now," Danon says. Rather, the most immediate application may come in the form of a battery-operated, portable neutron generator. Such a device could be used to detect explosives or to scan luggage at airports, and it could also be an important tool for a wide range of laboratory experiments.

Just so you know, when I was growing up, I was told endlessly that my generation would be meaningless and stand for nothing, and we'd make less money than our parents. Socially and financially, we were just a lost cause. BTW, if there are any teachers out there reading this, I don't suggest taking this tact with your students. In reflection, I should have spit on the teachers that did.
When I was in high school, there was this whole big thing about how some lab had finally gotten cold fusion to work. My friends and I sat around for days thinking about how amazing this might become. We were sure that in months we'd have cars that didn't need gas, rockets to pluto, and maybe jet packs.
We were excited.
Everything was going to change.
And here we were.
But it didn't happen. The experiment was 'bad'.
I remember feeling disappointed. Like a moment had simply not happened. Like it was over before it began.
I remember feeling like my life was a lost cause, that the other people were right. My generation and my life would be without meaning and purpose.
This feeling passed into the background, though it never left completely.
And, several years later, we got dumped into computers, the web, and the boom. We got grunge, we got media like you wouldn't believe, we got more and more. We changed the world. Maybe more than just about any generation ever has. Maybe not. Depends on who you talk to.
But we got our place in history.
But part of me, the part that is still back in high school feeling that disappointment, the part of me back in 8th grade that still heard how worthless we all were, those parts came to life again.
just for a minute.


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