Tag Archives: big-tech

The First Exa-Transistor Computer

That is, the first single system to have more than 1018 transistors, more than a quintillion, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 . It’s the Fugaku supercomputer in Japan: It’s the world’s fastest machine as of November 2020, as defined by the benchmarks on … Continue reading

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The Really Dangerous Tech is Really Old

Here’s an odd thing – the technology that is really dangerous today all comes from the 1950s and earlier. The big inventions of the last 60 years are nowhere near as deadly as the ones from earlier, especially those from … Continue reading

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Good News on Backstopping Renewables (3) – Eavor Advanced Geothermal

The last posts were about batteries and pumped-hydro storage, which will be used to handle excess energy from variable renewables. But what happens when there’s no sun or wind for weeks on end? There still needs to be something to … Continue reading

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Good News on Backstopping Renewables (2) – Closed-Loop Pumped Hydro

The Ambri batteries mentioned in the last post are fine for storing some energy for a couple of days, but suppose you need a lot of storage for a week or more. That’ll be necessary when all the fossil fuel … Continue reading

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Mad Science #6: Nazi Fusion Fraud

I can’t believe I’ve never come across this story.   An actual Nazi scientist, Ronald Richter, was working on an actual super-technology, lithium-hydrogen nuclear fusion, in an actual secret lair, the island of Huemul, surrounded by razor wire, machine guns, and … Continue reading

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MIT On Climate Change

Every year MIT has a Technology Day on its alumni reunion weekend where faculty discuss what they’re working on.   These are consistently interesting, and I’ve written about them before: The Oceans Are Dissolved Information and Print Your House and … Continue reading

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Nothing Has Ever Been Manufactured in Space

I happen to own something that has been to space – a laptop bag made partly from the orange nylon of Soyuz re-entry parachute: A Montreal company, Everquest Design, went out to Kazahkstan in 2003 and recovered the parachute from … Continue reading

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Mad Science #4: Geo-Engineering With Nukes

Nuclear devices, what are they good for?  Almost nothing, it turns out.   They’re close to useless as weapons, since the goal of war is domination, not destruction.  The nuclear powers have been in dozens of wars since 1945, and have … Continue reading

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Mad Science #2 – Zapping ICBMs with Nuke-Induced Radiation Belts

Another great recent source of crazed science stories is Sharon Weinberger’s thorough and refreshingly skeptical history of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, The Imagineers of War.    DARPA has been all the rage for the last few years because … Continue reading

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The Engineering of Biology at MIT

One of the big reunion activities at MIT is Technology Day, a series of lectures from faculty done shortly after commencement.   This year the theme was Synthetic Life, and the talks were just as creepy and interesting as you might … Continue reading

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