30 April, 2007

Fusion - Some thoughts on Tokamak

Back in January I got caught up in one of my crazy idea posts after reading about Boron fusion over at Classical Values and Power and Control.

I have been stewing on those for a while and doing some light research and what has really troubled me was the implications of this on Tokamak designs that I had never considered. I caught the beginning inclination of this in my post but have clarified it somewhat lately.

I am not saying they haven't been considered but I hadn't though of them. Some of this post is going to come off as anti nuke and anti fusion. Nothing could be further from the truth in all honesty nuclear power is our only realistic long term solution to the energy challenges we will have in the future and fission despite its advantages has some pretty significant drawbacks as well.

Fusion has always been served as the Holy Grail to solve these disadvantages and despite my background in Nuclear Physics and operation I never really questioned it. I have eagerly read about the development of toroidal field reactors and overlooked one key issue.

They have to use Neutron energy as the means to transfer energy from the fusion reaction to the power generation or transfer mechanism.

The impact of this is huge. In order to get any real power out of a fusion reaction in this manner the neutron flux would have to be insanely large. To put it in context in u235 fission reactions the neutrons produce on average less than 3 percent of the energy transfer. It results in a few degrees of heat in the primary coolant and further a few degrees in the shield tanks. While it does this it is also one of the primary problem creators for the entire reactor (of course one that by definition must be present).

It causes embrittlement and metallurgical changes in all of the reactor materials.

It is the mechanism of radioactive contamination creation.

It is the most difficult radiation to shield from with the most perplexing health impacts for people exposed.


It fundamentally alters the chemistry of the complex materials used to operate and control the reactor over time.

None of these issues go away in a Tokamak they way they identify the energy transfer mechanisms. As a matter of fact they would be about 20-30 times worse for the same thermal power output. I am not sure how anyone could ever make a viable case for a net energy producing Toroidal design and certainly not an economical one with that in mind. To go a step further it would create far more waste and more dangerous waste (admittedly only in the short term due to the lack of transuranic long lived waste) than existing fission designs.

So Dr. Bussard is quite right when he questions why we are spending the money on those approaches.

As far as the video and presentation, they make sense. I could see them adding injection fields that might use some of the toroidal design properties to help mitigate some of the electron leakage problems he mentioned in their existing designs but he has me sold.

If anyone wants to chime in and correct me feel free especially if I am missing something fundamental in the way Physicists are planning on getting power out of the Tokamaks.

27 April, 2007

Security By Self Delusion - Cont

In continuation of my Security by Self-Delusion and Transforming Negligence to Non-Complaince I have a few more thoughts.

The first is relating to attestation making senior managment feel good about their security profile.

Lets drop into another cheesy security analogy.

In many cases attestation is kind of like keeping a log of all of the times you drive the speed limit. It might make youself feel better but if you are managment you should be very wary. If a cop pulls me over for doing 80 in a 65 I doubt he will let me off because I show him a log of all the times I did 65. For that matter the judge won't be so impressed either.

Compliance can (and should) be used to drive improvement in security but managment and executives must not delude themselves into thinking they are secure because they have successfully passed an attestation stage.

25 April, 2007

Green Gasoline???

This is pretty cool from futurepundit

So the question is is there a catalyst that will attach Hydrogen atoms to free carbon with exposure to sunlight or other energy?

24 April, 2007

PCI fodder

Security focus has an article on consumer response to data breaches.

This is substantially higher than the 19% I have seen from some more rigorous studies but either one is significant.

If you feed this in with mandatory reporting laws then there are some very easy RIO calculations that can be used to justify many security expenses.

23 April, 2007

Pre-apologise for the gross factor - warning don't read this

I am all for enviro friendly but clearly I have a hairier butt than her.

Sorry TMI

Well now I am pretty much guaranteed not to ever get a link from my wife's blog.
You have no privacy get over it.

20 April, 2007

On vacation till Monday

I should have mentioned it last Friday but I have been on vacation since last Friday and haven't touched the blog. I will start posting again on Monday th 23rd.

13 April, 2007

Nano - Singularity

"Studying Active devices and nanosystems"

Is the key phrase.

Better start getting controls in line because it is going to take off like a rocket and when an information based virus can cause physical ramifications on a massive scale nothing will quite be the same.

When the information is the action then he who controls the meme controls the actions.

Imus Firing a Fratricide?

I think it is dawning on some that they shot someone on the progressive side.

Even if he did say somthing insensitive and stupid.

This is an interesting take on it.

Besides Like I said here Imus did less to make the Rutgers players real victims than the rest of the fiasco did.

12 April, 2007


If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation.

11 April, 2007

Organizational Jujitsu - NOT

It's a NOT joke

If your bosses boss gets an organizational demotion does that mean you got demoted?
Cribbage of course

Unless you are a Hornblower fan then it is Whist.

When To Shortsell

This is an interesting Article

I suppose it matches my expectations. If senior executives are more focused on the glitz than the performance then what else would you expect than an under performing company.

So go out and search the real estate records for the CEO's who have recently purchased.

10 April, 2007

IMUS Debacle

It is interesting to me that yet another personality is being dragged through the coals. I used to listen to Imus quite a bit but in the last few years his show has basically become an infomercial for his salsa, mugs, jackets and other products. There is rarely a 10 min spot in which one of them is not plugged. If you add to that that much of the rest of the time is spent spewing his wife's pseudo-intellectual pseudo-scientific drek in trying to keep people from getting vaccinated well it just isn't worth my drive time. I would rather turn the radio off.

Still there is some ironic humor in what has happened. In the last 5 years he has chosen to get in bed with the Chris Mathews, John Kerry, et al crowd and it seems that he is paying the price now. If he had real power like Byrd, or Clinton (pick one) perhaps they would just look the other way (with the typical double standard) but since he doesn't and he is just on the outskirts of the group he is really paying for his choice of an audience.

As for what he said. It was certainly unacceptable from the standpoint of a work conversation. Clearly yellow or even red zone but in the context of a comedy routine? I could see how it would be a mild irritant to the ladies on the team but lets be honest here. They are College level competitive athletes. If they haven't been called far worse and in specific intentional context I would be surprised. I know my coaches let alone the spectators were not delicate with us. I think people are doing an injustice to them by forcing them to be outraged. These women are competent, resilient, tough, intelligent and capable or they wouldn't be in College at Rutgers and wouldn't be competing (successfully or not) at the national level. In the real scheme of things being forced into victim-hood is probably more damaging to them than idle ramblings of a senile talk show host with a shrinking audience of self hating apologists with weekly visiting friends.

When I was a kid (I guess about 7) my parents went as part of a church group to Mississippi (and brought me along) to serve as activists, volunteers and monitors to help support the right of people to vote . I vaguely remember the night we left in a hurry. Several other people (young guys) in our group stumbled into the group cabin bloody and beaten. It was pretty traumatic for me and though I can't remember details I do remember that we almost immediately left back to Pittsburgh. I suppose that we allowed ourselves to be intimidated but I would like to think that my parents chose my safety over anything else. Now later in my life I realize that what I saw was a very minor and almost negligible piece of the overall violence that was occurring in the south in that time and I cannot begin to appreciate the hardship, fear and determination of the people that had no choice but to stay and fight for their own rights. This has certainly left an echo.

I think the national news coverage and obsession of this particular incident does two things.

First and on the positive side it shows how far we have come. The fact that injudicious use of words could start such a firestorm of condemnation (justified or not) means that we have clearly entered a different stage of the dialog. If you compare this to what was occurring forty or even twenty years ago the difference is stark.

On a negative side focusing on items like this obfuscates actual acts of bigotry that are still occurring regardless of the group that is initiating the racism.

In closing give the athletes some credit they are undeniably a lot tougher than they are being portrayed and making them victims harms them more than the initial attack. As for Imus himself... Who really cares???

09 April, 2007

SC Mag doing the Blog thing.

This is goodness

Found it via Alan

He is right Frank is a good guy and it looks like they are starting a foray into the blog territory. I know Illena has trusted Franks take on this for a while. I wish them luck.

06 April, 2007

Friday night yahoo music

Evanescence - Sweet Sacrifice
Same goth a bit of grudge vid shifts good music could grow on me

Papa Roach - Forever

bandwidth blows tonight

FOB - Arms dealer
Vamp Spaceman??? guitarist likes to spin

Santana an Michelle Branch

NIN - Starsuckers inc

Planet to be incenerated by March 26th

Via Classical Values

Instead we got this on April 4th.

Looks like his latter graphs might be right on.

04 April, 2007

Yahoo Music Video Night

NiN - Survivalism
Nine Inch Nails what else to say - Song Rocks

Shiny Toy Guns - You Are The One
Pretty good kinda 80's feel touch of goth not sure it will grow on me though

Korn - Live Freak on a leash (live performance)
Amy Lee is in it. not bad but acoustic takes kinda freaks me out in this song

Mindy Smith - Jolene
Beutiful voice haunting song disturbingly pathetic sad and desperate - good song

Brandy Carlile - The Story
Really pulls the most out of her voice kinda Joplinish better vioce when she isn't pushing though not quite as much soul

Weezer - Keep Fishin
Those crazy muppets :)

Fall Out Boy - Thnks Fr th Mmrs
chess with chimps product placements and a rockin band that "raises the roof" :)

03 April, 2007

02 April, 2007

Meshed defense

Pretty good Defense in Depth post at Matasano

My question now is can you give me one working example of a working "Mesh" security design? (not Crypto?)

More detail on it at setuid just for you


Hole in SCADA talked about at EWeek

Contrary to what they say this is not the "first hole found" in SCADA software though it does seem to be widely disseminated at this point. Probably falls into the category of first fully disclosed.

It is similar to a lot of the OPC crap floating around in the rest of the IT world.

To be honest with a lot of the current SCADA Ethernet equipment you don't need a hole. The front door is open.

Definitely a matter of concern if for no other reason than the spotlight is a bit brighter now. Decent article.


Dale has more on it.