Another Approach to Aneutronic Fusion

I ran across this article in Progressive Engineer by Eric Lerner entitled, “Stop the Suppression of an Alternative Energy Source!” and discovered that there is yet another potential fusion technology that I have been totally unaware of.

This isn’t my first encounter with writing by Eric Lerner. Years ago, I read a book he authored entitled, “The Big Bang Never Happened”. While not perfect, it was a very well written book that provided an alternative to big bang cosmology which I believe is much more consistent with observation than big bang cosmology.

Being familiar with this, I know Eric Lerner to be both capable of thinking outside the box as well as just thinking. This article gives some insight as to how these technologies are squelched.

Calculator Edge

I heard about an interesting site for those who might either be math challenged or lazy, it’s called Calculator Edge, and basically it’s like having a programmable calculator with a whole bunch of formula for various applications pre-programmed in so all you have to do is punch in the numbers.

Be careful though, I did find some of the formulas are broken, particularly at extremes.

Telluric Currents

Telluric currents are electrical currents flowing within the Earth or ocean water. I first stumbled upon the phenomena in the late 70’s when I experimented with something known as a ghost line. This was a method of sending telegraphy without wires by using the Earth itself as a conductive medium and two sets of parallel electrodes like so:

Ghost Line

At the sending station, a battery was keyed into two set of ground rods that were separated as far as practical and were perpendicular to the direction that it was desired to send the signal. At the receiving station, a similar pair of ground stakes was connected to a sensitive relay or other sensitive detecting device. The earth being partially conductive then acted like a voltage divider and a portion of the battery voltage keyed into the first set of ground rods, 1-2, would appear at the second set 3-4.

This was used during WWI to telegraph messages to a location inside of enemy lines. It wasn’t practical to run wires across enemy lines because they could either be cut or followed to your location.

I was experimenting with sending audio this way rather than just keyed DC voltages, but one thing I discovered early on was that I could measure a voltage between the two ground rods I had places in our back yard. This couldn’t have been due to battery action because both ground rods were copper so there were no dissimilar metals.

The voltages and currents involved where small but still I found it fascinating that current would come out of the Earth. Also, the current would vary from day to night and also in seemingly random manner.

Today it is thought these currents are induced into the Earth as the result of short-term changes in the magnetosphere, conductive ocean water moving across magnetic lines of force, and leakage currents from the Earth’s internal dynamo.

Atmosphere to Earth currents are not considered because it is thought that they have a low value of only 1000-2000 A. I believe this to be incorrect and I believe there is evidence to support this. In spite of mainstream science insisting that Auroras are 50+ miles up, there are many many accounts on the part of Alaskans of the Auroras coming down to Earth, including crackling sounds and the smell of ozone. I have read accounts of a writhing electrical snake taking lives. I have read an account by a chemist of such coming through his laboratory and doing a great deal of damage as well as leaving him with sunburn like burns. I believe these things do happen and that this also contributes to telluric currents.

At any rate; the phenomena is still not entirely understood today although major contributing factors are understood, there are still rapid changes that are not well understood.

Journey By Starlight

I ran across an interesting blog, Journey By Starlight, that deals with science in a way that is interesting. It is decidedly mainstream in the views expressed, a product of big-bangers’ and relativistic gravity, and I don’t mean to disrespect Einstein, but like Newton before him, his theories are incomplete; and honestly I expect that’s the way it will always be.

Personally though I’ve discarded the “Big Bang” years ago because despite all of the dogma, it just doesn’t agree, even with all the ad hoc fudge factors that were added to try to make it agree, with observation. I could provide a long list of discrepancies with observation but suffice it to say that I don’t believe the Big Bang theory.

Relativity also runs into a few problems, particularly in the realm of gravity. Gravity is better explained, in my view, through shadow theories, for the simple reason that they predict some phenomena which do in fact manifest themselves in nature.

For example, take the three body system of the Sun, Earth and the Earth’s moon. If bending of geodesic space-time coordinates were the explanation, then nothing special should happen when the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun. But in fact, during a solar eclipse, at totality, there is a slight dip in the gravity felt by the earth from the Sun and Moon. This is predicted by shadow gravity theories, but not by relativity.

Still, I think it’s useful to know the old theories and what lead up to what is current; and the old theories still make accurate predictions in most ordinary cases. We can use Newtonian physics for the majority of every day engineering tasks because, unless we approach the speed of light, it’s sufficiently accurate for engineering purposes.

Similarly, relativity fails at the quantum level, and as it happens also at the large scale universe level. However, it’s still useful for many near light speed but relatively local phenomena such as what happens in particle accelerators, nuclear reactors, atom bombs, laser communications systems, etc.

So I’ll just say take a look at this site; if you’re a mainstream big-banger you’ll love it, and even if you’re not it’s hard not to find the writing style fun, entertaining, and easy to comprehend.

Bussard Fusion Reactor Progress

As you may know by now, Dr. Bussard passed away after losing a battle with cancer, but his reactor lives on. Continued development is now being done by a five member team calling itself EMC2 fusion, with a navy contract (the navy funded the original research).

The next in the series after the WB-6 (originally to be called the WB7) has been built, and in preliminary testing, it has produced energy in accordance with Dr. Bussards calculations. So far, everything is going according to plan. It has not been operated at the full design power levels yet however.

If this unit lives up to expectations, the next reactor built will be a commercial power level reactor. The advantage of Dr. Bussards polywell inertial electrostatic confinement design is that only electrons have to be magnetically confined, and because they have 1/2000th the mass of a proton, this is much easier to accomplish. It does not require superconductive coils or exotic materials as with a Tokamak and the machine is physically much smaller and about 1/1000th the cost.

Further, it can operate with aneutronic fuels such as Be-11/Hydrogen and in so doing eliminate the need for heavy shielding and the neutron activation that comes with neutron producing fuels such as deuterium-tritium used in most other approaches to fusion.

That WB6’s successor is so far living up to design specifications provides optimism that inexpensive clean and abundant fusion energy may soon be available to the world. The small physical size of the machine will make it suitable for some transportation applications such as ships, trains, and possibly even large aircraft.

The economics of the machine will make cheap unlimited fusion power available even to the poorest nations on Earth. This single technological development may completely revolutionize life on this planet.

Gravity for the Masses

I ran across, “Gravity For The Masses“, doing a semi-random Google search looking for the latest and greatest in scientific breakthroughs.

I like this site; it’s kind of half-baked, but half-baked in a good way. A lot of thought in progress, which for me at least has the pleasant side effect of stimulating my own thoughts. I find myself agreeing with some things, disagreeing with others, but mostly I find myself thinking.

He seems to be on to some ideas, using completely different terminology, and actually some very different views, but some ideas that parallel some thoughts I’ve had.

For example, I think his take on how energy is connected, these connections are truly fundamental, well, I’ve had some thoughts along those lines but not exactly the same.

For example, the photon, usually it connects to electrons changing orbits; maybe billions of light-years apart. But, from the photons standpoint, it’s traveling at the speed of light, it sees infinite time compression, infinite length compression, so from it’s perspective, these two electrons are touching, and the time to get from one to the other is zero. From our perspective, maybe billions of light-years distance and billions of years time. So here is an area where I have had a similar concept though I’m sure I arrived at it entirely differently and we certainly differ in the details.

We are limited in our thinking by our perspectives, but a handful of people have been afforded the opportunity to step out of their ordinary perspective and I think that’s where breakthroughs come from. It’s probably also where psychotic behavior comes from and often there does seem to be more than a casual connection between the two.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “Reasonable men adjust themselves to their environment. Unreasonable men attempt to change their environment to suit themselves. Therefore, all progress is the work of unreasonable men.”

An unfortunate truth is that unreasonableness in and of itself does not guarantee progress, else this last seven years would have been presidential bliss.

I do feel this person’s site, ““, is a positive contribution, it provides some new perspectives. So go have a look, lots of reading material there, and regardless of the scientific accuracy, and I think those who think they can judge that accurately are terribly egotistical, it’s thought provoking.

Asteroid and Mars

I first heard from someone that an asteroid had a 1-in-5 chance of hitting Mars on Jan 5, 2008, that it was the size of the asteroid that impacted Earth 65 million years ago.

Just went to look for details; far less exciting than that, the asteroid is the size that exploded over Tunguska in 1908. It would have been bad if you happened to be directly under the impact; but as it happens it was a remote region that mostly flattened a lot of trees. Not the major planet changing event of 65 million years ago.

The asteroid is also scheduled to possibly hit on January 30th, not January 5th, and the odds of an impact are 1-in-75 not 1-in-5. I am so disappointed but I imagine there might be some relieved Martian bacteria.

Fringe -> Mainstream

I’ve heard guests on Coast to Coast AM (formerly Art Bell Show) suggest that solar activity could increase the likelihood of earthquakes, that is where you have a fault that is stressed to the point where it’s ready to fracture and slip, a solar event could be a trigger. I’ve also heard guests suggest that HAARP or similar operations could induce earthquakes.

I used to dismiss these people as loony-bins but now I don’t know. I dismissed these things because of the magnitudes involved, HAARP operates with gigawatts of power, and even solar events perhaps terrawatts, but given the volume of Earth, that amount of energy seemed so minuscule compared to the masses involved that it seemed impossible for them to have any significant effect.

But today I ran across this article entitled, “Telluric currents add stress to siesmoactive zones and regulate earthquake activity“. I would have not thought the effects of telluric currents could be so great, and telluric currents are very much affected by things happening in the ionosphere. The ionosphere in turn is very much impacted by solar events, but can also be affected locally at least by HAARP and it’s ilk.

So all of the sudden what I thought was seemingly absurd now has a physical connection and plausible cause.


DNA strands have non-encoding ends called telomeres. Telomeres are a non-encoding G-rich repeating sequence of base units that tells the cellular DNA replicative machinery that it’s reached the end of the DNA strand and prevents the ends of different DNA strands from being fused together. In humans and all functional vertebrates, that sequence is TTAGGG.

You can read about the details of nucleic acid synthesis here. One of the DNA strands can not be copied sequentially. Instead, primers are attached and replication happens backwards from that location. The resulting DNA segments are stitched together by another enzyme. This method can not replicate the very end of the DNA strand. Were it not for telomeres, coding DNA would be lost with each replication.

The telomeres perform another function. If it were not for some marker, enzymes that repair double strand DNA breaks would confuse the ends of two different chromosomes for a broken DNA strand and fuse them. Normally, when telomeres are shorted beyond a critical point, replication stops. Occasionally this type of DNA mutation happens.

Telomerase is an enzyme that adds additional base units back on to telomeres restoring their length. Telomerase is not active in normal somatic cells. DNA which codes for telomerase is present in every cell but transcription is prevented by methylation of that section of DNA. However, telomerase is active in germ cells and in proliferating cells such as the bone marrow stem cells that produce red blood cells. Actually this oversimplifies things greatly, the regulation of telomerase is actually quite complex involving other genes and proteins and is not a simple all or nothing proposition.

Initially life involved either self-replicating proteins or single strand RNA. Double strand DNA offered a form of checksum. It offered additional genetic stability that probably gave it a competitive advantage. Initially, DNA was probably in the form of a ring which allowed full sequential copying of both strands. Telomeres evolved allowing limited copying of non-circular strands of DNA. Eventually telomerase evolved providing a method of restoring the length of the telomeres.

The lack telomerase in some cells evolved not to promote the survival of the individual by providing a barrier to cancer, but rather to provide for programmed death and higher mutation rates giving our species an ability to more rapidly adapt to a changing environment. If the individuals lived significantly longer and the mutation rate was lower, genetic adaptation of our species would be slower. The suppression of telomerese in most cells was an additional evolutionary step promoting the survival of the species in a rapidly changing environment.

That our genes would posses sequences that promote the survival of the group over that of the individual is nothing new, we see examples of that in our behavior which is also genetically determined. We have a set of behaviors designed to promote the survival of the individual which we often consider primitive and which corresponds with the label, “The Id”, and we have a collection of behaviors that are geared towards the survival of the group which corresponds with the label, “The Superego”.

DNA which has the highest tendency to propagate successfully survives. Any quality that enhances the likelihood that a given DNA sequence will be propagated to future generations selects for that sequence. By programming the death of an organism, it can increase the survival fitness of the group, and thus itself.

Sharks have telomerase, an enzyme which lengthens telomeres, active in every cell in their body. Their telomeres don’t shorten and sharks do not have a genetically programmed life span the way humans do. Sharks keep growing throughout their entire life. The limit to their lifespan is the fact that they must keep moving in order for water to circulate through their gills so that they get oxygen they need to survive. Sharks rarely get cancer. Sharks also are exceptionally genetically stable, having changed very little in hundreds of millions of years.

In humans, telomerase is active in germ cells so that each new generation begins with a full length set of telomerese. The stem cells in the bone marrow that produce red blood cells has telomerase activity allowing them to reproduce the large number of generations necessary to replace cells that only live on average three days.

If the function of telomeres was to prevent cancer by limiting the number of cellular generations, we would expect to die within about a week of birth from leukemia, both because that protection afforded by telomere shortening is not present and because blood cells reproduce extremely rapidly. Telomerase introduced into human tissue cultures to allow the cell lines to reproduce indefinitely did not cause cancer.

Telomeres do protect against cancer by preventing the ends of DNA strands from being recognized as a double strand DNA break and fused with other DNA strands. It is also possible that the competition between telomerase and telomere shortening during reproduction provides a competition that limits the rate that cells containing telomerase can reproduce as opposed to an absolute limit on generations, and in that way limit potential cancer growth.

Leukemia and other blood cancers are relatively rare. Lung, stomach, co-rectal, prostate, liver, bladder, esophagus, and oral cancers are all more common than leukemia. In addition, in humans, we also find that as we age and the telomeres get shorter, DNA transcription errors increase and mutations and cancer rates increase with them.

If the cancer protectant theory of telomeres were correct, shorter telomeres would have the effect of putting the brakes on sooner, reducing the likelihood that a cell with a defect enabling uncontrolled replication would mutate into one in which the genes for telomerase was expressed and turning into full blown cancer. If not here to protect us from cancer, why then do most of our cells have the genetic machinery for creating telomerase turned off?

Picture this; there are groups of mammals, one group develops a mutation that suppresses the expression of telomerase maybe not entirely but to the point where it’s less efficient than others. This causes the individuals of this group to live a finite lifespan, where members of the other group live indefinitely save for accidents, predation, or starvation. That is to say the other group has no programmed lifespan.

The group with the telomerase suppression also has more mutations, more birth defects. The group adapts to these changes by reproducing at a higher rate enabling the group to maintain it’s population against environmental limits just as the group without the mutation does.

Now, imagine a rapidly changing environment. The group without the mutation live longer and have a slower reproductive rate. A generation takes more years to pass. They have lower mutation rates so adaptive mutations take more generations to occur.

The group with the mutations, new generations come more frequently and adaptive mutations occur more frequently. In a rapidly changing environment, they out compete the more stable group.

This, in a nutshell, is why I believe we have the genetic code that disables telomerase evolved, it provided a competitive advantage to the group, even though it limited the lifespan of the individual.

Arcs and Sparks from Marx

On that page I stumbled across the Marx generator. The Marx generator is a method of generating a high voltage pulse. It works by charging a number of capacitors in parallel (through resistors) and discharging them in series (through spark gaps).

This page from Penguins Lab has a good description and photos. Unfortunately, he does not specify where he obtained the capacitors from. A cursory search with Google didn’t yield positive results. I think it would be interesting to build one of these with a couple of hundred stages instead of twenty.

14 cm spark from Marx generator

The question becomes one of where to get the necessary components, and what to use as a support to build it on because few things are effective insulators when you’re talking several megavolts.

Also, this unit used 1 NF 20 KV capacitors:

1 nanofarad 20 kilovolt capacitors

The resulting unit takes approximately two seconds to charge and produces a relatively weak spark. I think I would like to use larger capacitor values so the resulting spark would be higher current and not so weak, lower value resistors and a higher current source so the charging of someone larger capacitors wouldn’t take forever.

Dealing with higher currents on the input side of coarse means you need to be real cautious. The amount of current you’re going to get from a computer monitor flyback like the setup shown on the Penguins Lab page is trivial and while capable of providing some physical pain, is not sufficient to be lethal and the only real injury threat is what you might smack when you rapidly withdraw your hand after getting zapped. Neither does the amount of energy stored in a 1NF capacitor represent a significant hazard but upscaling would change that.

Still, to scale this up to the megavolt range and use larger capacitors, if they could be afforded, is hard to resist.