Lots of potentials for the end of the world- with or without a New World Order. Maybe we’ll run out of Oxygen, the oceans will melt into the earths mantle, global warming will kill us all, or a nuke will zap us. Sir David Attenborough believes that a “frightening explosion in human numbers” is behind every threat to wildlife across the world. But, http://enemiesofprogress.blogspot.com/2009/04/david-attenborough-has-become-patron-of.html poignantly notes that “progress and technology – without artificial limits – that can raise people’s capacity to thrive,” and I concur.
The North Koreans are sure doing whatever possible for their own sustainability by walking out on disarmament talks. The ministry said it would “strengthen its nuclear deterrent for its defense by all means” and would restore its partially disabled Yongbyon nuclear reactor – the fuel source for its 2006 atomic test.
While countries are in search of power not only politically and militarily, the search for energy power continues toward what Star Trek science fiction has been showing us all along. Scientists have been working on “Nanogenerators could allow people to power their iPods and other portable electronics just by walking.”–scienceNOW http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/326/2
Forget about winding a wristwatch or powering up a laptop- how about propulsion! Transport pods that could take you from New York to China in minutes. Interstellar visits to the moon, the Milky Way and galaxies yet discovered? I don’t have the energy to think of all the possibilities, but The Tau Zero Foundation encourages missions based on known physics and rigorous examination of possible ‘breakthrough’ concepts. http://www.tauzero.aero/
Project Daedalus, done in the mid 70’s ( http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/D/Daedalus.html) remains the most detailed study of an interstellar vehicle or probe ever attempted. The 54,000 ton two-stage vehicle was to be powered by inertial confinement fusion using electron beams to compress deuterium/helium-3 fusion capsules to ignition to reach Barnard’s Star. For those of us who are not scientists, this translates to nuclear fission (I think)! A powerful magnetic field would have confined the explosions created at thrust and lift off. No one built Daedalus. 30 years later, the effort is being reincarnated in Project Icarus: Son of Daedalus. source- http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=7164
With nano research weight we are not talking housands of tons for the weight of propulsion, but hundreds of grams. We can not keep track of nuclear waste, let alone something the size of a pack of cigarettes or smaller in the hands of terrorists. But we are not being held captive in our desire for the edge of knowledge, labs around the world are doing research, experiments and applications.
From AGOR to the Yerevan Physics Institute a partial list of labs can be found at http://home.earthlink.net/~whittum/vl/labs.html . Maybe we don’t need the terrorists help to end the world or cause disasters at all. In my post, http://ahrcanum.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/italy-earthquake-epicenter-near-nuclear-physics-lab/ I asked if the recent earthquake in Italy was caused by a physics experiment gone awry or perhaps something aimed at or away from The Gran Sasso National Laboratory to CERN.
According to Symmetry Magazine, http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2009/04/01/particles-attempt-lab-takeover/ in April, the Fermi lab temporarily halted Tevatron operations when a batch of particles broke free from the accelerator and staged a coup at the laboratory. Escaped particles seized control of the Remote Operations Center and attempted to contact compatriots in the Large Hadron Collider. Fortunately for CERN, the only particles present were a group of passing cosmic rays. Okay, so it happened on April 1st, but I am no April Fool to think that scientists have full control over science.
Luckily http://www.strings.musser.com/Strings/Welcome.html Scientific American writer/author George Musser has published: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory where physics is explained an easily assimilated way and also why super strings physics matter at all. A great interview Musser is here http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/18790.
In searching for the origins of the big bang, finding a replacement for the energizer bunny and predicting earthquakes; Physics.org keeps us up to date on experiments like The Physics of Pizza Toppings http://www.physorg.com/news158491566.html . Until the end of the world, if it ever happens at all, man’s got to eat. Might as well explain it with physics!