Two links: the survivor of an SR-71 accident and a giant nuclear fusion reactor

The first: http://roadrunnersinternationale.com/weaver_sr71_bailout.html

This one is relatively short. Bill Weaver, a test pilot for the SR-71 Blackbird in 1966, survived a forced ejection from the plane… because it ripped itself to pieces while traveling over Mach 3.

The second: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/03/03/140303fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=all

This one is relatively long, but fantastically written. It details the story of ITER, a multinational group of scientists working to build what would be the world’s largest and only self-sustaining nuclear fusion reactor. Fission is the principle every other nuclear reactor operates on: fusion is much more difficult, and has never been done on a large enough scale to generate more energy than is required to start it. The entire thing smacks of over-complications, mad-scientist architectures, grandiose visions of the future, and if it were to succeed, the eventual solution to the continuing energy crisis.

ITER has been a thing since Reagan and Gorbachev in the 80s, and their end-goal, which is essentially a tiny nuclear cloud, like a star, in a giant magnetic bottle, is a distant dream. Still, this is one of the most inspirational things I’ve read in a long long time. It makes everything else in the world seem smaller and less important in comparison. Well worth your time investment.

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