The first plasma: the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device is now in operation

The first plasma in the machine had a duration of one tenth of a second and achieved a temperature of around one million degrees. “We’re very satisfied”, concludes Dr. Hans-Stephan Bosch, whose division is responsible for the operation of the Wendelstein 7-X, at the end of the first day of experimentation. “Everything went according to plan.”

This announcement from Germany is BIG news. They successfully triggered a plasma reaction at roughly 1million degrees. As this machine and this facility continues to develop they will eventually be able to produce nuclear fusion — the power of the sun! Clean and perpetual energy.

This machine is only 52 feet long. It will probably have to be half that size to start being commercially available, but this means that potentially my grandchildren might be able to have all the energy they need and there will be no power lines, or gas combustion machines necessary at all.

Color me excited!

http://www.ipp.mpg.de/3984226/12_15

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What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?

“…So an Accelerated Mobile Page (or AMP, for short) is a project from Google and Twitter designed to make really fast mobile pages…it’s an HTML page designed to be super lightweight and critically designs really fast loading.”

I love big companies pushing new technology with Open Source. It’s really a great way for them to benefit everyone generously. I love the idea of AMP, but initially I have some concerns

  1. “So certain tags of HTML you just can’t use. Things like forms, that are out.” — forms are really basic. Also important for donations, which I’m a champion of.
  2. WordPress has already rolled out a beta plugin to for self-hosted sites. From their copy they say: “With the plugin active, all content on your site will have dynamically generated AMP-compatible versions, accessible by appending `/amp/` to the end your permalinks.” This to me harkens back to the days when everyone was creating a second duplicate site and redirecting their mobile viewers there. So glad Google put an end to that garbage. But now Google is behind this initiative and it seems like we’re still dealing with canonical tags and duplicate content issues.

I’m hoping (kind of assuming) that both of these concerns will be fully addressed by the end of 2016. Here’s to hoping!

https://moz.com/blog/accelerated-mobile-pages-whiteboard-friday

The Polarizing Political Power of Newsfeed Customization

tech-isolates-perspective

“…the very tools we use to manage the overwhelming amount of data to be found online are, instead, causing us to become less receptive to differing political opinions.”

I love newsfeeds and aggregators. In fact, I’m experimenting with WordPress’s new Calypso app this second to serve as an aggregator for me to share thoughts on the fascinating stuff I’m reading.

This article strikes a nerve though because I’m all about having a well-rounded perspective on things. I want to be aware of various perspectives and entertain new thoughts and ideas. If my tech is actually limiting me, then I need new tech.

The thing is, there is passive tech and active tech. This article speak primarily to the way in which Facebook, Twitter, Amazaon and Google purposely serve you up things that they think you will “like”. Which means they want to serve you up things you already agree with.

But services like Feedly or FlipBoard (my two go-to aggregators) don’t automatically serve you anything except what you put directly into them. So if you only put left-wing fanatic stuff into them… they spit out left-wing fanatic stuff.

The bottom line is that all of these things are mediums — not ends. Even Facebook can be configured to bring in alternate views. Maybe you’ve purposely muted that crazy neighbor who spews right-wing theories because “you just can’t”. But maybe you just need to. Just to be able to challenge your own biases and prejudices… because you’re human. We’re all biased, prejudiced, scared, defensive. It’s in our genes to be so.

http://magazine.good.is/articles/technology-political-selective-exposure-ivan-dylko