The Morning After: European fusion reactor shatters energy production record

The models suggests a much larger ITER reactor will work, too.


The Joint European Torus (JET) fusion reactor in the UK has generated the highest level of sustained energy ever from atom fusion. On December 21st, 2021, the "tokamak" reactor produced 59 megajoules of energy during a five-second fusion pulse. That’s double what it created back in 1997. (Yes, I know energy is not created or destroyed, but you get what I mean!)

The JET reactor is the flagship experimental device of the European Fusion Program, funded by the EU. It's mainly designed to prove scientists’ modeling efforts, with an eye on future, bigger experiments with a much larger ITER reactor in France, set to start fusion testing in 2025.

JET hit a Q value of 0.33, meaning it produced about a third of the energy put in. The highest Q value achieved so far is 0.7 by the US Department of Energy's National Ignition Facility, but it only hit that figure for 4 billionths of a second. The goal with ITER is to reach a Q factor of 10 or greater. Fun fact: ITER isn’t an acronym but means “the path” in Latin. And now you know.

— Mat Smith


The biggest stories you might have missed

How to build a budget home theater setup

Decent surround sound comes cheaper than you think.

TMA (Getty)

Maybe you’ve got a glorious new 4K TV. But maybe you’re still using sub-par built-in speakers. Thankfully, it's never been easier to bring the surround sound experience home without investing thousands of dollars in Hi-Fi components. Senior Editor Devindra Hardawar guides you through your options.

Continue reading.

Tesla recalls more than 578,000 vehicles over pedestrian warning sounds

The Boombox feature risked overpowering safety alerts.

Tesla is recalling hundreds of thousands of cars over a technical issue. It has recalled 578,607 Model 3, S, X and Y vehicles over concerns the Boombox feature can overpower Pedestrian Warning System sounds. The ability to play external audio while the car is in motion violates a federal safety rule requiring a clearly audible sound when EVs and hybrids are moving at speeds below 18.6MPH. As with some of its previous recalls, the company will address the issue with a free over-the-air update. The patch will disable Boombox while cars aren't parked, Tesla said.

Continue reading.

California is suing Tesla over 'racial discrimination and harassment'

Tesla called the lawsuit "unfair and unproductive."

More bad news for Tesla. A California civil rights agency has filed a lawsuit against the company for alleged racial discrimination and harassment at its Fremont factory, according to The Wall Street Journal. "After receiving hundreds of complaints from workers, DFEH found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated workplace," said California Department of Fair Employment and Housing director Kevin Kish in a statement.

Continue reading.

MoviePass will return this summer

But it’s really not the same thing.

MoviePass is making a comeback. Co-founder Stacy Spikes, who is back at the helm, says MoviePass 2.0 is being built on a Web3 framework and will have a kind of virtual currency. It will have tiered plans, but he didn’t mention pricing. Spikes said there'll be ways for people to earn credits through the app via a "preshow experience." That’s watching ads. To make sure you're actually watching them, the app will employ facial recognition and eye-tracking. Wonderful.

Continue reading.

The first Android 13 developer preview is here

More privacy controls and themed icons are coming.

Android 13
Android 13 (Google)

Google is unveiling the first Android 13 developer preview today, and it's clear the company is not going to avoid the "unlucky" number. Developers (and risk takers) can test their apps using the Android emulator or flashing a system image to the Pixel 4 or newer Pixel phones. Based on today's announcement, it looks like we can expect finer privacy controls and more of Android 12's Material You design licks throughout.

Continue reading.

Biden administration unveils $5 billion plan for EV charging infrastructure

States can apply for the funds to create an Alternative Fuel Corridor on US highways.

The Biden administration has announced a $5 billion plan to help states build half a million EV charging stations by 2030 — five times the current number. The goal is to allow EV owners to find a charging port anywhere within 50 miles of their location across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. A total of $615 million will be distributed this year alone.

Continue reading.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.