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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Fifty years later the theory is proven at the lab

Uploaded: Jan 5, 2023
It was major news last month when Lawrence Livermore National Lab teams used the giant National Ignition Facility to achieve nuclear fusion.
The milestone came after decades of research into lasers and various approaches to achieving fusion. In the aftermath of this achievement, what I found remarkable is that in 1972, just 12 years after lasers were invented by Hughes lab, Lawrence lab physicist John Nuckolls theorized that fusion could be achieved by focusing lasers on a target of deuterium and tritium. Nuckolls rose to direct the lab from 1988 to 1994. His theory became reality last month 50 years after he wrote it.
This was a big week for progressive politicians in the East Bay when Oakland swore in Sheng Thao as mayor and she swore in Pamela Price as Alameda County District Attorney. Yesenia Sanchez, formerly a commander and a career employee in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Dept. was sworn in as sheriff after stunning four-term incumbent Greg Ahern last June.
Both have agendas to change how their respective departments operate, particularly Price whose plans pretty much mirror those of recalled San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin. Don’t be surprised to see major personnel shifts in the department, particularly at the management level. Law enforcement groups backed Terry Wiley, the top assistant in the department, in the election.
There was a little-noticed change in state law that consolidated sheriff’s and district attorney’s elections with presidential years instead of gubernatorial elections in California as had been the practice. The law extends the 2022 terms from four years to six years so both Price and Sanchez will have two more years to move the needle before facing voters again.
Oregon regulators jumped on the California bandwagon by banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks in 2035, now just 12 years away. Having driven in recent years through rural Nevada, Utah and Oregon where gas stations can easily be 50-75 miles apart, I suspect there will be a vigorous market for used gasoline vehicles there because there’s no way charging stations for electric vehicles are going to be built in those remote areas. There’s little landscape difference in the sparsely populated high desert of eastern Oregon than in Nevada or Utah.
I chuckled a bit at the CalTrans warnings for travel with last week’s big storm ready to hit California. Among the recommendations was a full tank of gas or a full charge if you were headed for the mountains. Freezing weather is particularly challenging for batteries that discharge faster and perform more poorly in those conditions. We got caught behind an accident on I-80 after an early season snow storm a few years ago and it was four hours before we could proceed.
We’ve also had eight- or nine-hour trips home from Lake Tahoe in tough conditions. Having driven diesel-powered sedans for 50 years, I know first-hand what I needed to do to keep the engines ready to start in below freezing conditions—the reduced juice coming from the battery counts there as well. I can imagine a host of electric vehicles with discharged batteries scattered on I-80 near Donner Summit and ask how they’re going to get charged or better yet on the two-lane portion of Highway 50 that climbs up to Echo Summit.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 5, 2023 at 9:59 am

Karl A is a registered user.

I remember going to tour the Shiva (I think that was the name) laser / fusion experimental facility at the lab 40+ years ago. Great technical breakthrough!

Regarding EV's travelling through Donner Pass, I sure hope we don't see a repeat of the Donner Party tragedy - cannibalism to survive would be really

Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Jensen Tract,
on Jan 5, 2023 at 12:20 pm

Rich Buckley is a registered user.


My intuition suggests LLNL will get funded. The forces in play seem complex beyond comprehension. The slightest crack anywhere in organized religion, energy, transportation, health care, pharmaceuticals, the healthcare market or the US-Federal Reserve-Note-Debt-Dollar .... and the waves of change flow into a new paradigm.

It's happening now in Europe and China and Asia. Is it better to lie about it to prevent a panic or get ready to face it head on.

Every scenario has been thought through and aided in review by AI...


All that has to happen to destroy the big ugly is to divert mass public attention away from Hollywood and "The Royals." What could possibly be big enough to divert our attention? Perhaps Wernher von Braun's memoirs could tell us.

Consciousness studies indicate all you have to do is look away from what you do not want and look at what you do want....nothing more is required. Just refocus popular public mass attention.


A very smart person pointed out to me something I remember as true, Earth is experiencing different energies as it passes through the central plane both for our solar system and our galaxy. There are ancient records, carved in stone passed along by Lemurian and Atlantis survivors that are hundreds of thousands of years old that tell us what to expect. But who wants to believe that stuff?...

Posted by Oceana Templeton, a resident of another community,
on Jan 5, 2023 at 5:10 pm

Oceana Templeton is a registered user.

In addition to the metaphysical forces at play, the Earth's axis and orbit is gradually shifting due to periodic asteroid bombardments and interplanetary gravitational pulls.

This phenomena has a direct impact on our changing weather conditions and ecological changes.

As for keeping an EV drivable in inclement weather, we keep a 1200 watt gas generator in the trunk of our car and it only takes about 45 minutes charging time to achieve an approximate driving range of 125 miles.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 5, 2023 at 9:48 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

“As for keeping an EV drivable in inclement weather, we keep a 1200 watt gas generator in the trunk of our car and it only takes about 45 minutes charging time to achieve an approximate driving range of 125 miles." - does anyone see the irony in this statement.

Renewables won't save this state as we move into a $25 billion dollar deficit, and the climate alarmists are going to have to take on a new religion as we experience a third year of plus three hundred thousands citizens exiting this state for red states. And now we are a sanctuary state for the destruction of our children through gender transformation- it never surprises me how dangerous Gavin Newsom is that he shocks us with every stroke of his pen. Coming next is the devastation of our police departments by accepting illegals as officers. At least we give the media something to talk about every night. That's all we having going for us.

Insanity doesn't even define the madness oozing up from the pavement in our streets.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Jan 6, 2023 at 6:41 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

This opinion piece starts with praising the science of fusion and scientists who have overcome the challenges to reach where they are today. Their research has been funded by our government.

The opinion piece ends with political statements against EVs and government push for adoption of EVs.

So, one is good and the other is bad but both funded (fusion) or supported (EV) by the government.

I am not sure I understand the logic and rationale for criticizing one and praising the other.

EV and battery technology is getting better and better every year. There are numerous private and public companies funded by large car companies that are developing next generation batteries like QuantumScape funded by VW or Solid Power funded by BMW. Overcoming challenges in battery technology will be a lot easier than fusion. Yet, the author is very pessimistic about EVs but apparently excited about Fusion. ???

Posted by Delores Long, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 6, 2023 at 7:05 pm

Delores Long is a registered user.

Why not just create environmentally-friendly vehicles that run on fusion? We have the technology.

Those who remember 'Back to the Future' will remember Dr. Brown's DeLorean that ran on nuclear energy and that was back in circa 1985.

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 8, 2023 at 3:03 pm

Karl A is a registered user.

It's pretty simple:

Fusion, when fully available at a commercial level, will provide the reliable energy solar and wind do not provide, that can actually support charging all those EV batteries. It's a long ways off but very promising and having government support will help speed up development. Government support of advanced battery development will also help.

Government mandates to force everyone in the state to buy EV's is being done without a clear plan. The elimination of fossil fuels is being planned but there is no clear plan for providing the electrical power, battery supplies and charging infrastructure to charge all those EV's.

By clear plan, I mean what anybody who works in high tech is familiar with when you are introducing a new technology in the marketplace. Detailed milestones and goals defined - those actions and accomplishments actually needed to implement the new technology. You have to ramp up the new technology and ramp down the old technology in a coordinated way to avoid negative impacts to the customers - or in this case the citizens of our country.

We just have a bunch of politicians mandating what they wish to have without the ability to actually to anything meaningful to meet the goal.

If we are in such dire straits, why aren't we seeing our government actually get all the great tech, supply chain and manufacturing minds together to focus on solving the problem as quickly as possible?

I'm not a climate change denier - it's pretty obvious pumping all the carbon into atmosphere has to have some sort impact.

I'm just a person who thinks if this is such an existential threat to mankind, a more focused and collaborative effort would be taken by our government leaders.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Jan 8, 2023 at 7:34 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Government is not supposed to develop plans for technologies with clear milestones and timelines. We are not a communist country. Government does basic research like in fusion or cancer and then It is the industry that develops technologies and plans. Government can create incentives for new technologies to encourage further development and adoption. Some incentives are good (for EV in my opinion) and some obsolete and need to be stopped like for corn and fossil fuel. Can you believe there are incentives for corn?

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 9, 2023 at 5:50 am

Karl A is a registered user.

Communist governments MANDATE, our government should at least provide LEADERSHIP to get the various NON-GOVERNMENT experts together to collaborate on solutions.

I don't believe I stated government workers should develop these plans.

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