The Fusion of Energy and Homelessness

Another day, another fascinating pair of headlines.

First, I saw a headline reporting that Karen Bass’ first move as the new mayor of Los Angeles was to declare a homelessness state of emergency. According to the accompanying article Mayor Bass promised to, “break new ground to maximize our ability to urgently move people inside and do so for good.” She plans to house 17,000 people in her first year in office, hoping to “welcome housing to every neighborhood.”

Bass was named mayor-elect in November after a close race against Rick Caruso, the billionaire developer who spent more than $100 million on his campaign.

“Of course, we must stop crimes in progress and hold people accountable,” Bass said. 

The other headline that caught my attention also comes out of California:

US Says Scientists Make Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion Energy: Laboratory in California records reaction with net-energy gain

Routine use of nuclear fission, the process of splitting atoms, has been around for decades. Fission is used in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. The potential of nuclear fusion, the process of combining atoms, has been recognized for years but, until now, ways have not been found to use it for our everyday needs.

Scientists estimate that it will take decades to turn nuclear fusion into a practical source of clean, inexpensive energy that doesn’t create long-lived radioactive waste or worsen global warming.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco were able to create a fusion reaction where the energy that resulted from the reaction was greater than the energy that was needed to create it. It took a tremendous amount of energy to fuse hydrogen atoms together, but the process released more energy than was required to create it.

Does anyone else see a disconnect? While we continue to make amazing technological advancements, (if nuclear fusion really does pan out our battle with climate change will be a thing of the past), we are still plagued with persistent homelessness and other inequities.

And it’s not just a money problem. Billions of dollars have been spent on both issues.

And in a most ironic situation, in Los Angeles where it almost never rains, Karen Bass’ inauguration had to be moved indoors because of rain.

Links to news articles about these two stories:

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/fusion-breakthrough-net-energy-gain-rcna61326

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/karen-bass-inauguration-los-angeles-mayor-homelessness-state-of-emergency/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a

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