Before exiting “Garden of the Gods,” a National Park with dramatic rocky outcroppings just outside Manitou Springs, Colorado, I encountered this dramatic view of billowing steam clouds from a power station. The shadows in the foreground are the silhouettes of some of the rocks in the park, then a line of trees. Because of the considerable intervening distance, I had to use the full power of a 70-210 mm Nikkor lens on a Nikon D-70 camera. Although I was curious about the source of the power — hydroelectric, fossil fuel, nuclear, … — I could not stick around to find out. (I am fairly certain that it was not nuclear.) I was on my way to the Denver Airport, to take a flight to return to the East Coast.
In showing an image of this power plant and the billowing steam, I am not interested in making a social comment about pollution. As a physicist, I do have keen interest in alternate sources of energy, and I am convinced the most menacing sources are fossil fuels. They are to a large extent the reason for global warming. Nuclear energy as we know it (fission), if properly regulated, is a clean source of energy, but it is limited. The ultimate source of energy is controlled fusion, derived from the heavy hydrogen isotopes present in seawater. If harnessed, there would be enough not for thousand, or even millions of years, but much more. It is clean, and it is inexhaustible. This, however, is not to be confused with “cold fusion,” which unhappily is a sham. "Hot fusion,” for which I have abiding faith, is the process that fuels the sun.
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