Ask a ScienceBlogger

ScienceBlogs has a new feature where all the bloggers answer a question. Today’s question:

“If you could cause one invention from the last hundred years never to have been made at all, which would it be, and why?”

Easy. Cold fusion. Don’t get me wrong — I think it’s great that I can run my whole house off one little “Mr Fusion” unit. And we’d probably be facing problems from global warming if we were still pumping out CO2 like in the old days. But it’s just too easy to turn cold fusion devices into bombs. I don’t have to list all the destruction that terrorists have caused with them.

Comments

  1. #1 Terry
    May 10, 2006

    What? “Cold fusion”? There is no such thing.
    Is this a joke?

  2. #2 Peter Hollo
    May 10, 2006

    Haha

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    May 10, 2006

    Well, the scientific consensus is that there is no such thing, but by [Brignell's Law](http://timlambert.org/2005/06/brignell4/), that means it’s real. So there.

  4. #4 Paul Crowley
    May 10, 2006

    now look what you’ve done! your wish was granted!

  5. #5 Tim Lambert
    May 10, 2006

    Must be the new version of Movable Type. I’ll put in a bug report.

  6. #6 RPM
    May 10, 2006

    What? “Cold fusion”? There is no such thing. Is this a joke?

    It isn’t if it needs to be explained to you.

  7. #7 Joey
    May 10, 2006

    It’s a shame you couldn’t answer the question seriously.

  8. #8 Robert
    May 10, 2006

    I’m thinking the lambada. That, after all, is the forbidden dance.

  9. #9 z
    May 10, 2006

    The 200 mpg carburetor, the suppression of which has caused so much covert assassination and regime change by the International Oil Cartel.

  10. #10 Mark Shapiro
    May 10, 2006

    After thinking about this for a while, and setting aside even the good jokes, the question points out a fundamental problem with technology in general: the more wonderful it is, the more it allows you to consume. Even a completely limitless, non-polluting energy source would make it easier to bulldoze, pave, pump out, overfish, and otherwise destroy resources. And every tool is a weapon.

    That’s part of why simple conservation, the act of not consuming every bit that you can reach, becomes so important.

    Now if I could only figure out some way to encourage it . . .

  11. #11 Meyrick Kirby
    May 10, 2006

    That’s part of why simple conservation, the act of not consuming every bit that you can reach, becomes so important.

    Now if I could only figure out some way to encourage it . . .

    Reminds me of an old joke.

    A man goes into a bar:
    Man: “Can I have a pint of Less please?”
    Barman: “What?”
    Man: “Can I have a pint of Less please?”
    Barman: “What on earth is Less?”
    Man: “I don’t know, but my doctor says I’ve got to start drinking it”

  12. #12 Dominion
    May 10, 2006

    It’s a shame you couldn’t answer the question seriously.

    It’s a shame they could not ask a serious question!

  13. #13 jade
    May 10, 2006

    If you could cause one invention from the last hundred years never to have been made at all, which would it be?

    Computers.

    Why?

    This comment thread. At least CO2 disperses.

    Incidentally, why don’t ScienceBlogs allow superscripts and subscripts?

  14. #14 jre
    May 12, 2006

    Jade asks:

    Incidentally, why don’t ScienceBlogs allow superscripts and subscripts?

    What — you want to enter something like, oh, I don’t know, “CO2“, and have it come out right? You commenters are so demanding!

    I contacted Seed, and Tim Murtaugh[1] fixed it right away.

    [1] All hail our Seed overlords!

  15. #15 Greco
    May 12, 2006

    I’m thinking the lambada. That, after all, is the forbidden dance.

    Well at least it wasn’t your fellow contrymen who came up with the damn thing. And I’d guess no one of the readers had to stand two years of it blasting from every sound apparatus virtually every day, and a slightly shorter time when it was the only soundtrack and dance in every party.

    You guys should be glad that pagode or axé never made it to the US of A.