Plasmapunk

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Tom Ligon
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Plasmapunk

Post by Tom Ligon »

Yesterday, after delivering my IEF talk at the Balticon science fiction convention, I was chatting with a couple of fans in the hallway, while holding my styrofoam WB6 magrid model. A passer-by asked if that were some sort of "steampunk" prop.

I answered, "No, but it might be plasmapunk." All present suspected I'd just coined a term, but a quick internet search showed it already exists.

Science fiction, years ago, spawned the cyberpunk sub-genre. "The Terminator" is probably the archetype, and the basic theme is the lone individual fighting against an impersonal machine-driven system. That term has spawned many derivatives. "Steampunk" is both a genre and a lifestyle. When I'm up at my cabin in WV tinkering with solar heat, using a wood stove, and messing with my blacksmith forge or other retro technology, I'm a classic steampunk.

Most of the hits on "plasmapunk" seem to refer to a band, but I did find an interview with a steampunker that suggested a tie-in. Using his definition of "steampunk", the participants in fusor.net and talk-polywell.org are, in fact, archetypical plasmapunks. You're involved in a grass-roots DIY effort to create a new world using plasma technology. The "punk" part of the term seems to infer a certain rebellious "against-the-grain" nature of the individual participants.

http://bostodelphia.blogspot.com/2008/0 ... aking.html

A short excerpt from the interview shows a possible alternative use of "plasma":

CP: If you keep heating steam you'll eventually create plasma once you hit a few million degrees. Do you think plasmapunk is a viable future design style? If we heated you in a closed vessel to several million degrees could you make us a plasmapunk monitor?

JVS: I think "Plasmapunk" is already used by the Hemogoths . <shudder>

drmike
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Post by drmike »

I think a plate of aluminum and a few spark plugs for feed thru's and I'll be in plasmapunk heaven. Congrats on the successful talk!

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

drmike,

I have posted some links and short pieces on fusor building at IEC Fusion blog. You might want to have a look.

Simon
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Brent
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Post by Brent »

Is it true that plasmapunks and steampunks share many personality traits? The only person who has mentioned the Polywell concept to me seems destined to become a steampunk.

drmike
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Post by drmike »

Yes, I checked out a few. I'm looking at all my junk and I found some nice hemispheres designed for deep sea work. If I put a plate on the bottom and find an easy way to seal it, I can hook up my vacuum pump and get a bell jar. I want to add feed thru's for high voltage - so that's where spark plugs come in.

I just have to find the connection between Young's modulus and circular plates to figure the thickness so things will work well. Should be a fun summer!

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