Hey everyone, welcome back to Bionic Bug podcast! You’re listening to episode 23. This is your host Natasha Bajema, fiction author, futurist, and national security expert. I’m recording this episode on September 30, 2018.
Just a quick intro today before we get to Bionic Bug. I spent the last few days visiting Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I met with a number of scientists and experts to talk about nanotechnology, synthetic biology, additive manufacturing, and artificial intelligence. I also had the opportunity to visit the National Ignition Facility. The facility contains the world’s largest laser. The laser focuses its energy on a spherical target consisting of hydrogen smaller than a pea to compress the fuel and induce fusion. The target is heated to more than 100 million degrees Celsius—hotter than the center of the sun. Scientists then measure different outputs of the experiment and use this to support research on fusion and ensure the effectiveness of our nuclear stockpile. Each use of the laser is called a shot. We got to see inside the control room and the target chamber.
The United States stopped testing nuclear weapons in 1992. As a result, we have not developed any new weapons designs. To ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without full-scale testing, the Department of Energy operates the Stockpile Stewardship Program. This facility is critical to that effort since it can create the conditions that are relevant to understanding the operation of modern nuclear weapons. The experiments run at the facility support the simulations used to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of our arsenal.
You can take a virtual tour of the facility online. I’ll include the YouTube video in my show notes.
This past week, I didn’t get a chance to read tech headlines because like the majority of people in our nation, I was focused on news related to the Supreme Court nomination. First and foremost, I stand with survivors of sexual assault. Second, I expect those who seek leadership positions in this country should be held to a higher standard. Third, I believe that the impartiality of the Supreme Court must be protected to ensure the future of our democracy. I did not feel the testimony of the current nominee reflected a temperament or impartiality suitable for the highest court in the land.
Let’s turn to Bionic Bug. Last week, Lara searched the violin shop owned by Fiddler and found some interesting clues, including directions to a company called Beautific Creations. Let’s find out what happens next.
The views expressed on this podcast are my own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.