More on Personal Growth
10 months ago
Negative Effects of Working for a FAANG Company
Consider yourself lucky if your last FAANG interview was rejected.
FAANG—Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google
(I know its manga now, but watch me not care)
These big companies offer many benefits.
large salaries and benefits
high expectations for both you and your coworkers.
However, these jobs may have major drawbacks that only become apparent when you're thrown to the wolves, so it's up to you whether you see them as drawbacks or opportunities.
I know most college graduates start working at big tech companies because of their perceived coolness.
I've worked in these companies for years and can tell you what to expect if you get a job here.
Little fish in a vast ocean
The most obvious. Most billion/trillion-dollar companies employ thousands.
You may work on a small, unnoticed product part.
Directors and higher will sometimes make you redo projects they didn't communicate well without respecting your time, talent, or will to work on trivial stuff that doesn't move company needles.
Peers will only say, "Someone has to take out the trash," even though you know company resources are being wasted.
The power imbalance is frustrating.
What you can do about it
Know your WHY. Consider long-term priorities. Though riskier, I stayed in customer-facing teams because I loved building user-facing products.
This increased my impact. However, if you enjoy helping coworkers build products, you may be better suited for an internal team.
I told the Directors and Vice Presidents that their actions could waste Engineering time, even though it was unpopular. Some were receptive, some not.
I kept having tough conversations because they were good for me and the company.
However, some of my coworkers praised my candor but said they'd rather follow the boss.
An outdated piece of technology can take years to update.
Apple introduced Swift for iOS development in 2014. Most large tech companies adopted the new language after five years.
This is frustrating if you want to learn new skills and increase your market value.
Knowing that my lack of Swift practice could hurt me if I changed jobs made writing verbose Objective C painful.
What you can do about it
Work on the new technology in side projects; one engineer rewrote the Lyft app in Swift over the course of a weekend and promoted its adoption throughout the entire organization.
To integrate new technologies and determine how to combine legacy and modern code, suggest minor changes to the existing codebase.
Most managers spend their entire day in consecutive meetings.
After their last meeting, the last thing they want is another meeting to discuss your career goals.
Sometimes a manager has 15-20 reports, making it hard to communicate your impact.
Misunderstandings and stress can result.
Especially when the manager should focus on selfish parts of the team. Success won't concern them.
What you can do about it
Tell your manager that you are a self-starter and that you will pro-actively update them on your progress, especially if they aren't present at the meetings you regularly attend.
Keep being proactive and look for mentorship elsewhere if you believe your boss doesn't have enough time to work on your career goals.
Alternately, look for a team where the manager has more authority to assist you in making career decisions.
After a certain point, company loyalty can become quite harmful.
Because big tech companies create brand loyalty, too many colleagues stayed in unhealthy environments.
When you work for a well-known company and strangers compliment you, it's fun to tell your friends.
Work defines you. This can make you stay too long even though your career isn't progressing and you're unhappy.
Google may become your surname.
Workplaces are not families.
If you're unhappy, don't stay just because they gave you the paycheck to buy your first home and make you feel like you owe your life to them.
Many employees stayed too long. Though depressed and suicidal.
What you can do about it
Your life is not worth a company.
Do you want your job title and workplace to be listed on your gravestone? If not, leave if conditions deteriorate.
Recognize that change can be challenging. It's difficult to leave a job you've held for a number of years.
Ask those who have experienced this change how they handled it.
You still have a bright future if you were rejected from FAANG interviews.
Rejections only lead to amazing opportunities. If you're young and childless, work for a startup.
Companies may pay more than FAANGs. Do your research.
Ask recruiters and hiring managers tough questions about how the company and teams prioritize respectful working hours and boundaries for workers.
I know many 15-year-olds who have a lifelong dream of working at Google, and it saddens me that they're chasing a name on their resume instead of excellence.
This article is not meant to discourage you from working at these companies, but to share my experience about what HR/managers will never mention in interviews.
Read both sides before signing the big offer letter.
11 months ago
I read three of Elon Musk's suggested books (And His Taste Is Incredible)
A reading list for successful people
Elon Musk reads and talks. So, one learns. Many brilliant individuals & amazing literature.
This article recommends 3 Elon Musk novels. All of them helped me succeed. Hope they'll help you.
Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Page Count: 193
Rating on Goodreads: 4.23
Arthur Dent is pulled off Earth by a buddy seconds before it's razed for a cosmic motorway. The trio hitchhikes through space and gets into problems.
I initially read Hitchhiker's as a child. To evade my mum, I'd read with a flashlight under the covers. She'd scold at me for not sleeping on school nights when she found out. Oops.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is lighthearted science fiction.
My favorite book quotes are:
“Space is big. You won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”
“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”
“On planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars, and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.”
the Sun Tzu book The Art Of War
Page Count: 273
Rating on Goodreads: 3.97
It's a classic. You may apply The Art of War's ideas to (nearly) every facet of life. Ex:
Pick your fights.
Keep in mind that timing is crucial.
Create a backup plan in case something goes wrong.
Obstacles provide us a chance to adapt and change.
This book was my first. Since then, I'm a more strategic entrepreneur. Excellent book. And read it ASAP!
My favorite book quotes are:
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Peter Thiel's book Zero to One
Page Count: 195
Rating on Goodreads: 4.18
Peter argues the best money-making strategies are typically unproven. Entrepreneurship should never have a defined path to success. Whoever says differently is lying.
Zero to One explores technology and society. Peter is a philosophy major and law school graduate, which informs the work.
Peters' ideas, depth, and intellect stood out in Zero to One. It's a top business book.
My favorite book quotes are:
“The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.”
“The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”
“If your goal is to never make a mistake in your life, you shouldn’t look for secrets. The prospect of being lonely but right — dedicating your life to something that no one else believes in — is already hard. The prospect of being lonely and wrong can be unbearable.”
1 year ago
A Day in the Life of Lex Fridman Can Help You Hit 6-Month Goals
The Lex Fridman podcast host has interviewed Elon Musk.
Lex is a minimalist YouTuber. His videos are sloppy. Suits are his trademark.
In a video, he shares a typical day. I've smashed my 6-month goals using its ideas.
Here's his schedule.
Not woo-woo. Lex's mantra reflects his practicality.
"I remember the game's rules," he says.
Sleeping 6–8 hours nightly
1–3 times a day, he checks social media.
Every day, despite pain, he exercises. "I exercise uninjured body parts."
He imagines his day. "Like Sims..."
He says three things he's grateful for and contemplates death.
"Today may be my last"
Then he visualizes his goals. He starts big. Five-year goals.
Short-term goals follow. Lex says they're year-end goals.
Near but out of reach.
He lists his principles. Assertions. His goals.
He acknowledges his cliche beliefs. Compassion, empathy, and strength are key.
Here's my mantra routine:
Four-Hour Deep Work
Lex begins a four-hour deep work session after his mantra routine. Today's toughest.
AI is Lex's specialty. His video doesn't explain what he does.
Clearly, he works hard.
Before starting, he has water, coffee, and a bathroom break.
"During deep work sessions, I minimize breaks."
He's distraction-free. Phoneless. Silence. Nothing. Any loose ideas are typed into a Google doc for later. He wants to work.
"Just get the job done. Don’t think about it too much and feel good once it’s complete." — Lex Fridman
30-Minute Social Media & Music
After his first deep work session, Lex rewards himself.
10 minutes on social media, 20 on music. Upload content and respond to comments in 10 minutes. 20 minutes for guitar or piano.
"In the real world, I’m currently single, but in the music world, I’m in an open relationship with this beautiful guitar. Open relationship because sometimes I cheat on her with the acoustic." — Lex Fridman
Then exercise for two hours.
Daily runs six miles. Then he chooses how far to go. Run time is an hour.
He does bodyweight exercises. Every minute for 15 minutes, do five pull-ups and ten push-ups. It's David Goggins-inspired. He aims for an hour a day.
He's hungry. Before running, he takes a salt pill for electrolytes.
He'll then take a one-minute cold shower while listening to cheesy songs. Afterward, he might eat.
Four-Hour Deep Work
Lex's second work session.
He works 8 hours a day.
Again, zero distractions.
The video's meal doesn't look appetizing, but it's healthy.
It's ground beef with vegetables. Cauliflower is his "ground-floor" veggie. "Carrots are my go-to party food."
Lex's keto diet includes 1800–2000 calories.
He drinks a "nutrient-packed" Atheltic Greens shake and takes tablets. It's:
One daily tablet of sodium.
Magnesium glycinate tablets stopped his keto headaches.
Potassium — "For electrolytes"
Fish oil: healthy joints
“So much of nutrition science is barely a science… I like to listen to my own body and do a one-person, one-subject scientific experiment to feel good.” — Lex Fridman
Four-hour shallow session
This work isn't as mentally taxing.
Lex planned to:
Finish last session's deep work (about an hour)
Adobe Premiere podcasting (about two hours).
Email-check (about an hour). Three times a day max. First, check for emergencies.
If he's sick, he may watch Netflix or YouTube documentaries or visit friends.
“The possibilities of chaos are wide open, so I can do whatever the hell I want.” — Lex Fridman
Two-hour evening reading
Lex ends the day reading academic papers for an hour. "Today I'm skimming two machine learning and neuroscience papers"
This helps him "think beyond the paper."
He reads for an hour.
“When I have a lot of energy, I just chill on the bed and read… When I’m feeling tired, I jump to the desk…” — Lex Fridman
Lex's day-in-the-life video is inspiring.
He has positive energy and works hard every day.
Mantra Routine includes rules, visualizing, goals, and principles.
Deep Work Session #1: Four hours of focus.
10 minutes social media, 20 minutes guitar or piano. "Music brings me joy"
Six-mile run, then bodyweight workout. Two hours total.
Deep Work #2: Four hours with no distractions. Google Docs stores random thoughts.
Lex supplements his keto diet.
This four-hour session is "open to chaos."
Evening reading: academic papers followed by fiction.
"I value some things in life. Work is one. The other is loving others. With those two things, life is great." — Lex Fridman
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Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi
1 year ago
The Only Paid Resources I Turn to as a Solopreneur
4 Pricey Tools That Are Valuable
I pay based on ROI (return on investment).
If a $20/month tool or $500 online course doubles my return, I'm in.
Investing helps me build wealth.
I initially refused to pay.
My course content needed updating a few months ago. My Google Docs text looked cleaner and more professional in Canva.
I've used it to:
product cover pages
Product page infographics
See my Google Sheets vs. Canva product page graph.
Google Sheets vs Canva
Yesterday, I used it to make a LinkedIn video thumbnail. It took less than 5 minutes and improved my video.
In 30 hours, the video had 39,000 views.
It builds my brand as I sleep. What else?
Because I'm traveling this weekend, I planned tweets for 10 days. It took me 80 minutes.
So while I travel or am absent, my content mill keeps producing.
Also I like:
I can reach hundreds of people thanks to auto-DMs. I utilize it to advertise freebies; for instance, leave an emoji remark to receive my checklist. And they automatically receive a message in their DM.
Scheduled Retweets: By appearing in a different time zone, they give my tweet a second chance.
It helps me save time and expand my following, so that's my favorite part.
It’s also super neat:
My course involves weekly and monthly calls for alumni.
Google Meet isn't great for group calls. The interface isn't great.
Zoom Pro is expensive, and the monthly payments suck, but it's necessary.
It gives my students a smooth experience.
Previously, we'd do 40-minute meetings and then reconvene.
Zoom's free edition limits group calls to 40 minutes.
This wouldn't be a good online course if I paid hundreds of dollars.
So I felt obligated to help.
My laptop has an ad blocker.
I bought an iPad recently.
When you're self-employed and work from home, the line between the two blurs. My bed is only 5 steps away!
When I read or watched videos on my laptop, I'd slide into work mode. Only option was to view on phone, which is awkward.
YouTube premium handles it. No more advertisements and I can listen on the move.
3 Expensive Tools That Aren't Valuable
Marketing strategies are sometimes aimed to make you feel you need 38474 cool features when you don’t.
Certain tools are useless.
I found it useless.
Depending on your needs. As a writer and creator, I get no return.
They could for other jobs.
It tracks LinkedIn stats, like:
trend chart for impressions
Engagement, views, and comment stats for posts
and much more.
Middle-tier creator costs $12/month.
I got a 25% off coupon but canceled my free trial before writing this. It's not worth the discount.
LinkedIn provides free analytics. See:
Not thorough and won't show top posts.
I don't need to see my top posts because I love experimenting with writing.
Slack was my classroom. Slack provided me a premium trial during the prior cohort.
I skipped it.
Sure, voice notes are better than a big paragraph. I didn't require pro features.
Marketing methods sometimes make you think you need 38474 amazing features. Don’t fall for it.
This may be worth it if you get many calls.
I avoid calls. During my 9-5, I had too many pointless calls.
I don't need:
ability to schedule calls for 15, 30, or 60 minutes: I just distribute each link separately.
I have a Gumroad consultation page with a payment option.
follow-up emails: I hardly ever make calls, so
I just use one calendar, therefore I link to various calendars.
I'll admit, the integrations are cool. Not for me.
If you're a coach or consultant, the features may be helpful. Or book meetings.
Investing is spending to make money.
Use my technique — put money in tools that help you make money. This separates it from being an investment instead of an expense.
Try free versions of these tools before buying them since everyone else is.
1 year ago
Clean Food: Get Over Yourself If You Want to Save the World.
I’m a permaculture farmer. I want to create food-producing ecosystems. My hope is a world with easy access to a cuisine that nourishes consumers, supports producers, and leaves the Earth joyously habitable.
Permaculturists, natural farmers, plantsmen, and foodies share this ambition. I believe this group of green thumbs, stock-folk, and food champions is falling to tribalism, forgetting that rescuing the globe requires saving all of its inhabitants, even those who adore cheap burgers and Coke. We're digging foxholes and turning folks who disagree with us or don't understand into monsters.
Take Dr. Daphne Miller's comments at the end of her Slow Money Journal interview:
“Americans are going to fall into two camps when all is said and done: People who buy cheap goods, regardless of quality, versus people who are willing and able to pay for things that are made with integrity. We are seeing the limits of the “buying cheap crap” approach.”
This is one of the most judgmental things I've read outside the Bible. Consequences:
People who purchase inexpensive things (food) are ignorant buffoons who prefer to choose fair trade coffee over fuel as long as the price is correct.
It all depends on your WILL to buy quality or cheaply. Both those who are WILLING and those who ARE NOT exist. And able, too.
People who are unwilling and unable are purchasing garbage. You're giving your kids bad food. Both the Earth and you are being destroyed by your actions. Your camp is the wrong one. You’re garbage! Disgrace to you.
Dr. Miller didn't say it, but words are worthless until interpreted. This interpretation depends on the interpreter's economic, racial, political, religious, family, and personal history. Complementary language insults another. Imagine how that Brown/Harvard M.D.'s comment sounds to a low-income household with no savings.
Dr. Miller's comment reflects the echo chamber into which nearly all clean food advocates speak. It asks easy questions and accepts non-solutions like raising food prices and eating less meat. People like me have cultivated an insular world unencumbered by challenges beyond the margins. We may disagree about technical details in rotationally-grazing livestock, but we short circuit when asked how our system could supply half the global beef demand. Most people have never seriously considered this question. We're so loved and affirmed that challenging ourselves doesn't seem necessary. Were generals insisting we don't need to study the terrain because God is on our side?
“Yes, the $8/lb ground beef is produced the way it should be. Yes, it’s good for my body. Yes it’s good for the Earth. But it’s eight freaking dollars, and my kid needs braces and protein. Bye Felicia, we’re going to McDonald’s.”
-Bobby Q. Homemaker
Funny clean foodies. People don't pay enough for food; they should value it more. Turn the concept of buying food with integrity into a wedge and drive it into the heart of America, dividing the willing and unwilling.
We go apeshit if you call our products high-end.
I've heard all sorts of gaslighting to defend a $10/lb pork chop as accessible (things I’ve definitely said in the past):
At Whole Foods, it costs more.
The steak at the supermarket is overly affordable.
Pay me immediately or the doctor gets paid later.
I spoke with Timbercreek Market and Local Food Hub in front of 60 people. We were asked about local food availability.
They came to me last, after my co-panelists gave the same responses I would have given two years before.
I grumbled, "Our food is inaccessible." Nope. It's beyond the wallets of nearly everyone, and it's the biggest problem with sustainable food systems. We're criminally unserious about being leaders in sustainability until we propose solutions beyond economic relativism, wishful thinking, and insisting that vulnerable, distracted people do all the heavy lifting of finding a way to afford our food. And until we talk about solutions, all this preserve the world? False.
The room fell silent as if I'd revealed a terrible secret. Long, thunderous applause followed my other remarks. But I’m probably not getting invited back to any VNRLI events.
I make pricey cuisine. It’s high-end. I have customers who really have to stretch to get it, and they let me know it. They're forgoing other creature comforts to help me make a living and keep the Earth of my grandmothers alive, and they're doing it as an act of love. They believe in us and our work.
I remember it when I'm up to my shoulders in frigid water, when my vehicle stinks of four types of shit, when I come home covered in blood and mud, when I'm hauling water in 100-degree heat, when I'm herding pigs in a rainstorm and dodging lightning bolts to close the chickens. I'm reminded I'm not alone. Their enthusiasm is worth more than money; it helps me make a life and a living. I won't label that gift less than it is to make my meal seem more accessible.
Not everyone can sacrifice.
Let's not pretend we want to go back to peasant fare, despite our nostalgia. Industrial food has leveled what rich and poor eat. How food is cooked will be the largest difference between what you and a billionaire eat. Rich and poor have access to chicken, pork, and beef. You might be shocked how recently that wasn't the case. This abundance, particularly of animal protein, has helped vulnerable individuals.
Industrial food causes environmental damage, chronic disease, and distribution inequities. Clean food promotes non-industrial, artisan farming. This creates a higher-quality, more expensive product than the competition; we respond with aggressive marketing and the "people need to value food more" shtick geared at consumers who can spend the extra money.
The guy who is NOT able is rendered invisible by clean food's elitist marketing, which is bizarre given a.) clean food insists it's trying to save the world, yet b.) MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE THAT GUY. No one can help him except feel-good charities. That's crazy.
Also wrong: a foodie telling a kid he can't eat a 99-cent fast food hamburger because it lacks integrity. Telling him how easy it is to save his ducketts and maybe have a grass-fed house burger at the end of the month as a reward, but in the meantime get your protein from canned beans you can't bake because you don't have a stove and, even if you did, your mom works two jobs and moonlights as an Uber driver so she doesn't have time to heat that shitup anyway.
A wealthy person's attitude toward the poor is indecent. It's 18th-century Versailles.
Human rights include access to nutritious food without social or environmental costs. As a food-forest-loving permaculture farmer, I no longer balk at the concept of cultured beef and hydroponics. My food is out of reach for many people, but access to decent food shouldn't be. Cultures and hydroponics could scale to meet the clean food affordability gap without externalities. If technology can deliver great, affordable beef without environmental negative effects, I can't reject it because it's new, unusual, or might endanger my business.
Why is your farm needed if cultured beef and hydroponics can feed the world? Permaculture food forests with trees, perennial plants, and animals are crucial to economically successful environmental protection. No matter how advanced technology gets, we still need clean air, water, soil, greenspace, and food.
Clean Food cultivated in/on live soil, minimally processed, and eaten close to harvest is part of the answer, not THE solution. Clean food advocates must recognize the conflicts at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic sustainability, the disproportionate effects of those conflicts on the poor and lower-middle classes, and the immorality and impracticality of insisting vulnerable people address those conflicts on their own and judging them if they don't.
Our clients, relatives, friends, and communities need an honest assessment of our role in a sustainable future. If we're serious about preserving the world, we owe honesty to non-customers. We owe our goal and sanity to honesty. Future health and happiness of the world left to the average person's pocketbook and long-term moral considerations is a dismal proposition with few parallels.
Let's make soil and grow food. Let the lab folks do their thing. We're all interdependent.
1 year ago
Twisted device investigates fusion alternatives
German stellarator revamped to run longer, hotter, compete with tokamaks
Tokamaks have dominated the search for fusion energy for decades. Just as ITER, the world's largest and most expensive tokamak, nears completion in southern France, a smaller, twistier testbed will start up in Germany.
If the 16-meter-wide stellarator can match or outperform similar-size tokamaks, fusion experts may rethink their future. Stellarators can keep their superhot gases stable enough to fuse nuclei and produce energy. They can theoretically run forever, but tokamaks must pause to reset their magnet coils.
The €1 billion German machine, Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), is already getting "tokamak-like performance" in short runs, claims plasma physicist David Gates, preventing particles and heat from escaping the superhot gas. If W7-X can go long, "it will be ahead," he says. "Stellarators excel" Eindhoven University of Technology theorist Josefine Proll says, "Stellarators are back in the game." A few of startup companies, including one that Gates is leaving Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, are developing their own stellarators.
W7-X has been running at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany, since 2015, albeit only at low power and for brief runs. W7-X's developers took it down and replaced all inner walls and fittings with water-cooled equivalents, allowing for longer, hotter runs. The team reported at a W7-X board meeting last week that the revised plasma vessel has no leaks. It's expected to restart later this month to show if it can get plasma to fusion-igniting conditions.
Wendelstein 7-X's water-cooled inner surface allows for longer runs.
Both stellarators and tokamaks create magnetic gas cages hot enough to melt metal. Microwaves or particle beams heat. Extreme temperatures create a plasma, a seething mix of separated nuclei and electrons, and cause the nuclei to fuse, releasing energy. A fusion power plant would use deuterium and tritium, which react quickly. Non-energy-generating research machines like W7-X avoid tritium and use hydrogen or deuterium instead.
Tokamaks and stellarators use electromagnetic coils to create plasma-confining magnetic fields. A greater field near the hole causes plasma to drift to the reactor's wall.
Tokamaks control drift by circulating plasma around a ring. Streaming creates a magnetic field that twists and stabilizes ionized plasma. Stellarators employ magnetic coils to twist, not plasma. Once plasma physicists got powerful enough supercomputers, they could optimize stellarator magnets to improve plasma confinement.
W7-X is the first large, optimized stellarator with 50 6- ton superconducting coils. Its construction began in the mid-1990s and cost roughly twice the €550 million originally budgeted.
The wait hasn't disappointed researchers. W7-X director Thomas Klinger: "The machine operated immediately." "It's a friendly machine." It did everything we asked." Tokamaks are prone to "instabilities" (plasma bulging or wobbling) or strong "disruptions," sometimes associated to halted plasma flow. IPP theorist Sophia Henneberg believes stellarators don't employ plasma current, which "removes an entire branch" of instabilities.
In early stellarators, the magnetic field geometry drove slower particles to follow banana-shaped orbits until they collided with other particles and leaked energy. Gates believes W7-X's ability to suppress this effect implies its optimization works.
W7-X loses heat through different forms of turbulence, which push particles toward the wall. Theorists have only lately mastered simulating turbulence. W7-X's forthcoming campaign will test simulations and turbulence-fighting techniques.
A stellarator can run constantly, unlike a tokamak, which pulses. W7-X has run 100 seconds—long by tokamak standards—at low power. The device's uncooled microwave and particle heating systems only produced 11.5 megawatts. The update doubles heating power. High temperature, high plasma density, and extensive runs will test stellarators' fusion power potential. Klinger wants to heat ions to 50 million degrees Celsius for 100 seconds. That would make W7-X "a world-class machine," he argues. The team will push for 30 minutes. "We'll move step-by-step," he says.
W7-X's success has inspired VCs to finance entrepreneurs creating commercial stellarators. Startups must simplify magnet production.
Princeton Stellarators, created by Gates and colleagues this year, has $3 million to build a prototype reactor without W7-X's twisted magnet coils. Instead, it will use a mosaic of 1000 HTS square coils on the plasma vessel's outside. By adjusting each coil's magnetic field, operators can change the applied field's form. Gates: "It moves coil complexity to the control system." The company intends to construct a reactor that can fuse cheap, abundant deuterium to produce neutrons for radioisotopes. If successful, the company will build a reactor.
Renaissance Fusion, situated in Grenoble, France, raised €16 million and wants to coat plasma vessel segments in HTS. Using a laser, engineers will burn off superconductor tracks to carve magnet coils. They want to build a meter-long test segment in 2 years and a full prototype by 2027.
Type One Energy in Madison, Wisconsin, won DOE money to bend HTS cables for stellarator magnets. The business carved twisting grooves in metal with computer-controlled etching equipment to coil cables. David Anderson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, claims advanced manufacturing technology enables the stellarator.
Anderson said W7-X's next phase will boost stellarator work. “Half-hour discharges are steady-state,” he says. “This is a big deal.”