Teaching Writing

Irvine Welsh: I think the basic things. it’s like… It’s like kind of trying to sort of deglamourize the idea of writing and the writer from the lot of them, because I think I think that there is this kind of Hemmingwayesque, kind of [Borroughesque] kind of sort of myth about the right or this kind of outlaw, kind of hard drinking kind of outlaw figure, and I think that… And it’s a quite of glamorous kind of myth, but basically, this was a boring job. It’s about hard work. It’s about sitting in front of a computer until your eyes are ready to fall off your head.

It’s just kind of boring and lonely kind of craft and toil, . And unless you really enjoyed, unless you’re in vibe on doing that kind of thing, it’s maybe something that’s… it’s not for you, . So, I think that trying to encourage people, but but the basic thing about writing being rewriting. It’s like you just keep on and keep chipping away and all that. So, and not really, not really being swayed by the idea of superficiality, it the idea that you can write a bestseller on those kind of months and so… Or the idea that there is this intrinsic glamour in the writers life and there isn’t, really. The sort of interesting thing about being successful is that you do get to travel and go on all these literary festivals and sort of hang out with different people and stuff like that, but it’s such a small part of it. The biggest part of it is just kind of the sheer, solid, kind of mind numbing draft, basically.

 

Recorded on: September 8, 2008

 

Irvine Welsh tells his students writing comes down to working hard.

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This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

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