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Little was learned of this latest development during my visit to Floirac. The Priore residence, is coming to look like an industrial laboratory of electrical engineering geared to pilot scale operations. There are rumors of serious technical difficulties such as might have been anticipated in scaling up such a complicated device. It is said to be proving difficult, for instance, to construct a pyrex container able to cope with the very high energy flux in the plasma.
Is the new machine really needed? At the technical level the answer is almost certainly “no”. Evidently technical considerations are overruled by others, no doubt of personal, political, and even patriotic nature.
The whole operation takes on a farcical aspect when one considers that the only genuine need in the present state of affairs is to get independent confirmation, or refutation, of results already obtained with equipment that was clearly adequate for the original experiments. The funds now made available would suffice for the building of several replicas of the mark 2 machine. These, placed in selected centers of research, could be used by independent teams for a critical repetition and extension of earlier findings. The success or otherwise of the time-consuming attempt to build a giant machine is largely irrelevant to the central doubts that persist as to the claims made for the Priore radiation, and this expensive diversion of effort betrays a certain recklessness which ill serves the quest for a solution to the mystery surrounding “l'affaire Prioré ”.
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