There's much to take for granted in the evolution of technology, or at least in the way that technology appears to us today – refined, perfected, ever cutting-edge.
Globally, our energy and resource supplies are becoming increasingly costly to extract and use. Demand has never been higher; ditto levels of CO2 and other terrible greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Nuclear energy is powerful, but it can look worse, given persistent waste storage issues and the threat of proliferation.
So when the topic of thorium nuclear energy comes up at a party, or in a webpage comment string, it elicits angry dismissals, or heaps of praise.
The idea of building small, thorium-based nuclear reactors – thought to be dramatically safer, cheaper, cleaner and terror-proof than our current catalog of reactors – can be shooed away as fringe by some.