Major Electronics Magazine Picks Up On Polywell

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Tom Ligon wrote:Simon,

Bad example. Your board is worth more in one piece than cut up into scraps!

The same may be true of the community of small fusion efforts.
Of course. That shows the advantage of money over barter.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

pfrit wrote:
MSimon wrote:Give me $40 trillion this year and I can guarantee you 20 GW of continuous fusion power in less than 5 years. Of course we might do much better on a $/w basis with windmills and batteries. The way around that is to kill the accountants and buyers.
Not to take away from your point, which I happen to agree with, but I wouldn't bet on you is this case. I am not sure that you could constructively spend 40 trillion dollars in 5 years. I am also unsure that 40 trillion dollars would get you a 20 GW output fusion power plant in ten years. While I am hopeful that polywell and some other fusion approaches MAY lead to profitable fusion, that does make it so. The problem may not be sovable at our current tech level. I am hoping otherwise, of course.
Who said any thing about profitable? Money doesn't matter only fusion power matters. Ask chris. Profit is about money. Money doesn't matter. Only energy matters. Net power pftttttt. Who cares? This is fusion energy. If we can get 1 watt more out than in we have net power. Doesn't matter what it costs. Chris has convinced me that costs are irrelevant. All we need is net power. The cosmic accounting system.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

KitemanSA wrote:
pfrit wrote:
MSimon wrote:Give me $40 trillion this year and I can guarantee you 20 GW of continuous fusion power in less than 5 years. Of course we might do much better on a $/w basis with windmills and batteries. The way around that is to kill the accountants and buyers.
Not to take away from your point, which I happen to agree with, but I wouldn't bet on you is this case. I am not sure that you could constructively spend 40 trillion dollars in 5 years. I am also unsure that 40 trillion dollars would get you a 20 GW output fusion power plant in ten years. While I am hopeful that polywell and some other fusion approaches MAY lead to profitable fusion, that does make it so. The problem may not be sovable at our current tech level. I am hoping otherwise, of course.
Please note, he didn't say one 20GW plant, nor did he say net 20GW. I'm pretty sure he could get close by building a whole series of smaller toks that use 200GW to produce 20GW.
That is the ticket.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Now, with you power of hindsight, answer me this question; what has the profit margin been on the use of 'electricity'?
The profit dear chris is that I don't need to hire 100 million human calculators for 20 years to figure the stress on an airplane wing with finite element analysis. Not to mention the 200,000 draftsmen required to do the successive renderings.

The profit is in fact calculable. And it is a LOT.

Something tells me dear chris that you don't have the mind of an engineer.

In fact with all your higher math ability (no doubt far outstripping my meager talents in that area) you are incapable of conceptualizing even the simplest of arithmetic problems. Pity.

So who gets all that profit? Certainly not the bankers. All they get is a portion of the marginal profits. (i.e. how much better we can do it this year than last).

Well any way. As I said. You are a perfect example of why scientists generally make less than engineers. Scientist lack an understanding of profits. Scientists generally lack a fingerspitzengefühl about profits.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

chrismb
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Post by chrismb »

MSimon wrote: The profit dear chris is that I don't need to hire 100 million human calculators for 20 years to figure the stress on an airplane wing with finite element analysis. Not to mention the 200,000 draftsmen required to do the successive renderings.

The profit is in fact calculable. And it is a LOT.
You're not really making sense.

Let's imagine that the year is 1828 and your Faraday and I'm Davy. I've just set you a load of jobs on optics, but you want me to fund you to explore electricity.

Go on, then, argue your case by the use of 'profits' as the means to argue it.

Same here with ITER, or any other fusion experiment. Trying to make the argument work either way by using profitabiliy as the means for the argument is ridiculous and exposes the muscle-headedness of humanity.

If you claim that to argue profits is the engineer's creed, then I am happy not to fit your idea of an engineer.

An engineer is 'ingenious'. We will contrive the most inventive and ingenous solution. We are not motivated by money - UNLESS it is stated as one of those factors that needs to be ingeniously optimised. It is the accountants and politicos that demand we treat money as requiring optimisation, it is NOT intrinsic for engineers but merely becomes another factor that we address ourselves to. You appear to have become money's slave, not its master - a fault I could also attribute to a vast majority in the western world at this time.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

You don't get it. There is no marginal profit in fusion currently. It is all risk.

You are looking at it retroactively .

You also have to look at the failures. What is the profit in phlogiston?

And you know for quite some time there was no profit in electricity. Food had to be taken out of the mouths of much less than well fed babies in order to try things. Lots of those things failed.

The first electric motors were a bust. They were used to run a printing press. They failed because there was no electrical generation and they had to use batteries. Lots of other trials and errors had to happen to make electric motors a success. And back then no one knew the right path.

Again you are looking back and already know one path that works. So yes. One thousand years from now when we know everything it will all seem ridiculous. Today we don't know that path. So we have to account for which path holds the most economic promise. Because our resources are not unlimited. We aren't mining asteroids for high quality ores.

Since our resources are not unlimited we have to have ways of directing those resources in directions which show the most promise. So we ask engineers - given the resources available today where are the most profits available? It ain't ITER.

And the USSR showed that no group of really smart men can run an economy in an era of scarcity. Only capitalism can. Heck. Even Marx knew that.

Read this:

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/econ ... cture.html

and this

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/022632 ... 0226320553

and get back to me.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

Regarding profit, here's the really neat thing. Yes, the reason power companies want to produce power is to sell it and make a profit. The bean-counters have job security, and the engineering economists can calculate the depreciation on capital investment and life cycle costs and all that, enabling the power companies to extract a viable margin.

But that's not the real profit, and we all know it, and it is why we're all concerned about energy. The profit is that the electricity made is worth far more than it sells for. If we cannot get it by other means, we'll spend the money on solar to get it because it will be worth it.

The profit is what you can do with energy, especially abundant energy with fewer negatives involved in getting it, and what the fruits of those expenditures are. Energy, with raw materials and human talent, are the basis for our economy, and so is priceless.

The economics will shake out the most economical way to produce the power we need, but they don't set the value of the power to civilization.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Tom Ligon wrote:Regarding profit, here's the really neat thing. Yes, the reason power companies want to produce power is to sell it and make a profit. The bean-counters have job security, and the engineering economists can calculate the depreciation on capital investment and life cycle costs and all that, enabling the power companies to extract a viable margin.

But that's not the real profit, and we all know it, and it is why we're all concerned about energy. The profit is that the electricity made is worth far more than it sells for. If we cannot get it by other means, we'll spend the money on solar to get it because it will be worth it.

The profit is what you can do with energy, especially abundant energy with fewer negatives involved in getting it, and what the fruits of those expenditures are. Energy, with raw materials and human talent, are the basis for our economy, and so is priceless.

The economics will shake out the most economical way to produce the power we need, but they don't set the value of the power to civilization.
Quite so.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

MSimon wrote:
Tom Ligon wrote: The economics will shake out the most economical way to produce the power we need, but they don't set the value of the power to civilization.
Quite so.
And right now, all the indicators are that ITER and its ilk will not produce power from fusion at a lower cost than currently available fusion energy sources like photovoltaic systems. Other fusion sources might, and THAT I am interested in.

jnaujok
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Post by jnaujok »

chrismb wrote: If you claim that to argue profits is the engineer's creed, then I am happy not to fit your idea of an engineer.
You are suffering from a common fallacy, that money is the object everyone is after. Money doesn't represent power, or enablement, or anything else that's been tossed around. Money represents freedom. Let me explain.

Remove money from the equation, and the Davy/Faraday exchange becomes something more like this...

Faraday: I'd really like to research this Electricity thing.
Davy: No can do, you have to go out and plant the back field, by sowing the seeds you had to gather last year, stored in the shed you had to build from the boards you had to saw from the trees you had to cut down using the saw you had to make with the metal you had to smelt from the ore you had to dig out of the ground using the shovel you had to carve out of wood using the sharpened piece of flint you had to chip out of two rocks you had to bang together. And don't forget to use the bow and arrow you made out of a sapling you gathered and some bird feathers, wrapped and tied with your own hair to go kill an animal for food and skins so we don't starve and freeze this fall...

Okay, the example seems ridiculous, but it makes a point. The only reason Faraday had the luxury to do research is because he was free of the time burden it takes to do all the other things we have to do to supply and protect the meat bag we use to carry our brain around. Money (and the resources it represents) gave Faraday that freedom.

All research is the product of profit. Without someone having profit, there are no resources available to pay someone to sit around and do research. Research, for research's sake has no direct effect on the life of anyone. It is the application of that research that improves the human condition (or degrades it.)

This is easily proven. Imagine I built a time machine, and took with me the contents of an entire university library, and dropped it all back in the stone ages. There, in those books, is a reasonable snapshot of the current sum total of human knowledge. What an amazing advantage I've given these hunter gatherers. I'd expect to come back forward to a world of flying cars and no human suffering.

Except...

They're most likely to use all those books as a really good source of quick kindling for their fires than advance their condition. Why? Because that's the application of their knowledge.

"Square thing, like thin tree leaf, burns easy and hot. Makes good fire. Ogg use square things to make good fire!"

His research? The thing is made of thin sheets of material, and it burns easily when you put it in the fire. For some reason there are black squiggly shapes all over it. But who cares? His research shows he can use it to make his life easier by starting fires with it. I have given them an advantage, but only in getting their cave warm a little faster. Without guidance in the application of that knowledge, it's useless.

All that research, all that knowledge, could be outshone, in the mind of our friendly Neanderthal Ogg, by a set of Kitchen Safety Matches.

Without the profit made by "evil financiers", there is no one to enable the researchers to do anything. Without the engineers to apply it to the real world, the results of research have no value.

In reality, the people who enable research are doing it because they believe the research will lead to something that can be applied later by an engineer. They further hope, and take the risk of investing their resources in research based on the hope, that this application will lead to profit in the future.

There's a reason that both the financial world and the fusion world use the term "Break Even." Both of those are the point where a project becomes viable in the real world.

tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

jnaujok wrote:

All research is the product of profit. Without someone having profit, there are no resources available to pay someone to sit around and do research. Research, for research's sake has no direct effect on the life of anyone. It is the application of that research that improves the human condition (or degrades it.)

This is easily proven. Imagine I built a time machine, and took with me the contents of an entire university library, and dropped it all back in the stone ages. There, in those books, is a reasonable snapshot of the current sum total of human knowledge. What an amazing advantage I've given these hunter gatherers. I'd expect to come back forward to a world of flying cars and no human suffering.

Except...

They're most likely to use all those books as a really good source of quick kindling for their fires than advance their condition. Why? Because that's the application of their knowledge.

snip...

Without guidance in the application of that knowledge, it's useless.
I don't quarrel with the view that research required resources, or that research is not necessarily directly useful, and that it is application of research that generates resources.

Your example here however is just wrong. The hunter gatherers could not read - or understand what they read - had this been possible. So they were not being given the fruits of current research. They were being given combustible artifcats with squiggles.

You also miss the point of research. Humans are no longer hunter-gatherers in caves because evolution gave us curiosty. made us want to find out what happens, and why it happens - not because the outcome is known to be useful - just because we want to explore.

That impulse is what motivates research now. And just as then, now also it is useful because just occasionally the useless research has unexpected and extraordinary payoffs.

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

Regarding research with no apparent payoff ...

I was bemoaning the proposed expenditure on a large collider, evidently equal to all other basic science research. Dr. Bussard stopped me. He said most scientific research today is nearly useless because the researchers already know what they will find. The grant process encourages them to go for sure bets.

The collider (the SSC, I think it was) was in his opinion the only worthwhile project in basic science, because we had no idea what it would discover.

In the San Diego lab, he had me post two quotes, to which I added photos of the quotees. From Fermi, "No experiment is worth doing unless it has at least a 50% chance of failure." From Einstein, "If we knew what it was we were doing, we would not call it research."
Last edited by Tom Ligon on Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chrismb
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Post by chrismb »

Tom Ligon wrote:Regarding research with no apparent payoff ...

I was bemoaning the proposed expenditure on a large collider, evidently equal to all other basic science research. Dr. Bussard stopped me. He said most scientific research today is nearly useless because the researchers already know what they will find. The grant process encourages them to go for sure bets.

The collider (the SSC, I think it was) was in his opinion the only worthwhile project in basic science, because we had no idea what it would discover.
You know that I agree!

It is epitomised in that oxymoron "Research and Development" - surely it is "research OR development", it is only a business type that can mis-conceive of these things happening at the same time!

tombo
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Post by tombo »

not polywell but:
mvanwink5 wrote:Saltwater condensers for steam turbines is not that unusual. There has been a learning curve though on what materials are best to use. We recently replaced our condensers with titanium tubes and tube sheets. Since the cold war end, titanium costs have become competitive. Barnacle and muscle growth requires either frequent cleaning or automated systems though.
If you are still designing these things, we have 20 year old polyethylene pipes that are still completely clear of barnacles and other marine life fouling.
This is in an area where my mooring line becomes 3 feet in diameter with marine growth over the course of 3 months every spring.
Yes, it won't stand up to the heat but is good for other parts.
Also, long experience shows multimedia filters to be capable of removing enough larvae and eggs etc. to prevent downstream equipment fouling. Of course they need serious cleaning every 6 months or so, but they are usually designed for that.
Tom Ligon wrote: .... In the San Diego lab, he had me post two quotes, to which I added photos of the quotees. From Fermi, "No experiment is worth doing unless it has at least a 50% chance of failure." From Einstein, "If we knew what it was we were doing, we would not call it research."
Cool
I'm pleased to hear that Dr Bussard shared that sentiment with me.
-Tom Boydston-
"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?" ~Albert Einstein

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Regarding the cave man. It is worse than you presented.

Let us assume the cave man can read and understand every word. There will still be no instant car because the supporting knowledge in people's heads is not there. There are not 100 million people available who can operate the processes that will produce all the myriad number of items required to make the auto.

For instance where does the quality control guy get the measuring tools? Where is the guy who knows just the right tension on the wire drawing machine to economically make the copper wire required to sufficiently high quality?

Where is the chemistry guy who can run the chemical plant to produce the polymers required. Even supposing we limit the plastics used to Bakelite.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

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