Just some final reminders on what Dr Nebel said.

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

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KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

ladajo wrote: There are two key points to the whole topic;
1) There is no really good reason not to disclose the key numbers from WB7. If you release info about WB7, you can still protect the hard design changes in WB8.
2) If it is that important to keep it all secret, why not protect it the real way vice a round about way?

If you accept public dollars, you accept public scrutiny.
Ladajo,
You know I have supported your FoI app, but had suggested alternative data requests. One reason is exemplefied by your number 1 above. You make assumptions that there are hard design changes in WB8 other than size. I remind you that all we have seen of this effort is a pretty plasma picture of WB7 which was an inconsequential change from WB6. However, WB7.1 may be quite different. Indeed, it may be quite different from WB7 and a simple scale change from WB8. Is it not possible that The reports that you have asked for set out in enough detail the changes (as a consideration in the WB7 report, a recommendation in the review report, an actuality in the WB7.1 report etc.) to reveal the data that make this thing viable? If such data is "published", i.e. released to the public, a clock may start ticking on patentability. Were I Dr. N, I wouldn't want to let that happen.

Would you consider dropping this app in favor of another that asks for pure and simple data charts, conditions vs neutron counts, etc? Dr. N. may be very willing to let such fundamental physical data out while being totally opposed to releasing reports that start clocks.

And by the way, the last statement is NOT true with the military as a general rule. They will have their secrets at times.
Last edited by KitemanSA on Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

ladajo
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Post by ladajo »

I am open to alternative methods. And I agree that most appetites would be satisfied with some numbers.
As far as the last statement, everything comes out over time. And that clock is highly dependant on circumstances.

Indrek
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Post by Indrek »

Allow me to add my two cents. Forgive me for butting in randomly.

The state of polywell research can be predicted from political situation (basically based on what people are doing/saying/not saying) or from scientific data.

We don't have scientific data, but we do have much better understanding of the political situation. Here is my interpretation.

Why are things being hidden/unpublished. In a commercial environment you'd want to do it for the reason of hiding it from your competition, developing the product, and then rolling it out in large quantities, cornering the market. I can't see emc2 having that industrial capability nor do I have any information they have formed such an alliance with anyone who does. Unless you're saying the US navy is that organization? I don't quite understand how the American military-industrial system works.

Secondly, in a commercial environment, if you have something of value but lack the resources to develop it yourself, you'd want as many people as possible know about it (once you have the critical patents in place). So you'd make a huge show. They have some patents already. Are there more coming with the WB8?

Thirdly, in a commercial environment, startup level, if you have not yet completed your research (meaning, you have not solved all the major problems) - you'd want to keep your silence. As when investors (or bank for getting a loan) come and discover you actually don't have what you claimed you have, game over. This is the scenario that is most likely here. Also instead of major scaleup we have WB8 - this also points to that.

So I believe during WB7 they discovered serious issues, which they hope to solve with WB8 but they are in no way confident they may be able to. But of course they have to claim they are - simple politics.

There is one more way out. A conspiracy! They have discovered a way to weaponize polywell, say to turn it into some major EMP/jamming system. This would make the military to hush-hush everything down. And consider Rick's background. Please take this one with a sense of humor.

I don't quite understand this EMC2-us navy relationship though. Why is it necessary? Why not do it like everyone else does in a commercial/capitalist environment? A cold war relict that gives them "free" money? Keeping more value for themselves in the long run so motivation from greed?

When Bussard went public. It seems he did it more to armwrestle the us navy to do his bidding rather than to seriously look for investors. Very strange.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

So I believe during WB7 they discovered serious issues, which they hope to solve with WB8 but they are in no way confident they may be able to.
Yes.
When Bussard went public. It seems he did it more to armwrestle the us navy to do his bidding rather than to seriously look for investors.
Yes. But why? From what I gathered it was so that no commercial company could corner the market.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

zbarlici
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Post by zbarlici »

MSimon wrote: Yes. But why? From what I gathered it was so that no commercial company could corner the market.
...who`s to say that EMC2 won`t go that way? :twisted:

Indrek
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Post by Indrek »

MSimon wrote:
So I believe during WB7 they discovered serious issues, which they hope to solve with WB8 but they are in no way confident they may be able to.
Yes.
If the lead scientist of the project admitted that they have fundamental problems, how long would it take for some journalist to go and ask the navy why taxpayer money is spent on a project that is in trouble and hasn't published any good results for over 20 years?

Now they probably have some reasonable (scientific) hope to get it around with WB8. But if the word of problems got out it would put political pressure on the navy to cut the funding. Even if that was an unreasonable choice from science standpoint. Hence the silence.

I still think they should have gone with open/commercial development model. Gets things done much faster.

But this all of course is my personal speculation.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

Indrek wrote:...
Secondly, in a commercial environment, if you have something of value but lack the resources to develop it yourself, you'd want as many people as possible know about it (once you have the critical patents in place). So you'd make a huge show. They have some patents already. Are there more coming with the WB8?
Personally, I think this is the reason they are being tight lipped. They DON'T have any useful patents now and speaking (publishing) now may make it difficult to get them in the future.

Helius
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Rolling out WB7 as an experimental device.

Post by Helius »

At one point, weren't the folks at EMC2 going to roll out WB7 as an experimental device, to be sold on the open market, if the DOD didn't go another round? I'm wondering if this whole project isn't raising more intriguing questions that it's answering, perhaps with tantalizing neutron counts, but with some other "nuanced" results beside.

As the regimen of new-ish scientific environments and measures are breached, isn't this often the case? Perhaps there are other "anomalies" the Navy wants to investigate first?

CherryPick
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Trade secret

Post by CherryPick »

The most important trade secret is to know whether Polywell works or not.

And when we know that we have Polywell fusion, then there are a lot of engineering questions before we have commercial-off-the-self fusion reactors for sale.

EMC's point of view is to delay competition and to have funds for research/engineering. Keeping quiet is the policy against competition. Keep them believing that fusion reactors can't be done - this research area is dead end. EMC needs to disclose some evidence to have funding and for that Navy is an excellent choice. They are good at secrets and don't expect fast results. If Polywell is really a dead end, then this research obviously fades away, but it takes a lot of time and money before one is really sure about that. To be sure, you must know that no branch of research/engineering will be feasible.

The history of nuclear bombs tells that it was quite fast to copy one after Hiroshima. Spies might have helped but knowing that it can be done is very important. Germans actually thought that nuclear explosions are not doable in practice and did not use billions to fund the research.
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KitemanSA
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Re: Trade secret

Post by KitemanSA »

CherryPick wrote:The most important trade secret is to know whether Polywell works or not.
I would modify that slightly. The most important trade secret is to know exactly how to make Polywell work.

Indrek
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Post by Indrek »

KitemanSA wrote:
Indrek wrote:...
Secondly, in a commercial environment, if you have something of value but lack the resources to develop it yourself, you'd want as many people as possible know about it (once you have the critical patents in place). So you'd make a huge show. They have some patents already. Are there more coming with the WB8?
Personally, I think this is the reason they are being tight lipped. They DON'T have any useful patents now and speaking (publishing) now may make it difficult to get them in the future.
Judging from the time and work they have done they should right now have around 10-20 patent applications/patents. This is about normal amount for the modern business practices.

You think this is ridiculously large amount? I don't think so. I mean. Even I am listed as the inventor on 5 patent applications (in US and others elsewhere) for the few years of work I did at a certain corporation.

Why they don't have that many? Business ignorance? Keeping things hush-hush/as trade secrets?

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Post by TallDave »

ladajo wrote:"Missive" holds several contexts. I will not bore you with cut and pastes.
What? No, really, I just meant "letters." You did say they sent you letters, right? I wasn't attaching any "contexts" to it, I was just saying you're reading too much into their letters.
Maybe NAVAIR FOIA coordinators do not know what the funding approval authority thinks, however, they sure seemed ready to release the reports regardless. One would think that they talked to the contracting POC's and approvers, most likely when they requested copies of the reports for release. But probably you are correct, they were operating in a vacuum. Lawyers like to do that. 235 pages of vacuum.
Heh, no. I just think you're missing the difference between "don't want released" and "have legal grounds for refusing a FOIA." They aren't the same thing, and yes, one might as well be vacuum from a legal perspective. If you accept the premise that the Navy funders are sensitive to data release, then EMC2 can either (stupidly) take the risk of ticking them off or claim competitive advantage.
Last edited by TallDave on Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Indrek wrote:If the lead scientist of the project admitted that they have fundamental problems, how long would it take for some journalist to go and ask the navy why taxpayer money is spent on a project that is in trouble and hasn't published any good results for over 20 years?

Now they probably have some reasonable (scientific) hope to get it around with WB8. But if the word of problems got out it would put political pressure on the navy to cut the funding. Even if that was an unreasonable choice from science standpoint. Hence the silence.
Hasn't stopped ITER (sorry, couldn't resist). I doubt they found any new major problems in WB-7 -- remember, WB-8 is by far the biggest and most expensive machine in the WB series, so they must feel they've gotten beyond the questions small machines can answer. Bussard's hope for a 100MW follow-on to a .001W machine was wildly optimistic. I'm somewhat amazed WB-8 has a 100MW follow-on.

I think you make a good point though, really. Even if there isn't some new problem, this is awfully esoteric and a lot of plasma physicists don't like it for what they consider good sound physical reasons. It's very hard to tell how viable a tech like this is, so you end up in a battle of experts, and there aren't very many on PW's side.

Interesting days ahead, anyways.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

TallDave wrote: Even if there isn't some new problem, this is awfully esoteric and a lot of plasma physicists don't like it for what they consider good sound physical reasons. It's very hard to tell how viable a tech like this is, so you end up in a battle of experts, and there aren't very many on PW's side.

Interesting days ahead, anyways.
"Doesn't put a fat check in my pocket" is a very good sound physical reason for professional physicists. Esp when there are other programs that promise to keep putting checks in one's pocket for an entire career without a chance of actually reaching a dead end or actually having to provide net power production.

MirariNefas
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Post by MirariNefas »

I always hate that BS logic.

If you, or your lab, worked out the useful, net power form of fusion, you would be rich and successful for the rest of your life. Even without patent protection. Every physicist knows this. Moreover, if you went for what's "safe", knowing that better routes were available, you'd know that your competition would investigate the better route and destroy your safe job.

Scientists do not avoid success. At worst, they can be indifferent to it.

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