Polywell FoI: grounds for appeal:

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

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CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:12 am

Yeah, realistically there are a number of reasons to not want to release information:

1. Proprietary aspects of the design EMC2 doesn't want competitors to copy.
2. Tricks to make this thing work that the Navy doesn't want China and others to copy.
3. Not wanting to release optimistic-looking data/reviews without having completed more tests, crossed all the "t"s and dotted all the "i"s. They don't want the mainstream media to get hold of this, hype it, and then get a Pons and Fleischman type situation if unforeseen problems crop up.
4. They don't want to encourage FOIA requests, because they don't want to be inundated with the things.
5. Some arguments that crop up around here are a bit conspiracy-theory-esque, but could have a grain of truth. They don't want to be on "big fusion's" radar screen yet, because they don't want the ITER crowd to see them as a threat and try to squash any further funding. Maybe they don't want "big oil" to see them as a threat either.

I would say that the website update this week is no coincidence. I suspect they're sending a message to people here that there's positive progress, but they don't want to be forced to make statements "on the record" yet.

Art Carlson
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Postby Art Carlson » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:23 pm

CaptainBeowulf wrote:Yeah, realistically there are a number of reasons to not want to release information:

1. ... 5. ...

As long as we are creating wild speculations in the absense of any information (Got anything better to do?), why not include these on the list:
6. Things are not going well, or there is proof that the thing won't work, and Nebel or his board of directors doesn't want too many competent people to see the results, because they might tip off the Navy.
7. Somebody in the Navy went out on a limb to get funding for polywell and now realizes it was a big mistake. He is putting a cap on information to give himself time to cover his tracks.
8. Or simply, in case of doubt, bureaucrats say no because they are less likely to get into trouble that way.

Tom Ligon
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Postby Tom Ligon » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:10 pm

7 and 8 are certainly credible enough possibilities in any bureacracy.

6 I doubt in this case. They might hang in hoping for one last crack at it if there is still hope, but Nebel and Park technically still have their regular jobs. They took this on as a confirming study, no skin off their backsides if it turned out to have no merit. I get the sense they became personally invested in it as they worked on it because they did see the merit in it.

You can cover up a fizzle for a while, and let it quietly fade into the background if nobody is watching. A success on a project of this kind will not stay secret indefinitely. However, success could delay release and cause secrecy as people argue over just who owns it or how to protect intellectual property.

We still don't know much but hints and teasers.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:35 pm

I would say that the website update this week is no coincidence. I suspect they're sending a message to people here that there's positive progress, but they don't want to be forced to make statements "on the record" yet.


Maybe they are taking a hint from Climategate. i.e. data released after FOIA failed.
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chrismb
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Postby chrismb » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:55 pm

Art Carlson wrote:7. Somebody in the Navy went out on a limb to get funding for polywell and now realizes it was a big mistake. He is putting a cap on information to give himself time to cover his tracks.



I'm gonna reproduce my original presumption, just to consolidate, here, the speculations that have gone around:


I reckon The Senior Chop has come along and said "Right, I've dished out $20M over 20 years - this energy stuff is now dead important and I've got The Old Man sitting on my head about it - so what've you got to show me???" and those who've commissioned the work have looked at each other sheepishly, scoured their desks and shelves for The Gouge on this expense, and figure they've got Zip. No proven fast-fast neutrons, no peer-reviewed technical papers, no scientific results that can stand on their own feet. So they pick some George to tell The Chop "ur, it's almost finished but we need another million or two to get the results to you next year"... and then they bloody prey that EMC2 gets some auditable, peer-reviewable results by then!!

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:02 pm

chrismb wrote:
Art Carlson wrote:7. Somebody in the Navy went out on a limb to get funding for polywell and now realizes it was a big mistake. He is putting a cap on information to give himself time to cover his tracks.



I'm gonna reproduce my original presumption, just to consolidate, here, the speculations that have gone around:


I reckon The Senior Chop has come along and said "Right, I've dished out $20M over 20 years - this energy stuff is now dead important and I've got The Old Man sitting on my head about it - so what've you got to show me???" and those who've commissioned the work have looked at each other sheepishly, scoured their desks and shelves for The Gouge on this expense, and figure they've got Zip. No proven fast-fast neutrons, no peer-reviewed technical papers, no scientific results that can stand on their own feet. So they pick some George to tell The Chop "ur, it's almost finished but we need another million or two to get the results to you next year"... and then they bloody prey that EMC2 gets some auditable, peer-reviewable results by then!!


Maybe. What about the WB-7 review which we know took place (not the results)? If the Senior Chop was wielding a broad-axe I'd imagine he'd scour the review and say: rubbish it. If there was anything incriminating.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Art Carlson
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Postby Art Carlson » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:26 pm

Tom Ligon wrote:7 and 8 are certainly credible enough possibilities in any bureacracy.
6 I doubt in this case. ... We still don't know much but hints and teasers.

I agree with you that 7 and 8 belong near the top of the list and 6 near the bottom. I have never seen any reason to doubt Rick's integrity (although even the best of us can find ourselves in a bind now and then). From what he has said here and what he has told me privately ("We're under wraps from the DOD") I think the reluctance to share information is the Navy's call, not the researchers'. I wouldn't read much into that. I think it's mostly just the (understandable) culture of secrecy in the military.

rcain
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Postby rcain » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:24 pm

Guys,

Whilst we're kicking this deflated football about this thread, I would be really interested to know if anyone has any thoughts to offer on this thread http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/viewtopic.php?p=37694

(particularly Art, MSimon, Chrismb, Tom, TallDave, others)

'Other ways we can get a handle on some real physical results.'

('Networking' seemed the most appropriate category to post it under at this stage, but since it doesnt generally garner much attention, I felt obliged to give a heads up here).

Forgive the interjection, not really drift.

Betruger
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Postby Betruger » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:57 pm

Reading tea leaves doesn't mean Occam's stops applying. The conspiracy theories aren't as credible as the simplest explanations. How likely is it that the whole thing is dead in the water when Dr Bussard was so positive, when the peer review was positive, when Dr Nebel explicitely said 'no show stoppers' and the EMC2 website is positive about results, if anything? There's next to nothing that's explicit on that webpage, but nothing negative either. The only clear negative that's possible right now, IMHO, is that Dr Nebel's "we will know in two years" has recently turned out to be true - that it's unworkable after all. And thus the FOIA request understandably bounces. The Gravy Train theory.

But even that isn't perfectly consistent with those involved being on leave from their regular jobs. And no less consistent with it is (first of all) the Navy's historical gag order, the prospects of commercial property and any kind of censorship the Navy or govt (when it comes to it) would impose for what most agree could buy them a couple of years' headstart on competitors like China. Plus standard caution with news media's hype. And definitely not some hope that out of the blue things would change so dramaticaly - that scrutiny evaporates and they can get away with faking out. If they're flaking out and going the private scam way ("fund our design of the WB-D") like Blacklightpower, it would be obvious in short order. Govt funding would quickly die because there's no ITER jobs and capital volume to protect it.

So far they've kept to their milestones, there's been no worming out of any of them.

It's a real shame so few others have tried to build their own polywell.

tomclarke
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Postby tomclarke » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:55 am

Art Carlson wrote:
Tom Ligon wrote:7 and 8 are certainly credible enough possibilities in any bureacracy.
6 I doubt in this case. ... We still don't know much but hints and teasers.

I agree with you that 7 and 8 belong near the top of the list and 6 near the bottom. I have never seen any reason to doubt Rick's integrity (although even the best of us can find ourselves in a bind now and then). From what he has said here and what he has told me privately ("We're under wraps from the DOD") I think the reluctance to share information is the Navy's call, not the researchers'. I wouldn't read much into that. I think it's mostly just the (understandable) culture of secrecy in the military.


Absolutely. I don't hold out high chances for viable fusion power from Polywell: it must be a long shot. But worth pursuing.

I am suprised Simon sees this lack of openness as indicating lack of character or bad results (sorry if I have misinterpreted).

It is surely par for the course. Probably mandated by Navy - their default position being to deny FOIA requests if possible? Possibly, given that all EMC2 has over other bidders for future contracts is their skills and results, just a matter of protecting the interests of the workforce there which I am sure Rick considers his job.

So this information does not score negative for me.

Best wishes, Tom

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:17 pm

tomclarke wrote:
Art Carlson wrote:
Tom Ligon wrote:7 and 8 are certainly credible enough possibilities in any bureacracy.
6 I doubt in this case. ... We still don't know much but hints and teasers.

I agree with you that 7 and 8 belong near the top of the list and 6 near the bottom. I have never seen any reason to doubt Rick's integrity (although even the best of us can find ourselves in a bind now and then). From what he has said here and what he has told me privately ("We're under wraps from the DOD") I think the reluctance to share information is the Navy's call, not the researchers'. I wouldn't read much into that. I think it's mostly just the (understandable) culture of secrecy in the military.


Absolutely. I don't hold out high chances for viable fusion power from Polywell: it must be a long shot. But worth pursuing.

I am suprised Simon sees this lack of openness as indicating lack of character or bad results (sorry if I have misinterpreted).

It is surely par for the course. Probably mandated by Navy - their default position being to deny FOIA requests if possible? Possibly, given that all EMC2 has over other bidders for future contracts is their skills and results, just a matter of protecting the interests of the workforce there which I am sure Rick considers his job.

So this information does not score negative for me.

Best wishes, Tom


After having calmed down I may wish to revise my opinion. In any case I have only voiced it here so I have not made a total a$$ of myself all over the 'net.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:06 pm

To be perfectly clear again on the FOIA. Release was denied based on EMC2's assertions of proprietary information of a competative nature.
EMC2 was given an opportunity to argue against release. They did, and the navy accepted it as valid. This was the only grounds for not releasing.

What is bothering me in all this, is that it seems that Dr. Nebel has asserted all along that the navy would not let him talk. That implies under the terms (the same terms in each I might add) of the contract, that he must first ask permission (implied he has), and then he can release information, if the navy agrees (implied they have not).

The "gag order" lays in this context only. There is no other classification or other stipulation that applies.

To sum it up: Dr. Nebel has implied that the navy won't let him talk. Perfectly acceptable undfer how the contract is written. However, given a chance to release information (FOIA), he opted not to talk.

I still think we have a shot at at least the peer review.

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:30 pm

There is perhaps one other explanation, call it:
9. EMC2 would like to publish SOME data to demonstrate that things are doing acceptably but not the entire text and data in the reports listed. But the timing of the FOIA is just horrible. Rather than taking the time it would take to redact properly; time they DON'T have due to extreme business in getting WB8 running; they decided to just claim proprietary data. Try again later. Or appeal. In a couple of months, WB8 will be up and running and more time will be available.

Or not.

Heath_h49008
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Postby Heath_h49008 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:21 pm

Am I the only one who sees a direct relation between the update on the EMCC page and the FOIA request as a possibility?

They gave us a treat.

Thanks!

I would say silence is golden. If it worked and all the issues were solved... but you were them (or the Navy)... what would you release?

If you have faith in Dr. B's timeline, and assertion that the physics was done, and it was only a matter of verification (WB7 & 8-8.1) and engineering a production reactor, then the only conclusion that can be drawn from continued funding and silence is he was correct, and we are on course.

rcain
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Postby rcain » Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:03 pm

re: Disclosure: they (EMC2 + USNavy), have nothing to gain and everything to lose by it. So they say nothing.

Makes perfect sense to me.

re: emc2 website posting - I see no new information here whatsoever.

onwards.


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