Gates looking for energy solutions

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MirariNefas
Posts: 354
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:57 am

Post by MirariNefas »

And so on. Correct me if I'm wrong but what you're getting at is that there's too many kooky projects out there begging for funds, that'll never deliver because they're bogus.
Not entirely, and the "bogus" part implies more than I'm saying or willing to focus on.
If so, all you need to do is show a trend, some links, whatever (I'm not trying to play debate here, I'm genuinely curious to see the evidence, or evidence of a trend supporting your argument), it doesn't need to be peer review-level quality bibliography.
You and I both know I could go hit up some zero-point energy/antigravity/whatever fringe websites and provide you with links until the cows come home. What you're arguing is that this particular project is better than those, thus:
Just show me this trend that ME is nowhere near the top of fringe projects.
...which to me is not worth proving, and in fact very difficult for either of us to prove, because of what I've really been arguing: we are not experts, and we should leave it to those who are.

Honestly, I haven't been anything but consistent in this. I am not arguing that his experiments aren't worth funding. I'm saying that it isn't obviously worth funding without actually looking carefully at technical details. My objections based on his professional merits or previous results are meant to underline this; he has nothing else to point to for credibility, so his theories and proposals must make it on their own merits.

Now, you can claim some intimate knowledge here. You could even embarass me by proudly displaying your physics doctorate, but I suspect that you would have done so already if you could have. I could read everything he's published and try to have some intimate knowledge too, but I know that would be deceptive. A little bit of knowledge can be a bad thing, and learning only about his proposals would leave me too biased. To really understand and have a balanced veiwpoint, I need several years worth of physics background and a connection to the greater physics community.

If his science has merits, if it is easily falsifiable, if his experimental design is as cheap and thorough as he claims, then grant funding panels will notice this. They'll also provide criticisms and keep him on track where he could wander, and they'll be there to shout it out if some twist of theory has already disproven his hypothesis. That's what they're there for. Do you think them too biased? Well, there's more than one agency he can apply to. He's been getting funding so far, of one form or another, which he can use to get enough preliminary data to justify more experiments. That's how the process goes, and science is absolutely full of not just fringe projects, but mainstream ones too, that also need funding and have to go through the same bloody process. I could show you a huge trend there if you want.

If a proposal has known physics and a proven track record, or is at least backed by people with proven track records, that's the sort of thing investors take note in. Bill Gates has shown that's what he's interested in. Given that he's not a panel of physicists, that's the wisest way for him to spend his money.


And now you know why I'm tired and sour. I've already communicated all this, and honestly, are we any further to anything like a consensus? You're going to read this and go, "Trash!" I fundamentally trust authority and professional organizations more than you do. Can we call it a day now?

Betruger
Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:54 am

Post by Betruger »

MirariNefas wrote: You and I both know
Nope, I don't. I don't keep tabs on kooky stuff at all. I vaguely remember stuff like Hoagland (IIRC) recently saying there's nazis on the moon and they made Obama cancel Constellation, and only because it was featured on the Space Review.
...which to me is not worth proving, and in fact very difficult for either of us to prove, because of what I've really been arguing: we are not experts, and we should leave it to those who are.
I'm no expert but from what I've seen,
1) Woodward, March & co, are all genuine, not crooks.
2) The physics were never debunked. Every kooky idea out there that I've seen publicized on the web was debunked in fairly short order by physics heads. Not with ME.
3) Their experiments are cheap.
4) The payoff is huge.
Honestly, I haven't been anything but consistent in this. I am not arguing that his experiments aren't worth funding. I'm saying that it isn't obviously worth funding without actually looking carefully at technical details.
I'd agree but for the cost/benefit ratio. It's just too cheap to ignore. Unless I'm mistaken. I don't recall the exact figures.
My objections based on his professional merits or previous results are meant to underline this; he has nothing else to point to for credibility, so his theories and proposals must make it on their own merits.
Doesn't matter enough to tip the scales back in the negative, IMO. It doesn't matter who says or does something interesting, only that it's interesting.
I could read everything he's published and try to have some intimate knowledge too, but I know that would be deceptive. A little bit of knowledge can be a bad thing, and learning only about his proposals would leave me too biased. To really understand and have a balanced veiwpoint, I need several years worth of physics background and a connection to the greater physics community.

cf Schopenhaueur's "your argument is too far above my head for me to concede or refute". That's a dead end and the whole point of arguing things over the net like this is to get max mileage. Given that this isn't a show stopper (because ME is cheap, etc), I don't consider it a conclusive argument.
If his science has merits, if it is easily falsifiable, if his experimental design is as cheap and thorough as he claims, then grant funding panels will notice this.
If you'd said this plainly instead of wandering off, we'd've agreed to agree right off the bat.
He's been getting funding so far, of one form or another, which he can use to get enough preliminary data to justify more experiments.
Don't think so. Out of pocket. And the offers they got were not compelling.. I don't recall why. Something like the offers too demanding. Could be wrong.
science is absolutely full of not just fringe projects, but mainstream ones too, that also need funding and have to go through the same bloody process. I could show you a huge trend there if you want.
Not just any random trend, one that's contextual to ME as it stands today.
If a proposal has known physics and a proven track record, or is at least backed by people with proven track records, that's the sort of thing investors take note in. Bill Gates has shown that's what he's interested in. Given that he's not a panel of physicists, that's the wisest way for him to spend his money.
Nothing to add except that if I were Bill Gates, I'd die broke. I'd have both sure bets with major investment, and a number of fringe ideas stuck in limbo because of scientific dogma, "crappy" reputation, etc, altogether funded at something like 1/3 my budget.

Skipjack
Posts: 6051
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Post by Skipjack »

I'm no expert but from what I've seen,
1) Woodward, March & co, are all genuine, not crooks.
2) The physics were never debunked. Every kooky idea out there that I've seen publicized on the web was debunked in fairly short order by physics heads. Not with ME.
3) Their experiments are cheap.
4) The payoff is huge.
This is what I see too. That said, it is good to have some 3rd party, preferably someone who is also an expert in the field look into anything before you fund it. That is fine and dandy.

I never said that Gates should fund anything without checking it thoroughly before doing so. That would be negligent and really stupid.
But the things I named and ML drives in particular are things that he should have at least a look at. If you want to fund stuff that could potentially change the world, this is it. Pretty much everything else is already well funded one way or the other. Or wait, isnt John Slough's FRC concept still looking for funding too?

jrvz
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:28 pm

Post by jrvz »

MSimon wrote:
chrismb wrote:
Josh Cryer wrote:MSimon, you believe Ferenc Miskolczi's nonsense?
Climate models ultimately presume Beer's law. But Beer's law is empirical.

I have asked climate scientists why they don't just shine a laser of know spectrum up to that mirror on the Moon (or put one up on a satellite) so that the absorption of the atmosphere can be fully measured, rathert than be presumed. Given the scale of this supposed problem, if I was looking into it then I'd have put in place a direct measurement of the main postulated mechanism (atmospheric absorption) by now.
A large inflatable corner reflector in orbit should do the trick...
I'm amazed that atmospheric absorption is still in doubt.

Regardless, I think there are bigger issues:

Cloud cover: Rising temperatures increase evaporation, giving more water vapor in the air, increasing absorption, increasing the temperature = positive feedback.

However, if the water vapor generates more clouds, which reflect more light, which (at least during the day) lowers the temperature = negative feedback. Do we have any real experimental evidence about which effect dominates?

Also ice pack and snow cover: Warming oceans melt the ice pack, which makes the ocean darker, so more light is absorbed, which warms the ocean = positive feedback.

However, warmer oceans increase evaporation, which leads to more snowfall downwind (ocean effect snow), which makes the land lighter, which reduces light absorption, which lowers temperatures = negative feedback. Again, which effect dominates? (For what it's worth, lately we've been getting more snow cover: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/19/n ... more-16539).
- Jim Van Zandt

Diogenes
Posts: 6958
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:33 pm

Post by Diogenes »

jrvz wrote:[
I'm amazed that atmospheric absorption is still in doubt.

Regardless, I think there are bigger issues:

Cloud cover: Rising temperatures increase evaporation, giving more water vapor in the air, increasing absorption, increasing the temperature = positive feedback.

However, if the water vapor generates more clouds, which reflect more light, which (at least during the day) lowers the temperature = negative feedback. Do we have any real experimental evidence about which effect dominates?

Yes, we're alive. Negative Feedback dominates.

MSimon
Posts: 14331
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

I'm saying that it isn't obviously worth funding without actually looking carefully at technical details.
I have looked a little at the weak points and have found his method of acceleration measurement problematical. I believe laser interferometry would be better.

To get that more reliable measurement some funds are required. So we are at the tough point of - poor experimental design (due to cost constraints) giving data considered less than reliable.

It is the situation Polywell was in at the end of WB-6. Fortunately that has changed.

I'd like to see something similar with the ME work. Give them enough money to see if a different measurement system confirms or invalidates their prior work.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

hanelyp
Posts: 2255
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:50 pm

Post by hanelyp »

The ME experiments I've heard of involve 2 signals being fed to the device, one to drive the hypothesized inertial fluctuations, and a second to drive the supposedly fluctuating mass in oscillation. Some tests I'd like to see regarding ME as controls:

- Feed the experimental device with just one or the other drive signals.
- Since the phase relationship between the signals is supposed to be important, generate data for the full range of phase relationships.

These 2 should provide a baseline for noise floor and stiction without needing to build a new device. Until we see such controls, and independent reproduction of results, substantial doubt remains.

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