Implications for Good

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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Delpha Mattison
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Implications for Good

Postby Delpha Mattison » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:19 pm

It disturbs me when I read the military applications suggested by some of our readers. We as a nation have an enormous need for pollution-free energy to power the USA. We do not need more weapons. Everyone should know that by now. The small size and relatively low cost predicted for these units is a spectacular saving. The whole world needs electricity. Why consider using this potentially best blessing to all mankind for weapons, space travel or some other useless purpose? Polywell can bring comfort and prosperity to all the suffering people of the world.
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djolds1
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Re: Implications for Good

Postby djolds1 » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:36 pm

Delpha Mattison wrote:It disturbs me when I read the military applications suggested by some of our readers. We as a nation have an enormous need for pollution-free energy to power the USA. We do not need more weapons. Everyone should know that by now. The small size and relatively low cost predicted for these units is a spectacular saving. The whole world needs electricity. Why consider using this potentially best blessing to all mankind for weapons, space travel or some other useless purpose? Polywell can bring comfort and prosperity to all the suffering people of the world.
You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. - misattributed to Leon Trotsky.

War is a human constant, and will not be going away. Every human tool will be applied to it. That is the nature of the human animal.

Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay; and claims a halo for his dishonesty. - Robert Heinlein

And I find calling extending the range of the human species a "useless purpose" to be foolish beyond words.

If man survives for as long as the least successful of the dinosaurs—those creatures whom we often deride as nature's failures—then we may be certain of this: for all but a vanishingly brief instant near the dawn of history, the word 'ship' will mean— 'spaceship.' — Arthur C. Clarke
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D Tibbets
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Re: Implications for Good

Postby D Tibbets » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:46 pm

Delpha Mattison wrote:It disturbs me when I read the military applications suggested by some of our readers. We as a nation have an enormous need for pollution-free energy to power the USA. We do not need more weapons. Everyone should know that by now. The small size and relatively low cost predicted for these units is a spectacular saving. The whole world needs electricity. Why consider using this potentially best blessing to all mankind for weapons, space travel or some other useless purpose? Polywell can bring comfort and prosperity to all the suffering people of the world.


Nice utopian sentament. But, in the real world, most developement is driven by a need, weather it is to obtain a bigger club to beat your neighbor with and make him give you his food, or conform to your belief in what is right. Or, to keep your neighbor from doing that to you.
Also, while a working Polywell has alot of benifits, it would allow only moderate cost savings in most curret situations. If you are on the CO2 bandwagon it can reduce CO2 emmisions over the long term, but would cost a bunch of money to replace coal power plants on a timescale much faster than the planned lifetime of those plants (someone has to pay for the early retirement(capital costs recovery) of those plants. That is partly why Bussard suggested converting coal plants by replacing the burner only. It preserves alot of capital investment. What this technology does allow is a profound increase in the time we will have convient power. Also, it allows scaling up power for such purposes as desalination, but not at extreamly smaller costs.

ps: If not for space and related technology you would not be reading this.
Also, assumeing that the Polywell works and that Bussard's breakthrough was not likely to occur from others work, Bussard possibly would not have reached this goal if not for his driving enthusiam for space flight.


Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

Torulf2
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Postby Torulf2 » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:46 pm

With the pollywel it may be a more peaceful world from no oil dependence and economical development in pore countries. And then it will be lesser drive to develop more weapons. But in this case the causes are reversed. Lesser weapons are the end of the development not the start.

zbarlici
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Postby zbarlici » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:59 pm

how in the word did you arrive to the conclusion that CHEAP space travel(compared to today`s costs) is a bad thing??

kunkmiester
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Postby kunkmiester » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:28 pm

Some of our greatest machines grew out of war needs, whether directly or indirectly. The polywell will probably be similar. The Navy will fund development for its ships, and it will spread from there. Unlike many others, aside from power generators--which will be very handy in our information filled, electricity-hungry world--the polywell will not have immediate military applications. You can't make a bomb out of it, and it doesn't shoot out anything useful. Much like civilian innovations like trash-to-fuel, desalinization, and such, the polywell will enable other military technologies, like lasers, rail guns, and perhaps larger fighting machines(BOLOs anyone?)

To have peace, you need people to want to leave each other alone. There's always a Hitler around the corner though, and people like that can't be scared off with words or singing Kumbaya. Thus we will always have weapons, and the need for the will to use them. Notice I said the will to use them, not the actual use. It needs to survive the occasional test, but as long as that will is there, and weapons to power it, we'll be fine.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

Betruger
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Postby Betruger » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:13 am

There'll still be reason for war in an immediately post-scarcity future. Only thorough education of a large majority of the world will remove war as an omnipresent concern. A majority of the population being merely peaceful thanks only to their lack of concern for the rest of the human population (even, or especially if space faring) mostly means that those who aren't yet converted to peaceful ways have that much more free room to maneuver.

War is definitely interested in you.

MSimon
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Re: Implications for Good

Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:09 am

Delpha Mattison wrote:It disturbs me when I read the military applications suggested by some of our readers. We as a nation have an enormous need for pollution-free energy to power the USA. We do not need more weapons. Everyone should know that by now. The small size and relatively low cost predicted for these units is a spectacular saving. The whole world needs electricity. Why consider using this potentially best blessing to all mankind for weapons, space travel or some other useless purpose? Polywell can bring comfort and prosperity to all the suffering people of the world.


You know - once you figure how to get rid of alpha males there will be a lot less strife and fewer leaders.

Here is how we can do that. We kill every one who wants to be a leader. Who ever leads the effort we will kill first.

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Or how about this: we get the alphas to kill each other off. Every alpha will get his supporters to attack other alphas and their supporters. That should put an end to strife once and for all.

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Or how about this: we convince females to only breed with losers. Ugly no accounts who are incapable of leading and are poor at earning. What you have to watch out for is alphas who pretend to be losers. Them alphas are a bunch of sneaky bastards and I wouldn't put it past them.

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You might like to read "War Lover" by John Hersey:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007D ... B0007DS5ZM

As long as women want strong men there will be wars.

The best way we have found to deal with this is to make the wars political and teach those involved to be gracious losers. But it doesn't always work. And then you have to figure in international relations.

I foresee problems.

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Did you know that "fuhrer" means leader?

See what I mean?
Last edited by MSimon on Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:22 am

But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

* John Stuart Mill in "The Contest in America" Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 143 (April 1862), page 683-684

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Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum. (Latin)

* Therefore, whoever wishes for peace, let him prepare for war.
* Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus in De Re Militari

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Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword never faced an assault rifle, said by Dwight D. Eisenhower during a speech.

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When there is mutual fear men think twice before they make aggression upon one another. (Hermocrates of Syracuse)

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Nobody is driven in to war by ignorance, and no one who thinks he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear. (Hermocrates of Syracuse)

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A wise man in times of peace prepares for war. (Horace)

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An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. (Arab proverbs)

[side note: who do the women want? The sheep or the lion?]

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History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak, or the timid. * Dwight D. Eisenhower

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I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. * Jack Handey

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War kills men, and men deplore the loss; but war also crushes bad principles and tyrants, and so saves societies. * Charles Caleb Colton

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Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence settled their fates quite nicely. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms. * Mr. Dubois in Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

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If we be conquered, let men conquer us, and not these bastard Bretons; whom our fathers have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd, and in record, left them the heirs of shame. Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives? Ravish our daughters? * Richard III, act 5 scene 3, by William Shakespeare

[you see - it is all about the women]

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http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/War


====================

"Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?"

Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, 4 june 1918 Leading Marines at Belleu Wood.
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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:33 am

Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. America loves a winner. America will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise a coward; Americans play to win.

G. S. Patton - England - May 17th 1944
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

djolds1
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Postby djolds1 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:40 pm

MSimon wrote:Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. America loves a winner. America will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise a coward; Americans play to win.

G. S. Patton - England - May 17th 1944
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." - Lt. General James Mattis, USMC, 1 Feb 2005

Or, to paraphrase an old saying, some people are in need of killing.
Last edited by djolds1 on Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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KitemanSA
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Re: Implications for Good

Postby KitemanSA » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:41 pm

D Tibbets wrote:... Also, while a working Polywell has alot of benifits, it would allow only moderate cost savings in most curret situations. If you are on the CO2 bandwagon it can reduce CO2 emmisions over the long term, but would cost a bunch of money to replace coal power plants on a timescale much faster than the planned lifetime of those plants (someone has to pay for the early retirement(capital costs recovery) of those plants.
Yup, the investors. If the Polywell is the disruptive technology it promises to be, the old guard will be disrupted (such is life).
They won't want to be and will use their political influence to prevent it (such is politics).

Nik
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Throttling a polywell...

Postby Nik » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:47 pm

Bit difficult to answer before 'break-even', but does a polywell prefer to run at constant power, or would it tolerate rapid throttling between low and full power ?

There's a lot of peak-power stations that generate expensive but essential power using eg methane & LPG. IIRC, they run on gas-turbines, so have modest capital cost. Augmenting then replacing them with polywells should provide the commercial confidence to retrofit coal-fired base-load monsters, retaining their installed plant and switch-gear...

IMHO, polywell powered engines open the solar system. Even as ion-propulsion, they would have enough spare power to drive magnetic deflection coils for radiation shielding. Direct heating of fuel allows steam-rockets. Power and to spare means 'cold' places such as Mars are attractive. Shovel up seasonal ice, melt it down, electrolyse for breathing, freeze for storage, tunnel out of the chill etc...

choff
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Postby choff » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:31 am

Preparing for war is all well and good until both sides have particle beam weapons that can destroy each others particle beam weapons/missles/leaders,etc. While its off in the future, if we keep thinking the sensible old way, once we get these weapons its too bloody late. No advanced warning, shoot first or die, then get denounced as the aggressor.
My great hope is that with polywell, we have a window of opportunity, where the poor people of the world can grow their economies fast enough to afford quality education faster than they can overbreed back into poverty again.
What if we could make a world where every man, woman and child is independently wealthy, and any loss of wealth could be easily replaced.
Would wealthy people want to fight in such a world, and for what, there wouldn't be a point. You have everything to lose, nothing to gain.
CHoff

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:10 am

choff wrote:Preparing for war is all well and good until both sides have particle beam weapons that can destroy each others particle beam weapons/missles/leaders,etc. While its off in the future, if we keep thinking the sensible old way, once we get these weapons its too bloody late. No advanced warning, shoot first or die, then get denounced as the aggressor.
My great hope is that with polywell, we have a window of opportunity, where the poor people of the world can grow their economies fast enough to afford quality education faster than they can overbreed back into poverty again.
What if we could make a world where every man, woman and child is independently wealthy, and any loss of wealth could be easily replaced.
Would wealthy people want to fight in such a world, and for what, there wouldn't be a point. You have everything to lose, nothing to gain.


Would wealthy people want to fight in such a world, and for what, there wouldn't be a point.

Access to women. The age old reason.

What would we call it instead of war then? Domestic violence?

China may run into that problem. So we have an experiment going on that may teach us some lessons.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.


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