Gov't vs Free Market Polywell Development

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

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TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Mon Feb 11, 2008 5:51 pm

like that this VC guy recognizes corn ethanol as a "scam". Trying to farm our way out of our energy problems is like welding a wind generator onto the roof of your car. Farming is energy 'load', and I doubt there is a single corn farmer in Iowa whom doesn't recognize this, yet this seems to be the focus of American Energy policy.


Yes and no. Brazil has quite successfully created an ag alcohol fuel industry -- but of course they don't use corn, which is a bit of a boondoggle. Good idea, bad implementation.

I think it is entirely possible we can genetically engineer a biofuel that grows with very few energy inputs other than good old Sol.

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:14 pm

I think the government funding should be involved right up to the point the first cost-effective IEC plant goes into operation. Then the gold rush will be on (if we are correct about the economics) and the gov't just needs to get out of the way.

Of course, if we are wrong about the economics and IEC fusion is no more capable of producing power at competitive prices than tokamak fusion then this whole line of research is just an expensive science project, in which case gov't funding will hopefully get us far enough to discover that, then dry up if and when that is ascertained.

BTW, there is serious VC money chasing IEC fusion for p-b11. Tri-Alpha (get it?) got $40M last year.

http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9721240-7.html


If we had tacked on a 20% profit for corporations to the CCC & WPA projects, those programs wouldn't have been anywhere as effective in providing jobs. And the recovery would have lagged


Unfortunately, most of those programs probably actually made the Depression worse for the vast majority of people who did not have government jobs, by ruining businesses that now had to compete with government agencies that did not have to operate at a profit. There is no substitute for free (but properly regulated!) markets.

The Glass-Steagal Act saved the country by forcibly de-linking insurance, banking, and equity markets, so that (inevitable) business failures and insurance shocks did not cascade into economic panics.

The CCC & WPA provided jobs, something that we are in dire need of in this country at this time.


Actually, unemployment is pretty low by historical standards, and we're in the midst of the longest continuous consecutive string of months with positive job creation in our history.

http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyO ... NS14000000

We have been in a recession for a few years now


I'm always mystified that so many intelligent people believe this.

http://www.bea.gov/national/xls/gdpchg.xls

Strictly speaking, there has not been a recession (two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP) in the United States for 17 years.

scareduck
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Postby scareduck » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:55 pm

I wouldn't put too much stock in the official numbers. The Federal Reserve discontinued collecting the M3 statistic, which was the most comprehensive data tracking the overall money supply. There are a number of people (myself included) who believe this was a significant sign the Fed was planning on sending the dollar into the toilet, and just didn't want to be found out.

dch24
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Re: Gov't vs Free Market Polywell Development

Postby dch24 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:57 am

MSimon wrote:You can copy posted pages. You can download pdfs.

I don't think it is much of a worry.
OK. It's not a big deal, but I thought about "copying posted pages" over in this thread and it has no response from Joe yet.

Keegan
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Postby Keegan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:44 pm

TallDave wrote:
We have been in a recession for a few years now


I'm always mystified that so many intelligent people believe this.



I'm always mystified that so many intelligent American people have no idea that there could be no money left in Fort Knox.

Up until Nixon introduced Fiat money in the seventies, American currency was represented by an equivalent weight of gold/silver in Fort Knox. Upon the institution of the "Fed" it was written into law that bullion in Fort Knox was to be audited and reported every year. It is our understanding that a proper audit of the US Gold Reserve at Fort Knox has not been completed since the Eisenhower administration.

This may all mean nothing to the modern economy, but it proves something fishy has been going on for a while.

scareduck wrote:There are a number of people (myself included) who believe this was a significant sign the Fed was planning on sending the dollar into the toilet, and just didn't want to be found out.


Just wondering scareduck, are you talking about the hypothetical steps to a One World Currency ?
Purity is Power

scareduck
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Postby scareduck » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:30 pm

Keegan wrote:Just wondering scareduck, are you talking about the hypothetical steps to a One World Currency ?

Nothing like that. It's just an example of official manipulation of statistical data to paint a rosier picture than is really the case, or to artificially induce ignorance when the knowledge gained would be significant (and possibly politically hurtful). Something as critical as employment statistics are just about always stepped on. I've thought for some time that the unemployment numbers were several percentage points worse than the government has alleged. The inflation rate calculation is even worse, because they pull food and energy costs out, as if nobody drove to work or ate.

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:39 pm

I've thought for some time that the unemployment numbers were several percentage points worse than the government has alleged.


Well, there are two surveys: Household and Payroll (from large companies). The Household number (a survey of American households) keeps getting better and better relative to the Payroll. This could mean more people are lying about having jobs when they don't, but probably just means that fewer Americans are working for large companies as it's become very easy to become an independent consultant or start a small business (I myself have done both).

The inflation rate calculation is even worse, because they pull food and energy costs out, as if nobody drove to work or ate


That's just the "core rate" which has those factors removed because of their volatility; the standard rate includes them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation# ... _inflation

Like almost everything else, over time food and energy have gotten much cheaper in terms of how much of them people can afford for a given unit of work-time. Great video on the subject here:

http://reason.tv/video/show/61.html

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:48 pm

There are a number of people (myself included) who believe this was a significant sign the Fed was planning on sending the dollar into the toilet, and just didn't want to be found out.


I don't see how that's possible. Wouldn't it show up in M2? Unless the Fed thought they could secretly manipulate the market with "other CDs, deposits of eurodollars and repurchase agreements. "

The dollar has been massively pumped up for decades by the Japanese, who depend on exports to America. This is not a secret. China is now doing the same thing. But there's a limit to what intervention can do, as they're finding out now.

And it's always a double-edged sword. What helps Japanese/Chinese companies hurts Japanese/Chinese consumers, and hurts American companies but helps American consumers.

And of course, in a free market non-monopoly the customer is king. China's growing dependence on American consumers was perhaps best illustrated by the fact they executed a product safety commissoner whose dereliction led to a recall of Chinese products shipped to America.

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:53 pm

The Fort Knox thing appears to be an urban legend:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... acy_theory

kttopdad
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Postby kttopdad » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:03 pm

TallDave wrote:
like that this VC guy recognizes corn ethanol as a "scam". Trying to farm our way out of our energy problems is like welding a wind generator onto the roof of your car. Farming is energy 'load', and I doubt there is a single corn farmer in Iowa whom doesn't recognize this, yet this seems to be the focus of American Energy policy.


Yes and no. Brazil has quite successfully created an ag alcohol fuel industry -- but of course they don't use corn, which is a bit of a boondoggle. Good idea, bad implementation.

I think it is entirely possible we can genetically engineer a biofuel that grows with very few energy inputs other than good old Sol.


I'm seeing a thread across TallDave's view on biofuels vs. mine in the context of a world with Polywell Fusion. I predict that an active BFR program will remove all significant support for biofuels from everyone other than those who have vested interests in supporting it. I opined in another thread that the need for liquid fuels would be met by petro-products quite well if 1) BFRs provide ample electricity and 2) the transportation sector can be electrified at a good pace.

In order for biofuels to compete with petro fuels for the dwindling non-electrified transportation sector needs in a BFR-enabled world, we will have to 1) "engineer a biofuel that grows with very few energy inputs", 2) create a process for turning that biofuel source into liquid energy efficiently and in volume and 3) solve the non-trivial problems of getting those biofuel materials delivered to the biofuel plant for conversion into liquid energy. All of this will have to be done against a backdrop of a petro industry that has massive infrastructure already in place for providing all of the liquid energy needs we'll need in that BFR future. In addition, the negative associations with petro products (greenhouse gases, petro-dollars fueling extremist states, etc.) will decrease in direct proportion to the amount of BFR infrastructure we have in place.

The only thing that gives biofuels a chance in my opinion is how fast battery technologies can improve. They are the enabling technology that will allow the transportation sector to take advantage of the BFR-generated electricity. If that technology doesn't mature at a decent pace, then there will be a "need" for biofuels in the market-place. However, I suspect that plentiful, cheap electricity provided by BFRs will spur investment in battery growth like we've never seen before. The current growth in that technology has been driven almost entirely by cell phones and portable personal computers, both of which are important but not critical elements of the world economy. The transportation sector dwarfs those technology niches that have been driving the maturation of batteries in the last couple of decades. Once the BIG bucks start flowing into that niche from the transportation sector, I suspect that the electricity storage problem will be licked (for all practical transportation purposes) pretty quickly.

I dunno, TallDave. Let's get together in a decade and see who guessed this one correctly. :)

Semi-TallDean.

kttopdad
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Re: Gov't vs Free Market Polywell Development

Postby kttopdad » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:21 pm

ccain84 wrote:Suppose all of the polywell fusion experiments work out exactly as hoped for, and that in 7 years we have fully functioning, safe reactors...


I've been contemplating this question for a few days now. I like to consider myself a "rational capitalist" who is wary of over-much government involvement in the market-place, but I think this is a time/place where there's a definite role for Uncle Sam.

One of the main constraints to a rapid introduction of BFR generators into the market is that they will require some unique products and engineering. For example, the most efficient (and therefore cost-effective) way for a company like GE to develop the BFR-unique high-power DC to AC conversion units is for them to know they are going to sell 10,000 of the units in the first 10 years. If Uncle Sam were to create a single, stable, well-engineered power-generation station design, then build 1,000 of them in the first decade, they would be able to prime the market to provide those items unique to BFR generators. Then they could auction off the completed stations to the private sector.

The goal of such a scheme is to prime the market to provide the necessary pieces of the puzzle in as efficient and timely a fashion as possible by guaranteeing a specific amount of product purchase. After that, the government should return to the current model of free market-place activity. All numbers in the above discussion are place-holders only. I considered using X and Y but figured there is more juice in a real number even if it is wildly off the mark in the eyes of history.

Cheers,
Dean

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:59 pm

If I was an electric company and wanted to get in on BFRs at minimal risk, I would start designing a 1.5 MV DC transmission system. AC to DC and DC to AC for long distance transmission.

Then if BFRs didn't pan out there would be a secondary market to provide some return on investment.

The way to minimize government involvement in this effort is to contract out everything except basic science as was done in the fission industry.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

scareduck
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Postby scareduck » Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:13 pm

Bussard's original proposal was very wise: he suggested the government provide a series of large cash prizes as incentives to meet intermediate milestones. This eliminates the problem of tokamak fusion as budget-maintenance program.

Roger
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Re: Gov't vs Free Market Polywell Development

Postby Roger » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:02 pm

kttopdad wrote:
ccain84 wrote: If Uncle Sam were to create a single, stable, well-engineered power-generation station design, then build 1,000 of them in the first decade,


Opps, I see another Railroad analogy.
The United States Railroad Administration (USRA) was founded on December 28, 1917. It was created with the authority to oversee the nationalization of the privately owned American railroads. Obviously, there was much controversy created by the USRA.

The USRA designed these locomotives to have the latest and most modern features. these features included pneumatic firedoor openers, power reverse mechanisms, mechanical stokers on the larger locomotives, dual water glasses, and power grate shakers (which turned out to be impractical).

From mid 1918 through 1919, the USRA oversaw the production of almost 1900 steam locomotives in 12 differenct wheel arrangements. Ironically, the war which prompted the creation of the USRA was over only four months after the USRA's first locomotive was ready for service on July 4, 1918 -- a light 2-8-2 numbered 4500 for the Baltimore & Ohio.

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/misc/usra.shtml
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

Roger
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Postby Roger » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:18 pm

TallDave, whats the difference between U3 & U6 ?
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.


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