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From: Walter Hicks (wallyshoes@mindspring.com)
Date: Wed Sep 04 2002 - 14:39:35 EDT

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    John Burgeson wrote:

    > >>Instead of "brute force", the talents of Physicists and Feedback Engineers
    > >>will
    > solve the problem in very quick order --- with minimal funding. ( I say 6
    > months)>>
    >
    > Not sure you wrote this "tongue in cheek."
    >
    > A Google search quickly found some 2001 and 2002 budgets for this work.
    > About 36 B I believe. So I conclude that "minimal funding" is greater than
    > 36B. That does seem like a lot. But then I don't work for the feds anymore.

    I still do (indirectly) --- and some of most worthless efforts are
    those which
    have the most amount of money thrown at them. The best are minimally
    funded with
    the best people.

    I had an opportunity to work on some of those flaky fusion projects at Los
    Alamos in the 70's. (I refused it.) It was clear that it was dead end
    engineering at the time, but people got the funding anyhow. I spoke to head of
    a prominent university's fusion project in the 80's and he noted that they had
    no plan whatsoever from extracting energy from any of the projects,
    even if they
    were to produce fusion.. They didn't even know where to begin, given the
    configurations being used. It will take an entirely different
    approach from the
    start in order to be a successful producer of usable energy. So long as the
    current efforts keep moping along with the current cushy funding, 30 years from
    now we will be as far behind as we are today.

    The (US) government generally likes to fund science projects at the local "pork
    barrel" level --- primarily to universities. If they ever intensely need to
    solve the problem, it would probably be funded through DARPA and would have the
    attention of the best minds in the physics and electronics community.

    Instead you have a bunch of good (but not great) scientists from various
    universities working away at various pieces of the puzzle. There is no drive to
    get it done and get it done fast.

    Minimal funding is << $36B/year , given the right desire and the right people.

    Maybe someone on ASA will hop all over me for these statements. But I stand
    behind them as other than "tongue in cheek". Optimistic maybe, but better than
    what goes on today.

    Walt

    > --

    ===================================
    Walt Hicks <wallyshoes@mindspring.com>

    In any consistent theory, there must
    exist true but not provable statements.
    (Godel's Theorem)

    You can only find the truth with logic
    If you have already found the truth
    without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
    ===================================



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