On Jun 15, 2018 4:40 PM, "Jed Rothwell" <> wrote:

> From time to time, people tell me that if only we had a practical device,
> cold fusion research would be funded. McKubre and many others have pointed
> that a practical device is the end-point of research, not where you start.
> People don't seem to realize this. Over at someone wrote:
> ". . . nothing could have a larger world wide market than even a modest
> compact space or water or food heater that runs long periods on a small
> amount of inexpensive fuel."
> My response:
> That is obvious. But unhelpful. If we had anything remotely like that, we
> could instantly get billions of dollars of investment money. If it were
> generally known that such a machine existed, every industrial company on
> earth would be frantically investigating it, and reverse engineering it at
> the earliest opportunity.
> The problem is to get from where we are now to the kind of thing you
> describe. We have to go from something like the repeatable but low power
> shown by Takahashi et al. and replicated by Beiting, to a larger, more
> reliable version. If that can be done at all, it will take some amount of
> money ranging from several million dollars to a billion dollars. I have no
> idea where in that range it will cost. The thing is: *no one has any idea*.
> No one knows whether it can be done, how it can be done, or how much it
> will cost. If anyone tells you they know these things, that is a good
> indication they don't know what they are talking about.
> Finding an effective way to do cold fusion might require something like
> the Wildcat Discovery Technologies approach, which must cost hundreds of
> millions. I have no idea how much, but it sure looks expensive. It is
> probably hundreds of times better than old fashioned manual R&D techniques.
> See:
> Needless to say, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that anyone will
> put that kind of money into cold fusion. It might take centuries to do the
> same amount of research that this technique could accomplish in a year. So
> we might never get there. We are trying to develop this without a theory,
> so the pace of progress is likely to be the same as it was with technology
> before 1700. The technique was mainly trial and error, so it took centuries
> to accomplish what modern science can accomplish in decades.
> So far, almost all of the investors and venture capitalists have been
> unwilling to lift a finger or risk any money to make that transition. Other
> than I.H. and the Mysterious Person funding Texas Tech., venture
> capitalists have been useless. They are waiting for the outcome to be a
> sure thing before they invest. As Mark Twain said about bankers, they will
> only give you money when you don't need it.
> Based on my experience, venture capitalists say they are in business of
> taking risks, but most of them are lying. They do not actually want to take
> risks. They want to invest in a sure thing that looks like a risk to other
> people. Those other people know less about the product, so they will not
> invest. This lowers the cost and lets the venture capitalist buy a larger
> share from the people who developed the product (the inventors,
> programmers, or businesspeople). Venture capitalists want to look as if
> they are taking a risk, without actually taking one. Cold fusion is an
> actual risk, so not one in a thousand venture capitalists will touch it.
> The other problem with the present era is that money is sloshing around in
> unprecedented amounts looking for a home, yet paradoxically the wealthy
> have never been wealthier. There is no need for them to take risks, so they
> will not take any. They can make a fortune by rentier capitalism. This was
> situation in California after the discovery of gold in the 1850s, which is
> why the Transcontinental Railroad could not be funded. San Francisco was
> filled with millionaires who could make another million easily and without
> much risk, by opening another gold or silver mine. The would literally --
> actually -- light cigars with burning $100 bills to flaunt their wealth.
> Not one of them would risk investing an railroad, because they could make
> money without risk elsewhere. The railroad had to wait until Lincoln passed
> a law under which the Federal government subsidized the construction and
> lent a lot of money. Uncle Sam took most of the risk. It was a sure thing
> after that. Capitalists such as Leland Stanford were then willing to risk
> their own money, knowing that Uncle Sam had their back. (They might have
> lost money, but it was unlikely. They did have to pay back the loans, but
> they had decades to do that.) It was finished in 1869. The government made
> a lot of money on the interest for the loans, so it benefited everyone. The
> point is, capitalists would never have taken that risk on their own.
> From time to time, exceptionally stupid capitalists have actually said to
> me: "This looks interesting. Call me if anyone ever comes up with a
> reliable method of doing it." I try to answer politely: "We won't need you
> if someone comes up a reliable method." What they are saying is akin to:
> "if you go looking for gold, and you happen to find tons of it lying around
> on the ground, free for the taking, I will be happy to come and take half
> of it away from you in return for nothing." They don't seem to realize that
> is what they are offering.

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