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Old 01-31-2013, 12:50 PM   #21
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:19 AM   #22
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A NASA-developed insulation called Aerogel is used on the transmission tunnel.

Many owners concur that the center tunnel in the C6 [Corvette] can get toasty, and with the C7 now locating the exhaust in an even tighter space, the potential to exacerbate the problem is very real. To combat this, Chevrolet is using insulation made from Aerogel, a material developed by NASA for use in space suits. Considered for years to be the lightest solid material in existence, Aerogel is 99.8 percent air (thereby replacing the liquid portion of a gel with a gas), yet it insulates 39 times better than the best fiberglass. The C7’s tunnel has a 10-mm (0.4-inch) layer of an automotive grade version of the stuff applied to its sides, and another 5 mm (0.2 inch) on top. Hip, style-conscious owners may want to wear vintage space-suit pants whenever possible.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:54 PM   #23
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Can you say that without bureaucrat directed taxpayer R&D money, this invention, and others, wouldn't have been invented?
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:14 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Can you say that without bureaucrat directed taxpayer R&D money, this invention, and others, wouldn't have been invented?
Without bureaucrat directed taxpayer R&D money, cost effective manufacturing methods for this invention, and others, would not be available yet.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Can you say that without bureaucrat directed taxpayer R&D money, this invention, and others, wouldn't have been invented?
Can you say that it would have?

That's a silly game that I think is worthless to play.

For what it's worth, I can say that the basic aerogel actually was created without NASA. Although, bureaucrats in academia were involved.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:18 PM   #26
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Seeing as how this thread has been resurrected, I'll posit another example of linear vs. binary thinking:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
Example: The space shuttle program vs. Rutan/Virgin Spaceship One

Space shuttle - We're going to make this work even if it costs a bazillion dollars! (because it's not our money)
Rutan/Virgin - How can we make this work without it costing a bazillion dollars? (because it's our money)
OR:

Space Shuttle - We're going to create the concept of reusable spacecraft. In order to do this, we'll need to invent a lot of new materials and technology. It's going to cost money, but it's worth it in order to advance the state of the art in general.

Rutan / Virgin - Well, now that the pure science has all been done by NASA and the stuff they invented 30 years ago has become cheap and commonly available, we can build a flying machine too!



OR:



Europe / US: Let us invent assembly-line production, automobiles, home appliances, videocameras, semiconductors, microprocessors, the computing industry, cell phones, Li-ion batteries, and a whole host of other things, and then build industries around them.

Asia: Due to our poverty wages and disregard for intellectual-property rights, we can copy these things, manufacture them very cheaply, and then sell them back to the people we stole them from!



This paradigm works for a lot of things.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:59 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Can you say that it would have?

That's a silly game that I think is worthless to play.

For what it's worth, I can say that the basic aerogel actually was created without NASA. Although, bureaucrats in academia were involved.
The point is this. Without gov't directing R&D money, private investment in R&D would be mostly directed towards that which has a closer-in-time payoff. Private companies make profits by giving customers what they want. E.g. Data communications research that enables phones to download data at 10 Mbps without draining the battery in 30 minutes.

"What about more basic research?", you may ask. Consortiums of companies do it. There is a lot of private money going to basic research. 3M and IBM are big on it, and lots of private donations have gone to basic and theoretical physics.

In contrast, gov't-directed taxpayer money is subject to special interest groups and politics, thus much of the money is wasted. (e.g. "the mating habits of the green 3-toed speckled toad and the impact of global warming", or "Promicsuity of male Chinese homosexual prostitutes")

Nuclear power is another good example. Governments funded nuclear research because they were hellbent on making enriched Uranium for weaponry. Had government not spent the money on nuclear power, private industry may have not developed it for another 10-15 years, but probably would have spent the money on research on Thorium as fuel, instead of Uranium, because Thorium reactors would have inherent advantages of less radioactive waste products. And then we'd probably have Thorium instead of Uranium fueled reactors now.

Of course one can't definitively say "this would've been invented absent gov't money". That's alternative-history speculation. But the argument of "see what gov't research has achieved?", is arguing for The Seen, and missing The Unseen. It is arguing that small group of wise individuals can make the world better by choosing where some R&D money is spent. It is a form of social engineering.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
The point is this. Without gov't directing R&D money, private investment in R&D would be mostly directed towards that which has a closer-in-time payoff. Private companies make profits by giving customers what they want. E.g. Data communications research that enables phones to download data at 10 Mbps without draining the battery in 30 minutes.
Oh.

My.

God.


Jason and I agree on something.




Quote:
"What about more basic research?", you may ask. Consortiums of companies do it. There is a lot of private money going to basic research. 3M and IBM are big on it, and lots of private donations have gone to basic and theoretical physics.
Ah, ok. We're back to disagreeing again.



Quote:
In contrast, gov't-directed taxpayer money is subject to special interest groups and politics, thus much of the money is wasted. (e.g. "the mating habits of the green 3-toed speckled toad and the impact of global warming", or "Promicsuity of male Chinese homosexual prostitutes")
Oh, obviously! Because, after all, who better to judge whether research in any given field (eg: speckled toads) is wasted that someone like you or I who has no qualifications or training whatsoever in evolutionary biology, zoology, ecology or climatology?





Quote:
Nuclear power is another good example. Governments funded nuclear research because they were hellbent on making enriched Uranium for weaponry. Had government not spent the money on nuclear power, private industry may have not developed it for another 10-15 years, but probably would have spent the money on research on Thorium as fuel, instead of Uranium, because Thorium reactors would have inherent advantages of less radioactive waste products. And then we'd probably have Thorium instead of Uranium fueled reactors now.

CALLS FOR SPECULATION!

(You see what I did there?)


Ok, but seriously.

On the one hand, I do agree that despite their drawbacks (eg: molten salts react explosively if exposed to moisture) Thorium-fueled reactors, especially externally-excited reactors, have great potential.

On the other hand, you seem to be implying that the US government did not fund research into thorium reactors early on, because they were interested in weapons production.

In fact, thorium reactors are HIGHLY useful in weapons production (ALL LFTR reactors are, by definition, breeder reactors), and the US government did in fact fund their development.

And Oak Ridge National Laboratories (the Govt-operated birthplace of the nuclear industry) did in fact do some pioneering work in thorium-fueled reactors. Two in particular are notable, the 1946-61 NEPA / ARE project, and the 1964-69 MSRE project.

Sadly, research into thorium-fueled reactors as a whole was killed thanks to the political incompetence of their greatest proponent, then-director Alvin M. Weinberg. His refusal to not be a dick to Richard Nixon lead to his firing from the lab, which tainted all thorium-related research with a political black cloud, and doomed the technology.



Of course, private industry, which is principally focused on profitability, would have obviously been much more willing to embrace thorium-based reactors over pure uranium reactors, despite the much higher costs and more dramatic operational safety concerns.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:45 PM   #29
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Ah interesting.

While we're speculating... what if we decided as a nation we didn't need bureaucrats like Weinberg to make R&D decisions for us?
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:18 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
While we're speculating... what if we decided as a nation we didn't need bureaucrats like Weinberg to make R&D decisions for us?
So that I understand correctly, the question being asked here, from one engineer to another, it "What would happen if we allowed a whole bunch of scientists and engineers to run amok in a well-funded playground without any kind of management or direction?"


Well, a lot of cool **** would be talked about, a lot of toys would be constructed, and absolutely nothing of any commercial or military value would be built.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:08 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
The point is this. Without gov't directing R&D money, private investment in R&D would be mostly directed towards that which has a closer-in-time payoff. Private companies make profits by giving customers what they want.
Honest question:

Have you ever read about or attempted to understand the public-private sector relationship that NASA, in particular, has?

Or, are you only able to think in binary terms such that, if government is involved, it must be - and can only be - bad?


This thermal barrier aerogel is a great example of the NASA public-private sector relationship. They took a part that was created in academia (probably at Stanford, a private university) that had little commercial application at the time. However, they saw it had potential for their given needs. They improved it and, et voila, it is now useful in other applications: like keeping heat out of the interior of a Corvette.

I have listed tons of other examples before - like the lens created by a private company for NASA to be used to study solar flares. That lens was then used to improve MRIs and other medical scanning devices. The primary (private sector) engineer involved in creating the lens was able to start his own (private sector) company when he figured out the medical application.



I feel like you are trying to say that, "in a parrallel but non-existant world in which the sociopaths that run corporations have a lot more direct power than the sociopaths that run governments, things would be better."

I am very much not interested in that line of questioning at this time. If I ever sit down and try to write a novel, maybe it would make a great premise for a compelling fiction.

In the meantime, I am very much interested in observing the actual. And, the reality is that some times the private and public sectors come together and great things happen.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:16 PM   #32
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I thought some of that I just typed seemed familiar, so I will just quote my earlier response to JasonC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
We could speculate what the Earth would look like had the dinosaurs not died out when they did, had Hitler never been born, etc. You guys have fun with that.

I'm more interested in the fact that there have been lots of successful innovations that involve private-public partnerships (read the article originally linked for non-NASA examples) and see my earlier examples on current NASA private partnerships in the rover thread (like the CT scanning improvements that came from solar flare research). There will always be pitfalls, opportunities for wasteful spending, corruption in the process, etc.

That doesn't mean perfect should be the enemy of good. The US Federal government has some unique advantages over a private corporation: they have a much longer term time horizon and their profit can be measured in non-GAAP ways. For example, the US interstate highway system would very likely have to have been setup as toll roads if the private sector was solely responsible for them in order for a corporation to see ROI.


I acknowledge that:
* there is a possibility that the private sector alone would have come up with all of the advances and innovations listed in the original article, possibly later but better
* government support of research can be misspent
* government support of certain projects could redirect efforts away from possibly better uses of those resources
* human beings are fallible

I do not find those compelling reasons to reject all government support of public use projects and research and development.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:52 AM   #33
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Demonstration of electron acceleration in a laser-driven dielectric microstructure - Nature (original article)


Researchers Build A Particle Accelerator On A Chip - Forbes
Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a cool innovation that could make particle accelerators much smaller than they are today. Using a laser, they successfully accelerated electrons in a chip about 3 mm long. These findings have been published in Nature.

SLAC Overview:
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is one of 10 Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science laboratories and is operated by Stanford University on behalf of the DOE. Since its opening in 1962, SLAC has been helping create the future. We built the world’s longest particle accelerator, discovered some of the fundamental building blocks of matter and created the first website in North America.
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory -

Note that Stanford is a private university.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #34
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**** particle accelerators; im personally helping save the gov't 1million in shipping annually on the project im working on.

you're welcome, america.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy
I do not find those compelling reasons to reject all government support of public use projects and research and development.
And the reason you support it is the belief that you can make society better through central control and technocracy, i.e. you put smart people at the top and they will make better decisions for everyone (through coercion), than if society is left alone (which generally means through voluntary interaction).
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:27 PM   #36
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**** particle accelerators;
I'm working on vehicle accelerators. Where are my grants?
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:34 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack
I acknowledge that:
* there is a possibility that the private sector alone would have come up with all of the advances and innovations listed in the original article, possibly later but better
* government support of research can be misspent
* government support of certain projects could redirect efforts away from possibly better uses of those resources
* human beings are fallible

I do not find those compelling reasons to reject all government support of public use projects and research and development.
And the reason you support it is the belief that you can make society better through central control and technocracy, i.e. you put smart people at the top and they will make better decisions for everyone (through coercion), than if society is left alone (which generally means through voluntary interaction).
You are this >< close to going on my ignore list.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:42 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post

You are this >< close to going on my ignore list.
Hahaha!
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