My Visit w Doug Coulter

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
User avatar
Paul_Schatzkin
Site Admin
Posts: 656
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 4:49 pm
Real name: aka The Perfesser
Contact:

My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Paul_Schatzkin » Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:35 pm

I got to spend a little time last week up in Virginia with Doug Coulter.

Read all about it here: http://www.fusor.net/doug-coulters-sola ... -in-a-jar/

--P
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television - http://farnovision.com/book.html
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 50 years in the past and we missed it."

User avatar
Mike Beauford
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:24 pm
Real name:
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Mike Beauford » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:27 pm

Hi Paul,

I'd be real interested in knowing if/when Doug would disclose his general design. I'm curious if it matches up with what I'm working on.

Mike Beauford
Mike Beauford

User avatar
Doug Coulter
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 7:18 pm
Real name: Doug Coulter
Location: Floyd, VA, USA
Contact:

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Doug Coulter » Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:07 pm

I will be sure to tell all as soon as I think I can do it without some big outfit stealing it - we need legal protection, similar to how open source software uses the copyright system to ensure you can give code away. Same principle here, just with patents, which aren't free and automatic like copyrights.

This board helped me get started - I owe y'all -, and while there has been the odd bit of public friction, in person, I think we are all pretty good friends at this point, and share most of the same outlooks on this and other things. No worries here.

Paul may have jumped the gun slightly to get a "scoop" on this (you'll note I didn't even say much on my own forums) - there's still some real work to be done to ensure we have this really nailed down well enough that someone doesn't patent a 10% better way and give the world the finger with that. We want to ensure we have the best way, and license it so cheaply that no one has a reason to bother fighting over it. I don't want to be in the business of building "black box fusion power sources" myself, there are plenty of other outfits that will do that just fine - and make plenty of money they earn honestly - doing the infrastructure required. They know better than anyone (despite their public propaganda) that the music is going to stop, and you can bet they want a chair for that time. Some have already been in touch (news travels!) - it's all good so far.

I'm going as fast as I can, while also maintaining a large off-grid homestead single-handed, which slows me down a bit. (Winter also shortens my workday; most things require power from the solar system and adds tasks - like keeping a stove stoked).

Anyone who wants to join the team and who can actually contribute would be welcome. I don't want money - I want the answer. Sadly, my own funds are limited, or I'd have hired the best long since. Not that they are easy to find at any price.

I have a mountain of software to write, servo systems to build and install, electronics to build (designs mostly done) and so on, as well as just, well, washing dishes and hauling wood. I'll get there...
Why guess when you can know? Measure!

User avatar
Mike Beauford
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:24 pm
Real name:
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Mike Beauford » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:04 pm

Hi Doug,

Well, security software is my bread and butter right now. My C/C++ is rusty, but I think I can get by. Now days its Java/Python for me mostly, got to go where the market is. If you need a hand, let me know. My contact is below...

jade39339@gmail.com
Mike Beauford

User avatar
Paul_Schatzkin
Site Admin
Posts: 656
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 4:49 pm
Real name: aka The Perfesser
Contact:

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Paul_Schatzkin » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:06 pm

On the charge of "jumping the gun," I can only say: guilty as charged. But I think the "scoop" is within reason.

First, I didn't assert anything that hasn't already been "disclosed" (if that's an accurately applied word) on Doug's site. And I bent over half-backwards in what I posted to make it clear that nothing has been documented. There are a lot of weasel words in that post, like "If...verified."

Doug's "news" – and, again, I reiterate, it's not really "news" until it is documented, verified, and replicated – came to my attention after I posted my "Bezos, Musk and Thiel..." rant on the front page of the site just before HEAS. My intent in posting the follow up article about my visit with Doug was mostly to report what had come to my attention in the wake of that post, and to bring some of that discussion over here.

I think there are two good reasons to keep an open mind about what Doug might be doing.

1) When he writes (above) of the tasks that lie ahead in the course of replicating his own experience, we get some sense of the extent to which the whole subject of Farnsworth-based IEC research is the orphan child of fusion research. I'm thinking about this a lot lately, as I read more and more about large sums being invested in still more Rube Goldberg (Google it) approaches to fusion. Slamming two magnetically contained plasmas together? Really? OK... if you say so... sure... go for it... But in the meantime, remember what Hirsch told me 15 years ago: the book on what transpired in Fort Wayne in the 1960s was never truly closed; it was just left open on the lab table and the guys in the white coats left the room (and Farnsworth himself went back to Utah and died).

2) After spending the better part of a day with him, I'm pretty certain that Doug's intentions are worthy, even if his "partial disclosure" ("I got sick, so it must have been a hundred billion n/s") raises a lot of eyebrows. My take away from that day is that Doug has two purposes: 1) to safely retest and report and 2) handle whatever "new art" may be afoot in such a way that nobody gets exclusive ownership of it.

This last point is critical, and I surmise that Doug's saying as much as he has comes from a sincere desire to NOT be secretive about what he's doing – despite the complications of a) replicating the results safely and b) establishing his priority by dint of filing rather than disclosure.

I refer you to the words at the very top of this website: this is and always has been "The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium." That mission has served us well for almost 20 years now (the first iteration of this site was put on the web in 1998). Doug says as much above – he learned a lot from this site, and now, maybe, he's taken the stew we've stirred here, mixed in a few ingredients of his own, and come up with an interesting new recipe.

Time will tell on that score. But in the meantime, if nothing else, the way Doug is handling himself is instructive.

Fusion – if ever achieved – is civilization's next form of fire. Nobody "owns" fire. And that's the way it needs to be with fusion. That's what Doug is doing, and that's what we're doing here as well.

I'm assembling a gauntlet of my own here. I intend to throw it down soon.

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television - http://farnovision.com/book.html
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 50 years in the past and we missed it."

User avatar
Doug Coulter
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 7:18 pm
Real name: Doug Coulter
Location: Floyd, VA, USA
Contact:

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Doug Coulter » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:19 pm

Paul, I was just ribbing you about jumping the gun. A joke. I prefer to wait till I have replication more than the two single-second runs I made after moving my neutron detectors far enough away to not have them "blank" due to the high count rate when they could "only" handle 100m n/s or thereabouts. That's all. They blanked again at 10' away (one 3He and one very old B10 tube that's very numb)...they could handle hundreds millions at 18". One should be able to gather some kind of guestimate about the lower bound of output from that alone. Since the setup reliably crashed my data aq (yet another thing I'm fixing - I could not initially do this with all my shielding in place) I couldn't do silver activation with any confidence, so I didn't try - yet.

I have more than "I got sick" - I had to toss a couple thousand bucks worth of activated machine tools in the trash, and move out of the now-hot shop. But it's still not enough to satisfy any reasonable definition of scientific rigor - it's just enough that I'm very convinced I've either "got it" or will have it soon - I believe I've found the road to go down at the very least, finally. Having to move out of my living quarters was a major setback in terms of the time it's taking to make new tests, and remote the thing so I can continue to follow this line...which is why I've gone "dead" re communications about it for awhile - it's not that interesting to most about building a new room, setting up a "LAN of things" and all the other junk required just to keep going.
All this has to be done inside our budget, which is from a couple of retired guys - maybe it's a better budget than some here, but we're way not in a position to rent a space, hire qualified help and so on, so it's taking longer than any of us would wish.

I'm beating this problem to the mat and won't let it "tap out". It will just take however long it takes - we've been at this 6 or 7 years (at least?), and didn't wait around much to scrouge things like the basic gear - we simply bought brand new vacuum system stuff from pfeiffer (pumps, mass spectrometer, plumbing), supplies from Spellman (Thanks CliffS! - you deserve kudos for your help and support and the sheer quality and resilience of your products.) and Kurt Lesker, and only scrounged or made (in the machine shop we built just for this) what we had to in order to stay in-budget. But we have a real good part of a million bucks in this at this point - which we use far more effectively than any government project, so it's not as orphaned as it may appear.

Good, fast, cheap - pick any two - still appears to be a basic law of engineering, or nature (al philosophy) itself.
Why guess when you can know? Measure!

User avatar
Bob Reite
Posts: 277
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:03 am
Real name: Bob Reite
Location: Wilkes Barre/Scranton area

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Bob Reite » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:15 pm

Ah yes! Good, Fast, Cheap. You get to pick two.

My thoughts on the patent process. IMHO the government is now so corrupt that if you come up with anything really groundbreaking, the moles in the patent office will delay your application until they tell their buddies "on the take" about it, and 'somehow' their application beats yours.
The more reactive the materials, the more spectacular the failures.
The testing isn't over until the prototype is destroyed.

User avatar
Doug Coulter
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 7:18 pm
Real name: Doug Coulter
Location: Floyd, VA, USA
Contact:

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Doug Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:46 am

I'm not going to give up as you suggest - someone has to beat me if they can. Not going the legit route ensures someone else will steal it, patent it, and own it - to the detriment of all. Yes, patent examiners are overworked and underpaid...else Microsoft wouldn't have a patent on exchanging two variables without a temporary one using XOR (math), or numbers zero modulo 7 (the old windows activation key system - still math) and IBM wouldn't have a patent on entertaining your cat with a laser pointer (obvious). Nor would there be patents on tuning DPF fusion (focus fusion - math), or warp drives (let's see one that works!), teleportation, and so forth. I'll take my chances. More likely they'll just think this is yet another crackpot scheme, and give it to me to get the fees (congress made them self-funding awhile back). which appears to be the norm these days.

I have a pretty decent track record working the legal system. I don't tend to lose.

I'll just try the legit route with a very good, experienced, and well-connected attorney, thanks. It's possible I have a backup plan...

And that there is more than one country on the planet...not to mention a few other possibilities.

Having worked in .gov myself...I find most conspiracy theories laughable. Either I know the actual truth, and how the c-theory helps them keep the real secret, or...well, most of them are rotten at keeping a secret and ain't that smart.
Why guess when you can know? Measure!

User avatar
Jim Kovalchick
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:00 am
Real name:

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:38 pm

I am in the "I want to believe camp" on this story, and I totally understand why we all need to be patient on design details. All that being said I am super curious about an event that activates tools with a lingering effect. I did enough activation analysis in college to know what it takes to activate stuff especially if we are talking about a flux that would be mostly fast (right?). A fluence that would leave tools unusable would leave a human unusable.

Doug, I think a lot could be learned by gamma spectroscopy of hot material in your lab. I don't think it would hurt your patent pursuit if you share info from a study like that.

Good luck with this work. Who knows, maybe Doug can be the donkey that Richard has spoken of.

JoeBallantyne
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:08 pm
Real name: Joe Ballantyne
Location: Redmond, WA

Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by JoeBallantyne » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:36 pm

I must respectfully disagree that you have to patent this in order to prevent other people from patenting it.

I was on the USPTO web site just yesterday (http://www.uspto.gov), reading about first to file and how things work now.

If you want to make something unpatentable by anyone else, all you have to do is publish it, (preferably with the patent office itself, by filing a provisional patent - which is cheap), and then NOT file a patent on it within the one year grace period you have in the USA after filing provisionally.

As soon as you have published without actually filing a patent, you and everyone else pretty much immediately lose any possibility of patenting the same invention in the EU, or most other countries that have first to file laws.

The point is that in most places on the planet you have to file BEFORE you go public. If you go public first, you lose the opportunity to file in most places in the world. Because you established prior art which would invalidate your later filing.

Although publishing on fusor.net, may or may not be sufficient proof legally as to when you came up with it, you could also post documentation with clear explanations on your own site, and videos with full explanations on youtube at the same time.

There is also I believe a way to prove the date that a document exists by incorporating its hash into the BitCoin block chain. Which would irrefutably establish when a particular electronic document existed. (I think there is a guy who has a service that will do this for people - for a small fee payable in Bitcoin, of course.)

So, while I fully understand the desire to patent something that if it works will be worth tens of billions or even hundreds of billions of dollars. The point of having a patent is so you can make money.

Not so you can give something away. To give it away you just have to establish irrefutably that you came up with it first, and that you published it to the world in all its detail. Then no one can patent it. Not even you (except perhaps in the USA within a year).

I suspect that when you saw the results you got, and it happened two times in a row, that your eyes rang up with dollar signs. Just like in looney tunes. Hence the patent filings.

Joe.

Post Reply