Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:29 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:00 pm
ReadyOrNot wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:09 pm
...He replied, "They don't give patents for nothing, my friend." I did not have a good answer for that...
Yes, that's right. Children have been doing this for a long time, but nobody thought to patent it.

...

Unlike faster-than-light communication, this invention actually works.
Unlike faster-than-light communication there is prior art.

Yes I am mocking the patent office, they have earned it.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:30 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
Does the trinity test July 16, 1945 count as real world application? Or do we have to wait for Nagasaki on August 9th?

(Both were plutonium bombs, with the plutonium being produced in nuclear reactors).

randomguy
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by randomguy » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:49 pm

David Jay wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:52 pm
randomguy wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:05 pm
denovo wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:23 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:55 am
https://www.google.com/amp/houston.cbsl ... artin/amp/

Is this real? Is Lockheed Martin really one year away from a truck sized commercial fusion reactor!? If this is real, trillion dollar company doesn’t even begin to describe the upside potential. Anyone else hear about this?

We're always 5 years away from figuring out this type of fusion it seems.
The joke is we have been 10 years away for the past 30 years. And that was the joke 20 years ago in grad school. I haven't seen anything to suggest we are close(say a prototype that has run for 30 mins that just costs a 100 million) to the point where you can see a clear path to commericialization.
This isn’t Tokamak style magnetic containment (like ITER), which is always 20years from commercialization. This is compact, electrostatic containment. Tri-alpha is also in the mix.
There has always been a breakthrough right around the corner. I expect someday one will actually workout. Correct me if I am wrong they are still at the modeling/theorical stage and haven't build a working prototype that just needs to be scaled up/cost reduced.

And I am not picking on Lockheed or fusion. Look at all the battery breakthroughs of the past 10 years. How many of them ended up in shipping products? Not many. We get some minor tweaks to chemsitry and cathodes and increase capacity a couple percent every year. But so far none of those 10x breakthroughs (nanowires, graphene, silicone annodes and there have been a zillion more) have happened. I am sure eventually one will show up and that company will make billions. But I sure as heck don't know which one and when.:) See fuel cell cars (which after like 25 years might actually be getting cheap enough to be almost practical if they didn't have fueling issues) for another example.

Bastiat
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Bastiat » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:52 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
To be fair, there is more computing power in a single Samsung Galaxy S6 than existed in the entire world back then.

The IBM 704, the flagship supercomputer in 1954 (of which fewer than 200 were sold), operated at 12,000 FLOPS.

An S6 operates at 34,800,000,000 FLOPS.

That technology will advance at a similar rate as the past is not likely a valid assumption.

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Ged
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Ged » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:38 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:31 pm

Much was expected of cold fusion in the late 1980s. Fairly respectable stuff, Pons and Fleischmann were publishing in Science and other completely "real" peer-reviewed academic journals.
Pons and Fleischmann were respectable scientists until they decided to take an anomalous lab result and stage a media event based on what they thought they had rather than go through the normal process of publication, peer review and verification by other scientists.

For further reading I'd suggest:

Huizenga, John R. (1993), "Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century" (2 ed.), Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-855817-1

As a result of this the USPTO now automatically rejects patents claiming cold fusion, lumping it in with other unlikely concepts like perpetual motion.

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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Ragnoth » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:25 am

I work in patent law, and did doctoral research in plasma physics (with experience in national laboratories doing fusion research).

The connection between “patentable” and “commercially viable” is tenuous at best. Moreover, what they have is a published patent application, not a patent. To be clear, Lockheed has a decent research group with reputable researchers (and this isn’t something as far-fetched as cold fusion), but similar announcements in the past about compact confinement designs have boiled down to Lockheed simply talking up their book.

My advice: don’t believe the hype.

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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:33 am

Bastiat wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:52 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
To be fair, there is more computing power in a single Samsung Galaxy S6 than existed in the entire world back then.

The IBM 704, the flagship supercomputer in 1954 (of which fewer than 200 were sold), operated at 12,000 FLOPS.

An S6 operates at 34,800,000,000 FLOPS.

That technology will advance at a similar rate as the past is not likely a valid assumption.
The advances in computing power are not the rule for new technologies. More the exception. Not sure which way you are arguing this?

Look at how long liquid oil has been the major energy source of our civilization. At least 110 years. I more or less date it from Winston Churchill, then First Sea Lord (ie in the UK Cabinet), endorsing the switch from coal to oil for fueling the Royal Navy-- of course for motor cars and aeroplanes it has been longer. Biomass for cooking and heating (wood, animal dung etc.) is still a major source of energy -- 20k years in.

The great success story of the last 60 years or so has been the rise of natural gas-- at the expense of oil for power generation, and coal for home heating and then power generation. And it's taken natural gas since 1945 to become a meaningful fraction of our total energy supply (somewhere around 20% from memory). Nuclear power got to 8% of world electricity supply (16% of US) in about 40 years (1950s to 1990s).

The motor car now and the motor car in 1950 are pretty similar beasts in engine, basic transmission, body etc. Despite the many technological changes they have undergone, a driver of a 1950 Chevy could drive a 2018 one, and a mechanic would recognize the key components of the engine.

Jet engines were tested in the late 1930s, but not mass used in airliners until the late 1950s. That's the impact of the World War, directly accelerating the development of certain technologies.

You can trace similar adoption curves for refrigeration, telephones, electric lighting v. gas etc.

The conclusion is it takes a *long* time for a new technology to get fully adopted.

Valuethinker
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:35 am

Ragnoth wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:25 am
I work in patent law, and did doctoral research in plasma physics (with experience in national laboratories doing fusion research).

The connection between “patentable” and “commercially viable” is tenuous at best. Moreover, what they have is a published patent application, not a patent. To be clear, Lockheed has a decent research group with reputable researchers (and this isn’t something as far-fetched as cold fusion), but similar announcements in the past about compact confinement designs have boiled down to Lockheed simply talking up their book.

My advice: don’t believe the hype.
Thank you for the value added input.

I think Nisi has nailed it. Even if this "works" in a Fermi pile sense, then we have 20 years before mass adoption. Probably only a war or a war-like emergency drives it faster (I happen to believe we are in the middle of one, but that's by-the-by, we are certainly not mobilizing like one).

And your point. It's likely a long way from a working prototype reactor.

Can I go out on a limb here and suggest it would create electricity "too cheap to meter"? ;-)
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:37 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:30 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
Does the trinity test July 16, 1945 count as real world application? Or do we have to wait for Nagasaki on August 9th?

(Both were plutonium bombs, with the plutonium being produced in nuclear reactors).
Presumably the uranium bomb was the "real world test"? I.e. Hiroshima? In the sense that nuclear reactors (like Fermi's) use uranium?

The analogy Nisi makes is closer, i.e. controlled use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes (or propulsive - the Nautilus).

We already know how to make a fusion explosion - the thermonuclear bomb aka "The Super". That would analogous to your plutonium bomb? It's just something that is useful other than for megadeath and destruction where we are struggling.

AerialP
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by AerialP » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:46 am

Isn't solar power actually nuclear fusion power but with the dangers of a reactor essentially situated 93 million miles away?
I like how photovoltaic panels can enable a very distributed generating network.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:11 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:37 am
Epsilon Delta wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:30 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
Does the trinity test July 16, 1945 count as real world application? Or do we have to wait for Nagasaki on August 9th?

(Both were plutonium bombs, with the plutonium being produced in nuclear reactors).
Presumably the uranium bomb was the "real world test"? I.e. Hiroshima? In the sense that nuclear reactors (like Fermi's) use uranium?

The analogy Nisi makes is closer, i.e. controlled use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes (or propulsive - the Nautilus).

We already know how to make a fusion explosion - the thermonuclear bomb aka "The Super". That would analogous to your plutonium bomb? It's just something that is useful other than for megadeath and destruction where we are struggling.
The early nuclear reactors were not mere experimental devices. They produced, and were intended to produce, plutonium on an industrial scale. The 1934 patent's claims include the transmutation of elements. The man made Pu in the Fat Man bombs demonstrated the patent was being used by 1944.

The uranium bomb did not require a reactor, and it is not clear to me if Little Boy uses any of the claims of 1934 patent.

jharkin
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by jharkin » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:30 am

cdu7 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:24 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:19 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:17 pm
tractorguy wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:49 pm
IMOP the comic xkcd did is appropriate here. https://xkcd.com/678/ Even after someone does a proof of concept test (which I've not heard of), it will be decades before the engineering and regulatory problems get solved and we have a working generating plant.
You are probably right, but in this particular case I really hope you are wrong. This would make all our lives immeasurably better if they are able to bring it to market.
It might make the stock market temporarily plunge if it happened because virtually the entire energy sector as we know it could collapse.
The key word there is temporary, since the economic growth in such an energy rich world would be astronomical. It would be like the early 20th century again, figuring out all the technological applications for oil.
It would be amazing if it works, effectively the technological hail mary we need to solve SO many problems. Decouple energy from climate impact and provide the unlimited energy we need for continued growth? Lets throw in some colony ships to Mars while we are at it...


I'm skeptical thought because commercial fusion has been "only 50 years away" basically since Trinity.....

Cycle
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Cycle » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:00 am

I got chills reading that article. Fusion is supposed to be 25-50 years away, it would be amazing to live through this new age.

Think of all the Bitcoin that could be mined.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

Bastiat
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Bastiat » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:37 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:33 am
Bastiat wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:52 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
To be fair, there is more computing power in a single Samsung Galaxy S6 than existed in the entire world back then.

The IBM 704, the flagship supercomputer in 1954 (of which fewer than 200 were sold), operated at 12,000 FLOPS.

An S6 operates at 34,800,000,000 FLOPS.

That technology will advance at a similar rate as the past is not likely a valid assumption.
The advances in computing power are not the rule for new technologies. More the exception. Not sure which way you are arguing this?

Look at how long liquid oil has been the major energy source of our civilization. At least 110 years. I more or less date it from Winston Churchill, then First Sea Lord (ie in the UK Cabinet), endorsing the switch from coal to oil for fueling the Royal Navy-- of course for motor cars and aeroplanes it has been longer. Biomass for cooking and heating (wood, animal dung etc.) is still a major source of energy -- 20k years in.

The great success story of the last 60 years or so has been the rise of natural gas-- at the expense of oil for power generation, and coal for home heating and then power generation. And it's taken natural gas since 1945 to become a meaningful fraction of our total energy supply (somewhere around 20% from memory). Nuclear power got to 8% of world electricity supply (16% of US) in about 40 years (1950s to 1990s).

The motor car now and the motor car in 1950 are pretty similar beasts in engine, basic transmission, body etc. Despite the many technological changes they have undergone, a driver of a 1950 Chevy could drive a 2018 one, and a mechanic would recognize the key components of the engine.

Jet engines were tested in the late 1930s, but not mass used in airliners until the late 1950s. That's the impact of the World War, directly accelerating the development of certain technologies.

You can trace similar adoption curves for refrigeration, telephones, electric lighting v. gas etc.

The conclusion is it takes a *long* time for a new technology to get fully adopted.
My point (as stated above) is that there is exponentially more computing power available now than was available when nuclear power was being developed. More computing power will tend to decrease R&D times.

Oil was a tiny fraction of world energy consumption 110 years ago and did not become the major energy source until the mid 1960's. Biofuels dominated until around 1900, then coal for 65 years, then oil. But that's irrelevant.

The fact that some things are not completely different than they were in the past does not mean that future developments will occur along similar timescales.

CurlyDave
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by CurlyDave » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:04 am

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
The first human-made self sustaining nuclear reactor was assembled in 1942.

Both the first nuclear explosion at Trinity Site on July 16, 1945 and the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 were Plutonium bombs. The Plutonium was formed from U-338 capturing a neutron in a nuclear reactor and eventually becoming Pu-239.

The point is that practical nuclear reactors took a lot less time than 20 years from 1934 for real-world applications. (It doesn't get much more real than an atom bomb going off in your sky.) Of course there was that war going on which sped up the research work...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As it has been pointed out, there is no mention of the cost of one of the Lockheed gadgets, but I will bet that the first applications will be military. An electric aircraft that can fly for years or a ship that can operate for years with essentially unlimited power for rail guns and electromagnetic catapults would be immensely valuable. The cost of the power plant would be only an afterthought.

Valuethinker
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:24 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:11 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:37 am
Epsilon Delta wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:30 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
Does the trinity test July 16, 1945 count as real world application? Or do we have to wait for Nagasaki on August 9th?

(Both were plutonium bombs, with the plutonium being produced in nuclear reactors).
Presumably the uranium bomb was the "real world test"? I.e. Hiroshima? In the sense that nuclear reactors (like Fermi's) use uranium?

The analogy Nisi makes is closer, i.e. controlled use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes (or propulsive - the Nautilus).

We already know how to make a fusion explosion - the thermonuclear bomb aka "The Super". That would analogous to your plutonium bomb? It's just something that is useful other than for megadeath and destruction where we are struggling.
The early nuclear reactors were not mere experimental devices. They produced, and were intended to produce, plutonium on an industrial scale. The 1934 patent's claims include the transmutation of elements. The man made Pu in the Fat Man bombs demonstrated the patent was being used by 1944.

The uranium bomb did not require a reactor, and it is not clear to me if Little Boy uses any of the claims of 1934 patent.
Thank you. That's quite clear and I now understand your logic.

Valuethinker
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Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:29 am

Bastiat wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:37 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:33 am
Bastiat wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:52 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi patented the nuclear reactor in 1934. How many years did it take from patent to real-world application? The nuclear submarine Nautilus sailed in 1955; the first electrical power was generated from the Shippingport reactor in 1957. So, a bit more than twenty years.
To be fair, there is more computing power in a single Samsung Galaxy S6 than existed in the entire world back then.

The IBM 704, the flagship supercomputer in 1954 (of which fewer than 200 were sold), operated at 12,000 FLOPS.

An S6 operates at 34,800,000,000 FLOPS.

That technology will advance at a similar rate as the past is not likely a valid assumption.
The advances in computing power are not the rule for new technologies. More the exception. Not sure which way you are arguing this?

Look at how long liquid oil has been the major energy source of our civilization. At least 110 years. I more or less date it from Winston Churchill, then First Sea Lord (ie in the UK Cabinet), endorsing the switch from coal to oil for fueling the Royal Navy-- of course for motor cars and aeroplanes it has been longer. Biomass for cooking and heating (wood, animal dung etc.) is still a major source of energy -- 20k years in.

The great success story of the last 60 years or so has been the rise of natural gas-- at the expense of oil for power generation, and coal for home heating and then power generation. And it's taken natural gas since 1945 to become a meaningful fraction of our total energy supply (somewhere around 20% from memory). Nuclear power got to 8% of world electricity supply (16% of US) in about 40 years (1950s to 1990s).

The motor car now and the motor car in 1950 are pretty similar beasts in engine, basic transmission, body etc. Despite the many technological changes they have undergone, a driver of a 1950 Chevy could drive a 2018 one, and a mechanic would recognize the key components of the engine.

Jet engines were tested in the late 1930s, but not mass used in airliners until the late 1950s. That's the impact of the World War, directly accelerating the development of certain technologies.

You can trace similar adoption curves for refrigeration, telephones, electric lighting v. gas etc.

The conclusion is it takes a *long* time for a new technology to get fully adopted.
My point (as stated above) is that there is exponentially more computing power available now than was available when nuclear power was being developed. More computing power will tend to decrease R&D times.

Oil was a tiny fraction of world energy consumption 110 years ago and did not become the major energy source until the mid 1960's. Biofuels dominated until around 1900, then coal for 65 years, then oil. But that's irrelevant.

The fact that some things are not completely different than they were in the past does not mean that future developments will occur along similar timescales.
I understand your logic now, thank you.

I am really riffing off David Edgerton's The Shock of the Old, that if we look at technology on an adoption/ use basis, rather than its creation, old tech lasts a surprisingly long time. (In Information Technology that would be the software side - I know my bank has a whizzy web front end, but every so often you get a glimmer of the old IBM Mainframe system which still underpins it).

I agree if controlled nuclear fusion is a thing, then we will move very fast on it. Doubtless it will bring its own set of problems. But we are going to be desperate.

It still seems a fair bet that even if this is a thing, it will take 20 years to get it to commercially practical. The vertical takeoff will come after that.

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