I’ve met “Paul” at a couple atheist conventions. While on the road I’ve made a great many friends, but because I meet so many people it’s hard for any of them to fall into the category of “people I talk to when we’re not at conventions.” But when Michaelyn and I met Paul and his girlfriend it was like magic. We have all become great friends, they’re just good people.
I recently learned that Paul has money. I’m not privy to how much, but more than I am likely to see in my life. He’s presently expending a great deal of his money on a project he believes will help ween humanity off of petroleum. He asked me to share the Indigogo fundraiser page for the project recently and I’ve decided to oblige him. It seems like a worthy cause.
Here’s the email he sent me which contains all the information I have about the project:
So here’s a brief dissertation about Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP). My legal status with LPP is as an “investor”.
The Indigogo campaign is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/focus-fusion-empowertheworld–3
It is now the top rated campaign under “Environment”, which it achieved in just a few days after the campaign began.
The most helpful thing to do is to pitch in whatever you can whether it is $5 or $500. The next best thing is to share the campaign on social media – Facebook likes, etc. Next is to actually post comments under the “Comments” section of the Indigogo campaign page – that rates the campaign higher.
Without a lot of research, a lot of people say it is bullshit because understanding exactly how they’re doing what they’re doing is difficult and time consuming. However, I’ve done my homework (for years) and I can say without a doubt that I believe they will be successful and that the science is sound. If you research it in detail, you will find that real plasma physicists are NOT bashing these guys as they do with most other fusion projects underway. Yes, the materials problems are hard, but this little focus fusion device they have is remarkable and the problems left to solve are not insurmountable.
The biggest problem they’ve had is attracting investors. Most investors won’t touch it because it is extremely risky until they’ve proven that it will work. I’ve put six digits into it and 60+ other fearless investors have chipped in as well. The Indigogo campaign is there only to try to help pay for a set of ridiculously expensive ($250K) electrodes that are necessary to actually break the net-energy barrier without melting and/or vaporizing the tungsten electrodes from the x-ray energy.
(If you know anything about physics and metallurgy, think about that for a second – vaporizing tungsten electrodes. Tungsten vaporizes at 6800 degrees celcius. FUCK ME.)
LPP is a “high risk” investment regulated by the SEC. Only “accredited investors” can buy real stock — “accredited” means you have to make more than $200K per year, have a net worth of more than $1M and sign an affidavit stating that they will suffer no hardship if you lose all of your money. I qualify, but the average person can’t. This Indigogo campaign makes it possible for everyone to pitch in to help. We need more people to know about this to avoid being crushed by the oil industry.
I’m NOT doing this for the money (and neither are the others working on it), although money will be a happy side-effect. We’re doing it because nobody else will and the world needs to get the fuck away from petroleum. And we’re succeeding. :)
My prediction for the next set of experiments coming up is that we break all of the records for fusion by a wide margin. It should be worldwide headline news. At that point, the tide in private investment should flip and we should be buried in money for the next phases of development. In the meantime, we need the Indigogo campaign to reach as many people as possible.
If nothing else, I hope the project succeeds for the cause of atheism. Paul is all heart, and I know for a fact that he’s willing to spend money to make a better world, and that means money going toward atheist groups. If this project takes off and Paul makes a return on his investment, it will be good for the world and for atheist activism.