Dear John, (01)
> I'm back from my travels and catching up on some emails.
> Following are some comments on your notes from Jan 5 and 6:
> MW> Whilst I do not think you should attempt to justify blue
> > skies research, I think there are things you can do to work out
> > if industrial, or applied research is worthwhile, based around
> > the reduction in risk of decisions that you make based on the
> > results of the research.
> First of all, it's often hard to distinguish "blue sky" research
> from "applied" research -- except in retrospect. Nuclear fusion,
> for example, has always held the promise of limitless amounts
> of power, but none of the "applied" R & D has come to fruition.
> Conversely, the "blue sky" research on lasers and solid-state
> physics has reaped benefits beyond anybody's wildest dreams. (02)
MW: By applied research I mean what was funded as applied research. Negative
results are almost as valuable as positive results, because they stop you
betting on a loser.
> MW> Should I invest in fission reactors, fusion reactors, solar
> > cells, wind farms, tidal barrages, carbon capture, biomass
> > (which sort), clean coal? I have $50b+ to invest over 20 years.
> Nobody states or evaluates alternatives in that form. (03)
MW: That is simply not true. Most of the oil companies are doing precisely
this, and so are many governments. For example Shell has consistently done
research in various renewables aimed at establishing technical viability and
the price of oil at which they would become economic. (04)
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