Wayne, this is the problem with newbie peanut-gallery bystander wannabe innovators with enthusiasm but no mastery of the art:
They have nothing to offer besides enthusiasm and busy-body-ness, and
so they first (attempt to) declare "a new system" where "all things of
value will be shared equally".
It is now well-known that the communist system was designed merely to
tear down the previous order of ownership, to pave the way for a
McDonalds & KFC on every corner - so much for "sharing everything
equally", last I knew the world's biggest "communist" nation had a huge
population of newly-minted billionaires! "Share everything equally
until I own it" would be the complete statement.
The "share everything equally" is a way to get those who HAVE something
to give it up. The next stage is "well maybe we SHOULD have SOME
individual property"... while the people previously saying everything
should be shared begin to explain why THEY now own everything "well
things change, things evolve - gotta keep up with the times, can't live
in the past - that system of sharing everything didn't work out as
In short, coming into a situation with nothing and advocating that everything be shared can be a way of taking control.
Anyway, like technology, the field of law has a long history, and what
we have today is a result of thousands of years of finding out what
"works" - sound familiar anyone?
The result includes our patent system, which I agree can be a pain in the butt like anything worth doing.
Having said all that, I can tell you from personal experience that it
may hardly matter! When you have teams as (apparently) stupid as the
people at Honeywell for example, promoting a "regular" (non-flying)
wind turbine as BAD as what they have (patent protected of course!),
and then look at all the rest of the intellectual GARBAGE that clogs
our patent system, you might scratch your head and begin to wonder how
valuable patents really ARE.
Think about it: from whale bumps to eccentric-and-bored ole' grandpa's
flapping plywood merry-go-round, thousands and thousands of patents
describe apparatus that barely works, if at all. What's the use? One
thing I learned is to develop the shit first and patent it after you
see how it works. Otherwise you end up having to file more patents
after you actually figure out what you're doing. Shit seems obvious
once you start building and testing. Before that, all ideas may seem
equal when only on paper - "Sure, that would work easily" transitions
to "Oh I didn't know it would do THAT!" and "Why can't we get these
things to hold together?".
I was warned early on not to get too attached to patents. People told
me how most patents expire worthless, which we have all heard. People
told me the greater value was being first to market, or even just being
IN the market at all, instead of just in dreamland! Like one more
vertical axis professor crackpot, I listened, but didn't listen. Now I
have a LOT of patents, and orders coming in for products - and most of
the products people order from me are not even patented! They are just
generators and electronics that I have not even looked into patenting
because I'm too busy making them! People buy what works. For everything
else you need grants and subsidies, conferences, hand-waving and
happy-talk. Government programs. Like the supposed "communism" (similar
to "cool I.P."), it can all only go on for so long before nature
retakes the helm. Remember that story "Animal Farm" where "all animals
were equal... some just more than others"? Cool I.P., Animal Farm.
Sounds nice like the pilgrims sharing all their food - they almost died
that first winter til they resumed personal production, personal
responsibility, and personal ownership the next year.
The factor I was not taking into account is that it is SO ridiculously
hard to get ANY wind energy device to last through the first decent
wind, let alone hang in there year after year through storm after
storm, that I find myself about to offer a simple single-rotor turbine
kit that will run forever and never burn out. Why? Because after
decades of clean&green hype, there STILL to this day does not EXIST
an affordable and reliable small wind energy system. Affordable? Yes.
Reliable? Yes - but NOT in the same package. Today you can obtain
EITHER an affordable small wind system OR a reliable one that will cost
as much as a house, and still possibly require service but after
spending that much you will pony up the additional cash.
Next, let me tell you about my friend Andy who started the biggest
small wind turbine company in the world and today doesn't even work for
them. Why? They could NEVER in decades of trying, get a reliable
machine out there. Every model they ever produced had major problems,
and the company slowly floundered as they drowned in warranty returns,
while VC's salivated and companies like GE capital injected as much as
$10 million to keep them afloat.
Last I talked to anyone at SouthWest Windpower they had sold off every
model they ever developed except the still-problematic Skystream. Their
entire Whisper line was sold to a company in India. Despite Southwest
sending an engineer over to help, they cannot seem to turn out even a
single decent version of a Southwest turbine in India. Again, everyone
thinks this stuff is easy - NO Virginia, a harbor-freight level of
quality WILL NOT cut it in wind energy - you need the very best of the
best, not cut corners. Southwest told me they would start sending
people to me for replacement blades hand made from wood since the
buyers in India also seem unable to make a decent blade. Sounds crazy
but I didn;t make this up - heard it from the source!
So, try to find a small wind turbine that is not a big basket of
problems. Go ahead and search across the countryside. I'd love to hear
from that happy customer who is saving on his electric bill and has had
no problems for years with his small wind turbine. Then meanwhile,
worry about what patents you do or don't have for crap you will never
build anyway. Right? Like U.Delfts patented a laddermill yet never
built one? Why? Chicken? Its ridiculous that nobody has tried a
laddermill yet. Laddermill - one of a hundred easy-to-build airborne
wind energy concepts that would probably work the first time! (Work?
Yes. Last a long time? Not right away. Crash? probably. Then the work
starts - model after model til something hangs in there long enough to
still be there the next morning.
Ironically, SouthWest Windpower DID have ONE reliable model of turbine.
Today it is orphaned - they couldn't get a taker for the one that just
worked. Why? Not enough lies. Investors in wind energy mostly respond
to lies about performance that is too good to be true. To hear about
the performance numbers of a turbine that just works and just runs for
years with no problems doesn't sound like enough power compared to the
next model up the line that bites off more wind than it can chew, and
quickly fails. Well they quickly failed before, butn ow they just don't
even work! That's why it can be good to keep production home. Once it
is in a different time zone, people just revert to their primitive ways
and produce junk unless someone is there to babysit, or so I keep
hearing over and over, at "conferences" where people who own IP discuss
how they sometimes make money off it.
Anyway the only person I know who ever made any money in small wind did
it by building and selling a cheap turbine, that was not well-designed
and did not perform well. The reason he made a couple million is he at
least had SOMETHING to sell in that price range while everyone else was
filing patents, preparing grant applications for flawed technology, and
So anyway, yeah I think laddermill, in any of the myriad forms one
could endlessly cook up, is a promising idea. The fact that a major
university patented it yet never built one is just how the field of
wind energy IS -0 most big talkers and very few people who really
understand it or are really willing to build anything that is not a
waste of time. I mean really, why would one patent a laddermill and
then never build one? By what mental deficiency would one go on to take
a giant step backward from that, to "I think I feel a pull on this kite
string" level of thinking?
Well truth is stranger than fiction. I think if someone realy wanted to
test a laddermill, they might consider using a kite at the upper end,
since it is simple. I do not see how a kite arch necessarily adds
anything to the equation at that stage, and really, it reduces the
overall utility by insuring that it would be more difficult or
impossible to aim. Sure, add a giant rotating spar and you just negated
the supposed advantage of the kite arch: needing no spar.
Most would-be wind energy inventors are very insistent that their
untested designs are "the answer". Because the designs ARE untested,
the promoters assign ANY desired behavior and just assume the real
apparatus will follow their wishes. Most of them are disturbed when
they start taking steps like connecting generators to their ideas.
THat;s when they start to realize that their dumb ideas don't really
make ANY power, let alone outperform the GE 1.5 Mw turbine.
So, I guess you have people building real wind energhy systems,
airborne or not, and you have the peanut gallery of would-be, wannabe
innovators who seldom build anything, produce no wind power, and want
to spend all day every day arguing about fundamentals worked out
hundreds ofy ears ago such as whether to use lift or drag, whether to
try for "crosswind" performance, whether to use flipping or flapping
behavior, and indeed whether a patent system is desirable or should be
It is good to question ingrained paradigms every so often, but to
question all of them all the time and never move forward is just
treading water and never swimming anywhere!
Speaking of treading water, I think I just wasted another hour, yakety-yaking on the internet, that could have been productive!
if I were smart I would pay attention and stop. So you can see I am dumb too. :)
--- In AirborneWindEnergy@yahoogroups.com
, Wayne German <waynelgerman@...