The “Rings” Story
The “Rings” Story
So about two years ago, two strangers sent me a message.
That’s not uncommon; I’m a pretty ‘public’ figure if you’re in the space/geek/advanced technology/science fiction community. What was unusual was that they tracked me down, personally. That’s a little harder. Most people - if they’ve heard of me at all - know me by my ‘persona’ as “The Space Elevator Guy”. In fact, I sometimes write that on name badges at conferences… People hardly ever know my actual name, nor my role in the project.
So this guy, Josh, sends me a message (I’ve edited parts of each of these three letters, for privacy considerations and, believe it or not, brevity...) :
In your last newsletter, you asked that anyone who was interested in buying carbon nanotubes email you. It's not a scientific application by any stretch of the imagination (unless you count the fact that my fiancé is a science major), but my fiancé and I were talking about getting carbon nanostring wedding bands. (Diamonds may be forever... -despite the fact they evaporate?-... but gold wears away fast.) So, what might be the cost of enough carbon nanostrings to make wedding bands out of?”
Here’s my response:
When I read your note below, I laughed. Not out of humor, but out of joy. I love that idea! Really, it’s amazing! Unfortunately, current state of the art is probably not as strong as you want… But I have a couple ideas.
Let me flip your question around on you – forget how much it might cost. I don’t think it’s realistic for you to purchase raw Carbon NanoTubes at ‘fair market value’. Quite frankly, it’s unlikely that you can afford it.
Let me know what a realistic budget is for you and your fiancé. If it’s possible at all, I’ll cap my charge to that number (even though it will likely exceed that. Consider the difference as my wedding present.)
If it is within my power, and it might not be – and if my idea works, and it might not – I will do whatever I can to get you your rings.
What’s your number? We are going to have to talk about this. I’m looking forward to chatting with you. If your fiancé knows about this, then we should probably include her in these conversations. I suspect that a ring of CNT will be unconventional, and we are going to have to talk about design and techniques available. It is probably NOT what you are thinking right now. So be prepared to be flexible and creative.
Please don’t talk to anyone about this. 1) I don’t know if it can be done. 2) If it can be done, I want you to have it first. 3) If you guys go through with it, expect your wedding to get mentioned on CNN… I’m not joking.
So we should talk.
Thanks for your interest in our project. Thanks for your brilliant and beautiful idea. And if it works, thanks for including my vision to change the world into your very personal lives. I don’t take that for granted.
Take care. mjl
Finally, here’s Josh’s reply.
First off, thank you very much for the offer. I was amazed actually that you made it. (What you're doing, both you and LiftPort, never cease to amaze me!)
And yes, my fiancé does know about this, I was talking to her about it when I initially emailed you at first, and she loves the idea. (As an FYI, we're both huge fans of the Space Elevator work, and plan to do whatever it takes be among the waves of pioneers going up once the elevators get running.)
I look forward to talking to you more,
Joshua (& Elizabeth looking over my shoulder and grinning.)”
What are the rings, exactly?
Ok, so what are these things, anyway? I took Josh’s original request, but it was totally unworkable. Simply put, if I could make a ring like Josh wanted, I’d be able to build the complete Space Elevator… that tech is still a ways away.
Instead, I took silver, and melted Carbon Nanotubes into it. The temp needed for this is delicate. Some tubes burn up, while others mix into the silver ‘soup’. A metallurgist with 25 years in the field has said that the new alloy has some “interesting” properties. There is a strange ‘crystallization’ to the metal once it cools. We don’t really know why; or what this means. It needs study. There is other ‘stuff’ about this alloy which lead in some exciting directions, but as yet, we have not explored those.
In essence we’ve created a unique silver+carbon nanotube alloy. We would like to brand this material “Mithril” after J.R.R. Tolkien’s super-material in the Lord of the Rings… so far, the foundation’s branding people have not returned our calls. (According to their website, it’s an 8 week process.)
These are the notes that Josh left on the Kickstarter ‘comments’ page a couple days ago.
My wife and I were the ones who the prototype rings were made for (the ones at the $750 reward level). I suggest to *anyone* getting married sometime after today (or who at least hopes to) to hop on that one.
• Reason #1 - Use this line when you propose, "Many men promise their brides-to-be the stars. It's a very rare man that actually delivers." At which point you can explain the ring, and the potential bride is thusly wowed.
• Reason #2 - It REALLY shows that you're planning on a better world for your children - aka, you're awesome husband material.
• Reason #3 - Awesome conversation piece.
• Reason #4 - Someone shows off their gold ring, and you can say, "How quaint."
• Reason #5 - The working name for the metal is awesome. I won't say more without Michael's permission. But let's just say, the name is very... enchanting. When the people who see you hear what metal your ring is made of, they'll do a double-take and then demand more information.
• Reason #6 - There are very interesting properties to these rings that are fun to show off. Again, not going to go into detail without Michael's go ahead.
• Reason #7 - It's one thing to give a wedding ring to your loved one. It's a completely different thing to give a wedding ring to your loved one that's a piece of history.
• Reason #8 - Gold wears away easily, these rings may be able to be passed onto your great great grandkids.
What do you get?
So what do you get? The minimum ring set (yes, that’s been a question, you get two rings) is $2000. The price can climb from there, depending on how detailed the “fine” elements of the ring might be. Filigree is out; we can’t do it. The CNT creates pockets of impurities, and the alloy simply cracks. In thin lines, the CNT can’t mix with the silver. We learned this the hard way, through trial-and-error. So that means it’s a basic band. But it shines up beautifully. Silver typically tarnished quickly. Josh tells me that almost a year later, they’ve never had to shine their rings. We don’t know why…
So there have been questions about the price. I can’t set that, specifically, until we talk. If you want a lot of stones, that complicates things, and raises the price. If you want large stones, that simplifies things, and raises the price.
But here’s an important detail – if you have a maximum budget – like Josh+Liz had, we will work within it. I promise.
What does the deposit cover?
The deposit is a place-holder. Kickstarter needed a specific dollar amount for the category, but this ring didn’t fit that model. So the deposit is simply a placeholder. If, after we talk, we don’t wind up making your rings you will be refunded your deposit. However, the second stage requires hiring the metallurgist. Since she’s not on my team’s staff, we have to cover her expenses. So you MIGHT get charged $250 even if we don’t create the rings for you. You will get plenty of warning before this occurs.
How does this happen?
First, we’ll talk. You tell me about what you are looking for. We can do this all over the ‘net. I never met Josh+Liz, we didn’t need to. (Actually, I didn’t meet them until the day of their wedding. Forget cute little girls in frilly dresses – I was invited to be the ring bearer! It was a lot of fun!) Anyway, we didn’t need to meet in person, during the design and construction phase, and simplifies the process a lot. Show me pictures of styles you like. We’ll tell you which ones we can do. Then, if things look good, that’s when we bring in the metallurgist to start the true-blue design process, sizing, selecting stones and settings and that sort of thing. We’ll talk a lot during this step, take careful notes, and then we go to work to create something one-of-a-kind; made of the strongest material in the world…
There’s a secret…
I can’t reveal it yet. Maybe two or three… When I do, you’ll like it.
P.s. We're $410 away from $70,000, in case anyone was watching.
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FRIEND OF LIFTPORT: What do ya get for a dollar these days? Newsletter emails about the project. Links to behind-the-scenes images, and technical reports. FRIEND badge designation on our blog, wiki and forum. “Insider” status and progress reports on what we're doing. We’ll provide you with a special “Kickstarter only” email address that you can use to write to us. You’ll feel satisfied - knowing that you’re helping to change the world – and the Moon, and Mars, and eventually the whole solar system. AND you’ll know that, ultimately, you are contributing to humanity’s diaspora to the stars! AND Every single person that contributes will have their name laser inscribed on the robot. AND we’ll keep this list, so that when we build our Lunar Elevator, we’ll put your name on that ‘bot too… Not bad for a buck, huh? PLUS Our sincere thanks and appreciation.Estimated delivery:
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GREETING CARD: We will send you a custom card. We’ll send you a survey of image choices; some will be focused on Earth’s Space Elevator, some on the Lunar Elevator, and some on life-saving aspects of the Tethered Tower. Order as many as you like, and send them to your ‘cool’ friends for holidays and birthdays. PLUS everything at the FRIEND level.Estimated delivery:
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RIBBON: Same custom card as above… PLUS, attached to each card will be a 3cm snippet of the (potentially record-breaking) Ribbon that we use to climb into the sky! When ‘they’ build the museum about the Space Elevator, this will be a collector’s item. I’ll sign and number these cards. PLUS everything at the FRIEND and GREETING CARD level.Estimated delivery:
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CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER: Personally, of all the rewards we are offering, this is the one I most want you to buy. (Of course, if you are reasonably well off, please buy the more expensive rewards; you’ll get this included!) But seriously, for most of you, I think this is your best value for the money. So what do you get? Well for starters, you’ll get a special laminated wallet-sized card (We’ll give you choices on the image). You can carry this around as proof that you’re helping do something amazing: Shifting the course of civilization, unleashing humanity from the tyranny of gravity and building an Elevator in Space! This card is so awesome that your friends will be jealous. These cards will be signed and numbered to limit counterfeiting! PLUS you’ll get a “KS Supporter” designation on our website forums and wiki. The only way to get that badge is through Kickstarter, and trust me, you’ll want this. PLUS the most important part of this reward level is that there is a MYSTERY SURPRISE. I promise, you will really like the MYSTERY SURPRISE. PLUS you’ll get the stuff at the FRIEND, GREETING CARD and RIBBON levels.Estimated delivery:
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FRIENDSHIP BRACELET: This unisex bracelet is classy and tasteful. It is comfortable to wear. It may or may not start a conversation (we hope it does) but it is a regular reminder that you are a part of something important. The first step, Tethered Towers will help with disaster relief, the next step of the Lunar Elevator will allow a permanent research station and settlement of our nearest neighbor, and the final step is when Earth’s Space Elevator leads humanity’s diaspora to the stars… This bracelet (handmade by our team) signifies all of that. It’s made of the same high-strength material that we will build our Tethered Towers and the Lunar Elevator out of. PLUS, you’ll get the FRIEND, RIBBON and GREETING CARD rewards. (Also, please consider the NECKLACE reward below.)Estimated delivery:
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ART PRINT: Why ‘art’ for an advanced technology project? NASA and the Department of Education have a metric for what they refer to as STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). At LiftPort we modified this to STEAM; adding in “Art”. We feel that art inspires, and sparks the imagination. We think that the arts bridge the gap between the folks that do STEM and everyone else. Art is a translator of sorts. We’ll give you an ART PRINT from our archives. Your choice of images. Themes will revolve around Earth’s Elevator, the Lunar Elevator or Tethered Towers. Initially, the size will be 5x7, high-quality and worthy of framing on the wall. If this proves to be a popular reward, we will increase the size. PLUS, you get the rewards at the FRIEND level. (Possible examples can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/space_elevator/sets/72157611636812783/. This is my personal Flickr account, please ignore images of my grandmother, birds and ex-girlfriends. But there are LOTS of images of our team at work, building robots, robots climbing into the sky and other artwork.)Estimated delivery:
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GROUP TALK: With the Space Elevator people. We’ll schedule a 2 hour chat, or video hangout, or conference call and talk about various aspects of the projects. We can talk about whatever you want: If this reward is popular, we’ll work it out so that we have multiple events and limit the number of people – so that you can really participate. We’ll send a survey to determine the best method, date and technology to work with you. Many options will be available. We’ll talk politics, religion, international policy, law and what might happen when we build it. We can talk about nanotechnology, too. We’ll schedule talks about each Elevator and Tethered Towers. PLUS You'll get the FRIEND, GREETING CARD and RIBBON level rewards.Estimated delivery:
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NECKLACE: Similar to the FRIENDSHIP BRACELET above, but longer and you wear it around your neck… ;-) This is your public statement that you believe in something big. We think these are attractive and something you’ll want to wear – whether you tell people you are involved with building “the biggest thing, ever”; well, that’s up to you. PLUS everything at the FRIENDS, GREETING CARD, and RIBBON levels. (Also, please consider the COMPLETE SET below. Or if you’d like the NECKLACE + BRACELET, we can take care of that with a survey after this KickStarter campaign ends.)Estimated delivery:
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MEDIUM ART PRINT: Same as at the $10 level, but a bigger print, on better paper and exclusive. It will be about 11x14 and we’ll design it as a limited edition print run for this KickStarter campaign only. At the $10 level, those are all (mostly) images that are about 5 years old or more. They’ve been around the internet for a long time… At this reward level, we will craft something entirely new and restrict its distribution. We’ll send a survey and let you choose which topic you are most interested in: Earth’s Elevator, the Moon Elevator or Tethered Towers. PLUS everything at the FRIENDS, GREETING CARD, and RIBBON levels.Estimated delivery:
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T-SHIRT: Honestly, is a geek-centric Kickstarter campaign complete without the obligatory t-shirt? I wear mine whenever I travel and people ask me about the project wherever I go. Warning: If you don’t want an open invitation to talk to strangers, don’t purchase this reward. We’re planning new designs, so I can’t give you examples. We’ll have choices between Tethered Towers, The Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure and our much loved Earth’s Elevator. PLUS everything at the CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, FRIENDS, GREETING CARD, and RIBBON levelsEstimated delivery:
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COMPLETE SET: The BRACELET and the NECKLACE and a matching pair of earrings. You’ll be the envy of your fashionista friends and gamer geeks… (O.k. that’s a stupid description… The sad, simple truth is this: there are not enough women involved or interested in this project. For this project to succeed, we must have a better boy:girl ratio. So I tasked my team to find some reward that would specifically appeal to women. The women on my team said they wanted jewelry… They said they wanted something that they could wear often – that would show their support. So we priced this ‘low’ and made it as versatile as possible. I’m told that the colors should accent your wardrobe. PLUS everything at the BRACELET, NECKLACE, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, FRIENDS, GREETING CARD, and RIBBON levels.Estimated delivery:
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MEET-UP: In a sincere effort to reengage our community, I’d like to shake hands and drink beer with you. What I’d like, is to travel to your city. To do that, we’ve got to cover airplanes, food, hotels and other logistics. If we can organize ~25 people per city, we can do this. (If not, we’ll refund you.) I’m trying to do this cheap; so that I can meet as many folks as possible. Target cities include: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, and Boston. At the MEET-UP, I’ll give a short talk and long Q&A, and then we can commence with the beer! I’m happy to go to other places. I can also travel internationally. Dates will vary over the next year. PLUS everything at the CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, FRIENDS, GREETING CARD, and RIBBON levels.Estimated delivery:
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TRUE FAN: The combination of TSHIRT + GROUP TALK rewards above. These are our champions. They make the effort to know what’s happening with the project, and then they put a billboard on their chest – proclaiming their support. They understand that building an Elevator in Space will make the world a better place. PLUS everything at the T-SHIRT, GROUP TALK, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, FRIENDS, GREETING CARD, and RIBBON levels.Estimated delivery:
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STREET TEAM: We are making a commitment to use Social Media as our primary outreach tool. We’d like your help. So what we’re proposing is this – you follow our SM accounts, and we’ll follow yours. If you’ve got something to say that is relevant to the Space Elevator or Tethered Towers community, we’ll rebroadcast. If we’ve got something that is relevant to your community, we ask that you broadcast our updates. This means that you learn everything about the project first! No one will have faster access to our progress reports. PLUS, we’ll have a conversation similar to the GROUP TALK above, but restricted only to the people that chose this reward. PLUS We’ll dedicate a page on our website and acknowledge our STREET TEAM publicly. PLUS the FRIEND, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, and GROUP TALK level rewards.Estimated delivery:
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REALLY TRUE FAN: We’re bundling the GROUP TALK, T-SHIRT and MEDIUM ART PRINT just for you. PLUS you’ll still get the rewards at the CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, RIBBON, GREETING CARD and FRIEND levels.Estimated delivery:
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ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT: Simple commercialism. Show support of our project by advertising on our website. One thing I’m certain of is this – that the people interested in our project have a hopeful and enthusiastic vision of the future. They are technically savvy and engaged in the world. They think (rightly so) that they can make a difference. If this sounds like the kind of audience you’d like your product or service in front of, why not commit at this level. We’ll give you 10,000 views from people that want to change the world. (If this is interesting, and you’ve got more ad dollars to spend, take a look at the VIDEO CHANNEL at the $250 level. Also, at higher reward levels, we’ll maintain this rate of $.01/View.) PLUS the FRIEND, GREETING CARD, RIBBON , CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, and CHAT level rewards.Estimated delivery:
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GET INVOLVED: Please, I’m asking you sincerely to put your money where your vision is. The group of people that commit to this level are important to me. (That’s not to imply that I don’t care about the other folks, but I’m honestly admitting that the people that commit at this level will have more of my attention.) Similar to the CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER above, this is my second favorite reward level. I hate to sound crass, but building an Elevator on the Moon will cost $800M. Do I expect to raise that all through KickStarter? Of course not. But it costs real money to do the things we need to, in order to build the “biggest thing ever”. So what’s your reward at this level? First, I wasn’t kidding. You will have my attention – Every month I’ll develop a survey and exclusively ask this community its opinion on something important. I will work with this community to create the policies and plans around building the Elevators. You will be our self-created focus group and I promise your opinions will be factored into how this Elevator develops. We will rely on you. For $100 dollars, it means your voice will be heard. From this community a few (you’ll pick among yourselves) will be raised to our formal Board of Advisors. What I’m looking for, at this reward level, is people that are willing to actively participate. So, is having my attention and having a voice in a project that will shift the course of humanity enough of a reward? I hope so. If not, I have a different MYSTERY SURPRISE II for you. Is it worth the difference between $8 and $100? Yes it is. We’ll create three teams; focused on each Elevator and Tethered Towers. PLUS everything at the T-SHIRT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, GROUP TALK, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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EXCLUSIVE CHAT – Same as the $15 reward above, but with a much smaller crowd, and 2 sessions of 2 hours. This allows us to get into some depth and have a conversation. Who knows where this might lead? I hope that this will be interesting, educational, inspirational, and perhaps spark questions you’d never considered. PLUS everything at the GET INVOLVED, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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VIDEO CHANNEL: We’re considering creating a video channel with our team of experts. We’ll talk space, materials science/nanotech, energy, robotics, computing, communications, space-centric bioscience, law, international policy, military and theological aspects of our technology, and a host of other topics. We will vary focus between the Earth and Moon Elevators and the Tethered Towers. We need a minimum of 30 sponsors for this to begin. We really want this to succeed, so everyone that buys a reward above this level will be included in this. What you’ll get is the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping educate (a lot of) people… You’ll also receive permanent website acknowledgement that you are the channel’s founding sponsors, and also 25,000 views of your sponsorship ad. If we don’t hit our threshold, we’ll refund whatever was pledged. PLUS you’ll get everything at the GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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WALK ON PART: So for our big balloons + robots experiments, we’re gonna need some help. Actually, we need a couple spots – video, photography and a writer. There is stuff to do before, during and after the experiment so if you choose this, you’ll need to be available 4 days. The roles of each will be as a ‘historian’. You’ll capture the process, and post it to our social media accounts. You’ll have to handle the logistics of getting to and from the experiment site. Likely, this will be in the Seattle region, but we’ve had to go to Salt Lake City and Phoenix before. We’ll share the media rights to whatever is developed over these 4 days. If this proves to be a popular reward, we’ll hold auditions of some sort and offer other options for ‘walk on parts’. We’ll give full refunds if the assignment, timing and location don’t work for you. The experiment will likely take place in early to mid-October. PLUS you’ll get everything at the GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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EDUCATION KIT – LUNAR ELEVATOR: Designed for high school students. We will develop a set of curricula (meeting national educational standards) to teach students about a variety of topics. Using the Lunar Elevator as the central theme, we will explore math, chemistry, physics, communications, computing, biology, literature, sociology, law, finance, business, art, theology, nanotech/materials, energy systems and orbital dynamics. With this kit, we hope to inspire students and get them focused on their role in building something amazing. We plan to build our Elevator on the Moon in eight years – which means a high school student could become actively involved with the design, deployment and construction of the “biggest thing, ever!” CAVEAT: We need at least 5 people to support this level. If we reach that, each of you will be able to pick the school this KIT goes to. If we hit 25, you each get to pick 3 schools. If we hit 50, we’ll distribute it – for free – on our website; so every student can use this resource to make a difference in the world. Naturally, you'll get credit for this on our website, and in the support materials of the KIT. We’re working with a non-profit on this. You’ll get a receipt and a tax deduction. PLUS you’ll get all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, GET INVOLVED, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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EDUCATION KIT – EARTH’S ELEVATOR: Same as above, but the topic is focused on Earth’s Space Elevator. While the concepts covered might be the same, the lesson plan is completely different and the knowledge gained is also entirely different. For example, when I say “physics”, in the Lunar Elevator I’m referring to gravity; while on Earth’s Elevator I’m thinking of leverage, mass and celestial mechanics. Same CAVEAT as above. We’re working with a non-profit on this. You’ll get a receipt and a tax deduction. PLUS you’ll get all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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EDUCATION KIT – TETHERED TOWERS: Designed for high school students or early college. Complete kit of balloons, Ribbon, and other equipment sufficient to build a communications and observation tower off your high school. We’ll provide a curriculum and instructions to the teacher, and an educational wiki that the students can (should!) contribute to. Students will learn about chemistry, weather, physics, electronics and communications. This is not a toy. This is real science. We will collect data from each location. Your students will learn, and LiftPort will learn from the students… We will apply this knowledge to the real-world application and development of deploying Tethered Towers. Please note, there are significant FAA, Air Force and Navy requirements involved. We will have to talk with you about these before shipping. In most cases, your Tethered Tower will be ~200-300ft high. Two CAVEATS: 1) The system can be customized. We’ll talk about that in our pre-shipping survey. Depending on the sensors you select, the price may increase. I’m trying to keep the base price as low as possible. And 2) We need at least 5 people to commit to this. If we don’t get that many, we will refund everything. We’re working with a non-profit on this. You’ll get a receipt and a tax deduction. PLUS you’ll get all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIEND, levels.Estimated delivery:
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KEYNOTE SPEAKER: I’ll come and talk with folks about building an Elevator on the Moon; of constructing an Earth Elevator that will unlock the destiny of the human race; of the life-saving value of immediate communications (Tethered Towers). Or I’ll talk on whatever topic you want me to. I’m a story teller. I teach by telling stories about what we’ve accomplished; about lessons learned on the front lines of this project. And I teach by expanding the horizons of the audience. I try hard to connect with the people I’m talking with. I’m as comfortable in front of Congressmen as I am with high school students. I make it an interactive, multimedia dialog with the audience. It’s less of a ‘lecture’ and more of a ‘conversation’. You set the tone, location and group, and I’ll deliver. I’m an award winning public speaker, and have given ~200 professional talks. So if I’m that good, how can you have me at your event for just $500? Because ‘telling the story’ of building the “biggest thing, ever” to an interested audience is more important to me than putting ‘excess’ money in my checking account. Because I want to make this affordable to student groups as well as larger professional associations. I live in the Seattle area, so if we are going beyond that, you’ll have to pick up the extra expenses. I’m happy to provide references. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS everything at the VIDEO CHANNEL, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
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JUMP!: Alright, you won’t be FIRST! (see below) but you’ll be on the list… Ride our balloons and robot up to the top, and then jump. What could be easier, right? Personally, I think you guys are all a little crazy. But then again, I’m building an Elevator in Space… Who am I to say what ‘crazy’ is? If you’ve got the waivers, jump certifications and guts, I won’t stop you from jumping off the tallest man-made structure in the world… and into the history books. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS everything at the VIDEO CHANNEL, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
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CARBON NANOTUBE WEDDING RING: O.k., in this reward, I’m letting you all in on a little secret… Last year I was commissioned to create a “carbon nanotube wedding ring” for a couple of fans. In their words, “Diamonds are the 20th century symbol for strength, and we want the 21st century symbol for unbreakable love…” Well, I couldn’t do exactly what they asked, but I did something pretty interesting. I created a brand new CNT+Metal alloy… and made their wedding rings out of it. I can make more if you want. But there’s a catch. Each ring is custom designed, and I have to work with metallurgists to make this happen. It’s not cheap. Part of the price depends on what sort of precious stones you want, and the complexity of the design. $2000 is probably the minimum threshold, and it could scale to $5000 or $10,000 (or more) if you added a lot of shiny rocks. So here’s the deal, the $750 you pledge here is a deposit. We’ll talk over what you want, and what my team can accomplish, and if it’s a fit, we’ll talk over prices and your budget. If all of this works for you, then the money you pledged will be applied to the final price. If this doesn’t work out, we’ll refund $500. I would return everything, but I have to hire an outside metallurgist for this consultation. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
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CUSTOM ART: Designed with you and your selected location in mind, we will create an original image for your home or office. We have artists that work in a variety of mediums, and will tailor an image for you. Your image may focus on the themes of the two Elevators or Tethered Towers, or colonizing the Moon, Mars or whatever it is that you dream about. We’ll talk about that when we send your reward survey. LiftPort will keep the rights, and will reproduce prints, but you’ll have the signed original. PLUS all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
DINNER PARTY: Invite 6 other people. Then the 8 of us will talk about the future, humanities move to the stars, acceleration of everything, civilization shifting technologies and our role in all this stuff. We’ll talk about how there is a lag between a society’s moral compass and the technology it uses. We’ll talk about how going to space, en masse, is the best possible future for humanity; and its benefits for most people down here on Earth. I’ll be charming. I know which fork to use. PLUS all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, MEDIUM ART PRINT, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $3,000 or moreYou selected
ROBOT KIT: Everything you need to make a robot that can climb into the sky (or out the window, off the side of a building, or up and down the world’s most awesome tree house or a museum exhibit). All the parts, directions, an exclusive wiki, and access to our team of robotic engineers included. This kit is not for the timid. But it is perfect for an after-school club (with experienced supervision) or a reasonably talented DIYer. PLUS all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
CORPORATE RETREAT: My team and I know an awful lot about tackling big, unbounded, problems. If you and your executive team are heading off-site to work on ‘stuff’, let me help. We’ve created special tools to deal with complex problems – like building Elevators in Space. What I know can probably help you get a handle on whatever it is you are working on. This is probably just like every other corporate coaching and consulting gig your HR people and the Board are trying to shove down your throat. Except it comes from the perspective that changing the world is possible. I’ve done it. And I can show you how. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $7,500 or moreYou selected
ASSEMBLED ROBOT: The same as the ROBOT KIT above, but we did all the work and put it together for you. You’re welcome. Comes with a display stand, and plaque. Use it as a ready-made museum exhibit, or as corporate art. (Really, I’m not kidding. The robots in our office always got the attention of visitors. It shows your support, interest and enthusiasm for advanced technology. If you are a patent attorney, this is your public declaration that you believe in the future of amazing technology.) Tell us how you’ll use the ‘bot, and we’ll custom develop extra stuff for you. For example, if it’s for a museum display, we’ll create a set of artwork and instructional materials to post beside your new acquisition. If you’ve got other ideas, we’ll work with you to implement them. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the ROBOT KIT, CUSTOM ART, VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
ANYTIME, ANYWHERE: If there is a disaster anywhere in the world, we’ll send three people to it, with our Tethered Towers and provide a communications, observation and security system for the emergency responders. We’ll train local responders how to use the system. Tethered Towers started out as a robotic test platform. But it evolved after the hurricane in New Orleans. Last year I literally cried as I was watching the news about the tsunami in Japan. I’m certain that if I could have gotten my team there, we could have made a difference. I’m really hoping someone buys this level. Together, we’ll save lives. CAVEAT: $10,000 is not enough to completely cover the costs of this. It will buy a complete kit on ready-standby status. It will also buy me team for a week (not really, but I’ll cover the difference). What it won’t do is cover costs of flights, lodging (I presume if it’s a real disaster we going to be in tents) and food. So this kind of logistic stuff will have to be covered separately, at the time of the event. Fair warning - I’ve talked with experts in this field, and this transportation cost could be very high as it’s a supply/demand problem. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the CUSTOM ART, VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
MOON WALKING: What I wanted to offer at this level, I can’t. There are laws prohibiting advertising things you can’t actually perform... And while I’m pretty sure I can perform, I can’t guarantee it. What I wanted to offer for this reward level was the trip of a lifetime; to allow folks to walk on the surface of the Moon. The way I see it, I’m building a railroad in space. My team and I have a lot of work ahead of us, before that happens. But when it does, I’ll have a lot of options. Which means I get to make the rules about who goes where, how often, and at what price. I know in the early days we will have a lot of excess capacity on the Ribbon. So I thought to myself, “why not give a true-believer a ride on the Lunar Elevator? They’d still need to spend about $50M to get a rocket to take them from Earth to the Lagrange point – at which point they’d take our Elevator down to the Moon. But I can at least offer a pre-paid rate on the services of my ‘railroad’…” Alas, I’m not allowed to make that offer. So, instead, I’ll offer my honest thanks. My team will use the money pledged at this level to work on the Feasibility Study. I’ll share EVERYTHING my team learns. And who knows? Perhaps one day you and I will sit down for dinner and discus our options... In the spirit of full disclosure, my company, LiftPort has already failed in its big plans once already. The odds are stacked heavily against us. But I’m committed to this. Buying this reward level might be a waste of money… but I don’t think so. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the CUSTOM ART, VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
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FIRST! “There can be only one!” Someone is going to jump FIRST! Off the top of the Tethered Tower… It might as well be you! Imagine it; you calmly, quietly, ascend 2 kilometers high, using our balloons. And then, when you’ve had enough of the tremendous view, after you’ve taken all the images you want, after you’ve had lunch at the top of the world, you jump! Of course, you’ll have to have all the necessary parachute qualifications, medical screening and the legal liability waivers will be about a foot thick… If you’re crazy enough to do this, we’re crazy enough to let you! You’ll go down in the record books for skydiving off the world's tallest man-made structure, and the history books as the FIRST! Person on the FIRST! Space Elevator. (Note, this is an experimental system. We’ll have to get flight approval from the FAA, Air Force, and Navy for cleared airspace. This is likely to occur near (way outside of) Phoenix. If we don’t get this approval, you will be refunded. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the CUSTOM ART, VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levelsEstimated delivery:
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LET’S MAKE A DEAL: You’ll have access to our internal working documents, review our notes and examine our intellectual property. (We’ll retain all rights while you’re looking.) You’ll get first dibs and a chance to say ‘let’s make a deal’ on any spinoff technology we develop. Then we’ll negotiate in good faith. I believe we already have about +20 patentable and lucrative technologies, and we will develop others in: Materials/Nanotechnology, Space, Energy, Communications, Computing and Robotics. The commitment that you are purchasing at this level guarantees you a seat at the table – not that we will make a deal. However, LiftPort can’t/won’t stop to commercially develop every widget that we create. If we do that, we’ll never accomplish our Vision of an Elevator on the Moon. (For example: CARBON NANOTUBE WEDDING RINGS could lead to a revolution in metallurgy; we forecast applications in specialty electronics. Another example might be commercially deploying Tethered Towers for communication, observation or recreation.) So we will actively seek partners to develop the concepts created in our “Idea Factory”. CAVEAT: There will be a lot of legal mumbo jumbo associated with this reward. We’ll try to hash this out together. If you don’t like the terms, we’ll refund $5000. I’d refund it all, but we’re gonna have to hire the lawyers – to create the mumbo jumbo. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the CUSTOM ART, VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT , a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
THREE WISHES: We’re going to have a long conversation. In person. Probably several. When you feel you’ve heard enough, you may ask me for three wishes… and like a genie, if it is within my power to grant, I’ll do it. Is this a gamble? Yes, I’m gambling a lot! Is this a gamble for you? Not hardly. I know I’ve got lots and lots of stuff worth this price. But this is a value for value exchange; I’m not giving you control of the project, or all of our intellectual property or something else that is way out of proportion. It’s a trade; I’ll give you something worthy of the price you are paying. Why am I doing this? I have realized something as I’ve been looking at some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns – that I wanted something that wasn’t on the menu… Well, here’s your chance. This space intentionally left blank. Delivery dates are negotiable. PLUS all the rewards at the CUSTOM ART, VIDEO CHANNEL, EXCLUSIVE CHAT, GET INVOLVED, ADVERTISE YOUR SUPPORT, MEDIUM ART PRINT, a print from CUSTOM ART, CARD CARRYING SUPPORTER, GREETING CARD, RIBBON, and FRIENDS, levels.Estimated delivery:
- (21 days)