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The Demise of Liftport?

Erik a blogger listened to Michael Laine of Liftport at a panel on Infosnacking and Infobingeing: A Guide to Being Well-Informed at the recent Conference on World Affairs and put a partial transcript in his blog Pikamac;

"I've got a scoop for all the all the bloggers in the room. Other than the X Prize, if you're on the cover of Popular Science or Popular Mechanics then your project is not going to go anywhere. But failure is a critical component of growth.

"Two hours ago I lost a three million dollar building. I'd rather pay for this space elevator then pay my mortgage. I'd rather talk to schoolchildren about the project than pay my phone bill. I've been in foreclosure seven times in the last five years. And now I don't have a place to live. I don't have a place to for my staff to go to. I don't have a place to put my cat.

"Is this the straw that breaks the camels back? Not quite, I'm pretty tough. I've got to go get a job... I'm not a very good employee. How do you build an elevator into space on the evenings and weekends? I'm counting on the two million people on the network who have referenced the project to make a difference... to put some skin in the game.

"I thought I had this fucking problem solved on Wednesday, but I'm not going to let this stop me."

Julie Fredrickson AKA Almost Girl was also there and had this to say about it. "a space elevator is clearly one of the first steps towards our future off this planet.

In fact, NASA and its funding is one of the few places where I find my libertarian mindset in a quandary. Individuals clearly cannot fund research, corporations taking control of space has some vivid problems, and rarely do people come together to fund purely exploratory ventures. Space, at this point, is a nonprofit world and it is generally governments with the resources and longevity to fund that which will not return a profit for decades if not centuries.

And today, with an audience of people held rapt, Michael Laine demonstrated today just how true this problem rings. And it broke my heart. During the panel [on] Infosnacking and Infobingeing: A Guide to Being Well-Informed, a composed but clearly emotional Mr. Laine began to wax poetic about network effects and the blogosphere. He talked about information flow and the power of many people coming together to discuss and influence topics.

The blogosphere has been good to Lifport, bringing to light their smaller victories. Blogs have helped keep the spirit alive even as progress is slow and the victories are hard won in this type of work. Networks of people have in some sense replaced the support of governments and big money. And that support has allowed Michael and his team of merry twentysomethings to forge on.

But today, roughly two hours before the panel, an obstacle was placed in Michael and Liftport’s path. Zealot that he is, even his belief and passion could not hold against this reality of finance. They lost their office space. The money ran out. And on Monday they will announce this fact.

I almost cried in sympathy as Michael described how this would impact not only Liftport but his personal life. He had no home, no place for his animals, no job, no source of income, and no place for his staff. A three million dollar building that held the hopes and dreams of more than just a few space crazies was taken away from a project that for better or worse is attempting to bring about a future I was weaned on. And a future I don’t often get to remember in a day to day way and now perhaps will not see even in dreams anymore"

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