At 03:01 PM 2/21/2011, Joshua Cude wrote:

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <<>> wrote:
At 10:33 AM 2/21/2011, Joshua Cude wrote:

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 8:49 AM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <<>> wrote:

So I'm going to ask, as to cold fusion in general, "what has been promised" and what do promises have to do with science?

A new energy source has been promised.

By whom?

Maybe you're new to the field.

Well, not exactly. In 1989, I bought $10,000 worth of palladium, as a palladium account at Credit Suisse. That was a low-risk way to make a modest investment, in case this thing turned out to be real. Palladium is a precious metal, this was not a high-risk investment. If I'd been a little faster, I'd have made a little money, maybe 10% or 20% As it is, I broke even. The price went up and then went down.

I concluded, with everyone else, that it had been a bust. And there the matter stood until the beginning of 2009, when I had independent reason to investigate. I bought all the books, including the ones by skeptics like Taubes and Huizenta, Close and Park, etc.

Compared to your average bear, no, not new to the field. By now, intimately familiar with it. I was credited in the 2010 review by Ed Storms in Naturwissenschaften. Have you read that?

Promises have been made by Pons & Fleischmann first in 1989 (just watch their interviews on youtube, where they claim it is the ideal energy source: clean and unlimited and simple) and then by just about every cold fusion advocate since, including McKubre on 60 minutes promising cars that don't need refueling, Rothwell's entire book of promises, and promises from shady characters like Dardik and Rossi. There are endless promises every time the topic arises.

Pons and Fleischmann made no such promise. They noted the potential, *if* this could be developed. Fleischmann wrote that it would take a Manhattan-scale project. This is not an easy problem. Unlike the original Manahattan project, there is no explanatory theory, making engineering extremely difficult. And that has nothing to do with the science. It certainly has nothing to do with whether or not there is measurable excess heat, since we can measure heat in milliwatts and the experiments often generate heat in the 5 or 10 watt range, sometimes much more. Sometimes the heat generated is well in excess of all energy put in to electrolyse the deuterium. In gas-loading experiments, there is no input energy, beyond the natural heat of formation of palladium deuteride. I.e., we definitely get excess heat, over input energy, with gas-loading, but this is still small, overall, and it's difficult to scale. This is where a lot of current work has gone.

And, I'll ask again, "What to promises [and speculations] have to do with science?"

I'm not sure what you're getting at. Many scientific breakthroughs and inventions are associated with the promise of benefits to mankind. Insulin promised to save the lives of diabetics, and delivered; high temp superconductors promised cheaper magnets, but have not delivered (yet). Cold fusion promised abundant, clean energy, and has not delivered.

Sure. But, again, that has nothing to do with the science. Phenomena have been discovered and accepted, sometimes, for a century before appplications became possible. Quite simply, that an effect is commercializable -- or not -- could affect decisions about research funding, for sure, but it has nothing to do with whether it is real or not. Agree?

Cold fusion is a natural phenomenon, it promises nothing unless a way can be found to make it happen reliably and with sufficient return on energy input to cover losses.

Well, yes, but there are many claims of reliability (100%) with huge returns (10, 20, even hundreds), but still no delivery on the promise.

There is a single, easily-describable, repeatable experiment. It has nothing to do with huge returns, which are, themselves, anomalous, i.e., generally not repeatable. It is pure science, i.e., it establishes that there is an effect, excess heat correlated with helium. You do, I hope, understand that correlation can establish this kind of thing even if the effect itself is quite unreliable. Right?

Muon-catalyzed fusion, when discovered, was first thought to be a possible energy source. That remains as a possibility, but, the problem was, nobody knows how to make muons and keep them active long enough to recover the energy cost.

Muon-catalyzed fusion was discovered by the associated radiation (neutrons). Cold fusion was claimed on the basis of excess energy. That's a big difference. If you start with excess energy, then there's no need to find a way to get excess energy.

No, muon-catalyzed fusion was predicted first, before it was confirmed. Yes, it was then confirmed through neutrons, I understand. Cold fusion was not predicted and was not claimed on the basis of energy alone. That's a myth of the history. What was actually claimed was an "unknown nuclear reaction." Yes, unknown nuclear reaction was claimed on the basis of the energy *density.* These were chemists. The alternate explanations would be chemical, and these people, experts in their field, actually among the world's foremost experts said, "This is not chemistry." So ... what is it?

I agree, excess energy, even with very high density, doesn't prove "nuclear reaction." Maybe it's zero-point energy, or something else totally unknown or unexpected. Maybe it's a new kind of battery, combined with some new energy source, say something that traps cosmic ray muons and keeps them bouncing for much longer. Maybe, maybe, maybe, but ... what do we actually know?

I think you believe that nothing new has been discovered since 1989 in this field. That's not true at all. First of all, in 1989, nobody knew what the ash was. If there is a reaction producing energy, there must be an ash, something left. Preparata predicted that the ash would be found to be helium, from his own theories (about which I know little). Fleischmann reported helium, but the report was not solid. Bush and Lagowski reported helium, but the level was low and the experimental series not adequate to be so convincing. Then Miles ran his series and found helium correlated, very clearly and strongly, with excess heat. Huizenga recognized the importance of this in the second edition of "Cold fusion, scientific fiasco of the century." But Huizenga expect that "like many other results in cold fusion," it would not be confirmed. He believed that, he wrote, because there were no gamma rays. If there is d-d fusion to helium, if somehow the natural branching is changed, there would still be gamma rays, for very strong reasons.

But, of course, Huizenga was making an assumption: that if there was a nuclear reaction, it would be d-d fusion, if helium is being produced. But there is at least one other pathway that would not produce gammas. It was proposed in the mid 1990s, if I'm correct. Multibody fusion, four deuterons, to Be-8, would then produce, by rapid decay, two alpha particles, no gamma. The same energy as d-d fusion. However, there are some reasons to think this is not the reaction. My point is only that by limiting the possibilities to one reaction, Huizenga and others fooled themselves into believing that it was impossible.

We don't need a theory of mechanism to know that there is some kind of nuclear reaction taking place, but this is important: the evidence is very strong that the primary reaction is something that starts with deuterium and ends up with helium, with no radiation and no other products, except at very low levels. There are *secondary reactions or minor branches* that result in tritium, transmutations, and even a few neutrons, but these vary greatly in rate from experiment to experiment. The constant, the known clear and consistent correlation with excess heat is helium, at the right value, within experimental error, for deuterium fusion.

And this is now the true mainstream, i.e., what is being published under peer review by experts. There are still lots of particle physicists and other scientists who thing this is impossible, after all, who asked them? Garwin said, to CBS, "they say that excess heat is proven beyond doubt, but I doubt." Well, in fact, what has been said is "beyond reasonable doubt," and Garwin has not actually advanced any explanation for the excess heat beyond "they must be making some mistake." Given the full body of evidence, the doubt is no longer reasonable. People who won't look at the evidence -- why should they bother their heads with all this complication? -- imagine that what they believe is solid and is the scientific consensus, but, weird, isn't it, that point of view just isn't making it past the peer reviewers any more. Wonder why that is?

Six years. 19 positive reviews of the field have appeared in mainstream peer-reviewed journals and academic publications, per the Britz database. Not one negative review. And I know that there have been submissions. So what happened?

Preponderance of evidence finally caught up with the skepticism. There was enough known by the mid 1990s to make a decision, if the proper process had been followed. It certainly would have taken more than the one-day meeting that was half the 2004 DoE review. But we really should learn some lessons from this "scientific fiasco of the century."

And... "convinced of what"?

Convinced that nuclear reactions in cold fusion experiments have produced measurable heat.

Thanks. Now, may I assume that you are not ignorant of the literature?

There are two questions here: the first is "measurable heat."

Actually, I could have made that more restrictive. I am not convinced that cold fusion experiments have produced excess heat, where by excess heat, I mean heat not associated with electrical or chemical inputs; so that no indication of a potential power source is demonstrated.

Gas-loaded nanoparticle palladium. There is a chemical "input" but it is quite limited, it's the heat of formation of palladium deuteride.

However, are you claiming that electrochemists are unable to measure the chemical "inputs" in those experiments? Are you aware of the controls, that show that the calorimetry is accurate? Are you aware that, in P-F class experiments, the excess heat is a chimera that is frequently absent, i.e., the very same experiment, often the same experimental run, under what would seem to be identical conditions, will produce zero heat -- flat calorimetry -- at one time, then quite significant heat, at another? I assume you would understand that this means that most prosaic sources of heat are ruled out?

Would you like to look at some specific experiments? Your view is certainly common. Are you aware that a hypothesis that the heat is "something prosaic" -- but unidentified -- is not falsifiable? It's fine to think there is an unexplained mystery, to a point.

Are you aware that you are asking for something that could well be impossible, even if cold fusion is quite real? I.e., "no indication of a potential power source." Again, we would need to look at specific experiments.

There are potential power sources in CF experiments: there is stored deuterium, which can be combusted. There is, of course, in Pons-Fleischmann type experiments, input electrical power, readily measured and known. But these are quantifiable. If all the "potential power sources" are quantified, and if they are measured as to their effects -- i.e, combustion produces deuterium oxide, for example -- if all the heat flows are examined, and most of the time, same experiment, all the flow in and all the flow out match, zero excess heat, then, in the middle of this, a big gob of excess heat appears, we can say that this is not coming from any of the known and identified power sources, they have already been considered and known to be in balance. It's an "anomaly." That's "excess heat" in most of the early types of cold fusion experiments.

Something else happened. And, when examined quantitatively, the energy produced was greater, for that period, in some cases, than any known chemical storage mechanism could have produced. Sometimes the energy produced is greater than all the possible chemical and other sources in the experiment. Except, of course, for a nuclear possibility. Maybe hydrinos, eh?

We have a huge number of experiments, some being repeated series of identical experiments, showing "measurable heat." To be clear, this means, for most experiments, heat that is not expected from known prosaic processes, also called "anomalous heat."

Anomalous heat is heat of unknown origin, by definition. Is there such heat?

I don't believe there is. Obviously, the temperature readings are not completely understood by the experimenters, so there is something unknown, but evidence for excess heat is not compelling.

You are aware, I assume, that there is a lot more going on here than "temperature readings." There are controls and calibrations; often the calorimetry is periodically verified by dumping heat in with a resistor. There are platinum cathode controls, which would produce the same bubbling and input power error, if there were one. There are hydrogen controls, which typically produce either no measureable excess heat, or excess heat at far lower levels than deuterium. (Some think this may be from the normal deuterium content in light water, others think that there are rarer reactions that might involve hydrogen). There are, more importantly even, "dead cell" controls, which are CF cells that *for unknown reasons* do not produce excess heat.

And those dead cells also don't produce helium.

The second part of the question concerns the origin of the heat, whether the origin is nuclear or not. May we agree that anomalous heat, by itself, does not prove "nuclear."

Well if excess means not chemical, and not electrical, there are not very many other options available; it's not likely to be gravitational.

"Excess heat" does not mean "not chemical and not electrical," as such. It means "not attributed to those inputs, and not attributable according to the experimental data, controls, etc.

Excess heat is an experimental result. If it is the result of an artifact, it should be possible to identify the artifact. One neo-pseudo-skeptic think's he's found two of these: misting and unaccounted-for AC noise. I'm not going to go into why he's deluded, but the fact is that, with either of these explanations, finding and demonstrating the artifact would have been trivial. It's not that these were never thought of, Morrison came up with the same two possibilities in about 1993. For example, the AC noise issue, it would have taken a few minutes with an oscilloscope to identify significant current noise, which is the issue. (CF researchers commonly use a constant-current power supply, and assume that the bubble noise does not cause the current to significantly deviate from the set current. Was that assumption false? I've told this newbie that the researchers have confirmed their input power estimations with high-speed data acquisition, with high-bandwidth wattmeters, and with calorimetry itself (which is a method of measuring power), and since all the results were the same, they settled on what was simple: set current times average voltage. One researcher provided me with some raw charting, LabView, as reported over the GPIB from the power supply. Very simple, and quite accurate enough for purpose.

This is the point, Joshua: There are hundreds of researchers who have reported significant anomalous heat from palladium deuteride. Now, is this sampling bias? Is it only that positive results are reported and negative results are suppressed? No. Some work reports all attempts, such as the SRI work done under contract with EPRI in the 1990s. Miles reported, in his heat-helium series, the excess heat results and the "dead cells."

My question to you is, it seems that you believe there is no excess heat. From what does this belief stem?

Most likely, if you are reasonable, you think that there is something that appears to be excess heat, fooling the researchers. But, "something" is not a scientific explanation. If there is something fooling this many researchers, it should be possible to figure out what it is. Lots of people have tried, you know. However, did they try hard enough?

Cold fusion is often classed with N-rays and polywater, but in each of those examples, the artifact was rather quickly found, once there were enough people looking and running controlled experiments.

Was the artifact ever identified with cold fusion, Joshua? You seem to believe that there must be one. But what does the preponderance of the evidence show at this time? How would you judge?

And how can you explain the helium correlation, that magically happens to appear at the right value for fusion? (Huizenga was amazed that it was within an order of magnitude of that value, Miles' helium measurements were relatively crude compared to what was done later.)

But if we cannot agree that there is anomalous heat, surely we will be unable to agree on "nuclear."


Good. Do you know that you stand head and shoulders above a lot of skeptics because of that single word?

That's why the 2004 U.S. DoE review panel, 18 experts, was evenly divided on the question of excess heat, half the reviewers thinking that the evidence for it was "conclusive," but only one-third considered the evidence for nuclear origin to be "convincing or somewhat convincing."

"[The] reviewers were split approximately split approximately evenly" between "1) evidence for excess power is compelling, to 2) there is no convincing evidence..."

"Compelling" is not "conclusive", and if you read the individual reports, that sentence from the summary is favorable to cold fusion. By my reading, only 6 or 7 of the reviewers really take excess heat at all seriously, and only one finds it conclusive.

Aha! Some experience here. You are inspiring me to do a detailed analysis of the 18 reports on Wikiversity.

Your analysis might be consistent with the bureaucrat's summary, if it was sloppy.

I already know that the bureaucrat completely goofed on reporting the helium issue. And the bureacrat based his report on one of the reviewers making an error as well. The two errors were compounded in the report. Have you noticed that?

And, of course, the helium evidence answers much of the skeptical argument.

But whatever, at least half found the evidence lacking.

I'll look at the details again.

And those who found it at least somewhat compelling, not a single one was compelled enough to recommend special funding for the field. That would be criminal if they thought there was even a slight chance of solving the world's energy problems. So there is no way you can say the evidence is overwhelming, based on the DOE panel.

No. See, this is a conclusion from your opinion about practical application. My own opinion is that the field is not ready for a massive special program. The problem is that we don't know what's happening! We could easily throw endless amounts of money at this, and end up with nothing. Even if it's real. First of all, given that half the panel found the "evidence lacking," to use your language, just as a political matter, a massive program would be inadvisable. But the problem is that engineering an effect when you don't know what it is, is very difficult! The researchers in the field agree on this, that what is needed is theoretical investigation, to find which of the many theories is correct, or, if none of them are, to identify the mechanism. We are not ready for a "Manhattan project" for cold fusion.

First of all, I do not say that the evidence is overwhelming "from the DoE panel." Definitely not! What I say from that panel is that there is not, as many pretend, a solid scientific consensus that cold fusion is bogus. The panel came down in the middle, not on one end. Given the long-term political context, one day is not nearly enough to explore the field, to understand enough of the evidence to reverse twenty years of often strongly-held opinion.

That the report could be blatantly incorrect about helium, that this escaped notice, is telling.

The "proposers" were reported as claiming:
2. "The production of 4He as an ash associated with this excess heat, in amounts commensurate with a
reaction mechanism consistent with D+D .. 4He + 23.8 MeV (heat)".

Okay, what evidence was presented? One of the things that I notice about the Hagelstein paper is that the helium evidence was not *effectively presented*. I found the coverage in Storms (2007) much more direct and clear. Then the Appendix presented some work with Case cells, in a way that was difficult to understand. I don't wonder that a reviewer got it wrong. To really understand what was going on there, I had to read some other work by Hagelstein.

This is what the summarizer said:

Results reported in the review
document purported to show that 4He was detected in five out of sixteen cases where electrolytic cells
were reported to be producing excess heat.

This is a drastic misrepresentation of the Case cell report. If these were the real results, then anticorrelation would have been shown, not correlation.

1. These were not elecrolytic cells, they were gas-loaded Case cells.
2. There were sixteen cells. Eight were hydrogen controls, which showed neither excess heat nor helium.
3. Definitely there were not sixteen cells producing excess heat.
4. Heat data is given only for one cell, with data showing the temporal correlation. 5. Helium data is given for six cells (including the one mentioned above). Of those five show some helium, one of which shows very little, one shows a slow rise, slowly accelerating but not reaching ambient, leaving three cells which show accelerating rise that passes ambient. This is not the behavior of leakage, which would exponentially slow as it approaches ambient.

From other experimental work, it's likely that three cells showed significant excess heat, one showed less significant excess heat, maybe a small amount from one other cell. But I've been unable to find a confirmation of that.

That data was presented in such a way that makes it quite difficult to interpret the report. I don't know why they did this, but obviously writing polemic, text intended to convince, was not their strong suit. These are researchers, accustomed to very modest writing, academic style, and not trained in what might have been needed to punch through the noise. They had a purpose to presenting the Case results, but didn't make it clear.

Have you read the recent Storms review? It covers the heat/helium evidence well. I assume you know that *there is no contrary experimental evidence." I've seen claims that Storms has cherry-picked only positive results. I don't think so. I'm not aware of any published work that measured both helium and heat and found no correlation.

Right? So, first question, is there anomalous heat?

Given that there are massive reports of it, widely published, from hundreds of research groups, 153 reports in mainstream journals as of 2009, there is only one sane way for you to deny it, as least as far as I can imagine.

That would be to claim that you know the origin of this heat, or at least that someone does. Otherwise it's still an anomaly. Right?

I think they are all mistaken.


The existence of excess heat is an interpretation, not a direct observation, and I think their interpretations are wrong. If there were convincing evidence for excess heat, there'd be no need to count the reports. The need to count is a sign of weak evidence. When someone does an experiment that proves excess heat, and anyone in the world (skilled in the art...) can repeat it with the same result, then you will stop counting marginal results.

We count the reports because people claim that nobody was able to replicate.

You are asking for a "reliable" phenomenon. The phenomenon, at least in the P-F form, is not "reliable" in that way.

But this is reliable: run a number of P-F experiments and measure helium and heat. Use the state of the art to develop some significant success rate. (Lots of groups are now reporting excess heat from almost all cells. It takes special palladium, basically. Or possibly you can use codeposition, a different approach.)

Compare the heat with the helium.

Lots of people have done this. They all report that if there is no heat, there is no helium, and if there is heat, there is helium (almost always, there are a couple of anomalous cells reported, with heat and no helium. And there are other possible explanations for that.... Storms reports that for those three cells (out of 33 total), this is Miles' work, one "probably" had a calorimetry error, and the other two were a different cathode material than all the other cells....)

(there may be more than one nuclear reaction!)

And like most of the scientific community, I feel no need to try to understand how or why they have gone wrong.

That's fine. But if you don't you have not demonstrated artifact. You are simply assuming one. Why?

It's much too late for that. My attitude is simply that if they were right, it would be easy to demonstrate in an unambiguous way, and I'm happy to wait for the demo.

Yes, I can understand. However, cold fusion, itself, has been demonstrated, and quite well, by the correlation with helium. That doesn't make it into the kind of demonstration that you presumably want. But, guess what? Science doesn't come packaged like that.

They are claiming energy density a million times that of chemical! If the experiment can't power itself, don't waste my time. As Rothwell says, show me an isolated beaker with a half liter of water palpably warmer than the surroundings for an indefinite duration, and then call Bob Park. Not before.

First of all, "waste your time." What do you want to spend your time on? I'm interested in the science, as were Pons and Fleischmann. They were not searching for a new power source, they expected, in fact, to find nothing. If you want to know that this could be your hot water heater in a few years, then, I'd say, don't waste your time. I have no clue that this will happen. Unless Rossi turns out to be real, and I'm placing no bets on Rossi.

We already know how to set up that beaker of water, I suspect, but nobody is trying to do it because, sorry, it will not be impressive and it will be very expensive. Why bother? To prove something to you? There is a problem with the palladium approach, palladium is a precious metal. Using the Arata approach, my guess is that a hot water heater could be built that might run for a few months. For about $100,000 worth of palladium. At the end of the few months, it would be necessary to reprocess the palladium, because, it seems, the reaction chews up the stuff, demolishing the areas that are nuclear-active, so it eventually stops working.

Now, this is really weird, I think. Hot fusion hasn't produced a watt of power, but billions have been spent. On the other hand, we do understand the theory behind hot fusion. Your practical argument is being selectively applied!

To me, the science is important, and having practical application is important for making social decisions, only so much money can and should be poured into pure research. Cold fusion is definitely worth that level of funding because, as you have noted, it would be criminal not to check it out.

It's much like a magician. I may not understand how he does his tricks, but I know that if he could really perform magic, he wouldn't be wasting his time doing two-bit shows pulling rabbits out of hats, he'd conjure up an island in the South Pacific, with a harem to wait on his every need.

Sure. That's a magician. However, cold fusion researchers are not magicians, and the legitimate ones don't claim to be able to generate lots of power. In fact, many of them aren't concerned with power at all, they are investigating things like transmutation (hey, we can turn gold into lead!) and radiation and, more to the point, techniques for enhancing the effect, most of the work I'm aware of lately is with gas-loading, new approaches that investigate the role of oxides, which seem signficant.

I suggest backing up. You dismiss claims of excess heat. You have not stated why. Do you have a problem with mysteries?

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