At 05:46 AM 2/22/2011, Joshua Cude wrote:
On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
Excess heat is an experimental result.
Excess heat is an interpretation of experimental results.
Sure. So are all experimental results that aren't just dumps of raw data.
If it is the result of an artifact, it should be possible to
identify the artifact.
Maybe, but it takes time and effort. Time and effort that skeptics
are not inclined to commit because they do not find the results
Great. But "skeptics" will devote great time and effort to ridiculing
others who do spend time actually performing those experiments,
trying to ensure that work is not published, that journals which
publish the work are attacked, attempts being made to get editors
fired, getting a patent examiner fired because he organized an
alternative energy conference, and filling the internet with
obviously bogus theories that radically contradict experimental
evidence, all the while claiming that it's the others who are guilty
of Bad Science.
Don't find results compelling, fine! Then ignore them!
If the result is not an artifact, the thinking goes, a better
experiment should be possible.
It is always possible to design a better experiment. Joshua, look at
P13/P14 from McKubre's work. The chart shown on p. 2 of the
Hagelstein review paper is from that. Notice on the abscissa of that
chart the scale in hours. And then realize how much time it takes to
run work like that. And then sit back and suggest "better
experiments" to the people who are actually running them. McKubre was
not working for you, he was working for the Electric Power Research
Institute, and he did his job. Convincing you was not part of his
job. It still is not part of his job.
This is the point, Joshua: There are hundreds of researchers who
have reported significant anomalous heat from palladium deuteride.
The large number is actually disturbing.
Right. CF researchers can't win. If there are just a few experiments,
they are cherry-picked and just a handful of fanatics. If there are
hundreds, well, obviously this is poor work.
So many experiments, and they never get better. They can't come up
with one that captures the attention of mainstream.
Perhaps there is no "mainstream" with a brain. People are people,
they mostly act like ... people. Once they have made up their mind
about something, they tend to not look back. That's the norm, Joshua.
And scientists are ... people. Only a few are willing to set aside
their "prior work" and look anew.
You have not disclosed anything about yourself. What's your history
with this topic?
They can't make an isolated device that generates heat. In fact,
consistent with other pathological science, the size of the effect
(with the exception of the dubious Rossi device) has become smaller
over the years. Science doesn't work that way. Pathological science does.
This is simply not true, again. It's a common claim. This is the way
1. A characteristic of pathological science is that as measurement
accuracy is increased, results become less significant.
2. Cold fusion is pathological science.
3. It has happened that some cold fusion results disappeared when
errors were fixed and measurement accuracy was fixed.
4. Therefore "the size of the effect has become smaller over the years."
The effect I'm nost concerned about is heat/helium. That's been
measured over the years. The first results gave only a power of ten
for helium, the measurements were crude and difficult, because of the
presence of confounding D2, which has almost the same mass as He-4.
Those results gave helium within an order of magnitude of the value
expected for deuterium fusion as the source of excess heat.
This work has been repeated with increased accuracy. The result is
that the experimental value got closer to the 23.8 MeV figure
expected for deuterium fusion. There is no contrary experimental evidence.
Notice that this result does not depend on "reliability" of the
excess heat effect. It only requires that helium be measured in the
same experiments as excess energy. Notice, "excess energy," i.e.,
integrated excess power.
It's like hundreds of thousands of alien and ufo sightings, but
none quite good enough to be convincing. The better the
photography, the less convincing the image.
Great. However, what I've seen is the opposite. The better the
experimental techniques, the clearer the image. Deuterium fusion is
what I see in this camera.
My question to you is, it seems that you believe there is no excess
heat. From what does this belief stem?
You haven't been listening. From the absence of any progress. From
the inability to generate heat indefinitely from and isolated device.
But that's not relevant. Muon-catalyzed fusion is accepted as real
without any progress at all, along the lines you suggest.
It's accepted as real because of two reasons: it was predicted by
theory, and the neutrons were observed and correlated with muon flux
(I assume). Deuterium fusion in PdD is accepted as real, by those who
know the evidence, without being predicted by theory, because heat
and helium, two products, were observed and correlated.
If that is all that is behind your belief, you would reject much of
science, where things are discovered and reported and known and
accepted, without theory; theory comes later, and without theory,
often, it's difficult to do good engineering. If we are lucky with
something, effects can be and have been used without knowing how and
why. Indeed, about everything we do with people involves a lack of theory....
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?
Most people gave up trying a long time ago. Most no longer care what
the something is or what the many things are. They are satisfied
that if there is excess heat, someone will find a way to demonstrate
it conclusively, with an isolated device that generates heat indefinitely.
I don't understand, I'll say, what this has to do with understanding
the world, the project of science. It has to do with engineering.
Further, such a device, as described, would seem to violate the laws
of thermodynamics. I don't think it's possible. In theory, a CF
device might be able to run for a long time with little fuel, but not
"indefinitely." Further, there is a problem, and it's, in a way,
similar to the problem of hot fusion.
For hot fusion, the temperatures involved tend to destroy the
confinement that would make fusion possible. How do you contain stuff
that is so hot. Theoretically, magnetic confinement and the like, but
instabilities.... so far, no cigar, billions of dollars later.
With cold fusion, fusion taking place inside a lattice seems to take
place only at isolated sites, and the reaction, it appears, destroys
those sites. Material that works for CF stops working. Arata cells
seem to most closely satisfy Joshua's desire. Load a small pressure
cell with 7 grams of nanoparticle palladium or palladium in a matrix
of zirconium oxide. Evacuate and dry the cell and then load deuterium
gas into the cell. The cell temperature elevates, as it does with
hydrogen, from the heat of formation of palladium deuteride
(hydride). With hydrogen, however, the cell temperature returns to
ambient within an hour -- this is an insulated cell, it loses heat
slowly. With deuterum, the cell temperature remains at 4 degrees C
above ambient, and at 3000 minutes, it's still sitting at that
temperature with no sign of decline. Steady heat.
No, try to quantify this from the experimental data that Arata gives,
to understand how much heat is really being generated.and you'll find
some imprortant information missing. I think the NRL has replicated
this work, though.
I don't find any way to explain the Arata results other than fusion.
Someone else may figure something out. I do know that substantial
research is going on that builds on the basic Arata effect, but not a
great deal has been published yet.
What does Joshua want? Someone to make a kilogram of nanoparticle
palladium and run this with it? That's about $30,000 worth of
palladium, plus what would be some very substantial processing costs.
This thing would, I strongly suspect, get pretty warm if you load it
with deuterium. And what would this show? *The same thing as smaller
If you are thinking, Joshua, that to be of interest, CF experiments
should demonstrate commercial viability, you should just go away,
immediately. That day may never come. Or it might, if ... this or
that happens. For sure, if everyone thought like you, it would not
happen. Someone has to take an interest in "anomalies," or we'd never
learn anything new, we'd never learn anything that conflicted with
But CF does not conflict with existing knowledge, it merely indicates
that there is something unknown. The conflict is with the private
interest of some physicists, employed in or affected by employment in
hot fusion research. I have no idea that Joshua has any affiliation
with these, and he is probably just one of those internet blow-hards
who get off on showing how stupid everyone else is..... I was hoping
for better. I was disappointed.
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.
Actually an artifact was not found for N-rays. Wood failed to
reproduce the results, and debunked them by sabotaging Blondlot's
experiment, effectively forcing a blinded experiment, and proving
cognitive bias. In spite of the debunking, Blondlot continued to be
convinced of N-rays for another 20 years.
The experiment that Wood arranged confirmed N-rays. I.e., the
observers reported them. Then the revelation of alternation
demonstrated that the "cognitive bias," which may or may not be an
accurate description. If you have spent much time looking at a
spinthariscope, with vision at the limits of dark adaptation, you
could understand that it can be hard to interpret the "noise."
In any case, there are also examples of marginal disciplines that
will likely never be accepted by science, and never be disproven to
the satisfaction of its adherents. Homeopathy and perpetual motion
are two examples. Not all fields are the same.
Perpetual motion has no consistent base at all, it is not a theory,
has no theoretical basis. Homeopathy is complicated, because of a
possible enhancement of the placebo effect, which may be far more
sophisticated than we ordinarily assume. More to the point might be astrology.
None of these are accepted for routine publication in mainstream
journals with anything remotely approaching the frequency of cold
fusion. None of them have objective evidence for them with anything
like that available for cold fusion. Joshua has been simply waving
away the evidence by claiming that there is none.
I've seen no willingness to seriously consider any of it. Therefore,
I conclude, he's just trolling.
When scientists do not believe an effect is present, they have no
motivation to waste their time trying to find other people's
mistakes. At least in the case of N-rays, the time required was
minimal. Wood complained he had wasted a whole morning on the
experiment, before he was enlisted to go to France for his famous
sabotage. You can't do CF in a morning, and sabotage is not as
simple in CF. A credible double-blind test in CF would be telling,
but it would require the cooperation of believers and skeptics,
something not likely to happen.
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?
Like N-rays, it may just be cognitive bias. The preponderance of
evidence, the absence of progress, the diminishing size of the
effect, suggest the absence of excess heat.
"The preponderance of evidenc" is an assertion that is not based on
any weighing of the evidence. Like "the diminishing size of the
effect," it's not true, it is not based on review of the literature.
The "absence of progress" is only defined with respect to an
artificial and nonscientific standard, and, my guess, when new
progress is demonstrated, Joshua will simply move the goalposts.
Remember a "cup of tea"? It became two cups.
The tea could be brewed with excess heat that is demonstrated. That's
actually an easy one. But would it prove anything to anyone? I doubt
it. So I wouldn't waste my time setting up that demo. Depending on
the technique, it might be pretty expensive.
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.)
I don't believe there is excess heat, and I don't believe there is a
correlation with helium. Miles measurements were relatively crude,
but judging by peer-review, they were the best so far. The only more
recent peer-reviewed results admit helium is not definitive.
Eh? That's entirely contrary to the Storms review, so .... prove it.
Miles was, in fact, about the crudest work done in this field, he's
important because he did what he could with what he had available,
and he ran a lot of cells, and he was first to establish the rough Q-value.
"The best so far" is other work, mostly work by McKubre.
"I don't believe there is a correlation with helium" is pure
assertion without basis in fact. It makes Joshua's "beliefs" into the
topic. Okay. I get it. Joshua does not believe, but it's obviously
more than that. He has beliefs. He believes that others are mistaken.
He believes that Cold fusion is not real. He believes.
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.
This all sounds like rationalization to me. You are afraid the
effect is not real,
Afraid? Why would I be afraid of an effect not being real? *I want to
know what it is.* If it's experimenter error, *I want to know that*.
If it's some new form of battery, *I want to know that.*
but by admitting that it may not be practical, you can cling to
the belief in the absence of a product.
But, then, why would I care? You think I get some joy out of
fabricating beliefs? Joshua, you are really out to lunch here.
I'm preparing some real experimental work in this field. I want to
see the results, *whatever they are.* The only failure, in my view,
in experimental science is to not report the results. Sure, one can
make errors in interpretation. But good reporting of results allows
all that to be sorted, later.
But I think that's nonsense. If there were an effect, history
indicates it can be exploited.
Sure. Usually. A century later, sometimes! Tell me, d-d fusion is an
effect, right? So, therefore, it can be exploited. Attempts have been
made to exploit it for about sixty years, and all that has been done
is to vaporize some atolls, demolish some old Navy ships, and fry
some Japanese fishermen. And heat up a huge pile of apparatus, with
massive inputs of electrical power. Where is the useful energy production?
And without understanding it. Heat is claimed. We know how to use
heat, regardless of its origin. If the claims were valid, there
would be a product.
I can, and will, make a product. I intend to sell the product,
assuming that the prototype works. If what's been published under
peer review is replicable, which it probably is, or I'd not be
attempting this, the product will work. But I won't be selling heat,
and heat will not be a part of the basic function of the product, and
heat may not even be observable. (I'll find that out, but it's not important.)
People like to make things, Joshua, and this device will make
something that isn't easy to make otherwise. At home.
So, I wonder, if this product works, if people have confirmed that it
works, would you be interested? With this thingie, for a mere $100,
you should be able to make a few neutrons and observe their effect.
Some people like to collect stamps, some people like to make a Tesla
coil and make some sparks. I had a Van de Graff generator as a kid,
so I could make 100 KV or so and see the effects. Great fun. Fun is a
product. Science is a product. Neutrons can be a product. Know any
other way to make some at home?
Just a few, mind you. Not enough to be worried about.
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.
One out of 18 considered the evidence for a nuclear effect conclusive.
Cool. First of all, I'm not really personally concerned with what a
room full of stuffed shirts thinks. I'm interested in how they looked
at the evidence, and I'm interested in scientific process, and, a
specialty, where that process breaks down.
One. One other found the evidence very compelling, but stopped
short of saying it was conclusive, emphasized by a conditional in
his summary (if correct). Five others found the evidence somewhere
between suggestive and compelling, but were rather explicit that it
was not conclusive. Eleven were clearly negative.
A hair-splitting analysis by someone who is clearly not objective
about this field. And still comfirming, in fact, the division of
opinion on the topic. Why was a panel so divided? I conclude that
there was lack of process for finding true consensus. There was not
systematic examination of the evidence, point by point. So in the
individual reports, we find preposterous claims, which have just as
much weight in the overall conclusion as ones based in evidence.
I'll go over this at Wikiversity.
No other mainstream field would get that sort of a negative response
as to its very legitimacy. In fact, I can't think of one in which
the legitimacy would not be unanimously endorsed by such a panel.
Cold fusion is not a "mainstream field" by all measures, for sure.
However, I do think that if such a panel were to meet today, with
better process, more like, say, the IPCC process that has reviewed
global warming, there would be consensus that cold fusion is a real
effect, and that it's fusion.
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.
Again, the complexity of the data -- that it should take more than a
day for experts to be convinced of heat -- is the problem. If the
evidence is that weak, after so much time, then it is probably bogus.
Storms has noted that there isn't a problem with lack of theory to
explain cold fusion, it is that there are too many theories. There is
strong evidence, but it is frequently buried in masses of details
that are difficult to grasp, and that are, in the end, unnecessary to
grasp. I've pointed to this with that chart of P13/P14. I don't see
that the importance of this experiment has been explained *anywhere,*
except possibly recently, by me.
For whatever reason, the CF researchers were unable to explain CF
well. Beaudette does a pretty good job, but also gets very bogged
down in piles of details. There is a *huge* volume of research, and
it's been all over the map, so with any particular avenue of
approach, there is only a little work, often.
And they had more than a day. Half the panel was given a month to
review the material. It is not clear how much time after the meeting
the reviewers were given to write their reports.
I need to read more on the panel and the process. I do know that the
researchers, at last some of them, were disappointed by the lack of
questions. And the reports show, clearly, that at least some of the
review paper was misunderstood, literally. Not just as to conclusion,
but as to reported fact.
Okay, what evidence was presented? One of the things that I notice
about the Hagelstein paper is that the helium evidence was not
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.
This was an important opportunity for the CF crowd, and they had
plenty of time to put the best case forward. Now you're telling me
that you, essentially an observer (with aspirations), could have
written a better report for the panel. What is that supposed to say?
That the entire CF community is too incompetent to represent their
field effectively to a panel that holds the purse strings? It does
not inspire confidence in their claims, that's for sure.
What I think is that only a segment of the CF community, with
connections, was represented. I also think that competence at
presenting polemic is an entirely different skill from competence at
doing experimental or theoretical research. You want to judge the
competence of a scientist by his or her competence as a salesperson?
You live in some strange world, Joshua, one not familiar to me.
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
Until the positive evidence at least passes peer review, a skeptic
does not need contrary evidence. The fact that the results are
controversial within the field indicates that not all is well with
What results are controversial "within the field." Are you referring
to Krivit? He's not "within the field." He is a personality with some
relationship to the field, and his views are fringe within the field.
He could not get his "criticisms" to pass peer review. He's avoided
them in what he's had published as a reporter, which is his supposed
I think they are all mistaken.
I've already said that I feel no need to understand where they have
gone wrong. If they are right, there should be simpler ways to prove it.
Because? Should the four-color map theorem be rejected because the
proof is complex? Sure, a simpler proof was desirable, which is why
people continued to search for it. But is that essential?
I get that this is your theme, Joshua. Your logic is this: if CF were
real, proof would be simple. Since no simple proof has appeared,
according to your judgment, CF must be, pending such simple proof,
presumed to be not real.
There are several obvious flaws here. Probably the biggest is that
simple proof *has* appeared, but you reject it, based on other
criteria. Essentially, you have a strong belief that "simple proof"
must be reliable excess heat, sustained indefinitely. That's an
artificial restriction that, applied analogously in other fields,
would rule out a whole lot of accepted science.
I conclude that you have a hidden motive, you have not disclosed,
that is driving the way you look at this.
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
A good experiment for sure. But since Miles in '93, no one has
published such results in peer-reviewed literature. It appears in
conference proceedings, or specialized CF publications, but not in
mainstream journals, except as references in reviews. The work
itself, as primary research, has not passed peer review.
That's simply incorrect. I gave, in a mail earlier today, a list of
authors and years of publication, cited by Storms (2010), from
mainstream peer-reviewed journals, if I recognized them correctly, on
heat/helium. Many of the sources cited by Storms on this were
post-93, and were published under peer review.
Further, for science, "published in mainstream peer-reviewed
journals" is not a primary criterion. A secondary source, published
under peer review, establishes the relevance of the work, assuming
careful peer review of the secondary source. Research papers report
from all kinds of sources, including private communications, etc.,
and reviews are no different.
In a previous mail you presented Storms as being desperate to prove
cold fusion. If he were so, surely he'd have made sure to focus on
what's been published under peer review, making a point of it. In
fact, because his interest is the science, not politics, he cited
whatever sources were relevant. A great deal of work, for example,
was done by Michael McKubre under contract with the EPRI. Is this
work to be ignored in a review of the field because it wasn't
published under peer review? The *reviewer*, in a review, decides
what sources are important to include.
The 1989 U.S. DoE review relied upon informal reports, private
communications with researchers. If people are concerned with
reality, with making decisions as to policy, they will consider
information from all sources, weighting it according to source, by
which is meant actual judgment of the probity of the source, not its
artificial classification by site of publication. Some peer reviewed
literature is lousy, and some conference papers, not peer reviewed at
all, are excellent.
That's fine. But if you don't, you have not demonstrated artifact.
You are simply assuming one. Why?
Because it is the nature of artifacts that the effect gets smaller
as the experiments improve, and it is the nature of a real
phenomenon that its effect gets clearer as the experiments improve.
Okay, the cold fusion phenomenon got clearer as experiments improved.
You are claiming the reverse. Can you back that up with sources?
In cold fusion, as the experiments improve, the effect gets smaller.
And as the experiment gets worse, as in the Rossi demo, the effect
Rossi isn't presenting us with a valid experimental report. He's run,
apparently, a series of demonstrations. From accounts, he didn't want
to do that, but was persuaded by a colleague. He just wants to make
the very kind of demonstration you've been demanding, if these
accounts are correct. Rossi has, however, nothing to do with ordinary
cold fusion research, except that he seems to have continued a line
of research involving NiH. This is a quite different effect from the
Fleischmann-Pons effect, and the only connection would be that,
historically, once FP cold fusion was demonstrated, people started
looking for similar stuff. And hit upon nickel hydride. This work has
nothing like the extensive corroboration of palladium deuteride cold
fusion. I don't know what the ash is, for example. I don't know if
this is real at all.
Because I know that LENR are possible, I'm not going to reject Rossi
out of hand, that's all. But there are lots of reasons to be highly
skeptical about Rossi's claims; on the other hand, some knowledgeable
people seem impressed, so .... I'm quite happy to wait for that 1 MW
reactor he's promising. Seems like a Bad Idea to me, and to a lot of
other people in the field. I hope he's not setting it up next door. I
don't plan to attend that demo. What if it works? What if it works a
little too well?
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.
Well, as I've argued, the helium results don't impress me (or
reviewers), and I do believe that an effect of the sort that has
been claimed would manifest in a package like that.
We should look specifically at how the 2004 DoE reviewers looked at
helium. I think there is a lot to see there. The second part of your
sentence seems incoherent.
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.
That sounds like revisionism to me. They spent 5 years looking for
No, they found massive excess heat about four years before 1989, and
that's documented, there are eyewitness accounts of the meltdown
aftermath. What I'm seeing here, Joshua, is massive projection, your
own world-view being imagined as manifest in Pons and Fleischmann.
Fleischmann is reporting what his long-term focus had been, from well
before 1985. There is no reason to doubt his account, and that you do
so speaks volumes about you.
They then spent the next four years, first, scaling down for safety,
then trying to make the effect reliable. They were not ready to
publish. Events overtook them, particulary Jones finding out about
their work through a grant application.
I seriously doubt they were only interested in the science, or
that they expected to find nothing. That scenario certainly doesn't
come across in their early papers or in their early interviews.
They sounded more like prescient sages who discovered what arrogant
No, they looked for what nobody had looked for. That's clear. The
theory was that the approximations of 2-body quantum mechanics were
adequate because the vast interatomic distances meant that it wasn't
necessary to consider more than two bodies at a time. That simplified
-- greatly -- the math. A consequence of this approach was that
fusion in a solid would be analyzed the same as fusion in a plasma.
Fleischmann claims that he was checking this assumption, he suspected
that there might be some meaurable difference, and he knew that there
would be a difference (that's practically inevitable), but expected
the difference would probably be below his ability to measure. I see
no reason to doubt this account, it is reasonable, and for him to
invest resources in a search for cheap energy, working alone like
that (with Pons) doesn't particularly make sense. After all, he knew
the theory, he knew that fusion was really unlikely!
Lots of people had made palladium deuteride, it was a common material
to use for various experiments. People didn't expect it to explode or
make a lot of heat. But had they actually measured heat? It turns out
that Mizuno had, before Fleischmann's announcement, observed strange
heat from palladium deuteride, but shrugged it off as one of those
things that happen and that are never explained.
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?
To prove something to Bob Park, and the DOE. To get the field
funded. That's a common complaint in the field: that it is starved
of funding. Rothwell claims 300M is needed to develop a prototype.
And the ability to rub a convincing demonstration in Robert Park's
face would bring almost as much pleasure to some advocates, it
seems, as saving the world.
Why Robert Park? And, Joshua, it could take that $300 million to
create the demonstration that would cause Park to pass out. Isn't all
this a bit backwards?
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.
Well screw the water heater. Just an isolated beaker. If that works,
the DOE will give you 100M to build a water heater, and money to
anyone else who wants to solve the problems of reprocessing the Pd.
How in the world do I create a demonstration in an "isolated beaker"?
The most reliable method is gas-loading of palladium deuteride.
Hydrogen poisons the reaction, apparently. Could I take a bunch of
CO2 cartridges, fill them with PdD and seal them, and drop them in
the beaker? Would that satisfy you? How warm would the beaker have to
get, and for how long?
(I've thought of this as a real product, a cold fusion handwarmer.
Obviously a novelty item. Expensive. But you'd be able to feel it
stay warm. The question is for how long. Low levels of heat for a
long time require a lot of energy. The big problem is that the
reaction seems to destroy the functional reaction sites. It's
apparently a surface effect, so the key is to make a lot of surface,
that's why nanoparticles are being used. But the particles can stick
together, reducing the surface. Nevertheless, I've my eye on gas
loading research, looking for a small opportunity. I have no idea at
what price point a novelty handwarmer cold fusion demonstration would
sell. The materials are very expensive. When the reaction takes
place, the particles start to stick to each other more, clumping up,
reducing reaction sites, it seems. The palladium is not used up, but
that's only a part of the cost, making the nanoparticles isn't cheap.
Making Joshua's beaker is not easy, at all, not if substantial heat
is required. For the science, *any heat that can be measured and
shown to be from non-chemical origin is adequate,* and measuring the
ash finesses all the debate about calorimetry. So someone buys the
Ajax CF Handwarmer, included in the price is that they can return the
thing after it cools down and get a helium analysis of the contents.
Thus certifying that they made, with nuclear fusion, so much helium
in their pocket. They can put it on the wall, the certificate..... Do
you think I will be filthy rich from this idea? No? Spoilsport! I
want to do it anyway, because I consider this Fun. Like Neutrons in
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!
First, I have not expressed an opinion about hot fusion, so you are
You seem to have appeared, lotus born, sometime in January, with
criticism of Rossi. But you have more knowledge than would ordinarily
be expected from someone not familiar with cold fusion before that,
unless you really did a crash course. Your knowledge is superficial
in some respects, assuming that you are writing what you believe,
you've taken some short-cuts.
I have not guessed what your opinion is about hot fusion. Hot fusion
is simply an example of something accepted that has proven to be, so
far, utterly impractical, and that might remain so. The engineering
problems are horrific.
Second, I'm not making a practical argument. The palpably warm
beaker is not practical. I'm asking for an experiment that proves
convincingly that excess heat is produced.
Been done. Look it can take months to run one of these experiments,
and they *aren't* reliable, not the ones that produce serious heat.
If you want "convincingly to this armchair skeptic who won't lift a
finger and who won't examine all the evidence," you aren't going to
find it. And I'd be wasting my time to try to change your mind, which
is clearly made up. You are demanding that science conform to your
personal desires. It might drop some response on you, but, more
likely, by the time that happens, it will all have become irrelevant.
I'm claiming that SRI/McKubre P13/P14, if you study the experimental
conditions and controls, if you accept the report as honest and not
fraudulent, and as being done by people *reasonably competent*, as
would be expected from SRI (I did some design work for SRI, by the
way, maybe twenty years ago, but it was something completely
different, I think), is quite adequate as proof of an excess heat
anomaly. There is a reason why they put that image on p. 2 of the
review document for the 2004 U.S. DoE. Problem is, they forgot to explain it!
I'm suspecting that the best people to explain cold fusion might not
be people that have been working on it for 20 years, because they
don't know the pathway from ignorance and skepticism to understanding
and acceptance. It would be like having an advanced mathematical
theorist teach kindergarten and first grade. There are a few who
could pull it off, but nost could not. They know too much.
I can imagine the researchers looking at Figure 1 and saying "why
can't these idiots see it? Look how obvious it is!" But it's only
obvious in context and in contrast to what happens when the effect
does *not* appear. With all the other conditions apparently the same.
What was the difference? I don't think anyone knows, but from
conversations I've had with the researchers, I suspect it has
something to do with an oxide layer that forms chaotically and under
poor control. That suspicion could suggest research approaches, since
it might be possible to detect an oxide layer on or near the surface.
I am exasperated by repeated CF experiments that go no where. If
there is excess heat, it should be possible to make an isolated
thing that generates heat. I'm asking for proof-of-principle.
What do you mean by "isolated thing" and why should it be possible?
In the case of hot fusion, the existence of fusion has been proved
convincingly by the neutrons. Proof of principle is there.
Engineering remains. I'm not convinced it's wise to fund the
engineering, but I don't question the science.
Nor do I. In the case of cold fusion, the evidence is definitely more
sparse than that for hot fusion (much more!), but it's well above the
level at which phenomena are routinely accepted. Long before
practical applications are found. The existence of fusion has been
proven convincingly by correlation of helium with heat. It's pretty
simple, really. Just set up highly loaded palladium deuteride, and
measure excess heat. Keep trying until you have a significant number
of excess heat results, which can take a few years unless you run a
lot of cells simultaneously. Report the total results for all cells.
That's a simple experiment conceptually. It's been done, by many
groups. There are no contrary reports. Heat and helium are
correlated. Get over it.
Frequently, in this, it is claimed that cold fusion excess heat
results are not found by some researchers because these are the ones
with more accurate calorimetry, or who are not making the "mistakes"
of cold fusion researchers. First of all, the most sensitive
calorimetry in the field is that done by Fleischmann. His particular
technique, if I'm correct, is about ten times as sensitive as the
norm. He was, in fact, depending on this for safety reasons,
initially he was quite worried about radiation, and since he could
detect a milliwatt of excess heat, he felt safe, he'd know to check
for radiation. Apparently he coulc not afford continuous monitoring.
Secondly, if the problem were do to a technique error by CF
researchers, it should have been easy to show. Just make the same
mistake! Then show that it's a mistake. Replication would include
making the *same mistakes.* If you do it differently, you haven't
truly replicated, you have performed a different experiment. Do it
the same even if it seems wrong! Do it the same until you get the
same results! *Then* you can fix "errors."
In my work, there are aspects to the Galileo protocol that I don't
like. It raises cost unnecessarily, it seems to me. But I'm sure not
starting with something "better." What if what seems unnecessary to
me is actually important? I *am*, for practical reasons, making some
changes. I'm using acrylic for electrode supports rather than HDPE.
Since the cell is made of acrylic, I *hope* this won't be a problem.
But it could be!
The first fission reactor produced less than a watt of power, but
was completely convincing because of the neutrons. Within a few
years, they needed the Columbia river to cool reactors designed to
Yeah. Joshua, I was studying nuclear power by 1955 or so. I thought
I'd become a nuclear physicist. Life brought changes, and I left the
sciences entirely, after more than two years at Cal Tech. I happened
to be there at exactly the right time, to gain certain experience,
then I did other stuff. For me, this is all a return, the end of a
great circle. My main interest isn't cold fusion, itself, but the
process by which people find consensus, and make collective
decisions. Cold fusion, then, is an example of communication failure.
For sure, two communities developed here, isolated from each other,
and unable to find consensus. I'm not sure I'm aware of any truly
similar example. For a time, a phony "scientific consensus" developed
on the role of fat in the diet, vs. obesity, cholesterol, heart
disease, and other "diseases of civilization," that's about the
closest I know; that one never was a true scientific consensus, but,
again, a political one, with real scientists being brushed aside as
impractical dreamers and ivory-tower theorists, and it really started
to fall apart sometime after the turn of the century. There is still
tremendous inertia, I frequently see dieticians give Really Bad
Advice, being what they were taught for their entire career.
That bad advice is costing lives, many. Because of communication failure.
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.
You missed the point. It's an analogy. Magicians claim magic, but
can only do their tricks under controlled conditions, with
prescribed props. Put a naked magician in a plain cell and give him
your hat, and he will not pull a rabbit out of it.
"Controlled conditions." The key to science, avoiding the "magic
tricks," is reproducibility. It's not the controlled conditions.
Magic depends on concealed controls. Science advances with understood
and explicit controls. A magician will never describe to you all the
props, allowing you to build them, unless you are an apprentice,
generally sworm to secrecy. Magic is about creating appearance.
Science is about observing reality and then making predictions that
can be verified.
Prediction: if you set up CF cells, Pons-Fleischmann type, and run
them to gain loading over 90%, and follow the other devices of the
art, you will see some excess heat, sometimes. A rabbit will appear
and jump out of your hat. If you measure helium, you will only see
helium when the rabbit jumps out. Rabbit helium farts? What?
Cold fusion experimenters claim excess heat, but can only
demonstrate it under controlled conditions, with prescribed props.
Ask for an isolated device that generates heat in excess of the
equivalent mass in chemical fuel, and they say, e.g. we could do it,
but it's too expensive...
Are you aware that you just acknowledged the reality of reproducible
excess heat? If the researcher publishes their work, the "controlled
conditions," and the "prescribed props," -- which might mean such and
such a batch of palladium rod, from this particular supplier -- and
this, done by another researcher, demonstrates excess heat, that
fully qualifies as independent replication.
If there is a "trick," one then gets to examine the "props," in
detail. Do you think the "trick" would remain secret? Why?
This makes clear that you have set up an artificial standard for demonstration.
As to the "too expensive" explanation, if you want to see heat in
excess of the equivalent mass of fuel, that is also easily done. But,
yes, it is expensive. The way I'd do it is to pick one of the
techniques that are known to occasionally produce such heat, and run
a lot of cells with that technique. SuperWave might be just the
ticket. You forgot something, I think. You want other people to spend
money to convince *you.* Why should they? Who are you, to deserve
them spending many thousands of dollars? It might take $100,000 to
make it very likely you'd see that obvious demonstration.
You know, if there is a chemical effect that generates, say, only 50%
of the heat possible, this effect would then leave tell-tale ash. If
you have chemistry capable of, say 10 MJ, and you see only 50% of
that as excess heat, you would then have chemistry capable of only 5
MJ. Half the material would be gone. If, instead, the material is
still there, you actually have 5 MJ of excess heat (unless you can
ascribe the 5 MJ to some other source, such as input power -- but
when they talk about 5 MJ of excess heat, they have already
substracted the input power.)
Your standard is completely artificial.
Look, there are agencies now funding cold fusion. Do you think they
are going to waste their money on such unnecessary demonstrations?
For whose benefit? Surely not the benefit of an armchair critic who
shows up, unknown and unidentified, and starts proclaiming to all and
sundry what supreme bogosity cold fusion is!
And who is unable to get any of this published by a peer-reviewed
journal. Who is fringe now?
You have ridiculed CF *for being published in mainstream journals as
reviews.* Fine. Surely, if there is something to your position, after
as many reviews have been published that are positive on cold fusion,
there would be some appropriateness for "Dr. Mainstream" to come off
his pedestal of self-admiration for a moment and write a review that
sets the matter straight. Surely, with his impeccable credentials and
flawless knowledge and reasoning, he could do a great job of it,
saving the world from wasting its time with all these deluded
fanatics! He might even be able to make some money.
I obtained a copy of the ACS LENR Sourcebook. It was selling at the
time on Amazon for $150. It went out of print for a short time. Yes,
it had sold out. Oxford University Press made money from cold fusion.
While it was sold out, some were selling copies for upwards of
$300.... I could have made money on cold fusion myself!
So, having published the definite review that finally nailed the
coffin shut on cold fusion, the intrepid Scientist could now write
the definitive book, telling the history of this total fiasco, from
start to finish, and, of course, his own modest tale of how he
realized that so many had been deluded, so, while he knew it was a
complete waste of time, he realized his duty to the public interest,
and read a few of the papers.
Just as you are waiting for the Magic demonstration, I'm waiting for
the Magic refutation, the response to Storms (2010), in a journal of
equivalent or better quality. Whom to you expect will publish it?