Saturday, June 2, 2012

My answer to Abd’s analysis and plan.

I apologize for the delay, due to my vision problems I cannot work with long threads in Gmail. But this analysis of Abd deserves a documented answer  at least for the main points. 

The "What if" can be useful if it leads to a better understanding of how to approach the situation today.

Exactly! History is of no interest and use if not reported to the present and future situations. See please the Cradle quotations.

First of all, we must understand the quite strong reasons for skepticism. We cannot blame anyone for being skeptical, then, or even now.

Very wise, unfortunately we cannot ignore the inner component of the problem there are inherent weaknesses of all the LENR systems and these are the causes of the bad reproducibility plus the low intensity and short duration. Reproducibility is first of all a practical problem; humans need certainty, technical systems are destroyed by uncertainty.
When judging LENR people seek with priority Energy not Truth.

With each passing year, the skeptical position becomes both weaker and stronger.

Yes, this is both paradoxical and sad.

Weaker is obvious: the balance of publication in peer-reviewed journals long ago flipped to positive. The core experiment demonstrating the reality of cold fusion beyond reasonable doubt is the heat/helium work of Dr. Miles, and this has been confirmed, and most thoroughly reviewed by Dr. Storms in "Status of cold fusion (2010)" (Naturwissenschaften.) That is a peer-reviewed review, and the abstract is quite clear on the probable reality of cold fusion.

I think this is a bit more complex; there does not exist motivation to write Cold Fusion killer papers, too many non-informed  scientists think it is already dead, was so from the start and will remain dead for a long time. I don’t know, dear Abd what do you think about Rossi and Defkalion (Brillouin is enigma for me) but they have done a lot for the publicity of LENR. And if the E-cat or the Hyperion will become commercial products, skepticism will
melt away. If!

So why does extreme skepticism persist? Well, first of all, what are the ways in which the skeptical position becomes stronger with time?
We cannot neglect the factor “time”- 24 years of development problems is interpreted as CF/LENR chronically ill, serious doubts re LENR became kind of a habit; from time to time when lacking subjects, the Press publishes something against LENR-as a bad example.
DOUBTS- can refer to the very existence of LENR as a phenomenon but also to its usability. And what’s the difference if the skeptics say “no, it is impossible according to the Laws of Nature and it was never observed, there were just bad measurements or other errors” or they say “something exists, appears quite rarely, cannot be scaled up and it is of no practical use”? Which one is better/worse?

Most of these ways are "logically defective." I'll note that, but it does not help us in "spreading the news" to call the extant arguments "logically defective." We need to either directly address them, with respect, or side-step them with something overwhelming.

You are right- the arguments are not based on correct logic, but how relevant is this in the practice? How will those people who think/say such things acknowledge their errors?

1. The absence of a practical application or readily-available reproducible demonstration that is not itself highly controversial, in spite of hundreds of groups around the world that have worked on CF. Logically defective.

…but understandable…they say it does not work, it cannot be demonstrated in the lab for 100% of the experiments from a good series.. then it is something rotten in LENR land, so they say.

2. The weakness of the heat/helium work. It is strong enough to be considered prima facie conclusive, we may say, but someone attached to the skeptical position will notice the weaknesses.

There is a very large spectrum of opinions in the field of LENR see please the 2005 Krivit Gluck Survey (on Krivit’s Website) Not for everybody the helium work (let’s include Arata there) is so central- the helium work is not so strongly visible. The correlations, I remember were good but not perfect. And the tests were not continued or repeated by an other team- they are quite difficult. So this work cannot serve as the Big Ace in the game with the skeptics.

3. The continued lack of a "plausible mechanism." We cannot even agree among ourselves as to the plausibility of any of the many proposed mechanisms. Logically defective.

Plausible mechanism, do you speak about a decent theoretical explanation, isn’t it? Perhaps an explanation that is not perfect or complete but logically consistent  and not contradicted by facts.
Theory…I think this is the Achilles Heel of LENR, with Paris’arrow already deeply penetrated in it. No existing theory is first quality i.e predictive- a guide or
source of inspiration for the experimentalist, the excess of theories is greater than the excess of energy, say the skeptics.
Hower two points are vital:

- a theory must explain first of all why the process works only sometimes – this is a persistent problem, this happens in 2012 too
- a theory must be…more theories, complete for more stages not only the Coulomb Barrier defloration- a good example is Piantelli’s Pontignano  Poster 2010 or the Defkalion’s formulation : “a dynamic system of the multi-stage set of reactions”.
I have asked in 1992- description of the topology, nature and mechanism of the reactions. LENR is very complex, cannot be described by a few equations. It is similar to a theory of photosynthesis or nitrogen fixation with nuclear stages.

Notice that the only not-logically-defective criticism is about something remediable through further work on heat/helium, which can have value all of its own.
I hope so but it will be difficult to find a to work with
heat-helium at very low levels of both.

For more than twenty years, much experimental work in the field seems to have been aimed at finding ways to improve the reliability of the effect, or its amplitude. While that is quite understandable, it is not what the *science* needed. Miles' work was so important because he moved around the "unreliability," to a study of a correlated result. In such a study, "unreliability," through "dead cells," becomes a control.

It will be a problem to find funding and support for “pure” science- and let’s say, the correlation heat-helium will be demonstrated but he unreliability remains, what then? The “customers” are interested in a working, intense, usable, upscalable, technlogizable process.

Further, many have attempted to invent mechanisms. Dr. Storms, most recently, has proposed a mechanism that seems logical and plausible to him, but that is tantamount, at the core, to proposing an entirely unknown phenomenon, I could call it "gradual nuclear fusion." That simply postpones the mechanism issue, though in a narrow and testable way. Some of Dr. Storms' ideas can be tested, and what leaps out at me is that some of the tests are things that involve experimental data that well may have already existed, *but that was not published.* It was considered useless, or even, in the context of the attempt to convince the general physics community, "negative."

See please what I have told about theory. What do you think about speculation?

An example would be the production of tritium which was not strongly correlated with excess heat. Miles apparently collected tritium data for his cells, but because it was not correlated with excess heat, because the levels were way too low, at least, to allow tritium to be a part of the main reaction, Miles did not publish the data. Levels of tritium are a clue to the mechanism, likewise neutrons, even though the levels were *extremely* low to non-existent. Data on H/D ratio in experimental cells is scanty, yet the ratio is known to have a strong effect on results.

Tritium makes the problem more complex- when, how, why it appears? How important it is?

What is missing from the experimental record is thorough study of the already-discovered effect. Each group, with few exceptions, invented its own specific approach, so results cannot be easily compared across various reports. There seems to have been no widespread recognition of the value of a method that, with persistence, produces results a substantial percentage of the time, that such a protocol is quite adequate for the kind of work that was needed.
The reproducibility, success rate is still low- one recent exemple Missouri Univ says 20%. I would say the situation is catastrophic but usually I abstain from using euphemisms- reality has to be confronted if not as we wish it.
Dr. Storms has pointed out how even the simplest and cheapest experimental techniques were often not used. For example, it would seem that a careful investigation would include radioautography of the cathode or other materials from the cells. And, of course, complete work would include radiography of *all cathodes* in a series. Is a radioautograph showing radiation from a used cathode correlated with excess heat? With helium? With other effects?

Unfortunately measurement or analysis, even so smart as radioautography of cathodes does not improve directly the functionality of LENR cells. May I give you a personal, medical example- I have hypertension; if I measure it each day or anytime I fell the Lady with the Scythe is looking after me, I get in  a state
of negative resonance or positive feedback and I focus on myself and not on so much interesting things- as LENR. Therefore I don’t measure my arterial tension…let’s be what will be.

Much work in the field represents little more than anecdotal evidence. That's great as a basis for further exploration, but it's lousy as a way of establishing a world-shaking effect. To be widely and readily convincing, in such a context, such an anecdotal effect must be wildly visible, not merely measurable.
Very true observation we have a great diversified databasis, a lot of solid good works, but also some of much lower quality, not only the results are not reliable but their interpretation too.
So, there are five ways to proceed, given the situation.

Your ideas are systematic and logical- a few questions first:

- you offer a strategy- who will be the strategist, the leader, coordinator of these plan(s), action(s)? 

- how much will it cost (if everything goes fine) and when will it
be ready? (consider please two variants a) Rossi, Defkalion, Brillouin, whatever successful LENR+ goes commercial; b)
LENR+ does not go commercial- fails;

- in which extent your strategy is incremental? Can it be made more fast and radical?
- to which experimental systems do refer your Plan: Classic Pd-D cell, nanometric powders, other systems?

1. Encourage and support experimentation to develop full analytical data for methods known to work. This can be done, there is nothing speculative about this approach. This is the kind of work that was recommended by both DoE LENR reviews. This is also not expensive work, and political support should be developed to make graduate student labor available again. Discrimination against graduate students who did good work on cold fusion, in the early days, was an *outrageous* abuse and imposition of a kind of orthodoxy inimical to science itself. That must not be tolerated. It will take bold professors and bold graduate students, interested in real science, to break this. Cold Fusion Now may be of great help.
Encouragement is fine when associated with funding and when those encouraged are motivated to do the work, are ready for both work and sacrifices and search to solve the problems. The great question here is “interested in real science” It is very difficult science, science with a so-and-so reputation and do not forget how scientists choose their subjects of work (My old essay in the preface of Hideo Kozima’s book – see please “Medawar Zone”
on Wikipedia. What attractive rewards can these studies offer?
Truth vs Value- cold fusion, LENR is considered a new source of energy not a source of  new knowledge.

2. Spread the news about what already exists with respect to cold fusion research. The experimental record is adequate to establish the reality of the effect by the preponderance of evidence. Most skeptical arguments have become mere assertions of some unlikely possibility without any experimental backing or confirmation. If cold fusion was a medicine, it would be approved and would be routinely prescribed. Cold Fusion Now, again, can help with this. However, I caution Ruby and CFN not to support *unsubtantiated* reports, merely because they know that LENR is possible. That LENR is possible does not mean that every report of LENR is valid. Further, reality of an effect does not equal commercial application, and an attempt to apply an effect commercially will run into major issues of reliability, and can fail for reasons not related to some underlying real effect. I understand that we are impatient to see a solution to the world's energy problems. But it was jumping the gun on this in 1989-1990 that led to widespread rejection and cynicism.

This is true, however the impact of the news regarding technology
are orders of magnitude greater than that of news regarding scientific advances, See Andrea Rossi- I still don’t know how you appreciate his contribution to the story. You are perfectly right that not all that claim to be Cold Fusion- glitters (is)

3. Increase awareness of the insanity of spending billions of dollars on hot fusion research, which remains a long shot in spite of sixty years of work, while denying even the smallest funding for LENR research, which, if a practical route to implementation can be found, could make hot fusion into a pile of very expensive but useless junk. Cold fusion has, many times, produced far more energy than was put in, the problem being that nobody has yet found a way to make this reliable. Hot fusion has produced mere breakeven, rarely, at enormous expense. Even if successful, it will almost certainly require enormously expensive and dangerous installations. This is nuts, and the insanity should be made very obvious to politicians. Use the DoE reports to establish the advisability of this research. Why have funding agencies ignored the recommendations of both DoE panels, clearly unanimous in 2004?

Hot Fusion is  a waste of time and logic says- stop it. However billions had been already invested in it, there are great Institutes specialized in it, many experts, smart progress reports appear from time to time, hot fission is commercialized- then hot fusion must be feasible too. Waste of money is  a habit-see military expenses, the pro-hot-fusion propaganda is good, changing is difficult.
See…the Sun works well, the hydrogen (fusion) bomb work so well- just a bit of patience and …Big Money, please.
Hot Fusionists cannot and are interested to not accept that in earthly conditions this source odes not work.

4. Support continued research into new approaches to LENR, while, at the same time, encouraging stronger standards for publication. There is much published work in this field that is of low quality. It's not that such work should not be published, it is that, when published under peer review, but with inadequate review and editing, it damages the reputation of the field. Preliminary reports, undigested results, all this, can and should be internet-published. Indeed, as anyone who attempts to replicate CF work will find, published articles typically contain inadequate data. Some journals now publish appendices with expanded data on-line. That practice should be encouraged.

Well told, and let’s hope it will be done!

5. Support extended peer review and criticism within the field. I find it appalling, myself, that Takahashi can publish a theory that might be a piece of an explanation of how CF might be happening, based on known quantum field theory, as far as I can tell, but his work is not reviewed and either confirmed or criticised by anyone sufficiently knowledgeable in that quite esoteric field. Indeed, I have no indication that the work was adequately reviewed before publication (but that would not necessarily be visible). Kim's somewhat-parallel, but, AFAIK, less-specific work was published by Naturwissenschaften, and I assume that does mean competent review. But Kim and Takahashi do not ordinarily reference each other.
This sounds fine however let’s suppose it is done as you (we) wish- a well known physicist reviews Akito’s theory and agrees with it completely. The theory is published in a good journal.
We are happy but what about experiment? Does the theory advice
the experimentalist how to obtain 100% reproducibility at higher level of enegy. Truth is welcome in work clothes

And then, an idea: recruit physicists to review the theoretical work that has been published. Encourage them to submit such reviews for publication. What matters for choosing these physicists is their dedication to science and to the scientific method, not their position on cold fusion.

All the young physicists are thinking to their career. For example I have helped a bright young compatriot physicist to work in the US in one of the best labs specialized in cold fusion; he has donea good work, however has abandoned  this field, he has a family and now is professor. Suppose I can find now an other physicist doing the same thing, will it be different? Is te answer in the field
or outside the field at LENR+?

The pseudo-skeptical position thrives in an atmosphere of incaution and inattention, of holding to assumptions while avoiding the hard work of actually examining evidence, not to mention setting up experimental demonstrations of artifact. If cold fusion had merely been a few isolated reports in 1989 and later, it's understandable that people would not want to waste time with it. However, it isn't that. It has been so extensively corroborated that an attempt at experimental refutation is very, very likely to fail. Such a clear refutation was never done.
However if something exists with certainty but cannot be shown at will, if the motivation is formulated negatively “surely you will not waste your time!” this sounds not as a successful siren song.
The early "negative replications" were entirely failures to replicate, not *successful replication* of what has been widely reported, with, then, demonstration of the artifact, as was done with N-rays and polywater.
What stood as if it were refutation were *corroborations* of the observed phenomenon, in a negative sense. I.e., a paper that showed neutron radiation in cold fusion experiments must be below some quite small threshold was considered a "blow" to cold fusion, but only because of an assumption that fusion must produce neutron radiation. The effect, per Storms (2010, produces no significant radiation of any kind, as to what has been detected. Reports from "reputable groups" that found no excess heat, and these reports were considered very important in 1989-1990, where they looked for helium, also found no helium. This *confirms* the heat/helium ratio, in part. No heat, no helium. That validates both the heat and helium measurements!

lThe story was much too complex and- on a causal basis successful replications are indistinguishable from successful ones, I remember how shocked I was by the results obtained in India: “not only are the anomalous fusion reactions found to take place in only a very few chips (obtained from the same piece of titanium) but even in those chips, tritium production is restricted to a small number of selected ocalized 'hot spots' only: This was not Pd-D but it was typical. Puzzling irreproducibility. Obtained by some of the best Cold Fusion Warriors. I cannot give you something similar for Heat plus He- few experiments.

It remains true that many approaches to cold fusion are difficult to replicate. Even for the same researcher, what has worked last year may not work this year, with the reasons being quite unclear. Great persistence and patience is needed, and "negative" results should not be deprecated. *All results should be published." Otherwise, the field remains wide open to a possible criticism that I did not mention above:

A question arises- who is the “culprit”- what is the cause? And how should we define experimental error? Can we dare to speak  about some inherent weaknesses of the LENR systems per se.?
About some equivalent of a curse, perfectly rational but not understood, with unknown causes? Something very general but completely ignored that destroys results and reputation(s)? I have one answer- but it is only my answer- nobody “buys” it: my poisoning hypothesis- the nuclearly active sites are incontrollably blocked by the gases from air and thus deuterium or hydrogen
cannot go where it/they has. Who knows an other explanation

4. Too often, only positive results are published. A research may run a dozen cells and, say, three show excess heat. The researcher only publishes the data for the three cells. But one of the crucial pieces of information we need about a protocol is the *rate* at which it shows results. Further, in such a series, if possible, helium should be sampled (if this is a PdD experiment), or other likely nuclear effects measured and correlated with the heat. All the data is important. Note: had Pons and Fleischmann published their full data, for their most recent protocol, in 1989, the whole field would very likely have gone in a very different direction. If, in their press conference, they had simply mentioned that only one out of six cells exhibited the effect, and that only after months of electrolysis, it would not have been possible to "refute" their announcement, as to political effect, by a feeble effort with a few cells for a month.

Dear Abd- actually this is not so, the unwritten standards of Cold Fusion publications say you have to tell about negative results, success rate and so on.

And this leads to another recommendation:
6. Researchers and those with access to analytical resources should cooperate. Standard analytical methods should be developed, and new experiments designed to allow efficient use of these resources. If any resource is overwhelmed with requests, the resource should be "commodified," i.e., analysis should be available for sale, at reasonable prices, but adequate to fully support the work (and the difference between for-profit and non-profit here is typically only a small margin). Then, those interested in supporting the field overall may wish to subsidize testing for qualified researchers. Or for students, the next generation.

Good idea, an example is the cooperation of Siena Univ,- Piantelli- cells and Bologna Univ. mainly analytics, many methods. It is an accident that Focardi from Bologna has had a revelation- he is the Father of Cold Fusion and has joined Rossi.
n historical perspective I'd love to be able to send a vial of heavy water somewhere, with a small sample, and get back an H/D ratio. I don't even know where to start with that. Sure, there might be some lab service available, but my guess is that there are institutional resources that could do it for free, or for a small fee, and if we, collectively, arrange something, even a for-profit service might offer this at a discount, with coordinated submission of samples. It could be anywhere in the world.

If you explore the journal Analytical Chemistry you will find immediately the nearest lab and the cost of analysis. I can help if you wish.
To resume your ideas/plans I understand you are seeking salvation inside the LENR field; that is you think this is possiblewith effort nad good practices.
Altermative- salvation can come only from outside, LENR+ can save LENR.


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