The ideal city becomes infernal city by simply closing the gates. (Author unknown) It refers first of all to thinking.
Please first read the Relevant Quotations- down the page at the end.. Thanks!
Aquila non capit muscam- in practice this means: old eagles don’t catch easy prey. And I am an almost tri-optimal age eagle, you know that medicine, philosophy and employers agree that 25 years is the best age, we still don’t know: the best for what?
Writing about a rather pleasant and popular (in our circles) subject, my contribution to problem solving will be sub-minimal. Treating simple and clear issues will not lead to more understanding or new knowledge. Efficiency- is a difficult subject per se, actually it has to be redefined and refined for each case. The trouble starts usually from the necessity to make a sharp, even rude distinction between effectiveness- that rules and has priority and efficiency that is simply the ratio efforts/results
But both terms have to be judged wisely.
LENR is a special case. As a problem it is extremely difficult, it is very probable that solving it, huge efforts are necessary, the expected results are formidable, but will they be obtained indeed?
I have stated that Cold Fusion is at the Right Side of the Medawar
That means- it exist a high risk that LENR research will have a very low effectiveness. For a young researcher whose career depends on her/his fast early successes, it is a too adventurous choice.
Therefore LENR has a rather low outer effectiveness and attracts only special young people, in the best sense of this word- genuine heroes and we, older LENR people, have to do our best to not disappoint them. They are our future.
This is about choosing the right wall to climb i.e. to establish which of he many variants of LENR has to be followed and lead to a useful application or/and to a solid understanding of what happens.
However, LENR has an unusually long prehistory; its genuine history will start in the very moment when the phenomena are understood or go commercial as an energy source, whichever comes earlier. If you don’t accept this rude analogy think
about childhood and maturity- but the real situation is exactly the same
Anyway, CF/LENR’s cradle was the Fleischmann-Pons electrolysis cell, palladium cathode, platinum anode heavy water and this is still popular. A very long series of experiments based on nanotechnology- say from Piantelli and Arata to Ahern and Celani. Please consult Edmund Storms’s excellent review papers for the global developments and the situations in the field.
As I have written many times, the effectiveness of the different devices created for LENR differs, however very unfortunately it seems that all have a low efficiency- great efforts are made for obtaining excess heat- the very promise of usable energy- but the results are at a low level, are not repeatable –for many experiences of a series have a zero efficiency and even the best ones do not last for long. Not a very happy situation. In the same time, there are modest but successful experiments, it is a certainty that the phenomenon exists so the hope that one day it will save the world from energy hunger and from harmful and/or expensive energy sources is motivated and stimulates the researchers.
“Negative” has many facets – the experiments without measurable heat effect are clearly negative, however negative discoveries (in the spirit of Daniel Boorstin’s essay “The Age of Negative Discovery” are essential. That is, if we can establish that one variant is inherently inefficient and to work with it is a closed way, then efficiency can be sought in other, more fertile devices and experiments. I have concluded that the original Pd-D cell
has absolutely no chances to be scaled up to a usable energy source, even a small one. But because it is the very origin of the cold fusion phenomena, many of my colleagues consider that this cell is the place where we can discover and understand the
essence of this process. I consider that it was a historical misfortune of LENR that it was discovered in this inefficient system poisoned or ill, technologically speaking.
Effectiveness, efficiency and the Good Fairy Hypothesis.
I am not in a position to make long range bets, however if the negative discoveries presented above are real, than even great money as such cannot save LENR. It is sad and well known that the field is oppressed, chronically lacks funding and many of our colleagues pay their own money to do research. Suppose this changes, here comes the Good Fairy and she knows that LENR is now as important and urgent as the Manhattan Plan was during WW-2, ergo LENR research will receive the same sum of money as had the atomic bomb research- that is 25.8 billion 2012 US dollars. Hundreds of scientists, the best scientific instruments- a researcher’s Paradise. The Good Fairy respects tradition and she imposes only one condition- everybody must use the genuine, original Pd-D system with electrolysis.
Five, ten glorious years have elapsed and what has happened?
You can guess my answer easily, please write me you answers.
The proper atmosphere for LENR research.
We believe that LENR’s situation will be improved soon – that is
a semi-prediction because in part it is already done- and a very important issue is to create the proper atmosphere (working atmosphere) for research.
A useful analogy helps: creativity is the oxygen of research but realism is its nitrogen and the best, most efficient mixture has a similar composition to that of our standard air i.e. 4:1. If you search more, forcing this analogy, you can find the mental analogies of the rare gases and of the harmful greenhouse gases too.
Non-optimal composition of this atmosphere affects research efficiency in two ways:
a) for UNDERSTANDING –excess of creativity- the atmosphere is too rich in oxygen- too many elegant and unverifiable theories that do not explain what happens and does not tells what to do for being efficient; we have to import or manufacture realism. Realism means inter alia to clearly distinguish between possible and impossible.
b) for APPLICATION- lack of creativity-of technology, the atmosphere is too inert, really great, radical ideas had been missing at least till the near past. Can we use the word efficiency for this action?
INTERMEZZO: Two huge lost opportunities.
During the awfully long prehistory of LENR there had been at least two great opportunities to increase the efficiency of research and to find new promising directions, very positive changes.
Francesco Piantelli was very fast- he discovered that Ni-H can also generate excess heat 115 days after the Fleischmann-Pons
Conference. Unfortunately, due to the language barrier, his first paper appeared in a less known, difficultly accessible journal:
F. Piantelli, Atti Accad. Fis., Serie XV, Tomo XII, pag. 89-96 (1993) and the first real information was this:
S. Focardi, R. Habel and F. Piantelli, “Anomalous Heat
Production in Ni-H Systems”, Nuovo Cim. Vol. 107 A, pp
163-167, 1994 (damn the counterproductive, anti-meritocratic
habit to put the authors in alphabetical order!)
This paper and the other news regarding Piantelli’s fundamental discovery have not triggered an epidemic. Ni-H was grosso modo
ignored due to the dominant postlogical (authority based) thinking most researchers remained loyal to the Pd-D cells.
There had been only two groups who tried to reproduce the Piantelli process with limited understanding of it and therefore with no success.
This is illuminating a bad research strategy- and not only in LENR. A new process is discovered and described say as completely as possible, in the scientific literature. Other teams
try to reproduce it exactly as the initial author has done. They can miss easily some critical details or cannot eliminate completely some of their own ideas or tricks and then reproducing is not
reproducing- failure! The global efficiency of reproduction tests in the LENR camp is rather low
The alternative to this is a more courageous approach- rediscovering, redoing from scratch the IDEA. You discover the same way or a completely new way, more efficient than the first one. As – “an Italian scientist has discovered that you can get anomalous heat –let’s try to do or achieve the same result.” If it is posiible for them, it is possible for me!
This was done by Defkalion after the abrupt divorce from Andrea Rossi.
Piantelli has remained a solitary long distance runner and has discovered essential principles of making progress in LENR save one decisive step. Nobody has helped him for so many years.
A lot of bad things can be told about efficiency and inertia, and few good things about efficiency and agility.
Leslie Case has arrived in the 9th year of our CF/LENR era. He has discovered catalytic cold fusion; see please this paper from Infinite Energy:
I have greeted Leslie as a hero because I have written in my 1992 Topology Paper:
“What the nature, size and dynamism of the active sites are is an open question. A very rapid and massive information influx from the field of science and technology of catalysis could be useful to get the answer(s).”
And Leslie has shown that a catalyst can do the job. The trouble was that the shadow of the Pd-D cell has been present in these experiments too; he and his few followers have worked mainly with a premium Pd/active carbon support catalyst. Leslie has abandoned fast this line of research. He has told me that his dream is to buy a winery in Australia. He has died in 2010, R.I.P.!
He has fast abandoned work and nobody has thoroughly tested say, Ni/metal oxides catalyst so the Rossi effect was discovered only years later - you guessed it, by Rossi.
Opportunities missed, efficiency was not able to grow up.
For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'. (John Greenleaf Whittier)
LENR crisis and paradigm change.
Crisis “is” when the effectiveness and the efficiency of a group, unit, society- a collective whatever, are much too low for longer time periods and their trend is still downwards. Crises are natural for the world of humans, are both ubiquitous and almost everlasting.
Can be alleviated, not removed completely and are coming back in new forms. Are very diverse and generate a lot of interestingness- see:
‘All great crises are first crises of thinking’- says one of my Septoes, but so are actually all of them. Inefficient thinking that is their basis. .
Crisis is a natural state a problem multiplex, paradigm change is the natural solution to it. Let’s remember how it has happened.
My ancestor, Glu, the caveman tribe chief said: “Fellows, mammoth hunting is increasingly ineffective, there are few mammoths, running fast, many of them are eaten by the saber-tooth tiger-lion, you need half ton of stones to kill one. This cannot last long, Should we also disappear as our regretted cousins from the Neander Valley? We have no choice, my friends
a great paradigm change is necessary. We have to change radically our life style and start agriculture and animal husbandry. Otherwise…
Later: a journalistic document was found around Troy. It says
“Κύριοι, δεν μπορούμε να λύσουμε έτσι το πρόβλημα! Χρειαζόμαστε άμεσα μια αλλαγή παραδείγματος!’
In English; “Gentlemen, we cannot solve this problem. A paradigm change is necessary, fast!”
It was discovered that it is part of Odysseus’s speech when the ancestors of Yannis (from DGTG) have stated that the long siege of Troy lasts obscenely much, the few Trojans being resilient and apparently invincible.
Both Crisis and Paradeigm are old Greek words, so Odysseus was immediately understood. You know the rest of the story. In case you have problems with the modern, Kuhnian meanings of the word, please look here: http://www.taketheleap.com/define.html
or here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradigm_shift
Habent sua fata verba!
LENR’s paradigm change.
I do not consider necessary to explain why we need a paradigm change in LENR research. Crisis seems to be endemic here.
Also it is highly unnecessary to emphasize that paradigm shifts/changes are terribly difficult, slow, hesitant and really painful. Because the most vivid analogy for a paradigm change is breaking the bones of your logic and rearranging them in new, better ways; it is much destructiveness in any paradigm change.
It is known from Glu’s times that: ‘desperate illnesses need desperate remedies’.
There had not been many paradigm shifts in LENR
Rossi has found indeed an entirely new line of research, but paradigm change is first of all about thinking. Nobody (possibly Rossi included) knows his theoretical thinking, his modest patent description seems to be based on older, traditional thinking, and while his over-loquacious Blog speaks a language I don’t understand well. The question remains unanswered.
DGTG’s LENR paradigm shift.
However DGTD’s R&D Team has recently presented us their paradigm change. I think he has succeeded due to his special thinking skills in complexity and non-linear approach, but also
due to the fact that he has taken LENR seriously only due to the
Rossi DGTG deal somewhere in 2009/2010. In his case despite a very serious study of the LENR literature, mainly to know what to Not do, it was Not about a real paradigm shift with bone breaking but even more difficult, but not so painful, paradigm building. A competitive advantage, but also a drawback for somebody less creative than him.
I will try to show here the defining features of the new paradigm and I hope Yannis and his colleagues will help with comments.
It is the holistic approach, both outer and inner:
Outer: a part of the solution has to be found outside the problem. Not only Nuclear Physics but other scientific fields as chemistry, nanotechnology, astrophysics, plasma physics, mathematics, volcanism etc. etc. are inspiring, he thinks a closed group cannot acquire the necessary knowledge to solve he problem. Very interesting and deep idea- is the reverse of the motto true? Opening the gates as such does not transform the bad city in a good one but it is a necessary condition.
Inner: they have early described the process as a dynamic system of the multi-stage set of reactions. It is not only about passing the Coulomb barrier; it is not allowed to isolate the reaction(s) from their complex environment. It is about accepting and mastering complexity. You must have a vision of the whole in action- and here comes the third, decisive clue:
You have to manage the action! It is about forms of experimental violence, both hydrogen and nickel have to be radically changed as nature and behavior in order to react intensely in an upscalable and controllable manner.
I have great positive expectations from LENR future. I have asked my grandson Rudy to inform me by unusual ADN related channels to the downstairs world when the hyper-effective (not needing any other energy even at start-up) and hyper-efficient (working sustainably ad infinitum) generators, probably Hyperions type 15 or 16, will conquer the world market.
Effectiveness and Efficiency.
The best quotations belong to Peter Drucker:
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.
Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
Do not believe that it is very much of an advance to do the unnecessary three times as fast.
Efficiency tends to deal with Things. Effectiveness tends to deal with People. We manage things, we lead people.
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. (Stephen Covey).
Efficiency is intelligent laziness.. (David Dunham).
Laziness is the mother of efficiency (Marian Propp).
Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. (Robert A. Heinlein).
Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage. (Jawaharlal Nehru).
The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency. (Eugene J. McCarthy).
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. Bill Gates.
If you see a snake, just kill it - don't appoint a committee on snakes. (H. Ross Perot).
To increase your effectiveness, make your emotions subordinate to your commitments (Brian Koslow).
Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose their direction and begin to bend. (Walter Savage Landor).
To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world - that I am able to change it in positive ways. (Maxine Hong Kingston).
There are only 2 qualities in the world: efficiency and inefficiency, and only 2 sorts of people: the efficient and the inefficient.”. (George Bernard Shaw).
Don’t tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done (James Ling).
There can be economy only where there is efficiency. (Benjamin Disraeli)
Disorganization can scarcely fail to result in efficiency (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
I don't like a man to be too efficient. He's likely to be not human enough. (Felix Frankfurter)
Secrecy is the enemy of efficiency, but don't let anyone know it.
(Ric Ocasek) 
Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and ''historical tasks'' is an actual or potential assassin.”
More computing sins are committed in the name of efficiency (without necessarily achieving it) than for any other single reason - including blind stupidity. (W.A. Wulf)
The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency. (Aldous Huxley)
By concentrating our efforts upon a few major goals, our efficiency soars, our projects are completed, we are going somewhere. (Michael Korda)
Nice article. Like you I'm shocked by the creativity in thery, and the lack of creativity in experimenst and practice.ReplyDelete
I will complete you discussion with that article
I even suggest you to use that rich article as the basic of another article...
Thanks, dear Alain.Delete
I have systematically re-evaluatedmany basic concepts
and Critical Thinking is one of the most interesting.
It is very high in the Great List of Things you Need in Life but do Not Learn in School- together with lateral thinking, Cipolla's Laws, Dunning Kruger Effect, Zimbardo's experiments
Darell Duff booklet about how to lie with statistics and many others.
The paper you have indicated is very well written and i will use it.
Peter, Fabulous essay, so much to think about. Thanks.ReplyDelete
You are really nice, dear Doc!Delete
It is tne effect of sincerity, I tell exactly what
You point out missing chances/opportunities in LENR history, written by good and bad decisions in R&D. That flashed up to me well known old things from game theory/statistical decision theory (as per J. von Neumann/J. Nash). There are only 3 basic ways to make such decisions under uncertainty based on such methodologies:
Minimizing the maximum loss cost (minimax critiria), which is followed manly by conservative people such as in "main stream/academia"
Maximizing the minimum gain (maximin critiria), which is followed by gamblers or opportunists
Minimizing the lost opportunity cost, which is performed by the rare brave people, such like you, living in this planet.
(off course there several other criteria in between these three, but basically these are the major).
One of the big opportunities at this moment is to get as much as more people understand what you are really telling us with this essay, as far as the cost of any one more lost opportunity in this field maybe will be to to heavy for mankind to carry.
Thank you for such beautiful and deep piece
Thanks- You have inspired me an essay about decisions,
not only in our field. DGTG has made some admirable decisions
that in retrospect can be seen as historical moments for LENR/HHENI.
"Aquila non capit muscam": Eagles [of any age] do not hunt [or catch] flies.ReplyDelete
The sense is that the great do not chase the small.
If an experiment cannot be reproduced, it seems reasonable that the second experimenters would contact the first, and both would go over their details, until at some point, the first would say, "but you didn't do X in step Y". To which the reply might be, "but your paper didn't say anything about that". To which, "we thought it obvious" (the mathematics professor's favorite response).
Then Team 2 would go back and re-run the experiment.
It is certainly true that some experimenters are better than others. On the other hand, diligence can often equal skill and luck.
Another approach to the question: is there a mathematicl theory that would predict LENR (the way Einstein's math predicted HENR)?
I will answer you in the frame of a blog writing; you are right.
However in theory, the theory of experiment reproduction is equal with the practice of experiment reproduction, in practice, real life they are very different.
It is an Ego out issue too- but not in the very spirit of my Blog.
Thank you for helping