Friday, July 18, 2014


My war with and for Memes.

In one of my Septoes, I have stated that we are living in “memcracies” i.e.  dominant memes are ruling over us.
The definition of a “meme” – largo sensu is a cultural element
(see propagating usually epidemically by imitation; however for the subject of this essay- that belongs to Science, higher quality and intellect memes are mainly concepts, ideas or theories.
For all the cases, the concept of meme, is paradoxically not a meme per se, perhaps because important fields of real and imagined knowledge as politics, religion but even established science strongly dislike the idea of meme. Even memes that
are like pathological criminals and or obviously combining
violence, greed and stupidity- re-read please “Stop Koalemos!” are considered genuine truths and not lowly memes.
I have to confess that, based on my personal experience and system of thinking, I have accepted the concept- it has both explanatory and predictive power for me.
The duty of a thinker is to create memes, good ones from the sort that solves problems and does not create or aggravate them. I have failed almost completely to do this; my philosophical ideas including those regarding Cold Fusion continue to be unpopular and in danger to go in complete oblivion when I cannot more promote them. It is a possibility that they will be discovered again around 2050, however it is more pragmatic to survive and prosper than to resurrect and start again, without parental support.

Actually it is about a sensitive process of memefication- ideas are selected by Reality- some become almost immortal memes, while other perish irreversibly. The factors of success are overly complex and contradictory- beautiful simple, low IQ, emotionally charged lies are favored to unpleasant, not positive,
complex truths needing effort to be understood, however miracles (in many senses!) can happen. Sometimes, by sudden collective or just uni-personal satoris, a concept, symbol, image or idea gets value, importance and life and starts to generate
newness and light. It is terrifying to see how the most evil memes of the XX-th and the XII-th Century are prospering just now.

Discovering VUCA, a terrible meme

Recently, I had such a moment of illumination and a concept from the management-leadership philosophy that I have ignored till then- was revealed almost explosively.

Kurt Harden’s wonderful “Cultural Offering”-
has generously included EGO OUT in a list of “25 blogs guaranteed to make you smarter.” I am studying systematically the other 24 blogs –these are really fine and able to make smarter a good part of their readers. Recently, I have discovered a masterfully written paper:

Leadership in VUCA World: Perspectives on #IndiaHRChat

It was a sui generic intellectual discovery; I realized that VUCA is an acronym as inspiring as SWOT and as stimulating as ASAP – the first examples that come to my mind. The previously ignored acronym was converted in, upgraded to- a shining, splendid meme.
Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous is an excellent acronym, describing huge chunks and zones and periods of our world. Obviously not in the ideal or desired sense- you have to combat VUCA- it is an opportunity for the negative to come first and to dominate us as I have described it in my, now fallen, essay:
A pragmatic strategy for catalyzing self-sustained progress
see please:”3. Priority and predominance of the negative.”
Actually, really- VUCA can be many other bad things as: violent/vulnerable + undefined/unmanageable+ chaotic/crazy + arguable/acausal- more or less. The Quaspire blog paper also offers a VUCA Solution: Vision- Understanding- Clarity- Agility a quasi ideal one, to the VUCA problem.
VUCA is nothing new, our first ancestors had to confront it as soon as they were thrown out for a vegan sin, from the Garden where perfect harmony has ruled. VUCA is strongly related to other concepts: directly to “wicked problems”, to hidden parameters and dangers, inherent negativity, Black Swans (Black Raptors is more realistic). In a VUCA World the truths are mainly Pareto Truths or worse- irreversibly fragmented- incompatible Lego pieces, maddening color changing Rubik cubes…the realm of the Twin Peaks principle. The Evil si indestructible and in some places, it always wins”
LENR is also a VUCA World- now.

Please take in consideration this: "Words mean more than we mean to express when we use them," Lewis Carroll” 

Let’s investigate how much means the components of the malefic acronym VUCA for our favorite acronym, LENR.

V. Volatility- in which senses is LENR- volatile? My instant reaction to volatile is the Italian word volare- flying, also flying away; when a bit of time is added- disappearing. My primary feeling toward “volatile” is negative due to my professional experience, highly volatile substances are explosive, dangerous too. One of my research tasks during my apprenticeship (1962-3) was to remove even traces of volatiles from plasticizers by steam distillation combined with vacuum and for some months I was focused on this task starting with the Bible-like, unique Perry’s Chemical Engineers Handbook.
12-15 years later I was very dedicated to removing the volatile but very sticky residual monomer, vinyl chloride from PVC- difficult task but of vital importance- because the monomer is
cancerogenic for processors and users.

See please the web-dictionaries for the synonyms of volatile- can you discover a single positive one? Even the good perfumes have a well moderated volatility.

What is volatile in the LENR field? Good results and hopes, first of all. From the very start, lots of ideas were considered to
solve the problems- to make cold fusion reproducible, upscalable- to convert it in the Promised Energy Technology, however all were volatile and have disappeared- illusion, deception and new illusions came. Only the fundamental idea
that cold fusion exists, remained permanent, however can we speak about progress when open questions multiply so much faster than good answers? How else can we call the tens of theories that eventually did not help to define, understand and manage the desired phenomenon- excess heat- than non-answers?
No unity could be found in variety, no stop to the volatility, no explanation of the situation, no solutions to the problems as unreliable, uncontrollable weak effects. No solid and permanent experimental support could be obtained...

These days our community is discussing a theory elaborated by the most knowledgeable scientist of the field, Dr. Edmund Storms, see please:
 and buy Ed’s book:
I could not read the book till now- have to wait till it is in electronic form due to my vision problems- I hope the book explains how the theory can solve the chronicized problems of
LENR. We will come back to this “theory de jour”, however for a technologist like me the seems to be too pessimistic, putting too much emphasis on the inherent difficulty and rarity of the LENR process. For its author, the theory is a certainty and so we have arrived to the second letter of VUCA; to a nasty word-  

U. Uncertainty- it is difficult to survive and impossible to be happy with no certainties, both personally and professionally. In LENR the offer of certainties is modest and in most cases what is a certainty for some of us, is falsity and trash for many of our peers. It is tragic we had not been able to manufacture solid, non-volatile certainties accepted by most of our community members.
I am explaining this bad situation based on the personal certainty that Cold Fusion was discovered too early, when Science was not prepared to understand and exploit it as I say here: and in many other writings, in vain.
This remains a personal certainty and many readers (if they read the paper indeed and don’t abandon it due to the bad title)
become certain that my CF-specific IQ is very low and I am simply unable to understand the basics of the field including its
history and essence and heroes...
An other personal LENR certainty (even in my worst nightmares or episodes of depression, I have not the slightest doubt about its validity) is that the working surfaces in LENR must be free of alien gases- ergo the wet electrochemical PdD cell will never become reliable and manageable- those who bet on it will remain prisoners in a VUCA world – for lifetime. Here VUCA is more: Vulnerable- Unmanageable- Chaotic- Adrift (both scientifically and technologically). This idea of poisoning of LENR systems with air was ignored with hostility and generated the certainty that I have pathological ideas re the LENR experiments- euphemistically speaking. Many times I got promises of perfectly reproducible FP Cell type experiments that will invalidate spectacularly the very idiotic idea of air-killing-CF. I still wait for these wonderful results and if uncle Alz allows me, I will discard this certainty, together with my humble apologies.

C- Complex- it seems the field is not able to generate the much desired certainties- as LENR Technology- Yes! however these are coming from outsiders as Rossi and Defkalion- surprise! You could guess that the situation is not simple in the field, this new battlefield has added static and dynamic magnitudes to the third VUCA adjective: complex- and is also confusing, chaotic, challenging. It is full of internal conflicts.

It is an elementary principle of the Scientific Method to develop understanding first and only when you know what happens you are allowed to develop technologies. This is a seemingly healthy dogma. An ideal dogma. But is it always possible to proceed scientifically, is it possible and good- realistic, pragmatic materialistic? What when the science per se is quite VUCA-like
as it is for LENR? Are we “allowed” to try to create a technology by discovering some principles and the factors that determine safety using excellent engineering combined with incomplete science? Many of my dearest friends say clearly NO!, science must come first and overall, however Andrea Rossi, the Defkalion team, I and other technologists admit that “technology first” is also possible. I have published a paper with this title in the first issue of Infinite Energy, so I am an old sinner. I have concluded long ago that the scientific method has some limitations, however these cannot be limitations of technological progress. This paper emphasizes the complexity of the subject:
Perhaps the situation of LENR is unique because real LENR differs essentially from the model(s) accepted initially that persisted almost unchanged till today. A radical paradigm change will alleviate the VUCA status of LENR

A Ambiguous-we have to consider carefully the fourth VUCA feature of LENR too- it is called Ambiguity but it is worse than this going much beyond the multiple and instable interpretations of facts. The field, for the time given is sentenced to pre-logical thinking, see: Correlations and causations seem to be impossible or at least, very unsure.
The experiments are based mainly on trial and error, the results are aleatory, in great extent- cannot be predicted and reproduced at will; the cause-effect relationships are quite mysterious, LENR seems to be acausal. The experimental facts are very diverse and cannot be connected in a logically consistent vision with predictive capacity..
Eventually, the researchers don’t know what to measure as cause and don’t know how to measure the effect (excess heat) because it is usually very small and evanescent. The word ametric adequate for our case is not in the dictionary but is in the wet cells and leads to a tragic reversal of the efforts and creativity, from intensification to measurement.

There are no general rules in such a VUCA world, it is difficult to define/determine what is correct and what is error and it seems the tunnel has no end- it has a 3-dimensional Mobius strip topology- no end, no lighting.

Can be LENR de-VUCA-ized?

Improving the status from inside, using the old paradigm or theories like that of Ed Storms as guide is theoretically possible.
New approaches, ideas and methods from outside (rs) as Rossi and DGT needs practical demonstrations- working technologies, in the very spirit of the VUCA Solution to build vision and understanding, clearly and fast.
I believe these will come and after that the field will really radically Change.
Dum spiro, spero!



  1. If VUCA is the Glass Slipper, then LENR is the foot that fits into it perfectly.

  2. Hi Peter,

    How are your good friends at Defkalion doing these days and *what* are they doing? Can we hope for some credible test data from a reliable source soon?

    1. It's holiday season for them, enjoying sun and sea. Health is an absolute priority.

      Yes. you will be contented even surprised with the performances
      of Hyperion 6


  3. This raise me a vision of relativity, similar to what feyerabend and kuhn proposed, the relativity of reality.
    or course, unlike particles or move in quantum or relativistic physics, the reality of practical science is true or false, sometime dual which mean both vision true but useful in various works...

    however depending on your mind set, on the memeplex (a coherence ecosystem of meme) that constructed your "initial probabilities" as in bayesian statistics, you can see that LENR is either VUCA, or clear like an engineer plan.

    is cold fusion volatile... no it is simply like semiconductors, but you can simply see tha things are improving and onve some detail are understood (importance of loading, of metalurgy, or excitation...) it does not change...

    is it uncertain... no it works when you found the good condition and stop in ways that are logic, like cracks, or melting, or pollution... not so surprising once you accept it.

    is it Complex ? if you are used with semiconuctors it is quite simple... the complexity is banal, not suprising... of cource you have to be educated with complexity of real things, but we are far from the complexity of finance or groupthink...

    is it ambiguous ? not at all. calorimetry is clear provided you accept instruments reading and scientific experiences. energy is above chemistry, letting no doubt it is probably nuclear or even more unimaginable. transmutation make it clear it is nuclear and lack of hard radiation is clear and non ambiguous...

    all is VUCA only if :
    - you take theory argument as more important as experimental results
    - if you don't trust scientist and instruments
    - if you are unexperienced with the real history of semicondictors and material science epistemology
    - if you don't know what is the improvement phase of a scientific phenomenon

    the VUCA of LENR is only because the elmite of science is too much focused in theory, illetarate in technology histopry, in material science, in engineering challenges... it is a nuclear physicist dominance tragedy, no more, followed by a tragedy of media consa guinity with those leaders.

    the reason why I accepted LENr as a possibility in 1993 is because I was an engineer trained in semiconductors and knowing history of science, of semiconductors, of material science, from 10 years of SciAm reading and from 1930 history of science books... I was just not illiterate, far from expert.
    I did not admit it was SURE real because my lack of human factor experience was so low I could not imagine that the planet was so incompetent... i expected scientist to convince quickly or find the trick...

    I start to understand it was hopeless when studying groupthink theory because of Internet bubble and subprime crisis...

    today all is clear, and fits into estabished theoretical framework, QM, thermodynamic, material science, chaos theory,epistemology, groupthink,

    no new science required, just need literacy at the top of the academic community.

    1. Dear Alain,

      Thank you for your comment- I hope your ideas will help to answer to
      at least 2 important questions/issues:

      - what are the symptoms/signs of progress inside the classic CF/LENR field- scientific and technological;
      - what can CF learn from the history and reality of thr transistor industry which defines our Age? is there an equivalent or at least
      something similar to Moore's Law in LENR? Really?

      In your comments- after getting inspiration from modern philosophy
      you know so well you put an implicit question:

      LENR is either VUCA, or clear like an engineer plan.- what is it (more)?

      After that you systematically demonstrate that LENR is NOT volatile, NOT uncertain, NOT complex and eventually NOT ambiguous.
      It is NOT VUCA.

      I like your justifications/arguments but cannot agree with them, even if I wish:

      LENR is very far from transistors in terms of vision, understanding,
      clarity, speed and motivation- a huge difference. We can ignore the prehistory of transistors (1925- 1947), then in 10 busy years all the fundamental technological problems were put on order and movement, from 1964 we are witnesses of a triumphal march
      under the aegis of the Moore Law. LENR, after 25+ years is a disaster both epistemologically and technologically (if we ignore thw Outsiders)

      it is uncertain, who can define the GOOD CONDITIONS???

      -LENR is orders of magnitude more complex and has more unknown unknowns than as transistors

      - if you consider the inescapable cursse of bad reproducibility
      even the most advanced calorimetry combined with the most modern measurements- does not make LENR univocally clear, it remains foggy and proteic

      LENR is VUCA NOT due to human weaknesses- on short term of these- but due to the inherent weaknesses of the experiment and yje inadequacy of the models and theories . The community has a long term responsibility due to he fatal delay in paradigm change.

      I think "no new science" required is a dangerous and unjustified
      constrain offending Mother Nature- for example nanoplasmonics can have a decisive role in this story- is new science, science in statu nascendi.


    2. My position is a bit exaggerated as LENR is a challenging domain of material science.

      howevre for me the fact that LENR does not advance fast, is not because it IS VUCA, but because current scientists SEE it as VUCA.

      edisonian approach suceeded in solving LENr challenge because they reinterpreted the problem in a non VUCA way, accepting the problems and getting around "as usual" instead of trying to build a theory first.

      it is fascinating to see LENr stalled in labs, and on fast track in edisonian workshops.

    3. I think it is not wise to use a simplified vision of what the good edisonian approach really is. As a Pareto truth it would be "80% hard work and only 20 % enhanced trial and error" Edison had a good humor" and some things he said have not to be taken literally (as finding 10,000 ways that don't work)
      He was both an efectie and efficient inventor- he combined bright working hypotheses, proto-theories, advanced common sense
      with trial and error.

      Excuse my limitation but I cannot understand what you are saying here: "edisonian approach suceeded in solving LENr challenge because they reinterpreted the problem in a non VUCA way, accepting the problems and getting around "as usual" instead of trying to build a theory first."

      If you are alluding to Rossi here, as far I know Rossi has first accepted a kind of catalytic + Piantelli model first and then has made a great edisonian style effort, details not known.


    4. the key to recent powder/Ni innovation is to focus on "how make it work" instead of "how it works".
      when reliability is a problem, just try everything (use powder instead of trying to control surface).

      the other ideas is to find a way that practically usable and not only scientifically undeniable.
      dry cells are the only solution for practical usage (except if wet cell can go above 300C with pressurized water).

      like for the transistors... if 95% of transistorks are broken, just keep the 5% that works.
      if characteristics vary, just measure and label them.

      it is gordian knot approach.

      put the trouble in a box, and accept it. then play with the box.

      I exaggerate , but trying to find a theory before you have a working device is postmodern hubris, even if it looks rational. It seldom happened in history until the 50s, and even.

      of course once it works, theory get identified and then allow improvement...

    5. Yes, correct principles; and do not forget to remove even traces of alien gases, they inactivate the working sites
      and as I told, repeatedly you do not need one theory but more real LENR is a multi-step, multi stage, multi- multi sequence of processes not only a defeated Coulomb Barrier
      LENR is an opera not a song


  4. Hello everyone!
    I''ll comment on two aspects in VUCA: complexity and ambiguity.
    Complexity means a large number of factors involved in triggering the phenomena. Discerning the factors needs control or differential factorial experiments.
    Ambiguity is due to ambivalence of experimental facts in regard to the set of possible alternative explanatory hypotheses. Discriminating the various hypotheses is the challenge of the scientific method when there are many factors involved (complexity) and experimental data seems to support not only one hypothesis.