A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem. (Albert Einstein)_
We have perhaps a natural fear of ends. We would rather be always on the way than arrive. Given the means, we hang on to them and often forget the ends.
Both Mottos can be interpreted as “fallible as we are, we still are much better with means than with aims.”
You know that my blog is dedicated to problem solving (BTW I am planning to set up a special new blog only for my 20 Problem Solving Rules) therefore I am deeply interested in the sources of man-made problems. Step by step, I have discovered an inexhaustible source of such problems, a very effective recipe for failure. My satori has happened when I wrote an editorial about bureaucracy.“Somewhere a problem, a task, a purpose, an aim or a problem appears. A solution is sought. An institution, a committee, political party, group, team is created for working out and implementing the solution and for creating new improved up-to-dated solutions. Then something strange and evil happens- the institution etc. has a kind of amnesic shock and “forgets” its own mission, does care less and less about the general interest and focuses on its own group’s interest and on the people who support it. Bureaucracy appears wit its corrupt and egotistical nasty ugliness.
However this process of degradation, alienation is more general than the damned bureaucracy, in many places the aims are cannibalizing the aims and take over their status and function.
I had an other illumination moment when I read years ago that pharmaceutical industry spends more money for advertising than for research I have read a lot about Big Pharma- the art of making billions from milligrams and I have understood how it has lost its original aim- to cure illnesses and make people healthy and has replaced it with maximum profit obtainable from chronically ill people addicted to some, if possible) expensive drugs. The aim of Big Pharma is many customers not healthy people. If you are over 50 you will understand immediately what I want to say.
The most spectacular case of means-replacing-aims is that of money- not more a means of buying and selling but a kind of sacred aim, Moneytheism is the dominant religion, consumerism is a social obligation that moves society, ads are ubiquitous. To be poor is the most unpardonable sin.
It is now black humor or outright idiocy to tell that the government has the aims to serve the people. In practice, everywhere those who have won the power, democratically or not, try to get rich by all means.
A few short (ened) remarks:
a) The aims must be in consonance with the means; good aims using evil means become evil.
Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy. (Christopher Dawson)
The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. (Georges Bernanos)
The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.” (Leon Trotsky)
b) The aims are always less clear, less stable, less up-to-dated and well defined and described, less “real” than the means. Means are now, aims are in the future. In a sense, the means tend to be more powerful than the aims and this is one of the reasons why aims are easy prey for means so many times.
What really matters in life are not the goals we set, but the roads we take to achieve them. (Peter Bamm)
The Way is always more than the Purpose. (Heimito von Doderer)
c) During my career in research I have learned that if I want to create something more important and lasting, it is better to focus on methods, principles, modes of thinking, more on the processes than on products. Means – here too are more fertile than aims.
d) Collective aims are much more vulnerable to the “means eat aims” syndrome than individual, independent, original aims. The following quotation is, in part half- in part 1.5 relevant:
Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization. (Jon Bentley)
If you belong to a group having an aim identical with yours, consider it as your personal aim, it’s safer and smarter...
The ‘aims replaced by means’ problem is present in my all favorite activity- research too. The publications of the scientists and researchers have the aim to inform peers, colleagues and the world about their achievements, discoveries, their own contributions to the advancement of science and technology. However, because there are exclusively quantitative criteria used for the evaluation of the activity of the scientists, publications – their number- becomes an aim per se. You have to write and publish as many as possible books and papers. So you tend to divide your work in “least publishable units” see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Least_publishable_unit This problem is more serious than believed by the outsiders, quality and newness are very difficult to define and the very necessary
Scientometrics is under-used.
NOTE During spring-cleaning my blog, I have seen that I have already published 95 papers re New Energy. Please do not accuse me of salami publication; there are other reasons for being so over-productive, to not say, boring. I have written about many events, new ideas and concepts, I am a slow thinker, my own ideas are not easy to understand for me and are rarely formulated in a convincing mode; Please also take in consideration that I was swimming counter-stream. I have made a long journey in complexity, from thinking that deep degassing and VERY smart nanotechnology and perfect adjustment of a few critical parameters will solve the problem of commercial heat energy generation to the New Wave LENR+ a techno-conspiracy of organized matter multi-sequential and hyper dynamic systems to unite Metal and Hydrogen in the proper way... More important is that the best people in the field are generously helping me.
But let’s go back to aims and means, Read this please:
To forget your aim is the most common form of stupidity.
This is an exaggeration and in the same time, a euphemism. Losing your aims, replaced by some means, or in other way, is the best recipe for disaster. If this happens to you, there is no other solution than to regain your initial aims and to aim to more. Otherwise your cause is lost.
The lost aims of LENR.
Cold Fusion has appeared unexpectedly as a promise of infinite energy clean energy, as a creative solution to the huge delays and great troubles of Hot Fusion. Based on the natural simplicity in thinking everybody has expected to get a hot fusion reaction that takes place at cold, due probably to the enormous electro-chemical pressure on the surface of the palladium cathode. Soon the initial naiveties have disappeared and instead of a golden rush for more and more energy, the field had to fight desperately enough for its very survival. The starting aim, Energy became fight for survival; Enhancement was replaced fast with proving Existence. Prove that you really exist! The field was under siege for long years. Pragmatic focus became scientific focus. When it become obvious that the intensity of the desired heat release cannot be increased the aim was changed to very sensitive heat measurement and a glorious new chapter was added to the fine art of calorimetry. Disproportionate efforts but heroic ones. Milliwatts are less that watts, our bodies are sources of approximately 100Watts heat and we need much powerful sources than ourselves. Minute quantities of energy generate no enthusiasm, no enthusiasm means no funds, no funds signifies no creative ideas. Lack of creative ideas is the most destructive situation possible for research.
Cold Fusion has aimed to be a commercial heat source but was sentenced to remain a lab curiosity. I don’t know who was the first to call CF anomalous, but he/she has made a fatal error, the effect is new, unexpected even surprising (smart researchers are surprised only by the absence of surprises. Anomalous is pejorative, offensive. Do you want an anomalous oven or an anomalous car?
However many good people have discovered and are convinced that the effect, LENR exists and continued to try to solve the problem of improved processes. These people organizes meetings, the great ones have arrived this year to No 19. However the main aim of these meetings seems to be to create opportunities to many people, some of them young, to present new variants of weak and sick and unreliable LENRs or is helping theorists to apply their one-step, simple explanation to a process for which the prefix “multi” can be applied in multi-mode. Very rarely was it organized a serious, even desperate discussion re why the XXXX is this strange category of phenomena so weak and difficultly reproducible, concluding that this situation is INTOLERABLE and MUST BE CHANGED. By any means!
A last remark- one of the starting aims of Cold Fusion was to be NUCLEAR. I am increasingly thinking this is an equivalent of the cat’s color not of the cat’s mice hunting ability. (I am speaking about Deng Xiaoping’s cat not Andrea Rossi’s). I hope LENR+ is Nuclear in a quite new, harmless way.
Losing aims, due to replacement by means, or in any other way is the best recipe for failure and/or disaster for anyone and for everything.
If a field loses its aims, it loses its original identity and can be resurrected only from outside. LENR+ will regenerate the noble and useful Cold Fusion dream.
There is a funny, not really funny, story that I was using professionally when upset by stupid decision.
During Koweit war a GI scoot, hidden as a bedouin with a camel, get lost in the desert. Short of food, water, having lost maps and GPShe finally find a Saddam secret bunker, with nobody, but tons of food, tons of water, nice bedrooms, and no radio, map, nor vehicle.
Blocked in a golden cage he decise to settle comfortably and wait for someone to came, with his camel.
After few month, he think about finding a girlfriend... His camel was a female, and as a soldier he decide to adapt to the situation.
He take a bible, two rings, and try to kiss the camel. she does not agree, and have better ambition than to marry a soldier. each time he try to kiss to seal the marriage, she step away...
after one day of moving accros the oasis, the GI abandon...
the day after, the GI see a cloud of smoke away. he get on his camel and go and see what it is. he find a desert princess, with a broken car, engine having exploded, car and princess desperate for water after a race against evil pursuant...
As a gentleman he propose water, food, and bring her to his blockhaus.
The princess thanks him and tell him that according to the rule of the desert she is the property of him, that he can ask her all what he desire.... sho move her hairs, remove some clothes, move slowly showing how well cared is her body..."all what you desire!"...
the GIS seems interested and ask shyly... what about a wedding ?
she smile with desire, and say YES .
the GI then ask her :
can you keep the camel quite so I can kiss her and marry her.
THnaks really intuitive example of perseverare diabolicum.ReplyDelete
It happens that you story is conform with my S-theory of Humor, vvalid only for the English language, actually a Septoe:
Recipe of humor: sex, stupidity shit, sadism. surprisingly.
There must be a loving and intimate marriage between means and goals for the marriage to be successful.ReplyDelete
This post brings to mind an incident in my experience in problem solving that will address this point.
I presented a solution in which I was most proud to by boss which solved a problem for our customers in a most elegant fashion.
But to my amazed chagrin after I had presented this brilliant masterpiece of problem solving, he asked me one and only one critical question…How do we lock the customer in?
My boss’s only requirement of my solution was to make are customers totally subservient to our solution.
If the solution did not do that, the solution was useless.
The same could be true for LENR. If LENR does not support the concentration and control of capital, it may well be rejected as a solution to worldwide energy requirements.
Let us hope that the eventual developers of LENR products can manipulate means and goals to the advantage of all mankind rather than serve to concentrate and control of capital in a few hands.
Reviewing some old reports, I found this one year old statement which appeared in comments on a Forbes article:
"Author:Trends 1 year ago
Symeon Tsalikoglou the director of business and marketing of Defkalion today wrote in an email:
“Defkalion has conducted third party tests on its core technology by internationally recognized and reputable private and public organizations from Europe and America. Today, there is solid, unambiguous evidence confirming our technology. We are at the dawn of a new era of clean, inexpensive, limitless renewable energy.”
Perhaps you could ask Mr. Tsalikoglou which internationally recognized and reputable private and (especially) public organizations they used. Public organizations often have to disclose their activity under freedom of information laws.
Also, it's been a year now. Where is our inexpensive and limitless renewable energy? I'd settle for a convincing demo of a few kilowatts but I still have not seen one anywhere.
I ma worried, you have not read or not understood my former answer to the same question. As regarding that energy, when you will see it, when you will be convinced it exists, what will yoo do? Apologize or make seppuku like the heroine of Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly?
I will be satisfied with a simple mea culpa.
Oh, I understood the previous evasion. Sorry... answer.ReplyDelete
I guess, dear Peter, I am wondering how long you are willing to wait for all the information which Tsalikoglou clearly said was available more than a year ago. How long should the world have to wait for it's boundless power?
Thank you, I was worried you had not understood it
and you still want to harm the great units thta dare to
investigate LENR+ (i.ie. Cold fusion in its present form)
Boundless power still comes in quantized-kWs form.
Do you want a bet with me on the reality and usability
of LENR+? I take in consideration that you don't know the
reality of LENR+
Waiting your next attack. Sorry... question.
Well, Peter, if I can sit here at a distant computer and harm Defkalion, they can't have much to work with!Delete
I don't know about LENR in general and I never claimed to. I do know that subtle claims for small amounts of power are exceedingly difficult to distinguish from measurement and method errors as the MFMP is finding out every day. Large or huge claims such as Rossi's and Defkalion could be properly evaluated with certainty in less than a week at low cost and with no risk to intellectual property. Neither allows this because they are probably scam. I can find no other valid reason for their behavior. If they wanted stealth they wouldn't all squawk so much. I don't believe that weird excuse. Do they need time? They've had three years. They don't seem to need anything more to make ridiculous claims!
I am reasonably certain from careful reading over a period of several years that Rossi is an investor scam and that Defkalion is neither more subtle nor less of a ruse.
Have I told explicitly that you can do harm to anybody? You
are playing a role, and you do it with some charm- at the negative
extreme of the spectrum of opinions re these claims of New Energy.
Joshua Cude is attacking everything, Gary Wright- it seems got annoyed with the story of Rossi or has got a pre-publication copy of the mythical Professors' report.
I have no idea what your professional experience is, however if you say Rossi is a fraud, it's kind of obligation to try to explain how this fraud works with devices giving zero excess heat. But this is your problem and I hope you also think so.
Gary has done this better (if he is an alter ego of yours, I apologize).
Rossi's method of fooling people has been explained in great detail and doing so at length got several people including me, kicked off Vortex.ReplyDelete
In summary, his early e-cats used the mistaken impression that he made dry steam when in fact the steam was wet. That, by the way, accounts almost exactly for his claimed COP of 6. This is described in great detail by Grabowski et al here: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/GrabowskiKrobustperf.pdf
Later e-cats may have used several methods to deceive. A prominent one is the bad placement of the temp-out thermocouple so that it is too near the hot inlet of the heat exchanger. Finally, Levi's spectacular result with liquid flow calorimeter may also have been simply misplacement of a temp-out thermocouple so it could contact the electrical heater. Heat storage in components of the "Ottoman" e-cat that Rossi never showed was probably also a factor in the "heat after death" demonstration.
There are two good reasons to believe Rossi's demonstrations were faked. One, as illustrious a person as Brian Josephson wrote to Levi asking him to repeat his experiment with proper controls and blanks and calibrations. It's not more than three months later and Levi has not even replied to the email, according to Josephson.
The second reason is an enlargement of the first-- Rossi has NEVER done a single demonstration with proper calibration of his heat flow measuring system. If he did, I believe it would show that all of the excess heat Rossi claims is due to deliberately bad measurement methods and/or heat stores in the equipment.
Defkalion has never shown anything in public, including Nelson's report, which contains enough data to properly analyze so I am confident they are also frauds. Sorry Peter, but if you count on those people clearly showing that LENR is real, I suspect that you will a) wait a long time and b) be disappointed totally in the end.
I thank you for commenting on my blog.
I think you know what a perpetuum mobile is but I have some doubts you are using perpetuum stabile, the contrary of the former a device in which you can feed lots of energy, in vain, because it will never do or give something useful.
And you insinuate that Rossi is trying to sell perpetuum stabile-s to the world. I ask you: if you hesr about a wonderful vscuum cleaner you try it and sate it does not suck and it does not clean, what will you do? Buy an other one?
You are commenting on my blog, fine but you have not read what I wrote and that makes my job difficult. First, I have suggested Rossi to do a perfect experiment in a simpler paper than tha recommended by you.
Second you seem to forget that excess it like intelligence or sexual potency cannot be faked- when are totally missing.
I told ages ago that Rossi is doing a 2=4, not a 0 =2 fraud, that is he tried to improve the results obtained,
to increase via measurement the values obtained. But excess heat was NOT zero and this makes a huge difference, technically, perhaps not ethically.
As I have explained here too many times, there exists LENR
certain but weak and unreliable, then you can make a great step to enhanced excess heat but from thta to a real, practical energy source it is a long way with many obstacles and barriers. Rossi is not good in teamwork due
to his behavior and possible he made some errors, went to technological cul-de sacs, is still not mastering control
perfectly. He knows the details. If now he has a skilled partner and if the Professors have demonstrated real excess heat for the Hot Cat we will see it soon. Relatively soon.
God knows how soon. But at least in wording he made progress.It is some logic in his development. Let's wait together and keep in touch.
As I watch the drama unfold that is LENR (Cold Fusion, LENR+, HENI, etc.) I see all the elements of a cheap novella. Insults hurled, epithets ladled, charge and counter-charge, as the melee ensues. This can be healthy and constructive to fuel a vigorous debate. It also can be destructive. To the layperson, the infighting makes the entire subject matter, which is already incomprehensible in its juvenile state of development, appear to be completely devoid of all basis in fact.ReplyDelete
On one end of the spectrum is Rossi. Whether he is a brilliant researcher or whether he is the blind sow that still managed to find an ear of corn, or worse still, whether he is putting on a magic show to disguise a non-functioning technology is openly debated. One fact seems indisputable: Rossi is a flagrant optimist and a public relations nightmare. If I had Rossi’s ear, as a friend, I would suggest that he hire a public relations person (maybe call it a press secretary) and I would have Rossi keep off the blogs and press events. A press secretary can say “I don’t know” without being called a fool or a fake. A press secretary can take the time to explain carefully the situation without divulging any proprietary information. Rossi’s short answers (“yes”, “no”, “is a secret”) only leave him open to misunderstandings, misrepresentations, apparent contradictions, and charges of fraud. Rossi’s optimism is can be a driving force for research, but it is suicide when displayed in full public view. Any qualified CEO knows that you should under commit and over deliver. Done in reverse simply destroys credibility. Even Rossi’s hints of threats on his life can be taken as a sign of a pending scam –what better way to disappear with a pile of money, and have a “magical” secret technology disappear for all time, than to “die” (disappear) and set up a new life somewhere else. I am not suggesting that this is in fact the case, I would only hope to illustrate Rossi’s untenable position. He is his own worst enemy in his efforts to launch his technology.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who seem so hung up on their version of reality that no other idea can penetrate. For example, it seems to me that some latitude can be allowed in the descriptions of a technology that tends to be unrepeatable, uncontrollable, open to various theoretical constructs, and is (in my very humble opinion) still not understood. I think W-L is a good honest attempt, but it is very early in the game to carve this in stone. If I were a marketing department ready to launch a product that produces energy from this technology I would, quite frankly, want to use the name “cold fusion” (even if it is not). I realize this is abhorrent to many technologists, but the term has roots that suggest a metaphorically “cool” technology. And, after all, I don’t think there is a fusion reactor in a Ford compact car of that name. As for HENI, wasn’t that the name of a chicken (Henny Penny)?
Down the middle, it seems to me, is DGT. They seem interested in collaboration, well controlled reactions, and a professional presentation. They might benefit from public disclosure and peer review of an independent test -a la Rossi (but with a few more of the blanks filled in), but they seem to at least be keeping the horse before the cart.
We can only hope that from all the hype, demonization, miscalculation, and mischaracterization some victor will emerge to light the way to the future. It may still be possible, and I hope it is, that the novella will yet have a happy ending.
Definitely a well written wise comment. With your permission I will cite from it occasionally,
Thank you Peter, for you kind words. Use my comments anyway you wish.Delete
Your comments are IMHO very insightful. You seem to have a better grasp of business behavior than a lot of posters on this topic :)
Re names, for the process, it would seem a cute name can be helpful, Andrea showed that with his cutely named 'eCat', but assuming this new technology is validated to all our satisfaction (be it LENR+ or HENI) I am sure the name will make little difference (remember the iPad naming ruckus that then evaporated once the product came out).