Public funding of investigations into LENR?

  • I think you have only a flimsy idea of what the wotd 'logic' means'. As for 'calling you names' not at all. You are hopefully not dumb, but your ideas are.

    No offense taken. I understand the debate on topics like these can become heated at times. Given my degree and my current job, I have enough understanding of technical topics to analyze them.

  • LINR, your degree and job are irrelevant. As has been explained here many times, if you have not read hundreds of LENR papers or, better yet, performed LENR experiments yourself, then you are not entitled to express negative thoughts about the topic. If you HAVE read hundreds of papers and express negative thoughts, then you are a crackpot. On the other hand, there are no requirements for being positive about the topic, so consider doing that instead.

  • As has been explained here many times, if you have not read hundreds of LENR papers or, better yet, performed LENR experiments yourself, then you are not entitled to express negative thoughts about the topic.

    No one says that.


    You have to read a dozen papers, I think. Not hundreds. If you have not performed experiments at all, or you have no idea what LENR experiments are like, and what instruments are used, then you are not entitled to any opinion, positive or negative.

    If you HAVE read hundreds of papers and express negative thoughts, then you are a crackpot.

    I know only four people who read many papers yet who expressed negative opinions. No doubt there are others, but I only know four of them. Three are crackpots. Shanahan, for example, claims that a hot object is "not a heater" and a hand-held object that remains hot for a week is "not being heated." In other words, he does not believe in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Huizenga was the fourth person. He was not a crackpot, but I do not think he understood the scientific method, as Beaudette pointed out, and I explained, as follows:



    The books by F. Close and J. Huizenga are mainly devoted to proving that cold fusion violates theory and is therefore impossible. Huizenga, who was the head of the DoE ERAB panel that dismissed cold fusion in 1989, concluded his book with a 6-point summation. Point number six states that we know a priori that all positive cold fusion excess heat results must be wrong:


    "Furthermore, if the claimed excess heat exceeds that possible by other conventional processes (chemical, mechanical, etc.), one must conclude that an error has been made in measuring the excess heat."


    Cold Fusion researchers feel that they subscribe to the traditional view, that experiments are the standard by which all claims must be judged. They believe this is fundamental to the scientific method. When a phenomenon has been replicated many times at a high signal to noise ratio, that proves it does exist, and if theory predicts it cannot exist, the theory must be wrong.

  • Jed, perhaps we are descending into a semantics argument. The notion of being "entitled" to an opinion is dubious at best. Perhaps what you are really discussing is the value of someone's opinion. In the epistemological morass we find ourselves in these days, everybody has an opinion (and generally a strong one) about nearly everything and in very few cases is that opinion based on sound evidence, careful research, or critical thinking. And we're not just talking about cold fusion. I will grant you that there is little value in an opinion about cold fusion if you don't know anything about it, but you are still entitled to have that opinion, worthless or not.

  • Talk your government into investing $5-10 million in LENR in a pass/fail, up/down experiment with a set goal of say a COP of 1.5 in terms of electricity to heat energy.

    There are two problems with this:


    1. The experimental literature on cold fusion is already convincing. Anyone who is not convinced by it will not be convinced by additional experiments.


    2. The so-called COP is is not a valid metric. It tells us nothing about the reaction. It can easily be adjusted, and it is often infinite.


    Lenrisnotreal is suggesting that this funding decision should be made by people who have no knowledge of the field or the literature, and who mistakenly believe that the COP is meaningful, or that it tells us something about the reaction or the prospects for making cold fusion into a practical source of energy. In other words, he is saying we should abandon conventional scientific standards and instead let ignorant, biased, unqualified people decide whether to fund this research or not. People like him. That has what has been done for 30 years. It has failed drastically. Millions of dollars have been wasted on cold fusion projects that had no chance of success, while valid programs were never funded.

    • Official Post

    These efforts have been shut down, last I heard.


    Eric,


    SPAWAR for sure. That was news 4 years ago when it stopped LENR research. I think China Lake was basically all Miles, and he retired years ago, so probably nothing there anymore. Miles was demoted to stock clerk for working on LENR, so I would think the message -LENR bad for career, is well known around there.


    Guess I should have said there used to be LENR research at the NRL's. Not anymore. Good thing NASA stuck with it.

  • Perhaps what you are really discussing is the value of someone's opinion. In the epistemological morass we find ourselves in these days, everybody has an opinion (and generally a strong one) about nearly everything and in very few cases is that opinion based on sound evidence, careful research, or critical thinking. And we're not just talking about cold fusion. I will grant you that there is little value in an opinion about cold fusion if you don't know anything about it, but you are still entitled to have that opinion, worthless or not.

    It is a conventional English idiom to say: "you have no right to an opinion on that." A variation of this idiom is "entitled." This means you have no basis for an opinion. You know nothing about it, so your opinion has no value. It does not mean you have no legal right or moral right.


    There are other instances in which this expression is used to mean a legal right to express an opinion, for example in a court room.


    A native speaker usually knows these two meanings, and can distinguish between them. I expect you are a native speaker of English, but perhaps you are unaware of the meaning. (If you were Japanese I would not be surprised at this confusion, and I would point you to the online eowp dictionary showing examples of the two meanings.)


    Since cold fusion is a technical subject, it is not a matter of opinion. There is not "little value" in an uniformed opinion. There is no value at all. It is as if someone commented on the latest security problem with Intel processors when that person knew nothing about computers or how hackers work and had no earthly idea what "prefetch instruction" or "array boundary check" means. (I know just enough to be astounded that anyone can hack a server by exploiting prefetch instructions. I never would have imagined that!)


    A person who would comment on the validity of cold fusion research without reading the papers is a complete dolt -- even if he happens to be an expert in some other area of science. The comments by people here who have not read the literature, and who imagine, for example, that the "COP" is somehow meaningful, reveal only that these people have nothing to contribute and they should either learn something or shut up and stop making fools of themselves.

  • who imagine, for example, that the "COP" is somehow meaningful


    Unfortunately, rejecting COP is akin to "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" so to speak. COP calculations admittedly can be fudged by the dishonest or mistakenly evaluated by the naive. But that can be true of any thermodynamic observation, and certainly true of any such computation of efficiency as in COP. If one is concerned with "excess" heat, then COP is a one accepted way to get to a number for at least comparative purposes.


    Ideal COP allows a net assessment of performance for heat machines performing similar work. As a comparative tool in LENR it could allow assessment of performance, but only if all the variable inputs are either held constant or are very carefully accounted. When someone comes up with any "infinite" COP, they are undoubtedly ignoring or neglecting inputs.


    It is well known that COP quotients can substantially exceed "one" without invoking cheating, error or any bizarre chemistry or nuclear energy. As I mentioned in the quote below, COP for heat pumps can have a COP of 3.5. I see on review that there are experimental rigs as high as 4.5, with a theoretical maximum over 7. So, in spite of its rather ludicrous name, "lenrisnotreal" is setting such a low bar for LENR evaluation as to call into question the whole exercise.

    Since LENR is supposed to represent nuclear reactions, they surely must greatly exceed the energy expectations of ordinary chemistry and physics. On circumspection, I was being generously low in suggesting COP of 4 or 5 as a criterion. But at least that gets us beyond ordinary thermodynamics of the usual heat pumps. Perhaps a COP of 10.... properly measured might be a better criterion. But that itself may be too arbitrary and perhaps too low for evaluating whether an LENR reaction is truly nuclear.


    Nevertheless Mitchell Swartz has shown COP calculations in his evaluations of his phusor and/or nanor devices, although I don't recall that he takes them much above 6 or so, without getting into the region of excessive positive feedback and hence catastrophic failure.


    Personally I (and others) like the idea of measuring transmutation and/or fusion products, even though we have seen even those measurements challenged. I have hopes that more critically defensible results such as those might be forthcoming soon.

    I suggest the criterion should be somewhat higher than 1.5. That is so low that a heat pump out performs it (up to 3.4, if I recall correctly). Further 1.5 is about the variation seen in historical heats of enthalpy for many reactions. COP of 4 or 5 gets us beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • “The comments by people here who have not read the literature, and who imagine, for example, that the ‘COP’ is somehow meaningful, reveal only that these people have nothing to contribute and they should either learn something or shut up and stop making fools of themselves.”


    You do realize that this comment applies quite often (probably more often) to vocal supporters of LENR here and yet they are never the recipient of your dismissive scorn. Just sayin’.

  • You do realize that this comment applies quite often (probably more often) to vocal supporters of LENR here and yet they are never the recipient of your dismissive scorn. Just sayin’.


    Our beloved Jed, who I first started following at sci.physics.fusion, in was it the mid 90s? Anyway Jed has polished his weapons and deserves to be treated as a worthy adversary in any CF / LENR conflict. But even he can still make errors, if I recall correctly. He may remember those more vividly than we do. I don't think Jed is interested so much in correcting the ignorant, he is more inclined to take on the incorrigible dogmatists.


    But, by and large, the currently participating "supporters" you may mean some of those who have been chastened by the Rossi experiences, and now have become much more dedicated to empirical results. Most of them continue to learn something, do follow at least the relevant JCMNS articles and do click out to many of the links posted here. I would say they are not ignorant of the literature, although few likely would even pretend to have the encyclopedic grasp of the deeper lit than say Jed, Abd or Ed Storms.

  • “The comments by people here who have not read the literature, and who imagine, for example, that the ‘COP’ is somehow meaningful, reveal only that these people have nothing to contribute and they should either learn something or shut up and stop making fools of themselves.”


    You do realize that this comment applies quite often (probably more often) to vocal supporters of LENR here and yet they are never the recipient of your dismissive scorn. Just sayin’.

    Who are you talking about? If you mean supporters of Rossi, let me point out that:


    1. That is not LENR as far as anyone can tell.

    2. I am on record disagreeing with them, to say the least.


    If you are talking about people who support conventional Pd-D cold fusion, yet who know nothing about about it, you will have to give me some names. Perhaps I have not read their posts, but I cannot think of any.

  • Unfortunately, rejecting COP is akin to "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" so to speak. COP calculations admittedly can be fudged by the dishonest or mistakenly evaluated by the naive.

    You miss the point. There is no connection between input and output power in Pd-D cold fusion. The two are independent. Input is governed by electrochemistry and output by the McKubre equation. You often have one without the other (input with no output or vice versa). They are not proportional. Input does not trigger or modulate output. A cold fusion device is nothing like an amplifier. Input power is only needed to form the material and to keep it from degassing. Other methods have been used. Also, it is easy to lower the input power, for example by bringing the anode and cathode closer together.


    So, it would not matter if the calculations were "fudged." They do not mean anything. They tell you nothing about the reaction. You might as well talk about the ratio of glassware to metal in the cell, or the speed of the data collection computer. The "COP" is a meaningless number.


    It is true that the heat from high electrolysis input power can trigger a reaction in a sample that is already undergoing the reaction, but you can accomplish the same thing with electric heating, a laser, or insulation. A heat pulse is meaningful. That has nothing to do with ratios or a COP.


    Nevertheless Mitchell Swartz has shown COP calculations in his evaluations of his phusor and/or nanor devices, although I don't recall that he takes them much above 6 or so,

    Swartz is misguided to talk about this, in my opinion. He makes the same mistake the skeptics make here. He apparently thinks there is a connection between input and output, but I don't see it in the data and neither does anyone else. Also, I do not trust his data. As far as I know, no one else has tested his devices or confirmed his claims, so I cannot judge whether they are true or not, but I doubt anyone can measure heat as precisely as he claims with the type of calorimeter he uses. Also, his absolute power is suspiciously low. Low absolute power is not an imaginary problem like a low COP. When output power is low enough, noise becomes a problem and the data becomes less convincing. Whereas input power from electrolysis is not noise, and it is easy to measure with high precision.

  • Fair enough, Jed. If we exclude Rossi supporters, then perhaps those who remain have legitimate opinions by your standards.

    This is not about opinions, legitimate or otherwise. The issue here is that people spout off about cold fusion papers without knowing any facts about them. They have no idea what instruments are used, what the data shows, or what conclusions have been reached. They make up nonsensical claims about COPs or hot objects that are not heaters. They get the numbers wildly wrong, by 3 to 4 orders of magnitude, claiming (for example) that a reaction lasting 3 hours is not significantly longer than one that lasts 6 seconds. They think that theory overrules replicated data.


    I have not read every message here, so perhaps I did not notice supporters doing this. As I recall, most of the people who do this are so-called "skeptics" who oppose cold fusion. They are not actual skeptics, because they believe any damn thing without a second thought, as long as it supports their preconceptions.


    Granted, Rossi supporters are worse. Axil, for example, claims that Rossi is right but he refuses to read Rossi's own paper, the Penon report! It is as if I championed Fleischmann or McKubre but I refused to read any of their papers. People would say I am crazy. Why they don't say Axil has a screw loose I cannot understand.


    Mary Yugo is not so crazy. Her case is different. She refuses to read anything, or that she claims "I am not an expert; I cannot judge X" where X is something she just finished denouncing. This is "plausible deniability" -- typical political behavior. The most common form is to claim that you know the papers are garbage and without merit; everyone knows that; so you don't even need to read them. The editors at Scientific American, Nature and Wikipedia all told me that. That is, at least, plausible. It is logical. It is not stark staring crazy like Axil who is sure Rossi is right yet he refuses to look at Rossi's own data. Presumably, that data proves how right Rossi is. There is no other data from Rossi, so what other proof could there be?

  • Since LENR is supposed to represent nuclear reactions, they surely must greatly exceed the energy expectations of ordinary chemistry and physics. On circumspection, I was being generously low in suggesting COP of 4 or 5 as a criterion. But at least that gets us beyond ordinary thermodynamics of the usual heat pumps.

    LENR cannot be a heat pump effect. The cell is entirely inside the calorimetric envelope. If it were pumping heat, it would cool the fluid at one place, and heat it at another place, like a refrigerator compressing refrigerant. Since both places would be within the envelope, the net result would be zero -- no excess heat. There would be only the output heat from electrolysis.


    In other words, it would be like looking for an endothermic effect from a refrigerator by putting the entire refrigerator in room and treating the whole room as a crude calorimeter. (You can actually do this.) With this configuration, it is not possible you would see any anomalous cold.


    There have been some cold fusion experiments with partial envelopes, for example, where the electrolyte circulates outside the calorimeter. That is not a good technique. But, anyway, we can be sure these were not heat pumps either, because all components heated up, and all were hotter than the surroundings. For that to be a heat pump, the exposed portion would have to be colder than the surroundings. Either that or the gadget violated the Second Law.


    This is not to suggest a calorimeter cannot measure an endothermic effect. It can, and that is a good way to calibrate. For example by charging a rechargable battery inside it. Of course if you put the calorimeter inside the refrigerator, you see an endothermic effect! Or if you put it on the coils outside, it is exothermic.


    If your point is that LENR in its present form is less efficient than a heat pump . . . We know that. So is a multi-billion dollar Tokamak reactor. So what? That has nothing to do with how LENR is likely to perform once it is understood and controlled.

  • I've read or reviewed dozens of papers on LENR. None of them were persuasive. I felt this way mostly because the effects were too small but also because very few had multiple independent replications. If these effects were so convincing, why hasn't there been massive investment in them? Why haven't they been scaled up to the level of a power plant?


    Since a substantial percentage of those with PhDs are hired to work for gov'ts, they have plenty of qualified individuals to make decisions concerning LENR.

  • If your point is that LENR in its present form is less efficient than a heat pump . . . We know that. So is a multi-billion dollar Tokamak reactor. So what? That has nothing to do with how LENR is likely to perform once it is understood and controlled.


    Thanks Jed, for the thoughtful response.


    I did not intend to suggest LENR was a heat pump effect. Clearly LENR is unlikely or even certainly not a heat pump, at least not in an ordinary sense-- and I accept your analysis there as presented... But, now that the issue is on my mind, a few speculative points: The heat pump issue is not completely null for me in that a refrigerative phase could be temporally separated rather than spatially separated from the heat output. I have to assume this has all been thought through, but bear with me even as only a weak possibility: Hydrogen dissociation (as I understand it) into Pd has (claimed) what seems to me to be anomalous thermodynamics. Shanahan and I discussed this here over a year ago. Abd jumped in there as well. By anomalous I mean, taking the dogma I was given by those commentators, that is that H / D dissociation into Pd is a spontaneous and EXOthermic process. This, in direct contrast to H / D dissociation energy in the gas phase.... well known to be quite ENDOthermic i.e. requires work.


    To answer my concerns, I was given a reference by Shanahan: Topics in Physics series: ed by Alefeld & Völkl "Hydrogen in metals II"; 'Hydrogen in Palladium and Palladium Alloys', by E. Wicke and H. Brodowsky with cooperation of H. Züchner., Springer Verlag 1978. And that appeared to directly address the issue (I am a continent away from my library, don't have it at hand). Unfortunately the reference had repeated changes of sign for the very parameter in question (possibly delta G, and/or possibly TdeltaS), making it still a bit of a question (for me) as to whether one might use energy to load a Pd cell with H or D (which I recall from the lit), or one might see distinct heating (as I recall was implied by Abd and Shanahan). The long loading times for many reported Pd D cells seems to make this an important uncertainty for me. Particularly in view of a plethora "heat after death" reports, which would either be increased or decreased in magnitude by that change of sign for loading energy. That would in turn add or subtract from the magnitude of excess energy produced by CF / LENR / CANR.


    If that issue can be answered from your experience or wide reading, I would much appreciate it.