Where is the LENR goal line, and how best do we get there?

  • And investors and entrepreneurs do not care one crumb about university politics or what "distinguished scientists" say. They examine the evidence and hire their own experts.

    I have met with the experts hired by investors. I have read their comments and evaluations. Most of them do not have the slightest idea what they are talking about. They are as ignorant as you are. As mistaken as Wikipedia. They are not as kooky as Morrison, but they have no knowledge of cold fusion. The ones who visit experiments come up with bogus reasons to reject the claims.


    I have also read and uploaded the comments by experts delegated by the DoE. They did have some knowledge, but their evaluations have no merit. See for yourself:


    http://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?page_id=455

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    And if you claim hot fusion is the guilty party, how do they influence private capital?


    The influence is on governments, who are after all spending other peoples money (which is often painless) - governments that become hypnotised by the size of the projects, tokomaks are giant tombstones, the modern-day equivalent of the pyramids dedicated to the glory of presidents and prime ministers, and thus they soon become 'too big to fail' and can commandeer endless funding.

  • ETA: BTW, that list of opposed ideas is pretty desperate.

    Do you mean all of those ideas are pretty desperate? The entire list? Are you suggesting there are valid doubts about lasers, MRI, the Krebs cycle, or the circulation of blood?


    Because you disagree with some of the items listed, you use that as an excuse to dismiss the entire list, and to dismiss the fact that major discoveries in science have often met with harsh opposition. Your argument is weak, to say the least. It is not logical.

  • Before Jed digs in again with his usual barrage of personal attacks and the like, I'd like to see him respond to a simple request.


    Let's put aside the issue of whether the evidence for LENR/cold fusion is definitive. For argument's sake, let's say it is.


    My questions are:


    1) Is the phenomenon well understood (I would even want to ask if it is well-defined, but that is probably a can of worms.)

    2) Is the phenomenon reproducible? (Now, not can it become reproducible)

    3) Is the phenomenon controllable? (Now, not can it become controllable)


    I am hoping for yes/no answers, not a diatribe.

  • Jed,

    This is what I have been preaching for years.

    Replicated experimental data by multiple trusted sources MUST trump theory.

    In all cases, all the time, every time, the theory MUST be re-aligned to agree with the replicated data.

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    The way I see it, LENR needs a complete theory to progress faster, or at least break out of the rut it is in. But theorists are not interested in investing their time to sort it out, because they do not trust the experimental results. Sounds like a Catch 22 situation. We have given them our best, and they are still not interested. So what to do?


    That is not to say we do not have theories, as there are many. W/L, Hagelstein, Kim (hired by IH), Cook, Hollis, are just a few. Then among the researchers, there are almost as many pet theories as there are of them. But all appear to me, more a work in progress than anything near complete. I would think getting mainstream on board is needed to fill in the missing pieces, and get LENR to the finish line.

  • My questions are:


    1) Is the phenomenon well understood (I would even want to ask if it is well-defined, but that is probably a can of worms.)

    2) Is the phenomenon reproducible? (Now, not can it become reproducible)

    3) Is the phenomenon controllable? (Now, not can it become controllable)

    I suggest you read the literature, rather than asking me. See:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/McKubreMCHcoldfusionb.pdf


    I think you will find the answers are clear, and nearly every expert agrees with them. I would say they are:


    1. Somewhat understood, in some ways, but not others. In some important ways relating to theory it is not understood. I think everyone agrees with that. Even the people who think they have theories usually say the theories are incomplete.


    2. Somewhat reproducible, in some ways, but not others. Experts have sometimes reproduced the same results in very similar conditions such as loading, in different labs. But they have often not been able to reproduce those conditions -- especially loading. So, this has be carefully defined and qualified. A simple yes or no answer makes no technical sense. See McKubre's papers on reproducibility for details. Such as:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/PonsSproceeding.pdf#page=31


    This is a little like asking "can Google's IA system translate from Japanese to English?" If you are asking me, since I know a lot about translating and linguistics, I would have to give a long and carefully qualified answer, because it is a complicated subject. Unless you mean "can Google translate a weather report?" Yes, and so could computers in 1975.


    3. Somewhat controllable. See McKubre's equation. It would be more correct to say the control factors are known, but they cannot always be achieved. This is analogous to saying you can control a fire in a Franklin stove by opening or closing the vents, regulating the air that reaches the fire. Yes, you can, but that does not control it completely. It cannot extinguish the fire. With the wrong fuel or too much fuel, Franklin stoves can go out of control and burn down houses.

  • Okey dokey, Jed. This is where we were when you went off on a rant about my claiming to know more about LENR than the experts and all the rest of the crap you were flinging.


    Let's try one more time just for shits and giggles. I don't claim to know anything about LENR. I've read a few papers and picked up things from this website, but I am quite ignorant, as you proclaim at every opportunity.


    That being said, I am on quite safe ground and am not overstepping my humble intellectual capacity to state that whatever the hell LENR is, it is not well understood, not very reproducible, and not well-controlled. I think that statement is consistent with your response. I also, from I can gather, think that is rather a positive-spin assessment.


    So when we were mud-wrestling recently, what I was saying - and ALL I was saying - is that it is presumptuous to make claims about how long it will take, what it will cost, and what the final product will look like based on a technology at that state of development. That is something I do know about from extensive personal experience. You can make lots of arguments about how things SHOULD turn out, but they are just guesses. Reality can be different and has a strong tendency to bite you in the ass. That is not my ego talking whereas your definitive statements about putative LENR technology are your ego talking.

  • The evidence for cold fusion was definitive by late 1990.


    It is definitive since January 2011, that those who affirm that "the evidence for cold fusion was definitive" are plain wrong.


    It is a well reproduced phenomenon replicated in thousands of statements and comments made by almost every expert in the field along many years.


    Surely, there are also valid socio-psychological theories that explain it.

  • That being said, I am on quite safe ground and am not overstepping my humble intellectual capacity to state that whatever the hell LENR is, it is not well understood, not very reproducible, and not well-controlled. I think that statement is consistent with your response.

    That is correct.


    So when we were mud-wrestling recently, what I was saying - and ALL I was saying - is that it is presumptuous to make claims about how long it will take, what it will cost, and what the final product will look like based on a technology at that state of development.

    No, that is completely wrong. Any engineer born after 1820 could instantly tell you what the product would look like, based on the known performance charactoristics, such as temperature and power density. For exactly the same reason, if you were to describe a fission reactor core to an engineer in 1820, for a given application, he could tell you exactly how big it would be and how well it would work, even though he would not have a clue about how it works. A fission reactor, or a cold fusion reactor, can be treated as a black box that produces heat for unknown reasons. Cold fusion cathodes have achieved the power density and temperatures of a fission reactor core fuel pellet, continuing for months in that condition, so there is no question that the reactor and heat engine can be about the same size as a fission reactor per kilowatt of capacity. Of course it does not produce penetrating radiation, or radwaste other than tritium which can easily be contained, so it would not need a heavy containment vessel.


    The cost can easily be predicted. We know what materials are used, in what quantities per kilowatt. We know the level of precision and purity needed, which is not high by modern standards.


    Obviously no one can know how long it will take to develop. That is a political question. As long as there is intense opposition, it will never be developed. If there had been no opposition, it would probably be developed already. Science and R&D are never a sure thing, but they usually work.

  • Congratulations! You responded without personal attacks. Hooray.


    I guess we will have to agree to disagree with your assertion that how long it would take to develop the technology is a political question. If you don’t have solutions to technical problems, you can’t know how long it will take to solve them even if nefarious forces are not preventing you from working on them. Some problems never get solved and the technology in question never goes anywhere. Is that the case here? Beats me. Say whatever you wish, but nobody knows the answer to that question. Place your bets but don’t claim it as fact.


    Over and out.

  • The way I see it, LENR needs a complete theory to progress faster, or at least break out of the rut it is in. But theorists are not interested in investing their time to sort it out, because they do not trust the experimental results. Sounds like a Catch 22 situation. We have given them our best, and they are still not interested. So what to do?


    That is not to say we do not have theories, as there are many. W/L, Hagelstein, Kim (hired by IH), Cook, Hollis, are just a few. Then among the researchers, there are almost as many pet theories as there are of them. But all appear to me, more a work in progress than anything near complete. I would think getting mainstream on board is needed to fill in the missing pieces, and get LENR to the finish line.

    The grip on keeping LERN dead was from mainstream, It would be funny if mainstream was faked out to spread LENR technology.

  • @Shane: your comments highlight one of the most fascinating aspects of the whole LENR business. You refer to “we”, as in “we have theories”, “we have given them our best”, etc. it is like Yankee fans saying “we beat the Red Sox” as though the fans had anything to do with it. I suppose a cheering crowd can have an influence on the outcome of a game. Very common in the world of sports; totally unheard of in the world of science. But oh so charming...

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    @Shane: your comments highlight one of the most fascinating aspects of the whole LENR business. You refer to “we”, as in “we have theories”, “we have given them our best”, etc. it is like Yankee fans saying “we beat the Red Sox” as though the fans had anything to do with it. I suppose a cheering crowd can have an influence on the outcome of a game. Very common in the world of sports; totally unheard of in the world of science. But oh so charming...


    Dr. IO,


    So would you prefer I say "I have a theory", "I have given it my best", or "I beat the Red Sox"? :)


    Seriously, I am a Mod on the most popular LENR website on the planet, that caters to believers. That makes me part of the team. There is no "I" in "team". So sorry, you will have to get used to me saying "we". Get over it.

  • I guess we will have to agree to disagree with your assertion that how long it would take to develop the technology is a political question. If you don’t have solutions to technical problems, you can’t know how long it will take to solve them

    Engineers and scientists have solved thousands of technical problems since the late 18th century. They know how to go about doing this. The methods that could be used to solve the cold fusion are similar to those used with other empirical problems without a strong theory, such as projects to develop solid-state radar, radio antenna, and countless aspects of materials and electrochemistry. Fields like this are as much art as science.


    There are modern test-bed robotic machines to explore parameter spaces for such tasks. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but they are much faster than Edisonian human research projects. Machines like this operated by experts could probably produce working cold fusion devices, which would then enhance efforts to develop better theories. I emphasize "better" -- not perfect. Theories are often incomplete. In retrospect they often turn out to be wrong. But they can still be useful guides.


    It is not certain these techniques would work, but they have worked countless times in many fields, so it is a safe bet they would work in this case.


    Up until 1750, all technology was developed essentially without any theory at all, because people did not even know there were atoms, or that combustion was oxidation. Yet technology reached high levels of development and people made many devices that engineers even today would have difficulty rivaling. Theory is useful, and it makes R&D go faster, but you can develop technology without it.


    Try asking any expert in any field, such as high temperature superconductors, medicine, electrochemistry or anything relating to materials: "how does A work?" The answer is B. "How do we know B?" Probably because C, but some experts disagree. Iterate 5 times or so and you reach the limits of human knowledge. The answer is: "no one knows and there is no theory; we just know it to be true, because it was established experimentally." Ask any physicist to explain the half-lives of different elements, for example. People know very little, yet they have accomplished a great deal. Often simply by relying on experience, intuition, and empirical methods. People think science and technology are theory-based, but they are not. As Schwinger said, "have we forgotten that physics are empirical?" Yes, many of us have forgotten that.

  • Jed,

    I really have no idea what your spirited defense of empiricism has to do with the price of tea in China. Going from an observed physical phenomenon to a practical technology is not simply a matter of beavering away. In many instances, the innovations required are far more creative and impressive than those that led to the discovery of the phenomenon in the first place. This isn’t a matter of theory.


    You mentioned high-temperature superconductors. After 30+ years, there still isn’t a successful theory for them. However, there are some applications that have been successfully developed (technically at least, although not in the business sense.) There are other applications for which the materials are still far from being useful with no real end in sight. It is the nature of the beast. In 1988, experts predicted all sorts of things about applications and their potential timetables to fruition. Pretty much all of them were dead wrong and the status of HTS in 1988 with respect to understanding, reproducibility and controllability was already far beyond anything you could possibly claim for LENR even today.


    And yet you will go to the mat arguing that only politics has prevented the commercialization of LENR. Sorry, you are just wrong-headed on this issue. But, as I have long observed, you are physically incapable of ever admitting to be wrong about anything.

  • @Shane: your comments highlight one of the most fascinating aspects of the whole LENR business. You refer to “we”, as in “we have theories”, “we have given them our best”, etc. it is like Yankee fans saying “we beat the Red Sox” as though the fans had anything to do with it. I suppose a cheering crowd can have an influence on the outcome of a game. Very common in the world of sports; totally unheard of in the world of science. But oh so charming...

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  • You mentioned high-temperature superconductors. After 30+ years, there still isn’t a successful theory for them. However, there are some applications that have been successfully developed (technically at least, although not in the business sense.


    Is that a reasonable comparison, IO?


    How much has been spent on HTSC? (The estimates for CF / LENR are $50 to $100 million last time I looked). IBM alone has spent $100 million on HTSC.... and it is far easier to show the sine qua non HTSC endpoint, that is the Meissner effect, than it is to show some (currently) modest "excess of chemical" energy using calorimetry for CF /LENR


    How much negative "attitude" toward HTSC has been shown by Scientific American, Nature, mainstream media? Virtually none. Ironically few physics and/ or no electrochemically-trained personnel (Shanahan?) have ever been involved in setting the demonstrably negative media "attitudes" with respect to CF / LENR.


    How easy is it to demonstrate HTSC works? (I personally have easily shown it works via Meissner repulsion at LN2 temperature.) in other words much, much easier than CF / LENR.


    I suspect the huge vested financial and professional interests in "hot fusion" has been responsible for much of this difficulty with funding and "attitude". Coupled with the relative technical difficulty in clearly demonstrating the CF / LENR effects... Whether thermodynamic or the modest levels of expected (from high energy collisional research) fusion products / by-products.