Posts by JedRothwell

    How does the anonymity of a peer reviewer enforce conformity, enable plagiarism, etc.? You have lost me there.

    That's what several academic scientists told me, especially Peter Hagelstein. It should be clear how it enforces conformity. Plagiarism by senior scientists is widespread because they are often chosen as anonymous reviewers. They reject a paper, steal the idea, and later publish the results themselves, taking credit for them. Two scientists told me that happened to them when they were young nobodies. Here is a well known example of this in cold fusion. In 1989, many distinguished scientists published vicious attacks against F&P, sometimes calling for their arrest and imprisonment for fraud. At the same time, some of those scientists were quietly applying to EPRI for funding to do their own cold fusion experiments. In other words, they were hoping to sabotage F&P and others, and then grab credit for the research themselves. That's according to Tom Passell, who was the cold fusion project manager EPRI.

    Academic science is corrupt to the core. Academic science is ridden with lying, cheating, knife-in-the-back betrayal, politics, plagiarism and publishing fake data. I think the main reasons are:

    • No one checks the work. People assume it is right. Experiments are seldom replicated. Most academic research is put aside and forgotten, because most of it is inconsequential. So it is easy to cheat. Programmers and engineers are as likely to be jerks as scientists, but they cannot get away with making programs that do not work. The customers won't buy them. The marketplace enforces a level of honesty and forces them to work hard, whether it is their nature or not.
    • As Woodrow Wilson put it, academic politics are vicious because the stakes are so low. They have nothing better to do than argue about things like priority. (Wilson was the president of Princeton U. before becoming the U.S. president.)
    • It is all about ego, money and power. Nothing else counts. They don't have to worry about making a living, or satisfying customers, or shipping a product on time. As one scientist put it soon after F&P announced cold fusion: "Why would I bother to replicate that? It would just mean Fleischmann and Pons get a Nobel. There is nothing in it for me." The fact that it is scientifically important and it might prevent global warming and save millions of lives meant nothing to that professor. It means nothing to Robert Park and the other opponents. They couldn't care less about the truth, or progress, the scientific method, or the other things they pay lip service to. They care only about their own prestige, their own egos, and their funding. And their parking space outside the lab.

    It is no wonder people are suspicious of global warming climatologists. I am not suspicious of them. On the other hand, I know in great detail how the academic scientists opposed to cold fusion ran roughshod over the researchers, and betrayed every supposed principle of science, not to mention logic, decency and probably several laws.

    Are you referring to peer review (of scientific papers) or particularly to anonymous peer review? Surely peer review itself was in place before the 1930's in the shape of journal editors.

    Review by editors dates back centuries. I do not know when peer-review by people other than the editor began. Anonymous peer-review where the author does not know who wrote the comments began in the 1930s, according to an Einstein biography I read. He was nonplussed. He wrote to the editor, 'What is this? Who wrote all these remarks about my paper?'

    It might have been the mid-1920s. I don't recall. But anyway, it is a recent custom, more honored in the breach than the observance.

    Without fan voltage and current measurement , (without a MAF, etc) it is nearly impossible to determine if the air flow rate changes between experiments.

    Are you talking about Mizuno or Albiston? In Mizuno's experiment the fan voltage and current are measured and recorded. The airspeed has been confirmed with two different aneometers, and it does not change, so obviously the fan speed could not be changing.

    Why would it change, in any case? A small electric motor does not vary in performance. The size of the holes does not change.

    The air flow measurement in the Mizuno calorimeter is one of the weakest points of that arrangement, IMO.

    Again, assuming this is about Mizuno, I do not see why. And I do not see how he could improve it. He records V, I, and he confirms the air speed with two different aneometers.

    Not sure what your point is here. Peer review part of the publishing process. It is the normal way things go in the academic world.

    Peer-review is a normal part, but it should not be. It was invented in the 1930s. Einstein and others were surprised by it, and objected. Anyway, my point is that authoring a paper is one role, and reviewing it is another, very different role. For that matter, copy editing papers is yet another role. That's what I do for the JCMNS. Authors occasionally give me credit in acknowledgements, but I am not listed as a contributor. Nor should I be. Some people should be listed and named with affiliations, others should not be. For that matter, we don't list the person who type-sets the papers in LaTex (Jayantha Kumar).

    The common justification for anonymous review is that it is more likely to include a frank assessment of a manuscript, unencumbered by worries that hard feelings might affect friendships and career.

    Yup. That's what they say. I think more often it is used to enforce conformity, to keep young researchers from getting ahead, and to enable plagiarism by powerful, established, older scientists. These things are endemic in academic research. Especially in big ticket research. See the book "Hubble Wars" for details.

    More generally, you are ignoring how the actual publication process in academia works -- by anonymous peer review.

    Peer review is one thing, and publishing a paper as author is another. They are very different. However, in my opinion, anonymous peer review is a bad idea. It should be abolished.

    And it may be that there are ulterior motives behind some of this, in at least one relevant case there certainly was.

    I am curious. What ulterior motive? What sort of motive could there be? It seems like a nutty thing to do. I don't see how you could profit from it. Maybe by attracting venture capital?

    I can think of no reason why anyone would resort to this practice of multiple Avatars (Sockpuppets), other than in an attempt to deceive. Especially so when that person is reporting on different replication attempts, and using a different Avatar for each! In a more formal academic setting, that would be a scandal.

    In a formal academic setting, people have to use their full names and affiliations, with the e-mail address and others contact information. No conference and no journal allows you to publish under a pseudonym.

    (There are a few exceptions in academia for things like political science. People who persecuted by governments are sometimes allowed to publish anonymously.)

    I often say the debate in cold fusion is conducted on one side by professors from recognized institutions who state their full names, and on the other side by anonymous trolls at Wikipedia who name themselves after comic-book characters. Which side do you think has more credibility?

    the realistic response is short in the first place. Ideally it is yes or no.

    Yes or no, what? What are you saying "yes" about?

    If you have to write paragraphs to explain the situation you should already sense a problem in it

    Okay, so write a haiku explaining why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Or fully explore the origins of the First World War in a Tweet. Give us a Tweet accurately summarizing the 2008 economic crash, or the Fukushima disaster. If you think a situation as complicated as cold fusion can be summarized in a paragraph, show us how it is done with those other tragic events.

    There is not a single commercial cold fusion device. And sadly may never be. Lets be realistic.

    How do we go about being "realistic" in response to this? What is a realistic response? There are no commercial cold fusion devices because of academic politics. If scientists had done their jobs and acted rationally in 1989, we would have had cold fusion automobiles by 2000, and global warming would no longer be an issue today. The problems were never technical, commercial, or a lack of funding. The world is drowning in stupid venture capital money. The way forward has been clear to the experts since 1990. Heck, even I could specify an R&D program that is 95% certain of commercializing cold fusion, given a few hundred million dollars. Okay, maybe a billion dollars. Use semiconductor material R&D equipment.

    The problem is politics and emotion. Such things can change overnight. Or they may never change. How can we be "realistic" about raw emotions? Cold fusion was stopped by ignorance, jealousy, hate, fear of the future, fear of novelty, and other deeply rooted primate emotions. The same kinds of emotions that motivated Japanese leaders to attack Pearl Harbor. You can't make "realistic" predictions about the darkest, most irrational aspects of human nature.

    Wind and solar held back by storage. I bet on hydrogen.

    Storage problems limit wind to around 40%, as in Iowa. Decades ago, experts thought that 20% was the limit. Hydrogen can be used to store wind or solar energy.

    Storage solar power is a problem in some climates, but not so much in others. For example, in places like Nevada, a large fraction of electricity is used for air conditioning, and the peak demand for air conditioning comes when sunlight is strongest. In other words, solar power peaks at the same time demand peaks. That is not the case in places like Vladivostok or Ithaca, NY.

    Based on the performance numbers wind and ground based solar are temporary or niche solutions in the big picture. A safe compact nonintermitent energy source (condensed matter hydrogen reactions), or better use of understood nuclear energy, would be much more enabling and freeing than getting energy from natural weather systems on a large scale.

    Sure! Cold fusion is much better, and at least 200 times cheaper. See:

    However, if it does not work, wind and solar are better than conventional fission, coal or gas. Conventional fission reactors are dangerous, as we learned in Fukushima. And they cost too much, as we are learning in Georgia.

    Wind now produces 7% of U.S. electricity. This can probably be increased to around 30% with today's technology, which would be almost enough to close the remaining coal plants. * The limit is ~30% mainly because wind is concentrated in the center of the continent, and there is no way to transmit electricity from North Dakota to Georgia. If there were, we could have roughly ~40% wind electricity, which is how much Iowa has. I believe that is the highest percent of any state.

    Anyway, with 30%, the burden of solid waste would increase by a factor of 4, to 200,000 tons. That is still not a serious problem. It can be dealt with with today's disposal systems. It would not add much to the cost of electricity.

    The potential energy from wind far exceeds today's total demand. If wind were used to produce synthetic liquid hydrocarbon fuel, instead of electricity, North and South Dakota alone could produce more fuel than all of OPEC does. This is not cost effective with today's technology, but there is enough energy to do it.

    * Coal is declining rapidly in the U.S. because natural gas and wind are cheaper. It has stabilized in China, which is the largest user. I predict it will soon begin to decline rapidly there.

    But what about the posters, who may well be anonymous who post claims of 'interesting' or even miraculous results, yet despite several or numerous never (or rarely) produce a proper photograph of their lab set up, offer only the most generic of data and when their claims become unsustainable Vanish like smoke?

    Does anybody have an opinion on this topic? Is peddling unsubstantiated LENR fantasy a more damaging habit than offering incomplete proof?

    Apparently, these people are lying. It is a strange compulsion. A little like Munchhausen syndrome. It makes you wonder why anyone would do it. If it is a scam, where is the profit? If it is an ego trip, who is impressed?

    It does not bother me much, because I have seen so many sincere cold fusion results that turned out to be wrong. They cause no harm. They fade away. A fake result also fades away and is forgotten, so in the end it causes little harm. There is hardly any functional difference between the two.

    This is like comparing the Munchhausen syndrome (a deliberately fake result) to a psychosomatic illness which the patient thinks is a real disease (a sincere mistake).

    Someone emailed me the other day, pointing out that 50,000 tons of scrapped and allegedly un-recyclable fibreglass wind turbine blades are being landfilled every year,

    In my opinion, 50,000 tons of scrapped fiberglass per year is not a significant problem. It will not have an impact, and it will not cost much to deal with, relative to the value of the energy generated by the turbine blades during their lifetime.


    Fiberglass is made of plastic and glass. These are inert, non-toxic materials. They will not leach into the water table or cause other problems. It is better have a million tons of inert, not-toxic solid waste then 10,000 tons of dangerous materials, especially liquids or radwaste.

    The U.S. generates 262 million tons of solid waste per year, and recycles 68 million. The net increase is about 194 million tons. 50,000 tons is 0.03% of that. The U.S. is not running out of landfill space, and it will not for centuries. Long before that becomes a problem, robotic recycling will improve and a far larger fraction of the materials will be re-used. We think of landfills as a burden, but it is likely that people generations from now will consider them a free source of valuable raw materials.

    Final FY20 Appropriations: National Science Foundation

    Low-energy nuclear reactions. The House report encourages NSF to “evaluate the various theories, experiments, and scientific literature surrounding the field of LENR,” which is most associated with the pursuit of cold fusion. It also directs NSF to “provide a set of recommendations as to whether future federal investment into LENR research would be prudent, and if so, a plan for how that investment would be best utilized.”…tional-science-foundation

    Nothing will come of this.

    Final FY20 Appropriations: National Science Foundation

    Low-energy nuclear reactions. The House report encourages NSF to “evaluate the various theories, experiments, and scientific literature surrounding the field of LENR,” which is most associated with the pursuit of cold fusion. It also directs NSF to “provide a set of recommendations as to whether future federal investment into LENR research would be prudent, and if so, a plan for how that investment would be best utilized.”…tional-science-foundation

    Nothing will come of this.

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