Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Speaking of Political Manipulation of Energy...60 Minutes Reports on Cold Fusion's Re-Emergence

20 years ago the special interest politics of massive public subsidies made for a nasty, coordinated, and successful effort to falsely-discredit and stigmatize any serious research and development of this potentially-revolutionary source of energy.



More on cold fusion here.

From last month : U.S. Navy scientists claim cold fusion breakthrough

Researchers are reporting compelling new scientific evidence for the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), the process once called “cold fusion” that may promise a new source of energy.

One group of scientists, for instance, describes what it terms the first clear visual evidence that LENR devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists view as tell-tale signs that nuclear reactions are occurring.

Low-energy nuclear reactions could potentially provide 21st Century society a limitless and environmentally-clean energy source for generating electricity, researchers say. The report, which injects new life into this controversial field, will be presented here today at the American Chemical Society’s 237th National Meeting. It is among 30 papers on the topic that will be presented during a four-day symposium, “New Energy Technology,” March 22-25, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the first description of cold fusion.

“Our finding is very significant,” says study co-author and analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss, Ph.D., of the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego, Calif. “To our knowledge, this is the first scientific report of the production of highly energetic neutrons from an LENR device.”

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tyler,

"Cold fusion" has never been demonstrated in spite of a tremendous amount of investigation. All experiments purporting to demonstrate "cold fusion" have been shown to be scientifically flawed or even fraudulent.

Is it possible that scientists will discover a process for cold fusion? Yes, of course, but the probability of that is very small since, like an antigravity machine, it is something that has never ever been demonstrated under any circumstances to-date.

anonone

Tyler Nixon said...

Did you bother watching the report or reading anything in the link?

Why do you hate clean energy, anonone?

Tyler Nixon said...

All experiments purporting to demonstrate "cold fusion" have been shown to be scientifically flawed or even fraudulent.BTW, this statement is completely unsupported poppycock.

Please cite your sources, (and more than just a quick Google search to backfill your statement with the same tripe peddled 20 years ago by those who seem to think, at least with cold fusion development, that anything short of 100% replicable success in a technology's infancy invalidates it for all time, or must be "scientifically-flawed" or "fraudulent".

Anonymous said...

Actually, I tend to get my science from Journals, not 60 minutes and corporate press releases. But I listened to the show and read your link.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The scientists working on "cold fusion" have yet to provide this evidence. Claims of a scientific phenomena occurring that cannot be or has not been verified independently are "scientifically flawed" and cannot be considered real.

If fusion was occurring, there would be measurable nuclear by-products. Nobody has ever found them under independently reproducible conditions or correlated them to the amount of heat generated.

Let me know when somebody does that or develops an experiment that can be reproduced by other independent reputable laboratories. Accurate measurements and independent experimental reproducibility are essential for scientific verification. Cold fusion has yet to meet either test.

I'd be the first to applaud if it ever does.

Now I need to go back to work on my anti-gravity machine.

anonone

Tyler Nixon said...

"I tend to get my science from Journals"

Oh, you tend do you? LOL. Please.

Pray tell. Which ones?

Cite your sources, or stop your pseudo-professorial blathering like you know what you're talking about.

Because your or anyone else's mind can't immediately explain this phenomenon with comprehensive finality or understand why it doesn't (at least obviously) adhere to how you think nuclear chemistry must work, doesn't make it "flawed" or "fraudulent".

Your off-hand dismissals and smartass pooh-poohing (anti-gravity??) really make you sound like a fuddy-duddy Luddite, plain and simple.

Tyler Nixon said...

From the last few weeks...

U.S. Navy scientists claim cold fusion breakthrough

http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/us-navy-scientists-claim-cold-fusion-breakthrough-19762.html

Researchers are reporting compelling new scientific evidence for the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), the process once called “cold fusion” that may promise a new source of energy.

One group of scientists, for instance, describes what it terms the first clear visual evidence that LENR devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists view as tell-tale signs that nuclear reactions are occurring.

Low-energy nuclear reactions could potentially provide 21st Century society a limitless and environmentally-clean energy source for generating electricity, researchers say. The report, which injects new life into this controversial field, will be presented here today at the American Chemical Society’s 237th National Meeting. It is among 30 papers on the topic that will be presented during a four-day symposium, “New Energy Technology,” March 22-25, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the first description of cold fusion.

“Our finding is very significant,” says study co-author and analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss, Ph.D., of the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego, Calif. “To our knowledge, this is the first scientific report of the production of highly energetic neutrons from an LENR device.”

The first report on “cold fusion,” presented in 1989 by Martin Fleishmann and Stanley Pons, was a global scientific sensation. Fusion is the energy source of the sun and the stars. Scientists had been striving for years to tap that power on Earth to produce electricity from an abundant fuel called deuterium that can be extracted from seawater. Everyone thought that it would require a sophisticated new genre of nuclear reactors able to withstand temperatures of tens of millions of degrees Fahrenheit.

Pons and Fleishmann, however, claimed achieving nuclear fusion at comparatively “cold” room temperatures — in a simple tabletop laboratory device termed an electrolytic cell.

But other scientists could not reproduce their results, and the whole field of research declined. A stalwart cadre of scientists persisted, however, seeking solid evidence that nuclear reactions can occur at low temperatures. One of their problems involved extreme difficulty in using conventional electronic instruments to detect the small number of neutrons produced in the process, researchers say.

In the new study, Mosier-Boss and colleagues inserted an electrode composed of nickel or gold wire into a solution of palladium chloride mixed with deuterium or “heavy water” in a process called co-deposition. A single atom of deuterium contains one neutron and one proton in its nucleus.

Researchers passed electric current through the solution, causing a reaction within seconds. The scientists then used a special plastic, CR-39, to capture and track any high-energy particles that may have been emitted during reactions, including any neutrons emitted during the fusion of deuterium atoms.

At the end of the experiment, they examined the plastic with a microscope and discovered patterns of “triple tracks,” tiny-clusters of three adjacent pits that appear to split apart from a single point. The researchers say that the track marks were made by subatomic particles released when neutrons smashed into the plastic. Importantly, Mosier-Boss and colleagues believe that the neutrons originated in nuclear reactions, perhaps from the combining or fusing deuterium nuclei.

“People have always asked ‘Where’s the neutrons?’” Mosier-Boss says. “If you have fusion going on, then you have to have neutrons. We now have evidence that there are neutrons present in these LENR reactions.”

They cited other evidence for nuclear reactions including X-rays, tritium (another form of hydrogen), and excess heat. Meanwhile, Mosier-Boss and colleagues are continuing to explore the phenomenon to get a better understanding of exactly how LENR works, which is key to being able to control it for practical purposes.

Mosier-Boss points out that the field currently gets very little funding and, despite its promise, researchers can’t predict when, or if, LENR may emerge from the lab with practical applications. The U.S. Department of the Navy and JWK International Corporation in Annandale, Va., funded the study. Other highlights in the symposium include:

Overview, update on LENR by editor of New Energy Times – Steve Krivit, editor of New Energy Times and author of “The Rebirth of Cold Fusion,” will present an overview of the field of low energy nuclear reactions, formerly known as “cold fusion.” A leading authority on the topic, Krivit will discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and implications of this controversial subject, including its brief history. (ENVR 002, Sunday, March 22, 8:55 a.m. Hilton, Alpine Ballroom West, during the symposium, “New Energy Technology)

Excess heat, gamma radiation production from an unconventional LENR device —Tadahiko Mizuno, Ph.D., of Hokkaido University in Japan, has reported the production of excess heat generation and gamma ray emissions from an unconventional LENR device that uses phenanthrene, a type of hydrocarbon, as a reactant. He is the author of the book “Nuclear Transmutation: The Reality of Cold Fusion.” (ENVR 049, Monday, March 23, 3:35 p.m., Hilton, Alpine Ballroom West, during the symposium, “New Energy Technology.”)

New evidence supporting production and control of low energy nuclear reactions — Antonella De Ninno, Ph.D., a scientist with New Technologies Energy and Environment in Italy, will describe evidence supporting the existence of low energy nuclear reactions. She conducted lab experiments demonstrating the simultaneous production of both excess heat and helium gas, tell-tale evidence supporting the nuclear nature of LENR. She also shows that scientists can control the phenomenon. (ENVR 064, Tuesday, March 24, 10:10 a.m., Hilton, Alpine Ballroom West, during the symposium, “New Energy Technology)

Steve Newton said...

From Millard Fillmore's Bathtub:

Once in a while I get a physicist who argues biologists ought to teach intelligent design and “let the kids decide.” I always ask whether they teach cold fusion “and let the kids decide,” and they always say there isn’t time to teach unproven science, or crank science. I then point out to them that cold fusion’s advantage over intelligent design is that there are more than 100 times the scientific papers supporting or explaining cold fusion that there are for intelligent design.

http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/cold-fusion-at-20-healthier-that-intelligent-design-featured-on-60-minutes/

Cold fusion is not flawed or fraudulent science, it is unproven science at this point. That's why scientific journals are still printing articles on it.

Moreover, the idea that all valid scientific theories have to be falsifiable is under major attack from theoretical physicists from Leonard Susskind on down. There is currently no way to "disprove" string or cosmic landscape theory, or even to validate Valenkin's mediocrity theory; yet all of these are ideas which have merited respect.

The problem with cold fusion is that it is both a pure physics and an engineering problem.

Anonymous said...

Steve Newton wrote:

"Cold fusion is not flawed or fraudulent science, it is unproven science at this point."

Thank you, Steve.

Unproven science. Exactly. And many of experiments attempting to prove it over the last 20 years have been shown to be flawed by peers in the field. The results in the articles Tyler cited have NOT been independently reproduced by other labs. In the past, other labs have claimed to have detected the products of fusion only to find that they were detecting background radiation or contamination.

I am no Luddite. I have more than a dozen articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I also know how companies and departments can exaggerate or inflate their results to get or continue funding. You can trust "Energetics Technologies LLC" press releases to be objective and unbiased reporters of their results, but I don't.

Keep repeating "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and maybe you'll eventually understand my skepticism.

When it comes to cold fusion, I'd be more than happy to see it confirmed. It would be a great breakthrough. But so would my anti-gravity machine.

anonone

Steve Newton said...

A1
"unproven" is not the same as junk or fraudlent.

String theory is unproven. So is comsic landscape theory.

There are dozens of refereed journal articles on cold fusion.

Can you say the same about anti-gravity?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I never said that it was "junk" science. I said that the experiments to-date have been independently tested or critically examined have shown them to be either scientifically flawed or even fraudulent. It is one of those nice things about empirical science - you can actually test things!

You also wrote:
"There are dozens of refereed journal articles on cold fusion."

True. And the ones in the most prestigious science and physics journals debunk it. The presentations at the Symposium on New Energy Technology that Tyler cited were not peer reviewed.

By the way, my anti-gravity machine research is soon to be published in the " Journal of Tongue In Cheek". Shall I send you a reprint when it comes out?

anonone

"The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." - T H Huxley

Tyler Nixon said...

And yet still anonone makes not one single citation for any of his claims...

Anonymous said...

"Physics Today said that new reports of excess heat and other cold fusion effects were still no more convincing than 15 years ago."

Feder, Toni (January 2005), "Cold Fusion Gets Chilly Encore", Physics Today 58: 31

Are you happy now, Tyler?

Tyler Nixon said...

Oh I was happy anyway. But I am thrilled to have sent you digging to cite one article, which I suspect is as deep as you ever got into the subject before proclaiming it in the realm of "anti-gravity".

Surely that settles it for good, too. And even more surely it is absolutely critical that you be absolutely convinced before cold fusion shall ever be valid or even worth discussion, at least in this solar system.

You may notice I never once held forth on cold fusion, or its probability or even possibility. I only kept my mind open and put the information out. I noted its mal-treatment by those either with vested interests or cocksurety that they possess the final word on ths subject. That these antagonists perpetrated a cursory and, as appears possible, a premature write-off of cold fusion with mocking and stigma says much about their credibility in passing objective judgment.

My larger point was about the idiocy of allowing experimentation, research and endeavor to fall total victim to the cynical haught of individuals, frankly, like you who think everything about a topic is settled because you cannot be convinced and you have taken your judgments to the point of mockery and total dismissal.

It is quite ironic that you arrived to comment as you did.

Anonymous said...

Tyler,

As usual, you are "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Do you take rage pills in the morning?

What part of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" don't you understand? Where is the "extraordinary evidence" for the "extraordinary claim" of cold fusion?

Why, after 20 years of investigation, have claims of "cold fusion" never been independently or reproducibly verified?

And how can you write that I have have taken [my] judgments to the point of mockery and total dismissal" after I wrote "I'd be the first to applaud if it ever does" and "I'd be more than happy to see it confirmed. It would be a great breakthrough."

I'll concede the mockery part, but I've never totally dismissed it as a possibility. I just think that the probability of it being real is low based on the empirical scientific evidence to-date.

To quote Huxley again: "The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

The hypothesis of "cold fusion" has been slain so far by the ugly fact that it has never been independently or reproducibly verified. And based on the evidence to-date, I think that probability is low that it ever will be. Note that I said "LOW"" not "ZERO."

But don't let me stop you from running down whatever rabbit hole you want as long as you can obtain your own private equity funding. But let's not ask the taxpayers to fund it, OK?

anonone

Tyler Nixon said...

"Why, after 20 years of investigation, have claims of "cold fusion" never been independently or reproducibly verified?"

Oh, really? 20 years of investigation??

Total bullshit. It was largely iced until the last few years, primarily because of the stigma whipped up around it, and thus a reluctance to invest anything into it, whether research efforts or capital.


"And how can you write that I have have taken [my] judgments to the point of mockery and total dismissal" after I wrote "I'd be the first to applaud if it ever does" and "I'd be more than happy to see it confirmed. It would be a great breakthrough."

Godsakes, pick a position and stick with it already. Sprinkling your mockery with would-be applause is simply the sound and fury and BS of you trying to have it both ways.

Here's a simple fact : you know as little about where this technology may lead as anyone else, at this point. That said, certainly no one is in need of your blessing nor your approval.


"I'll concede the mockery part, but I've never totally dismissed it as a possibility. I just think that the probability of it being real is low based on the empirical scientific evidence to-date."

LOL. Again, you're all over the map.


"The hypothesis of "cold fusion" has been slain so far by the ugly fact that it has never been independently or reproducibly verified."

Slain "so far"? Is that kind of like being partially dead? mildly pregnant?

Should we inquire at the morgue as to whether its inhabitants are "still deceased"? ("Yeah, so far anyway...", said the janitor.)


"But don't let me stop you from running down whatever rabbit hole you want as long as you can obtain your own private equity funding. But let's not ask the taxpayers to fund it, OK?"

Honestly, what the hell are you talking about? You alluded to some random company earlier. Now it's "private equity funding" and taxpayer subsidy?

Where was any of this in anything I wrote? I must have missed where I advocated public subsidies.

Nonetheless it is certainly odd admonition coming from someone so comfy with blowing public money on untold "stimulus" fantasies.

BTW, isn't "rabbit hole" some reference to Alice in Wonderland? FTR, I never read it, nor even know the story line. Please spare me the hippy dippy obscuranta, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Stick to lawyering, Tyler. Or maybe study a bit about the scientific method before you try to defend what is clearly unproven science.

"Godsakes, pick a position and stick with it already."

Unlike politicians such as yourself, scientists base opinions as much as humanly possible on observable facts and testable hypothesis. We are open to changing our opinions when there is a change in the facts. Apparently, you aren't.

BTW, "Alice in Wonderland" is not some "hippy dippy obscuranta." I am surprised you would make such a reference. I think that you'd really enjoy reading it actually. Look up its history.

Frankly, I would have thought that this topic might have lead to a more pleasant discourse. I was admittedly and unfortunately wrong.

anonone

Tyler Nixon said...

"Or maybe study a bit about the scientific method before you try to defend what is clearly unproven science."

How dense are you? Where did I defend "unproven science"?


"Frankly, I would have thought that this topic might have lead to a more pleasant discourse."

Frankly I am not abused of the idea that any "discourse" involving you is or will ever be "pleasant". You really must have quite a bit of amnesia about what you post around the blogosphere, to make such a statement.

Anonymous said...

Tyler

You wrote: "Where did I defend "unproven science"?"

Starting with the opening post, you have been defending research into this "potentially-revolutionary source of energy" which is just unproven science. Then you use the same rhetoric and pseudo-conspiracy theories as those who promote ESP, UFOs and crop circles ("a nasty, coordinated, and successful effort to falsely-discredit and stigmatize...").

Apparently, in your mind, all those peer-reviewed scientific articles and experiments over 20 years and costing millions of dollars which failed to scientifically verify "cold fusion" were part of this "nasty, coordinated, and successful effort."

You wrote: "You really must have quite a bit of amnesia about what you post around the blogosphere"

Apparently, you suffer from the same affliction.

There is a saying that we most dislike in others what we most dislike about ourselves. The inflammatory rhetoric, name-calling, and venom that you use regularly in your blog posts and commentary regularly exceeds anything that I write.

Nevertheless, sometimes you are actually pleasant to those who disagree with you. Not this time, I guess.

anonone

Nancy Willing said...

My late BFF Tom Daniels was extremely excited about the prospect when it loomed possible - yes a good twenty years ago.

Tom firmly believed that it was possible and he created a few models of how it could work.

His idea was to force the atoms though a structure at high speeds where they'd meet at natural junctures and fuse (I forget what he used in his model; it must have been some kind of rock).

The talk about cold fusion died down after that scandal that errupted after some scientists were proven to be fraudulantly marketing their cold fusion model.

I am glad that it is still a serious topic of study. And I am glad to see it mentioned here. I think I read about this study a month ago or so and saw nothing since.

Tyler Nixon said...

"There is a saying that we most dislike in others what we most dislike about ourselves. The inflammatory rhetoric, name-calling, and venom that you use regularly in your blog posts and commentary regularly exceeds anything that I write."

This is crap. You attack individuals (Mike Matthews comes to mind) in the DE blogosphere, and ALL REPUBLICANS as evil, etc etc ad nauseam with quite nasty and way over-the-top vitriol.

If/when I go after anything or anyone here it is policy, policymakers, and/or public officials OR I describe the behavior of zealots like you, for which the shoe must fit.

Your constant enmity and mass recriminations are certainly not in question and are quite well-documented.

As far as cold fusion, research the history of the campaign against Pons and Fleischmann in '89, which is what I referenced. You are confusing the politics of it, on which I passed judgemnt, with the science about which I drew no final conclusions.

I wrote : the special interest politics of massive public subsidies made for a nasty, coordinated, and successful effort to falsely-discredit and stigmatize"You really have a reading comprehension problem, especially given that I NEVER weighed in on the science, beyond saying I believed it held potential promise.

I'm done arguing with you. As far as being pleasant, you are rather schizo on this front. I don't consider people who lay false accusations of racism and all other manner with which you assault others as EVER pleasant.

Your occasionally tolerable demeanor doesn't excuse any of this in my mind.

Feel free not to return to this blog to comment, if you have such issues and problems understanding what is written.

Tyler Nixon said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nancy!

Anonymous said...

Is it now the policy of Delaware Libertarian to delete comments you don't like as you deleted mine?

I am quite certain that it did not violate any of the principles that Steve Newton described for this blog a few weeks ago.

How libertarian of you, Tyler.

anonone

Steve Newton said...

A1
Blogspot does not allow me to retrieve a permanently deleted comment and repost it as if you had posted it. However, I have recovered the text from my email:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Speaking of Political Manipulation of Energy...60 ...":

Sure, Tyler, you and Mike Matthews never attack anybody or any group. All of your posts consist entirely of cogent facts and you never call anyone names or use profanity or engage in partisan attacks.

Right. What a hypocrite you are. Anybody that reads 2 or 3 of your posts about Obama can read your own "quite nasty and way over-the-top vitriol" towards him and his supporters. It is easy to see who the "zealot" is.

You sure can dish it out but then you act like a little crybaby when somebody calls you on it.

And by the way, Pons and Fleischmann hung themselves out to dry by their own bad science. Had they been right, the world would be a different place today.

But they were wrong. And so are you.

anonone
The deletion of your comment was against the policy of Delaware Libertarian.

I delete spam, "outing," and actual threats only.

I was not following this thread today and did not see this until I read it on DL.

You have my apologies.

Tyler Nixon said...

I deleted the comment earlier and I do not apologize.

There is a difference between censorship and moderation.

I don't mind sparring with any antagonist over any issue I raise in writing these posts.

When an anonymous commenter on one of my posts devolves into sweeping personal characterizations about me, having zero to do with ideology or policy or politics...purely ad hominem nonsense pissing about tit-for-tat behavior equivalencies, conjured up out of blogosphere commentary...yeah, I'll shut them down as I see fit.

There is absolutely no equivalency between what or how I comment on public figures or policy questions here or elsewhere and the petty instigating and personalization anonone brings to the table against individual blog commenters, here and elsewhere...in this case culminating in the deleted outburst.

Anonone might stick to trolling blogs where such garbage goes on unchecked or even encouraged by the moderators.

As for my little slice of the blogosphere where I take the time to write a post and invite comment, don't expect any quarter from me with petty sniping and flaming, inciting arguments about arguments, "policy" or no "policy". If you don't think it fair, then don't comment.

And of course, it's Steve's prerogative to trump my judgment as he sees fit, with which I have not the slightest issue.