Protecting the fringe allows the mainstream to breathe

Wikipedia is famously biased against fringe points of view or fringe science (and actually the bias can appear with any position considered “truth” by a majority or plurality faction). The pseudoskeptical faction there claims that there is no bias, but it’s quite clear that reliable sources exist, per Wikipedia definitions, that are excluded, and weaker sources “debunking” the fringe are allowed, plus if editors appears to be “fringe,” they are readily harassed and blocked or banned, whereas more egregious behavior, violating Wikipedia policies, is overlooked, if an editor is allied with the “skeptical” faction. Over time, the original Wikipedians, who actually supported Neutral Point of View policy, have substantially been marginalized and ignored, and the faction has become increasingly bold.

When I first confronted factional editing, before the Arbitration Committee in 2009, the faction was relatively weak. However, over the ensuing years, the debunkers organized, Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia (GSoW) came into existence, and operates openly. People who come to Wikipedia to attempt to push toward neutrality (or toward “believer” positions) are sanctioned for treating Wikipedia as a battleground, but that is exactly what the skeptics have done, and the Guerrilla Skeptics (consider the name!) create a consistent push with a factional position.

There is increasing evidence of additional off-wiki coordination. It would actually be surprising if it did not exist, it can be difficult to detect. But we have an incident, now.

February 24, 2018 I was banned by the WikiMediaFoundation. There was no warning, and no explanation, and there is no appeal from a global ban. Why? To my knowledge, I did not violate the Terms of Service in any way. There was, however, at least one claim that I did, an allegation by a user that I had “harassed” him by email, the first of our emails was sent through the WMF servers, so if, in fact, that email was harassment, it would be a TOS violation, though a single violation, unless truly egregious, has never been known to result in a ban. I have published all the emails with that user here.

This much is known, however. One of those who claimed to have complained about me to the WMF posted a list of those complaining on the forum, Wikipedia Sucks. It is practically identical to the list I had inferred; it is, then, a convenient list of those who likely libelled me. However, I will be, ah, requesting the information from the WikiMedia Foundation.

Meanwhile, the purpose of this post is to consider the situation with fringe science and an encyclopedia project. First of all, what is fringe science?

The Wikipedia article, no surprise, is massively confused on this.


The term “fringe science” denotes unorthodox scientific theories and models. Persons who create fringe science may have employed the scientific method in their work, but their results are not accepted by the mainstream scientific community. Fringe science may be advocated by a scientist who has some recognition within the larger scientific community, but this is not always the case. Usually the evidence provided by fringe science is accepted only by a minority and is rejected by most experts.[citation needed]

Indeed, citation needed! Evidence is evidence, and is often confused with conclusions. Rejection of evidence is essentially a claim of fraud or reporting error, which is rare for professional scientists, because it can be career suicide. Rather, a scientist may discover an anomaly, au unexplained phenomenon, more precisely, unexplained results. Then a cause may be hypothesized. If this hypothesis is unexpected within existing scientific knowledge, yet the hypothesis is not yet confirmed independently, it may be “rejected” as premature or even wrong. If there are experts in the relevant field who accept it as possible and worthy of investigation, this then is “possible new science.” There may be experts who reject the new analysis, for various reasons, and we will look at a well-known example, “continental drift.”

There is no “journal of mainstream opinion,” but there are journals considered “mainstream.” The term “mainstream” is casually used by many authors without any clear definition. In my own work, I defined “mainstream journals” as journals acceptable as such by Dieter Britz, a skeptical electrochemist. As well, the issue of speciality arises. If there is an electrochemical anomaly discovered, heat the expert chemists cannot explain through chemistry, what is the relevant field of expertise. Often those who claim a field is “fringe” are referring to the opinions of those who are not expert in the directly relevant field, but whose expertise, perhaps, leads to conclusions that are, on the face, contradicted by evidence gathered with expertise other than in their field.

With “cold fusion,” named after a hypothesized source for anomalous heat,  in the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect,  (also found by many others), it was immediately assumed that the relevant field would be nuclear physics. It was also assumed that if “cold fusion” were real, it would overturn established physical theory. That was a blatant analytical error, because it assumed a specific model of the heat source, a specific mechanism, which was actually contradicted by the experimental evidence, most notably by the “dead graduate student effect.” If the FPHE were caused by the direct fusion of two deuterons to form helium, the third of Huizenga’s three “miracles,” if absent, would have generated fatal levels of gamma radiation. The second miracle was the reaction being guided in to the very rare helium branch, instead of there being fatal levels of neutron radiation, and the first would be the fusion itself. However, that first miracle would not contradict existing physics, because an unknown form of catalysis may exist, and one is already known, muon-catalyzed fusion.

Evidence is not provided by “fringe science.” It is provided by ordinary scientific study. In cargo cult science, ordinary thinking is worshipped as if conclusive, without the rigorous application of the scientific method. Real science is always open, no matter how well-established a theory. The existing theory may be incomplete. Ptolemaic astronomy provided a modal that was quite good at explaining the motions of planets. Ptolemaic astronomy passed into history when a simpler model was found.

Galileo’s observations were rejected because they contradicted certain beliefs.  The observations were evidence, and “contradiction” is an interpretation, not evidence in itself. (It is not uncommon for  apparently contradictory evidence to be later understood as indicating an underlying reality. But with Galileo, his very observations were rejected — I think, it would be interesting to study this in detail — and if he were lying, it would be a serious moral offense, actually heresy.

The boundary between fringe science and pseudoscience is disputed. The connotation of “fringe science” is that the enterprise is rational but is unlikely to produce good results for a variety of reasons, including incomplete or contradictory evidence.[7]

The “boundary question” is an aspect of the sociology of science. “Unlikely to produce good results,” first of all, creates a bias, where results are classified as “good” or “poor” or “wrong,” all of which moves away from evidence to opinion and interpretation. “Contradictory evidence,” then, suggests anomalies. “Contradiction” does not exist in nature. With cold fusion, an example is the neutron radiation issue. Theory would predict, for two-deuteron fusion, massive neutron radiation. So that Pons and Fleischmann reported neutron radiation, but at levels far, far below what would be expected for d-d fusion generating the reported heat, first of all, contradicted the d-d fusion theory, on theoretical grounds. They were quite aware of this, hence what they actually proposed in their first paper was not “d-d fusion” but an “unknown nuclear reaction.” That was largely ignored, so much noise was being made about “fusion,” it was practically a Perfect Storm.

Further, any substantial neutron radiation would be remarkable as a result from an electrochemical experiment. As came out rather rapidly, Pons and Fleischmann had erred. Later work that established an upper limit for neutron radiation was itself defective (the FP heat effect was very difficult to set up, and it was not enough to create an alleged “FP cell” and look for neutrons, because many such cells produce no measurable heat), but it is clear from later work that neutron generation, if it exists at all, is at extremely low levels, basically irrelevant to the main effect.

Such neutron findings were considered “negative” by Britz. In fact, all experimental findings contribute to knowledge; it became a well-established characteristic of the FP Heat Effect that it does not generate significant high-energy radiation, nor has the heat ever been correlated (across multiple experiments and by multiple independent groups) with any other nuclear product except helium. 

The term may be considered pejorative. For example, Lyell D. Henry Jr. wrote that, “fringe science [is] a term also suggesting kookiness.”[8] This characterization is perhaps inspired by the eccentric behavior of many researchers of the kind known colloquially (and with considerable historical precedent) as mad scientists.[9]

The term does suggest that. The looseness of the definition allows inclusion of many different findings and claims, which do include isolated and idiosyncratic ideas of so-called “mad scientists.” This is all pop science, complicated by the fact that some scientists age and suffer from forms of dementia. However, some highly successful scientists also move into a disregard of popular opinion, which can create an impression of “kookiness,” which is, after all, popular judgment and not objective. They may be willing to consider ideas rejected for social reasons by others.

Although most fringe science is rejected, the scientific community has come to accept some portions of it.[10] One example of such is plate tectonics, an idea which had its origin in the fringe science of continental drift and was rejected for decades.[11]

There are lost and crucial details. Rejected by whom, and when? The present tense is used, and this is common with the anti-fringe faction on Wikipedia. If something was rejected by some or by many, that condition is assumed to continee and is reported in the present tense, as as it were a continuing fact, when an author cannot do more than express an opinion about the future.  Now, plate tectonics is mentioned. “Continental drift” is called “fringe science,” even after it became widely accepted.

Wegener’s proposal of continental drift is a fascinating example. The Wikipedia article does not mention “fringe science.” The Wikipedia article is quite good, it seems to me. One particular snippet is of high interest:

David Attenborough, who attended university in the second half of the 1940s, recounted an incident illustrating its lack of acceptance then: “I once asked one of my lecturers why he was not talking to us about continental drift and I was told, sneeringly, that if I could prove there was a force that could move continents, then he might think about it. The idea was moonshine, I was informed.”[47]

As late as 1953 – just five years before Carey[48] introduced the theory of plate tectonics – the theory of continental drift was rejected by the physicist Scheidegger on the following grounds.[49]

That rejection was essentially pseudoskepticism and pseudoscientific. There was observation (experimental evidence) suggesting drift. The lack of explanatory theory is not evidence of anything other than possible ignorance. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

The fact is that the continental drift hypothesis, as an explanation for the map appearance and fossil record, was not generally accepted. What shifted opinion was the appearance of a plausible theory. Worthy of note was how strongly the opinion of “impossible” was, such that “proof” was demanded. This is a sign of a fixed mind, not open to new ideas. The history of science is a long story of developing methods to overcome prejudice like that. This is a struggle between established belief and actual fact. Experimental evidence is fact. Such and such was observed, such and such was measured. These are truth, the best we have. It can turn out that recorded data was a result of artifact, and some records are incorrect, but that is relatively rare. Scientists are trained to record data accurately and to report it neutrally. Sometimes they fail, they are human. But science has the potential to grow beyond present limitations because of this habit.

Anomalies, observations that are not understood within existing scientific models, are indications that existing models are incomplete. Rejecting new data or analyses because they don’t fit existing models is circular. Rather, a far better understanding of this is that the evidence for a new idea has not risen to a level of detail, including controlled tests, to overcome standing ideas. Science, as a whole, properly remains agnostic. Proof is for math, not the rest of science. This does not require acceptance of new ideas until one is convinced by the preponderance of evidence. Pseudoskeptics often demand “proof.” “Extraordinary claims” require extraordinary evidence.” Yes, but what does that actually mean? What if there is “ordinary evidence?” What is the definition of an “extraordinary claim,” such that ordinary evidence is to be disregarded?

It’s subjective. It means nothing other than “surprising to me” — or to “us,” often defined to exclude anyone with a contrary opinion. For Wikipedia, peer-reviewed secondary source in a clearly mainstream journal is rejected because the author is allegedly a “believer.” That is editorial opinion, clearly not neutral. Back to the fringe science article:

The confusion between science and pseudoscience, between honest scientific error and genuine scientific discovery, is not new, and it is a permanent feature of the scientific landscape …. Acceptance of new science can come slowly.[12]

This was presented by formatting as a quotation, but was not attributed in the text. This should be “According to Michael W. Friedlander.” in his book on the topic, At the Fringes of Science (1005). He is very clear: there is no clear demarcation between “science” and “fringe science.”

Friedlander does cover cold fusion, to some degree. He hedges his comments. On page 1, “… after months of independent, costly, and exhaustive checks by hundreds of scientist around the world, the excitement over cold fusion cooled off, and the claim is probably destined to take its place alongside monopoles, N-rays, polywater, and other fly-by-night “discoveries” that flash across our scientific skies to end up as part of our folklore.”

He hedged with “probably.” On what evidence was he basing that assessment?  Cold fusion was not actually his primary investigation. On pp. 27-34, he reports the early days of the cold fusion fiasco, (with some errors), and doesn’t report on what came later. He doesn’t mention the later confirmations of the heat effect, nor the discovery of a nuclear product, published in 1993 in a mainstream journal (though announced in 1991, Huizenga covered it in 1993). He does not distinguish between the”fusion theory” and the actual report of anomalous heat by experts in heat measurement, not to mention the later discovery of a correlated nuclear product. He closes that section with:

To summarize briefly, the cold fusion “discovery” will surely be remembered as a striking example of how science should not be done. Taubes has compared “many of the proponents of cold fusion” to Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century scientist who “renounced a life of science for one of faith>” [Bad Science (1993), 92] The whole episode certainly illustrates the practical difficulty in implementing an innocuous-sounding “replication” and points to the need for full and open disclosure if there are to be meaningful tests and checks. It has also exposed some unfortunate professional sensitivities, jealousies, and resentments. At least to date, the exercise appears to be devoid of redeeming scientific value — but perhaps something may yet turn up as the few holdouts tenaciously pursue a theory as evasive as the Cheshire cat.

I agree with much of this, excepting his ignorance of results in the field, and his idea that what was to be pursued was a “theory.” No, what was needed was clear confirmation of the heat anomaly, then confirmation of the direct evidence that it was nuclear in nature (correlated helium!), and then far more intensive study of the effect itself, its conditions and other correlates and only then would a viable theory become likely.

Cold fusion was the “Scientific Fiasco of the Century” (Huizenga, 1992) It looks like Friendlander did not look at the second edition of Huizenga’s book, where he pointed to the amazing discovery of correlated helium. There was a problem in cold fusion research, that there were many “confirmations” of the heat effect, but they were not exact replications, mostly. Much of the rush to confirm — or disconfirm — was premature and focused on what was not present: “expected” nuclear products, i.e., neutrons. Tritium was confirmed but at very low levels and not correlated with heat (often the tritium studies were of cells where heat was not measured).

Nobody sane would argue that fringe claims should be “believed” without evidence, and where each individual draws the line on what level of evidence is necessary is a personal choice. It is offensive, however, when those who support a fringe claim are attacked and belittled and sometimes hounded. If fringe claims are to be rejected ipso facto, i.e., because they are considered fringe, the possibility of growth in scientific understanding is suppressed. This will be true even if most fringe claims ultimately disappear. Ordinary evidence showing some anomaly is just that, showing an anomaly. By definition, an anomaly indicates something is not understood.

With cold fusion, evidence for a heat anomaly accumulated, and because the conditions required to create the anomaly were very poorly understood, a “negative confirmation” was largely meaningless, indicating only that whatever approach was used did not generate the claimed effect, and it could have been understood that the claimed effect was not “fusion,” but anomalous heat. If the millions of dollars per month that the U.S. DoE was spending frantically in 1989 to test the claim had been understood that way, and if time had been allowed for confirmation to appear, it might not have been wasted.

As it is, Bayesian analysis of the major “negative confirmations” shows that with what became known later, those experiments could be strongly predicted to fail, they simply did not set up the conditions that became known as necessary. This was the result of a rush to judgment, pressure was put on the DoE to come up with quick answers, perhaps because the billion-dollar-per-year hot fusion effort was being, it was thought, threatened, with heavy political implications. Think of a billion dollars per year no longer being available for salaries for, say, plasma physicists.

However, though they were widely thought to have “rejected” cold fusion, the reality is that both U.S. DoE reviews were aware of the existence of evidence supporting the heat effect and its nuclear nature, and recommended further research to resolve open questions; in 2004, the 18-member panel was evenly divided on the heat question, with half considering the evidence to be conclusive and half not. Then on the issue of a nuclear origin, a third considered the evidence for a nuclear effect to be “conclusive or somewhat conclusive.”

The heat question has nothing to do with nuclear theory, but it is clear that some panel members rejected the heat evidence because of theory. The most recent major scientific work on cold fusion terms itself as a study of the Anomalous Heat Effect, and they are working on improving precision of heat and helium measurements.

If one does not accept the heat results, there would be no reason to accept nuclear evidence! So it is clear from the 2004 DoE review that cold fusion was, by then, moving into the mainstream, even though there was still rampant skepticism.

The rejection of cold fusion became an entrenched idea, an information cascade that, as is normal for such cascades, perpetuates itself, as scientists and others assume that was “everyone thinks” must be true.

In mainstream journals, publication of papers, and more significantly, reviews that accept the reality of the effect began increasing around 2005. There are no negative reviews that were more than a passing mention. What is missing is reviews in certain major journals that essentially promised to not publish on the topic, over a quarter-century ago.

One of the difficulties is that the basic research that shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the effect is real and nuclear in nature was all done more than a decade ago. It is old news, even though it was not widely reported. Hence my proposal, beginning quite a few years ago, was for replication of that work with increased precision, which is a classic measure of “pathological science.” Will the correlation decline or disappear with increased precision?

This is exactly the work that a genuine skeptic would want to see.

I have often written that genuine skepticism is essential to science. As well, those who will give new ideas or reported anomalies enough credence to support testing are also essential. Some of them will be accused of being “believers” or “proponents,” or even “diehards.”

The mainstream needs the fringes to be alive, in order to breathe and grow.

Diehard believers have hope, especially if they also trust reality. Diehard skeptics are simply dying.

(More accurately, “diehard skeptic” is an oxymoron. Such a person is a pseudoskeptic, a negative believer.)

Podcast with Ruby Carat

Yay Ruby!

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax on the Cold Fusion Now! podcast

She interviews me about the lawsuit, Rossi v. Darden. Reminds me I need to organize all that information, but the Docket is here.

Wikipedians, that is all primary source (legal documents), so it can only be used with editorial consensus, for bare and attributed fact, if at all. There is very little usable secondary reliable source on this. Law360 (several articles) and the Triangle Business Journal (several articles) are about it. Although this was an $89 million lawsuit (plus triple damages!), I was the only journalist there, other than one day for a woman from Law360. Wikipedia is still trying to figure out what “walked away” means.

(As to anything of value, it means that both parties walked away. But IH also returned all intellectual property to Rossi, and returned all reactors — including those they built — to him.)

The agreement was released by Rossi, but the only source for it is from Mats Lewan’s blog. Mats was a journalist, and his original employer was Wikipedia “reliable source” — a term of art there –, but … he’s not, just as I am not. Mats Lewan is still holding on to the Dream.

I was and have been open to the possibility that Rossi was involved in fraud and conspiracy. But during the discovery phase of the litigation, it became obvious that the defense couldn’t produce any convincing evidence for this hypothesis. All technical arguments that were put forward were hollow and easily torn apart by people with engineering training.

It became obvious during the legal proceedings that Lewan was not following them and did not understand them. There were many circumstantial evidences where some kind of fraud is the only likely explanation, and then there were other clear and deliberate deceptions. There was about zero chance that Rossi would have been able to convince a jury that the Agreement had been followed and the $89 million was due. There was even less chance that he’d have been able to penetrate the corporate veil by showing personal fraud, which is what he was claiming. No evidence of fraud on the part of IH appeared, none. It was all Rossi Says.

Lewan thinks the problem was an engineering one. Lewan stated this in his later report on the QX test in Stockholm, November 24, 2017, about certain possible problems.

Clearly this comes down to a question of trust, and personally, discussing this detail with Rossi for some time, I have come to the conclusion that his explanation is reasonable and trustworthy.

Rossi is quite good at coming up with “explanations” of this and that, he’s been doing it for years, but the reality is that the test he is describing had major and obvious shortcomings, essentially demonstrating nothing but a complicated appearance. Rossi has always done that. The biggest problem is that, as Lewan has realized, there is high-voltage triggering necessary to strike a plasma, and there no measure of the power input during the triggers, and from the sound, they were frequent. Lewan readily accepts ad-hoc excuses for not measuring critical values.

What I notice about Lewan’s statement is the psychology. It is him alone in discussion with Rossi, and Rossi overwhelms, personally. Anyone who is not overwhelmed (or who, at least, suspends or hides skeptical questioning) will be excluded. Lewan has not, to my knowledge, engaged in serious discussions with those who are reasonably skeptical about Rossi’s claims. He actually shut that process down, as he notes (disabling comments on his blog).

The Doral test, the basis for the Rossi claim, was even worse. Because of, again, major deficiencies in the test setup, and Rossi disallowance of close expert inspection during the test — even though IH owned the plant and IP already — it was impossible to determine accurately the power output, but from the “room calorimeter” — the temperature rise in the warehouse from the release of heat energy inside it –, the power could not have been more than a fraction of what he was claiming. And Rossi lied about this, in the post-trial Lewan interview, and Lewan does not seriously question him, doesn’t confront preposterous explanations. Lewan goes on:

However, as I stated above, if I were an investor considering to invest in this technology, I would require further private tests being made with accurate measurements made by third-party experts, specifically regarding the electrical input power, making such tests in a way that these experts would consider to be relevant.

Remember, IH had full opportunity for “private tests,” for about four years. Lewan has rather obviously not read the depositions. Understandably, they are long! After putting perhaps $20 million into the project, plus legal expenses (surely several million dollars), IH chose to walk away from a license which, if the technology could be made to work, even at a fraction of the claimed output, could be worth a trillion dollars. They could have insisted on holding some kind of residual rights. They did not. It was a full walkaway with surrender of all the reactors back to Rossi. It is obvious that they, with years of experience working with Rossi, had concluded that the technology didn’t work, and there was no reasonable chance of making it work. (Darden had said, in a deposition, that if there was even a 1% chance of it working, it would be worth the investment, which is game-theoretically correct.).

There is an alternate explanation, that Rossi violated the agreement and did not disclose the technology to them, not trusting them. But having watched Rossi closely for a long time, they concluded, it’s obvious, that it was all fraud or gross error. (The Lugano test? They made the Lugano devices, but could not find those results in more careful tests, with controls, under their own supervision, and there is a great story about what happened when they became confused and were testing a dummy reactor, with no fuel, and found excess heat. Full details were not given, but at that point, they were probably relying on Rossi test methods. They called Rossi to come up from Florida and look. Together, they opened the reactor, and it had no fuel in it. Rossi stormed out, shouting “The Russians stole the fuel!”

Rossi referred to this because Lewan asked him about it. His answer was the common answer of frauds.

“Darden has said lots of things that he has never been able to prove. What he assures doesn’t exist. I always made experiments with reactors charged by me, or by me in collaboration with Darden. Never with reactors provided to me as a closed box, for obvious reasons.”

First of all, he has a concept of “proof” being required. It  would be required for a criminal conviction, but in a civil trial the standard is preponderance fo the evidence, and Darden’s account, if it were important, would be evidence. (As would Rossi’s, but, notice, Rossi did not actually contradict the Darden account. As has often been seen by Rossi statements, he maintains plausible deniability. “I didn’t actually say that! It’s not my fault if people jumped to conclusions!” Yet in some cases, it is very clear that Rossi encouraged those false conclusions.

It would be up to a jury whether or not to believe it or not. Rossi makes no effort to describe what actually happened in that incident. Then, this was not an experiment “made by” Rossi. It was IH experimentation (possibly of reactors made by Rossi, as to the fueled ones, and then with dummy reactors, supposedly the same but with no fuel). Again, this is common for Rossi: assert something irrelevant that sounds like an answer. He is implying, if we look through the smokescreen, that Darden was lying under oath.

Again, if it matters, at trial, Darden would tell his story and Rossi would tell his story, both under examination and cross-examination. And then the jury would decide. In fact, though, this particular incident doesn’t matter. An emotional outburst by an inventor would not be relevant to any issue the jury would need to describe. A more believable response from Rossi, other than the “he’s lying” implication, would be, “Heh! Heh! I can get a bit excited!” Rossi always avoided questions about the accuracy of measurement methods. With the Lugano test, he rested on the “independent professors” alleged expertise, but there is no clue that these observers had any related experience measuring heat as they did, and the temperature measurements were in flagrant contradiction with apparent visible appearance. Sometimes people, even “professors,” don’t see what is in front of them, distracted by abstractions.

Yes, Rossi always has an explanation.

Rossi never allowed the kind of independent testing that Lewan says, here, that he would require. Whenever interested parties pulled out their own equipment (such as a temperature-measuring “heat gun”), Rossi would shut tests down. Lewan’s hypothesis requires many people to perjure themselves, but this is clear: Rossi lied. He lied about Italian law prohibiting him from testing the original reactor at full power in Italy. He lied about the HydroFusion test (either to IH or to HydroFusion). He lied about the “customer,” claiming the customer was independent, so that the sale of heat to them for $1000 per day would be convincing evidence that the heat was real. He lied about the identity of the customer as being Johnson-Matthey, and the name of the company he formed was clearly designed to support that lie. He presented mealy-mouthed arguments that he never told them that, but, in fact, when Vaughn wrote he was going to London and could visit Johnson Matthey, Rossi told them “Oh, no, I wasn’t supposed to tell you. Your customer is a Florida corporation.” Wink, wink, nod, nod.

It is not clear that anyone else lied, other than relative minor commercial fraud, i.e., Johnson staying quiet when, likely, “Johnson-Matthey” was mentioned, and James Bass pretending to be the Director of Engineering for J-M products, and that could be a matter of interpretation.  Only Rossi was, long-term, and seriously, and clearly, deceptive. Penon may, for example, have simply trusted Rossi to give him good data.

Rossi lied about the heat exchanger, and there are technical arguments and factual arguments on that. He changed his story over the year of the trial. Early on, he was asked about the heat dissipation. “Endothermic reaction,” he explained. If there were an endothermic reaction absorbing a megawatt of power, a high quantity of high-energy density product would need to be moved out of the plant, yet Rossi was dealing with small quantities (actually very small) of product. High-energy-density product is extremely dangerous.

There are endothermic chemical reactions, Rossi was using that fact, but the efficiency of those reactions is generally low. Melting ice would have worked, but would have required massive deliveries of ice, which would have been very visible. Nada.

For many reasons, which have been discussed by many, the heat exchanger story, revealed as discovery was about to close, was so bad that Rossi might have been prosecuted for perjury over it. Lewan seems to have paid no serious attention to the massive discussion of this over the year.

On the page, Rossi makes the argument about solar irradiance being about a megawatt for the roof of the warehouse. Lewan really should think about that! If solar irradiance were trapped in the interior, it would indeed get very, very hot. “Insulation” is not the issue, reflectance would be. Rossi’s expert agreed that without a heat exchanger the heat would reach fatal levels. A heat exchanger was essential, some kind of very active cooling.

Lewan accepts Rossi’s story that he never photographs his inventions, and seems to think it completely normal that Rossi would make this massive device, with substantial materials costs, and labor costs, and have no receipts for either. It was all Rossi Says, with the expert merely claiming “it was possible.” Actually, more cheaply and efficiently, a commercial cooling tower could have been installed. And, of course, all this work would have had to have been complete before the plant was running at full power, and it would have been very, very visible, and noisy, and running 24/7 like the reactor. Nobody reported having seen any trace of it.

A jury would have seen through the deceptions. Pace, the IH lead attorney, was skillful, very skillful. The Rossi counsel arguments were confused and unclear, basically innuendo with little fact. The very foundation of the Rossi case was defective.

The Second Amendment to the Agreement allowing the postponement of the Guaranteed Performance test had never been fully executed as required, and it turned out that this was deliberate on the part of Ampenergo, the Rossi licensee for North America, whose agreement was a legal necessity, and it’s clear that Rossi knew this — he wrote about it in an email — but still he was insisting it was valid. The judge almost dismissed the case ab initio, in the motion to dismiss, but decided to give Rossi the opportunity to find evidence that, say, IH had nevertheless promised to pay (they could have made a side-agreement allowing extension, creating possible problems with Ampenergo, but they could have handled them by paying Ampenergo their cut even if it wasn’t due under the Agreement).

Lewan is a sucker. And so is anyone who, given the facts that came out in trial about Rossi and his business practices, nevertheless invests in Rossi without fully independent and very strong evidence. Sure: “Accurate measurements by third-party experts.” Actually, “third party” is only necessary in a kind of escrow agreement. Otherwise the customer’s experts — and control of the testing process by the customer, presumably with Rossi advice but “no touch” — would be enough. Penon, the “Engineer responsible for validation” was not clearly independent, he was chosen by Rossi, and Rossi objected strongly to any other experts being present for the Validation Test, leading to the IH payment of another $10 million. Later, Rossi excluded the IH director of engineering, violating the agreement with the “customer,” JM Products.

After the test, Penon disappeared. They finally found him in the Dominican Republic, after he had been dismissed as a counter-defendant for lack of service of process (so he was deposed). This whole affair stunk to high heaven. Yet, Lewan soldiers on, in obvious denial of fact, repeating Rossi “explanations” as if plausible when they are not. By the way, the Penon report depended on regular data from Rossi, and the numbers in the Penon report are technically impossible. This was screwed sixty ways till Sunday.

A person associated with Industrial Heat confirmed, privately to me, the agreement, as published by Rossi on Lewan’s blog. At the time of publication, the agreement had not actually been signed by all parties, but that did eventually occur.

There is a whole series of podcasts of Ruby Carat interviews, see

She said that she would be interviewing Rossi later.

Review of this podcast on LENR-Forum


(All the CFN podcasts in this series are linked from LENR-Forum and are discussed there, at least to some degree)

The first comment comes from Zeus46, who is predictably snarky:

So Abd doubles-down on his claim that IH is working with Swartz, and also chucks Letts into the mix. Someone from Purdue too, apparently.

Many Tshayniks get Hakn’d at Rossi v Darden. Also rumours are mentioned that Texas/SKINR are currently withholding ‘good news’.

Rumours that Abd requested the Feynman reference are possibly entirely scurrilous.

Remarkable how, in a few words, he is so off. First of all, Letts was a well-known IH investment, and there is a document from the trial where the other IH work (to that date, early last year) was described. It was Kim at Purdue who was funded as a theoretician. And I did not mention Swartz, but Hagelstein. I don’t recall ever claiming that IH was “working with Swartz,” but Swartz works with Hagelstein, which might explain how Zeus46 got his idea.

Rossi v. Darden, far from being useless noise, revealed a great deal that was, previously, secret and obscure. Those who only want to make brief smart-ass comments, though, and who don’t put in what it takes to review the record, will indeed end up with nothing useful. It all becomes, then, a matter of opinion, not of evidence and the balance of it.

No “rumor” was mentioned, but reporting what I said becomes a “rumor.” I reported what I had directly from Robert Duncan, which is only a little. They are not talking yet about details, but, asked if they were having problems creating the heat effect, he said “We have had no problem with that,” which I took as good news. Most of our conversations have been about the technicalities of measuring helium, which may seem straightforward, but is actually quite difficult. Still, creating the heat effect is beyond difficult, it is not known how to do it with reliability. But heat/helium measurement does not require reliable heat, only some success, which can be erratic.

“Withholding good news” — I certainly did not say that! — is a misleading way of saying that they are not falling into premature announcement. The minor good news would be that they are seeing heat, his comment implied. But the major news would be about the correlation, and I don’t know what they have in that respect, or where the research stands. I’m not pushing them. They will announce their work, I assume, when they are ready. No more science by press conference, I assume. It will be published, my hope is, in a mainstream journal. I’ve simply been told that, as an author published in the specific area they are working on (heat/helium), they will want to have me visit before they are done.

As to the mention of Feynman, Ruby asked me for a brief bio and I put that in there, because Feynman, and how he thought, was a major influence. It’s simply a fact, though. I sat in those famous lectures, and heard the Feynman stories first-hand when he visited Page House, my freshman year. My life has been one amazing opportunity after another, and that was one of them.

Now, there was a comment on the RationalWiki attack article on me a couple of months back, by a user, “Zeus46”.  Same guy? The author of that article is the most disruptive pseudoskeptic I have ever seen, almost certainly Darryl L. Smith, but his twin brother, Oliver D. Smith is up there as well, and has recently claimed that he made up the story of his brother as a way to be unblocked on Wikipedia. Those who are following this case, generally, don’t believe him, but consider it likely he is protecting his brother, who is reportedly a paid pseudoskeptic, who attacked “fringe science” on Wikipedia and Wikiversity and recruited several Wikipedians to show up to get the Wikiversity resource — which had existed without problems for a decade — deleted, and privately complained to a Wikiversity bureaucrat and later to the WikiMedia Foundation about “doxxing” that wasn’t or that did not violate WMF policy, lying about “harassment,” and also who created the article on RationalWiki as revenge for documenting the impersonation socking they were doing on Wikipedia. They have created many impersonation accounts to comment in various places, and will  choose names that they think might be plausible, and they had reviewed what Zeus46 had written — and what I’d written about him.

So I’d appreciate it if someone on LENR Forum would ask Zeus46 if this was him. If not, he should know that he has been impersonated. He is, to me, responsible for what he writes on LENR Forum, and, by being an anonymous troll (like many Forum users), he’s vulnerable to impersonation.  The goal of the Smiths would be to increase enmity, to get people fighting with each other. It has worked.

My thanks to Shane for kind comments. Yes, it was relatively brief, by design. Ruby had actually interviewed me months before, and it was far too long. I thought I might write a script, but actually did the final interview ad hoc, without notes, but with an idea of the essential points to communicate.

Ruby is a “believer,” I’d say naturally. It’s well known, believers are happier than the opposite. So she is routinely cheerful, a pleasure to talk with. She is also one smart cookie. Her bio from Cold Fusion Now:

At first a musician and performance artist, one day she waltzed into Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and got a physics degree. Thinking that math might be easier, she then earned a Masters degree in Math at University of Miami in Miami, Florida. Math turned out to be not much easier, so now, she advocates for cold fusion, the easiest thing in the world. She has made several short documentary films and speaks on the topic. She currently teaches math at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California and conducts outreach events for the public to support clean energy from cold fusion.

She is an “advocate for cold fusion,” and RationalWiki accuses me of “advocating pseudoscientific cold fusion.” In fact, I’m an advocate of real scientific research, with all the safeguards standard with science, publication in the journal system, same as recommended by both U.S. Department of Energy reviews.

“Cold fusion” is a popular name for a mysterious heat effect. The hypothesis that the effect is real is testable, and definitively so, by measuring a correlated product (as apparently Bill Collis agrees in another podcast, and I know McKubre is fully on board that idea, and that is what they are working on in Texas — and since the correlation has already been reported by many independent groups, this is verification with increased precision, we hope, nailed down.)

Commercial application, which is what Ruby is working for, is not known to be possible. But having a bright and enthusiastic cheerleader like Ruby is one of the best ways to create the possibility.


Going dark on a topic

(May 2, 2018) This is obsolete. Some pages are still hidden, being reviewed before being re-opened. The content here has been misrepresented elsewhere. Simple documentation has been called “attack.” If we are attacked by reality, we are in big trouble no matter what others say!)

I have been documenting the Anglo Pyramidologist sock puppetry and massive disruption. Because of what I have found, and the tasks before me over the next year, I am going dark. All pages in the category of Anglo Pyramidologist will be hidden, pending, and possibly some others. Some have been archived (often on and will remain available there. If anyone has a need-to-know, or wants to support the work, contact me (comments on this post will be seen by me, and if privacy is requested, that will be honored, the comments will not be published. Provide me with an email and a request for contact and I will do so.)

The connection with cold fusion is thin, but exists and is significant.

Warning: documenting AP can be hazardous to your health.

As well, the next year’s journalism will need support, some of this may become expensive. I will be asking for support, to supplement what is already available or in the pipeline.

Sometimes reality comes to our door and knocks. Do we invite her in? Other times we need to search for her. Ask and you shall receive. She is kind and generous.

Don’t ask, and reality might seem to punch you in the nose, and you might be offended. In reality, you just walked into a lamp post. Who knew?


The sock family known on Wikipedia as Anglo Pyramidologist is two brothers, Oliver D. Smith (the original Anglo Pyramidologist) and Darryl L. Smith, perhaps best known as Goblin Face, who continues to be highly active with the “skeptic faction” on Wikipedia. It is possible that there is a third brother involved.

They have engaged in impersonation socking, disrupting Wikipedia while pretending to be a blocked user, leading to defamation of the target user, and they have engaged in similar behavior elsewhere.

I was attacked for documenting the proven impersonation and other socking. My behaviot did not violate any policies or the Terms of Service,

The Smith brothers were able to coordinate or canvass for multiple complaints, (they have bragged about complaining) and it is possible that this led to the WikiMedia Foundation global ban, but those bans are not explained and the banned user is not warned, and has no opportunity to appeal or contest them.

Substantial damage was done to the long-standing tradition of academic freedom on Wikiversity.

Action to remedy this will continue, but privately.