Is cold fusion a fraud?

In a recent post here, I documented the temporary ban of Ascoli65 on LENR Forum. As a result, there was discussion of this site, of Levi and UniBo, and of cold fusion, on fusionfredda.

As part of that, one user gave a series of arguments, ignoring what I’d written, that cold fusion was rejected by mainstream science (both true and stupid in context), and one user, after I pointed out that nobody understands cold fusion, claimed that, no, cold fusion was simply a fraud, representing that as an understanding. I’m not going to continue that conversation unless specifically invited. Because these arguments are old, and I haven’t written about them in quite a while, I’m posting this here.

Beyond that, I’m not concerned if some fanatics have weird opinions on a blog that is rapidly becoming obsolete, designed from the beginning to be useless except for transient bloviating that generates no enduring value. Continue reading “Is cold fusion a fraud?”

Lowdown on Lie-bull

I mentioned the other day that Ascoli65 was banned on LF for two weeks, by Alan Smith. Ensuing discussion has brought up some issues worthy of attention. So, first of all, this is the post for which Ascoli65 was banned:

Rossi vs. Darden aftermath discussions

The post — and the subsequent discussion of the censorship — were all off-topic.

Tuesday, 11:30 pm

@ Alan Smith,

my long and documented comment has been substituted by this words of yours.

Ascoli65 wrote:

The content of this post has been removed, since it contains nothing but thinly veiled attacks on Levi and UniBo, despite your assertions to the contrary. Do ir again and you may well be sanctioned or even banned.

This comment, apparently by Alan Smith, was argumentative, and, as well, was off-topic. A procedure had been established to move off-topic posts to the Playground — or to create a topic for them — and offensive posts to Clearance Items, though I think grossly offensive material was still being deleted, at least I’d expect so. My own practice is not to actually delete anything, but to possibly “trash” a clearly offensive post; it’s still in the database and can easily be recovered by me or anyone with admin privileges. Mildly offensive or irrelevant material may be moved to an appropriate topic or to a catch-all. Personally, I’d want to add notes where appropriate to maintain transparency. These considerations seem to have long been completely beyond the ken of Smith.

If the post was “long and documented” as claimed, deleting it was quite offensive, unless a procedure exists for the user to recover it. (On Discus blogs, like ECW, when a post is deleted, it appears that it is still accessible through the user’s profile, at least by the user.)

I’m very surprised of your decision to completely cancel my comment. Not greened, not moved in the Playground or Clearance Items threads, but immediately deleted. I think, it’s the first time this happen in this abrupt way, and I don’t see any reason for such a reaction. I didn’t used offensive words, and I only reported documented facts.

It was probably quite unexpected. Ascoli may have done more than present “documented facts,” but … the offense in this post was quite mild, compared to what is routinely tolerated when it is not Levi or Unibo being “attacked.” Alan is personally offended, apparently. Darden can be attacked, Dewey Weaver can be attacked, and often nothing is done.

My comment was not a “thinly veiled attack”, it was just a “open plain evaluation” of the apparent behavior of a public researcher at a public university which publicly claimed on many public media of having measured 12 kW of alleged excess heat generated by a table top device during the public demo held in Bologna on January 14, 2011. This conclusion of him was based on a couple of presumed data that I can’t explain otherwise, except for an intentional misrepresentation of experimental data. If you have any other explanation, why don’t you provide it?

Smith greened this paragraph as offensive. “Intentional misrepresentation of experimental data” is, in fact, a serious charge, albeit consistent with Ascoli65’s long-term claim that there was some sort of falsification of data in those early reports. I never found his claims plausible, but, like many who write on LENR Forum, he was quite sure of his evidence.

I’m going to agree with Smith that this was inappropriate, but it was merely a failure of ability to imagine alternate explanations, and was far short of ban-worthy (though any offense can be ban-worthy if it persists after warning). Much more direct claims of false statements have been made about many others involved in Rossi v. Darden, and commonly. Drawing the line here, while not covering more egregious possible libels, is bizarre and unskillful. The effect is chilling.

Apparently one may strongly criticize or even insult, depending on whom it offends.

I think Ascoli65 genuinely did not understand, and because that paragraph was greened and not deleted, it was not a repeat of the allegedly deletion-worthy offense, so blocking him because he questioned the censorship was offensive and a violation of civilized norms — i.e., what Smith below accuses.

My comment was in theme. THH had just accused Levi of practicing “bad science” following a mistake in the emissivity used in the Lugano report. This aspect seems to be quite controversial and has given rise to hundreds, perhaps thousands of comments in recent years.

Ascoli is making a false parallel. I would not like THH using “bad science,” if he did. The mistake was a mistake. The failure to require a full control was worse. Allowing the work to be so strongly guided by Rossi was worse. It gets pretty bad, all right, but I have never seen evidence of actual data falsification on the part of Levi and the other professors. Ascoli did not quite accuse Levi of that, but of “intentional misrepresentation.” That’s close enough to be considered falsification. It’s an offensive claim, and, indeed, in some contexts, could even be criminal libel.

On the contrary, the inconsistency between the pump capacity and the flow rate reported in the UniBo document issued on January 2011 is much more apparent and incontestable. In fact, Levi claimed to have calibrated the pump for 2 weeks, but on the front panel of that pump was clearly indicated a max output of 12 L/h, a value much lower than that one he claimed in his report (equivalent to 17.6 L/h).

That statement is not libelous. By the way, the “label” is, as Rossi correctly pointed out, not a maximum capacity, but a minimum guaranteed capacity at the specific pressure, and under some conditions actual flow could exceed that. This is Rossi’s argument on Lewan’s blog and it is not exactly wrong, except that he then proceeds to use this fact as a justification for making probably false claims.

The word “capacity” implies a maximum!

From 12 l/h guaranteed to 17.6 l/h actual might well be possible for a real pump under some conditions. The current testing being done by Alan Fletcher is showing a pump rated at 32 l/h at 2 bar, actually pumping maybe 40 l/h at low pressure. That is 125% of rated flow. The Levi claim is 147%. Maybe. Different model pump.

I would never accuse a professional scientist of data falsification based on evidence this thin. But, again, libel is fairly common on LF.

I can’t understand why these considerations are not allowed in this forum. Which specific rules do they break?

Smith then adds his comment in bold:

Your comment above breaks the rules of civilised behaviour just for a start.

That is an offensive comment. An experienced moderator will never argue with a person they are sanctioning, it inflames sensibilities. The issue is civility, and Smith’s comment is outrageously uncivil, much more so than Ascoli65’s.

As -despite your denial- so did almost every line in your deleted post which actually contained a criminal liable (in some jurisdictions). Accusing somebody who is not a member here of (effectively) deliberate scientific fraud from behind your avatar is certainly worthy of a 2 week ban. And you just got it. Alan.

I find Smith’s claim likely exaggerated. Levi is a “public figure” in the Rossi v. Darden case. Others not members have been accused of fraud, lying, data falsification, etc. I agree that this could be libel, though generally truth is a defense. There are other defenses as well.

That Smith enforces a rule against libel could actually create risk for the blog owner, if it is enforced selectively. There are also issues around anonymity.

So some discussion ensued:

Alan Smith wrote:

Hi Jed. My interaction with the now banned (for 2 weeks) ‘Ascoli’ had nothing to do with a debate on scientific ethics. The deleted post contained what could be considered – in almost any jurisdiction outside the USA – to be a criminal libel, repeated twice in the thin disguise of a question. If you had been the target of it- or indeed MY or Kirk I would have taken precisely the same action. Since Ascoli hides behind a screen-name libelling somebody on the web takes zero courage on the part of the poster, but does carry risks for other parties involved in publishing this forum.

The question asked by Ascoli was actually what it was about his question that was bannable. He apparently repeated the question in order to ask. He could very simply have been told. Instead he was, himself, insulted, though not libelled. “Hides behind” is uncivil, to be sure. Alan Smith is commonly terse, avoiding clear and complete answers to questions. It was easier to accuse Ascoli65 than to tell him where the border not to cross lies. That might actually take some thought, and, problem is, the border Ascoli crossed — in my opinion — is crossed by many so then the next question would be why was this enforced strictly and rather abruptly with Ascoli — who was being polite — and not with so many others? My answer is “Alan Smith.”

Jed Rothwell wrote:

Libel is never criminal in the U.S. as far as I know. It is always a civil matter. I do not think it is a good idea to have the police involved. This web site is based in the U.S., so U.S. laws apply, and you don’t need to worry about criminal libel.

Alan Fletcher wrote: (in response to Jed)

According to wiki 17 states have Criminal Defamation Laws. In Florida it’s a misdemeanor Florida Statutes Chapter 836

Lots of legal foo, but admins, note : 

836.03 Owner or editor of the paper also guilty.—Any owner, manager, publisher or editor of any newspaper or other publication who permits any anonymous communication or communications such as is signed otherwise than with the true name of the writer, and such name published therewith to appear in the columns of the publication in which said communication any person is attacked in his or her good name, or it is attempted to bring disgrace or ridicule upon any person, such owner, manager, publisher or editor shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree

Kudos to Fletcher for providing links. The Wikipedia article includes this:

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 generally immunizes from liability parties that create forums on the Internet in which defamation occurs from liability for statements published by third parties. This has the effect of precluding all liability for statements made by persons on the Internet whose identity cannot be determined.

That is, the web site owner is not liable. (The author of the libel would be liable.) The owner could become liable under some circumstances. The decision to “publish” on LENR Forum is not made by moderators or administrators. However, this may shift if there is a protest. The Communications Decency Act supersedes state laws.

Alan Smith replied:

The server you see may be in the US Jed, but the publisher is in the EU. That’s what counts I beleive.

Alan is sliding down a slippery slope by considering David Nygren the “publisher.” Nygren lives in Sweden, apparently. Sweden apparently has criminal libel laws; this was,. I think, pointed out to Sifferkoll. Sifferkoll’s main protection has been inertia, because he’s written a lot that is clearly libel. But Nygren has not libelled Levi. He simply owns a blog where someone may have done this. I think Ascoli65 is Italian. I doubt there is any risk to Nygren, unless he refuses to cooperate with a libel investigation. I also doubt that any action would be initiated against Ascoli65 for his level of offense.

In any case, there are what may be complex issues of jurisdiction. Nobody commenting so far is an attorney, and neither am I, though I know some.

Being a blogger, I need to be better informed. So: Online Defamation Law.

That’s about U.S. law. There is a source on English libel law, London being “a town called Sue.”

The author of that was asked: Could I be liable if someone uses my blog to post a defamatory message? He replied:

Potentially, yes

As the publisher of a blog, you could in theory be held liable in respect of defamatory material posted by others on the blog.

There are two main approaches to dealing with this risk:

• first, you can review all material before it is published, and refrain from publishing anything risky;
• second, you can seek to take advantage of the provisions of Section 1 of the Defamation Act 1996 and Regs 17-19 of the Ecommerce Regulations.

This second approach is the usual one, and typically involves a publisher doing the following sorts of things:

• prohibiting the posting of defamatory and other unlawful content in the blog T&Cs;
• providing an effective abuse notification procedure;
• not systematically reviewing or editing content posted on the site; and
• removing risky content promptly following notification of a problem.

 “Not systematically reviewing or editing content” would be a reference to the idea I mentioned above, that deleting some libels and not others could create risk that might otherwise be absent. Ideally, there would be a TOS to which users agree, and then clear procedures for dealing with violations of the TOS. LENR Forum never created this, or, more accurately, there was a feeble and naive attempt that proceeded to be ignored.

Very few users like to see their content deleted. If a blog wants to encourage users to write substantial contributions, deleting it without notice or opportunity for recovery is a huge insult to any writer. LENR Forum uses idiosyncratic software, I don’t know what tools are available. This is a WordPress blog, and I can easily and quickly hide any content, without deleting it. That is, if the author wants a copy, I could (and would) send it to him or her. This avoids the worst admin abuses. Others still exist, but, bottom line, the owner owns the site and may delegate authority. But others can also point to abuses or moderator incivility!

When a site comes to enjoy wide public participation, users may come to expect fair treatment, and when it doesn’t seem fair, sometimes they develop a grudge, and Wikipedia administrators created highly offended users that proceeded to engage in sock puppetry that lasted for years, with thousands of accounts created, wasting countless hours of admin time. Some of that was necessary, perhaps, but it was also clear, when I investigated cases, that there had been abuse of users, and it was very difficult to address. The abusers were highly privileged.

I have seen no case of such revenge posting on LF. However, there are some blatant trolls. Activities like that, tolerated, will drive away many otherwise productive participants, eventually. Ever wonder why few real-name users are women? Why actual scientists rarely post on LENR-Forum?

Beyond pointing to that British site, I’m not summarizing libel law for bloggers, though I’ll be happy to discuss it. This is an area of law which is shifting, as one can tell from the EFF coverage.


I found this Pennsylvania site interesting. Pennsylvania Newspaper Handbook – Libel.

Newspapers are held to a stricter standard, in some cases, but libel is libel and this and the pages I have linked above cover the definition and give advice about avoiding libel that any blog, if it is to develop a reputation for utility and reliability, should understand.

Looking at it again, and reviewing all this, the comment of Alan Smith implying that David Nygren was the “publisher” who might be held responsible for libel, was a stretch, particularly since the particular incident he was discussing did not involve a publication decision. As well, deletion is a form of retraction, and does not defend against a libel claim for something published, it may merely mitigate damages.

Rossi, in many posts and filings, and in my opinion, did libel others. However, there are specific exceptions in libel laws for court filings, and for obvious reasons. Nevertheless others, repeating the claims in those primary sources, presenting them as fact (instead of as allegations), also libelled, and may not have had that necessity defense. Is Frank Acland responsible for libels posted to ECW? Not unless he specifically approves of them. Thus by moderating some users, he is creating a (low) risk of a prosecution for libel. He has less risk if the user decides to publish or not.

The internet is still a frontier, and frontiers can be lawless, or, more accurately, law may not be settled. Some risks might exist in theory, but in practice, there is no risk. Until there is a crazy plaintiff! — or one who decides, “enough is enough!” and goes ahead, damn the expense!

The blogger most at risk in what I’ve seen is Sifferkoll. And maybe Rossi, for JONP. (I have not reviewed his JONP posts from this point of view. Many “insults” are not libel. Context matters. Rossi does not seem to have an open blog, I believe all posts must be approved. That can create liability for what those users post, i.e., approval is publication.

Many libel targets will not sue, because it can look very, very bad. Consider Levi. Suppose I call Levi a “blithering idiot.” First of all, not libel, legally, if one studies the sources I’ve given. Just an insult, one which might enrage Levi or his friends. However, suppose I claim that he altered or faked data. And then he sues me. A defense is truth, and truth may be decided by a jury. As well, my state of mind is an issue. I’m media, and Levi is, in this field, a public figure. That’s a defense. I might be able to show truth or, given “public figure” and “influence,” at least reasonable cause to present information. “Proof” in a civil case is preponderance of the evidence, it need not be absolute. I think any sane lawyer would advise Levi to let sleeping dogs lie, and maybe to tolerate some level of barking.

There is a list of “red flag” words on the Pennsylvania site. These words are relatively common on LENR Forum. Alan Smith was not wrong to identify the Ascoli65 post as libelous, but, in context, he had singled out a mild case to enforce a rule that was vague and probably not understood by the user, instead of doing what the user asked, to explain it to him. It is as if the real rule was “if you have to ask, you’re banned!”

Dewey Weaver’s comment about LF moderation was “amateur hour.” Technically, of course, LF moderators are amateurs, but some amateurs become experts. Some don’t. Some refuse to learn, and simply blame others. LF had been doing a better job, with moving comments instead of deletion. I never liked green ink, it’s ugly. However, it is far better than raw deletion. I boycotted LF when Smith deleted *many* comments that he considered off-topic, and I said “until this is addressed,” which could mean that the Staff community restrained Alan (with removal of privileges being the extreme sanction, if the moderator refuses to cooperate). LF Staff does not discuss issues publically, which can make it a star chamber. I was banned, by Alan, apparently — banned users cannot read their own private messages — as retaliation for declaring a boycott, surely a juvenile and amateurish response. But the entire Staff is responsible, it is not just Alan. We are responsible for what we tolerate and allow. I have friends on that Staff. I was basically told that the situation was hopeless.

This incident demonstrates that it’s still a mess. Alan Smith has a high personal conflict of interest. He runs Looking for Heat, a generally laudable exercise, with a problem: it is almost entirely about nickel hydride exploration, which depended for its appeal heavily on Rossi, and, as well, on Levi. There are plenty of attempts to “replicate” Rossi, which is, scientifically, a problem, because a replication is not possible without full information about the original experiment. So at best, independent “replications” without that information, are a kind of “confirmation,” i.e., that something happens. A genuine replication would also be quantitatively confirming. What is often an “indication,” can be the file-drawer effect. Many people try, a few make calorimetric errors…. and often only positive results are published, the rest remain in the “file drawer,” hence the name of the effect.

So Smith, in defending Levi, is promoting his own interests. And he did so in a quite uncivil way, while pretending to be disallowing incivility. Smith does not know or understand recusal, apparently. And in that, he has been, as far as we can tell, unrestrained by the administrative staff (at least one member of which, probably more than one, has the power to assign and remove moderator privileges.) In the end, the highest responsibility is with David Nygren, the owner.

Nygren sells advertising. “Vigorous discussion” — which can be an alternate description of libel and flame wars — can improve traffic, possibly improving revenue. Or that motive is not applicable to him. I really don’t know, because Nygren is mostly silent.

Taken from the list of red flag words, ones that I’ve seen (or close equivalents), on LENR Forum, E-Cat Word, JONP, or Sifferkoll (on his own blog or on LENR Forum) — or here on CFC, for which I am, at present, responsible:

altered records
bad moral character
bribery [or corrupt influence]
gambling den
mental illness
moral delinquency
pockets public funds
smooth and tricky
sold out
unsound mind
unworthy of credit

Avoid any words or expressions imputing:

2. a crime, or words falsely charging arrest, or indictment for or confession or conviction of a crime;
3. anti-Semitism or other religious, racial or ethnic intolerance;
4. connivance or association with criminals;
5. financial embarrassment (or any implication of insolvency or want of credit);
6. lying;
7. membership in an organization which may be in disrepute at a given period of time;
9. unwillingness to pay a debt.

Reviewing Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, as part of an ongoing study, I am drafting a policy for CFC, to govern some legal issues that could arise here, both from the point of view of protecting the owner of CFC, Infusion Institute, Inc. (III) from liability, protecting CFC administration, whether volunteer or otherwise, protecting the interests of the community that CFC attempts to represent and serve, which includes the right of free expression, while at the same time protecting individuals and organizations from libel and claims of copyright violation.

Policy on libel and copyright violation

Comment here or there is welcome.


A copy alleged to be (and believed to be) the original obliterated post on LF has been added here as a comment.

While this is edgy, it is not libelous in context. It was actually a challenge to Alan Smith, which he removed by censoring it. This is long-term Smith behavior. The real problem is not Smith, but an LF Staff that does not restrain its members. I have seen many bans now. Most of them were well-earned. This one was not, but there is no clear appeal process, and no genuine explanation, so bans do not establish precedent and policy remains unclear.

Ascoli actually asked for an explanation of how his post could be considered libel. Instead of an explanation, he got a ban. This is far, far less than civil and helpful. It is knee-jerk hostile, behavior unbecoming of any site moderator or administrator, if the site clains to represent a community (as LF does) instead of merely the positions and interests of the owner. This could be remedied, but the owner is mostly absent, it is not clear that he pays attention to LF administration. This is, again, not uncommon, but this shows how internet structures can break down.


{This was originally posted under Is cold fusion a fraud?]

This section was one of a number of copies of and comments on posts on fusionefredda, one of which explicitly called “cold fusion a fraud,” and other of which was radically and blatantly pseudoskeptical. Ascoli 65’s post was not libelous, though it skirts close to an edge, but he  apparently did not want his user name associated with such blatant claims of fraud. He requested that I move that section here, which I have now done. I will leave behind a note. I hope this is satisfactory to him.

Ascoli65 wrote:

[a civil post in which he discusses various issues. I’d reply there except for it being much easier for me to write here, with formatting, etc. So his post:]

@ Abd UlRahman Lomax,
I’m still unable to post on the CFC site (I tried just now), so I reply here to your comments, and, if you don’t mind, I’d invite you to reply here as well.

Thanks. I intend to post a link to this there. I may not continue to monitor that blog. As to the posting problem, something about the user email or identity triggers the spam filter. I have put Ascoli65’s email address on the whitelist here, so, in theory, he could post here by providing that address, and I have confirmed the address (because he kindly responded to my email).

In your comment on CFC dated September 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm (*), you wrote:

– I could not find a source for the pump data and the pump being called “peristaltic.” I’m sure it’s out there, but wasn’t linked by Ascoli65.

And now Ascoli65 confirms that:

The source are the Lewan’s reports of the two tests held on April 19 and 28, 2011. These reports were published on the NyTeknik site, but they are no more accessible. Anyway a copy of the first one is still available on NewEnergyTimes (1).

To give this in-line for convenience: here.

It ends with the list of “Instruments”, where the first one is called “Peristaltic pump”. I don’t know if this definition is correct. Whatever it was, I agree with you, it was a metering pump, a dosimetric pump, an instrument devoted to deliver a calibrated flux of water.

There is a lot in that document. Yes, at the end:

Peristaltic pump NSF
Model # CEP183-362N3
Serial # 060550065
Max output 12.0 liters/h
Max press 1.50 bar

First of all, the pump identification is almost certainly incorrect. The only returns, Googling the Model number, are E-cat or similar discussions taking that number, likely, from the paper cited. One comment cited a manufacturer page. Dead link. I looked at the manufacturer web site. Found no clue, so far.

Years ago, I designed equipment to use a peristaltic pump. It is a particular type of metering or dosing pump, see the Wikipedia article.

Dosimetric pumps, most (all?) types are pressure sensitive. That is, flow will vary with back-pressure (or forward pressure). “Calibration” of these pumps is valid at the calibration pressure (and I would think calibration would be necessary across a range of pumping rates). One-point calibration is only valid if the pump operation is that the same pressure. Which does open up possible artifacts.

The Levi paper appears naive to me, unaware of possible problems, so they were not checked.

Levi claims to have measured a flow of 4.12 kg/hour. He was actually weighing the water, in two sessions, a total of about 8 or 9 kilograms each. This should be accurate, if, as it appears, he was pumping water from a weighed reservoir. The rate is not a problem, being well under the specified flow of 12 l/hr, i.e., about 12 kg/hr, at 1.5 bar.

Is that a maximum flow? A lot of hot air has been issued on this. It is a minimum maximum. That is the manufacturer is, with the specification, is guaranteed that the maximum actual flow at maximum flow setting, will be a minimum of 12 l/hr. Jed Rothwell makes the point that if the pump would pump a *lot* more than that, the manufacturer would increase the claimed number, because they could sell more pumps. Perhaps.

In the cited paper, the problem of “maximum pump flow” does not exist.

– There were many tests and differing conditions and possibly different pumps.

Yes. This is a common problem in review of various claims. There may be many experiments and demonstrations, with differing conditions. It’s easy to get them confused and to think that what is true for one is necessarily true for another. Indeed, Rossi might sometimes be hiding behind that.

In 2011, there have been 10 tests at lab scale whose info appeared on internet (2). In most of them a pump was used to feed the various Ecat devices, and this pump, from the January 14 up to the October 6 tests was the same yellow dosimetric pump, featuring a nominal max output of 12 L/h.

– The measured flux was of 168 +/- 2 g in 45 +/- 0.1 s.
While it is difficult to control a water flow with a precision of 0.1 second, this would be 13.4 liters per hour. That doesn’t seem impossible for a pump rated at 12 liters per hour.

You are talking about the wrong test.

Nope. Not “wrong.” Different from what you intended, and, indeed, I have no clear idea what test you were talking about. Bottom line, Ascoli65, you are not writing clearly and carefully. Some people, believing that it’s all very simple — and very bogus — don’t take care to be clear and complete. It’s work! If we want to assist the full community in coming to choices based on evidence, we need to be clear, or, too often, we are just adding confusion.

The normal blog format and practices encourages terminal sloppiness. What does it matter if an error is buried in thousands of posts that are all over the map? Nobody is going to study these anyway! You’d have to be crazy!

The datum you cited refers to the first test [Test 1] held on December 16, 2010, whose results was reported in the same calorimetric report (3) issued on January 2011, along with those of the January 14 demo [Test 2]. In the December test, whose setup is shown in Fig.1 of that report, no pump was used. The inlet hose was directly connected to the water tap, which was presumably used to regulate the flux. Conversely, the yellow dosimetric pump has been used only starting from the public demo held on January 14, 2011.

So the problem, the inconsistency is where? You aren’t saying, Ascoli65!

– Ascoli’s real point: this early report demonstrates Levi error, which, combined with a lack of later follow-up and correction, indicates that his reports are not trustworthy. With Lugano, we saw different errors, but the same intransigence and stonewalling. I could not find verification of the pump used. He doesn’t provide a source for it, but then makes an argument that depends on the information.

I did provide all the links to the many documents available on internet which clearly demonstrate the many errors (at least three errors only for the January 14 demo: pump’s flow rate, missing steam probe, and doubled test duration) present in the January 2011 report.

Ascoli, all this is next to useless unless I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you mean. I’ll do that to a degree, but if you are not convincing people, the first place to look is not in them, but in your own expression. When I submitted my paper to Current Science for that special issue on LENR in 2015, the reviewer initial comments were basically, “horrible paper.” Instead of getting mad, I took responsibility — which is what I’m trained to do, this wasn’t my “natural good nature.” I can be pretty crabby naturally! So I rewrote my paper, rather extensively, making sure that his objections were addressed. He turned around completely.

That’s how to write, Ascoli65. You can make real contributions if you back up and learn to write effectively and clearly. At the same time, what it takes to be careful and thorough will educate you far more deeply. You might find some of your opinions changing, or even beliefs. That will be entirely up to you!

The problem is that I can’t see how these errors can be interpreted as mistakes.

  1. You have not detailed the errors for me to review.
  2. There are many errors. By focusing on many, you become stuck in an overview (“these errors”). Rossi has long inspired scientists to make stupid blunders (stupid in hindsight). I’ve speculated that he is really good at this. Rossi’s psychology is not necessarily simple, but it is obvious that his presence inspires some people to trust him. That could be the skill of a con artist (they can be amazing in this way, with people continuing to trust they were told long after it became obviously false. And this happens with very smart people, not stupid people. Konnikova, in The Confidence Game, points out that “gullible people” are generally happier. That is, a con artist takes advantage of a very functional human behavior: trust. People who cannot trust are seriously disabled.
  3. Rossi may also be insane, that is, he might actually believe the deceptions he pushes. He might be fooling himself.
  4. Until you can understand these possibilities, as generalities, you won’t understand the specifics, and until we understand each specific example, generalization from the specific to the general can be drastically off and heavily influenced by expectations and knee-jerk reactions.
  5. If you need someone else to invent an explanation, I might be able, but that will not establish what *actually happened.* All I have claimed is that, so far, there is no evidence I have seen sufficient to justify making a public claim of data falsification for any of the scientists involved. CimPy is libelling an entire field, and no wonder he is hiding behind anonymity

(Libelling a field is not actionable until and unless it becomes personal. The courts will dismiss it as bloviation, of no substance. If I were to say, “all liberals are pedophiles,” I would simply be an idiot, I could not be sued for it.)

I did ask many people to suggest me possible explanations, but I didn’t get any answer on the merit, that is nobody suggested a possible chain of events which could explain why, for example, it was erroneously reported a flow rate much higher than the max output of the pump.

Here, we are engaged in a discussion of this matter, and you have not clearly made your case. You keep repeating certain conclusions without providing a clear and connected factual basis.

– He cites a flow figure of 17.5 l/hr. That’s from a Macy report of an “exclusive interview with Levi. Yes, that would be oddly high if it is the 12 l/h pump involved. But that figure is different from Levi’s paper covering those tests.”

The flow rate announced in the Macy’s document (“146 g in 30 seconds” = 17.5 L/h) was the same reported a week later in the final calorimetric report (3) of the demo held on January 14 [Test 2], ie “146.4g +/- 0.1 per 30 +/- 0.5 s”, equivalent to 17.6 L/h. In the meanwhile this figure has been reviewed by many people, in Italy and in the US.

That figure is not so far above the rated flow that it’s impossible. It merely raises doubt. As well, this could be a single error that propagated. I don’t see evidence cited as to what pump was used in that specific demonstration.

As well, what you are doing is focusing on, relatively speaking, a fly, when there is an elephant in that living room, the use of a humidity meter to check steam quality, plus a complete absence of examination as to overflow water, which could make the calorimetry almost completely meaningless. Lack of consideration of alternative hypotheses afflicted all of the apparently successful Rossi demonstrations I know. In the early flow calorimetry, verification of complete evaporation was missing, it was based on some incorrect ideas. In the Lugano test, assumptions about measuring temperature with an IR camera badly afflicted the claimed results, and a calibration at full power — one of the most obvious verification measures, was missing, for reasons stated by the authors of the report, but almost certainly based on Rossi Bullshit, stated by them as if factual and sensible.

None of this, though, shows actual data falsification, merely naivete and error and, later, stonewalling, avoiding the obvious. Be careful! Details matter!

Bottom line, that you cannot understand something shows much more about you than about reality. It’s a failure of imagination, because a free human mind can always find “explanations” for anything. It’s what we do. For better and for worse. The task for adults is to sift through this and come up with sufficient analysis to create basis for action.

Should there be more investment in cold fusion research? How about more investment in Rossi? Industrial Heat? What action can members of the public take or encourage? We need facts, not more knee-jerk reactive analysis.

– I’d trust the paper over the interview, even if the interview was by email (where some will be incautious and errors abound).

As shown above, interview and calorimetric paper reported the same flow rate value (ie 17.6 L/h), whereas the max output of the pump was 12 L/h, that is the same value (12 L/h) mentioned by Levi during his speech before the test (4). The main problem is that, in the Macy’s interview, he also said: “After this calibration period I have checked that the pump was not touched and when we brought it here for the experiment it was giving the same quantity of water during all the experiment.” How do you explain this statement? Was this also an incautious declaration?

I get no impression from Levi of care and caution. The statement, however, does not seem odd to me, yet. That was not a report of an actual measurement, “the same quantity” is a coarse judgment, not a number, the result of an actual measurement. I find it difficult to parse — to understand — the statement you report. The language is confused, unclear. Normally, it is possible to clear these things up, by asking the scientist questions. That totally broke down.

So my own conclusion is that I don’t trust anything Levi says. He is emotionally involved and reactive, read his “unsworn declaration” in Rossi v. Darden, and also read the private investigator’s declaration.

But I have not seen any actual lies, just gross misinterpretations.

BTW, how can you say that the interview was by email?

I didn’t. So that’s an easy question to answer. Read it again.

(4) (at 9:46)

Thanks for giving the video time location. Many writers neglect doing that.

Watching that video, I’m impressed by how Levi became an advocate, far from a neutral observer and analyst. He is explaining the demonstration, as if he was working for Rossi. He leaps way ahead, instead of focusing on the critical issue, the heat level, he wants to exclude a chemical source. If we know the actual heat level and various other statistics, then “non-chemical” would fall out rather simply. It’s like the Lugano report, substantial energy devoted to a Rankin diagram, which is polemic and overheated analysis, not fact, while the most obvious facts — how bright was that thing glowing at, allegedly, 1400 C.? — are ignored. And later, when questions are asked, stonewalled.

But how this could happen, how scientists could stonewall, is not such a difficult question. They are human: embarrassed, defensive, or, as well, they might consider themselves bound by non-disclosure agreements, none of which would be at all surprising.

There is some of what Taubes called Bad Science there. So what else is new? What’s the reality? We will not find it by focusing on the errors of so-and-so. There is plenty of work which is not so afflicted, and there is more work to be done. That’s where we can find the future.

Even  if the future is that someone finally identifies the artifact or collection of artifacts that led me to think that deuterium is being converted to helium, in some “cold fusion” experiments, and demonstrates it with controlled experiment (as happened with N-rays and polywater) I’d break out the champagne (hah! just an expression, I’m a Muslim and don’t drink.). I completely trust reality, and my stand is that reality is better than anything I can imagine.

More from Ascoli65

Ascoli65 persists with beating a dead horse, long after reasonable utility. Well, maybe this will have some value. I’m skeptical, but I do lots of things just in case.  He wrote on fusionefredda: (15 settembre 2017 alle 12:12 am)

@ Abd UlRahman Lomax,
you replied to an above comment of mine (*) in your last post titled “Is cold fusion a fraud?” (**). As you know, I didn’t like very much to have been addressed in a post which deals with possible “fraud”, because, as I always said in all and every occasion, I’m not interested in this specific aspect. I would have preferred to read your answer in your previous post on CFC, where the pump issue was treated and a replication of my comment was still present (***).

This was corrected yesterday, per his email request. I’ll say that he might be judged by the company he keeps, it happens in real life.


Anyway, being still unable to post on your blog, I post here my answer to your reply.

He could email me, as one possibility. As before, I checked the spam filter. He attempted to post again on 14 September. As before it failed WP-SpamShield code ‘UA1004.’ I have been unable to find the significance of that code, and I have no other reports of failure that did not have a clear cause (the only other failure was a post with four links. His test post had no links. His email address is on the whitelist. The two attempts showed IP addresses from different service providers.

(I think WP-Spamshield does not post the codes because they don’t want spammers to know exactly what tests they are using. Combining the failure with the use of two different service providers makes me suspect some attempt to conceal identity, which I don’t mind in this case, but … there can be consequences. I don’t know that this is the cause.)

Ascoli65 is not providing me with precise information about what is happening. He reported a message that is not what WP-SpamShield allegedly displays to a user whose post is being blocked. There is no way I can test his access. The problem is not yet clear enough for me to file a support request, which I’m reluctant to do for free software (I have not paid for support). Back to the issues under discussion:

While I have nothing to add to what I already said about the pump issue, I’d like to answer these two points of yours.

Abd wrote:

– As well, what you are doing is focusing on, relatively speaking, a fly, when there is an elephant in that living room, the use of a humidity meter to check steam quality, …

I already pointed out many times, even to you (1), the issue of the presumed dry condition of the coolant at the outlet.

That is only one aspect of the issue. The aspect I mention is the use of an explicitly named meter, as reported by multiple sources, that can’t do what is claimed. It is an on-the-face error. However, the real situation is even worse, because even if the meter could measure steam quality, it would be possible to have high quality steam and water outflow at the same time. It’s possible accidentally. If we add the possibility of fraud, it could be even more possible (i.e., if there is a separate water pipe inside the steam pipe). When a technology that could be worth a trillion dollars if real, and with testing that did, in fact, attract investment in the many millions of dollars, fraud must be considered as a possibility, not on the part of scientists, necessarily, but on the part of the one who controls the tests. The magician, as it were.


is a post where Ascoli65 begins by quoting me. “Ascoli65 is a troll.” The good news is that he did link to my post, so what I was actually writing about was visible if anyone checks. I don’t call people “trolls” without, at least, some evidence, and merely being wrong or even idiotic does not make someone a troll. It is trolling when someone posts something, without necessity, that one would know, if at all careful, would be offensive, and he had done that — not to me, but another user.

The foundation of Ascoli’s claim is summarized in this faux fact:

– NO Air Quality meter has been ever used to measure the quality steam during the January 14, 2011, demo!

That is not a fact, it is an inference Ascoli65 made, long ago, from the absence of evidence, not evidence. That is, no photo of the necessary probe, as I recall. Photo showing some other probe. A claim that it would be impossible to change probes (which neglects that Rossi claims low pressure — a problem in itself, but a separate one). Given the testimony we have, from Levi and from Kullander and Essen, it is highly likely that an Air Quality probe was used, at least at some point.

Given the sloppiness of other reports, such as the Lugano report, it is possible that Rossi or Levi or someone said that such a probe had been used, and that it was not actually used at the specific time in question. Again, that would not be lying, exactly, it would be terminal sloppiness, which we know happened in Lugano (which also involved Essen), so I can’t say it’s impossible.

But it is most likely, in my opinion, that a probe was used. It’s simple and actually changes nothing, and it is far easier to establish that a humidity meter cannot do what was claimed than it is to claim as if a proven fact that there was no meter, a claim made by someone who was not a witness and who appears to be relying on shaky and indirect evidence.

Ascoli65 is operating on a well-known principle: I was right, and others are wrong. And he is stuck on it, after many years, even while it has become totally useless and probably impossible to resolve. It is impossible to prove a negative, another well-known principle. Did anyone photograph the humidity meter in use? Maybe. Would that satisfy Ascoli65? Maybe.

But I call this a mouse compared to an elephant. The mouse may squeak, but the elephant will break furniture. Reading over that Levi report, it reeks of unexamined and unchecked assumptions, with an effect of promoting a commercial interest and with displayed indifference to error, as to what we have seen in what came after.

I showed you that the real elephant in the living room is that the instrument (the humidity meter) mentioned in the Levi’s report doesn’t appear in anyone of the many pictures available on internet, and taken during the January 14 demo, even in the middle of the boiling phase (2). But I also learned that you are not willing to recognize this real elephant.

Something not showing in photos is not evidence that it was not used, unless those photos were continuous and clearly documented as such. It can create suspicion only, maybe we think it “should have” shown. Reality often, however, doesn’t match what we expect. This is very ordinary, so why is it not obvious to Ascoli65? I think there is an obvious answer: He committed himself to this claim years ago, and is unwilling to let it go. He thinks “It’s true, dammit!” But so what? So what if it is true? I pointed out above how it could be true and not indicate any fraudulent intent, only sloppiness.

If the Ascoli claim is false, which is possible, easily, the test is still badly defective. The humidity meter was actually irrelevant, that’s what was later realized. Kullander and Essen and Levi never responded to those issues, which were not claims of fraud, but of error.

“Steam quality” was actually a red herring, distracting from the major issue, overflow water. In considering steam quality, there is an unspoken assumption, that the only unevaporated water would be suspended droplets, i.e., “wet steam.” Ordinary steam from a boiler is normally wet to some degree. When water evaporation is used for calorimetry, though, there is another problem, bumped water, which looms larger than mere wet steam. And then the Rossi design, as I understood it, basically required that there be some overflow, or he’d be risking the boiler running dry with associated runaway (assuming the thing actually works). Once that is realized, the issue becomes “how much.”

Industrial Heat recognized the problem and installed steam traps on the Doral Plant. (a bit misnamed, they trap liquid water and drain it off.) Rossi removed the steam traps. Not part of the design, he was reported as saying. Indeed.

You’d rather prefer to imagine the most incredible explanations in the attempt to negate its presence (3).


Apparently, Ascolil considers the use of a product that, were I designing that test setup, I would surely use, to allow quick insertion of probes while the device is operating. He thought such a thing was impossible. That old post show that Ascoli65 is not understanding what he is reading.

The pump issue is the second elephant in the room that you are not willing to see. There is also a third one, which crown the wonder elephant trio (4), but I doubt you will to see it as well.

Yet I have seen all these issues, and have investigated them, considering them carefully. Ascoli confuses my ability to consider alternate scenarios “not seeing” what he is claiming. Let’s say I have dealt with that for many, many years. People think that if I don’t fall over and agree with them, that I don’t “see” what they “see.” Sure. It’s possible that they have seen something that I have not seen, but … they commonly don’t show it, don’t communicate it, and are creating certainty for themselves out of fluff or imagination. People do that all the time, under some conditions. They confuse “seeing” with agreement and understanding.

I have “seen” nothing new here. If there is, anyone is free to point it out. Going over old arguments, that were not accepted, called “beating a dead horse,” is what fanatics and trolls do. I have not seen anyone of weight accept Ascoli’s claims.

I did learn one thing, looking at the links Ascoli65 gave. “cam” on LENR Forum appears to be Camillo Franchine, from an oft-repeated and idiosyncratic argument. If it matters (right now it does not), I may look further.

In science, personal reputation matters. Pseudoskepticism is not science.

Abd wrote:

– Even if the future is that someone finally identifies the artifact or collection of artifacts that led me to think that deuterium is being converted to helium …

Let me doubt this, too.

You can doubt or believe anything you choose.

Sorry, but if you are not able to recognize the three elephants present in the January 2011 demo, ie the most simple, witnessed, celebrated, and documented test occurred in the whole CF history, I really doubt that anyone will be capable of convince you of any artifact presents in any other CF test.

First of all, I recognize all the claims, and the only one I find implausible is the claim that reports of the use of a humidity meter were lies, which is what Ascoli65 has effectively insisted on, in spite of a lack of probative evidence, only a weak ground for suspicion.

I’ll agree that it’s unlikely that someone will convince me of artifact with regard to the best work on heat/helium, but I have identified many possible artifacts in other CF work. Sometimes they may have have been real. I.e., just because an artifact is possible does not show that it actually happened. That takes much more work, work that often was never done.

And it doesn’t matter if I’m convinced or not. What matter is what appears to the editors of mainstream and other journals, what matters is what is actually tested experimentally and reported, what matters is what those who fund research think. They will trust me or not, but what I do, properly, is to present verifiable evidence, not mere claims.

Now that I look back, seeing how much time has been wasted discussing this, I’ll be a little more explicit: I would not present claims like what Ascoli65 is making to any serious investor or in an article for a peer-reviewed journal. I would, instead, flush it down the toilet where it belongs.


Even more from Ascoli65

CimPy posted another response from Ascoli65, plus the latter made some comments in Italian that reveal more of his position, which, in spite of his denials, is quite similar to that of Camillo Franchine. The theme in the English comments seems to be that certain scientists would surely have known better than what they said or wrote, therefore something highly suspicious is going on, which he isn’t going to say, and please don’t mention the “F” word, but he can’t think of any other possibility. No wonder he was banned on LENR Forum…. do that kind of thing for a while, a moderator may well eventually act, and if the moderator is unskilled, there will likely be problems with how that’s done.

This is becoming tedious. It’s all about tests and reports from six years ago, and no matter how many times I point out that that those tests and reports were riddled with errors, “reeking” of them, Ascoli persists in his idea that he’s incredibly right and nobody else has figured it out. Who cares? Yes, there is some sort of ongoing responsibility for cleaning up institutional errors, but the field of LENR is full of examples where this never happened, and that is about “both sides” of the issues. Reading accounts of the people involved, I’m struck by how intense the emotions became, and nobody thinks and acts well when upset (and being certain about the believed errors of others is a kind of upset, it clouds the mind.)

So a few snippets from Ascoli65:

Abd wrote:

– Given the sloppiness of other reports, such as the Lugano report, it is possible that Rossi or Levi or someone said that such a probe had been used, and that it was not actually used at the specific time in question. 

I’m not interest in Rossi’s says, […]

Then he is not interested in understanding how it could happen that certain scientists stated certain things as fact that they did not necessarily actually observe themselves, or the analysis was fed to them and they accepted it because it did not occur to them that it was seriously off.

A general theme of Ascoli65 is that genuine scientists could not possibly make the mistakes the “professors” made, therefore there must be darker forces at work. Genuine scientists can make mind-boggling errors. It’s human. I’ll explain more below.

I am not going to research the claims Ascoli65 makes, unless they are clearly and specifically evidenced with links. If this was about the lawsuit, Rossi v. Darden, I have extensive resources and know exactly where to look. For old Rossi reports, they are all over the place, many different documents, and not a button push away. Ascoli is giving links for some claims, but not all.

nor in those coming from any other people different from the many professors who publicly took on themselves the responsibility to measure the excess heat, that the Ecat should have produced during the public demo held on the January 14, 2011. All of them, I guess, had the competence to distinguish a thermometer from a humidity meter, and all of them knew that such last an instrument is not able to measure the steam dryness.

First of all, nobody became “responsible” for “measuring the excess heat” simply by attending a demonstration. A series of inaccurate assumptions are being made. One cannot necessarily tell the difference between a temperature probe and an humidity probe, just by looking at it from a distance.. The meter was called an “air quality meter” and it apparently had a g/m^3 display, which could seem to someone unfamiliar with steam quality — and how that meter specifically worked — as if it was measuring steam quality. When I discovered the humidity meter issue (I think it may have been independent of others who made the same discovery) there were people arguing with me using the same argument Ascoli65 uses, that professors could not possibly make such a dumb mistake. In fact, Essen acknowledges his ignorance, in a Krivit interview, and it is utterly unsurprising. Any physicist would understand the physics involved, but not be familiar with the specific issues that arise with steam and steam calorimetry. It’s simply not difficult to understand how they made the mistakes.

What is more difficult to understand is why they then stonewalled all questions. Krivit did get some answers at first, then they clammed up. Krivit is a yellow journalist, always looking for scandal, and almost all CMNS scientists have stopped talking to Krivit; however the “independent professors” stonewalled the whole world. They talk to Mats Lewan, perhaps. Why? Mats does not ask difficult questions and does not follow up. Krivit quotes Essen: (my emphasis)

On July 15, 2011, New Energy Times telephoned Essén.

Krivit: What do you know about the calibration of the amount of steam coming out of Rossi’s device?
Essén: The steam amount was not measured. It was taken for granted that it all became steam.
Krivit: In either your experience or your efforts to inspect perpetual-motion claims, has anybody tried to claim anything on the basis of steam before?
Essén: No, I can’t recall that. I’m new at steam, unfortunately.
Krivit: Do you have any training in steam quality or steam enthalpy?
Essén: Just general thermodynamics.
Krivit: For example, like knowing the 1,600 times expansion rate?
Essén: I’d come across that before. I was aware of that.
[Note: Essén wrote nothing about the steam expansion rate in his and Kullander’s April 3, 2011, trip report.]
Krivit: When you pulled the hose out of the wall and saw the steam, did you think about the expansion rate?
Essén: No, I must admit I was thinking that I must check that the water is not draining out. I had this vague feeling that the water inlet flow wasn’t that fast, that the steam could be consistent with it, especially after some condensation in the hose. But we should have looked more into that, obviously, but there was not enough time. When we came, the setup was already there. To make any further studies, it was not possible.

“It was not possible” is a classic excuse. The problem was not that it was impossible to do a better job, but that Essen was inexperienced. Scientists are specialized, and often, operating out of their specialization, they are clueless. The problem was much larger than the humidity meter issue, which would only make a relatively minor difference in the heat measurement. The problem was twofold: there was not nearly enough steam for the claimed evaporation rate, and there was no check for overflow water. At 7 liters per hour, the hose could readily be pulled and checked and it might appear that there was no water flowing. Rossi, for Krivit, pulled the hose. We saw him walk the hose back to the drain, a maneuver clearly designed to drain any water from the hose. There would then be a few minutes in which to display the hose before putting it back.

But the lack of that high steam flow rate was utterly obvious. An electric steam kettle would show far more steam, with far less power than was being claimed to have been generated (about a tenth).

This is similar to the Lugano test: if the device had actually been running at 1400 C external temperature, it would have been blindingly white-hot. Instead, it was dull red. Yet the “scientists” trusted the IR camera and the setting of that camera, probably by Levi. Levi continued to argue that he had done it correctly, when many who have studied the issue know that it was a gross error, and the direct eyewitnessing should have been enough, but … it wasn’t. People can be fooled, sometimes, in ways that later seem impossible. Couldn’t they see?

Consider the Doral test, it’s much the same. Rossi was claiming that the Plant was producing a megawatt. Okay, where was that power going? The problem was out there for about a year, because a megawatt should have killed everyone in the Plant, unless there was a major heat exchanger taking the heat outside. Rossi eventually claimed that, indeed, he had built a heat exhanger, but it would have been noisy and the piping would have been very visible. Nobody reported having seen anything, and the warehouse was comfortable, far from what a megawatt would have done (and there still would have been a lot of heat in the building, unless Rossi could somehow convey the heat with very high efficiency to that upstairs room. Boiler rooms get very hot!)

Any observer who saw that demonstration and who had some idea of what a megawatt means, one would think, would be suspicious. We don’t know the reactions of those who visited during the “test.” Rossi’s original explanations, when asked about the heat dissipation, were completely inadequate, and that was clear. Even his own expert acknowledge that it would have been fatal without the heat exchanger. But when he was first asked, he mentioned no heat exchanger. He claimed the heat was “used” in the secret endothermic process. Then he claimed that it went out the back doors and through a vent in the roof. He mentioned no heat exchanger. Rossi lies. But many people who, we might think, should know better, have believed the lies.

(I often opine that Rossi is not necessarily “lying” in his own world. Rather, he’s insane. If not insane, he would know that he didn’t have a heat exchanger, just an idea for one! My guess, though, is that Rossi does know about the heat exchanger, that he didn’t actually make one, and, instead, he justifies the lies to himself (and some of his followers also invent justifications.)

One more item I came across. This was from Essen to Krivit.

On March 8, 2012, New Energy Times asked Essén for an update: “Considering all that has and has not transpired since [last year] and considering your failure to look for 11,200 liters of steam exiting from the Energy Catalyzer when you were there, is there a revised comment you would like to make on this matter?”

Essén wrote back the next day.

“Considering all the tests (apart from Kullander-Essén) I am aware of, at least two other, rather different, independent tests that give consistent results, either not involving steam or measuring it quantitatively, and other information that I have had since I first came across the Rossi E-Cat, I find it more interesting than ever.

“I am not aware that there have been any measurements of the amount of steam that contradict Rossi’s basic claims. Visual inspection cannot determine amount of steam since only condensed steam is visible.”

This is face-palm stupid. It is not terribly uncommon in people but less common in scientists that when it begins to appear that they made some mistake, they will scramble to invent possibilities that could make them right in the end. So … the Kullander and Essen test was not an “independent test,” and it was clear in Krivit’s earlier interview that Essen claimed the reason he had not made certain checks because it had all been “set up” and they were just observers. In fact, Essen could have noticed certain things and could have checked others, but didn’t, because he really wasn’t familiar with steam. However, perhaps that was harmless, because perhaps the E-Cat really works, and after all, others have confirmed it. However, there is only one substantial body of actually independent tests, those done by Industrial Heat, which was highly motivated to confirm, and, in the end, failed … or we could say, correctly showed that the devices were not working. All other tests were dominated by Rossi, just as was the Kullander and Essen observation.

It’s been noticed that Rossi kept changing the test methods. So with the Kullander and Essen test, there was a possible artifact from overflow water. Instead of setting up the same testing to then confirm that there was no overflow water, the system and test procedures were changed. Magicians do this all the time, they keep changing the tricks, so that one cannot confirm suspicions — or they use an earlier suspicion against the observer, who thinks he knows what is being done, but then the magician turns the hat over, or whatever. It’s different this time, and there are an unlimited number of ways to create false appearances.

Essen is desperately holding on to the idea that the E-Cat he witnessed actually worked. Then he falls into total preposterousness.

Yes. Of course, dry steam is invisible. Yet when dry steam hits room air, it immediately condenses and becomes visible. It does not appear that Essen ever did become familiar with steam. Dry steam is not nailed to the boiling point; if the measurements showed a temperature that was very close to boiling (even if it appears slightly above), the steam is now not at a controlled temperature. Wet steam must be at exactly the boiling point for the pressure (and steam exiting through a hose at some significant rate will be at an elevated pressure, though it might not be much. Just enough to nudge the temperature up slightly.) Dry steam would be very unlikely to be stable at that temperature. Making dry steam involves “superheating” it. So the temperature indications are that the steam, if it was steam, would be wet. And it would immediately condense when it hits the air,

One can readily estimate steam volume by observing the plume from a hose with the same diameter — by comparison. And that has been done. There wasn’t the level of steam flow that was claimed, not even close, and Essen could have confirmed this himself, by looking at how that much steam would appear. He didn’t because he is not looking for the error, he just wants to be right.

For a scientist, sad. Tragic, actually. Unless he wakes up and cleans this up. I can hope.

(Dry steam would also condense quickly, just not as quickly. If we look at the spout of a steam kettle, vigorously boiling, we can see the plume of steam coming out of the spout. It will be invisible as it comes out, for a short distance. If a steam generator is designed to superheat the steam (which isn’t easy, and it takes after-heating, generally, missing from the E-Cats, and this was an issue raised in Rossi v. Darden), that distance would increase, because the steam must cool before condensing. Live steam (the invisible stuff) is very dangerous. Never pass your hand through live steam, major burns would be instantaneous; you can do it with the visible fog kind of steam (though it’s still hot, it is not carrying nearly as much energy).


Krivit did very thoroughly cover the issues on this.

Off-topic comments are the bane of useful content creation

I’ve often mentioned the issue of off-topic comments on LENR Forum. Discussion of issues there is often heavily derailed by off-topic comments. Some of these are from trolls (who choose what to claim or evidence by the anticipated — or easily anticipable — emotional responses, or pursuing their Favorite Topic, everywhere, and with the LF access paradigm and the lack of comment threading, this heavily damages the utility of LF.) One might think that if one is researching the stated topic, one could read a variety of opinions or find evidence on that topic, but these can be buried under piles of irrelevancies, personal arguments, etc.

What can be done about this? Continue reading “Off-topic comments are the bane of useful content creation”

Trolling avatar, trolling tagline, writes like a troll. Troll?

The user Henry on LENR Forum is consistently a troll. His avatar is ripped from a book easily expected to irritate anyone at all attached to LENR as a reality, Voodoo Science by Robert Park. He’s change the author name on that image to “Henry Truth” and added E-CAT in large letters below Voodoo Science.  His tagline, shown with every post, is

JoNP means Journal of Null-Physics (the house of hoax,trickery, junk and psychopathological science).

This pushed me over a bridge too far: 

SSC wrote:

What problem do you have with Mr.Cook? Do you think he can not formulate a valid theory for the fact that he is affiliated with the Department of Informatics? Do you think that only a Nobel can deal with science? It is difficult to seriously consider your way of judging Rossi and his associates if these are your judgmental parameters. In addition, Cook has formulated a theory. If you think that every time someone presents a theory should also make an experiment that validates it, then you are showing all your ignorance about these themes. And not just on these issues: what peer reviewed magazines would have buried the TPRs? Tell me their names, please, I’m just curious to see what you invent!

Context: Discussion of the topic “Rossi vs. Darden aftermath discussions.” This is radically off-topic. SSC is making claims that are, to those who know the field, based on assumptions that competent scientists can’t make mistakes. They do. In particular, scientists are not generally trained to detect fraud. They will assume that testimony is true unless controverted. If a scientist presents fake data, and if this is discovered, that is the end of their career, because this can do tremendous damage. In medical or nutritional research, it can cost lives, in this field, it can waste many millions of dollars.

But errors and misinterpretations are not fake data. The best scientists will be open to correction, and will respond with sober defense or correction. Some don’t, and this is a defect in their practice of science, but is not fraud. Nor is it necessarily “Voodoo Science.” It’s just a normal human response to what may be thought of as shaming. Nobody has claimed that the “Swedish professors” or the “Third Party Professors,” which includes Levi and Foschi, faked data, though there are some suspicions about Levi. My own opinion about Levi is that he was duped, himself, and is reactive and unwilling to neutrally consider the matter. We can see his character in his “unsigned deposition” to the Rossi v. Darden court. He is paranoid, like Rossi.

SSC routinely promotes Planet Rossi memes. He is so consistent in this that some have suspected him of being a Rossi sock or “meat puppet.” His language is different from the very likely Rossi socks, the faux commentators on JONP, which, for future readers, is Rossi’s blog, effectively.

JONP was an “alternative journal” that Rossi started with the support of some Names. However, in practice, it is a very undisciplined blog, where the comments generally have nothing to do with the post or paper under which they are placed, they are all communications to or by Rossi. Rossi claims that papers are peer-reviewed by experts. Maybe they are, I have never reviewed this. But JONP is not the journal involved here.

Trolls turn every discussion into their Favorite Topic, which is generally a variation on You Are So Stupid. Some trolls have some redeeming value, and will actually raise issues of interest from time to time. Some are a complete waste of disk space and bandwidth. Henry continued:

In his “paper” (where published? on Nature ? No?) Cook even ignores how works the nuclear fusion he invoked. He wrote a fusion equation for Li+p is:

73Li4 + p → 84Be4* → 2α + 17.6 MeV (Equation 10).

claim the absence of Gamma Rays and Neutrons emission

Henry does not cite the paper. It would be this, published on arXiv, “On the Nuclear Mechanisms Underlying the Heat Production by the E-Cat,” Norman D. Cook, and Andrea Rossi. arxiv papers are not peer-reviewed, but must have an endorser, which is generally someone with a scientific reputation. In theory, Cook could be an endorser, he has the reputation or institutional affiliation, but arXiv says he is not, for this paper.

Henry has misrepresented Cook’s “claim.” Cook is stating that reaction as a possible one which could explain the reported depletion of 7Li, from the Lugano test. Rossi’s co-authorship was a puzzle, because, supposedly, that test was independent of Rossi. In fact, Rossi took the sample, so it might have been fraudulent.

Is Cook correct? I.e., is that reaction possible?

Of course it is! It’s a known reaction. There are two other possible 7LI + p reactions, which Henry hastens to point out:

This is his dream… in nuclear Science (it’s not my invention, LOL) it’s s well known and proved that kind of fusion it’s a lot more complex, just to summarize:

Henry shows no competence in nuclear science. Cook is a published author. He was known for early comments on cold fusion that were, at worst, neutral, as I recall. He knew enough to know that we did not know that an “unknown nuclear reaction” was not impossible. He is also the author of Models of the Atomic Nucleus, Unification Through a Lattice of Nucleons. 2010: Springer. Springer is the world’s largest scientific publisher. Henry is a random troll. So Henry thinks he has found a contradiction. His displayed  image of reactions does not exactly match the file links, but this is what he intends to show:

73Li + 11H → 84Be* [decays through three branches:}

84Be* → 2 84He Q=17.4 MeV

84Be* → 84Be + λ Q=17.4 MeV

84Be* → 74Be + n Q=-1.64 MeV

This is a great example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. First of all, the third branch is endothermic, the Q is negative. This reaction requires that the proton be quite energetic, essentially impossible in the environment being studied. What about the second reaction?

It, like the helium branch for ordinary deuterium fusion, is very rare. The standard argument is that if helium is produced, the gamma is required. In this case, that’s not essential, because, one might notice, Rossi always shields the reactor, and has been paranoid about anyone measuring gamma radiation near it. But he has allowed some. The levels of gammas from his claimed reaction might not be significant outside the reactor. With the helium branch, only about one out of 107 reactions emits a gamma from the 4He*. I don’t know the ratio with 8Be*. Henry does not even realize it’s an issue.

Cook is author of a more recent paper, published in JCMNS. Henry went on.

and the fusion paths are overlapped, the fusion results depend by the proton energy and value of CS.

These are called branches, they are not “fusion paths” but outcomes, and, here, they may be fusion-condition sensitive, particularly the last branch.

What is “CS”? I don’t know. Henry, again, it’s common with trolls, does not cite his source. But, yes, the proton energy is significant. In the Cook proposal, that energy would be very low, far below the level that would allow ordinary fusion, so Cook is proposing an alternate mechanism, and it is also possible that an alternate mechanism would produce a different branching ratio. This argument is often made by cold fusion theorists, but my opinion is that it’s unlikely, rather, the reaction itself is by an unknown mechanism with unknown intermediaries, 8Be being one not-uncommonly-proposed possibility.

The problem with the Cook arXiv paper is that he is using Rossi-touched data without appropriate skepticism (not uncommon with scientists, they are not generally “debunkers”). In his more recent paper, he is speculating on theory based on unconfirmed reports (less shaky ones), it’s common with cold fusion theorists, and I wish they would stop it! But theorists want to suggest theories, it’s what they do!

Could Cook be a good “Informatics” ? Maybe… but a Nobel (ROTFL) for his funny “nuclear theory” is absolutely out of discussion, that’s paper is ticky-tachy.

Cook is a Professor of Informatics, whatever that is. But he has long had a major interest in and publication with regard to models of nuclear behavior. Henry is completely unqualified to review any of this.

Analysis of Rossi v. Darden opening statements begins

The plan here is to review Rossi v. Darden, to help readers make sense of what happened. There was a blizzard of filings, pleadings, documents in evidence, depositions, etc. Many depositions exist in many redactions; our Depositions page provides a list of these, and, at the top, links to complete or, for some depositions, we do not have the complete deposition, so then a merged compilation is provided, so the reader can see all that was deposed by a given individual. (Thanks to Bruce H. for the compilation work).

I just pulled out the opening statements of the parties from the trial record, now linked from Opening statements.

Study pages will be created for each statement including links to evidence, etc. These pages will also include opinion, but the design is for them to be, overall, neutral-by-inclusion rather than neutral-by-exclusion (i.e., more like Wikiversity than Wikipedia). (If some faction elects not to participate, that faction’s views might be under-represented. TANSTAAFL.)

Spectacular news – IH support for basic research

Ahlfors typically provides teasers on LENR Forum. Here’s one, four images. I have not yet found the originals for other than the first, but, looking for the fourth led me to this:

Development of a System to Measure Trace Amounts of Helium in Air, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, or Deuterium

Malcolm Fowler. McFarland Instrumentation Services, Inc.
Thomas Claytor. High Mesa Technology
12th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen
Loaded Metals, 5-9 June 2017

Why is this such good news? That’s twofold. First, the only truly conclusive and very direct evidence that the FP Heat Effect is nuclear in nature is the heat/helium correlation. That work was first done and reported in 1991 by Miles, using order-of-magnitude helium measurements. The work was later confirmed with increased precision, but not the precision that is reported here, if I’m correct. They were working with 50 cc. samples, and if a decent sampling protocol can be developed and an analytical service is provided, this could drastically accelerate PdD cold fusion research.

The other news from the document:

We would like to acknowledge the continued support and encouragement for this work by:
Industrial Heat, LLC [address]
Mr. Thomas Francis Darden II, J.D., Manager, President, and Director
Mr. J.T. Vaughn, Vice President
Mr. Dewey Weaver

This is the support Industrial Heat has provided from the $50 million Woodford investment, obviously. This work is not being published for commercial purpose, this is for scientific progress, and the possible commercial value is very long-term.

Dewey Weaver is famous here as the inspiration for the Cold Fusion Community Official Watch-Weasel.

Now, I need to go out, but I intend to look for the other documents.

The source source of the first image: Claytor (1998).

As to the remainder, my guess it is from “Summary of Tritium Evolution from Various Deuterided Metals,” Thomas N. Claytor, Malcolm M. Fowler, Edmund K. Storms, Rick Cantwell, which is listed in Egely’s review of the June 2017 Asti Conference.

That is a very interesting list of authors! But I have not been able to find the paper yet. From Ahlfors’ quotation of the acknowledgements, this was also work supported by Industrial Heat, and from what little I’ve seen of it (from the Egely report and Ahlfors’ hint) this could also be of high interest. Congratulations to Industrial Heat for supporting productive research.

Ahlfors came back with his sources.

Tritium with IH:

Tritium without IH:

He4 with IH:

None of these are the paper I found mentioned in Infinite Energy. It is apparently the slide presentation for the talk (because I find it not easy to understand.) It’s hosted on the ISCMNS site. I had looked to see if I could find files in that directory, but the directory contents would not display without a filename. Those slides for it are shown by Ahlfors as hosted on, but it is not yet shown in the index. It is shown in the full listing of hosted files on

In that directory I found a pdf with Claytor, Fowler, Cantwell and others as co-authors, also not yet in the library index. It does not have a date, but was given at a 2012 conference.

Citywire coverage of Rossi v. Darden

Ah, it was so tempting to resort to an obvious pun in the name of Citywire, but the blogivation would be so rude…. and the report was a decent attempt at news reporting, even though, as is common with mainstream media without more than a little to invest in investigation, it was shallow and a tad misleading.

Woodford tech holding settles battle with scientist

Heh! For starters, Rossi was not and is not a scientist. He has explicitly disavowed and ridiculed the scientific method. He is an inventor and entrpreneur, and, some claim, a practiced and experienced fraud. (This is a common error in mainstream media about Rossi. He does not claim to be a scientist and has no credentials as one. What is true is that some scientists have supported his claims, which is a huge and complex story.)

So I commented there, linking to the docket here for information on the case. Their news was more than a month old. Almost two months. Notice the lack of dates in the story….  My review:

Citywire on Woodford and Rossi v. Darden

I created that page to hold my replies to comments on the story, instead of cluttering up the Citywire page, which was already starting to happen with the typical public comment process.

Kevmo toast on E-Cat World?

Well this was a wild-goose chase. Most of what is below about ECW is incorrect, because the software is … misleading. Contrary to what I found, Kevmo has not been blocked on ECW, AFAIK, and his posts have not been deleted. He did change accounts, apparently, creating some of the confusion. I’ll explain below. Meanwhile, I’m leaving this because there are tidbits of value. When I’m wrong, I’m happy, because I learn things! I’m also glad I caught this before publishing it. Continue reading “Kevmo toast on E-Cat World?”

Winning by losing

Somtimes I think of a catchy or snarky title, then write the blog post. Here, I’m just writing and will figure out a title later.

I was again mentioned on LENR Forum.

SSC wrote:

Dewey Weaver wrote:

Of course now SSC thinks there was a trial.

There was a judge, a jury, a courtroom, lawyers ……… but maybe you are right, I’m probably the one who understood bad ….. they were all there to play a joke on Abd, right?

Little does he know! The entire universe is here to play a joke on Abd. The best part of the game is getting it. Continue reading “Winning by losing”

Doing the Shanahan Shake

Gangnam style.

Shanahan is posting fairly regularly on LENR Forum, sometimes on relevant topics, often where his comments are completely irrelevant to the declared topic. I invited Shanahan, years ago, to participate and support the development of educational resources that would fully explore his ideas. He always declined. When I pointed out a major error in his Letter to JEM, his last published piece, as a courtesy before publishing it, he responded with an insult: “you will do anything to support your belief.”

Pot, kettle, black.

Shanahan is important to the progress of LENR. I will show below why. Continue reading “Doing the Shanahan Shake”

Zero in Rossi-speak

Rossi was asked about the resistance of the Quark-X, and he answered “zero.” When his fans, even, pointed out that this would make it a superconductor, he then “explained,”

August 10, 2017 at 6:40 PM

Frank Acland:
Superconductivity is a completely different thing.
Obviously my “zero” was not absolute, it was jargon for good conductor ( otherwise I wouldn’t write it in letters). I just wanted to say that it is a good conductor, like copper, so that its resistance ( that cannot be R = 0 ) does not affect the circuit.

Rossi is lying. That is, he is making up a story for why he said “zero.” There is quite another reason. Continue reading “Zero in Rossi-speak”

What is scientific consensus?

Cold fusion debates often assert that there is this or that scientific consensus. What would this mean?

1 a : general agreement : unanimity • the consensus of their opinion, based on reports … from the border — John Hersey
b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned the consensus was to go ahead
2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

So what, then, is scientific consensus? Because consensus is about opinion or judgment, there must be someone with opinions or judgments. Who?

Well, “scientists,” of course! Just any scientist? Continue reading “What is scientific consensus?”

Ruby Carat releases Storms video on HYDROTON A Model of Cold Fusion

Edmund Storms HYDROTON A Model of Cold Fusion

Transcript at Storms 2017 video transcript.

Comments welcome. My commentary will be added.

This is an excellent video explaining Storms’ theory. Ruby, at the beginning, treats cold fusion as a known thing (i.e., will provide energy for a very long time, etc.) — but that’s her job, political. Cold Fusion Now is an advocacy organization.

Our purpose here, to empower the community of interest in cold fusion, can dovetail with that, but we include — and invite — skeptical points of view.

As to cold fusion theory, there is little agreement in the field. Criticism of theory by other theoreticians and those capable of understanding the theories is rare, for historical reasons. We intend to move beyond that limitation, self-imposed as a defensive reaction to the rejection cascade. It’s time.

For cold fusion to move forward we must include and respect skepticism, just as most of us want to see the mainstream include and respect cold fusion as a legitimate research area.

At this point, I intend to put together a review of the video, which first requires a transcript. Anyone could make such a thing. If a reader would like to contribute, I’d ask that references be included to the video elapsed time (where a section begins) … though this could also be added later. Every contribution matters and takes us into the future.

I have done things like this myself, in the past, and I always learned a great deal by paying attention to detail like that, detail without judgment, just what was actually said. So I’m inviting someone else to benefit in this way. Let me know!

(I did make a transcript, then checked my email a day late and found Ruby Carat had sent me one….)

(There is a “partial” transcript here. I’ll be looking at that. If someone wants to check or complete it, that would be useful.)

Transcript ( from YouTube CC, edited by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax)

Transcript moved to Storms 2017 video transcript.

Questions on that video may be asked as comments on that page.


Sifferkoll has been active on LENR Forum, arguing for the right to insult. Not surprising. His blog has skated around the edge of libel, which is criminal in Sweden, and one might think that libeling billion-dollar corporations would generate some caution, but … No.

Did Woodford Recently Buy Industrial Heat Shares at a 87% discount?
Posted on 2017/07/23

This was based on two Ahlfors images from LENR Forum. Sifferkoll commonly doesn’t link to ready verification. Neither does Ahlfors, and commonly Ahlfors images are, ah, unclear in significance. In this case, Sifferkoll has a history of misinterpreting data from Industrial Heat. Continue reading “Sifferkollamity”

Straw houses and straw men

People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.

I think I read that story in Astounding Science Fiction when I was in high school.

The occasion for this post is a thread started by the old standard, Mary Yugo, who created a LENR Forum thread entirely based on a possible overstatement by Jed Rothwell, I’m not entirely certain yet.

Is there evidence for LENR power generation of 100W for days without input power?

He starts with:

Jed Rothwell has repeatedly asserted that there is significant and credible evidence for an LENR device which sustains a 100W output for days without any input power.

I’ve been seeing this go back and forth for days. Mary says “you said,” and Jed says “something else.” Often there is no link to the prior discussion, a particular LF peeve of mine, users who don’t use the quote facility when responding, so tracking conversations back can be tedious.

Yes, a 100 watt power release for days from LENR without input power would be remarkable. Has this ever happened? I don’t have any example in mind, setting aside the claims of Andrea Rossi, which are, to say the least, unconfirmed, hence not answers to Mary’s question. Continue reading “Straw houses and straw men”

Something is stupid on the internet

Actually, on Rossi’s blog. This has become so unsurprising that I intend to stop covering it unless asked.

Planet Rossi thinks of Rossi as a great genius, and he is often asked about scientific questions. I have previously shown how he commonly has little clue what he’s talking about, his knowledge is shallow, as might be expected from a jailhouse student, as he was. (Though the “electrical engineering” involved here I originally learned early in high school.) This shallow knowledge is distinct from the issue of whether or not he has a real technology, but it can have an impact on how he talks about it.

(By the way, I was a prison chaplain, and knew many intelligent prisoners. I am simply pointing out the possible limitations of prison study. One will not have the benefit of a community of study, it’s isolated and generally solitary. Unless one is taking a correspondence course — some do — there will be no testing, no writing of papers for professorial review, no opportunity to make mistakes and be corrected, which is the fastest way to learn.) Continue reading “Something is stupid on the internet”

Lying with facts

On LENR Forum, SSC has been writing deceptive after deceptive post, sometimes with clear error, but other times reporting facts that SSC would reasonably know, if he were careful, would mislead.

(Fact, presented out of context, can be highly misleading. Rossi often used this in his legal arguments in Miami. Partial truth can be perjury, distinct  from “the whole truth.”)

Here is one from just an hour ago:

SSC wrote:

Shane D. wrote:

I am pretty impressed with TD’s comments Abd so kindly provided. He sounds sincere, and truly committed to the humanitarian first, money second aspect in his search for a working LENR tech. Definitely at odds with the unflattering picture IH haters here painted. By their depiction, the “greedy bastard” should have pulled his money out of LENR by now, and gone back to real estate. Instead, he is continuing on with his LENR quest. Good on him!

You base your judgment on the words that Darden said, while his detractors are based on the facts.

He is lying; if he believes what he wrote, he is being without caution in repeating the deceptive claims of others, so he can earn the reward of those who lie.

Darden can tell all the fables he wants, he can say that his first thought when he wakes up every morning is to save the world and he can even tell you that money does not matter to him. But are you really willing to believe him? Did you read the Cherokee – Zeneca case?

I certainly have. I have researched it in detail. First of all, as is common in the Cherokee libels, there is no discrimination between Darden and Cherokee Investment Partners and the various LLCs that are created for specific projects.

I will not be checking every fact alleged by SSC, but most of this appears factual; however, it simply does not show what he is claiming. What, in fact, is he claiming, exactly? He is presenting facts about this case as if they reflect on Darden’s sincerity. How? Continue reading “Lying with facts”

If it blew up, it must be LENR!

I’m writing this because I like the headline. It does bring up some more, ah, fundamental issues.

THHuxleynew wrote:

kirkshanahan wrote:

The results of doing this is to come up with an excess heat signal that is a) large and b) occurring when no current is flowing, meaning you essentially have an infinite instantaneous COP. The problem is that this comes out of applying the same calibration equation used for ‘normal’ operations. The steady state is so radically different in a ‘boiled-dry’ cell that everyone should know you can’t do that. But not the CFers…it shows excess heat…it must be real…and is certainly must be nuclear!

“The CFers.” Classic Shanahan. Classic ad-hominem, straw-man argument, one of the reasons he gets no traction with those who would need to understand and respect his arguments, if he has a real basis and actually cares about supporting science.

Below, I go into details. Continue reading “If it blew up, it must be LENR!”

No payoff = bad bet?

This is an obvious logical fallacy, yet the argument is surprisingly common from some who think of themselves as skeptics. They are, in fact, “pseudoskeptics,” because they are selectively skeptical, rejecting the ideas of others while swallowing their own whole.

We never have complete control over the circumstances of life. What works one time may not work another. Walking down the street can be a gamble; after all, we could get hit by a bus. Yet if we live as if we must avoid all danger, we die in a state of constriction and loss.

Ideally, we learn to assess risk and to make choices that recognize risk and consider possible returns. If the return is high, we may take higher risks. That’s all rational game theory.

So if I get hit by a bus, does that mean it was a mistake to walk down the street? Perhaps it was a mistake to be inadequately careful, but no amount of care can avoid all risk. The risk is small, so normal response to it is reasonable caution. Continue reading “No payoff = bad bet?”