Fogbow and community discussions

Because it was linked from LENR Forum, I wrote some posts on Fogbow recently, and the experience reminds me of why I avoid such fora. This is not a particular problem of Fogbow, it is generic to open fora without disciplined moderation or clear and efficient decision-making structure.

I wrote this before noticing some comments that may shift my view. So what will be read here, first, is how this all occurred to me, is not some sort of final conclusion or definite and overall judgment.

The topic there is Rossi v Darden : Cold Fusion Trial

The motto of Fogbow is: “Falsehoods unchallenged only fester and grow.”

However, what is “challenged”? If someone writes, “The moon is made of green cheese,” is the falsehood challenged by someone writing “You are an idiot”? That comment would be a violation of Fogbox rules, as an insult. However, what if the person had asked “why do I think that the Moon is made of green cheese,” would “Because you are an idiot” be an insult?Yeah, probably. But if you say, “That’s an idiotic idea, like the other ideas you have advocated,” is that an insult? Apparently not, though the actual effect is almost identical. The direct insult to the person, however, is easily recognized, and sanctioned, it’s blatant, whereas insult to idea or an assumed general stand or an entire class of people is allowed, even if clearly and deliberately provocative.

Trolls, defined by the goal of enraging or outraging others, then become skilled at making statements that will provoke as insults, but not be immediately recognizable as such. Such a person may appear to those who don’t know the circumstances as merely opinionated or even correct. They may become skilled at making plausible allegations. Yet the goal is to enrage. That goal will not necessarily be visible in an immediate interaction, it could show as a pattern of behavior over time.

There is no clear dividing line between pseudoskeptics and “debunkers,” and trolls. The effect can be the same. Discussion sites like Fogbow and tend to become infested with trolls and pseudoskeptics. Sometimes “believers” can also troll, as to provoking the others.

Bottom line, understanding of truth is not spread by merely “challenging” falsehoods. That idea is common, and it fails. Falsehoods can be asserted with brief statements that convey complex ideas, to actually answer them better than a mere challenge (“Lies!”) takes lots of words, or sometimes it can be done relatively briefly with references. On discussion sites, though, the routine practice becomes sound bites, considered entertaining, and some people who are not trolls themselves enjoy the fray.

I concluded quite a while ago that there was mostly insufficient benefit in “confronting someone who is wrong on the internet.” It’s endless, and discussions where that is the norm commonly go nowhere, failing to create genuine corrective analysis and structure, efficiently accessible.

The topic of the Fogbow discussion that I posted in was the lawsuit, Rossi v. Darden, and LENR in general. LENR in general, when brought up anew in a forum, generates a host of very predictable comments, too often stated confidently by users with one of two positions: “this is the truth, and is how mainstream science views this topic,” or “here is my original idea, aren’t I brilliant and aren’t they stupid for not thinking of this.” The discussion format encourages this, and useful content is not built.

I am considered by many to be highly informed on LENR, familiar with the arguments. However, LENR is a fringe topic, or, possibly more reasonably, an emerging science, still considered fringe by many. I hope to be able to show, within the next year, some far stronger experimental evidence on something that was already strong, as, I hope, was shown in my Current Science paper (2015). However, that’s not what I want to focus on now. Last year, I began writing on Rossi v. Darden (mostly on LENR Forum). I recognized that there was no archive making the case documents readily available. (“Pacermonitor” was often represented as a place to get “the docket”, which was quite misleading. Various documents had been downloaded and were hosted in many different places, erratically. So I created an archive, originally in the filespace for the newvortex mailing list. Then I moved it to this blog, and it is recognized by many as the best such resource available. (There is also Eric Walker’s googledrive, but it is not indexed and organized for rapid access, and there are files on thenewfire, also not well-organized (but some of those documents are OCR’d which makes for easier quotation.)

But that is not all I did. I also studied the pleadings and created analytical pages where, say, all the cited documents were linked and page-referenced for fast access; to do this, with the Motions to Dismiss that I studied, required reading or at least literally seeing all those documents, and often rereading them. As a result of this, it is possible that I know more about this case than anyone else on the planet (possibly even including the lawyers and parties). I mentioned this on Fogbow. As could be expected, on a site like Fogbow, this attracted derision. The possibility that it might be true, or true in some ways, was totally disregarded.

There was an apparent lawyer commenting there. His comments were generally correct, in my view, about law, but were not well-informed about the particulars of the case. And that attracted support, and his comments were considered to be “correcting” me. I will look at that one narrow issue, but my decision to restrict my posting to Fogbow is much more about an issue of the allocation of time than about any specific offensive comment there. But here was that commentary (and Startibartfast may be one of the better writers there):

[better than I thought, see below for another post by Starti)

Startibartfast wrote:

[blue, first-level indent]

Mikedunford wrote:

I don’t – despite Slarti’s attempt to make my head swell – consider myself to be one of the “real lawyers.”

Sorry to embarrass you, but what you wrote essentially proves everything I said about you, so you kind of torpedoed your own modesty. In any case you once again demonstrated that you have some small understanding of what you are talking about.

I’m licensed, but I’m not a practitioner and have no immediate plans of becoming one. What I am is an early-career legal scholar

Even a baby legal scholar is still a legal scholar and I thought Abd needed to understand that. Thanks for showing him! :thumbs:

Um… what was shown to me? I responded to Mikedunford, assuming that he had knowledge of law, but not necessarily the particulars of this case, which is unlikely in anyone without extensive study, no matter how much they know about law. Yet we are seeing confident expression of opinion without that study. I will return to this.

(who really should be working on a 20K-word dissertation instead of procrastinating here),

And Abd really should be getting ready to travel to Miami to cover the case (and for reasons that are fairly obvious from what has routinely happened, “cover the case” seems to have been interpreted in some very weird ways, such as “testify as a witness” or “have some interest” — i.e., as an involved party.)

What is the value of writing on Fogbow? It is not building content that can be efficiently accessed. Right now the RvD discussion there is 120 comments, the RvD Developments discussion on LENR Forum is at over 8900 comments. The same claims are made over and over. Sometimes those who might correct them burn out, and stop. It cannot be assumed that the latest comments are the most cogent, it can merely indicate that the “survivor” was the most fanatic, the most stubborn. It’s a structural problem. Fogbow software is even worse than LENR Forum software. Quotations do not refer back to the original comment, so context cannot be checked, tracking the flow of a discussion becomes difficult. There is no method of creating a content hierarchy, of tagging individual posts with meaningful categories. (But threads can be categorized, but only so vaguely as to be nearly useless.) The flaws of Fogbow include most of the flaws of LENR Forum, but cutting a bit deeper.

Right there with you. For me it’s writing my father’s eulogy and preparing a brief for a meeting next week.

Sorry about the father.

with relevant degrees from a couple of places, a solid foundation in US law, and (hopefully) a better-than-the-average-lawyer understanding of global intellectual property law.

Do you have any idea how hot you look right now? :lovestruck:

In other words, MikeDunford may be an ordinary lawyer with some specialization (“better than average”) in intellectual property law. I have no difficulty accepting that. The only problem here is that IP law is not at all the core of the case.

Law360 got it wrong. This is not a licensing dispute, even though it involves a licence. There were some licensing claims in the original Complaint, they were dismissed, and what remains relating to them is very weak and mostly irrelevant.

I would suggest that if Rossi and HI et al. had a lawyer or two who understood global IP law when they were writing their deal they might not have needed to spend a combined $15 million on lawyers for a contract dispute.

Just sayin’.

This obviously assumes that the problem was an ignorance of “global IP law,” and that Andrea Rossi would be interested in and follow legal advice when writing that Agreement; on the other side, it assumes that it would have been practical for IH to modify what Rossi was suggesting according to their own legal advice. It is highly likely that IH had significant access to legal expertise. They were faced with a problem that is not even on the radar screen of this “just sayin'” writer. They knew full well that the investment was risky. IH accomplished what they set out to do, as one possible result. I’m not going to explain what I’ve seen as their strategy in detail, beyond mentioning that Dewey Weaver, one of their investors and the only one discussing the case in public, has affirmed it, and it matches what is in the IH depositions.

That Rossi would sue as he did was not something easily anticipated. He had no history of initiating legal action. He was paranoid. A choice apparently had to be made: allow him what he wants, or no deal, nothing discovered. The Agreement is obviously flawed six ways till Sunday, but the legal costs cannot be traced to flaws in that Agreement, since, as written, the Agreement protected IH adequately; Rossi basically ignored the Agreement and fact to sue. Putting in stronger protections, such as a provision for binding arbitration or something that would have weakened the decisive role of the ERV, would probably have led Rossi to bail. IH needed to know if Rossi had a functional secret, if his technology worked, because it would threaten any other LENR technology. So they bought it.

They found out, not as an absolute proof, but as a clear demonstration that nothing Rossi said could be trusted, that he would shamelessly cheat and lie, and that he also was able to fool scientists and others — there is a major trail of wreckage, where scientists (such as the “Swedish professors”) blackened their records with serious errors, and that is all still working out. And IH still has a hedge, the License, just in case Rossi pulls a Wabbit out of a hat.

IH really looked like they had screwed up, to me, when I started studying this case. However, as I went deeper, I came to see their plan as absolutely brilliant, even though I still do not agree with every detail of how it was executed. There is a proof: Woodford. The initial Rossi investment and followup was about $20 million. The IH goal was not profit, as such, their original interest was environmental, they are what is sometimes called “socially responsible investors.” Their goal was to support the possibility of LENR. They hope to make a profit with their investments, on average, and they commonly make risky investments in pursuit of their goals, and they are patient, willing to follow the long term. Woodford is similar, apparently, and invested $50 million in what became the parent company of IH, IH Holdings International. This was obviously set up to protect the Woodford investment from Rossi predation. Woodford also committed an additional $150 million if needed.

So Darden and Vaughn amplified their own $20 million, and that they took the risk with Rossi made the world safe for further investment, not in Rossi, but in other LENR research and technology. They are still cash ahead, even considering the legal costs, and they may be able to recover those, from two defendants: Rossi, who may own on the order of $10 million in Florida real estate, though that is probably being mortgaged, my guess, to pay his own legal bills, and Johnson, Rossi’s real estate lawyer, who supported the fraudulent representation that is quite obvious from case evidence. In addition, there are aspects of this case that call attention to possible lawyer misbehavior.

There is a pattern shown in the Rossi pleadings. He has accused Jones Day of legal misconduct, while his own lawyers may be more in line for sanctions for that, he accused Darden of perjury, whereas he has, himself, almost certainly committed perjury, demonstrable by comparing his depositions and attestations with clear evidence, his own emails, and, of course, there was the basic case filing itself, claiming fraudulent inducement, when there is no evidence of that on the IH side, and plenty on the Rossi side.

So, what did MikeDunford show me? His posts. Search for Rossi v Darden to see the seven posts (at this point)

Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:50 pm

I haven’t weighed in on the legal issues yet, and won’t unless/until I get a chance to read the papers in some detail. (Which is very unlikely to happen in the next several weeks.) I’ll also freely admit that my patent law knowledge could be getting blurred because it’s not my primary area, but it is one where I’ve done the basic-level class for multiple jurisdictions. That said…

My recollection is that the validity of a patent is generally relevant in a patent licensing dispute, because if there is no valid patent, there is nothing to license. Whether or not the invention actually does what it says on the tin is generally relevant to validity, because a patent for thing that can’t possibly do what it claims may be invalid for lack of utility.

So I do think that the science may be relevant. But this sounds like a strange arrangement of contracts, so I’d have to take a good long look to be sure.

Sounds like a smart lawyer, actually. What I would point out is that the validity of the patent has not been legally challenged. The idea that this was a patent dispute appears to be common. It isn’t. It is, indeed, a contract dispute, with a few odd claims relating to IP tossed in. IH is claiming that if Rossi knows how to make working devices, he didn’t show them, so he’d be in prior breach. The only relevance I know of patent law is application to some of the dismissed claims in the Complaint. Rossi claimed that by adding a co-inventor to a patent application, they had somehow infringed on Rossi’s patents, which, is, ah, cloud cuckoo land. I’m confident that Mike would agree.

IH is not asking for the patent to be invalidated.

Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:44 pm

Having skimmed a couple of the summary judgment motions, I feel very sorry for the judge and her law clerks. And that’s all I’m gonna have to say about that.

I responded to this with general agreement, but then some details. Mike came back with:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:30 am

This is complicated, but in summary, I had argued that the Judge erred in dismissing the Motions for Summary Judgment without looking at any fact and legal argument. What Mike asserted about Summary Judgment was all general truth, but Mike did not address my specific claim. He merely gave a conclusory comment, an opinion based admittedly on a shallow review. here were his notes:

1: Even if the other side has the burden at trial.
This was a note to “The burden to persuade the court that summary judgment is appropriate rests with the moving party”. That is correct, AFAIK.
2: It’s a lot harder for a plaintiff to win on summary judgment.
I think so, as well. The “Partial Motion for Summary Judgment” filed by Rossi was preposterous, not even close to what might have succeeded, in my opinion. As well, IH as counter-plaintiffs had a tough row to hoe. Most counterclaims required matters in controversy to be decided. There might have been some relatively simple ones. As a tactical matter, my impression is that Jones Day attempted way too much and so got nothing. But IANAL, and assessing the practical reality of that is beyond my pay grade.
3: I agree that the 4-page blanket denial was a bit of a slap at the lawyers; I’m not sure it was an unwarranted one. The motion I read (the Int’l Heat one) was very hard to get through and did not do a great job (IMO) of clearly setting out the basis for summary judgment.
It was not merely “hard to get through.” To actually study it required reading the SOMF, and to understand what was happening with the SOMF required reading the evidences asserted, and that was, as these documents exist, tedious. Did IH “do a great job”? No, they didn’t. That’s obvious. A great job would have won at least one issue for summary judgment. Or would have resulted in the Judge clearly rejecting the arguments and explaining why. What they got was zilch. No examination. In my training, when I get results like that, the training is to take responsibility. “I failed …” However, this wasn’t my pleading, I did not write it and wasn’t asked to review and perhaps edit it before it was filed.
Mike actually says he’s not sure. I am more sure, but have likely spent an order of magnitude more time studying those documents. This is not about familiarity with law. Mike and I appear to agree on the legal principles. Mike did not actually address my central claim, that the Judge didn’t do her job, reviewing and accepting or rejecting arguments. She just threw up her hands in … despair or disgust? It’s hard to tell. This was not the assessment of uncontested fact that I would have expected. The result: the Rossi strategy of generating massive smoke screens worked. He could make up a set of unsupported arguments and she took this as a “disputed fact.” It didn’t matter if those arguments had any relevance or evidentiary basis. I think that’s error.

The result is a complex trial expected now to take a month. Some of this might have been unavoidable. She apparently is pushing for settlement. If she had dismissed what was dismissable, based on uncontradicted evidence and arguments (and particularly on the original complaint issues, thus the standard should have been easier, this was IH as a defendant), settlement might have become more possible.

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:45 pm

This got convoluted. I pointed out that the term “absolutely” was a “bit strong,” he wrote “not a bit strong,” but we actually agreed on the substance, and his restatement did not use “absolutely,” nor any equivalent.

As I said above, technically speaking the defendant doesn’t need to produce any evidence in opposition. It’s a good idea for the defendant to try to produce evidence, of course, but the defendant can – through argument – convince the finder of fact that the presented evidence is simply insufficient to meet the burden of persuasion.

In the most significant and clearest of the issues covered by the IH MSJ, IH was the defendant. I did not claim that all the IH MSJ issues were worthy of much attention, and Mike’s argument, apparently thinking of IH as plaintiff, focuses on plaintiff arguments, but I still am concerned about what the Judge did. This was a complex case, with two initial plaintiffs (and confusion over the identity of one of the plaintiffs), four initial defendants, and then counterclaim plaintiffs and originally about eight counterclaim defendants, reduced by one when Penon could not be found for service. The Judge wanted all elements included in a single motion, of restricted size. She also created a much earlier trial schedule than what the parties had agreed upon, and refused to allow consensual postponement of deadlines. That all raised my eyebrows. Other than not allowing the parties to have what they agreed upon, however, her prior rulings all seemed within reason.

 

At a point where I agree with Mike (saying “that is correct,’) he wrote:

I’m relieved to learn that my years of legal education have not been entirely in vain.

Not a good sign….

Nothing shown to me here that I did not already know. I was thinking I’d write more detail, because Mike went on to present speculations as if they were facts …. but I’m losing interest rapidly. Mike is clearly knowledgeable about law, but then made hosts of assumptions about the specific facts. He did ask me for an example of what MSJ might have been granted, but I’m not convinced the question was sincere. I’ve covered that extensively here. Someone else can answer him.

And then:

Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:32 am

tjh wrote:

So … ONE person (though not an attorney) who knows BOTH the law AND the technology? My vote’s for Abd.

Mine isn’t.

Abd’s knowledge of the law is clearly substantially weaker than Abd thinks it is.

Apparently his vote is for himself. Surprise? I am not a legal expert, I merely have more knowledge of law than many lay writers. Mike imagines he knows what I think. He did come up with a stronger statement of what he thinks are my errors.

Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:29 am

It’s tempting to respond to him, but …. no. I will lay out what I will do, but what I will not do is to engage in these bar conversations. His comment above is an insult, a comment made either as trolling or in reckless disregard of normal responses. His subsequent comment actually addressed issues, but … context matters. If anyone has questions regarding any of what I wrote or what he wrote there, ask me here. Comments are open; only the first comment from a user requires approval. There are some loose ends to tie up. First of all, thanks to tjh for the kind comment. However, we are not running for office and there is no job on offer, nobody is to be established as The Authority. I merely know more than the usual about some things, but I make mistakes and that is one reason why I generally provide sources and links. I don’t always do that, so if anyone disagrees with what I’ve written and it was not sources, please ask. If you have the question someone else might, as well.

So, tjh. I had not seen his post.

Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:21 pm

vic wrote:

Sterngard Friegen wrote: [quoting Abd, adding a highlight]

“I don’t need this forum for anything in particular, I posted here Just Because I know more about the topic (that lawsuit) than almost anyone else on the planet, and this discussion was mentioned elsewhere.”

Regarding the highlight – an ego is a terrible thing to waste.

I’m the one who created this topic, and referenced it on https://www.lenr-forum.com — which might be why Abd came here.

Yeah.

But I will endorse his comment “I know more about the topic (that lawsuit) than almost anyone else on the planet”.

Let me put it this way: I’ve spent a year studying the suit, and then creating the resources on coldfusioncommunity.net, I read the documents again and again. There are some people who know things that are not public, and sometimes people notice things about the documents I have missed, but … when I read the comments of those who have not studied the documents, I notice the many errors that are common, and I know how I know what I know, because I’ve been over and over those documents, reading what others write about them, and my comment was an opinion that might be fact in some ways. And the reception was chilling, overall. People mostly go away when treated that way, sane people do (women will almost always not tolerate it)

One commenter imagined I didn’t know what a troll was. I’ve been dealing with on-line community since the 1980s on the W.E.L.L. People confuse their own ignorance or differences of opinion with the ignorance of others. “Troll” is a word. What it means is up to us. We use language, or we let it use us. I prefer the former.

Rossi’s and IH’s attorneys may know more about the law …

They certainly do. Some abuse it. My knowledge will also be spotty, incomplete. I often comment from a common-law perspective, more or less equivalent in some ways to “common sense,” though common sense is not necessarily common.

but they know (and care) little or nothing about the technology. Read the depositions.

Right. Jones Day has a real blooper in one of their pleadings. This is what I know about professionals in my life: they know more in general, almost always, but they don’t know my situation as well as I do. So I use professionals without making them into gods. I’m responsible for my choices, not the professionals I might consult. They are responsible for sharing their experience and knowledge with me, but they are advisors, not governors.

(From the technology end I would love to cross-examine ALL of the “technical experts”. How to do it legally … no idea. I do know that major cases can hinge on ONE question, eg “Is there any possibility you MIGHT have seen the microcode?”)

One of the nutty things that was tossed at me was the idea that I was trying to intervene in the case, to get the Judge to read my work. Basically, people make up what fits their preconceptions, so what I wrote was read that way. In fact, what I had suggested was that a clerk might use certain documents here that had links added; the clerk would not trust the document, but would verify that the links were what they purported to be, that the copies were true, etc. That would be much faster than creating it from scratch. Maybe ten times as fast. I spent many days creating some of those documents. With such a document, hypertext, reading the MSJs would be far easier.

(I never completed those documents, they would still be useful to someone who wanted to make it easy for the Judge to review. Frankly, my opinion, attorneys should be required to present documents like that, instead of what they have been doing for way too long. It should be possible to verify a claim in a pleading as to what is in evidence, in seconds, not several minutes per claim.

Lots of people (with whom I have corresponded on forae and by email) know lots about the technology. (eg Rothwell, Storms) …
[Edit]: but little or nothing about the law.

That’s what they tell me, they are honest about it.

Abd has an excellent technical reputation in this the technical area (I met him first online on vortex, but he got thrown off for rationally defending a religious attack).

Given Fogbow, it’s ironic. The fellow was a birther and that was a major part of what I confronted. That is, in fact, where I learned about that flabber.

So … ONE person (though not an attorney) who knows BOTH the law AND the technology? My vote’s for Abd.

(He sure ain’t modest, he sure ain’t polite — he’s dinged me for posting some hignorant stuff. )

Sorry. Not about not being modest (though simply saying that I may know more than the vast majority of people on some topic is not immodest, if it’s factually based), but about any hurt feelings. I have learned what I learned by writing and, on occasion, being corrected by those knowledgeable enough to accomplish that. Some have been polite and some not, but the opportunity is there for me. I would probably learn much on Fogbow, but it ain’t gonna happen. Most of those conversations were far too boring, on matters where I discussed the stuff to death years ago.

AND I’m still not going to defend Cold Fusion / LENR here.

It doesn’t need defense, or, at least not on Fogbow, which will make zero difference in what happens with LENR. In fact, I’m strongly suggesting that people without high knowledge stop arguing about LENR, and people with high knowledge usually have something better to do.

And then Startibartfast.  Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:05 am

[I am creating links for his footnotes, and backlinks just for fun]

I find it fascinating how quickly bad blood can arise from a failure to understand each other’s position (and grumpiness too, also1). In an effort to get an interesting thread back on track and prevent someone who seems to me to be making a worthwhile contribution from getting turned off, let me see if I can help explain… or at least make things worse.
:towel:

Since I was a moderator on the W.E.L.L., I have been noticing social pathologies in on-line discussion, probably related to the lack of direct visual and auditory cues, and the depersonalization related to the low bandwidth of text. It’s an issue I have worked on since then, because there are also vast possibilities from there being a clear and accessible written record of conversations. However, what I saw, then, and continue to see, is that this possibility is largely missed because it is overwhelmed by social phenomena and how people routinely form opinions. To review the record to find the original of conflicts was, in practice, almost useless, because people mostly will not read the record, and will assume that references to the record are “cherry-picked” or otherwise simply reflecting the political position of the one making the references. This is an aspect of general dysfunction in how we form our identities and beliefs. To move beyond it generally takes training, and that training is not routinely supplied or expected.

Those who might be expected to see beyond these reactive patterns often don’t. I saw a professor of linguistics argue with one of the most skilled trainers on the planet, that he was using words wrongly. If anyone should know that language is a tool, not  truth, it would be such a professor. He walked out, because he could not tolerate “wrong.”

Stern,

I don’t think Abd is trying to peddle woo, I believe he is just someone who, based on his own informed opinion, believes that cold fusion is real4 and hopes that, one day, it will result in commercially viable energy production.

Thanks. To be clear, I am informed more than most, and less than a few. I am sufficiently informed to be able to participate usefully in conversations with experts, and to be able to write a review paper and see it pass an initially negative peer review and have it be published, and cited by the person I most respect of all the experts. However, I do not “believe” that cold fusion is “real.” To be sure, the word “believe” carries many possible meanings. A more neutral statement of how I think is that I have concluded through a preponderance of the evidence, pending the availability of better evidence, that at least some of the reported effects sloppily called “cold fusion” are real, not merely artifact, and that it is nuclear in nature. This view is probably consistent with the view of the majority of informed experts. Cold fusion, like some other fields, is afflicted with experts who do not know the evidence, so “informed experts” would mean those who are somehow tasked with a review and study. People like McKubre and Robert Duncan. I just noticed that a Rossi voir dire asked if jurors had seen the CBS special on Cold Fusion, where we saw Duncan investigating cold fusion.

I use the term “cold fusion” for political purposes. That is, the evidence shows that the reaction is likely the conversion of deuterium to helium. That conversion, regardless of mechanism, would routinely be called “fusion” as to effect. Steve Krivit has never understood this and argues at great length that most in the field are promoting a wrong idea, fusion. But then he means by fusion “d-d fusion,” which is easily understood as either impossible or in any case not what is happening with the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect and the production of gammas. Huizenga point it out long ago when he noticed the heat/helium evidence, considered this an amazing report (it was!), that it would explain a major mystery of cold fusion (the ash!), but that it would probably not be confirmed (because no gammas!). That opinion was obviously based on an assumption that if heat and helium were correlated, the reaction must be d-d fusion. That is only an assumption. There are other possible pathways.

An information cascade formed in 1989-1990, where a “scientific consensus” arose, meaning broad and common opinion among scientists, that was never based on completed or conclusive scientific study and findings. Gary Taubes wrote the best skeptical book on Cold Fusion, Bad Science. Even though he finished the book after the Miles announcement of heat/helium correlation, he never looked at it, and the reason is obvious: his simple story of bad science, a long-term theme of his, became really complicated, and he needed to finish the damn book! Later, he investigated some other information cascades and wrote compellingly about them. These cascades are still in place, but falling apart as real research is done. Taubes, indeed, founded NuSci to facilitate that research. I like Taubes, a lot, even though some of my LENR friends hate his guts. He worked his butt off. For some understanding of how information cascades work, google “Taubes Tiernan information cascade”. Here:

Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

How the Low-Fat, Low-Fact Cascade Just Keeps Rolling Along

Information cascades are not “bad.” They are a mechanism by which society creates more efficiency, but they can fail to recognize anything that is outside normal thinking or what is easily accessible. Overcoming them can be quite difficult. I’ve been looking recently at the history of the recognition that h. pylori infections case gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancer. The creation of review bypasses could have saved many lives and improved the quality of many more. The cost of the rejection cascade was in the billions of dollars. My guess is that the collective cost of such phenomena is in the trillions of dollars per year. That does not mean that people should be so open-minded that their brains fall out. Rather, it only takes a few to review and spread the news, if structures are in place.

Creating those structures is my goal, long term. Cold fusion is merely one example of an information cascade where what became insanely strong rejection, if it delays the commercial application of LENR, costs about a trillion dollars per year in lost opportunity cost. Even if the probability of such applications is low, this would be worth many millions of dollars in review costs, including, of course, definitive experimentation.

In discussions of LENR, N-rays and polywater are often mentioned as prior examples of “pathological science,” tossing cold fusion in that basket. However, N-rays were shown to be artifact by a conclusive experiment. That experiment did not “prove” that N-rays were not  real, but that the evidence for them was not based on objective observation, but was a product of observer expectation and interpretations that “seeing is believing,” even if the seeing is … at the edge of clear. Polywater was shown to be artifact by an experiment that conclusively provided a prosaic (though remarkable in itself!) explanation, contamination of the water by condensed sweat from the researchers.

The core findings of LENR were never shown to be artifact, i.e., the heat. The early neutron radiation report was, indeed, artifact, retracted. That was often considered proof that the heat effect could not be real, because d-d fusion would always generate copious neutrons, but the interpretive error is obvious. As well, the conclusion that the heat was nuclear in nature was premature. Pons and Fleischmann actually had, when they initially announced, three evidences of “nuclear.” First, the level of heat was beyond chemistry, in their judgment, and chemistry was their expertise. Second, they saw evidence for neutrons. Third, they found tritium. The neutrons and the tritium, however, were far below the levels expected from d-d fusion. The neutron evidence was artifact. However, that was never shown for the heat, nor for tritium, and both of those effects were widely reported, confirmed. A few neutrons have even been shown, but those findings are not confirmed.

As such, this trial is of interest to him just like many other trial threads on the Fogbow are of interest to you and the rest of the boogle2.

Yeah. It was doubly interesting, because it is a convergence of two significant interests. It might be a good place to ask legal questions, for reasons that Starti makes clear. However, it’s also a public comment forum, with very loose administration, with all the down sides of that. I broke a rule. No administrative warning, just some blame from a troll and friends. Yes, some explained the rule I had violated. Yet from the common severe disrespect and contempt shown, the initial offense, the kind that seriously damages discussions and tends, for example, to drive away women or others not interested in bulls butting heads, and endless waste of time in discussions that never go anywhere, that rarely accomplish any measurable benefit, was tolerated, and it was repeated. I.e., the judgment of “insult” was superficial. This is a product of the limitations of narrow administration without decent structure. That is a discussion forum default because it’s easy and familiar and can be controlled by the owner. There are far more powerful options. Hybrids, essentially, and few have experience with them.

You might find cold fusion to be nonsense, but Abd doesn’t and seems willing to discuss LENR on the merits.

Yes. If you look around this blog, you will find serious discussions with serious skeptics. I don’t expect a knowledgeable skeptic to lay down and play dead. My stand is for all to express what they know. Emphasis on know. As part of the process, there is the expression of opinion, which is reactive, not exactly knowledge (though necessary in human process).

More precisely, the opinion that “cold fusion is nonsense” is obviously an unsupported judgment as apparently held. It would depend on a definition of “cold fusion,” wouldn’t it? I’ve had this argument with some atheists. Speaking at a university on Islam, a young man stood up, proud to express his opinion. “I don’t believe in God.” Great. I asked him, “in what God do you not believe?” It appeared that nobody had ever asked him that question, he was dumbfounded. I then said, “The God that you do not believe in, I don’t believe in either.” Now, I’ve had this discussion with serious atheists, who were not naive college students. Their ultimate objection: I capitalize God, and I capitalize Reality, and I define God as Reality. Period. No ideas attached, not as belief. There are some explorations and possibilities, that’s all.

The “cold fusion” that is nonsense is an idea in the mind of the pseudoskeptic, typically unquestioned, almost invisible, because it is assumed that we know what is being talked about, i.e., say, the claims of Pons and Fleischmann. However, they did not actually claim fusion. Their paper claimed an “unknown nuclear reaction.” In the title, as I recall, they had Fusion? at the end. The editors lost the question mark.

The history of cold fusion is an extensive comedy of errors, a demonstration of how very smart people can make very stupid mistakes. All of us can. In my ontology, “mistakes” are the fastest way to learn, if we pay attention and are not attached to being right.

Which is perfectly reasonable from a scientific point of view3.

Thanks. To echo Mike, I’m grateful that my fifty years of observation and study and training have not been wasted. (But I actually do thank you, I am not being sarcastic.)

Anyway, I think Abd is adding value to the discussion (and certainly a lot of knowledge about the particulars of the case) and, at the very least, isn’t doing any harm.

I doubt that whats-his-face, the user I set to ignore, will leave because of my “insult.” The insult was actually calling him a troll, as I recall, which was very obviously reasonable, i.e., if someone trolls, they are, in that interaction, a troll. No action exclusively creates identity. I was not claiming and would not claim that the only thing the fellow does is troll, that he is a “pure troll,” only that he was obviously trolling, and I drew a conclusion from that, which was personal, that I was not going to continue interaction. If he wants to communicate with me, this blog is open for comments. I have no assumption that he has nothing of value to contribute; such an assumption would violate my basic ontology and stand. Mike is merely opinionated and quick to judge, I didn’t see trolling there. Mike has actually raised an issue worth exploring, which I intend to do here, but not today, I need to get ready to travel to Miami.

In any case, I don’t think he really deserves all of the scorn you’ve leveled at him. Certainly not because he chose not to answer a hostile comment on Saturday afternoon by Sunday morning7. Just my opinion.
:towel:

Indeed. That was trolling, highly offensive, provocative, and … obviously tolerated, and, my guess, much from him is tolerated, probably because he is seen as a “valuable contributor.” That is an error very common in site administration. It is possible to create and enforce civility without losing truly valuable contributors; that this is thought not possible is a result of failure to respect the capacity of users to cooperate, when that is tested. Most will cooperate with civility rules, if they are clear, and clearly and reliably enforced, but it takes some administrative work, and admins are typically overworked and definitely underpaid.

p.s. I didn’t know the story about your avatar, so, if nothing else, I’m grateful to Abd for getting you to share that.

You’re welcome. My comment about his avatar was not a claim — as he represented — that he had created the avatar to insult me, which would have been stupid and egotistical — more or less his point in making the claim. Rather it appeared to be a symbol of his interactions, not just with me, but with many. It’s not just grumpy, it is in-your-face grumpy. It is or has become his identity.

Abd,

Please correct me if any of my suppositions above are untrue. You seem very forthright and write long, detailed comments (see below :towel: ) and you’re arguing the counter-orthodoxy5 without, in my opinion, crossing the line, all of which gets my sympathy, but I think you’ve made some (very understandable) blunders due to circumstances you aren’t aware of.

That’s life. I don’t think they are “blunders,” however. When I toss a pebble in a pond and its splashes, it would not be a blunder unless it creates damage to some goal important to me. In fact, the splash tells me far more about the pond than a more cautious approach would. I assess actions based on outcomes, not on presumed freedom from “error” as if that were an intrinsic characteristic of the actions, which the language of “blunder” incorporates. If my goal were not to break rules, it would be a blunder, or, in my training, that is called a “breakdown.” But it is also said that “from breakdowns come breakthroughs.”

I became, as a result of the comment, very quickly aware of many aspects of the situation that I might not have learned for a long time. Not only has no harm been done, I saved myself a great deal of wasted work. Writing details responses takes much time. Mark Twain said, about a long letter, “I would have written less but I didn’t have time.” That is, writing effective polemic, if it is to be deeper than “you’re an idiot,” takes time. Providing sources takes time (and this is part of how I learn when writing sourced material. To provide a link, I have to look at the source again. So I end up seeing sources over and over. Basic method of learning: exposure to material. It can actually be superior to what we call “understanding,” which is often an illusion (meaning that we have some conclusion that fits into our world-view).

This forum, while having long ago branched out, started as an anti-birther forum. Conspiracy theorists in general6 are still a major focus.

What I see as the Fogbow condition correlates with that. Moletrap was started by Steorn debunkers. RationalWiki was started by Conservapedia debunkers. These become insular, self-reinforcing social structures. RationalWiki does build content, but it is heavily biased in a particular direction. Moletrap doesn’t, generally.

It is not that the debunkers are “wrong.” It is that contrary views are buried in mud. On Moletrap it was quite obvious. That community effectively denied the existence of pseudoskepticism, which is an extreme view, with no distinction being made between pseudoskepticism (which fails to be self-skeptical) and genuine skepticism (which does not require brains falling out, it does not require accepting and believing “woo,” and the very term “woo” is pseudoskeptical, it has no clear definition other than “stuff we think is loony.”

As such, two things are true: first, some of the people, especially those who have been here for a long time, have a very quick trigger when they think people are supporting frivolous arguments or woo, and, secondly, while the membership here is very diverse, it is still skewed heavily towards lawyers.

This could be both a strength and a weakness. Lawyers are skilled in argument, at inventing arguments to support any position whatever, including attacking and discrediting the views of others. Some lawyers are skilled at dispute resolution and mediation. Some are fight-to-the-bitter-end-never-give-up hired guns. And then they follow those same principles with their own opinions, a busman’s holiday.

Unfortunately, you happened to run afoul of one of the most well-respected8 and grumpy of those lawyers, who seems to have thought that your comments implied beliefs that were frivolous or unscientific and, as you pointed out, he trolled you about them. Now, you’re certainly right that he showed contempt for your ideas, and while the motivation for your insult was certainly understandable, you are the one who broke the rules.

The rule I broke was calling him what he obviously was, i.e., the name of one who engages in his behavior. That was from one incident, and would not, in itself, an identity define, but what I saw was clear enough to make the call, and what is being said here confirms that the call was not just my own opinion, but matches the community opinion. But he is “one of us,” and I wasn’t. One of the claims made as a result of my comment (besides a call to effectively ban me —  sorry, not allowing comment on the topic of interest, but only in the Cesspool or the Dungeon or whatever it is called may not be “censorship,” but neither is total ban, because the banned person is not prevented from expressing their opinions except in one place. It would still be a ban) was that I didn’t know what a troll was. Which would, of course, be inviting argument, since I have thirty years of experience with on-line conferencing. I was not claiming that the fellow was an “actual troll,” which would require showing that he lives under a bridge, but rather was behaving like a troll, showing signs of habitual trolling, and that claim is confirmed here. But apparently accurate description of behavior is not allowed on Fogbow, if it gores the valuable contributor. This is very common, and boring.

Now that’s certainly not a cardinal sin and, even if you do get thrown in the FEMA camp (and I don’t believe you should or will), you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference (except that people would be free to insult you and vice versa),

FEMA Camp is a user group. From Fogbow Forum information:

FEMA Campers is a closed group. Birthers, SovCits, trolls, and anyone else who joins the forum in order to hassle us are put in this group. Then they can only post in FEMA Camp 7½, a hidden forum.

The FEMA Staff & Visitors group can see the FEMA camp. If you don’t join, you don’t see us dealing with the troublemakers.

Sterngard Friegen is in a group of his own, for reasons that will become apparent when you get to know him. He is the Super Grumpy Geezer.

Why in the world would I write for FEMA camp? I can write on Quora, say, and have 2.6 million page views, I can write on my blog and create useful pages and discussions (and blog posts, i.e., opinions, though some pages express opinions), and have many appreciative readers and why should I care about the others — they don’t care about me. (If they do, they will comment and I respect them and generally reply, even if they are telling me what I’ve heard for as long as I’ve been writing, I write too much. To that comment I say, “Don’t read it, then. Or ask for a summary. Or wait until someone comments and reply to that. Your choice.”

I would surely notice that I was not allowed to post in a topic of interest. Or if somehow that post is there (not rejected by the software), I would notice that I couldn’t see it when not logged in. I don’t know how Fogbow implements this ban that it pretends isn’t a ban.

Fogbow administration obviously has decided that Stern is an exception and may insult others (perhaps as long as he avoids the direct insults that are easily seen without having any idea of the topic). So he can troll others, those people who come to Fogbow to “hassel us, ” because that serves a useful function: when the person, generally a noob, responds like an ordinary human, returning insult for insult, that person can be FEMA camped for breaking the rules. I saw this strategy used to great effect on Wikipedia, there were users who freely broke the rules, in order to tempt “POV-pushers” to violate the rules, to, then, provide easy cover for administrators, their friends, to ban those people. The administrators had points of view that they pushed, but often had difficulty with what they called “civil POV pushers.” Those who followed the rules to push a POV. Wikipedia fell into some internally contradictory tropes, such as the idea that neutrality can be found by excluding people with strong points of view. It often excludes, then, experts, from participating in the discussions.

In this case, if I were to tendentiously argue that this was all unfair, that Stern was truly a troll, i.e., had been trolling — there is no other objective definition — the community, with established habits, would pile on and I could be actually FEMA camped. I won’t do that on Fogbow, and, in fact, I’m not going to argue on Fogbow at all. What I will do will not be argument, itself. Mostly, though, I won’t be reading or following Fogbow, but may look at discussions there pointed out to me. Whatever, it depends somewhat on how much free time I have and what I have to do with that time. I wrote that I posted on Fogbow “Just Because.” I.e., no particular good reason, and I’d chalk it up to testing the waters.

but, if you’re going to hang around here9, I would suggest that a sincere apology to Stern for the insult would probably go a long way towards getting people to take the time to look at who you are instead of who they think you are.

What would a “sincere apology” look like? My opinion, now strengthened, is that Stern trolls users, at least he was trolling me. I don’t see any sign that he was harmed, other than possibly being, himself, trolled into making some stupid comments. But his friends think he is brilliant. Personally, I think that the community is enabling him and harming him. I’m also an “old geezer” (73), and think that when people conspire with my stupidity, they are truly harming me.

So how could I apologize “sincerely”? I know how to influence public opinion in situations like this. But do I want to? Is Fogbow my target audience? (No. Not lawyers, for the most part. Scientists and decision-makers in funding agencies. My blogging is to create a channel for meeting possible supporters for the long-term work, to recruit leaders and empower them and “leaders” can include genuine skeptics who will actually study a topic, seeking deeper understanding.)

I am not willing to lie or deceive in order to generate popularity. I will shut up about some things, not every truth or opinion must be stated. I’m not going to break the rules, though what I’ve found is that if someone is considered an outsider, the rules may be interpreted to ban them, it’s common. What I will do on Fogbow may indeed create some deeper tests. Anyone watching will be able to learn from this.

It’s a small matter and everyone knows you didn’t violate the rules intentionally (and that Stern is a expert at walking the line without crossing it — not to mention really grumpy), but it would be a show of respect for the community and probably enough to let the matter die and return the discussion to the case (or cold fusion in general), which I believe is what you would like.

I am not maintaining the discussion on Fogbow. If that community wants to beat a dead horse, they can continue the conversation. Communities like Fogbow typically prefer to discuss personalities rather than principles and objective fact. What happened on Fogbow is quite common.

You said:

Abd wrote:
I am not a “real lawyer,” for sure, but I’m in regular consultation on these issues with one, and others are chiming in.

Which was simply true.

You clearly want the respect that you think you are due for your knowledge and expertise,

I actually DGAF. However, I understand that if I have knowledge, I have an obligation to share it. It is up to others if they take advantage of this or not. Those who do, learn, those who don’t — I am not responsible for them. They make their choices. I do not “hide my light,” under some idea of pious humility. I don’t consider that kind of humility to be a virtue, at all. Genuine humility, to which I aspire: I know I make mistakes and will consider what is pointed out to me as error.

However… trolling never brings this out, not directly, though I can still take advantage of the opportunity.

but, in trying to convince us that you deserve respect you unknowingly disrespected the knowledge and expertise of this community. Roughly half of the people that are engaging with you are real lawyers (and good ones).

If I tried to convince people of that, the effort would be self-contradictory and doomed. Human beings deserve respect, even from lawyers. (Cue a series of Bad Lawyer Jokes.)

Most people (including friends who don’t know me face-to-face) will not correctly assess my goals and motivations. That’s just the way it is.

In particular, in your exchanges with Mike Dunford it is very clear that you don’t understand that, even in a group of outstanding attorneys, Mike is special. When he gives his opinions, everyone listens carefully, because after over 7,000 posts demonstrating his knowledge and insight he’s earned enormous respect. When he says, “I’m relieved to learn that my years of legal education have not been entirely in vain.”, everyone here is quite aware of just how erudite a legal scholar Mike is.

I don’t doubt it. However, he was making assumptions about the case based on shallow knowledge of it. The greatest expert in the world who does that is out on a limb. The number of posts on a discussion Forum like Fogbow is not a particularly impressive credential, by the way, I place more credence in your own opinion.

Which is not to say that your knowledge and insight into this case isn’t welcome, but it is generally a good idea for IANAL types to be careful about asserting themselves as legal authorities, especially when in discussions with actual lawyers (which is pretty much every thread here).

I have a habit of assertive writing. I will describe things as I see them. IANAL (I am not a lawyer, folks) will cover that there will be things that I misunderstand or miss, but in real-life conversations with real-life lawyers, these are easily fixed. Real-life lawyers, in my experience, listen to my comments, because I’m coming from outside the box and I might see something that, out of habit, they might have missed. Or not. I might be seriously mistaken, so they say so, directly, and if they are true experts instead of stuffed shirts, they can and will tell me why, ordinarily.

If you do a little listening and then ask some questions, I’ll bet you will learn some new things about the law yourself. I certainly have11

I may ask questions, though I do have a lawyer I can call for that.

and:

Abd wrote:
I posted here Just Because I know more about the topic (that lawsuit) than almost anyone else on the planet, and this discussion was mentioned elsewhere. I’ve been funded to cover the trial, and I have multiple places to publish that coverage.

Okay, so you’ve been trolled and scolded and talked about and you’re probably thinking, “why should I bother to stick around?” What you just said is why. I don’t believe you can find a more discerning audience to which to publish your coverage or a more knowledgeable group with which to discuss the merits of the case.

The Fogbow software sucks and is not designed to handle the kind of writing I would want to do. I will publish here (or maybe in Infinite Energy, it’s been suggested, but I have no agreement with them.)

Another place to publish with a wide audience is Quora, where I have many followers, and where there are deep experts on just about everything.

There’s a long standing tradition on the Fogbow of having BOTG (Boots On The Ground) for trials of interest. Members (both lawyers and non-lawyers) post their notes and then the ask questions and start speculating on the meaning and significance of what happened. There is much popcorn and good times all around.

I’m on a low-carb diet. However, I have nothing against good times. If Fogbow sends a Boot, we might have some good times if we meet. I’m big on real-life meetings, it is far more fun than pounding on a keyboard. Or Fogbow could consider me a Boot. It will be up to the users and how they use the opportunities that I present.

So here’s my challenge to you: stick around long enough to post some coverage from the trial and answer the questions you get from Stern and the other lawyers and then see if the analysis they give is correct. I bet it will be. And I bet you will find it a worthwhile experience too. also. What have you got to lose?

Everything and nothing. I stand for the nothing part. I’m not LANCB. I call that “binding the future,” and it is generally a stupid thing to do. People do it because they don’t trust themselves, which is a generally disempowering position.

Questions, I haz some. You say you are being funded to cover this trial, by whom and what is their (and your) interest?

I don’t ask them. Some donors may be seen publically on the GoFundMe site. Some donations have come from a lawyer who saw what I was doing and offered to cover Pacer costs. He wants to be anonymous. But I can say that he has no connection with the parties in the case. Indeed, so far, no donor has any known connection with the parties. What has been said is that they are supporting my reporting, the Rossi v Darden resources on this blog, and they trust my honesty. Most would be called, perhaps, “believers,” i.e. they think LENR is real.

However, that does not bias my reporting, at least I hope not!

My interest is in the outcome of the first major investment by a commercial entity in LENR in a long time. My interest in going to Miami is to see the parties and witnesses myself, personally, instead of just what is written. We can’t see the video depositions, which might convey something. I also may meet with some of the involved people. That is likely, though not arranged yet. I am, as part of this trip, visiting Washington, D.C. and will meet with at least one scientist there. Maybe two.

Mostly, though, I’m interested because It’s There. I like fact and evidence, much more than opinion and conclusions.

What are your relevant credentials and experience? I assume from your name that you are (or were) a graduate student, is that correct, and if so, what did you study?

No. I never completed college, nor was I a graduate student. Abd is not “All but degree.” It is the first noun in my Muslim name, I accepted Islam in about 1970, and have written more about Islam, overall, than about any other topic, over the years. The name is Abd ul-Rahman, “servant of the merciful.” (“Abdul” is not actually a Muslim name, but a fragment of a phrase taken as if it were a word.)

I attended Cal Tech, sitting in the Feynman lectures in 1961-63. I dropped out, became a musician and became involved with “spiritual communities,” and was recognized as a teacher. I created a career as a kind of electronics engineer, and still have some income from the design service I started. I retired on social security, but then went through extensive training from Landmark Worldwide, perhaps specializing in community projects (not “Landmark community,” the training actually prohibits projects involving Landmark graduates specifically, but must be “outside community,” with measureable results. I was a Wikipedia editor, known as standing for community rights vs the “administrative cabal,” which was a Jimbo Wales term. Later, if you called them a “cabal,” you were labelled as a conspiracy theorist, but … no conspiracies are needed. Cabal behavior functions through shared watchlists and interests, cabal members defend each other and attack “enemies.” Sometimes very effectively, if there are members who are administrators. Wikipedia is largely helpless to deal with it.

You referred to later work (after P & F) verifying LENR. Could you give us a layman’s summary of that work and the strength of those results? It might help if you could give us a clear statement about what you think is established science and what you believe that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

That’s a huge topic. There is a video published by Jed Rothwell that is decent. Focusing on what is the most established science would be my paper published in Current Science in 2015.

I do not agree with everything in the video. But nobody is perfect.

On an unrelated note, do you know anything about Steven Jones, former colleague of Pons and Fleischmann? I’m curious as to the quality of his earlier work given what he did later13.

I’ve met Jones, at ICCF-18 in 2013. Jones is far from popular in the LENR community. His work was entirely different from the FP Heat Effect. He was reporting very low levels of neutrons, and a reaction rate far below what could generate major heat. I shook his hand, congratulating him for being the only skeptic to actually critique the published work of Melvin Miles on the heat/helium ratio, in a peer-reviewed journal. What is unfortunate, though, is that though he pointed to possible heat measurement errors (probably not real, but this is a very ordinary objection) and possible helium measurement errors (the standard one is leakage from ambient, though some results are above ambient, just not the Miles results), he did not address the correlation, which is very difficult to explain with a theory of artifact. It is the correlation, not the separate results, that was significant about Miles.

As to his later ideas, well, sometimes people go off the rails. It does not tell us much about his earlier work. There are mysteries in the 9-11 evidence and there is common thinking that goes “if it isn’t explained, it must be …. [fill in theory].” When someone actually creates a theory that fills in a few blanks, they can become quite enthusiastic about it.

I concluded years ago that there are mysteries that will never be resolved. That is more or less meaningless. What a mystery shows is that for someone, something is not explained, they don’t know enough. So if one wants to know, investigation is in order, but most people are looking for quick answers, real investigation is far too much work. Or might even be impossible. I’ve looked at the videos. There are people who believe that the radio tower vaporized, and that one is obviously an appearance, unsupported by the videos if one looks carefully (this is an element in a directed-energy-beam theory).

Anyway, sorry your welcome to the Fogbow has been a little rough, but know that your comments have been appreciated and I hope that you will persevere and discover the quality of this group. I may be a wee bit biased, but I think the Fogbow is quite simply the best community on the internet.
:bighug:

Not in my book, though, to be sure, I don’t know Fogbow other than only one set of interactions. I was threatened with FEMA camp, but not warned by any administrator, nor did any administrator suggest to me that either I was safe, or in danger, or warn me.

However, Quora is fantastic, with a community of some of the most skilled writers on the planet. It has problems, mostly due to naive administration (Facebook people!). But, still, there are writers there who are, routinely, a joy to read. The format more or less discourages the kind of endless argument that is common on some blogs and sites like Fogbow.

Mike,

It has been bugging me for a while now and I gots to know… WTF is “1 Cranch 137, 177”?
:confused:

1 Cranch 137, 177 is a device used by a lawyer who wants to display his insider knowledge, his familiarity with esoterica. To others it would Marbury v. Madison.

From Wikipedia, “while serving as a Circuit judge, Cranch also served as the second reporter of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1815. At the time, the reporter was an unofficial post and he used his own funds to produce the reports.[citation needed] Cranch took on the responsibility because of his respect for precedent.[citation needed] He was slow in producing his reports of cases and their accuracy was questioned.[citation needed]

So what might be cited as 5 US is instead cited as 1 Cranch, the reporter. “5 US” would be a later name, 1 Cranch is the original publication. Volume 1, I imagine. 137 may be a page number or docket number, I didn’t find that. Someone who actually looks at the book may find this. Someone familiar may simply know. Remarkably, Googlebooks does not seem to have it.

tjh,

Thanks for starting this topic! I’m really enjoying it.
:thumbs: :popcorn:

I personally find the topic fascinating, a drama, a comedy of errors, one ridiculousness after another, stranger than fiction in many ways. Shallow, knee-jerk reactions appear common in all directions.

1. To Abd: “Too also” is a common Fogbowism, not some kind of speech impediment. (back)

When in Rome, too, also.

2. To Abd: a collective noun used to refer to the membership of the Fogbow. I believe it is the name for a group of weasels or some such. (back)

Something like that. I was put in that group.

3. So long as a hypothesis isn’t falsified (and no one has proven LENR can’t happen), a scientist is always free to argue for it on the merits. (back)

In fact, scientists, like everyone, are free to argue for anything forever, regardless of flabber like “proof.” By the way, it is generally considered impossible to prove that “LENR cannot happen.” That was in the first U.S. DoE review. Rather, it could happen that evidence appears to discredit reasons to think it exists. Unfortunately for the knee-jerk “impossible” debunkers, cold fusion is known and accepted to exist, as muon-catalyzed fusion. (Steve Jones’ specialty, by the way, but this is not controversial). So the question is whether or not there are any other possible catalytic or other processes. I consider the heat/helium evidence very strong, and widely confirmed, with no substantial negative evidence, but … many people remain skeptical because blah, blah, hence the effort to increase precision. That is a classic test of fringe or pathological science: does the effect disappear when precision increases? (Researchers in the field already know that in some cases, it doesn’t, but skeptics can always claim “file drawer effect,” which is a genuine hazard but does not apply to the best research.

4. Which is to say that it will be scientifically demonstrated one day. (back)

My hope is always in the revelation of reality, I trust reality, not my ideas about it or anyone’s ideas.

5. Which I know is hard. (back)

Only if one is attached to convincing someone. My training is not to convince, but to offer opportunities. I have had little trouble, though, finding skeptics who agree that testing heat/helium is a great idea. Pseudoskeptics keep repeating “bogus,” or “even if it’s real, it could never be practical,” or “you are just a stupid believer,” or they say it more politely on occasion. I really only care about encouraging scientists to do genuine, careful research and encouraging those who want to see that happen to support and fund them. So Andrea Rossi can be seen as a huge distraction, someone who wasted millions of dollars in his own fantasies.

I was thinking about this on the way home. In some ways, some of the evidence indicates that he believed his effect was real. There are other ways where he clearly lied, but sometimes fanatic believers will lie, thinking it is justified by necessity. In any case, that’s basically over. Anyone who invests in Rossi or anything like his claims will likely be far more careful in the future. No more pandering to paranoia.

6. Such as sovereign citizens. (back)

We are sovereign, but idiots have appropriated the concepts and live in cloud cuckoo land, or that probably is a nicer concept than the cobwebs filling some minds.

7. I’ve certainly done much, much worse myself… :towel:  (back)

Basic discussion rule: nobody is ever obligated to answer anything if it doesn’t come by service of process or at least registered mail. If someone is asked a relevant question, and that is confirmed by others, and keeps on posting repetitive nonsense where that question’s answer may be significan, this might shift as to what is socially acceptable, but trolls imagine that they make the rules for everyone to follow. Except for them, of course.

8. For good reason. (back)

I.e., excuses.

9. And I sincerely hope that you do. (back)

Thanks. Not going to happen. You are welcome here, and I am likely to occasionally ask questions on Fogbow, as long as that generates value, and I may post occasional comments there, but only as links to this blog. I’m not going to write the kind of explanatory posts that are obviously disliked by some, the expression is pearls before swine, which is not a claim that my comments are pearls of wisdom or that Fogbowers are swine, but that my writing appeals to some and not to others, and writing for Fogbow, the little I did, is not fun, too much work for too little value. I can write for Quora and get millions of page views, if readership is what I want. But at this point, I’m not writing much for Quora, and am almost entirely writing here. And people who like my writing can cite it and link to it, and those who don’t like it can ignore it.

11. I can cite 4 centuries of jurisprudence making President Obama a natural born citizen.12 (back)

I’m sorry.

12. Which is now, of course, totally irrelevant. :crying: (back)

There, there. Remember that it was fun while it lasted.

13. He completely abandoned his scientific integrity to become a 9/11 truther. (back)

I’d rather not sit in judgment of the scientific integrity of a man just because, on some topic, he goes off the rails. If I had time or interest, I’d look more closely at his claims. But I don’t.

There are millions of stories in the Big City. I choose stories that create inspiration. That one doesn’t. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but … the stories we follow create the lives we lead. What does that one create?

Ah, one more point before I publish this. Mike brought up a question that is worth answering. What elements in the Industrial Heat Motion for Summary Judgment were worthy of acceptance? I was vague about that, and focused on the failure of the Judge to cover the facts and arguments. Mike has an impression that the Motion was not well-argued. Is that true?

This is not a question to be answered off-the-cuff, and I won’t get to it, until, at least, I’m on the bus to Miami or even later. I would expect to take at least a full day to write something like that, even though I created some study documents that will make it easier.

How not to address summary judgment

My free subscription to Law360 expired, so I can’t easily read the whole article there. However, it reminds me to examine the Altonaga decision, which at the time struck me as woefully uninformed.

My guess is that Altonaga did not read and consider the evidence and arguments, but, instead, simply took the word of one (or both) parties that the alleged facts were “disputed.” She was overwhelmed by verbiage, claiming “dispute,” where the underlying facts were not, in fact, disputed. Rather, the disputes actually alleged were over possible interpretations or implications of the facts, and by taking a dispute as being “factual,” she was left with nothing to judge. Continue reading “How not to address summary judgment”

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining

Please. Don’t.

That’s the title of the book by Judge Judy that apparently led to her extremely popular TV “arbitration” show, presented as if it were a small-claims court. As an actual judge, Judy Sheindlin was known as outspoken, but on the TV series, she takes this to extremes. She’s smart, and she’s quick, fully “self-expressed.”

A comment by Sam, here, pointed to Youtube of her work, which I watched.

I think we might get somewhere if they let this
Judge handle Rossi VS Darden.

I dive into the world of Judge Judy, new to me. Continue reading “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”

She’s underpaid or understaffed

The judge. Faced with three motions to dismiss, and not having the time to review all the claimed “undisputed facts,” she punted.

It took me months of study on this case to come to the point where I might be able to see through the fog. I never finished the study pages, though I may still work on them for historical value, but at this point it is moot. An appeal of a dismissed MSJ is not likely, and that it might even be possible is controversial.

The judge wrote,

The parties’ voluminous, competing briefing and submissions plainly show the record is brimming over with disputed issues of material fact. Indeed, the Court is hard-pressed to locate any material facts on which the parties agree. Disputed factual issues are for the jury to determine.

In reviewing the MSJs, Oppositions, and Replies, what I found, way too commonly, was fact, clear from the record, that was nevertheless “disputed,” ending up as a matter to be adjudicated, when the asserted fact in the Motion was not at all in dispute, but rather possible implications.

Continue reading “She’s underpaid or understaffed”

Physician, heal thyself

This is just too funny to pass up. On LENR Forum, Zeus46 wrote:

maryyugo wrote:

I used to know an old doctor, now dead, who actually met and treated Papp for [redacted]. He said Papp was a flaming nut case (not his words– he said [redacted]).

Some interesting bits and pieces from California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act:

“CMIA prohibits a health care provider, health care service plan, or contractor from disclosing medical information regarding a patient, enrollee, or subscriber without first obtaining an authorization, except as specified.”

Note: I have redacted the medical information. (Not entirely, a doctor who treats someone and calls him a “flaming nut case,” would probably be violating HIPPA and CMIA, and repeating this could still be a violation.) I’m not a California resident, but just to make the point. CMIA prohibits any person from releasing private medical information, not only the providers listed. There are sources warning the media, for example, about publishing such information without permission. I’m reminded of the physician who accessed the medical information, particularly death certificate information, for Atkins, the cardiologist who developed the Atkins Diet, and then released it for political purposes (and it was misleading). 

Zeus46 went on to quote many relevant regulations and issues. Without doing extensive legal research myself, it looks like, on the face, the regulations set up sanctions for physicians, in particular, but also some other individuals or entities, for disclosing information similar to what maryyugo has posted.

It is possible that the original disclosure by Papp’s doctor was not a violation of regulations at the time, but this does not excuse maryyugo from the present violation. It is obvious to me that Zeus46 knows the real-life identity of maryyugo, it is not difficult to find, since he outed himself years ago, but continued using the “anonymous” identity. The real person, I’d give it more than 99% probability, is a physician licensed in California.

It appears that “Mary” is so eager to present classic debunkery, and so eager to prove it with “evidence,” that he completely ignores legal risk from his profession.

Zeus46 did not actually reveal that maryyugo is a physician, so he did not violate LENR Forum rules against outing or doxxing.


Update

I had assumed, as did others, that the CMIA rules applied to health care providers. They do, but they also apply to everyone. From LENR Forum:

THHuxleynew wrote:

maryyugo wrote:

I’m surprised you can put your clothes on by yourself in the morning. You can, can’t you? PS: dead people can’t sue for damages nor can anyone on the behalf. Not to mention that I am not releasing any of Papp’s sordid records because I never saw any. I am not even reporting facts about Papp! I am simply reporting an anecdote about what someone told me. Hear say. Also you seem to have lost track and wandered into the wrong thread. Anyway sue me. Give it a try. I am terrified.

FWIW, Abd’s comment on this related not to anyone suing you (ridiculous) but to professional disciplinary action for which no doubt the rules are different. However, I have no idea what is your profession, nor any of the details here, so what he suggested remains for me highly speculative.

I would assume that Zeus46 knows Mary Yugo’s identity. It is trivial to find. I have confirmed the identity and “Mary” has revealed, at various times, personal history that matches that of the identified person. One will see people, in various fora, calling Mary by the real name. Mary denies it, but the real person could trivially torpedo this, if different.

I was concerned that the comment here might not be from Mary, but could be a troll. This has definitely happened in the past. So I checked. The information I have as admin here is consistent with the known identification; more than that I will not say. Absent necessity, I will respect user rights.

Mary Yugo is a licensed physician living in California. He has a history of debunking (and has done real investigation, qualifying him as a skeptic in some cases). However, he is also highly opinionated and knee-jerk contemptuous of others who might be pointing something out that he does not understand, and this sequence shows it.

The risk is low, but Mary has not understood the risk. I do not know how CMIA is enforced, there might be no precedent, but the situation Mary describes is of a physician treating Papp revealing what would now be illegal to reveal (I don’t know about then). According to Mary, that physician is deceased, but CMIA also prohibits any person from revealing such information. And any person may file a report. If there are no provable actual damages, the potential fine is limited to $2500.

Mary claims it’s “hearsay.” Yes, it is. Hearsay about medical information, and it is contrary to CMIA regulations to repeat that. Theoretically, to anyone. So far, the walls don’t have ears, and in a case like this, my guess is that the courts would rule that CMIA does not trump ordinary freedom of private speech. But this was not private speech.

It was also unnecessary and irrelevant in context. Mary is a gossip.

There are resemblances, to be sure, between Papp and Rossi. And as to what is involved here, an alleged physician’s diagnosis, that merely demonstrates what was already known: Papp was not necessarily, himself, a reliable witness, and from the submarine incident, may have been capable of staging an elaborate fraud. The diagnosis, however, does not show that the Papp engines did not work, and from what I’ve seen, there is sufficient evidence that they did, in fact, work, to keep this affair in the realm of mystery. Mallove wrote an extensive article on this, and I consider some of his expressed opinions there unfortunate and not yet supported by reliable evidence, but … there are some things that we may never know. Or maybe the “Papp effect” will be confirmed in some way. What I have seen in this line is quite unconvincing.

We also know, then, that Rossi is an unreliable witness and is capable of arranging an elaborate fraud (the fake customer!). We know that Rossi was accused of various frauds in Italy; the ultimate disposition of all that remains a bit unclear to me. Rossi has claimed that all charges were dismissed and all fines refunded, but I have not seen that conclusion from any independent investigator. However, all that does not demonstrate that there is no Rossi Effect.

One statement that IH has made has raised concern for me. From the joint stipulation, IH introduces their “Statement of the Case” with:

Plaintiffs claim to have invented a technology called the “E-Cat” capable of violating the law of conservation of energy by producing far more energy than it consumes.

First of all, the plaintiffs do not claim that the E-Cat is capable of “violating the law of conservation of energy,” and the concept of “consuming” energy is scientifically defective. What is referred to is input energy, and, yes, it is claimed that the E-Cat generates more heat than could be produced by input energy. However, this does not violate conservation of energy if there is a fuel.

As a trivial example, it takes energy to detonate a stick of dynamite, but there is no violation of energy conservation just because the explosion releases far more heat than is generated by the blasting cap that triggers it. Energy “input” must include the potential energy of all system components.

Rossi did not originally provide any theoretical basis for his claims, but he was generally working with LENR, so the general claim would be that there is a nuclear transformation releasing the energy.

If the Industrial Heat investors did not think this possible, without violating conservation of energy, they had no business investing in such a claim. It sometimes occurs that skeptics dismiss LENR as involving “perpetual motion machines.” It would not be that. The energy available from a nuclear fuel is limited. It is not “free energy.” It would not be “perpetual.”

That introductory comment was just plain wrong, because Rossi doesn’t make that claim, and a working Rossi device would not violate conservation of energy. Conservation of energy is an aspect of the first law of thermodynamics, and the IH experts have pointed to violations, but that was in the testing, as to the behavior of steam, not about the claimed effect itself, which would presumably be nuclear in origin. Have the attorneys misunderstood?

If possible, this should be corrected. LENR should not be on trial in Florida.

About transcripts of federal court hearings

Sometimes I have seen claims on lenr-forum.com that the public can obtain transcripts of court hearings by paying for them. I may have said this myself, here, because the filings imply this. However, during the 90 day period before hearing transcripts are published to PACER, it appears that only parties and attorneys may obtain transcripts, they are limited:

During the 90-day period (which may be extended by the court), access to the transcript in CM/ECF is restricted to court staff, public terminal users, attorneys of record or parties who have purchased the transcript from the court reporter/transcriber, and other persons as directed by the court (e.g., appellate attorneys). Also, during this time, parties may redact personal identifiers. After the 90-day period has ended, the filed transcript will be available for inspection and copying in the clerk’s office and for download from the court’s CM/ECF system through the judiciary’s PACER system.

Just as any member of the public may attend the actual hearings, any member of the public may use the “public terminal” in the court to read the transcript.

There are two obvious concerns. First of all, a hearing transcript may reveal personal information, that could be redacted. This is covered by Privacy Policy for Electronic Case Files. The court will not publish the files, other than on the public terminal — which does not allow printing, but, ah, google glass? — ; however, the concerns are to have been addressed within 31 days of the filing of the transcript. Even short of that, it is unclear that publication by an attorney (i.e., providing the transcript to media), if any private data has been redacted, would be a violation. American Bar has a discussion.

The personal identifiers to be redacted are Social Security numbers, names of minor children, financial account numbers, dates of birth, and, in criminal cases, home addresses2.

This brings up the other concern, an attempt to influence the case by “extrajudicial” comment.

Several topics presumed prejudicial to proceedings relate specifically to criminal proceedings. This reflects the comment’s recognition that certain types of proceedings, notably civil matters triable to a jury, criminal matters, and matters that could result in incarceration, are particularly likely to be prejudiced by extrajudicial statements. See Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 3.6 cmt. [6]. These concerns further explain the additional limits on extrajudicial comments (discussed below) that Model Rule 3.8(f) imposes on prosecutors.

Statements Presumed Not Likely to Create Material Prejudice
While the comment sets forth a list of topics presumed to create prejudice, Model Rule 3.6(b) itself provides a “safe harbor” of statements that a lawyer can publish with considerably less concern about whether a pending adjudication may be substantially prejudiced. According to Model Rule 3.6(b), and the majority of comparable state rules, there are seven categories of information that presumably may be disclosed publicly:

the claim, offense, or defense involved and, except when prohibited by law, the identity of the persons involved;
information contained in a public record;
that an investigation of a matter is in progress;
the scheduling or result of any step in litigation;
a request for assistance in obtaining evidence and information necessary thereto;
a warning of danger concerning the behavior of a person involved, when there is reason to believe that there exists the likelihood of substantial harm to an individual or to the public interest; and
in a criminal case, in addition to subparagraphs (1) through (6): (i) the identity, residence, occupation, and family status of the accused;
(ii) if the accused has not been apprehended, information necessary to aid in apprehension of that person;
(iii) the fact, time, and place of arrest; and
(iv) the identity of investigating and arresting officers or agencies and the length of the investigation.

This list is not intended to be an exhaustive list of topics on which extrajudicial statements are permitted. Rather, Model Rule 3.6(b) is intended only to provide lawyers with a list of categories they can discuss publicly with little fear of violating the rules of professional conduct. See Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 3.6 cmt. [4]. For an interesting case discussing application of the safe harbor where a lawyer effectively paraphrases statements in the public record, see PCG Trading, LLC v. Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, 460 Mass. 265, 951 N.E.2d 315 (Mass. 2011).

Is the transcript “information contained in a public record”? Any member of the public may access the transcript. The intention is to avoid revelation of private information, on the one hand, and to avoid prejudice, but this is being balanced with the right of the public to know, and of media to report on the proceedings. Media could send a reporter to the hearing, who could take notes (even verbatim notes if the reporter has that skill, i.e., the skills possessed by an old-fashioned court reporter or stenographer). See Media rules and also General Order 58.

A related concern is that transcripts may contain information that could not be presented to a jury as evidence. However, if it is public record, too bad. A party may request the court to redact anything prejudicial, it is not routine.

So to the present practical reality. It has been claimed that IH is attempting to dominate discussion of the case, while there is no evidence for that.

The argument is that IH would want to appear to the public as the “savior” of LENR. However, sending stooges to the blogs is a very poor way to do that; they could simply issue press releases with facts that are already public record. If they were interested in astroturfing — the definition of which does not resemble anything operative in Rossi v. Darden — there are other actions they could take. How about sending gobs of money to, say, LENRIA or Infusion Institute Inc.? Hint! So far, not a penny to III from IH or anyone reasonably accusable of being an IH stooge. As far as I know, no supporter of III has received any benefit other than information from IH or IH employees or contractors.

I’ll be setting up crowdfunding, though, and there would be no way to prevent such contributions, but … I would certainly disclose any attempt to prejudice my reporting.

(Setting up organizations that pretend to be grass-roots movements but that are actually under the influence and control of the master organization, for the purpose of influencing legislation, through letter-writing campaigns, was “astroturfing,” and that still goes on, but has nothing to do with LENR or Rossi v. Darden. Example, APCO apparently advised the tobacco industry, their clients, to set up such organizations, to pretend that there was a mass movement to protect the rights of smokers — to kill themselves with cigarettes without being informed about the involved science. There are anti-AGW organizations now that are reasonably considered astroturfing, but not all anti-AGW comment is from such, and, in the end, it shouldn’t matter if legislators keep their eye on the ball. On the other hand, if the legislator is corrupt, influenced by campaign donations, always a worry, and lazy, i.e., doesn’t verify the alleged public stand but uses it as an excuse, astroturfing could work.)

Any party could reveal transcripts extrajudicially, bearing in mind the limitations and rules, but, to my knowledge, no party has done so. Publishing excerpts from hearings, as evidence for motions, has been routinely done when relevant. That is not “extrajudicial.” If I were in Florida, I could go to the public terminal and take notes, it appears that this does not violate the rules.

I find it all quite odd, because notes can be inaccurate and biased, and as a non-party and non-attorney, I could not be readily sanctioned for publishing my notes. What would make much more sense would be an accelerated schedule for the public availability of transcripts. There seems to be no stated justification for that requiring 90 days.

Suppose the public sees that some party is being unfairly treated in court. The public could intervene by donating to a defense fund, for example. However, if the transcripts that might show this are not available until, say, after the trial, not to mention all the pretrial maneuvering, the right of the public, the very purpose of requiring public access, is frustrated and only useful for possible appellate review, which can be too late for some important issues.

As part of searching for sources for information on this issue, I found no example of sanctions for public review not showing some egregious violation. The case cited above, PCG Trading, LLC v. Seyfarth Shaw, LLP , involved a denial of an appearance pro hoc vice based on an alleged comment in a law review article. In the end, this denial was rejected by the appeals court, because it fell within the “safe harbor,” in the judgment of that court. Remarkable case: there what stands out is an attorney (Seyfarth Shaw) with an undisclosed conflict of interest who screwed his client over by filing a motion to dismiss a case against the other client. That motion was then used as evidence to allow a filing against his continued client.

I did find a remarkable case where an attorney was sanctioned for uncivil behavior. That was extreme behavior compared to anything I’ve seen in this case, though I’ve seen what could be called uncollegial behavior, aggressive toward opposing attorneys, accusing them of misconduct, and the ruling on that case distinguishes between aggressive promotion of a client’s interests and incivility. What I find especially remarkable in this case was that the respondent blamed others for his own out-of-control behavior. They made him do it, by being such assholes. (including all the other involved attorneys and any judge that ruled against his arguments.) I kid you not. Who could blame him for shouting, in the presence of such extreme provocation? Remarkably, a referee determined a 90 day suspension. It appears that the attorney contested it instead of entering a consent order. The court upped it to two years, more than the Bar Association had requested (one year), required that respondent appear in court for a public reprimand, set up an 18-month probation on the end of the suspension, and recommended (perhaps required) counselling. And this was two strikes, three and additional sanctions would be applied. Disbarment. I hope that the fellow took this seriously. What I know about making mistakes like his is that if one declares and stands for responsibility, it can all go away, eventually. He’d become a more effective attorney. His attempts to blame others were the giveaway that this was not some accident. This also is not just about behavior in Court, this applies to life as a whole.

I also found reference to a case regarding how an attorney is to act if the attorney discovers perjury on the part of the client. It was an extreme case.