Conversations: Simon Derricutt 4

Again, Simon Derricut. My comments in indented italics.

Abd – some useful updates, but unless I’d been checking I wouldn’t have known they were there. Maybe a note in the header that there’s an update could be helpful.

I will, in the future, add a comment noting any post updates, so that people following the blog may get a notification.

It should be possible to come to a consensus of what data is available and at least to some extent as to how trustworthy it is. There are however a lot of words to go through, and I’m not going to go through the blogs to weed out the real information from the flames and misinformation by now since it hardly seems worth the effort.

It is a huge amount of work to do. However, that is about the only way to convert those mountains of dreck into something useful. I also know that anyone who actually does this will learn a great deal. If it is, itself, condensed and published, it will also benefit others. (The way I do such work, it is often itself long and not focused, because it is raw research, initially. It is then more work to boil it down to essences.)

If Rossi really wanted to convince us that he’s got a device that does what he claims, he’d have done things in a different way.

Lewan’s book points out that Rossi seems to want people to think he’s a fraud. The problem is that it is very difficult to distinguish this from his simply being a con; however the “simple con” hypothesis has some well-known problems: would a “simple con” have sued IH, when he could have walked with quite a large chuck of change and little risk? This is a Planet Rossi meme: a con would not have filed the lawsuit, therefore he is not a con. And the problem with that argument is … the evidence! Rossi is, at least in some ways, a fraud, i.e., he has created fraudulent representations. Whether or not he has an actual technology is obscure. Pseudoskeptics have no problem being certain that it’s all a crock, since, after all, LENR is impossible. We know that argument fails. However, it does not follow, from that, that any specific claim of LENR is rooted in reality.

I’m not sure why Planet Rossi is so intent on insisting that the system works as claimed, since the proof of that particular pudding won’t be delivered any faster no matter how many people believe in it.

Only if Rossi were depending on public stock purchases would “believing in it” matter. He has not done that, so far. He came close with Hydro Fusion. Maybe that’s why he wanted out, though it is more likely that his story about wanting out was just a cover-up for his actual errors in the test. Lewan was quite clear about it: Rossi was deluded, if it’s assumed that he was telling the truth.

The people who have done the most, aside from Industrial Heat, to attempt to confirm Rossi’s claims, MFMP, are not so positive about him as the armchair cheerleaders and … Peter Gluck. And then there are possible Rossi socks. I’m only reasonably sure about a few, but they exist.

Delaying the good Dottore by asking him questions when he has so many court documents to go through seems counter-productive. The time spent answering them could be more productively spent developing the Quark-X, after all. Not that I’m sure what sigma-4 and sigma-5 mean in this particular case, but it sounds science-y so must be good.

That is the likely meaning. If he only has three Quark-X prototypes, he is nowhere close to being able to actually show five sigmas. That is a manufacturing standard.  Five-sigma rule. Statistical significance is meaningless if there is systematic artifact. Rossi has not stated, AFAIK, what he is talking about, but, yes, it sounds science-y, like a lot of pseudoscience. In fact, that is more or less the definition of pseudoscience. Classifying, say, psychic phenomena as pseudoscience is something that pseudoskeptics do; it’s not pseudoscience unless it pretends to be science.

When I visited China in 2002 (to pick up our daughter), there were signs around Changsha, billboards advertising Six Sigma. There was a huge push, then, to establish China as a quality manufacturer, to overcome earlier ideas and prejudices. None of Rossi’s demonstrations were designed to test reliability. The MW reactor assembly might as well have been designed to conceal it.

Still, the next design will really work this time…. Like the last several working designs that were proved to work and then consigned to history as if they’d never worked at all. A bit like Lucy holding the ball for Charlie Brown to kick, this time she won’t pull it away so he falls on his back.

Double negative creating a positive: “Yeah, right!”

My point here is that Rossi’s demos only seem good on the surface, and when you start to dig out the details and look for the corroborative evidence they don’t stand up.

It happened again and again. Each time, a possible excuse. However, the problems were not cleaned up. Rather, the next demonstration was different, it was not a repeat of the first with better instrumentation or measurement, each one was new, a moving target. Parkhomov did some of this, in fact.

If you believe Rossi, then you can ignore the failures in the evidence, and if we point out the failures then the believers feel personally attacked.

Or, even worse from a psychological point of view, their hero was being attacked.

If we point at the previously “delivered” devices and ask where they actually are, they seem to have just evaporated without trace. There’s too much emotional involvement, and this should be science where the data stands or falls on its accuracy.

One might think so. But Rossi was never “science.” Rossi explicitly rejected the scientific method, he considered control experiments useless, and then we can see how this thinking infected some scientists. Lewan points to a serious problem with the Lugano test: no calibration to establish the accuracy of results, rather what was used as a “dummy test” was never subject to the same conditions as the experimental run. This was the first thing that McKubre notice as a problem about Lugano. It was glaring. And the reason given was face-palm stupid. Where did that reason come from? One guess. Okay, two guesses, because it could have been one person or another, and was unlikely to be the rest of that team. And the one that was not Rossi would have gotten the idea from Rossi, almost certainly.

I’m sure, however, that if the believers had a similar obvious inaccuracy in their electricity bill or water bill they’d be somewhat quicker at questioning the meters. If the meters weren’t at fault they’d be looking for leaks to explain the water bill and cable faults to explain the electricity bill. If they bought a 1kW set of solar panels and found it wouldn’t even charge their phone they’d be annoyed.

Orbo, a $1K phone charger that didn’t work.

One sad point is that Peter Gluck was right when he said that it would be a crime to delay LENR+.

We do not advance LENR+ — i.e., commercial-scale LENR — by attaching ourselves to mass insanity. We delay it, as Simon points out:

The trouble is that Rossi’s shenanigans are indeed doing just that, with resources diverted from other projects to try to replicate Rossi’s claimed results. People have also used the transmutation data from Rossi to develop theories as to what is happening. You don’t get far in theory if you’re using fake data as your starting-point.

Yes. Even Ed Storms fell for this. Rossi would, if he faked data, and as he got more sophisticated, fake data that might confirm some existing theories, it would give him more support and mileage. However, there are some serious problems with that data. There were two tests, Lugano and then the May 2016 test. Both samples, provided by Rossi. They showed similar results. One problem: the obvious explanation is that these were samples from the same material. Yet Lugano was a one month run at a few kilowatts, ostensibly (had those measurements been accurate). The other sample, presumably from the Doral plant, where Rossi had removed the fuel in February, 2016. And for how long did the fuel last? The power output was ostensibly on the order of 20 KW, and almost certainly claimed to be for longer than a month. If the heat-producing reaction is a product of those transmutations, or if they were a side-effect from it, we’d expect the Doral sample to be much stronger than reported. At least that is my first thinking on this.

Much simpler to assume that Rossi, with known access to isotopic nickel, simply made up some sample and substituted it. So, again, why is everything so obviously suspect? Planet Rossi claims that this is all a product of a campaign to discredit Rossi. However, there is no evidence of such a campaign other than the existence of critique, and much of the critique is heavily evidence-based, not based on pure innuendo, despite Gluck’s claims.

Of course, I’ve moved from the stance of “maybe Rossi has something” to “he’s faking it” over the last few years. It’s not absolutely certain that Rossi has nothing, but it is certain that he’s lied and has overstated his results if he hasn’t created the whole cloth from lies, bad measurements, and made-up data.

Right. I think most who were open-minded have moved this way. Some level of fraud is clear, what is not clear if there ever was anything to the Rossi Effect. Maybe. Maybe not.

This is also clear: the idea that the market will judge is one of the only sound Planet Rossi memes. If Rossi really has what he claims, and unless he completely trashes his prospects by his own behavior (as could be possible), taking a product to market, a product that actually works as claimed, will save his bacon.

I’ve also moved from “IH must be crazy” to “IH took the best route” along the way. IH got the available Rossi IP, tested it and found no significant excess heat. Opinions have to change as new data comes in, otherwise there’s no point in discussions.

Long-term, yes. It took a while to figure out, but I came to the point of view that IH had indeed made a brilliant move. While it was expensive, I notice that they actually won more funding as a result, and I very much doubt that they misled Woodford. And then they have a hedge against the possibility that Rossi stops futzing around and actually does come out with a product. They would be cheering! Because, after all, the friggin’ License! It could be worth a trillion dollars. And, no, Rossi cannot unilaterally cancel that License (even for non-payment of the contingent $89 million), that was totally dumb. French pointed that out in his early comment on the case.

This could have an interesting effect on LENR investment. It would pay to invest in collaboration and agreement with IH, if one cares about “investment” rather than in simply furthering research, because IHHI (that is sole owner of IH) owns that hedge, whereas independent investment would not enjoy that protection. However, if any investor is sure that Rossi has nothing, this would be irrelevant.

Where to from here? There’s not much point in discussing Rossi ad infinitum, so we’ll wait for the other shoe to drop in the court case and hope that *somebody else* comes up with good data for the theoreticians to consider. Plan B, in other words.

Actually, Plan B — I made that up so I get to define it! — is about experimental confirmation with increased precision of basic results. It is not about theory at all. The idea that LENR needs theory is a trope that developed out of reaction to rejection on the basis of “lack of theory.” However, yes, Plan B would generate better data which eventually might generate better explanations. Plan B was not hugely ambitious, it was actually conservative. The work planned was improved confirmation of what was already multiply confirmed. Plan B did not depend on any new discoveries or killer protocols with Lots of Heat.

Thanks, Simon.

Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax


8 thoughts on “Conversations: Simon Derricutt 4”

  1. Thanks Abd. Plan B will give the theorists information they can at least rely on being true. You say it’s well-funded, and that there should be left-over money to possibly fund other tests. One big result, though, will be to move LENR out of the “pathological science” pile into the “something we need to investigate” one. That in itself should bring a lot more people into research on it, so we’ll have a snowball effect. Yes, it’s a pretty large snowball to start which took some persuading to generate it, but the effects should be even larger.

    1. Right. That’s the idea. When I thought it might be difficult to raise the money, the idea was to propose research that was very likely to produce useful results, and the most useful thing to do immediately would be, I concluded, nailing the heat/helium ratio. From the state of the field and prior work, and within the field, the basic word had already been done and was considered — by most — conclusive, so the first obstacle I faced was scientists claiming this research wasn’t necessary. But … I argued that it was necessary because this was the only direct evidence for LENR heat (as distinct from piles of circumstantial evidence), new work with increased precision should be publishable, and … knowing the ratio to higher precision should assist with vetting theories. Once this work is done, and assuming positive results, i.e., confirmation and a more precise ratio or at least an unmistakeable correlation, funding should then open up in more difficult directions.

  2. Hi Abd

    I still think Mr Rossi is getting
    better result than ITER for
    there 15 billion investment
    so far.
    Sometimes I think I.H. should
    roll the dice and settle with A.R.


    1. Better in what way? If the IH claims are valid, there is no standing reason to believe that Rossi has anything at all. ITER is more or less on track. Expensive? Yes, very. Boondoggle? Maybe. But at least it is real science. Cold fusion in general is doing better than the hot fusion approach, but is still not understood and not ready for that level of investment. The recommendation of both U.S. DoE reviews of cold fusion was sound: basic research.

      1. Hi Abd
        There is the possibility if I.H.
        does not take the risk with
        A.R. and get there act together they could be left
        behind by Brilliant Light.
        I think I.H. should encourage
        T.D. to call the plays and have a 2nd half come back
        like another Tom did not to
        long ago.


        1. IH is not likely to waste any more time with Rossi. They have been there and did that. My sense is that they more or less gave up on Rossi by the end of 2014. IH is not playing “hurry up and beat the competition.” That would could be a very expensive game. Brilliant Light does not inspire confidence. Realize that BLP has been “almost about” to release a product for longer than I’ve been following the field (2009). The boy who cried wolf! We will believe it when we see it. Great demo, though! “OMG! Turn it off!”

        2. But then A.R. seems to think like I brought the
          football so I should be
          calling the plays.
          But T.D. says I paid a lot
          for that football and we are
          playing in the U.S. so I
          would be the best Q.B.
          I guess what I am saying
          Abd if they had thought
          more like a team they might not be in the mess
          they are in.


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