Simon Derricut

Simon Derricutt says:
December 7, 2018 at 9:05 am
Abd – I’m glad your demise is not obviously imminent, but I’m also aware of mortality and a limited (and undefined) time left.

Thanks. The awareness of mortality is quite useful, it readily suggests making full use of the facilities of life while they are available. My good friend David French just passed away. To me it was unexpected, but it appears he had been long ago diagnosed with cancer (form not specified) and the medicine that had worked for some years stopped working. I have prostate cancer, that is, I have been diagnosed. It turns out that most men my age, biopsied, have this cancer. Most of these cancers never cause an actual problem, and I did the research and found that, for my condition, “watchful waiting” was as good as any other response.

I encountered, from some, the “surely you want to take that out” idea. However, “taking that out” involves substantial risks, very real, not merely theoretical. When I found how low the risk of dying from prostate cancer actually was, I have only done one thing: I became more strict in a low-carb diet, because there is suspicion that cancer needs insulin for the rapid multiplication that characterizes cancer, and that rapid growth is what allows so many mutations. So far, so good. No symptoms, other than a normal benign enlargement of the prostate, again very normal with age.

And, of course, I see my urologist on a regular basis, I now have had two TRUSP biopsies (first one positive and the second negative) and then one MRI of the prostate, several years ago, and that gave us a baseline image, showing some areas of possible concern. Small, but there. Small enough that the second biopsy missed it. I am quite unlikely to die from prostate cancer. However, I do have a cardiac blockage, another story. So far, no heart attack, but it’s something being watched closely.

I will die from something. So my job now is to live as well as I can. Which is very well indeed!

The 2LoT stuff is actually a problem in technology, and it’s turned out that a friend has a technology that might make it possible whereas the technology I currently have access to is not sufficient. Maybe some data on that in a few more months. The difficulty is not in violating 2LoT, but in making the power output actually usable rather than a few microwatts (or in some cases picowatts).

The devil is in the details, and in harvesting statistical fluctuations. As you know, that is considered impossible.

Reality may be somewhat different than we’d thought.

Indeed. I would say it is always different than what we think, unless we simply “think” as in naming it, without specification beyond that.

Thinking is the manipulation of symbols, which manipulate concepts, and reality is not a concept. Concepts are models, useful or not, never the full truth. I just stated an impossibility, so maybe reality is different! However, my stand, developed to facilitate that “living fully” idea, is that reality is not what I imagine, it is better.

There’s a Feynman lecture [that], in passing, notes that momentum is not conserved in the interaction of two electrons passing each other orthogonally.

If you refer to it specifically, I’ll watch it, assuming it is available. I have “The Very Best of the Feynman Lectures.”

He didn’t specify a way in which that snippet of information could be utilised, but an interesting point is that the momentum is “carried away” in the EM field.

If it is “carried away,” it is conserved. Conservation of energy is global, not local. However, it works locally to a degree, where energy flows across a boundary are restricted.

Problem is, you can’t measure the difference between such a momentum-carrying EM field and one that isn’t carrying momentum. If you can’t measure it, is it real?

Aw, that’s an easy question. “Real” is not defined or confined, so whether it can be measured or not is irrelevant,having no bearing on reality. However, you have an incorporated assumption, using the word “can’t.” That’s a red flag word, showing a belief in impossibility. We all speak and write casually, at least often, but the language we use betrays how we think; I usually assume that there is a meaning behind the choice of words. Until we can measure it — as shown by measuring it! –, something postulated as an explanation is not “scientific,” but it could be “proto-scientific,” i.e., part of the scientific process.

Effects, almost by definition, can be measured. But I have not seen the lecture. If the “effect” truly cannot be measured, asserting it as a fact could be pseudoscientific. The value of such assertions is what?

If momentum is not conserved, then neither is energy. I’m running some tests on this….

The example is not of non-conservation of momentum, but only of the disappearance of momentum from easy measurement. I’ll need to see that video. I agree on the equivalence of those conservation “laws.”

Looks lower-hanging fruit than 2LoT since it’s stuff I can actually make with the tools I have, so 2LoT will need to wait a bit and we’ll see whether I need to redesign in a few months anyway.

Language problems… heat is actually a vector quantity, but the momentum vectors are random and cancel out and so it is regarded as a scalar.

Simon, you get sloppy and it creates confusion for you. What is “heat”? You have confused it with “energy.” Kinetic energy is a vector, yes. Is all energy a vector? Maybe. Maybe the energy of mass is energy moving in a very tight space.

Heat, however, is the sum of the absolute value of kinetic energies in a body. relative the center of mass. That is a sum of scalars, so it is a scalar. I’m not looking up how this is formally defined, though that would be useful. I’m going to go out to the gym and shopping, I’m out of medicine (a beta blocker I take to keep my cardiologist happy), I’ll be back later.

I survived the trip. Thanks, reality!

Maybe that’s part of the problem I’ve found it difficult to explain the underlying principles to other people. May be worth reading where it may become clearer. Lots of “may” there. There’s a cross-reference there to a currently-accepted mainstream science use of Graphene to convert Brownian motion to output power. Yep, it’s a ratchet that actually works. However, no mention that this violates 2LoT – even with Graphene that can’t be stated.

That was frustrating. The link shows no cross-reference showing what you claim here. I did google graphene and brownian motion and found what may be the reference, specifically work showing brownian motion in graphene sheets. There are then articles that are quite confused on what has been reported. Brownian motion is “perpetual motion.” It varies with temperature. Then the articles jump to a conclusion, a claim not made by the authors. For example, Synopsis: Jiggling Graphene summarizes an article in Physics: “Anomalous Dynamical Behavior of Freestanding Graphene Membranes
M. L. Ackerman, P. Kumar, M. Neek-Amal, P. M. Thibado, F. M. Peeters, and Surendra Singh, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 126801 (2016), Published September 13, 2016. The summary was written by an editor of physics, not by the paper authors:

The random quivering of graphene membranes could be exploited to generate electricity.

The article abstract:

We report subnanometer, high-bandwidth measurements of the out-of-plane (vertical) motion of atoms in freestanding graphene using scanning tunneling microscopy. By tracking the vertical position over a long time period, a 1000-fold increase in the ability to measure space-time dynamics of atomically thin membranes is achieved over the current state-of-the-art imaging technologies. We observe that the vertical motion of a graphene membrane exhibits rare long-scale excursions characterized by both anomalous mean-squared displacements and Cauchy-Lorentz power law jump distributions.

I was about to report that the editor had made that unwarranted conclusion from the paper. But then I found a mention in the paper:

Properly understood, the random membrane fluctuations can be usefully exploited. For example, energy harvesting from the continuous movement of a massive system is an important application of stochastic nanoresonators [24].

Is this a “massive system”? Hardly! And reference  24?

[24] L. Gammaitoni, P. Hanggi, P. Jung, and F. Marchesoni, Stochastic resonance, Rev. Mod. Phys. 70, 223 (1998).

This paper has nothing about energy harvesting. The concept of energy harvesting from noise, i.e., random fluctuations, is very simple, and it doesn’t work. Rectifying AM radio signals to create the power for a primitive radio, I did that as a kid. That is not noise.

It is so hard to find good help  . . .

Apparently, someone put that flight of fancy in the article, and the editors did not catch it. If one is going to contradict the Second Law, slipping it into a paper is setting up the editors to display ignorance or inattention. It happens. They miss stuff.

No, what could break the Conformist barrier is an actual experimental demonstration of 2LoT violation, which that paper certainly was not, but not called such. In fact, I’d suggest not even calling it an anomaly. “Behavior of a rectenna.” Get the effect out there, first, before interpreting it. Avoid making the natives restless by attacking their cargo cult science. Had Pons and Fleischmann announced “Heat behavior of palladium deuteride” instead of frikking “nuclear fusion,” we might be twenty years ahead.

A big problem is that if you believe something is impossible then normally you won’t attempt it, and if you do then you’ll probably not do it in the right way anyway.

Yes. That is, if there is a real effect, you have a great possibility of screwing it up, there are millions of ways. Key word here, “believe.” If you believe it is impossible, why would you try it anyway? Nothing better to do? Okay, the DoE was tossing money around, millions of dollars per month, I think. What a waste. That work was premature, rushed, pressured. The rush was because?

It’s hard to find good help!

We know the rules, but can we be totally certain that there are no exceptional circumstances where they don’t apply?

We cannot have rational certainty. We can have what might be called “operational certainty” or “practical certainty,” in which case we would rationally pay little attention to crazy claims.

The EMDrive is obviously impossible, since it violates CoM, yet experimental evidence points to it working.

You can find evidence pointing to anything, if your standards are sufficiently loose. In that old post you cited, it was fun to find reference to the independent tests of Rossi’s Hot Cat, as if that proved something. What it actually proved was what I’m repeating here, it’s hard to find good help. Some of the flaws in that mess were obvious from publication, the most obvious being the lack of a genuine control experiment, that showed the behavior of the device with the same electrical input power as the experimental run. Had that been done, the more subtle error, an error in assigning emissivity to the alumina, would have been found by them. Why didn’t they run a control? Someone told them that this could destroy the heating coils, which was utter nonsense, if it were done right. They believed whoever told them that, and dollars will get you donuts that it was Rossi. That test was not actually independent, and that kind of crap surrounded all of Rossi’s work. He was great at getting “independent scientists” to make phenomenal blunders.

None of this is evidence that the EmDrive doesn’t work. However, until the evidence is clear, far clearer than anything I have seen, I’m very unlikely to accept its reality, particularly as an argument for something else.

The reactive mind dislikes ambiguity, it threatens it, so it wants to find a conclusion, as soon as possible, please. No, not “please,” but “Stat, Dammit!”

I have no problem suspending judgment on countless problems. My job here is not actually to judge, but to live. Nevertheless, I routinely make practical decisions, relying on understandings that may well be defective. However, so what? Again, my job here is not to be right, but to be, to live, to witness. Interpretation is up to the Judge, and that isn’t me.

Going back to Newton’s derivation of CoM in the first place, I can see a loophole where, because of the limited speed of light, the action is not necessarily equal and opposite to the reaction, and this was also noted by Feynman. I can calculate the size of this inequality in various situations, too, using textbook physics.

I’d want to see details, not claims without them. We know that causality breaks down at the quantum physics level, but statistical causality remains. What looks like precise causality to us is averaging many stochastic behaviors. And the 2LoT is like that.

The EMDrive is thus not really impossible, after all, but a better design should be able to produce a much larger (and thus more useful) inequality of action and reaction.

You appear to be assuming that there is a real effect, taking a leap from a failure of an impossibility proof. That does not follow. It is a reasonable principle that “scientific certainty” (i.e., consensus) may be wrong. It does not follow from that principle that it is actually wrong. Betting that it is wrong, is likely a losing bet, more often than not. And certainly that does not establish the opposite. Most advances in science do not flip to the opposite, but to another way, something not anticipated.

Woodward’s Mach-effect drive has experimental evidence, too. We believe it’s impossible because momentum is always conserved. Logically, that belief is misguided.

I’m not sure I’d agree with “logically,” but any belief firmly held is not “logical,” it’s emotional. Who is this “we” who believe in impossibility? A routine assumption is not a belief, if it is known to be an assumption or operating principle, i.e., conditional.

Until I see clear evidence that momentum is not conserved, I will continue to use the principle in understanding physical phenomena. And so will most, I’m sure. It is far too well-established, and I don’t mean “politically successful,” I mean “useful.”

Back to LENR, we have experimental evidence that it actually works.

There is evidence, going back to the original claims. There is “extraordinary evidence,” if that is considered necessary. LENR does not challenge any “laws of physics,” except through blatant misunderstandings and unwarranted assumptions.

Therefore the theory that says it can’t work must be wrong.

Fuzzy. What theory says it can’t work? Basically, what happened is that people made up mechanisms and then showed that the mechanisms they made up would not work. It didn’t help that Pons and Fleischmann royally screwed up with a gamma spectrum, what a mess that was! And then they did not clean up the mess, by clearly acknowledging errors and explaining how they happened. They allowed rushed replications to take place without warning that these were very likely to fail. It was a Perfect Storm in many ways.

In the same way as the stuff I’m working on is because I’ve seen evidence that seems incontrovertible (though small),

What you have shown, Simon, can be considered evidence for your ideas, or it can be considered “possible evidence,” generally unconfirmed. I haven’t seen anything from you, yet, that approaches “incontrovertible.” We would need to get specific for this to be particularly meaningful.

it’s going to take effort to find out how to make it work better and a suspension of belief in “the rules”, and of course a suspension of disbelief in the experimental evidence.

There is a common confusion between evidence and the interpretation of evidence. I recommend believing in what one has actually observed, and the more interpretation involved, the less certainty is appropriate.

“Rules” are highly interpretive. They are never reality, per se. They are models or ideals. What I consider a scientific approach is to

  1. Suspend belief in everything being tested.
  2. Design tests to make yourself wrong as to what you are inclined to think.
  3. However, don’t work in a field unless interested in possibilities there.
  4. Love reality, as distinct from interpretation. Observation is as close as we get to reality.
  5. Create interpretations that are inspiring, that’s their utility.
  6. Attend to measurable results, and report them while distinguishing them from interpretation.

I haven’t stopped trying to think of a way to get LENR working better, just haven’t anything to add yet.

We are working on it, and there has been a major development. It’s not actually new, but somehow escaped much attention until Michael Staker, a metallurgist, gave a presentation at ICCF-21, which impressed McKubre, and McKubre wrote a presentation with Staker based on this idea, given at the Greccio conference this year, and I started to look at it, and KAPOW! Ideas really started flowing. There is coverage of this here under SAV.

Bottom line, almost thirty years of work with palladium deuteride, and most of us had no idea that the normal phases of PdD (alpha and beta) were metastable, not the true stable phases of the alloy. Rather they are more or less degrees of solution of hydrogen isotopes in the metal, the crystal structure is still that of the metal. As metastable states, they do not spontaneously convert to the gamma or delta phases, the crystal structure is too rigid, but … if you can take PdD to a high enough temperature, as the first-found approach, it will anneal into a more stable phase, gamma and/or delta. The gamma phase, which can be expressed as Pd7VacD6-9, “Vac” standing for a vacancy in the Face-Centered Cubic structure of ordinary Pd, and the delta phase, Pd3VacH4, were discovered and published in 1993 by Fukai, hence these are sometimes called “Fukai phases.” Problem is, take PdD up to about 400 C, the deuterium will escape rapidly. So, to keep this from happening, this was done in a diamond anvil press at 5 GPa. When material was so compressed and then heated, the lattice expanded at first, which was known and expected behavior. But then, over three hours, it shrank! When the material was returned to STP, it remained in this condition, and when heated above 400, it lost its hydrogen, but remained with Super Abundant Vacancies. (14% and 25% respectively) (If taken to annealing temperature (about 900 C), they returned to the normal very low vacancy rate Pd structure.

Now, what does this have to do with LENR? Well, with PdD, the FP Heat Effect does not appear until a loading ratio of about 85%. What was special about that loading? One would think that the effect would appear, perhaps at lower rates, at a lower loading! But it did not.

At 85% loading, the gamma phase becomes the more stable phase, that’s what is special. This does not at all guarantee that it will form. However, processes that stress the metal will encourage SAV formation, particularly at the surface. Codeposition may form SAV material ab initio (since it is building structure without an already-established metal lattice). And this, then, opens up a whole realm of experimental possibilities.

There may be something in Mills’ 3.5keV photons that is relevant, even though Mills would deny any connection with LENR. Possibly there’s something in shrunken Hydrogen, though if so it’s almost-certain that this would be a higher energy state and not below-ground. Electron orbitals seem to really be resonances, though again that begs the question of “resonances in what, exactly?”. Smaller multilobed resonances would naturally have a higher energy than ground-state. Maybe that ~3.5keV higher?

Approaching through theory is probably not going to cut the mustard. We need more experimental data. As to your ideas, you have often come up with thought experiments, but they have seemed to me to be “unphysical.” If you start with an observed anomaly, you may have have more success. Most anomalies, by definition, will prove to be misunderstood, not true new discoveries. But it is possible that you could find one, and people like you “maintain the frontiers,” so that others can sit fat and happy in what they believe they know. It’s important that some people think outside the box, and some of these are going to be ungrounded. That’s life.

These various “impossible” things need some solid experimental evidence of higher magnitudes of results before mainstream science will accept them as real.

Instead of worrying about “mainstream science,” understand it. As well, adopt what works from mainstream understanding. The mainstream is properly protected from many crazy ideas, largely by the journal system. Which also has a down side, but not so down that we would be wise to discard it. No, we can work with it, and use it. And we will.

For pretty good reasons science won’t relinquish one well-proven theory or truth until the new one is beyond contention.

Yes, and there are very strong reasons for that. I refer, generally, to “models.” A model does not have to be “truth” to be useful. It merely needs to work. The first step in moving the mainstream is to establish experiment evidence that shows an unmistakable anomaly. If we have a big blinking sign on it saying “HERESY!”, nobody will pay attention! No, the approach can be more like “Help us to understand these results!” People like to be helpful, most of us, at least.

And with this attitude we, ourselves, become open to new ways of thinking, which is modeling the behavior we may want to see in others.

I’m not complaining – that’s just the way the world works and it’s up to someone with a new paradigm to convince the rest of the world by doing it.

If they care. “Convincing others” is a weak motivator. Experiments done with that as a goal, it seems, usually fail to accomplish the goal. They stink of confirmation bias.

Incidentally, for some reason your link to “bizarre particles” doesn’t work. I found the article anyway, and can’t see the difference in the link. Odd….

This was an interesting typo. I generally load a URL and then copy it from the address bar, to avoid too-common typographical errors. In this case, apparently, my selection did not include the last letter, making “.html” into”.htm” which is also often used, so this would look good, but the site did not recognize it. I really appreciate when people point out errors like this. Thanks.


I found more on the graphene/energy story. Thibado’s university has a page promoting the idea: Using the Natural Motion of 2D Materials to Create a New Source of Clean Energy. That’s dated Nov. 21, 2017. There was nothing in the original paper that indicated this. Thibado explains his energy idea here. Is this entirely a thought-experiment? It assumes that energy can be generated by the random motion of the graphene, and there seems to be no awareness that this would be an apparent violation of the 2LoT. What this would do, if I’m correct, is to create a noise signal, not a regular periodic signal. I smell a rat. has this:

Thibado’s group reported producing 10 microwatts of continuous power without loss from a 10 micron by 10 micron sheet of graphene. In a University of Arkansas video, Thibado noted that 20,000 of the microscopic sheets fit on the head of a pin.

Despite observing the effect for fewer than three hours, researchers postulated that the movement would continue forever, which would mean that its ability to create power would be endless. Thibado is presently working with the Naval Research Laboratory to develop a proof of concept for these miniscule generators, positing that they could enable any object powered by room temperature heat to “send, receive, process, and store information.”

From what I have seen, the group did not report producing 10 microwatts. Rather, Thibado, in the video, claims (my emphasis): “one of these 10 micron by 10 micron areas could produce 10 micro watts of power continuously so wouldn’t that be great?”

The idea seems simple. The sheet vibrates. However,it is rippling, and the ripples are random. The illustration in the video shows a periodic vibration. As I understand the situation, the material is moving in many directions, and it will not oscillate like that. Did they look at the stochastic nature of the motion, in deciding to declare this possibility? What happens when one side of the graphene piece approaches the electrode, and the other side, the other electrode (no net voltage, if they are balanced). Absent experimental evidence — which they did not produce, the three hours of observeration, I think, were of the rippling motion, and the concave/convex reversal, not induced power — I expect that the motion would be far more chaotic than shown, and the induced voltage and power substantially lower.

This is being called an “energy breakthough,” but is not yet a breakthrough, unless there is unpublished work. Call me if they actually measure power, dumped into a load.

On the Research Frontiers page, the figure reported for possible power:

Each Levy flight exhibited by an individual ripple measures only 10 nanometers by 10 nanometers, yet could produce 10 picowatts of power. As a result, each of these micro-sized membranes has the potential to produce enough energy to power a wristwatch, and they would never wear out or need charging.

It looks like Thibodo misspoke in the video, and they later corrected it on the Research Frontiers page, but not in the video. Ah, the vast difference between “could” and “reported producing.” It’s even more than the six orders of magnitude between micro- and pico-.

With 10 picowatts, could one power a watch? Looking on-line, a current of 1 microamp may be enough to run a watch, though that is pushing it some. If we imagine a voltage of say, 2 volts, that would be 2 microwatts. So a 10 microwatt power source could probably run a watch. But 1o picowatts, no. I conclude that the “micro” error stood for a while and was there when the “watch” text was added.

There is, by the way, a wristwatch that runs on the heat difference between one’s wrist and the air. That is *heat difference*. The graphene generator idea does not use heat difference, but rather random (Brownian) vibration in a material, doing work on the electrons in the generating wires or surfaces.

The university claims Thibado has a provisional patent on the idea. What I found was this application.

I see no sign of any actual test of energy harvesting, even on a very small scale. In 2017, Thibado was still speculating. Odd paper, that. “We recently discovered that freestanding graphene membranes are in perpetual motion when held at room temperature.” Brownian motion (and what they found is a variation on Brownian motion) is “perpetual motion,” it simply reflects the temperature of the material. The membrane is responding to molecular impacts on it, which are random, as to where they are located, so the material ripples. What they found was occasional flips between concave and convex, involving more carbon atoms. That, again, would be expected, I would think.

In 2018 (March):

Recent emphasis has been placed on scavenging vibrational energy as an alternative to batteries. A notable breakthrough is the discovery that freestanding graphene naturally possesses an intrinsic rippled structure, which can be used to harvest thermal energy from its vibrations.
Ripples in graphene form due to self-compression and the potential energy associated with a ripple as it under goes spontaneous buckling (change of curvature from concave to convex and vice versa) is a double well potential. Here, we discuss the relationship between the energy barrier which separates the two lowest energy configurations to the strain and height of the ripples in freestanding graphene. We then model the ripple curvature inversion dynamic, due to thermal energy using Langevin’s equation. Spontaneous mechanical buckling is the source of the energy that is to be harvested. The mechanical power of the system is calculated and we found that a 10 nm by 10 nm ripple can continuously produce 10 pW. Alternatively, a 10 micron by 10 micron sheet, which is our typical sample size, could yield 10 microwatts, which is more power than a wristwatch battery produces. Furthermore, a typical solar panel produces 100 W/m2, or 1,000 times less power for the same 10 micron by 10 micron area.

I find this appalling. They are tooting their own horn, presenting an unverified possibility, that they imagine, as a real and accessible technology (with “can,” instead of “could,” or “possibly could.” I have yet to find confirmation of their speculation. They here compare a speculative measure of “mechanical power,” which they calculate at 1o pw for a 10 nm ripple. Then they extrapolate this to 1o microns by 10 microns, their “typical sample size,” (a million times larger), and then they compare it with actual power of real devices, for 10 meters by ten meters, another million times larger.

This is a trick: it looks like 10 pw of AC power could be “harvested” from a 10 by 10 nm ripple, as a limit (there would be losses, if it works).  What happens if the area of the device is, instead, 10 microns by 10 microns? Would the power be multiplied by the area, or would it be averaged? I don’t see that this has been thought all the way through, and thinking would be inadequate. What actually happens if this is tried?

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