Looking for “boring,” finding gold

I’ve been spending most of my days, lately, compiling bibliographic material, and setting up archives of LENR conference papers, as well as a full LENR Library. Where I can find an on-line copy of the Proceedings, it’s easy, merely a bit time-consuming. In other cases proceedings may only exist in a few libraries, and it may take time to find those copies. Sometimes scans are made of books, but the cheap way of doing this, at $0.01 – $0.02 per page, involves destroying the book. These volumes, where they exist, may sell for on the order of $300. It is not necessary to destroy the book to read it, and if it can be read, it can be photographed, and that is now easy with smart phones. My 64 GB iPhone could hold high-resolution photos of every page of a 1000-page book, without breaking a sweat. I might get a little tired, I figure I could, with a simple setup, maybe 2 pages per minute. So 500 minutes for a 1000 page book, 8 hours. To avoid RSI, not less than two days. Doable. I will only do this if necessary, and will attempt to share the work.

All needed, perhaps, because nobody bothered to keep and make available original copies of computer files. Material is still being lost. As an example, abstracts and proceedings have recently disappeared from iscmns.org. Documents once hosted by newenergytimes.com have vanished. Sometimes these can be found on the internet archive, sometimes not.

Below, I report benefits of working with this material.

Consider the Proceedings for ICCF-10, a bit over 1000 pages. That’s in print, World Scientific. Amazon claims to have one copy, $225, a 45% discount from the World Scientific price. There are used copies {“new condition”) for sale for $85 (and some for much more). It was surprisingly hard to find the World Scientific page on this book, but eventually I searched for the ISBN number and then Google’s searchable copy of the book has a link on where to buy it. So https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/5977 is the World Scientific home page for this book. They use the doi number, who knew? So you can get there with https://doi.org/10.1142/5977. They have free-access front matter and abstracts. But I don’t need this book, as such, because I have it (courtesy of Coolessence, thanks again).

We also have many papers as author preprints, see lenr-canr.org, and the reason for such a high rate of accessibility for ICCF-10 papers is that Jed Rothwell, librarian there, also took responsibility for coordinating communication with the editors, and there was to be a “lenr-canr version” for each paper. This also explains the relative high quality of the copy editing, compared to many other conference papers from authors, who sometimes are struggling with English. However, there is no LC document with the entire proceedings, matching the pagination of the as-published version. We will fix that. For cost reasons, I will take the lenr-canr copies, where they exist, as being as-published, which is the equivalent to preprints. There are several papers that are omitted from the LC version, and those I will photograph from the book and OCR. All abstracts will be hosted, for sure.

I am doing two things to move beyond the limitations of what we have had: I am mirroring all freely available conference papers without obtaining permission. The requirement of permission, pursued as an understandable policy by Rothwell, has resulted in many, many missing papers, where the collective intention was to make them available. So I am assuming permission from the fact of publication. In the United States, and because this is a non-profit activity, pursued for purposes of study and critique, I’m legally covered under fair use, provided I take papers down on request. I.e., Jed required “opt-in,” I am using “opt-out.” The latter is far more efficient. It’s what youtube does for videos. (And they are for-profit!).

Then as to published work that is currently available from the publishers, and without specific author permission — a different matter, and complex — I am including all that I can gather, for my own use, in the Research Library, which I have on my private google drive. This is shared, with members of the Cold Fusion Research google groupfor private study and critique, along with the entire Britz collection (similarly shared, for years, with researchers — I was sent a DVD copy years ago, and it made my work not merely easier, but possible)  If interested in research access, apply to join https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/cold-fusion-research.

(Anonymous comments may be made below, including any reports of difficulties in joining that group). I will not grant access to people where I have not verified identity, and I will require agreement to keep all related material private, to avoid copyright violation (but allowing fair use). However, skeptics are not only welcome, but invited.

Now, to the occasion for this post. One of the benefits of the bibliographic and library creation work is that it requires me to at least glance at every paper. (There are probably well over 5000, because there are missing documents from all bibliographies, so far. There are over 1500 in mainstream peer-reviewed journals.). In some cases, I need to look more carefully. I am working on ICCF-2 yesterday and today, and many papers from that conference are not available, shockingly many. So I search for the paper and authors, and I was searching for:

Anomalous deuteron to hydrogen ratio in Oklo samples and the possibility of deuteron disintegration. M. Shaheen, M. Ragheb, G.H. Miley, H. Hora and J. Kelly

and this led me to a splendid review by Magdi Ragheb:

Deuteron disintegration in condensed media (August 1, 2018)

The title is almost identical to that of a paper co-authored with George Miley and published in J. Fusion Energy (1990).

The discovery of a possible nuclear anomaly, occurring under apparently rare and difficult-to-reproduce conditions in palladium deuteride, led to many physicists using their imagination to come up with ways in which this might be possible. There arose, quickly, because of the search process, looking where few had looked before, as well as the file drawer effect operating with hundreds or thousands of researchers around the world, much evidence indicating “nuclear,” and many ideas indicating a possibility based on variations in theory.

A possibility is not a reality, but is what precedes reality. Whether some “thing” is actually possible or not depends on complex factors not always within what we may readily imagine, but the ready assumption of impossibility  based on theories and approximations — and alleged “lack of evidence” — applied to what is unknown is obviously flawed as well, and deeply so.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. — Carl Sagan

Many highly experienced scientists understood this. Others, sometimes as generally competent, failed, and assumed that cold fusion, if it is real, must be d-d fusion and therefore must . . . and they filled in the blanks, and those effects were not observed, therefore “they must be making some mistake,” even if the mistake cannot be identified. Both better and worse was that, identifying a seemingly possible artifact in, say, the original FP work, some assumed and declared that this artifact actually existed, and then there were endless arguments without resolution, each side asserting that the other had not proven their case, which was often reasonable on both sides.

Lost in the shuffle and noise was a far more appropriate standard for the exploration of anomalies, the “preponderance of the evidence,” rather than “proof.” Evidence is evidence, it rarely is absolute proof of anything. Many times, I see the word “proof” abused, by both skeptics and “believers.”

I still see this going on. As an example, there are claims of very high precision for Pons and Fleischmann calorimetry, on the order of +/- 0.1 mW. None of the people arguing about this point to actual measurement of the precision, only to theoretical arguments or general impressions and opinions. Indeed, where was their precision measured, and, more to the point, where was it confirmed? One of the proponents of high-precision FP calorimetry actually claims nobody else has ever achieved such precision, and doesn’t seem to realize that he is more or less establishing the skeptical case that the FP work was never replicated. At least that aspect may not have been replicated!

(And it’s important, because many studies become more possible and more informative if high-precision calorimetry is accessible. This is simply not so useful for “convincing skeptics,” which came to be a major motive, a collective error in my opinion. Far more urgent than convincing anyone was learning how to rapidly qualify materials as likely to produce the effect, in a context where we don’t know what is actually happening.)

As the effect becomes reliably reproducible, within some acceptable level, then it becomes far more possible to test possible artifacts. What was truly unfortunate was that the possibility of some unidentified artifact (or various skeptics had their favorites) was used or simply led to the discouragement or sometimes outright suppression of research that might have clarified issues.

So what about Dr. Ragheb’s ideas about cold fusion mechanism? My opinion, it was and remains insightful and creative as well as knowledgeable, but probably not describe what is actually happening, at least not as the main mechanism that generates the most significant characteristic of the FP Heat Effect, the heat itself.

If deuteron disintegration is behind that (i.e., producing neutrons), we would expect many, many effects that are not observed at the necessary levels, in particular, massive transmutations, compared to what is actually seen.

That transmutations were reported, then, was vastly confusing. It’s like tritium. Tritium has been widely reported as found in Fleischmann-Pons experiments. Yet the quantities vary widely, from none, to occasional results with quite high levels, but still “incommensurate” with heat, and the ratio of neutrons to tritium (more or less consistent) is wildly off the ratio expected for d-d fusion (which should produce, by well-understood mechanisms), roughly equal numbers of neutrons and tritons (i.e., tritium), but, instead, the ratio is on the order of a million to one.

What Ragheb et al came up with is not necessarily “wrong,” though. He found that, deuterium disintegration might be “possible.” That simply does not mean that it is actually happening at a significant rate in the FP experiment. It might be behind the very-low-rate phenomena erratically observed, and to tease out reality from all this is going to take continued study and research. It might not happen in my lifetime, though breakthroughs are possible at any time.

The first priority for research at this point is learning how to create the effect (and its correlates) reliably. Theory is, as yet, not terribly useful for this.

However, there are some hints worth considering, the latest realization that seems to be spreading is the possibility of previously unrecognised phases of palladium deuteride, that are thermodynamically stable if formed, but that are only rarely formed. Most work on PdD talks about the α and β phases, which are basically palladium with some deuterium moving freely in it. However, Fukai pointed out, years ago, that there are crystalline phases, starting with the γ phase, where palladium atoms in the FCC lattice are replaced with hydrogen (deuterium) atoms. Because these positions in the lattice are “missing” palladium atoms, this is called “Super Abundant Vacancies” (SAV), but the term is a bit misleading. Those positions are not “vacant.” SAV phases (there is a series of them) represent crystalline PdxH(D)y, with y ≥ x, and form at certain high concentrations of hydrogen, typically under high pressure. So at ICCF-21, Michael Staker, a materials scientist, asserted that the standard phase diagram for PdD only shows metastable states. Other states may exist, and then, the issue becomes how to form them. High pressure apparently works, but also Severe Plastic Deformation (SPD), and there are examples of this that have been experimentally verified. Of very high interest to me, it is possible that if PdD crystalline material is are formed on the surface of cathodes by codeposition, under some conditions, they could be forms of SAV PdD.

In the Fleischmann-Pons experiment, successful heat generation was typically accompanied by very high Pd loading, above 90%, but also by prior cycles of loading and deloading, and in this process, the surface becomes very complex, including redeposited palladium, i.e., codep, because deuterium would also be available in this formation, and if the SAV phases are thermodynamically favored, once formed, an effect that requires SAV to create the nuclear-active environment might arise. Sometimes.

It would be extremely sensitive to exact conditions that have, so far, not been well-controlled.

Dr. Ragheb is still teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, Nuclear Power Engineering. I’m thinking of proposing a visit to him and Dr. Miley and others.

However, my operating thesis is that nobody understands cold fusion. Nobody. We have only some clues, and not enough experience for the development of sound theory.

Someday I will be wrong. I think not yet, but this is truly fun. I get to see science on the cutting edge, the “bleeding edge,” and maybe even to contribute something, even if it’s only a nudge. Hey, Let’s Move the Needle with our Core Competencies. 

There is going to be some very interesting stuff at the 13th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen-Loaded Metals, in a few days. Abstracts.  I’ve seen a presentation, embargoed until presented. Very clear and very useful.

More will be revealed.

 

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Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax

See http://coldfusioncommunity.net/biography-abd-ul-rahman-lomax/

3 thoughts on “Looking for “boring,” finding gold”

  1. There are several photographic scanners on the market, at various prices. I just picked that one because there is a video showing how it works.

    This is similar to using a cell phone to take pictures of pages, but it works MUCH better.

  2. DO NOT use your cell phone for this purpose. That will be a terrific waste of time, and it will do a bad job.

    There are three ways to do this:

    1. Destructive scanning. http://1dollarscan.com/

    2. Photographic scanning, which is much faster, better and less destructive than an old fashioned scanner. See:

    https://www.amazon.com/CZUR-ET16-Document-Scanner-Windows/dp/B01H2YCN24

    Video showing how this works:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPwrvRfR1jk

    3. Old fashioned flat-bed scanning. I don’t recommend this.

    1. 1. There is a scanning service that does not destroy the books, similar pricing to 1dollarscan. For a book that might be worth $300, that’s an issue!
      2. It’s not just a “cell phone,” it is an iPhone 8, with the rear camera being 12 megapixels, and, as I pointed out, it has plenty of storage. This is “photographic scanning,” and there are apps with OCR, the whole nine yards, cheap. And I already carry the thing around. More below on how I would use it. That scanner you showed looks very nice, and it is very expensive. There is a 5 MP book scanner for $50, my concern is whether or not it is really large enough.
      3. Flat bed could be hard on the book binding if one tries to flatten the book. And a flat bed scanner is cumbersone to use. I’ve copied lots of books! The books scanner you showed has it down.

      Now, how I would use my phone: I would take a lab stand with a clamp, it will hold the phone parallel to the table top. I will experiment with lighting, should I have additional lighting? I don’t know. I will probably get a foot pedal to snap the photos. I expect to try having a piece of glass to hold the page flat, and I would, unless the binding permits 2-page photos without too much gutter, photograph one page at a time. I would insert a black piece of paper behind the page I’m photographing, so that is basically one page at a time anyway. I’d got through the book one way, all right-hand pages, say, then turn it around and go the other way, all left hand pages.
      iOS supposedly has a Notes app for collecting scans. It may have OCR, I’m checking it out. Ah. Microsoft Office Lens for iOS. I just installed it and took a photo of a page in the ICCF-10 book. Saved it as jpg and there was lots of bleed-through, I did not use a backing sheet. I saved it as a Word doc and it was very good, the OCR was not perfect, but comparable to much else I have seen. Nifty. With a tripod and a means of taking the photo without having to balance holding the book, aiming the phone, and pressing the snap button, all at the same time, it should be much easier.

      Cost so far: $0.

      Meanwhile, if I don’t want to do the work, and if I have the book or can borrow it, there is http://www.blueleaf-book-scanning.com/, which does non-destructive book scanning and OCR. But if I need to travel to a library, there is the phone option as well.

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