No goal, no go, just drift

One of our best conversations here started with this commentary by THH on a blog post with a frivolous title, Touch and go at the Planet Rossi spaceport.

I’m interested in the U of Texas work. But there are many subtleties about how to eliminate mundane explanations. How sure are you that they are looking at this more rigorously than LENR typical?

Okay, one question or issue at a time. How sure am I? While Stuff Can Happen — even masters at a craft can make mistakes — there are, indeed, some masters involved, professionals, highly experienced, and fully aware of the history of LENR and, my sense, fully aware of what is needed for a LENR breakthrough. I’m a bit concerned about lack of recent communication, but this merely a reminder to self to make it happen.

In addition, where work has previously been hindered by funding difficulties, this work is very adequately funded, far more than any prior effort along these lines.

However, if anyone is concerned that there might be something important that they will over look, it is possible to communicate with them directly, or I have good communication with them and would certainly look at all this. It is crucial for the near-term future of LENR that this be done right, not sloppily, not overlooking some reasonably possible source of artifact. Already, at this point, anyone could support this work by proposing plausible artifacts that would create a fake heat/helium ratio. So far, all proposals I have seen neglect the experimental realities. But hope springs eternal. Maybe, THH, you will go down in history as the one who finally shot down LENR. Or who helped realize the potential by coming up with the most plausible error, to be experimentally tested, which (along this line of thought) failed. Of course, it might also succeed, and then I can start working on something else. So many possibilities to make a difference, so little time.

For example, you will say that the key issue here is predictivity – the He/excess heat ratio can be a priori predicted. That relies on accurate techniques to ensure that all He generated is captured.

The accuracy of the prediction obviously depends on that. However, the raw correlation does not. Correlation will cut through noise in retained helium. There are two separable issues here: the correlation between heat and helium, which is what Miles discovered, and the value of the ratio, which remains controversial, there being some decent evidence for it being close to 23.8 MeV/4He, stronger evidence that it is on the order of 25 +/- 5 MeV or maybe within a little slop outside of that, and very strong evidence that a strong correlation exists, with the ratio being not so clear.

Unfortunately, the only data we have from an extensive experimental series is Miles, and much of that was not with high precision, and Miles took no steps to release and measure retained helium; plus he varied the experiment (which weakened the correlation, apparently).

I expect good work on this to comprise substantial experimental series, with all conditions remaining constant except the LENR standard: the cathode material is a moving target, a variable.

I don’t think secrecy is helpful in this respect. A clear protocol examined for bomb-proof qualities which is then followed has advantages because it proves no cherry-picking. For me the advantage of He/excess heat correlation is that it potentially separates the we don’t know what makes this effect happen, it is very subtle variability from the results. The disadvantage is that mundane correlations between detected He at very low levels and almost any experiment parameter are possible.

I see a search for proof in this comment, and specifically that the researchers prove they are not cherry-picking. However, if they are not trusted, this would be worthless. If they claim to be reporting all their data (at least in a supplement to a paper or other full-publication method), will that be trusted to be all the data? Will they stonewall questions? If so, bad sign. I’m certainly going to argue against that or anything like that.

The heat/helium correlation has little to no commercial significance. Knowing it does not create knowledge of how to make the reaction happen reliably. However, researchers maintain secrecy, commonly, for other reasons, and choices like this are up to them and their institutions.

I’d love to see the protocol(s) announced before the work is done. As well, I’d love to see the helium analyses be double-blind. Whether that is done or not could depend on details that I do not yet know.

Here is a potential problem: suppose they stumble on a cracker-jack PdD LENR protocol that is reliable, generating significant heat.

I would then suggest that they not use this protocol for this work, unless they are willing to reveal it. Use something not so good. They may, as a supplement, use heat/helium study to promote their protocol, if they want, and they could claim this as additional evidence (and some increased precision, perhaps), but if it cannot be fully disclosed, it will be weak for these purposes.

(For heat/helium work, I’d want to see precision on excess heat to be on the order of 0.1%. More than that is not necessary. 1% could be enough, but, of course, there will then be a limit on the precision of the ratio. I do not know what precision is available for helium at the expected levels.)

I don’t think secrecy is helpful in this respect.

In this respect, no. Obviously. However, the Morrey collaboration that measured helium with samples provided by Pons and Fleischmann was quite secret. The secrecy wasn’t the problem. The problem was that Pons and Fleischmann apparently provided as an active cathode, a cathode with low heat, compared to what they had been claiming, and, as well, the cathodes that were ion-implanted with helium had been implanted with much more helium, based on the routine claims from P and F. And then the “as received material” had substantial surface helium, something went seriously awry, and this has never been explained. As well, Pons and Fleischmann refused to follow the agreement about turning over the sample data, creating substantial doubts. It was a total fiasco. They were, by that time, “under seige” and behaving like it. They lost their objectivity, which I consider tragic. To be sure, they were faced with deliberate and willful “vituperation.” Jed will certainly recognize the reference. It was tragic all around.

A clear protocol examined for bomb-proof qualities which is then followed has advantages because it proves no cherry-picking. For me the advantage of He/excess heat correlation is that it potentially separates the we don’t know what makes this effect happen, it is very subtle variability from the results. The disadvantage is that mundane correlations between detected He at very low levels and almost any experiment parameter are possible.

Cherry-picking is still easily possible, and happens, either as research fraud or as various choices made by researchers, all with “perfectly good reasons.” Full disclosure is full disclosure. This work, properly, should be done to allow that. I would not mix this work with any commercial effort, not the primary work. A good heat-helium lab could sell services to commercial efforts. First things first, however. What is that damn ratio?

We need to know the truth, the reality of it, not anything self-serving, or “proof” of some theory. I hope they keep theory a mile away from the work and the publication, beyond maybe a sentence about the possible significance of 23.8 MeV/4He and whether or not the results fit within experimental error of that.

Let the theoreticians chew on the results later.

I responded with this, but wrote the above, independently.

Now, this triggered response from Jed Rothwell:

THH wrote: “But there are many subtleties about how to eliminate mundane explanations.”

Not really. When the cell produces significantly high excess heat (with a high signal to noise ratio), and it produces thousands of times more energy than any chemical cell could, with no chemical changes, you can be certain all mundane explanations are eliminated. That was the first point Fleischmann made, and it still stands. […]

There is a classic problem here. If that result is not confirmed, not reliable, at best it shows that something out of the ordinary happened. This kind of claim was commonly rejected, ab initio, because it is only circumstantial evidence, and widespread understandings and beliefs are not going to overturned so easily. This is not “proof” of nuclear reactions, only an indication.

By the way, I should make it clear that I personally consider the body of circumstantial evidence to be adequate to establish LENR by preponderance, but I stop short of considering it truly conclusive. To come to this point I had to read a lot, and it is easy for judgments like this to be subject to error. There are some nagging problems, such as the repeated failure of certain apparently dedicated and sincere researchers to confirm other published results. Bad luck? What is it?

Jed looks from an inside perspective, he knows the researchers, he knows the methods and the results. Someone who has not put in those decades of experience simply is not going to stand in his shoes.

After a little other back and forth, Jed wrote:

THH wrote: “My point is a bit more nuanced. It is that they all potentially have subtle effects and errors . . .”

No, they do not. Laviosier and Laplace made the first modern calorimeter in 1781. They measured the metabolism of a guinea pig. That is around 3 W as recall. I estimated the sensitivity of that instrument was around 1.5 W. The results were remarkably uniform and close to the modern value. That was an ice calorimeter. The people at Shell Oil in Paris made an instrument very similar to it, only a little more sensitive, and they detected a cold fusion reaction with it.

This is great. For our readers, Jed Rothwell is the “librarian” at lenr-canr.org, the best archive on Earth of papers relating to LENR. I have the Britz database here, but that is confined to papers published under peer review or academically, i.e., having that kind of authority, but much of the best work has never been published that way — for historical reasons that could, themselves, be the subject of much study.

THH is a skeptic, but one who has been willing to take the time to examine some LENR claims in detail, to do, in some cases, more thorough analysis that has been done by anyone else, and he does not appear to be a pseudoskeptic. This is an ideal person to participate in bringing LENR in out of the cold. There are certainly others who may make major contributions to this conversation, and I hope they show up. But this is a spectacular beginning, and my thanks to both of them.

What Jed wrote at first, above, is fluff. Behind it is a host of assumptions about cold fusion and about skepticism. No rational skeptic is claiming what would contradict what Jed wrote above. As an example of imprecision, “Shell oil … detected a cold fusion reaction” using ice calorimetry. Great. But what they would have detected was not “cold fusion,” because ice and calorimetry are not nuclear detectors, it was some heat, presumably not expected. How much heat? Apparently Shell interpreted the heat as nuclear in origin. But Jed did not cite the research.

Jed, in this comment, makes it seem that one runs a cold fusion experiment, and there is a readout, “excess energy.” With some experiments that might be possible, but is he talking about that class of experiment? One of the problems is that “cold fusion experiments” are not defined, they encompass many different approaches and techniques and protocols, and a wide variety of results. Early on, some cold fusion results were rejected because they appeared to contradict other results, but experimental results are never in contradiction, that’s a confusion of fact with interpretation.

This confusion is endemic. Until there are agreements on fact, there can be no resolution of disagreements about interpretations. In Rossi v. Darden, the debate is on over what facts are established. It’s fun to see IH claim a fact, that is dead-obvious from the evidence, and Rossi “disputes” it, not because the fact is wrong, for his discussion simply adds more weight to the fact, but because he doesn’t like how it is interpreted or used. Jed will recognize this as argumentum ad consequentiam.

(To be fair, I have not seen this kind of argument coming from IH, generally, but I have not yet studied their response to the Rossi Motion for Summary Judgement, where that might show up. Rossi does assert quite a number of facts that are true, and that could be interpreted in ways that IH (and I, probably) would think false, but the problem isn’t with the facts.)

In a Pons-Fleischmann experiment, the heat balance is complex. The most commonly-asserted source of possible artifact would be unexpected recombination inside the cell; these are open cells, and the calorimetry assumes that energy is lost in unrecombined deuterium and oxygen escaping the cell. Jed knows all of this like the back of his hand, but apparently does not look at the back of his hand as others would see it. Unless someone is thoroughly convinced that recombination is not happening inside the cells — and it might not be observable as such — then they will not be convinced that PF calorimetry is accurate.

Again, I don’t think P and F made that mistake, but the point is that this is, in itself, a subject assessment. There are certainly ways to move beyond this, and it is entirely possible that P and F already killed this issue dead, but can we expect THH, for example, to know and understand that.

THH has been looking at Shanahan’s arguments. Recombination is the Shanahan claim, mostly (his “calibration constant shift” is actually misnamed, because the source of the shift is unexpected recombination. There is nothing wrong with the calorimetry, it is measuring heat, all right, by the Shanahan ideas, just not from a nuclear source, and this, accumulated, could be a lot of energy. However, there are experiments where that is not plausible.

Okay, great. Can we look at one?

Well, no. It happened, it was done, but this wasn’t confirmed. But, hey, it was done by someone who Knew What They Were Doing!

And perhaps it was. But this is not going to convince skeptics, for reasons that should, by now, be obvious.

J. P. Joule made thermometers with 0.05 deg F precision, and calorimeters that could easily measure a fraction of a watt. He could have confirmed the excess heat in any major cold fusion experiment with absolute confidence.

Perhaps. But, as mentioned, it is not simply heat that is measured. The matter is more complex than that.

Experiments at Toyota and in Mizuno’s lab that produced 100 W for days at a time could have been confirmed by anyone in the last 250,000 years. Cave men understood the limits of chemical fuel as well as we do. They understood that a log is consumed by fire in an hour, and it will not continue burning for weeks. That is why the Miracle of the Maccabees was considered a miracle.

Great, again. Now, how many atheists are convinced by that Miracle? That is, atheists who did not actually see it, but merely read about it in a book.

Can Toyota and Mizuno create a kit that will reliably show significant heat? How much would it cost? Could we set it up in a bus and tour the country with it? Maybe we could visit college campuses.

Remember, for your argument to make sense, in context, there must be a conclusive “seeing is believing” experience, and not be some mere magic trick, it must address those unfortunate concerns about fraud and error. Simply seeing some meter readouts or a computer display of excess energy won’t cut it.

A reaction that produces 100 W with no input power is not difficult to detect.

Trivial. Now, where is it? Jed, you are collapsing the idea of reports of such power output, which are anecdotal, without clear consistency, for the most part, with something that would be easily conclusive, a test set-up, reproducible and/or transportable that produces 100 W with no input power — and no room for chemical storage. I do not say it is impossible for excess heat alone to be conclusive, though even if it were kilowatts it would still not be “nuclear evidence.” That is the all-too-common argument from ignorance. I.e., what else could it be?

When a cathode in that cell the size of a coin produces as much energy as 7 kg of petroleum – or more energy than you would get from burning every item in the lab – with absolutely no chemical transformations, that cannot be a chemical effect. It is absurd to claim that such phenomena might be subtle effect, or difficult to detect, or errors. You distort the situation by making this claim. What you say applies to some aspects of some experiments, but it does not begin to apply to the most convincing calorimetry.

Jed, if you want to organize the actual claims here, please, we can do that. You are making claims, right here, with no evidence, as if the evidence would be something everyone knows. That’s simply not the case, and, as well, there may be complications with each example. But we could easily start to examine that. “No chemical explanation,” whoever, isn’t the same as “nuclear.” Maybe it is telekinesis. After all, can you prove it isn’t?

Along the same lines, Abd’s insistence that the helium to heat correlation is the only certain proof that cold fusion is real, and not a chemical effect, is a distortion.

First of all, I don’t insist that. What I say is something else, and obviously Jed either doesn’t understand it or has forgotten. For 10 points, I ask Jed to explain what I do claim or state.

The heat alone proves the issue.

What issue? Confusion over this is how the LENR community managed to have two U.S. DoE reviews that essentially agreed more research was advisable, and still thought of them both as failures, to be rejected. The 2004 review was a major opportunity. How was that handled? What were the presenters asking for? Was it specific, or was it general and possibly vague?

Garbage in, garbage out. No goal in, no goal out. What was requested was vague, just to “look at” the field. Okay, they looked. For about one day, in a confused manner that might as well have been designed to create even more confusion. I’ve gone over that work in detail. The presentations were not understood, it’s obvious. Now, how was that allowed to happen? I think that Peter believed that beggars can’t be choosers, but that’s nonsense. Beggars can, in fact, refuse what they are handed, I remember one woman at Moulay Idris, who refused money. She wanted something else. When I figure out what it was, I had some. How did she know that? She took it, completely satisfied. A piece of bread I’d put in my bag at lunch.

Beggars can be choosers, and who knows what treasures are hidden in the sleeve of the beggar?

We walked in disempowered and walked out the same, because we did not know what we wanted, we had no consensus on it, and that all that still remains for much of the CMNS community. But not all!

In any case, a single measure does not prove any issues in science. Suppose we want to know if a certain medicine is effective. So we give it to some people, and some of them get better. Proof?

Jed, you know this. It is not proof. It could be an indication that would properly lead to further research, that’s about it. However, what if there is a consistent dose-response behavior? That is far stronger.

Jed, you think about “proof” and you use that word a lot. Penon’s data “proves” — at a glance — that the Report is bogus. Actually, it doesn’t. It creates a reasonable conclusion, it deprecates the value of the report, but it is not proof, there are too many possibilities.

This classification of evidence as “proof” — or other — depresses authentic scientific analysis. I’m reading Surely You Are Joking, Mr. Feynman, a copy was given to me. I knew some of the stories from his mouth, as an undergrad at Cal Tech. I bring this up here because Feynman was very conscious of our propensity to look for “proof” of what is not particularly amenable to proof, apparently we like to imagine certainty even though the reality of that can be elusive. Feynman played with this in many ways, it’s hilarious.

The helium proves it is fusion and not some other effect, but chemistry is decisively ruled out for exactly the same reason with the same methods the Curies ruled it when when they discovered heat from radium (as Fleischmann pointed out). You do a disservice to 19th century physics when you insist that only 20th century mass spectroscopy can prove this.

Straw man argument (I don’t insist that.)

However, Curie’s observations were repeatable, reliable, and reproducible at will. Most cold fusion work is not like that, and if you care to disagree with that, please, help show it with clear evidence, not just strong and obviously highly opinionated assertions, reeking with certainty that will put off any normal skeptic, making you look like a fanatic, even if you are speaking from knowledge.

I confronted the style of argument here. I asked Jed a question that is standard in my training, at least one of the Forum Leaders routinely asked it, with a Southern drawl, when someone explains their approach to life, convinced (initially) that the problem is that others won’t listen.

How’s it workin’ for ya?

It may be, and probably is so, that it’s working fine for Jed, because he has limited goals. It could be useful here for Jed to explain what he wants, why he puts in time writing about LENR. It’s clear that his goals and mine are not the same. Or are they? One of the ways I could explain Jed’s behavior is that he became disgusted and cynical over the years. What if those earlier “failures,” if he tried to explain, were not intrinsic? What if there were something simple he could do to make his communication far more effective, even inspiring to others, including skeptics? Here is how he came back:

I do not care about the political effectiveness of this argument, or whether it convinces skeptics. This argument was first made by Francis Bacon in Novum Organum. It is described in one form or another in every textbook on the scientific method, and in books by people such as T. H. Huxley and James Conant. In short, this is the bedrock basis of the experimental scientific method. (It is not the basis of theoretical or observational science – only the experimental branch.)

Jed is here arguing, and thinks that “this argument” — i.e., his argument, — is that of Bacon and all other “bedrock” scientists. It seems that he considers disagreement with any aspect of how he is writing is outside of science:

If skeptics do not accept the authority of replicated experiments, they are not scientists. That is not my problem. There is nothing I can say to disenthrall them. I don’t see that as my job. I upload papers and I write for an audience or [of] rational scientists, not irrational people, or uneducated people.

There is a concept of authority here that is disembodied, divorced from the judgement of authority, as if experiments are in themselves authority, they “speak for themselves.” Experiments generate results, and we normally assume that these results are reported accurately.

(Sometimes they are not, but that is a distinct problem).

Jed, however, is here claiming that some particular conclusion is required, out of this review, or the person who does not accept that conclusion is outside of science. Further, as to cold fusion research, most people and most scientists are “uneducated.” They do not know the evidence. They have other evidence that there are no definitive cold fusion results, that it is all fuzzy and unclear. This is the nature of an information cascade, it creates an appearance of the existence of “consensus.” Information cascades work, or the process would never have become established. That is, it generates some efficiency. But it also shuts down some possibilities, so to me, the question is how to move beyond those limitations. Jed thinks, apparently, that this is not important, which would fully explain why he has not been terribly effective in “spreading the news.” His work remains singularly useful for those who already want to know, but not for inspiring those who do not know to want to know.

Jed is writing for an audience of “rational scientists, and he doesn’t see any need for outreach:

There is no particular need to reach a large audience. If we reach people such as Bill Gates or Obama, that’s all we need. Elitism works in science. Most people do not understand science and technology. Most people have no need to understand science, any more than they need to know what an instruction set in a computer is.

That’s true. However, did we reach Obama? If not, why not? And it’s not Obama now. Jimmy Carter might be just as useful or more useful. How about Trump? No, please, no political discussions…. but the idea of approaching governmental authorities requires being able to deal with public opinion. That requires caring about politics.

Bill Gates was reached, apparently. We know fairly well who did that, at least it’s easy to guess. And these people are pursuing that line of research that Jed more or less argues is unnecessary. He’s come around a bit, I think he used to opine that heat/helium would be a waste of money, which is needed for much more important things (like learning how to create the reaction reliably, which is certainly important!). But to do the latter may require massive funding. Where is that going to come from?

I considered the heat/helium work to be important because it is not only direct evidence that the heat is real, it is direct evidence that the heat effect is nuclear in nature. There are niggling doubts about all that massive heat evidence that Jed refers to. There are reasonable worries about the file drawer effect. Notice how Planet Rossi refers to all the positive results from NiH. How could this be weak if there are so many positive result? It’s actually pretty easy: have a large number of people try to create the Rossi effect, and a few will find something. This could easily be expected, given all the vagaries of calorimetry, with a non-existent effect.

I remember the response of some to Parkhomov’s first announcement. First-principles calorimetry! How could this be wrong? Well, apparently, in at least one way. The problem with Parkhomov was that some of his data was puzzling when compared to that calorimetric analysis. Something was off, somewhere. Combine that with a clearly failing thermocouple, and a sloppy measurement of evaporated water that did not prevent or consider splashed-out water, with a boiler that probably bumpled like hell …. the point is that people make mistakes, and Parkhomov’s status as a reputable scientist was useless. And with all the attention … and pressure … he even faked some data to boot. All, I’m sure, with explanations.

(Parkhomov may have gone on to do better work, I am not condemning him for that mistake. I think he really was naive, thought it would be harmless, but there is something darker under that. I think he didn’t want too many questions about why he had to do what he did, why he was running his computer on battery power, and the real problem there could throw a monkey wrench into many NiH claims of late. I love that MFMP publishes negative results. They do sometimes prematurely assign significance to positive ones, before being thorough in validation. But they are on their way. And experiment is, in fact, King, and Jed is right on that level.)

If replicated high sigma experiments do not convince a person, he is no scientist and nothing short of a commercial product or an editorial in Nature will convince him. Such people cannot be taught. They have no mental framework to evaluate or judge the issues. They have no basis to understand what experimental science is, or how it works. Trying to explain to them why replication proves the issue is like trying to explain evolution to a creationist, or logic to someone who makes elementary mistakes such as an appeal to the consequences of a belief.

Where are those “replicated high sigma experiments”? Depending on the nature of the work, isolated replications are not enough. Normally, though, sigma refers to a specific kind of analysis, which is often missing. “Cold fusion” is not a conclusion in heat experiments that is “high sigma.” By being vague, Jed does not engage in a real and productive conclusion. I hope that shifts. I certainly know that he has the necessary knowledge, but if he does not care about communication with skeptics, he will not be terribly useful to the conversation.

Communication with skeptics, to be most effective, is not a matter of “convincing” them. Rather, it is bidirectional, it is does not arrogantly assume the truth of one’s own position, and does not assume the error of theirs. It looks for agreement, and then builds on it. Jed, you might notice: it is common for skeptics to agree that the heat/helium experimental proposals are interesting.  That is common ground, on which more can be built, much more.

Normal skeptics will come up with various “explanations” for existing results in LENR. It’s quite human. Real skeptics, as distinct from pseudoskeptics, will engage in discussing these, and will let go of some of these explanations as they come to be recognized as untenable, as ultimately implausible.

I should also disclose my role. When I met with McKubre at SRI in December, 2012, we came to the idea that I would take on the role of skeptic, of internal critic, within the CMNS community. I did not just make this up by myself. We saw the need for rigor in CMNS studies. And so I’ve been standing for that, and, with all my faults, I’ve also been reasonably successful. What I wanted to happen, what I saw as necessary, is happening. Some in the field have become cynical, more or less in despair. That can also correlate with age, for some, we see unfortunate examples.

The world moves on.

“Engaging the mainstream requires sympathy, and outrage at the stupidity of it all does not generate sympathy.”

I have no desire to engage the mainstream

So no need for sympathy, and reams of communication that is largely ineffective. However, this is arrogant, and is itself, not a scientific attitude. It assumes that one has no need to learn from those “masses.”

I seek to engage the mainstream (which means both mainstream science, academic institutions, etc., and the general public in different ways. I find many people interested in LENR, and buzz creates buzz and attention, ultimately. I want to see graduate students take up careers related to LENR without suffering harm, and that requires moving LENR into the mainstream, or moving the mainstream. I saw this as requiring that killer experiment, that was essentially bullet-proof, done anew and moving beyond what had been done before (so that it would be eminently publishable) and I saw that as within reach, already done, only confirmation, not speculative or dependent one something unknown, merely needing to be repeated with increased precision (which is what the pseudoskeptics demand, believing that LENR would therefore fade away), and by multiple groups, and that is what I suggested and that suggestion was accepted and it is happening.

Thank you, I can die now — as far as that mission is concerned. Was it important? I think so.

I need to move on at the point, and get some rest, so I’ll stop here, I might return. Comments are, of course welcome.

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Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax

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

44 thoughts on “No goal, no go, just drift”

  1. The boil-off experiments typically produced 50 to 150 W with no input for several hours, in heat after death.

    Energy comparable to combustion of a few grams of H2, so chemical causes are not ruled out.

    The continuous boiling cells produced 50 to 100 W of heat, with about 50 W input, for months at a time.
    Boil-off is a tricky condition difficult to control. Results under this condition would need very careful checks, and even then would be suspect. Calibration does not work when things are changing. One get-out. If you have 50W excess on 50W input that could be detected by fairly crude mass flow calorimetry with absolute calculations – and would be convincing if so done whatever the conditions in the cell.

    The other set of best results were at SRI. They got 5 to 20 W in the best experiments, sometimes with no input power. Again, they had the best calorimetric equipment money can buy. So did the people at Los Alamos and China Lake, and they reported power ranging from 1 to 10 W, which is a lot.
    What matters here is the power in/out ratio and the possibility of Shanahan-style shift on cell constants due to change in conditions.

    Suppose one of these were LENR. I’d go about proving that by eliminating all possible mundane mechnaisms. Not by arguing that they could not happen, based on my assumptions, but by repeating the test with instrumentation to show they did not happen. In a series of tests this process of repetition with possible holes in the previous test mended is very powerful. It has to be iterative, increasing confidence in what was previously observed, not finding something new in the new tests.

    1. This is a general description of the ideal process. It’s tricky because of the unreliability of the material, the cathode, in the FPHE. However, it can still be done. It’s expensive and time-consuming, which is why a community effort is needed, not merely some expectation that individual researchers repeat their work without being adequately funded to do that — or to pay someone else to do it. Were you demanding such work, it could be offensive, but I don’t see you as doing that, you are merely pointing out what is — as far as you know, — missing. It is not missing, to my own understanding, from all instances of results that indicate LENR.

      What you suggest, though, would still not “prove LENR.” It would create more convincing circumstantial evidence. Heat/helium bypasses that, to a degree, going for much more direct evidence, where correlation then requires increasingly complex artifact that can, across many instances and reports, set up matching results at a significant value, expected from standard physics and the laws of thermodynamics, if there is a nuclear conversion from deuterium to helium, independent of reaction mechanism, i.e., if there is little loss of energy to radiation, no other significant products, and if all or some reasonably consistent fraction of the helium is measured.

      1. Putting some things together:

        Prove LENR

        LENR is not a scientific hypothesis. It is a shorthand for yes here lie significant effects not explainable by conventional physics I abuse language as do many…

        Also, I have a lot of sympathy with the idea that what is being circumstantially indicated (if it is) is unconventional physics. All sorts of things about nuclear mechanisms do not fit LENR observations. Some deep electron energy level fits most of them much better. Unfortunately that has its own severe issues, as an explanatory mechanism, one of which is the lack of observation of the novel and chemically distinct products. So best just to keep it as unconventional physics appears needed here. Were I publishing “LENR” results that is what I’d do, unless the results pointed to nuclear reactions directly, as only a small proportion of claimed LENR results do.

        1. You might notice that the research being done at Texas Tech calls it the “Anomalous Heat Effect” (AHE). I often confine myself to the similarly neutral FPHE. (Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect), thus referring specifically to electrochemical experiments with PdD or sometimes H controls. The classification of other approaches together with the FPHE can create confusion, even if, in the end, there is only one basic cause.

          I do not think that the FPHE involves any major revision of physics; rather, what I suspect is that certain situations, not readily anticipated and complex enough to be difficult to analyze with existing theory, create fusion rates high enough to produce the observed effects. Jed promotes tritium as nuclear proof, and he’s not exactly wrong, but …. those effects are a million times down from the helium that is found, and have never been repeatably correlated with the heat. They might show that “something nuclear is happening,” but that might be more common than we realize, and they give us no evidence that the major heat is nuclear in origin. It is only correlated helium that does that.

          Reliable high heat would probably do it, and with such experiments available, presumably heat and helium levels would be much higher and easier to measure with accuracy (as long as one’s initials are not AR) and so the high-heat evidence, circumstantial in itself, would easily become direct and unmistakeable. It is not, with helium, merely “something nuclear” but a specific transformation with a specific energy expectation. The mechanism would remain unknown, but at least we would now know the main thing it does. I do have a position that we already know this, I consider the evidence already adequate, but I don’t find it necessary to insist; rather, all I claimed was that the evidence was strong enough to warrant funding definitive measurement of the correlation and ratio.

    2. You wrote: “Energy comparable to combustion of a few grams of H2, so chemical causes are not ruled out.”

      There is only a fraction of a gram of H2 in the cell. There is no oxygen, and no other chemicals that can react. There are no chemical changes. The cathode, when saturated at 1:1 atoms holds 0.002 moles of hydrogen. If there were any oxygen in the cell, this would produce 286 J. The cells often produce more than 1 MJ, so chemical fuel is ruled out.

      “The continuous boiling cells produced 50 to 100 W of heat, with about 50 W input, for months at a time.
      Boil-off is a tricky condition difficult to control. Results under this condition would need very careful checks, and even then would be suspect. Calibration does not work when things are changing.”

      The continuously boiling cells do not boil off. The water condenses and falls back in. The calorimetery is not like that of the boil off cells. Calibration is done with blank electrochemical cells and joule heating.

      In the boil off cells, there is no need to control the boiling. Total energy is measured based on the mass of water vaporized. Calibration is easy to perform with joule heating. It demonstrates that no water leaves the cell unboiled. The cell is designed to prevent that.

      People have measured the heat of vaporization of water many times, with high precision, since 1840. This is not difficult and not new science. It is not difficult to calibrate.

  2. (version with typos removed – something happened during my 5 min period of typo editing…)

    Abd,

    Thanks for this long and thoughtful appraisal. You invite comment, and I’ll happily do this. You will I’m sure allow me some length in my exposition, which may initially seem rather off the point.

    there are, indeed, some masters involved, professionals, highly experienced, and fully aware of the history of LENR and, my sense, fully aware of what is needed for a LENR breakthrough. …

    In addition, where work has previously been hindered by funding difficulties, this work is very adequately funded, far more than any prior effort along these lines. …

    Maybe, THH, you will go down in history as the one who finally shot down LENR. Or who helped realize the potential by coming up with the most plausible error, to be experimentally tested, which (along this line of thought) failed. Of course, it might also succeed, and then I can start working on something else. So many possibilities to make a difference, so little time.

    I hope Abd that the reference to time does not relate to your own mortality. Such things are what they are – but that would be unwelcome.

    You present here a dichotomy while alluding to other possibilities. My expectation is that neither of the two options you note will be true. I’d be fascinated and very happy if secure He4/excess heat evidence existed. If experiments are preformed which do not provide clear results because of not ruling out mundane effects – will that disprove LENR? I am sure not. LENR as a hypothesis is essentially non-disprovable because it does not make any definite predictions. Instead it makes contingent predictions:

    If we have a valid LENR effect then this will happen.

    That prediction is asymmetric. Until we have a valid LENR effect can be determined in some way other than as shown by this this is unable to disprove LENR. It is however helpful, in that it can prove LENR.

    This asymmetry is the strongest argument against LENR being a real nuclear physical effect as opposed to a collection of disparate mundane – perhaps unusual – effects and errors.

    Therefore disproving LENR is impossible.

    I’ve made this argument deductive (true of false). In reality it is inductive, and the evidence here, if strong, alters probabilities. For me to represent quantitatively how that would work is difficult but not in principle impossible. The asymmetry above means that negative results cannot significantly reduce probability. Positive results can very largely enhance it. And the weak effect of negative results here can be quantified, quite easily.

    Returning to specifics…

    The accuracy of the prediction obviously depends on that. However, the raw correlation does not. Correlation will cut through noise in retained helium. There are two separable issues here: the correlation between heat and helium, which is what Miles discovered, and the value of the ratio, which remains controversial, there being some decent evidence for it being close to 23.8 MeV/4He, stronger evidence that it is on the order of 25 +/- 5 MeV or maybe within a little slop outside of that,

    So it is that MeV/He4 number that determines the value of this evidence. And the smaller the error bars, the more valuable. Smaller error bars allow more possibility of disproving the hypothesis, and make not doing that therefore more valuable.

    and very strong evidence that a strong correlation exists, with the ratio being not so clear.

    Correlation itself is not enough without significant additional checking. I’d hope that is done, and will make some suggestions below.

    Unfortunately, the only data we have from an extensive experimental series is Miles, and much of that was not with high precision, and Miles took no steps to release and measure retained helium; plus he varied the experiment (which weakened the correlation, apparently).

    The issue as always when arguing from correlation is one of causality. We have two outputs: excess heat, and measured He4 (perhaps with controlled background removed). We might have excess heat correlated with:
    active reactant volume
    temperature
    reaction time (this correlation is pretty certain, and linear)

    All of the above correlations have both mundane and LENR possible mechanisms. If mundane mechanisms can be ruled out then we have strong evidence for LENR independent of the He4 issue of course.

    We might have He4 correlated with:
    active reactant volume
    temperature
    reaction time

    Again, all these correlations have mundane possible mechanisms. The LENR mechanism is interesting because it is a known quantitative correlation with excess heat. But any of these other factors could induce indirect correlations.

    You disambiguate this (possibly the highlighted sentence above shows that Miles was trying this) by testing each of these correlations separately, varying one component and noting how that changes excess heat and excess He4. You strongly expect the variations to have detectable correlations in the case that the only determinant is the LENR effect. If, however, background He4 is high (hence there is a lot of noise) these other mundane but unquantifiable correlations can drown out the expected effect and although you have correlation you cannot know whether this is LENR or mundane.

    All this trouble goes away if results are not close to noise. That is true of all LENR research – one set of replicable results not close to noise will get everyone interested. The replicable condition means you need different groups using different methods to agree on the result, and it needs to happen reliably – even if in some stochastic sense with say 20 samples needed and some fraction active. And it is the lack of this, after many years, that is why I view the experimental evidence against LENR at this point as relatively strong.

    In the case of He4/excess heat a secure quantitative relationship, where this is not built in to the experiment through selection etc, is key. The more you find you are looking inside the noise level, the more difficult it is to avoid selection, because you will do everything to try and increase signal-to-noise. Some of those things will inevitably make noise look like signal. I’m not saying this is deliberate, or wrong, it is just inevitable. You will test in a way that is optimally sensitive to the expected level of He4/excess heat correlation. Given that any little detail of experimental design can affect possible mundane correlations you can see that by trial and error, varying design parameters, you may get an output He4/excess heat correlation of roughly the required value.

    To distinguish between such effects and the hypothesised LENR effect is easy if the results are far enough from artifact. In this case, for the two components, artifact means non-LENR He4 and calorimetry errors. You can gain confidence at low signal to noise by looking at sets of co-correlation, as above, or by noting quantitative relationships that are stable and close to that predicted.

    Given any experiment with interesting but still close to noise results, it is always possible given funding to redo it with higher accuracy. Two things happen then: you have your needed strong LENR evidence, or you have effectively cancelled out the initial positive signs. The LHC guys know all about that – so many positive sign hopes end up vanishing.
    Regards, THH

    1. The big problem with LENR research has always been reliability, i.e., reproducibility. The effect is chaotic, in that controlling conditions is apparently difficult. This makes a cracker-jack excuse for all replication failures, but this is just a condition to accept initially. Measuring the heat/helium ratio is one way to bypass this. While the results are not perfect, that is easily ascribable to experimental error and possible artifact. (i.e,. if Arata found too much helium — did he — that could be leakage. The abundance of minimal-helium controls (no-heat cells, with no helium above background) militates against artifact afflicting some experiments as being, overall, systematic. That the ratio appears consistent across many different protocols (within PdD, FP class experiments) shows a reproducibility, contrary to the common claim of irreproducibility.

      The common argument of non-reproducibility applies to correlation between experimental conditions and heat (or helium or other nuclear products measured separately). It does not apply, apparently, to helium results. Unfortunately, the measurement effort was not systematic and adequately pursued to create what might be called fully conclusive evidence. It was enough to establish this result by preponderance. So, then, is there an unrecognized systematic artifact? You have outlined some of the possible correlates. Do those make sense in the experimental context?

      In some results (such as some of Miles’ work), the heat production is not strong, so helium production is low, my rough idea is about an order of magnitude above background. Nevertheless Miles’ result stand out well above noise, statistically. However, in Apicella et al (Violante), 2004, ambient helium was not excluded, and two of the three reported results (Laser-2 and Laser-4) stood out clearly above ambient. Laser-3 was substantially lower heat, and while helium elevation was still significant, the result is noisier. It moved from roughly 60% helium measured, compared to the expected ratio from 23.8 MeV/4He, to about 100% with Laser-3, this being one of the two examples where anodic erosion was used — in an attempt to stimulate more heat (Violante), or to flush helium by repeated cycles of loading and deloading (McKubre).

      From my point of view, this is not “proof.” It is evidence quite strong enough to justify additional experimental work, even at relatively high cost. The decision to allocate and spend precious research funds is a preponderance of the evidence conclusion, or at least should be. It should not require proof at the level of funding involved (a few million dollars). The “crash Manhattan-Project-style program” that some wanted would require proof, i.e., very strong evidence. Even with fully positive heat-helium results, I would not yet recommend such a program, much or most of it could be wasted. Instead, I’d expect funding to ramp up, focusing on the most basic issues; in particular, improving reliability then will assist as a foundation for all other research. One step at a time. And all this could have been done more than twenty years ago, and that it was not done is a matter for the history of science to study. The causes were various, and it was not as simple as the skeptics unreasonably shooting it down. Those incidents did not show science at its best, for sure, and it’s easy to rue and regret and even condemn them, but that does not help us move forward.

      Perhaps this exercise is a waste of time, because — I hope — we will have much better data soon. However, if we only consider it an exercise, an opportunity to become familiar with evidence and issues, and then to be better prepared to understand those results, it may not be a waste. We are our most important product.

      As to time, I am not at high risk of short-term death. I have at least one condition (a cardiac blockage that shows up in a nuclear stress test, combined with occasional —
      rare, actually — angina) that has that as a possibility, but this is being treated, mostly with a combination of watchful waiting, but also with medication to prevent harm should there be an “accident,” and a strong exercise program, both supervised (it’s done in a hospital), and with less exertion, every other day of the week (but not, unfortunately, weekends. I will eventually remedy that.) Overall, I am gaining in strength and endurance, and then we will look at a possible angiogram and stent. It all depends on how I’m doing when carefully monitored. Knowledge is not like ignorance (Qur’an).

      However, my aging, as limitations arose, has made me very conscious that my time is limited, and precious, even as my health was actually quite good for my age. This is really true for all of us, so the advice is to live well, to live fully, with what time and capacity we have.

      1. You wrote: “The common argument of non-reproducibility applies to correlation between experimental conditions and heat (or helium or other nuclear products measured separately). It does not apply, apparently, to helium results.”

        It does not apply to tritium results, x-rays, transmutations or materials correlation either (meaning Pd-D works but Pd-H does not). These correlations are as independent as the helium to heat correlation. They cannot be caused by instrument artifacts for the same set of reasons the helium results cannot be.

        I am not opposed to helium-heat correlations, but they have no special significance. They are not uniquely strong proof. The main advantages they have is that they seem to indicate the reaction is definitely fusion, at least with Pd-D, and the ratio is fixed, unlike the tritium or x-ray ratios.

        Helium has some disadvantages. Mainly because it is ubiquitous compared to tritium, and it is inert so it is difficult to measure.

        1. Jed, I have never seen tritium correlated with other results, nor clearly with conditions. I think the correlation ought to exist, but … I’ve been looking for this for years. SPAWAR showed apparent charged particle tracks correlated with proximity to a codep cathode, but this has not been clearly confirmed. Etc. In theory, there could be many other possible correlations, but … where are the multiply-confirmed studies and reports, similar to what exists for heat/helium?

          1. Tritium and heat are usually correlated but, unlike helium, the ratio is not fixed. (Which is what I said above.)

            By “correlated” I mean they co-relate. They both happen. The instruments and methods used to detect them are different, based on different physical principles, so there can be no single instrument artifact that causes both. Since tritium can only be the product of a nuclear reaction, and since there can be no common experimental error that causes both, in that sense tritium is as much proof that the reaction is nuclear as the helium to heat ratio is.

            Of course there might be two unrelated errors, one that causes spurious heat, and the other that causes spurious tritium (such as concentration effects from some heavy water sources). For that matter, there might be two errors that cause spurious heat plus spurious helium. This is somewhat less likely because the ratio is fixed, whereas you never know what the tritium ratio will be.

            Since heat to tritium the ratios vary, I suppose they must have a common cause. One does not trigger the other. They are both triggered by something else.

            Some people think tritium alone is caused by some reactions, without heat. Fritz Will may think so. Martin Fleischmann and Ed Storms do not think so. They think there is always heat, but sometimes it is too small to detect. Whereas tritium at practically any level can be detected with confidence, as you know.

            (Fleischmann strongly disagreed with Will about this issue. I am just reporting their views here.)

          2. Re: “correlated” – in biology and social science the term is used freely when there is little or no proportionality (no fixed ratio), and when an underlying cause triggers both. For example: “obesity and poverty are correlated.” Obviously they are not always correlated, and there is no linear relationship between income and obesity.

          3. I wrote: “For example: ‘obesity and poverty are correlated.’ Obviously they are not always correlated, and there is no linear relationship between income and obesity.”

            I take that back. It turns out the relationship is more linear than I thought. There is less scatter than I imagined. See:

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198075/figure/F1/

            However, as I said, they are correlated for the population as a whole, in large groups (quintiles), but there are many individual people who are poor yet thin and healthy.

      2. I see a search for proof in this comment, and specifically that the researchers prove they are not cherry-picking. However, if they are not trusted, this would be worthless. If they claim to be reporting all their data (at least in a supplement to a paper or other full-publication method), will that be trusted to be all the data?

        Generally, people assume researchers do not lie. But, they also assume that anyone can make mistakes, or suffer not understood implicit biases.

        So the solution here comes form transparency and contemporaneous documentation. If they set out their test protocols, record all results, document the whole sequence of new protocols, new results, document all the processing from raw results to final results, then any issues of this type can be checked and either validated or knocked on the head.

        1. “So the solution here comes form transparency and contemporaneous documentation. If they set out their test protocols, record all results, document the whole sequence of new protocols, new results, document all the processing from raw results to final results, then any issues of this type can be checked and either validated or knocked on the head.”

          McKubre, Miles and others have done this. No skeptic has found an error in their work. You are describing things that were done 20 years ago. Did you not know this? I think you should review the literature more carefully if so. Why suggest that people should do something they already did, long ago?

          1. Jed, I think a complete analysis of all the existing work would require a new thread, lots of time, and all of this data available. What I remember from looking at the published He4 papers was that they had some selection methods that were noted but the complete data not available, and there were some other loopholes, all of which I’m sure a replication now will try to close. That is the point of replications. I’m less interested in analysing the old work because we do have what Abd says is a well-funded and highly comptent replication – the new data should be better quality than the old so best to wait.

          2. Yes, Jed, Miles did do that, and so did McKubre. There are historical reasons why this was not as effective as we might prefer, especially with our oh-so-wise hindsight. There is a shortage of clear, neutral review. I could list umpteen reasons to disregard that history, gleaned from skeptical and pseudoskeptical commentary. If you think THH should review the literature more carefully, how about helping with that process? Unfortunately, your stance toward even his kind of skepticism — which is not the pseudoskeptical debunking we have so often seen — has been hostile and dismissive, often on the grounds of ignorance. And that, then, sets up a vicious cycle. Any genuine skeptic — one who seeks to learn, who does not take his own knee-jerk opinions as gospel, a Truzzi-style skeptic –, seeing the conversation, may be repelled. THH has offered to accept author privileges here, and the same would be easily and readily granted to you.

            You have behaved as if your role as one informed about LENR being to convince others, but that is not the role of genuine scientific conversation, it is the role of people who have become attached to a position as “truth,” and themselves as knowers of truth. What you have, Jed, is a wealth of information that you could share, but if your best contributions are posting, say, the “Shell” paper — which I was unable to find by search until you posted the actual link — and then claiming that others who are not therefore convinced are ignoramuses, instead of taking personal responsibility for any lack of communication, it’s not going to help much. I suggest a different goal: to compile documents and analysis that could facilitate consensus. Wikipedia failed because that negotiation of consensus was disabled by factional behavior; otherwise Wikipedia policies would have worked as designed. Wikipedia sought consensus by excluding opinion, in theory, but that was an ontological error. Consensus is found inclusively, so Wikipedia articles could be linked to Wikiversity studies, and Wikiversity seeks consensus by inclusion, at great depth, if there is interest. Hence, as an example, parapsychology or other controversial topics may be studied in depth on Wikiversity, without the Wikipedia deletionism and revert wars.

            If you would care to contribute your knowledge and good will to CFC, you are very much invited to accept author privileges. This will allow you to create posts and pages and to edit your own work.

            I would see the goal of these privileges as facilitating the creation of inclusive educational documents, here and elsewhere. What does it take to convert true skepticism to acceptance — or for a “believer” to understand why others might reasonably remain skeptical? The first step in seeking consensus is to acknowledge and respect differences, and then we can look beneath these for underlying agreement — or, on occasion, to notice and acknowledge difficult-to-reconcile differences, existing on more fundamental levels, i.e., differing life axioms.

            Register here to create a user account. Commenting does not require an account, but advanced privileges must have one. Because there are enormous numbers of spammers creating accounts, I do not review accounts routinely, all they otherwise do is create a subscriber feed, and I want to allow that liberally. I sometimes delete accounts showing dummy emails (since the user won’t get the feed anyway).

          3. You wrote: “There are historical reasons why this was not as effective as we might prefer, especially with our oh-so-wise hindsight. There is a shortage of clear, neutral review. I could list umpteen reasons to disregard that history, gleaned from skeptical and pseudoskeptical commentary.”

            I cannot do anything about that. I cannot change history and I cannot change the mind of a skeptic who refuses to read the papers. Anyway, these are political issues, not scientific ones. I did not address politics in my comments that you responded to above, and you are are criticizing me for views that I do not hold.

            “If you think THH should review the literature more carefully, how about helping with that process?”

            No one on God’s green earth has helped with this process more than I have. I have uploaded THOUSANDS OF PAGES of documents for THH and others to read. I made a 6-minute video that will disabuse him of much of the nonsense he picked up from ignorant skeptics. Again and again, I have pointed him to McKubre’s review. If he will not read these things, and take advantage of what I have given, there is nothing more I can do. There is no better or more convincing information waiting in the wings. If he does not find McKubre convincing, he cannot be convinced. If he will not read McKubre, he will not be convinced.

            You seem to suggest I should be nice to him and that will motivate him to do his homework. I have taught enough students to know that doesn’t work.

            “Unfortunately, your stance toward even his kind of skepticism — which is not the pseudoskeptical debunking we have so often seen — has been hostile and dismissive, often on the grounds of ignorance.”

            I am dismissive of people who refuse to read, think or do their homework. Not hostile, because 90% of humanity falls in that category. I can’t hold a grudge against most of the human race! As I said, people are naturally incurious, and so ignorant that 25% of them don’t even realize the earth orbits the sun.

            But so what if I am dismissive? How does that hurt anything? If a person will not read, he will not learn, or be convinced. I have no power to make him read. I cannot compel him to read by insulting him, and not by kissing up to him either. It makes no difference what I say or do, so I might as well let him know that he is making ignorant mistakes. Why not tell him? Why should I care if he feels insulted? Willfully ignorant people are worse than useless. Trying to teach them is a waste of time, like preaching sutras to a horse, as the Japanese say. Better to have them as enemies than friends.

            People at the opposite extreme who read nothing and know nothing, yet who enthusiastically support cold fusion, are nearly as dangerous as the ignorant skeptics. Especially when they support Rossi!

            I have no objection to people who learn nothing about cold fusion, or computers, global warming, evolution or any other technical subject. However, if you do not wish to learn anything about a subject, you should not hold any opinion, positive or negative.

          4. You wrote: “What you have, Jed, is a wealth of information that you could share, but if your best contributions are posting, say, the “Shell” paper — which I was unable to find by search until you posted the actual link . . .”

            I thought you knew that one. Sorry about that. I usually do provide links.

            “— and then claiming that others who are not therefore convinced are ignoramuses . . .”

            They are manifestly ignoramuses. Heck, they brag about being ignoramuses! Robert Park brags that he has never read a cold fusion paper! (I think he is lying; he has read a few, but he remains hopelessly confused.)

            “. . . instead of taking personal responsibility for any lack of communication, it’s not going to help much. I suggest a different goal: to compile documents and analysis that could facilitate consensus.”

            As I said, there is no point to preaching a sutra to a horse. I cannot communicate with people who will not listen. You cannot facilitate a consensus with people who know nothing and refuse to learn anything. That would be 90% of the human race, and 99.9% of cold fusion “skeptics.” The other 0.1% are crackpots such as Shanahan. You can’t do anything with them either.

            “If you would care to contribute your knowledge and good will to CFC, you are very much invited to accept author privileges. This will allow you to create posts and pages and to edit your own work.”

            There is nothing I can say that McKubre has not said better already. People should read him or shut the hell up. There are not many ways to describe the basic scientific facts about cold fusion. There are a zillion details, but the gist of it is covered in his paper. If you don’t believe that paper (perhaps after some additional reading and fact checking), there is nothing I can say that will make you believe it.

            I refer to:

            http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/McKubreMCHcoldfusionb.pdf

            Note that I have a high opinion of this in part because I contributed to it. See the acknowledgements. I do not trade in false modesty.

            This situation is fundamentally simple. Either you believe in the scientific method, and in the proposition that widely replicated, high sigma results from experts are real by definition, or you don’t believe that. If you don’t believe that, you will not believe in cold fusion, and there is NOTHING I can point to that will bring you around. There are no theories or practical devices, kits, or easy-to-replicate experiments. There is no other evidence. Just a pile of papers from researchers who retired or died long ago.

            In the document above, you list all kinds of wonderful things that would help, such as funding, or kits, or easy-to-replicate experiments, or a magical consensus with people who know nothing. I sure agree it would be nice to have these things! And yes, things sure would be different. As I said, this is an Anna Russell declaration:

            Things would be so different, if they were not as they are.

            1. Jed, you are like a pseudoskeptic on the possibility of a major, near-term breakthough. I have experience negotiating total consensus in groups of substantial size, where there was strong diversity of opinion to start. It is work. it does not happen by itself, and it does not happen from those who believe they are right trying to convince others. It happens with skilled facilitation. While I have some experience with this, I do not consider myself a master of it, I simply recognize the possibility and am willing to stand for it.

              You have become cynical about people. You give Park as an example, as if all skeptics are like Park. I could cite Truzzi, but then you could claim he is dead. Whatever I claim, the way you are arguing, you would have a come-back.

              This is how some of the skeptics you deride behave. You have concluded from your own experience that, essentially, it’s hopeless.

              Maybe many years from now people will look back and say, “OMG! They were right.” The cost of that delay could be easily in the trillions of dollars, it depends on how long it lasts and, of course, it depends on the possibility of commercial LENR applications, the kind we might dream of.

              So of skeptics I would request that they assign probabilities. I saw a skeptical author — in a peer-reviewed journal — assign a probability (Baysian Prior) of psi phenomena being real at 10^-20. That was a clear sign of completely entrenched belief, not the least because “psi” pretty much means “paranormal,” and that means “not normal, not expected,” and there are amazing things that the human mind can do that we might not anticipate. That high prior represents “scientism,” a belief in comprehensive knowledge, with maybe only a few details missing. We simply could not have enough evidence to come to that probability rationally. So, of course, the skeptic was then easily able to reject some very interesting experimental evidence, because it was not enough to overcome that prior, but this was, in fact, totally biased, abusing statistics to confirm entrenched belief.

              Your understanding of human nature is based, I assume, on your experience (which is the best source, by the way), but experience is limited to your personal experience, others may have very different experience. You have not done what I’ve done, you have not seen what I’ve seen. All I would ask is not, certainly, that you would change your opinions just because I say so, but that you might consider according them some respect, enough to participate usefully in the process. If not, well, the world will move on without you, without me, and even without cold fusion.

          5. You wrote: “I have experience negotiating total consensus in groups of substantial size, where there was strong diversity of opinion to start. It is work. it does not happen by itself, and it does not happen from those who believe they are right trying to convince others. It happens with skilled facilitation. While I have some experience with this, I do not consider myself a master of it, I simply recognize the possibility and am willing to stand for it.”

            I do not know what “skilled facilitation” is, but you do not seem good at it, since you often get kicked out of online forums. Whatever it is, I encourage you to do it to help cold fusion.

            “You have become cynical about people.”

            I have always been cynical about people. But there is no better class of primates waiting in the wings to take over, so I am okay with people despite their foibles.

            1. I can get kicked out when I am not facilitating consensus with consent of the participants, but represent myself and my own opinions, and there is nobody willing to take on the role of facilitator, with the skill to do it. (People have tried defending me, that is not entirely lacking, but, then, some necessary initial balance is needed. Those who believe that they are in charge, by divine right, may not allow this. The examples of me being kicked out are actually rare, compared to my levels of activities. I was kicked out of the Approval Voting mailing list, by the moderator on his private determination, not by consensus. The result, I went elsewhere and that list essentially died. I was later re-admitted when my strongest supporter became the moderator. This is all ordinary big frog in a small pond politics. I was banned on Wikipedia, and that was the result of a faction that you know and love, and my success at negotiating consensus there — it was substantial — was ignored. I am not banned on any other WMF wiki, in spite of very high levels of activity and even conflict. I was banned on vortex-l, because the moderator didn’t like it that I contacted him directly, asking him to handle a troll, who was posting very dangerous material, the kind that can ruin careers if people believe it. He decided I was part of the problem and banned me. That is the result of a moderator who was erratic and quirky and unpredictable, who mostly ignored his own project and was irritated when any action was required. He created a new rule for the situation, yet another example of ex-post facto rules that moderators love to make up. I have no problem with that being applied prospectively, but when it is applied retroactively, it can be blatantly unjust and unfair. (The assumption is that the user should have known better, though the rule that the user should have known is often quite unclear.)

              And, of course, I am banned on LENR Forum. You figure out why. What is missing there is a mechanism for resolving disputes. It’s a star chamber, and who and how decisions are actually made is hidden. I was not attempting to mediate, so that you think I’m not good at it doesn’t reflect an actual situation where I attempted mediation. I did succeed on Wikipedia, often, where the parties in dispute, ready to get themselves (one or the other or both) banned, accepted the intervention. I failed at mediating a dispute between you and another CMNS figure, because … you know why. It was not you. You were cooperative, but the other party exploded. It was quite spectacular and showed me the deeper problem, so I don’t exactly consider it a failure.

              What you don’t see is all the mediation I’ve done in real life, as distinct from internet fora, where the medium is pure text. It’s notoriously difficult. In my training, where we coach others, it is prohibited to do it by text, voice phone is the minimum. I think it is an issue of bandwidth, text is very primitive and if there is no “foundation of relatedness,” as it is called in the training, it is very easily misinterpreted.

              “Groups of substantial size” would include a conference of about 200 delegates, reaching almost total unanimity on a series of controversial proposals in short order. (a roughly three-day process).

  3. Abd,
    Thanks for this long and thoughtful appraisal. You invite comment, and I’ll happily do this. You will I’m sure allow me some length in my exposition, which may initially seem rather off the point.

    there are, indeed, some masters involved, professionals, highly experienced, and fully aware of the history of LENR and, my sense, fully aware of what is needed for a LENR breakthrough. …

    In addition, where work has previously been hindered by funding difficulties, this work is very adequately funded, far more than any prior effort along these lines. …

    Maybe, THH, you will go down in history as the one who finally shot down LENR. Or who helped realize the potential by coming up with the most plausible error, to be experimentally tested, which (along this line of thought) failed. Of course, it might also succeed, and then I can start working on something else. So many possibilities to make a difference, so little time.

    I hope Abd that the reference to time does not relate to your own mortality. Such things are what they are – but that would be unwelcome.

    You present here a dichotomy while aluding to other posibilities. My expectation is that neither of the two options you note will be true. I’d be fascinated and very happy if secure He4/excess heat evidence existed. If experiments are preformed which do not provide clear results 9because of not ruling out mundane effects, which do just fo not provide results – will that disprove LENR? I am sure not. LENR as a hypothesis is esentially non-disprovable because it does not make any definite predictions. Instead it makes contingent predictions:

    If we have a valid LENR effect then this will happen.

    That prediction is asymmetric. Until we have a valid LENR effect can be determined in some way other than as shown by this this is unable to disprove LENR. It is however helpful, in that it can prove LENR.

    This asymmetry is the strongest argument against LENR being a real nuclear physical effect as opposed to a collection of disparate mundane – perhaps unusual – effects and errors.

    Therefore disproving LENR is impossible.

    I’ve made this argument deductive (true of false). In reality it is inductive, and the evidence here, if strong, alters probabilities. For me to represent quantitatively how that would work is difficult but not in principle impossible. The asymmetry above means that negative results cannot significantly reduce probability. Positive results can very largely enhance it. (And the weak effect of negative results here can be quantified, quite easily).

    Returning to specifics…

    The accuracy of the prediction obviously depends on that. However, the raw correlation does not. Correlation will cut through noise in retained helium. There are two separable issues here: the correlation between heat and helium, which is what Miles discovered, and the value of the ratio, which remains controversial, there being some decent evidence for it being close to 23.8 MeV/4He, stronger evidence that it is on the order of 25 +/- 5 MeV or maybe within a little slop outside of that,

    So it is that number that determines the value of this evidence. And the smaller the error bars, the more valuable.

    and very strong evidence that a strong correlation exists, with the ratio being not so clear.

    Correlation itself is not enough without significant additional checking. I’d hope that is done, and will make some suggestions below.

    Unfortunately, the only data we have from an extensive experimental series is Miles, and much of that was not with high precision, and Miles took no steps to release and measure retained helium; plus he varied the experiment (which weakened the correlation, apparently).

    The issue as always when arguing from correlation is one of causality. We have two outputs: excess heat, and measured He4 (perhaps with controlled background removed). We might have excess heat correlated with:
    active reactant volume
    temperature
    reaction time (this correlation is pretty certain, and linear)

    All of the above correlations have both mundane and LENR possible mechanisms. If mundane mechanisms can be ruled out then we have strong evidence for LENR independent of the He4 isue of course.

    We might have He4 correlated with:
    reactant volume
    temperature
    reaction time

    Again, all these correlations have mundane possible mechanisms. The LENR mechanism is interesting because it is a known quantitative correlation with excess heat. But any of these other factors could induce secondary correlations.

    You disambiguate this (possibly the highlighted sentence above shows that Miles was trying this) by testing each of these correlations separately, varying one component and noting how that changes excess heat and excess He4. You strongly expect the variations to have detectable correlations in the case that the only determinant is the LENR effect. If, however, background He4 is high (hence there is a lot of noise) these other mundane but unquantifiable correlations can drown out the expected effect and although you have correlation you cannot know whether this is LENR or mundane.

    All this trouble goes away if results are not close to noise. That is true of all LENR research – one set of replicable results not close to noise will get everyone interested. The replicable condition means you need different groups using different methods to agree on the result, and it needs to happen reliably – even if in some stochastic sense with say 20 samples needed and some fraction active.

    In the case of He4/excess heat a secure quantitative relationship, where this is not built in to the experiment through selection etc, is key. The more you find you are looking inside the noise level, the more difficult it is to avoid selection, because you will do everything to try and increase signal-to-noise. Some of those things will inevitably make noise look like signal. I’m not saying this is deliberate, or wrong, it is just inevitable. You will test in a way that is optimally sensitive to the expected level of He4/excess heat correlation. Given that any little detail of experimental design can affect possible mundane correlations you can see that by trial and error, varying design parameters, you will get an output He4/excess heat correlation of roughly the required value.

    To distinguish between such effects and the hypothesised LENR effect is easy if the results are far enough from artifact. In this case, for the two components, artifact means non-LENR He4 and calorimetry errors. You can gain confidence at low signal to noise by looking at sets of co-correlation, as above, or by noting quantitative relationships that are stable and close to that predicted.

    Given any experiment with interesting but still close to noise results, it is always possible given funding to redo it with higher accuracy. Two things happen then: you have your needed strong LENR evidence, or you have effectively cancelled out the initial positive signs. The LHC guys know all about that – so many positive sign hopes end up vanishing. Let us hope for something interesting to come from the current 2.5+ sigma breaking of lepton universality…

    Regards, THH

    1. You wrote: “This asymmetry is the strongest argument against LENR being a real nuclear physical effect as opposed to a collection of disparate mundane – perhaps unusual – effects and errors.

      Therefore disproving LENR is impossible.”

      That is not a bit true. Anyone can disprove LENR. All you have to do is demonstrate that conventional calorimetry does not work, and therefore the first and second laws of thermodynamics are wrong. Thermodynamics were derived from calorimetry, and cold fusion in turn is based on thermodynamics.

      You can also prove the LENR is a chemical effect (and not nuclear) by showing how electron bonds can release thousands of electron volts per bond, without changing any of the molecules in the solution or electrode. This violates everything we know about chemistry, but if you can show it is true, you can explain cold fusion.

      You seem to be saying that it is up to the cold fusion researchers to prove that thermodynamics is true, and that instruments developed in 1781 or 1840 work correctly. I disagree. I think the burden of proof is on people who dispute such long settled, rock solid instruments and techniques. You appear to be proposing the “undiscovered error” hypothesis. Something is wrong; the results are disparate and mundane. First, the results are not disparate. They agree closely across many labs and many studies, as McKubre showed. Second, an energy release 3 orders of magnitude larger than a fission bomb cannot be mundane. Regarding the undiscovered error hypothesis, Melich and I wrote:

      “Some skeptics claim that there might be a yet-undiscovered error in the experiments. See the comment by Beaudette about this, above, “if the measurements are incorrect, then an avid pursuit of the ‘science’ must in due course explicitly and particularly reveal that incorrectness.”

      More to the point, the claim that there might be an undiscovered error is not falsifiable, and it applies to every experiment ever performed. There might be an undiscovered error in experiments confirming Newton’s or Boyle’s laws, but these experiments have been done so many times that the likelihood they are wrong is vanishingly small. Furthermore, skeptics have had 20 years to expose an experimental artifact, but they have failed to do so. A reasonable time limit to find errors must be set, or results from decades or centuries ago will remain in limbo, forever disputed, and progress will ground to a halt. The calorimeters used by cold fusion researchers were developed in the late 18th and early 19th century. A skeptic who asserts that scientists cannot measure multiple watts of heat with confidence is, in effect, rejecting most textbook chemistry and physics from the last 130 years.

      As a practical matter, there is no possibility that techniques such as calorimetry, x-ray film autoradiography or mass spectroscopy are fundamentally flawed. It must be emphasized that although cold fusion results are surprising, the techniques are conventional and instruments are used within their design specifications. Cold fusion does not require heroic measurement techniques. Heat and tritium are not usually measured close to the limits of detection, although they have been in some cases, and helium and transmutations have been.

      It has been argued that even though the instruments work, the researchers may be making mistakes and using the instrument incorrectly. No doubt some of them are, but most are experienced scientists at major labs. The effect has been confirmed at 180 major laboratories [Storms, Table 1]. If an experiment could be as widely replicated as this could be mistaken, the experimental method itself would not work.”

      Melich and I described 14 major errors made by the DoE reviewers. These cover most of the errors made by skeptics:

      1. Theoretical objections to experimentally proven facts are a violation of the scientific method.
      2. A result need not be explained theoretically before it can be believed.
      3. A reviewer’s inability to imagine or understand a result is not a valid reason to reject it.
      4. Cold fusion is an experimental finding, so you cannot disprove it by showing errors in theories that attempt to explain it.
      5. Undiscovered error hypothesis.
      6. Chemical storage hypothesis.
      7. Artifactual low-level heat hypothesis.
      8. Recombination hypothesis.
      9. The nuclear hypothesis best fits the facts.
      10. Data from newly discovered phenomena often seems inconsistent.
      11. Difficulty with experiments, irreproducibility and erratic performance are not grounds to disbelieve a result.
      12. Researchers have made great efforts to find systematic errors and conventional explanations.
      13. Underfunded research cannot be expected to produce elaborate and expensive results.
      14. Skeptics have published few papers.

      I note that Abd made the recombination error above. He failed to note that even with an open cell, in many cases you can ignore the effect of recombination (and assume that 100% recombination is occurring) and there will still be copious excess heat.

      1. Jed,

        We will not completely agree over these matters. For example, on LF, where basically we have the same view of the facts over IH vs Rossi, I am much more cautious than you to claim that they can be proved.

        Your post above, rehearsing arguments I’ve heard before, makes many cogent and interesting points. Reflecting on those, and how people can have different views of them, is not a simple matter. If Abd thinks it would be interesting to do some of this here, he can give me author rights and I will see what I can say. I’m not sure that any words now will change views on this matter, but sometimes, with patience and detail, it is possible to identify the key differences in interpretation that lead people to such disparate overall conclusions. For example, it might be possible to drill down in particular cases and understand why I am (in those cases) much less certain of proof of a given fact than you.

        1. To give you, or anyone, advanced privileges, I must have a registered username, as a subscription (which is all that is directly allowed). This will be how your work will be displayed. If you have subscribed, you may use this name or create a new one for the purpose. You may use THH. If you respond here, as admin here, I know the claimed email address, but that address is not found in the subscriber database at this point (and I will check IP information if there is any doubt.) I could create an account, but this is more complicated. After all, you must have the password.

          General rules for anonymous CFC users with advanced privileges: A trusted non-anonymous user must know the true identity, and if the user remains anonymous, as is allowed — and I will not, absent strong cause, break your anonymity — I (later, the validating non-anonymous user) will then be responsible for conduct here, i.e., I may edit or remove posts and may remove or request removal of privileges if necessary. (This review function will be delegated to the community, as that becomes possible, but taking responsibility for anonymous users will remain personal, i.e., any anonymous user, for advanced privileges, must be “sponsored” by a responsible and trusted real-life user, to whom complaints may be addressed, etc.

        2. You wrote: “We will not completely agree over these matters.”

          Yes. Because I am right, and you are wrong. I am describing the conventional scientific method as it has been practiced since 1620 (when Novum Organum was published). I am describing what every textbook on experimental science says, and what Fleischmann said. I have no idea where your ideas come from, but they are unconventional, not falsifiable, unscientific, and flat-out wrong.

          And yes, this is a simple matter. Replicated, high-sigma experiments are not only the gold standard of truth, they are the only standard of truth in science.

          1. Jed, you convert your own personal certainty, based on your own observations and experience, into a certainty regarding what you are not competent to judge, starting with your own apparent belief that you comprehensively understand what others are asserting and believe. You are indeed describing the scientific method, but your assessment of what THH has stated as “unconventional, not falsifiable, unscientific, and flat-out wrong” is not based on the scientific method, it is a highly personal and readily flawed interpretation, and easily recognizable as such. It’s your right to hold such opinions, but not your right to impose them on everyone else. In particular, THH has told the truth about how LENR looks to him, and, properly understood, this is simple and obvious. THH is willing to examine all of this. Are you? Or do you simply want to spout off, endlessly, about how right you are and how stupid the skeptics are?

            You could be completely right in an opinion that, rationally and impartially examined, the evidence for LENR reality is overwhelming, yet be completely wrong in how you judge others and thus in how you communicate, if the goal is anything other than bulls locking horns, and when I have pointed this out, you have disclaimed any interest in “convincing skeptics,” which, in itself, misrepresents the opportunities that exist for you. If we are to engage in scientific inquiry, the goal is not to prove that what we believe is true, it is, rather, quite the opposite, we would seek to prove ourselves wrong. Thus, while you proclaim the scientific method, you are radically outside of it, being caught up in a personal drama.

            I claim that LENR is very important, and that investigating it to confirm or disconfirm, is of very high value, either way. It is worth setting aside all the personal junk, and actually following the scientific method, starting by searching diligently for our own errors. If course, if we are perfect, we could skip this step and just search for the errors of others. That is what pseudoskeptics do. They miss the opportunity for growth, and that is why they can be such terminally boring people.

            My suggestion is not that we rail endlessly against them, but that we create content of high interest, facilitating genuine learning and understanding, making CMNS accessible, approachable, even for skeptics and, perhaps, even especially for skeptics, who can serve that valuable function of questioning what we might believe. Some will do this without skill, but others may be able to expose the foundations of what we believe, but especially what has been done, what has actually happened, what is verifiable, i.e., …

            Reality.

          2. You wrote: “You are indeed describing the scientific method, but your assessment of what THH has stated as “unconventional, not falsifiable, unscientific, and flat-out wrong” is not based on the scientific method, it is a highly personal and readily flawed interpretation, and easily recognizable as such. It’s your right to hold such opinions, but not your right to impose them on everyone else.”

            No, it isn’t my opinion. It is the belief of Martin Fleischmann, Mike Melich (who co-authored the document I quoted above) Ed Storms, Mel Miles, Pam Boss, Mike McKubre, John Bockris and every other professional experimental scientist I have known in the last 40 years. I repeat: every one of them. This is the bedrock basis of experimental science. Not my opinion. Your calling it my opinion does not make it so. The fact that you are offended by it does not make it offensive. You might as well take offence at Euclidean geometry, or the laws of thermodynamics. (THH is, in effect, insisting that the laws of thermodynamics are a matter of opinion, or they are optional, or they don’t apply to cold fusion experiments, which I suppose is taking offense at them.)

            I listed specific, well-known, uncontroversial reasons why THH’s assertions deviate from the scientific method. For example, I showed that his statements cannot be falsified, and that they apply equally well to every experiment in history going back to Newton. It is not possible to prove there is some invisible error that has not yet been found yet. Based on what I know about the cold fusion literature, I am sure that his assertions about facts, such as his claim that the effect is “close to the noise” is wrong. “The experiments with very careful methodology and comprehensive writeups, to my knowledge, are all near to noise,” is bullshit. That means: “I refuse to look at definitive high-sigma experiments. I will pretend they don’t exist.” He is claiming that a 100 W heat after death reaction that was repeated hundreds of times is “close to the noise.” He is free to say that to other people, but when he says it to me or to Ed Storms we will call him out. Bockris would have flayed him.

            If he is unaware of the details about the boil off experiments, he should read about them before commenting.

            If it upsets him – or you – for me to say that, then you people are wusses. You should not try to engage in a technical discussion with someone who knows what he is talking about. You are bound to be insulted when you make up nonsense and then demand I believe it.

    2. You wrote: “Given any experiment with interesting but still close to noise results . . .”

      You do realize, I hope, that many cold fusion results are not close to the noise. They are light-years away from the noise. Detecting the difference between 0 W and 100 W that continues for days is very, very easy. Measuring tritium at 50 times background or a million times background is easy.

      Frankly, I do not see the relevance of your statements. Yes, if all cold fusion results were close to the noise, you would have a point. But they aren’t so you don’t. Why say this? You seem to be making an Anna Russell statement:

      Things would be so different if they were not as they are.

      1. The experiments with very careful methodology and comprehensive writeups, to my knowledge, are all near to noise. Just one experiment not near to noise with good methodology, reported in detail, and replicate it – you have evidence to convince skeptics.

        I’ve looked at quite a few reports, and never yet found one that ticked all the boxes, and that when replicated by the same group with more accuracy gave better results.

        But I’m happy to go on looking at plausible candidates for this.

        You will think the standard here of evidence is unfair. The thing is, the effect claimed is mostly non-predictive. Any negative result could be badly prepared surface etc. The lack of disprovability makes the benchmark for acceptance much higher. This is not because scientists are prejudiced, it is the correct approach for reasons that are sort of interesting but would take a lot of time to lay out.

        One thing. If there is compelling raw evidence not written up properly in a research paper that dots all is, crosses all ts, and presents the evidence in a neutral way that would help skeptics quickly to see the strengths and weaknesses of the case made (for example not by making claims for power density of energy density based on small qty of claimed reactants and without full analysis of the different long-term and short-term things that can alter results) it would be good. But, for that to be effective, you’d need good enough quality raw evidence and methodology.

        1. Just an addition – by better results I mean results that are broadly the same as the original, but with better controls and/or accuracy and therefore more believable. I’ve noticed, in such repetitions of very promising initial results, either much smaller subsequent results or something different and not comparable with the original.

          1. You wrote: “I’ve noticed, in such repetitions of very promising initial results, either much smaller subsequent results or something different and not comparable with the original.”

            No, you have not noticed that. That isn’t true. The skeptics often say that, but it is not a bit true. On the contrary, McKubre’s graphs comparing SRI to the ENEA show that top notch labs that do the same experiments get similar results. In one case, the data points fall on top of one another, which is uncanny.

            See:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjvL4zNLOGw

            http://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?page_id=1618

            You should spend 6 minutes watching this video. From it you will unlearn many of the bullshit notions you have picked up from skeptics. Those people know nothing about cold fusion, so don’t listen to them. You can easily confirm they know nothing. Ask a skeptic what sort of calorimeter McKubre used. Chances are, he will have no idea who McKubre is.

            There is really no point to you saying one thing after another which has no factual basis, and me spoon feeding you corrections. If you do that again I will ignore you and not respond. I have gone to a lot of trouble to upload actual facts about cold fusion, in the video and the reviews by Storms and McKubre. I suggest you read this material before commenting, to avoid making all these silly mistakes.

            See:

            http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/McKubreMCHcoldfusionb.pdf

        2. You wrote: “The experiments with very careful methodology and comprehensive writeups, to my knowledge, are all near to noise. ”

          That is incorrect. You should stop making up this stuff and read the literature. Read the first book by Storms.

          The experiments with the best methodology and the most expensive equipment were done at Toyota. Those people had millions of dollars, which is one the reasons they got such outstanding high power results. They ran 16 cells at a time, in hundreds of tests overall. The boil-off experiments typically produced 50 to 150 W with no input for several hours, in heat after death. That is easy to detect because there is no input. They could measure ~50 mW so 100,000 mW was a very clear signal. The continuous boiling cells produced 50 to 100 W of heat, with about 50 W input, for months at a time.

          The other set of best results were at SRI. They got 5 to 20 W in the best experiments, sometimes with no input power. Again, they had the best calorimetric equipment money can buy. So did the people at Los Alamos and China Lake, and they reported power ranging from 1 to 10 W, which is a lot. As I said before, any scientist after 1840 could have measured that with absolute confidence. That was when J. P. Joule invented modern calorimetry. For example, he measured the heat of a small waterfall, which is a lot harder to detect than 5 W in a test tube. (He did that during his honeymoon, which tells you he was an original old-school geek.)

          See the graph “Peak heat from 124 tests” from Storms:

          http://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?page_id=1618

          1. Jed, THH wrote, “to my knowledge.” You then present counter-examples. Each one of these would require some study. For example, THH will properly be looking, not for anecdotal reports, studies issued by one person or tight group (no matter how reputable, though reputation is a tad subjective), but for confirmed results. The FP boiloff results are of high interest, but have they been independently confirmed? I was always a bit wary of them, because boil-off is messy. But maybe. I would not expect a skeptic to fall over and play dead if they are mentioned, because of the interpretive problems. You are suggesting the result, a possible conclusion, of an overall review, without that overall review being conducted objectively, as scientific reviews would be, balancing reports and noting what might be missing. (McKubre may have come closest to this, Storms does review the evidence overall, but does not balance the affair. Storms, in particular is a great source, a starting point, but this is a within-the-field view, it does not start more neutrally, as Duncan did. Duncan is now taking steps to confirm the tightest and most broadly confirmed work of the highest significance. McKubre is working with him. Jed, how I view the field is very different, apparently, from how you view it.

            There is no crisp and clear claim that is being reviewed, generally. If the McKubre work is good, maybe that has something to do with his being a professional, who was paid to investigate cold fusion and to report to those who were funding him. Eventually, IH retained professionals. The job of the professionals was not to “prove cold fusion is real.” It was to discover experimental reality. Hiring someone to prove cold fusion would be about as useless as hiring someone to debunk it. Garbage in, garbage out.

            What is often debated is not some clear and readily falsifiable hypothesis, rather, it’s an idea that “something outside of normal chemistry” is being seen. That may be so, but then, it is not quite clear how this claim is to be confirmed. Claims of excess heat alone are problematic, for reasons that were so over 25 years ago and remain so today. That they have multiplied negates the earliest point, that “nobody could confirm.” But what was confirmed? It varied all over the map. It’s about time this is all sorted, thoroughly. Wanna help? The door is open, but I can’t make you walk through it! I also cannot do it by myself, but I will keep working on creating structures and gathering support for the process.

          2. “The FP boiloff results are of high interest, but have they been independently confirmed?”

            Yes, they have, by several groups, especially Biberian and Lonchampt.

    3. I wrote: “You can also prove the LENR is a chemical effect (and not nuclear) by showing how electron bonds can release thousands of electron volts per bond, without changing any of the molecules in the solution or electrode.”

      That would be the Mills hypothesis, or something similar. These are sometimes called “superchemistry.”

      1. This is the very clear problem: “not-chemical,” or, more accurately, not ordinary chemistry, does not prove “nuclear.” Period. It creates a reasonable surmise that can be tested. Because of the original FP error on neutron measurements, and because of the assumption that if the reaction were d+d as with hot fusion, much of early “negative” results involved finding a lack of radiation or the like from experiments presumed to be identical (often incorrectly) to the FP experiments. We can now look at those experiments and fit them into the overall picture, rather easily. The FP Heat Effect, whatever it is, does not produce major radiation. There are reports of minor radiation, at quite low levels, and none of these, so far, have clearly correlated this radiation with heat. Such radiation has been correlated with proximity to the cathode, which is interesting, but I have yet to see independent confirmations. Overall, CMNS research has been, to use the technical term, sloppy as hell. That is not to denigrate individual efforts, “overall” refers to the activity of the entire field, not to individuals or individual research groups, and this also allows for some exceptions, which we could then look at.

        What I have personally learned, through much experience, is that a pile of weak evidence does not create strong evidence, as much as people might like it to be so. It can create very good reason to investigate further, to create definitive experiments. To my mind, Miles was more or less the first to do this — setting aside the patient, plodding SRI work, which has its own problems on another level, i.e., how it interacted with the mainstream, the lack of ordinary peer-reviewed publication. It looks like those who funded SRI were not seeking that, in spite of DoE panel recommendations.

        From a scientific point of view, the publication only matters as to how broad and strong was the review, that might reveal possible errors. Mike has pointed to internal SRI review as being tough. Again, I have no doubt about that, SRI reputation could be on the line, and where such papers were internally reviewed by independent reviewers, it could create a status of an approved SRI report, for Wikipedia purposes, as Reliable Source, by the intentions of the guidelines (not actual administrative behavior), but, again, this does not rise to the level of the kind of independent validation necessary for “crushing the tests,” for making a fully-conclusive decision about reality of the FP Heat Effect. However, the circumstantial evidence (and direct evidence, if we include Miles) was quite enough to justify modest support for full investigation and confirmation, to be published through the journal system, and that did not happen. With few exceptions, and the mass of mess would tend to put off anyone reasonably skeptical from looking deeper, until we create resources to simplify the task, to separate the wheat from the chaff (which is not to imply that the “chaff” is useless, it does have uses, for guiding further investigation). “Wheat,” here, stands for what is immediately useful for nutrition, to create growth, something solid and reliable.

        In doing that, it is essential that skeptical issues be fully considered and addressed. It is not a matter of “being polite” to THH, Jed. THH represents, it’s obvious, the best of LENR skepticism, the kind we will, caring about progress, instead of being a rejected minority position that can sit, self-satisfied and convinced that the world is wrong, we are right, and we DGAF about what they think …. we will invite and treat with ordinary scientific courtesy.

        We will not act like the Philadelphia Physics Assholes, playing a game of tit for tat. We will demonstrate what real science looks like, instead of endlessly complaining about how stupid they were. I know the PPAs were “stupid,” which demonstrates that very smart people can also “be stupid,” but I’m reading Feynman, “Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman!”

        He learned, through his adventures, about people, and there were famous people whom, overall, he considered absolute geniuses, and they would ask him what he thought about their ideas, and, when physics was involved, he would forget all about social convention and tell them that they were idiots. But he would then engage them in discussion, not of the “idiocy,” but of the physics, and, as a result, these famous geniuses wanted Feynman around, because he was the only one with substantial understanding — even if it did not match their own — who had the balls to confront and challenge them, and these were true scientists. At least that is Feynman’s story, and I have experienced similar from people willing to pay for critique that could show how they were wrong. The all-too-common response is to attack and disparage criticism; it’s quite human, and quite non-scientific.

        That is one of the distinguishing characteristics of “certain I’m right” fanatics (or they will identify with a group as against the others, “we are right”), and people with strong opinions, based on extensive experience, who may know more than anyone else on the planet, who nevertheless keep seeking deeper understanding. What does not kill us (or our ideas) makes us (or them) stronger.

        I’m in cardiac rehab, and that saying is routine reality. The goal is to work my heart to the point that symptoms of stress appear (I’m wired up in the exercise), and to not go beyond that. This continual sub-fatal exercise can cause the heart to grow collateral circulation, bypassing a blockage. Without bypass surgery or a stent.

        Just as I have developed a strong understanding of the events behind Rossi v. Darden by extensive review and commentary, including looking into the claims of Planet Rossi (and Planet IH, which is much fuzzier), and critiquing them and documenting evidence, I developed a strong understanding of LENR through massive discussion; however, it is completely unreasonable to expect more than very few to do this, and I consider it my responsibility to create maps of the territory, for future explorers to verify or correct. When there is a map, there is something to correct!!!

        1. You wrote: “This is the very clear problem: “not-chemical,” or, more accurately, not ordinary chemistry, does not prove “nuclear.” Period.”

          There is no doubt cold fusion is nuclear. That was never in question. The tritium proves it. As Lautzenhiser & Phelps wrote:

          “The calorimetry conclusively shows excess energy was produced within the electrolytic cell over the period of the experiment. This amount, 50 kilojoules, is such that any chemical reaction would have had to been in near molar amounts to have produced the energy. Chemical analysis shows clearly that no such chemical reactions occurred. The tritium results show that some form of nuclear reactions occurred during the experiment.”

          Period.

          “What I have personally learned, through much experience, is that a pile of weak evidence does not create strong evidence, as much as people might like it to be so.”

          You have learned nothing of the kind. You made that up. The evidence for cold fusion is overwhelming. No chemical reaction can produce megajoules per gram, or tritium. If this kind of evidence were presented for any other phenomenon, every scientist on earth would be believe it implicitly. There would be no controversy. It is only controversial because of academic politics and because of irrational denial and people inventing pretend facts – the way you just did.

          1. Yes, I made it up, out of what I’ve learned from any examples that have nothing to do with cold fusion. Jed, you are simply confirming my point. “A pile of weak evidence does not create strong evidence” is an interpretive statement, not a fact. (In the training, they would say, “you can’t cut it with a knife.” Generally, Jed, you do not understand what is being said, but you vehemently reject it. “You have learned nothing of the kind” places you as the judge of my internal process. Good luck. You have no jurisdiction.

            I have seen a person die because he relied on massive circumstantial evidence that, in the end, was created by his own examination process.

            But thanks for all your support over the years, and all the best for your future.

          2. Let me know if you have created a subscriber account that I could then upgrade to Author. THH has done this, so he may be able to help create some resources here.

  4. You wrote:

    “What Jed wrote at first, above, is fluff. Behind it is a host of assumptions about cold fusion and about skepticism. No rational skeptic is claiming what would contradict what Jed wrote above. As an example of imprecision, “Shell oil … detected a cold fusion reaction” using ice calorimetry. Great. But what they would have detected was not “cold fusion,” because ice and calorimetry are not nuclear detectors, it was some heat, presumably not expected. How much heat? Apparently Shell interpreted the heat as nuclear in origin. But Jed did not cite the research.”

    You could look it up! Or ask:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/DufourJasimplecal.pdf

    It is time-limited by the mass of ice, so it cannot prove the reaction is beyond the limits of chemistry, but it does confirm the effect occurs with D but not H. Using this instrument along with others will improve confidence in the results. Measuring the same effect with two different instruments based on different physical effects helps ensure the effect is real, because an artifact that might affect a flow calorimeter will probably not affect an ice calorimeter.

    But you are missing the point. The point is: instruments and techniques capable of detecting the reaction with certainty have been used since 1781. Any time after 1840, any competent scientist could have confirmed that cold fusion is real, and that it is not a chemical effect, if only they could have been given a working cold fusion cell. Generating the reaction is difficult; confirming it is easy.

    Also, as Fleischmann pointed out, calorimeters are nuclear detectors. They were the first ones used, and in some ways they remain the best ones. The energy per nuclear reaction was first measured with calorimetry.

    “Where are those ‘replicated high sigma experiments’?”

    See Storms first book, or McKubre’s review.

    “There is a concept of authority here that is disembodied, divorced from the judgement of authority, as if experiments are in themselves authority, they ‘speak for themselves.'”

    Many experiments do speak for themselves. The most dramatic example was the first explosion of a fission bomb. There was no question in anyone’s mind that was a nuclear reaction, not a chemical reaction. The energy release and the weight of the bomb alone proved that, without any nuclear detection needed. A cold fusion experiment that produces 100 W for weeks from a device the size of a coin is as convincing and irrefutable as a fission bomb explosion. There is no way the calorimetry could be so wrong that 100 W excess is actually 0 W excess, and 294 MJ is actually 0 MJ. That is so far out of the question, we need not even consider it. If you do not agree, you do not understand experimental science, instruments, or what confidence and a high signal to noise ratio means.

    The fact that it is difficult to achieve these results, and that they have not been achieved as often as we might wish, has no bearing on how convincing they are. It is very difficult to build a nuclear bomb. They have not been demonstrated in public (above ground) in many decades. It is very difficult to send a robot explorer to Mars. But no scientist doubts that nuclear bombs and robot explorers are real.

    If you were quibbling and saying that the Alamogordo bomb energy release alone did not prove this was a nuclear bomb, you would be considered scientifically illiterate. I do not understand why you make a similarly untenable claim about the energy releases at Toyota and elsewhere. The orders of magnitude of the effect are comparable. The cold fusion cell released ~370 times more energy per gram than the bomb. The 194 ton Alamogordo bomb produced 19 KT (41 TJ). That’s 200,000 MJ/ton or 200 MJ/kg, or 0.2 MJ/g. Toyota’s best cell produced 294 MJ from about 4 g of Pd (0.3 cm^3), which is 74 MJ/g.

    If you do not know what I am talking about, see:

    http://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?page_id=1618

    1. The reason why He4/Heat is better than calorimetry is not scientific but psychiatric.
      When you use calorimetry, the nuclear physicist are not enough competent to trust any measurement, they dump all without reading. they say “incompetent” “fraud” “artifact” and they just laugh.

      with He4/heat, they start to respect isotopic analysis, and they know that correlation is harder to misinterpret that positive results. It solves drawer effect…

      there is also a problem of “neomania”, where people respect more the younger science than the older, a total aberration, since older technology that survived are more confirmed than younger…

      It is funny to see them say calorimetry is wrong, and QM physics theory is right, while it have less than a century age, facing many centuries of testing with calorimetry and even thermodynamic (from Watt if you push far, Joule if you get more honest).

      By the way the story of Joule the beer brewer facing incredulity of the physicist is “refreshing”…
      One point to respect Kelvin for having supported Joule.

      1. You wrote: “The reason why He4/Heat is better than calorimetry is not scientific but psychiatric.”

        Perhaps that is true, but it is not related to science per se.

        “When you use calorimetry, the nuclear physicist are not enough competent to trust any measurement, they dump all without reading. they say “incompetent” “fraud” “artifact” and they just laugh.”

        The helium/heat ratio depends as much on calorimetry as any other cold fusion experiment, so if the critics do not understand or trust calorimetry, they will not trust these results either.

        Such people are a lost cause. There is no point to trying to convince them.

        By the way, my comparison to the Alamogordo bomb uses the wrong metric, I think. I should be comparing the 4 g of palladium to the plutonium core only. I think that was 6.19 kg. So the mass is 0.00003 times what I previously estimated, and the bomb produced considerably more energy than the palladium. It comes to 6,623 MJ/g of plutonium, compared to 74 MJ/g of palladium. Still, they are within a few orders of magnitude and both are FAR REMOVED from a chemical effect.

        If you let the palladium cathode run for 22 years, instead of only 3 months, it would catch up to the plutonium. Of course it is the deuterium which is fusing, not the palladium.

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