Abd ul-Rahman Lomax on the Cold Fusion Now! podcast
She interviews me about the lawsuit, Rossi v. Darden. Reminds me I need to organize all that information, but the Docket is here.
Wikipedians, that is all primary source (legal documents), so it can only be used with editorial consensus, for bare and attributed fact, if at all. There is very little usable secondary reliable source on this. Law360 (several articles) and the Triangle Business Journal (several articles) are about it. Although this was an $89 million lawsuit (plus triple damages!), I was the only journalist there, other than one day for a woman from Law360. Wikipedia is still trying to figure out what “walked away” means.
(As to anything of value, it means that both parties walked away. But IH also returned all intellectual property to Rossi, and returned all reactors — including those they built — to him.)
The agreement was released by Rossi, but the only source for it is from Mats Lewan’s blog. Mats was a journalist, and his original employer was Wikipedia “reliable source” — a term of art there –, but … he’s not, just as I am not. Mats Lewan is still holding on to the Dream.
I was and have been open to the possibility that Rossi was involved in fraud and conspiracy. But during the discovery phase of the litigation, it became obvious that the defense couldn’t produce any convincing evidence for this hypothesis. All technical arguments that were put forward were hollow and easily torn apart by people with engineering training.
It became obvious during the legal proceedings that Lewan was not following them and did not understand them. There were many circumstantial evidences where some kind of fraud is the only likely explanation, and then there were other clear and deliberate deceptions. There was about zero chance that Rossi would have been able to convince a jury that the Agreement had been followed and the $89 million was due. There was even less chance that he’d have been able to penetrate the corporate veil by showing personal fraud, which is what he was claiming. No evidence of fraud on the part of IH appeared, none. It was all Rossi Says.
Lewan thinks the problem was an engineering one. Lewan stated this in his later report on the QX test in Stockholm, November 24, 2017, about certain possible problems.
Clearly this comes down to a question of trust, and personally, discussing this detail with Rossi for some time, I have come to the conclusion that his explanation is reasonable and trustworthy.
Rossi is quite good at coming up with “explanations” of this and that, he’s been doing it for years, but the reality is that the test he is describing had major and obvious shortcomings, essentially demonstrating nothing but a complicated appearance. Rossi has always done that. The biggest problem is that, as Lewan has realized, there is high-voltage triggering necessary to strike a plasma, and there no measure of the power input during the triggers, and from the sound, they were frequent. Lewan readily accepts ad-hoc excuses for not measuring critical values.
What I notice about Lewan’s statement is the psychology. It is him alone in discussion with Rossi, and Rossi overwhelms, personally. Anyone who is not overwhelmed (or who, at least, suspends or hides skeptical questioning) will be excluded. Lewan has not, to my knowledge, engaged in serious discussions with those who are reasonably skeptical about Rossi’s claims. He actually shut that process down, as he notes (disabling comments on his blog).
The Doral test, the basis for the Rossi claim, was even worse. Because of, again, major deficiencies in the test setup, and Rossi disallowance of close expert inspection during the test — even though IH owned the plant and IP already — it was impossible to determine accurately the power output, but from the “room calorimeter” — the temperature rise in the warehouse from the release of heat energy inside it –, the power could not have been more than a fraction of what he was claiming. And Rossi lied about this, in the post-trial Lewan interview, and Lewan does not seriously question him, doesn’t confront preposterous explanations. Lewan goes on:
However, as I stated above, if I were an investor considering to invest in this technology, I would require further private tests being made with accurate measurements made by third-party experts, specifically regarding the electrical input power, making such tests in a way that these experts would consider to be relevant.
Remember, IH had full opportunity for “private tests,” for about four years. Lewan has rather obviously not read the depositions. Understandably, they are long! After putting perhaps $20 million into the project, plus legal expenses (surely several million dollars), IH chose to walk away from a license which, if the technology could be made to work, even at a fraction of the claimed output, could be worth a trillion dollars. They could have insisted on holding some kind of residual rights. They did not. It was a full walkaway with surrender of all the reactors back to Rossi. It is obvious that they, with years of experience working with Rossi, had concluded that the technology didn’t work, and there was no reasonable chance of making it work. (Darden had said, in a deposition, that if there was even a 1% chance of it working, it would be worth the investment, which is game-theoretically correct.).
There is an alternate explanation, that Rossi violated the agreement and did not disclose the technology to them, not trusting them. But having watched Rossi closely for a long time, they concluded, it’s obvious, that it was all fraud or gross error. (The Lugano test? They made the Lugano devices, but could not find those results in more careful tests, with controls, under their own supervision, and there is a great story about what happened when they became confused and were testing a dummy reactor, with no fuel, and found excess heat. Full details were not given, but at that point, they were probably relying on Rossi test methods. They called Rossi to come up from Florida and look. Together, they opened the reactor, and it had no fuel in it. Rossi stormed out, shouting “The Russians stole the fuel!”
Rossi referred to this because Lewan asked him about it. His answer was the common answer of frauds.
“Darden has said lots of things that he has never been able to prove. What he assures doesn’t exist. I always made experiments with reactors charged by me, or by me in collaboration with Darden. Never with reactors provided to me as a closed box, for obvious reasons.”
First of all, he has a concept of “proof” being required. It would be required for a criminal conviction, but in a civil trial the standard is preponderance fo the evidence, and Darden’s account, if it were important, would be evidence. (As would Rossi’s, but, notice, Rossi did not actually contradict the Darden account. As has often been seen by Rossi statements, he maintains plausible deniability. “I didn’t actually say that! It’s not my fault if people jumped to conclusions!” Yet in some cases, it is very clear that Rossi encouraged those false conclusions.
It would be up to a jury whether or not to believe it or not. Rossi makes no effort to describe what actually happened in that incident. Then, this was not an experiment “made by” Rossi. It was IH experimentation (possibly of reactors made by Rossi, as to the fueled ones, and then with dummy reactors, supposedly the same but with no fuel). Again, this is common for Rossi: assert something irrelevant that sounds like an answer. He is implying, if we look through the smokescreen, that Darden was lying under oath.
Again, if it matters, at trial, Darden would tell his story and Rossi would tell his story, both under examination and cross-examination. And then the jury would decide. In fact, though, this particular incident doesn’t matter. An emotional outburst by an inventor would not be relevant to any issue the jury would need to describe. A more believable response from Rossi, other than the “he’s lying” implication, would be, “Heh! Heh! I can get a bit excited!” Rossi always avoided questions about the accuracy of measurement methods. With the Lugano test, he rested on the “independent professors” alleged expertise, but there is no clue that these observers had any related experience measuring heat as they did, and the temperature measurements were in flagrant contradiction with apparent visible appearance. Sometimes people, even “professors,” don’t see what is in front of them, distracted by abstractions.
Yes, Rossi always has an explanation.
Rossi never allowed the kind of independent testing that Lewan says, here, that he would require. Whenever interested parties pulled out their own equipment (such as a temperature-measuring “heat gun”), Rossi would shut tests down. Lewan’s hypothesis requires many people to perjure themselves, but this is clear: Rossi lied. He lied about Italian law prohibiting him from testing the original reactor at full power in Italy. He lied about the HydroFusion test (either to IH or to HydroFusion). He lied about the “customer,” claiming the customer was independent, so that the sale of heat to them for $1000 per day would be convincing evidence that the heat was real. He lied about the identity of the customer as being Johnson-Matthey, and the name of the company he formed was clearly designed to support that lie. He presented mealy-mouthed arguments that he never told them that, but, in fact, when Vaughn wrote he was going to London and could visit Johnson Matthey, Rossi told them “Oh, no, I wasn’t supposed to tell you. Your customer is a Florida corporation.” Wink, wink, nod, nod.
It is not clear that anyone else lied, other than relative minor commercial fraud, i.e., Johnson staying quiet when, likely, “Johnson-Matthey” was mentioned, and James Bass pretending to be the Director of Engineering for J-M products, and that could be a matter of interpretation. Only Rossi was, long-term, and seriously, and clearly, deceptive. Penon may, for example, have simply trusted Rossi to give him good data.
Rossi lied about the heat exchanger, and there are technical arguments and factual arguments on that. He changed his story over the year of the trial. Early on, he was asked about the heat dissipation. “Endothermic reaction,” he explained. If there were an endothermic reaction absorbing a megawatt of power, a high quantity of high-energy density product would need to be moved out of the plant, yet Rossi was dealing with small quantities (actually very small) of product. High-energy-density product is extremely dangerous.
There are endothermic chemical reactions, Rossi was using that fact, but the efficiency of those reactions is generally low. Melting ice would have worked, but would have required massive deliveries of ice, which would have been very visible. Nada.
For many reasons, which have been discussed by many, the heat exchanger story, revealed as discovery was about to close, was so bad that Rossi might have been prosecuted for perjury over it. Lewan seems to have paid no serious attention to the massive discussion of this over the year.
On the page, Rossi makes the argument about solar irradiance being about a megawatt for the roof of the warehouse. Lewan really should think about that! If solar irradiance were trapped in the interior, it would indeed get very, very hot. “Insulation” is not the issue, reflectance would be. Rossi’s expert agreed that without a heat exchanger the heat would reach fatal levels. A heat exchanger was essential, some kind of very active cooling.
Lewan accepts Rossi’s story that he never photographs his inventions, and seems to think it completely normal that Rossi would make this massive device, with substantial materials costs, and labor costs, and have no receipts for either. It was all Rossi Says, with the expert merely claiming “it was possible.” Actually, more cheaply and efficiently, a commercial cooling tower could have been installed. And, of course, all this work would have had to have been complete before the plant was running at full power, and it would have been very, very visible, and noisy, and running 24/7 like the reactor. Nobody reported having seen any trace of it.
A jury would have seen through the deceptions. Pace, the IH lead attorney, was skillful, very skillful. The Rossi counsel arguments were confused and unclear, basically innuendo with little fact. The very foundation of the Rossi case was defective.
The Second Amendment to the Agreement allowing the postponement of the Guaranteed Performance test had never been fully executed as required, and it turned out that this was deliberate on the part of Ampenergo, the Rossi licensee for North America, whose agreement was a legal necessity, and it’s clear that Rossi knew this — he wrote about it in an email — but still he was insisting it was valid. The judge almost dismissed the case ab initio, in the motion to dismiss, but decided to give Rossi the opportunity to find evidence that, say, IH had nevertheless promised to pay (they could have made a side-agreement allowing extension, creating possible problems with Ampenergo, but they could have handled them by paying Ampenergo their cut even if it wasn’t due under the Agreement).
Lewan is a sucker. And so is anyone who, given the facts that came out in trial about Rossi and his business practices, nevertheless invests in Rossi without fully independent and very strong evidence. Sure: “Accurate measurements by third-party experts.” Actually, “third party” is only necessary in a kind of escrow agreement. Otherwise the customer’s experts — and control of the testing process by the customer, presumably with Rossi advice but “no touch” — would be enough. Penon, the “Engineer responsible for validation” was not clearly independent, he was chosen by Rossi, and Rossi objected strongly to any other experts being present for the Validation Test, leading to the IH payment of another $10 million. Later, Rossi excluded the IH director of engineering, violating the agreement with the “customer,” JM Products.
After the test, Penon disappeared. They finally found him in the Dominican Republic, after he had been dismissed as a counter-defendant for lack of service of process (so he was deposed). This whole affair stunk to high heaven. Yet, Lewan soldiers on, in obvious denial of fact, repeating Rossi “explanations” as if plausible when they are not. By the way, the Penon report depended on regular data from Rossi, and the numbers in the Penon report are technically impossible. This was screwed sixty ways till Sunday.
A person associated with Industrial Heat confirmed, privately to me, the agreement, as published by Rossi on Lewan’s blog. At the time of publication, the agreement had not actually been signed by all parties, but that did eventually occur.
There is a whole series of podcasts of Ruby Carat interviews, see http://coldfusionnow.org/cfnpodcast/
She said that she would be interviewing Rossi later.
Review of this podcast on LENR-Forum
(All the CFN podcasts in this series are linked from LENR-Forum and are discussed there, at least to some degree)
The first comment comes from Zeus46, who is predictably snarky:
So Abd doubles-down on his claim that IH is working with Swartz, and also chucks Letts into the mix. Someone from Purdue too, apparently.
Many Tshayniks get Hakn’d at Rossi v Darden. Also rumours are mentioned that Texas/SKINR are currently withholding ‘good news’.
Rumours that Abd requested the Feynman reference are possibly entirely scurrilous.
Remarkable how, in a few words, he is so off. First of all, Letts was a well-known IH investment, and there is a document from the trial where the other IH work (to that date, early last year) was described. It was Kim at Purdue who was funded as a theoretician. And I did not mention Swartz, but Hagelstein. I don’t recall ever claiming that IH was “working with Swartz,” but Swartz works with Hagelstein, which might explain how Zeus46 got his idea.
Rossi v. Darden, far from being useless noise, revealed a great deal that was, previously, secret and obscure. Those who only want to make brief smart-ass comments, though, and who don’t put in what it takes to review the record, will indeed end up with nothing useful. It all becomes, then, a matter of opinion, not of evidence and the balance of it.
No “rumor” was mentioned, but reporting what I said becomes a “rumor.” I reported what I had directly from Robert Duncan, which is only a little. They are not talking yet about details, but, asked if they were having problems creating the heat effect, he said “We have had no problem with that,” which I took as good news. Most of our conversations have been about the technicalities of measuring helium, which may seem straightforward, but is actually quite difficult. Still, creating the heat effect is beyond difficult, it is not known how to do it with reliability. But heat/helium measurement does not require reliable heat, only some success, which can be erratic.
“Withholding good news” — I certainly did not say that! — is a misleading way of saying that they are not falling into premature announcement. The minor good news would be that they are seeing heat, his comment implied. But the major news would be about the correlation, and I don’t know what they have in that respect, or where the research stands. I’m not pushing them. They will announce their work, I assume, when they are ready. No more science by press conference, I assume. It will be published, my hope is, in a mainstream journal. I’ve simply been told that, as an author published in the specific area they are working on (heat/helium), they will want to have me visit before they are done.
As to the mention of Feynman, Ruby asked me for a brief bio and I put that in there, because Feynman, and how he thought, was a major influence. It’s simply a fact, though. I sat in those famous lectures, and heard the Feynman stories first-hand when he visited Page House, my freshman year. My life has been one amazing opportunity after another, and that was one of them.
Now, there was a comment on the RationalWiki attack article on me a couple of months back, by a user, “Zeus46”. Same guy? The author of that article is the most disruptive pseudoskeptic I have ever seen, almost certainly Darryl L. Smith, but his twin brother, Oliver D. Smith is up there as well, and has recently claimed that he made up the story of his brother as a way to be unblocked on Wikipedia. Those who are following this case, generally, don’t believe him, but consider it likely he is protecting his brother, who is reportedly a paid pseudoskeptic, who attacked “fringe science” on Wikipedia and Wikiversity and recruited several Wikipedians to show up to get the Wikiversity resource — which had existed without problems for a decade — deleted, and privately complained to a Wikiversity bureaucrat and later to the WikiMedia Foundation about “doxxing” that wasn’t or that did not violate WMF policy, lying about “harassment,” and also who created the article on RationalWiki as revenge for documenting the impersonation socking they were doing on Wikipedia. They have created many impersonation accounts to comment in various places, and will choose names that they think might be plausible, and they had reviewed what Zeus46 had written — and what I’d written about him.
So I’d appreciate it if someone on LENR Forum would ask Zeus46 if this was him. If not, he should know that he has been impersonated. He is, to me, responsible for what he writes on LENR Forum, and, by being an anonymous troll (like many Forum users), he’s vulnerable to impersonation. The goal of the Smiths would be to increase enmity, to get people fighting with each other. It has worked.
My thanks to Shane for kind comments. Yes, it was relatively brief, by design. Ruby had actually interviewed me months before, and it was far too long. I thought I might write a script, but actually did the final interview ad hoc, without notes, but with an idea of the essential points to communicate.
Ruby is a “believer,” I’d say naturally. It’s well known, believers are happier than the opposite. So she is routinely cheerful, a pleasure to talk with. She is also one smart cookie. Her bio from Cold Fusion Now:
At first a musician and performance artist, one day she waltzed into Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and got a physics degree. Thinking that math might be easier, she then earned a Masters degree in Math at University of Miami in Miami, Florida. Math turned out to be not much easier, so now, she advocates for cold fusion, the easiest thing in the world. She has made several short documentary films and speaks on the topic. She currently teaches math at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California and conducts outreach events for the public to support clean energy from cold fusion.
She is an “advocate for cold fusion,” and RationalWiki accuses me of “advocating pseudoscientific cold fusion.” In fact, I’m an advocate of real scientific research, with all the safeguards standard with science, publication in the journal system, same as recommended by both U.S. Department of Energy reviews.
“Cold fusion” is a popular name for a mysterious heat effect. The hypothesis that the effect is real is testable, and definitively so, by measuring a correlated product (as apparently Bill Collis agrees in another podcast, and I know McKubre is fully on board that idea, and that is what they are working on in Texas — and since the correlation has already been reported by many independent groups, this is verification with increased precision, we hope, nailed down.)
Commercial application, which is what Ruby is working for, is not known to be possible. But having a bright and enthusiastic cheerleader like Ruby is one of the best ways to create the possibility.