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After years of dodging outside assessment... Rossi and Cold Fusion
May 23, 2013 12:30 PM   Subscribe


 
Where is Stanley Pons?
posted by dfriedman at 12:35 PM on May 23, 2013


The recurring theme of their 'independent exam' was that they weren't allowed to know how the device actually works. Actual peer review and full study is consistently absent. Smells like a big scammy push for gullible investor cash to me.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:37 PM on May 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


Good news, everyone!

Although the paper remains to be peer reviewed,

Oh...
posted by entropicamericana at 12:37 PM on May 23, 2013 [30 favorites]


It's an ongoing scam. Been around several years now (see the "previouslies" above

This guy really shouldn't;t be getting any more press.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 12:38 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


The energy comes from the bullshit meters of everyone watching correctly suddenly surging.

I hope fervently that I'm wrong. I very much doubt I am.
posted by jaduncan at 12:38 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can it stop an erupting volcano, save an indigenous race of primitives, and make me their god? Please say yes.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:39 PM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]




It's times like this that I am reminded that science doesn't so much progress as lurch from point to point.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 12:40 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know it's bullshit since Big Oil hasn't had him killed.

/conspiracy
posted by maxwelton at 12:40 PM on May 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


If they could actually do it:

a) they'd get the patent/a small thicket of patents on everything close to the reactor
b) they'd then collect royalties and retreat to their retirement property of, oh, all of Oceania or something.
posted by jaduncan at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read some of the comments on this article yesterday (I know. I know.) and some of them were pretty hilarious.

"I challenge you to prove that this doesn't work!"
posted by brundlefly at 12:42 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can it stop an erupting volcano, save an indigenous race of primitives, and make me their god? Please say yes.

Can it power my car with banana peels? I'd settle for that.
as long as it doesn't require a Delorean
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:42 PM on May 23, 2013


After years of dodging outside assessment...

You know, like how you can stand outside a restaurant and tell whether it's any good.
posted by Etrigan at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2013


I wish these type of guys at least had a sense of humor, for example, all devices of this type should have a "Mr. Fusion" brand name on the outside.
posted by maxwelton at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

Sagan
posted by Quack at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


(Greg_Ace and I are not the same person, he's way cooler.)
posted by maxwelton at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2013


I don't see much cause for concern here. We're clearly years away from Peak Bullshit.
posted by bonehead at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, just for the record, a paper that features no scientists of positive note and contains the following character string:

"[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Energy_density.svg"

That is all.
posted by jaduncan at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [15 favorites]


Two points about the paper:

1) It is written in a style I would call "my first science report." Detailed discussions of things that are utterly, utterly irrelevant (who cares how many sub-areas you divide the thermal image into in order to calculate the average? ???)

2) The graphs were made in MS Excel, I'm pretty sure. Not to sound tooo high and snooty, but I pretty much hit the "ignore" button when I see that kind of amateurism.

I will not hold my breath to wait for these to be running our Deloreans.
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 12:45 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Cold Fusion is a real thing, right? If I understand correctly, the problem is that it's an endothermic reaction - you have to put energy in to make it work. So just the opposite of a power source.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:46 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


1) It is written in a style I would call "my first science report." Detailed discussions of things that are utterly, utterly irrelevant (who cares how many sub-areas you divide the thermal image into in order to calculate the average? ???)

To be fair, that's totes what people want to know about in a report regarding a minor finding such as cold fusion.
posted by jaduncan at 12:46 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw this come up on reddit the other day, and I'm happy that it's posted here, because I have a specific question that I didn't want to field over there. I understand why the lack of peer review is bad, and I understand that the guy behind this has a very sketchy reputation, and why. What I haven't been able to understand is why Cornell has published this paper, nor why 7 people, presumably with professional credibility to maintain, have been willing, absent the peer review, to say,"This looks like something really happening."

Can somebody play the devil's advocate here and explain why the seven authors, assuming that this is as fishy as it smells, aren't being more cautious?
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


maxwelton, does that mean Greg_Ace runs at room temperature or is this just more wankery about a few thousand Kelvin here and there...
posted by tigrrrlily at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2013


"Probability" or "plausibility?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2013


"Against all probability, a device that purports to use cold fusion to generate vast amounts of power has been verified by a panel of independent scientists..."

We have top men working on it now.

Top. Men.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:49 PM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Paging physicsmatt, paging physicsmatt
posted by lalochezia at 12:50 PM on May 23, 2013


There's only one way to settle this: we need a team of master criminals to steal the device from Rossi & co. and secretly deliver it to an actual, completely-independent team of scientists in their own unrelated lab.

Plus, with a few double-crosses and plot twists added in, it'd make a great heist movie.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


We have top men working on it now.

Top. Men.


Well, ok then.
posted by gkhan at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2013


Skepticism remains.

Yes, yes it does.
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


But Cold Fusion is a real thing, right? If I understand correctly, the problem is that it's an endothermic reaction - you have to put energy in to make it work. So just the opposite of a power source.

Fusion is a thing. Cold fusion is specifically fusion that doesn't require all that extra energy to be poured into the atoms you're trying to fuse, and has never been observed.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The boolean value Exists initializes to False, as my great Aunt Petunia used to say.
posted by Mooski at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2013 [18 favorites]


If it really is 10,000x or even 500x times the energy density of gasoline what could they have possibly put in the device that wasn't nuclear device or obviously cryogenic?

If he got a patent then the clock would start ticking on its expiration. The patent offices would probably also deny the patent without a provable working prototype. It makes sense to keep it a trade secret until it is sold or distributed such that people can take it apart. Patents exist not to get people to invent but to get them to disclose their secrets. They get trade secrets out into the open.
posted by TheJoven at 12:52 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we refocus our efforts on harnessing the limitless energy of human wishful thinking?
posted by itstheclamsname at 12:52 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's only one way to settle this: we need a team of master criminals to steal the device from Rossi & co. and secretly deliver it to an actual, completely-independent team of scientists in their own unrelated lab.

Plus, with a few double-crosses and plot twists added in, it'd make a great heist movie.


Twist: Even though the robbers connected it to the transmission perfectly, the ecat inexplicably failed to provide drive to the getaway car.
posted by jaduncan at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not only is Rossi’s supposed catalyst a trade secret but everything inside his devices is a trade secret.

I did not realize that batteries qualify as trade secrets.
posted by grateful at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


BrunoLatourFanclub> It's times like this that I am reminded that science doesn't so much progress as lurch from point to point.
Incorrect. Almost all science is incremental improvements. This, as presented, is not science. It is marketing. Science may or may not be going on with these guys, but it is not being presented here.
posted by samworm at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


After a few years, Rossi has returned with "his E-Cat project

Just call it lol-Cat and get it over with.
posted by phaedon at 12:54 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cold Fusion is a real thing, right?

The only Cold Fusion which exists outside of superheated papers is the one you're soaking in.
posted by bonehead at 12:54 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean that you can force hydrogen ions into a nickel matrix and get some of the nickel to turn into copper. But you have to put energy into the system to make it work, it doesn't release any energy.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:54 PM on May 23, 2013


You wouldn't believe the stuff that can pass for 'peer review' in the right journal. I'd advise ignoring it till it is accepted by Nature or something, not just waiting for any old peer review.
posted by edd at 12:55 PM on May 23, 2013


There's muon-catalyzed fusion, which is sometimes called a cold fusion reaction.
posted by bonehead at 12:57 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for the beer-reviewed paper...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:58 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skepticism remains.

Pfft. I doubt it!
posted by freebird at 12:58 PM on May 23, 2013


How did they resolve the jrun errors?
posted by srboisvert at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Paper became wet and unreadable when I picked it up. Would not recommend.

-Beer
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


ABSTRACT

looked at tube, tube became very hot. a hot tube. the man showed us another tube, also very hot. why is the tube so hot? no one knows. we looked on a computer and the computer said: "the tube is hot." What a hot tube! Thank you.
posted by theodolite at 1:07 PM on May 23, 2013 [78 favorites]


Probably linked to elsewhere, but bears re-linking: The Physics of why the e-Cat’s Cold Fusion Claims Collapse

I WANT TO BELIEVE
posted by the painkiller at 1:08 PM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Neat!

Show it to me powering a car. Put your nifty widget in a two ton hunk of metal and throw a brick at the accelerator and lets watch that sucker power 0-60 in 5 on a straight track with nothing but the Quisinart in the back suckin in dreams and puking lucky charms out the tail pipe.

Oh you can't do that?

Well then get your no-good hoodoo bad vibe shuck your money call toll free in the next 5 minutes back of the magazine comic cover 5 cent x-ray glass raygun 50s scipop fiction fest out OF MY GOD DAMN WORKING SCIENCE YOU FLAKE.

That is all. This has been a national gullibility test. Had this been actual science it would be boring but useful. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I WANT TO BE RELIEVED
posted by NiteMayr at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2013


What? It's utter shit. It's a con, these hucksters are acting in a manner completely incompatible with scientific rigor and completely compatible with every other example of free-energy scams in history. It's clearly untrue, and no one should for a moment think it is real, invest a red cent into this conman's "business," or in any way allow this "discovery" affect their opinions on how the world should deal with our energy problems in the short or long term.

Ipsifendus, to clarify, I don't think Cornell published this. Their "paper" is on arXiv. arXiv is a preprint server (which at the moment is run by Cornell. It started life as a personal computer running under a theorist's desk in Los Alamos). Explicitly arXiv is there for papers before peer-review. I use arXiv every day of my life (literally). In my subfield of physics, you submit a paper to arXiv before you submit it for peer-review, usually to establish precedent, get some early feedback, and because my field is very fast moving and we can easily replicate each others formulae, so peer-review is less critical for us. Even in theoretical physics, peer review needs to happen eventually, but I can tell if someone is wrong on my own just by reading the paper, since there's no lab-work involved. Most other subfields use arXiv as a way to get their papers out from behind paywalls. It works very well for that.

What arXiv doesn't do is provide any guarantee of correctness. For real scientists, our motivation to not put stupid wrong shit on arXiv is to not look stupid in front of our peers. There are only a few thousand people who do what I do on Earth, and I know many of the ones who work in America and Europe personally. If I put something dumb on arXiv, I will do real damage to my career. So I think carefully before I do (and when I make a mistake in my arXiv papers, I correct it). If you were just interested in a con, there's very little barrier to put something up on the general physics part of arXiv. Every physicist will look at it with great suspicion, but you can pretend that you got Cornell to back you, which will be useful to get the public to give you money.

Hell, most practicing physicists don't even check the "physics" section of arXiv (I only read hep-ph, hep-ex, astro-ph, and very occasionally hep-th, for example).

As for why a bunch of supposedly good scientists put their name on this, well I can think of many reasons. However, the most charitable thing I'll say is that one thing the James Randi foundation has shown is that many scientists are very easily suckered by charlatans. I met David Blaine once, who astounded me and a bunch of other physicists (several of whom are VERY impressive scientists, far more than me) with some illusions (as GOB would insist). He then told us we were the easiest marks in the world: we're too used to people being straightforward with us, and thus are very easy to fool with simple misdirection. You want to catch a conman? Get a magician, they practice the same skill-set.
posted by physicsmatt at 1:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [89 favorites]


What I haven't been able to understand is why Cornell has published this paper, nor why 7 people, presumably with professional credibility to maintain, have been willing, absent the peer review, to say,"This looks like something really happening."

Can somebody play the devil's advocate here and explain why the seven authors, assuming that this is as fishy as it smells, aren't being more cautious?


Well just so we're clear, Cornell hasn't published this paper. At least I don't think so. It's up on ArXiV, which is run by Cornell. But it's a place for scientists to put their papers and such, and is explicitly not endorsement of them. Dunno about the 7 people.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:13 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


While Rossi hasn’t provided much in the way of details — he’s a very secretive man, it seems

Which is where you stop reading unless you're in it for the lulz.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:14 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Beaten to the punch AND significantly out-explained by physicsmatt. Blerg.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2013


WERNSTROM!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


So it's not a Shipstone?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:16 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sorry Lemurrhea, if I had spent a bit more time polishing the vitriol, you would have gotten in first.
posted by physicsmatt at 1:16 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it quite telling that in the arXiv paper they show two charts of conventional fuel sources (plotting various energy density metrics for real technologies), yet could not bring themselves to rescale and add a data point for the device they're writing about, even when they calculate where those points would be and even assert that the points would be "off the chart." It's like they don't believe it themselves.
posted by Mapes at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2013


I find it quite telling that in the arXiv paper they show two charts of conventional fuel sources (plotting various energy density metrics for real technologies), yet could not bring themselves to rescale and add a data point for the device they're writing about, even when they calculate where those points would be and even assert that the points would be "off the chart." It's like they don't believe it themselves.

I think it's because they literally just pasted in figures from two other sources (the second one is straight from Wikipedia) and didn't know how to redraw them with added Hot Tube
posted by theodolite at 1:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


maxwelton: (Greg_Ace and I are not the same person, he's way cooler.)

The only way that I could possibly be the "cooler" one here is if you actually owned a Delorean.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:23 PM on May 23, 2013


The painkiller's link is worth reading. Particularly damning is the Cu isotope data.
posted by lalochezia at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, maybe the Hot Tube isn't an energy source. But check for chronometric anomalies — maybe it's a Hot Tube time machine?
posted by benito.strauss at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Does this mean my Prius has dropped in resale value?
posted by Postroad at 1:28 PM on May 23, 2013


Short copper futures, man!
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:29 PM on May 23, 2013


I guess nickel to copper is pretty much impossible, even with this muon-catalyzed fusion that's been mentioned. Nucleosynthesis is serious business.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:29 PM on May 23, 2013


Yeah, if he wanted to avoid tipping the scam he shouldn't have brought alchemy into it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cold Fusion is a real thing, right?

The only Cold Fusion which exists outside of superheated papers is the one you're soaking in.


Also there's this:

Naranjo et al., "Observation of nuclear fusion driven by a pyroelectric crystal." Nature 434:115-1117. 2005.

Room temperature fusion driven by acceleration of a deuteron beam into a deuterated target by a strong electrical field. Useless as an energy source, but not a bad way to generate neutrons....
posted by mr_roboto at 1:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


tigrrrlily: ... does that mean Greg_Ace runs at room temperature

I'm RED HOT baby, yeah!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:32 PM on May 23, 2013


I always imagine Rossi giggling uncontrollably when using some gullible investor's money to pay his electric bill.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cold fusion ... has never been observed.

What a coincidence. Neither has "dark energy" which we're assured makes up 2/3 of the universe - and has been peer-reviewed.

At any rate - for the sake of the only liveable planet within range of our over-rated technology - I really really hope Mr. Rossi has hit on something. Because nothing seems able to stop our (collective) endless greed and willful ignorance.
posted by Twang at 1:37 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they could actually do it:
a) they'd get the patent


A fine 'appeal to authority' style argument except for the history of patent rejections of 'cold fusion' devices. A reason cited - "a law passed by Congress"*

The best explanation - the pulsed nature fools clampon amp meters. The only real way to know is capture the waveforms and measure the area under the curve.

*and by cite they mean 'I just said some stuff'. Can't seem to find the actual law forbidding patents of such.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:39 PM on May 23, 2013


I really really hope Mr. Rossi has hit on something.

It doesn't have to be Rossi.

coldfusionnow.org (for the hype/want to believers) and lern-canr.org are places to read about whatever might be going on with whatever is being observed.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:42 PM on May 23, 2013


Cold fusion ... has never been observed.

What a coincidence. Neither has "dark energy" which we're assured makes up 2/3 of the universe - and has been peer-reviewed.


And no one has ever observed an elf riding a unicorn handing out free blowjobs and tickets to see U2. Cold fusion is a lot closer to that than dark matter.

At any rate - for the sake of the only liveable planet within range of our over-rated technology - I really really hope Mr. Rossi has hit on something. Because nothing seems able to stop our (collective) endless greed and willful ignorance.

No one debates that. However, pinning your hopes on the guy who says he totally has the hookup on elf-blowjob-based solutions in the back of his van that no one can look at is... a poor choice.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


...We're clearly years away from Peak Bullshit.

I disagree. I feel I have been there for most of my adult life.
posted by y2karl at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]




I am willing to invest:

$0.0

in this.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:48 PM on May 23, 2013


yeah Twang, sorry you are wrong. The effects of dark energy have been observed, through the change in the Hubble "constant" over time via precision measurements of supernova distances. We even have some very rough estimates on how much dark energy can change over time. There are plenty of things we don't know about it, and there is certainly room for us to turn out to be extremely wrong and that the effects of dark energy due to something we didn't think of. However, whatever that thing is needs to explain the data as well as the current idea of dark energy. There's even a way for such new ideas to be propagated in the scientific community. These hucksters noted desire to avoid that scrutiny while making a claim that contradicts known evidence from other sources is why you should be extremely positive that this is not true, and is instead a way for unscrupulous people get rich quick.

You don't get to point at something totally unrelated and say "scientists don't understand that, so ANYTHING is possible, including this obvious scam."

Finally. I live on this planet too. So does every other scientist. Most of us are very aware of the damage that's going on around us. We, more than anyone, would love a scientific magic wand that solves all the worlds problems and gives us a pony. If we were to invent one, in addition to the fame, fortune, and a mansion with hot and cold running sex (if that's your thing) we'd receive, we'd also get the accolade of our peers, a place in scientific history, and the satisfaction in knowing we made our home a better place for us and our progeny. I think most of us would be willing to let someone look at our data if we had such a magic wand.

I have to go give a talk now, so you'll have to carry on without me. Science marches on and all that.
posted by physicsmatt at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [39 favorites]


And no one has ever observed an elf riding a unicorn handing out free blowjobs and tickets to see U2.

Damnit, had gotten my hopes up on that.
posted by kmz at 1:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


physicsmatt, it seems like you are happy doing physics, but if you were ever interested in a second career as a sociologist, you'd be great at it. You seem to be better at explaining physics charlatans than the average STS-focused sociologist.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 1:54 PM on May 23, 2013


There's humor in here somewhere between ColdPlay and ColdFusion and the impossibility of either making any kind of electricity... but I just can't get it to spark...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:58 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I had a bona-fide energy-positive cold fusion device in my basement I'd never tell anyone about it. I'd put some shiny 'solar' panels on my roof, net-meter as much juice into the grid as I could without ConEd getting suspicious and use the proceeds to incrementally buy more houses and repeat. Then sell it all and either start/buy a small utility in upstate bumfuck or just retire to an island somewhere.

The concept of someone holding a real cold fusion device and needing investors makes no sense. You're literally holding a license to print money.
posted by Skorgu at 2:00 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cold Fusion, I remember cold fusion *shudders*.
posted by adamvasco at 2:01 PM on May 23, 2013


There's humor in here somewhere between ColdPlay and ColdFusion and the impossibility of either making any kind of electricity... but I just can't get it to spark...

Knock knock!
Who's there?
ColdPlay and ColdFusion!
ColdPlay and ColdFusion who?
my penas and butt
posted by FatherDagon at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's funny you say that, Skorgu, since I think you've hit upon the least efficient (and most evil!) manner possible to print that money.
posted by kavasa at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2013


> As for why a bunch of supposedly good scientists put their name on this, well I can think of many reasons. However, the most charitable thing I'll say is that one thing the James Randi foundation has shown is that many scientists are very easily suckered by charlatans.

Even so -- even if they were suckered into believing that the results were real -- I find it surprising that they'd sign their name to such an atrociously written "paper." The calculations are presented with the all the slavish, thoughless detail of a highschool homework assignment (I mean really, they give the formula for the surface area of a cylinder in Eq 4). Surely Hanno Essen, who is listed as the submitting author, understood that this looked like a kid's science fair project. I really don't get his motivation....

... but I definitely cringe at the thought of what his colleagues will think.
posted by Westringia F. at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2013


kavasa: Most other ways require some seed capital to start producing on a large scale. You can't just declare yourself a utility and start selling people electricity; regulators and such are going to ask Pointed Questions. Ditto banks if you go in for a loan. With the patented Skorgu Self Sufficiency System™ you can start from literally nowhere and work your way to pluotcrat status in no time, no matter how anti-establishment/unwashed/confrontational/clinically insane you happen to be!
posted by Skorgu at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dude, cold fusion powered marijuana greenhouses. No electric bill, no reason for the cops to suspect you. And if you do get caught somehow, you've got leverage for a heckuva deal...
posted by Kevin Street at 2:11 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


With the patented Skorgu Self Sufficiency System™

What's the patent number?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure its fine.
I've been using cold fusion for years. As my Father told me after curing cancer back in the 80's "Son, if you have a world changing discovery that can help millions, make sure not to tell anyone or make any attempt at making it commercially viable. Its more important to get rich via crappy patents by keeping it all secret than being feted as the greatest scientist of your generation and making a great living by getting a cushy R&D position at a top university for life, if your discovery proves to be correct "
posted by Damienmce at 2:14 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's the patent number?

20060094518
posted by Skorgu at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I got it! And it's a zinger! But I can't tell you the punchline.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well the Steorn guys are gonna be pissed off.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I got it! And it's a zinger! But I can't tell you the punchline.

I can show you a roomful of people laughing. You may be assured the laughter is the result of my incredible zinger.
posted by gilrain at 2:36 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I did a quick scan through of the paper (and there was indeed the equation for surface area listed heh) and the top 2 authors are listed as being from Bologna University which I found worth the download in itself.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 2:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Believers is a documentary by 137 Films about the original cold fusion scientists, their experiments, announcement, and the aftermath. It also focuses on researchers in the area today (hence the title.) I saw it at a screening at Fermilab, with a bunch of physics-types in the room. I thought it was quite good, a bit sad though, but not without nice moments.

Afterwards, during a panel discussion with the filmmakers, several different physicists who were working in the field at the time talked about how excited everyone was at the initial announcement and then how disappointed they were when it became clear that the results were not going to be validated. The general consensus seemed to be that the original two researchers got very excited, deluded themselves, and then got caught totally unprepared for a media onslaught. Of those who spoke in the film discussion, several said they did not believe that the original cold fusion experiments or announcement were intended as a fraud.

Anyway I recognize Rossi's name from the documentary. There is footage of him in Italy as he treats Fleischmann's Parkinsons with an application of his cold fusion technology.
posted by ProtoStar at 2:48 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cold fusion ... has never been observed.

What a coincidence. Neither has "dark energy" which we're assured makes up 2/3 of the universe - and has been peer-reviewed.


Dark energy is a plausible hypothesis that has been developed to explain some very real, observable aspects of our observable universe. No respectable astrophysicist would claim that dark energy has been observed; it is widely acknowledged to be essentially a placeholder for a more specific theory.

Rossi, on the other hand, wants us to look at a tube that gets hotter than you might expect if you naively assumed that the only energy source for the heat is the wires sticking out of the tube, and declare that he has invented a new source of energy. He even advances an explanation that appears to defy some of the most basic and well-tested parts of mainstream physics. By far the simplest explanation for this is not that Rossi has impossibly overcome the nuclear coulomb barrier solely with a chemical reaction, but rather that Rossi has hidden a power source in his "proprietary black box", or is engaged in some other experimental trickery.

As anyone involved in experimental physics research knows, it is very easy to set up experimental equipment incorrectly by accident. Imagine how easy it would be to set experimental equipment up up incorrectly on purpose!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The title of this post seems to have a sort of Mitch Hedberg style of symmetry to it. It seems like they used to dodge outside assessment. They still do, but they used to, too.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:33 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the worst Mary Sue 'Atlas Shrugged' fanfic ever.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:53 PM on May 23, 2013


For anyone who's interested, this seems like an excellent takedown of the paper. I should stress that IANAPhysicist and will cheerfully defer to anyone who is, but I read this blog post alongside the original paper and was left totally satisfied.

A few of the key points raised by that blog post:
1a) The mechanism is supposed to work by fusing hydrogen with nickel to make copper. That's fine but, because the nickel in the device is a naturally occurring mixture of isotopes and only a couple of those isotopes can theoretically go through that reaction, there's a strict limit to how much copper can be produced from a given quantity of nickel. The amount of copper reported in the waste exceeded this limit.

1b) The copper produced by this reaction would have an unusual and totally predictable mix of isotopes. The copper that was analysed had exactly the mix of isotopes you'd expect from copper dug out of the ground.

It should be noted that this analysis is from the last time this technology was presented to the world; for this paper, the researchers were not allowed to analyse anything that went in to or came out of the reactor.

2) The machine was never unplugged from a power supply. Once again: the revolutionary energy source has never been seen running while unplugged from an external power supply. (It has also never been seen in the process of starting up, but that's another issue). Power generation was calculated by comparing the heat output to the power flowing into it. The blog post contains a handy diagram of one very simple way in which you could build a power supply to fool the type of ammeters that the scientists were allowed to use to do this.

3) A decent chunk of the analysis was based on readings given to the scientists by the manufacturer, based on tests that the scientsts were not allowed to observe, using equipment that they were not allowed to examine. These great skeptical minds just assumed that they were being told the truth and kept going with their calculations.

There's a bunch of other stuff too, and the post is entertainingly written. Even if we do the noble thing and look past the weirdly amateurish presentation to take their work in good faith, and trust that their unpublished data shows what they claim, the work as they described it is still utterly unconvincing.
posted by metaBugs at 4:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I just noticed that one of the researchers is from Uppsala. I thought that Uppsala was a pretty good university? What's their physics department like?
posted by metaBugs at 4:05 PM on May 23, 2013


What's their physics department like?

It is like a haute couture designer caught in the Walmart clothes section.
posted by jaduncan at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Inside the tube is a Hot Pocket.
posted by orme at 4:52 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can somebody play the devil's advocate here and explain why the seven authors, assuming that this is as fishy as it smells, aren't being more cautious?
That was also my immediate question. A terribly written paper that claims extraordinary results and bristles with all the hallmarks of crankery usually doesn't have a list of authors from multiple legit universities on it. That's enough to make one curious.

After a very cursory look about, it seems that only two of the authors have a physics publication record outside of this paper. Hanno Essén has a number of papers in legitimate journals going back a decade; most are physics-education focused, but none seem obviously cranky. Looks like he's a lecturer in Mechanics at KTH, though it's not entirely clear to me what that title means. Wikipedia suggests he was chair of a skeptics society until recently. (?!) Bo Höistad is a co-author on many large collaboration papers involving thoroughly legit nuclear physics experiments, and seems to be a professor in the physics department at Uppsala.

The rest of the author list is pretty hard to find. Whatever they've been doing recently, it hasn't been building a reputation in the physics community. I sure hope they're not new students who got suckered into this without realizing what they were in for. (Of course, they might well be established in other fields. I certainly haven't been exhaustive in searching for them.)

That still leaves us with at least two authors who might be expected to know better. I'm a bit dumbfounded. The experiment is unconvincing, the presentation is laughable, and if any of the authors actually believed their result they would certainly have tried to submit it somewhere. Whether they're guilty of publishing junk science, signing off on a paper they didn't read, or merely being co-authored on a paper without a chance to review it isn't obvious. All are possible.
posted by eotvos at 5:10 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


a scientific magic wand that solves all the worlds problems and gives us a pony. If we were to invent one, in addition to the fame, fortune, and a mansion with hot and cold running sex (if that's your thing) we'd receive, we'd also get the accolade of our peers, a place in scientific history, and the satisfaction in knowing we made our home a better place for us and our progeny. I think most of us would be willing to let someone look at our data if we had such a magic wand

Sorry, physicsmatt, but you clearly know ****-all about magic wands, scientific or otherwise. As everyone who knows anything about magic wands can tell you, if you were to invent one, in addition to fame, fortune, and a mansion with hot and cold running sex (if that's your thing), you'd also get infamy, ruination, and a manifold with hot and cold running sores, not to mention the accolade and ridicule of your peers, a place in scientific history and the Big Book of Charlatans, and the satisfaction in knowing you'd made our home a better place for you and your progeny. Then, your pony would kill us all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. This is simple to prove. By themselves. Just hook the damn thing up to the grid with a feed-in tariff - like what you get when you get solar panels. Make a shit ton of $ selling the power. Use that $ to make more. Repeat. Get filthy rich. Then let somebody have a crack at figuring out how it works. They don't believe who - who cares? You already own the world for all the power you're producing with your cold fusion machine.
posted by defcom1 at 5:31 PM on May 23, 2013


Just hook the damn thing up to the grid with a feed-in tariff - like what you get when you get solar panels. Make a shit ton of $ selling the power.

Theoretically you could run a gasoline generator in your backyard all day and sell the electricity back to the power company. Practically it doesn't work out that well.

At the very least the scam product as described will likely require fuel pre-processing, which could turn out to be inefficient for small scale use.

I like the suggestion upthread that someone should just steal the thing. Even better I think someone in a black suit and sunglasses should walk in with two hefty guys wearing "Big Energy" t-shirts and just take the thing in broad daylight.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would pay $10 extra on my energy bill every month for a year for that, TMNL. They should have a checkbox. "Add $10 to my bill to steal bullshit technology from charlatans? No. Yes. Fuck, yes!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Whether they're guilty of publishing junk science, signing off on a paper they didn't read, or merely being co-authored on a paper without a chance to review it isn't obvious. All are possible.

Which was what I thought, too, but Essen -- one of two the authors who does have a publication record in physics -- is the one who submitted it to the arXiv.
posted by Westringia F. at 6:18 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


jaduncan: "If they could actually do it:
a) they'd get the patent/a small thicket of patents on everything close to the reactor
b) they'd then collect royalties and retreat to their retirement property of, oh, all of Oceania or something.
"

Or you end up with a bullet in your head. If I was to stumble onto a secret for cold fusion I'd be scared for my life.

Confess, Fletch: "So it's not a Shipstone?"

Shipstones were batteries not energy sources so no. Even if they have managed cold fusion (which of course they haven't).

physicsmatt: "If we were to invent one, in addition to the fame, fortune, and a mansion with hot and cold running sex (if that's your thing) we'd receive, we'd also get the accolade of our peers, a place in scientific history, and the satisfaction in knowing we made our home a better place for us and our progeny."

The history of the those granted break through genius is a lot less rosy. Often it's the person(s) with either the money or connections to capitalize the idea (or the brazen chutpah to steal it) who makes all the money. It's not hard at all to find examples of inventors responsible for world changing break throughs who died penniless and alone.
posted by Mitheral at 6:23 PM on May 23, 2013


At least it wasn't named the Q-Cat.
posted by mrbill at 7:37 PM on May 23, 2013


One Over Unity or Heat Death!
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:39 PM on May 23, 2013


If I had a bona-fide energy-positive cold fusion device in my basement I'd never tell anyone about it. I'd put some shiny 'solar' panels on my roof, net-meter as much juice into the grid as I could without ConEd getting suspicious and use the proceeds to incrementally buy more houses and repeat. Then sell it all and either start/buy a small utility in upstate bumfuck or just retire to an island somewhere.

The concept of someone holding a real cold fusion device and needing investors makes no sense. You're literally holding a license to print money.
How much do you think you could put into the grid without Con Ed getting suspicious?

Even if you put $1,000 worth in per month -- which seems unlikely -- you're getting sub-poverty line levels of income. It will take you years to buy your second house. And even after all that, how many such houses do you think you would be able to run simultaneously, again without Con Ed getting suspicious?

You've come up with a way to "literally print money" extremely slowly. You've done so at the cost of giving up your opportunity to profit immensely and quickly through more normal means, and if you ever do wind up getting to that island to retire, it will surely be much later than if you'd just been more straightforward with your invention.
posted by Flunkie at 7:50 PM on May 23, 2013


I thought the Cu analysis was pretty damning, but I also know an *incredibly* smart PhD astro-physicist who really should undesrtand all of the physics and has ordered one of the E-Cat devices.
posted by unSane at 9:38 PM on May 23, 2013


I also know an *incredibly* smart PhD astro-physicist who really should undesrtand all of the physics and has ordered one of the E-Cat devices.

As NASA's dude says - there is 'something' there WRT LENR. Rossi may be running a scam, but at the point he ships these things into the hands of others, who's gonna know?

Besides, scams like fixing LIBOR rates, Enron, Aldelphia have fleeced more than Rossi has. What's another fleece job eh?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:49 PM on May 23, 2013


Re: stealing it, he would just say "Ha! The one you stole was a decoy!"
posted by XMLicious at 10:57 PM on May 23, 2013


How much do you think you could put into the grid without Con Ed getting suspicious?

Even if you put $1,000 worth in per month -- which seems unlikely -- you're getting sub-poverty line levels of income.
--Flunkie


Let's figure it out for California. According to this document from PG&E, you can have a generator at your house capable of up to 1.5Mwatts, and the price they pay, nominally, is 0.098 dollars per kilowatt hour.

So for a year of sending power to PG&E, they will pay you:
1.5Mwatt*1000*365*24*0.098=$1,287,720

That is far above a poverty level of income.

It would certainly profit Rossi to tell gullible, greedy investors about this program.
posted by eye of newt at 11:30 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


One day he'll let you look inside. It'll have tentacles, and you'll be sorry.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:38 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


One day he'll let you look inside.

There is a very fit looking mouse and a wheel.
posted by jaduncan at 11:40 PM on May 23, 2013


Besides, scams like fixing LIBOR rates, Enron, Aldelphia have fleeced more than Rossi has. What's another fleece job eh?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:49 PM on May 23 [+] [!]


Put that way Rossi looks like a real amateur.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:58 PM on May 23, 2013


The thing that irritates me most about it is that it isn't even a well done scam.
posted by jaduncan at 12:02 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


eotvos: I have had people try to put my name on scientific papers that I do not agree with. This happens. The process can get very advanced (well beyond the point that this paper is at now) before it comes to light. It would be interesting to know if those guys REALLY agree with what's stated in the paper. Maybe they just helped with a theoretical experiment design, and were put on the paper 'out of courtesy' (some 'courtesy').

As a reminder to all - if you can't explain how this works, you shouldn't believe Rossi.

There are many ways to supply power to something that are not readily apparent to someone who isn't allowed full access to a device. And according to the paper, the entire power supply was off limits.
posted by grajohnt at 12:45 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Torbjörn Hartman lends his weight to this paper as a "Senior Research Engineer" at Uppsala University's Svedberg Laboratory.

While I appreciate the IMDB entry (Scientist #2 in "Sweden's Plan 9 from Outer Space"), I can't guarantee that the actor mentioned here is really the same guy. The really entertaining part is in the first link. "Personal merits: Dr.Med.vet., civ.ing." Yes, he is a civil engineer and a doctor of veterinary medicine that works in a particle accelerator lab. That HAS to be an interesting life story, but at the risk of going ad hominem, perhaps doesn't lend as much gravitas to the paper as many would ascribe.
posted by grajohnt at 1:09 AM on May 24, 2013


"Professor, everything we feared has come to pass! A cat wandered too close to the collision chamber!"
"Good lord, you don't mean..."
"Yes! The calculations were correct after all. The cat has been turned into a traffic roundabout with poor drainage and sign placement! Poor kitty."
"Good thing we have Professor Hartman on staff for this type of emergency - he'll know what to do!"
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:37 AM on May 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


So for a year of sending power to PG&E, they will pay you:
1.5Mwatt*1000*365*24*0.098=$1,287,720
I'll repeat myself, this time with emphasis added: How much do you think you could put into the grid without Con Ed getting suspicious?

Remember, the plan of the person I was responding to was to "put some shiny 'solar' panels on my roof, net-meter as much juice into the grid as I could without ConEd getting suspicious".

Googling "solar power roof" and taking a more or less random page from the results led me to this PDF describing a module for such purposes. It generates 250 watts maximum. So at maximum output, it will take six thousand of these to generate 1.5 megawatts. That output is only going to happen during the day, so on average it will actually take twelve thousand - and that's assuming maximum output (which I would guess it's not going to actually reach except for brief parts of the day, but whatever, let's say it's magic).

So, twelve thousand of these units. Each is about eighteen square feet. So your roof needs to be about five acres in size, at least. And again, that's area that needs to be optimally placed to get maximum output -- south facing and unshaded I guess -- but let's again ignore that and say it magically gets maximum output at all daylight hours no matter where it is or where it's pointing.

I don't think the original poster's roof is five acres.

So they put up a few solar panels on their less-than-five-acre roof. They call up the power company who I am guessing sends someone out to verify the installation meets their requirements and hook up a meter or whatever. Then they sign a contract.

First month goes by, and the power company notices that in this month's bill, this guy with a few solar panels is billing them a hundred thousand dollars for the month.

How long do you think that's going to last?
posted by Flunkie at 7:28 AM on May 24, 2013


At any rate - for the sake of the only liveable planet within range of our over-rated technology - I really really hope Mr. Rossi has hit on something. Because nothing seems able to stop our (collective) endless greed and willful ignorance.

You know, if we're taking the latter statement as a given, I don't think we can accept "huge amounts of cheap energy" as some sort of solution. Even if all of this energy were able to somehow fix ocean acidification, recreate the large portions of the rainforests that have been destroyed, and bring many of the extinct and endangered species back, there's always this. Until we, collectively, as human beings, start to respect the earth that sustains us and replace our greed with humility, the only thing I see more advanced technology as doing is hastening the collapse of our planetary support systems.
posted by nTeleKy at 7:50 AM on May 24, 2013


Huge amounts of near-free clean energy would certainly give us a lot of options we don't have now, starting with "stop making all the energy via not clean means". Sequestration becomes a lot more of a real world option if you subtract energy concerns as well.
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


So for a year of sending power to PG&E, they will pay you:
1.5Mwatt*1000*365*24*0.098=$1,287,720


You can't send 1.5MW to PG&E because the wires would melt from your house to the pole (and you'd blow up the Transformer).

Your average house tops out at 200A of service. A really big McMansion might have a 400A service. 400A at 240V is only 96KW.

Now if you could manage to gain access to some old industrial manufacturing plant where you could put out 600V on three phases you might be able to make a resonable dent in that 1.5MW figure. But you'd have to spend a lot of money up front connecting the devices. Your wire costs alone would buy you several houses. And it's not like the devices are putting out nice 120V 60Hz power. You'd ahve to take the heat being given off and somehow turn that into electricity. A steam turbine would be the easiest but you'd again need to spend significant money to setup and run the thing.

TL;DR: 1.5MW is commercial power genreation and that requires a lot of trades people and material. Yoiur workers and your suppliers are going to want to get paid.
posted by Mitheral at 8:50 AM on May 24, 2013


96kW * $0.098/kWh is $82,400 a year according to wolfram alpha, not bad for doing nothing at all. Buy a few very low cost houses and repeat the trick (all you need is a shack with a meter after all) and you're talking real money.

I obviously have no idea if the utility would notice, or if they would care. They're often billing avoided-cost rates so they're probably coming out even or ahead financially. It's not actually clear to me what grounds they would have to cut you off anyway as long as you're abiding by the limits they set.

Besides my whole point was that this is a way to make money with a free energy machine even if nobody on the planet believes you or indeed wants to see you stopped, etc. There's no other way I can think of to sell electricity without people inquiring quite a bit more deeply (at least in the US) or having quite a bit more money to start. I really don't think selling zero-energy weed is more plausible. I suppose bitcoin mining might work.

That's it! Rossi = Satoshi! 4 simultaneous days!
posted by Skorgu at 1:11 PM on May 24, 2013


I'm suddenly reminded of that scene in Ghostbusters where the guy from the EPA shows up to look into rumors of an unlicensed nuclear reactor....
posted by kaibutsu at 1:43 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually that is one of the funny things about that film. The EPA doesn't care about (probably because they don't know) the unlicened nuclear reactors in each of the back packs. Peck shuts down the containment grid which is running off good old grid electricity; that's why the ConEd guy is there doing the actual switching.

PS: The ConEd guy operates the disconnect completely wrong; you are only supposed to use your left hand while standing to the right of the disconnect. Using two hands while standing directly in front is just asking for a face full of Arc Flash. Also the disconnect has a lock out tag but it's installed incorrectly.
posted by Mitheral at 2:18 PM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's not actually clear to me what grounds they would have to cut you off anyway as long as you're abiding by the limits they set.
The grounds to cut you off are that you're producing far more energy than what you plausibly can be generating (even with your new and much-less-impressive $82,000 figure you're talking a third of an acre in south-facing unshaded roof with output permanently and magically equal to maximum output), so they investigate to see if you're doing something like stealing electricity from elsewhere or tampering with the meter. The guy shows up at your door and you then panic and tell them no, they're not allowed to look at where those wires lead. They then say OK, talk to our lawyer if you're not happy with us dropping you.
Besides my whole point was that this is a way to make money with a free energy machine even if nobody on the planet believes you or indeed wants to see you stopped, etc.
That's fine, but that didn't seem to be your original point. Your original point was that you would never tell anyone about it, because you could use it to "literally" print money. This "but what if they don't believe me" seems like shifting the goalposts. A lot.

And besides, $82,000 a year is chump change. Yeah, yeah, I know, you're going to use that to buy a second shack, and then a third and a fourth and many others, and that's great and all, but each one just increases the chance that the power company thinks you're scamming them.
posted by Flunkie at 2:44 PM on May 24, 2013


PS: The ConEd guy operates the disconnect completely wrong

"Honey, we're watching it again. I know, I know. But the Internet is making me do it."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:13 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can somebody play the devil's advocate here and explain why the seven authors, assuming that this is as fishy as it smells, aren't being more cautious?

You mean why aren't they more afraid? My guess is that they are oil poor and get cold in the winter and can't be threatened with funding. Regardless, you can start here for a crash course in cold fusion, though I haven't viewed them myself.
posted by Brian B. at 4:24 PM on May 24, 2013


You mean why aren't they more afraid?

No, I mean: given that I, no scientist, can figure out pretty easily why it's important to have access to the internal workings of this device before concluding that cold fusion is what's driving the creation of the extra heat, why the hell are these 7 people submitting a paper that says cold fusion going on without having had that access? Are they just really-poorly-versed-in-scientific-best-practices-scientists or what?
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:57 PM on May 24, 2013


why the hell are these 7 people submitting a paper that says cold fusion going on without having had that access? Are they just really-poorly-versed-in-scientific-best-practices-scientists or what?

Because they subtracted the input from the output and calculated a net gain. They were hired by a Swedish utility to confirm the claim, not to expose his trade secret before patenting.
posted by Brian B. at 9:17 PM on May 24, 2013


There is no "trade secret" . Rossi is a convicted criminal for fraud - not a scientist. The others are not well known and in fact only one has been published previously - but not in nuclear physics.

Rossi has been around for five or more years and if he wasn't peddling Mr. Fusion he would be selling flying cars.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 9:41 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, he is a civil engineer and a doctor of veterinary medicine that works in a particle accelerator lab. That HAS to be an interesting life story, but at the risk of going ad hominem, perhaps doesn't lend as much gravitas to the paper as many would ascribe.

Not really. “These translate into English as: PhD Medical Science, MSc. So, my guess is he did an MSc in Engineering Physics (5 yrs) followed by research/studies in medicine. CivIng does NOT mean Civil Engineer in Sweden. It covers ALL higher level engineering science paths, that lead to a Master’s level degree, and are 4-5 years long. The traditional paths being ChemEng, EE, Eng Physics, Computer Science and Civil Engineering.”

On a separate note, Uppsalla is the oldest university in Sweden, and Bologna is the oldest university in the world, both established before Columbus. Regardless of gravitas, if Rossi can fool so many qualified people over a dozen tests, then only a fool would deny that it can't be a possibility. Rossi is an engineer who spent most of his time trying to convert waste oil into heat products. No doubt he was familiar with, perhaps flirting with the Bergius process, which would place him in the vicinity of a serendipitous discovery if the catalyst is a hydrocarbon, as Celani has proposed.
posted by Brian B. at 12:14 PM on May 25, 2013


if Rossi can fool so many qualified people over a dozen tests, then only a fool would deny that it can't be a possibility.

Except that is not true. Rossi has only "fooled" 6 people, several of whom have been close friends with him through the years. There are literally thousands across the web who point out the discrepancies in his tests. Of course, Brian, you are perfectly free to believe that a convicted scam artist who posited a garbage-to-oil fraud scheme in the 80's and who bilked the DOD for 910K in the 90's for thermoelectric devices which did not work, someone without any academic credentials in the field - has suddenly created a tabletop fusion device that no one is actually allowed to examine.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 3:52 PM on May 25, 2013


...that a convicted scam artist...

You need to update his Wikipedia page with your new information then. It says he was acquitted of tax fraud. Also, you are suggesting that he had only one test attended by six people. Anyone can find the multiple testing information with least effort and it's been discussed here before. Personally, I wouldn't expect someone with academic credentials to invent anything, but they would be smart enough to not let people learn their trade secrets before patent protection. To publicly use this secret against someone is a manipulation that rivals children and toys. Obviously people, anyone, can wait to declare him a fraud, unless they are afraid that it is not a fraud, for reasons related to the world ending, or some other sick hope.
posted by Brian B. at 7:32 PM on May 25, 2013


Obviously people, anyone, can wait to declare him a fraud, unless they are afraid that it is not a fraud, for reasons related to the world ending, or some other sick hope.

Yes, my sick hope that the world ends is why I am publicly dubious about this project.

This doesn't appear to be the artificial meat thread, yet for some reason I am still thinking about hamburgers.
posted by jaduncan at 10:33 AM on May 27, 2013


I wouldn't expect someone with academic credentials to invent anything

...he said, posting on the world wide web and internet.
posted by jaduncan at 10:34 AM on May 27, 2013


Rossi is a convicted criminal for fraud - not a scientist.

Beanplating here, but couldn't someone be *both*?
posted by mrbill at 12:17 PM on May 28, 2013


Well, yeah, but not when the fraud is "falsely claiming to be a scientist."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


mstokes650: "There's only one way to settle this: we need a team of master criminals to steal the device from Rossi & co. and secretly deliver it to an actual, completely-independent team of scientists in their own unrelated lab.

Plus, with a few double-crosses and plot twists added in, it'd make a great heist movie.
"

This already happened. Spoiler alert: Val Kilmer saves the day.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:58 PM on May 28, 2013


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