Bravo to Andrea Rossi and cold fusion
October 28, 2011 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Andrea Rossi claims success in his long awaited final test of the energy catalyzer (e-cat), promised in January. The e-cat, in its current state of the art, is said to able to provide unlimited cheap and clean energy forever.

Today's demonstration was privately held for an anonymous American corporate customer, who is reported to be satisfied with the results. Despite a near total news blackout on the subject during the public tests since January, it was the most recent October 6th test at the University of Bologna (where they applauded the inventor) that began a slow trickle of commentary as some took notice. Attitudes have shifted to hopeful no doubt thanks to independent researchers who offered positive assessments. Some have even claimed parallel success.

Latest interview with Sergio Focardi (3 min.)
posted by Brian B. (43 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: You've made several posts this year about this guy and it seems like there's just not that much there to warrant it. -- restless_nomad



 
"The device has not yet been independently verified" , "anonymous", "reported", "blackout"..

Lots of disclaimers...
posted by HuronBob at 6:14 PM on October 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rossi and Focardi's joint work was rejected by [a] peer-reviewed scientific journal.
posted by odinsdream at 6:14 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Previously

Recently
posted by gwint at 6:15 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a reason they didn't publish this in a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. As thousands of less interesting, less important discoveries are published every week.

I mean, I need to remain open-minded about this, because holy shit if it works then the world changes.

But when they explicitly avoid legitimate scientific publishing practices and instead go to the media, you have to assume they have a reason for doing that.
posted by Jimbob at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]




an anonymous American corporate customer

Rubs hands together.... "EXCELLENT!"
posted by R. Mutt at 6:23 PM on October 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you'd like to get into even deeper levels of crazy, apparently Rossi is starting a war with the US Patent Office. And oh, it is a terrifying world in which we live:
There are many ways in which personal E-Cat units could benefit individuals. If the U.S. Patent Office does not grant these patents, there will be blood on their hands. They will be literally taking clean water out of the mouths of infants, stealing food off the plates of children, slapping poverty stricken people in the face, and contributing to the financial decline of the world. Some may claim that this blood would be on Rossi's hands, but that is not the case. He has done everything needed to get the technology ready for mass production, so it can help as many people as possible. Now, we are simply waiting on the Patent Office to grant the patents, and say the word, "go."

The patent office, the powers that be, and pathological skeptics have suppressed cold fusion technology for decades. If you examine the history of cold fusion, you will see how legitimate research was squashed, how researchers were ridiculed, and how countless cold fusion related patent applications were denied. The villain here is not Andrea Rossi, but the corrupt system in place that fights against cold fusion pioneers.
posted by lantius at 6:23 PM on October 28, 2011


University of Bologna

How perfectly apropos!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:24 PM on October 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, if nothing else, his brother Carlo makes a heck of a glass of wine.
posted by HuronBob at 6:27 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The patent office, the powers that be, and pathological skeptics have suppressed cold fusion technology for decades. If you examine the history of cold fusion, you will see how legitimate research was squashed, how researchers were ridiculed, and how countless cold fusion related patent applications were denied. The villain here is not Andrea Rossi, but the corrupt system in place that fights against cold fusion pioneers.

If you ever want to know if something isn't real, look for a paragraph like this one.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:29 PM on October 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


There's a con game called Salting - you put some uncut gemstones in a tapped out mine, and let an investor stumble over it. Then you can sell him a worthless hole in the ground for millions.

There's also the money machine scam, which is a salting scam. You have a machine that takes newspaper in one end, and spits out perfect hundred dollar bills at the other, at the rate of one every half hour, so long as you feed it newspaper. Heck, it even makes its own ink from the color sunday supplements! Stick it to the man with free money, all you got to do is pay $50,000 so we can work on one that spits out 500 euro notes, and we'll give you a copy of that one as part of the deal!

What's in the box is actually a paper shredder, and a device that dispenses real, non-counterfit hundred dollar bills, fresh from the bank. $3000 or so worth, so you can party with them all night, and they can see it do it's thing for hours on end.

What's in this box, if it does miraculously produce more power than it takes in, is likely a Russian radioisotopic battery off the black market. The Russians used to power lighthouses and railroad switching equipment with these things.

If you want to invest, bring a geiger counter and a mass spectrometer with you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:29 PM on October 28, 2011 [20 favorites]


Jimbob: I mean, I need to remain open-minded about this, because holy shit if it works then the world changes.

No, you really don't.

It's not true. It's never true. The theory violates every law of physics I can think of and the 'inventor' is acting like every free-energy scammer ever to live before him.

These guys thrive on the 'but what if it is true' mentality.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:31 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I mean, I need to remain open-minded about this

There is nothing wrong with skepticism, provided you are willing to revise your assumptions if needed.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:33 PM on October 28, 2011


Brian,

Andrea Rossi is not a scientist. He is a charlatan who preys on optimistic, hopeful people who want to believe that "cheap, unlimited energy" is possible rather than a pipe dream. E-cat is not real, no matter how many "anonymous corporate backers" or "retired professors" claim it is so.

None of this is real, Brian. This is all a game that Rossi is playing with people. I'd really like to encourage you to think long and hard about why Rossi is trying to monetize an invention that would, essentially, make money obsolete.

Think very hard, Brian.
posted by Avenger at 6:34 PM on October 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


And that's the problem. All he has to do is find a little village in italy, install one of his machines and power it, and the world his his oyster. The fact that he hasn't speaks volumes.

I'm just saying that...well, look at the history of science. Einstein's vital papers were published in an obscure German journal, with pretty much no references, before he'd finished his PhD. I took advantage of the recent opening of the Royal Society journals to read Newton's first published paper, on the nature of light. It's a vital, incredible paper. At the top, he's already listed as the "Professor of Mathematiks"... but it's his first paper.

Things used to work differently in the past, I know. But despite the fact that I am 99% sure this is complete bullshit, I would dearly love to return to the times when a random, independent inventor can create something truly brilliant.
posted by Jimbob at 6:36 PM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd really like to encourage you to think long and hard about why Rossi is trying to monetize an invention that would, essentially, make money obsolete.

This is where I struggle. Why is he doing it when it will eventually prove to be a fraud? He really enjoys prison food? I mean, he's not alone - there have been loads of scientific frauds in the past. Maybe it's a character type.
posted by Jimbob at 6:38 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The theory violates every law of physics I can think of and the 'inventor' is acting like every free-energy scammer ever to live before him.

What theory? Widom-Larsen is currently the only theory going, and it's too detailed for metafilter. But follow this discussion until you get to Larsen's comments. if you want a good overview.
posted by Brian B. at 6:39 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd really like to encourage you to think long and hard about why Rossi is trying to monetize an invention that would, essentially, make money obsolete.

There is no invention that makes money obsolete - not even a working Universal Constructor - but there are a few hypothetical ones that could drastically alter what we are willing to exchange it for.
posted by Ryvar at 6:39 PM on October 28, 2011


This is where I struggle. Why is he doing it when it will eventually prove to be a fraud? He really enjoys prison food?

Most con artists plan on running off so they avoid prison.
posted by ymgve at 6:42 PM on October 28, 2011


This is where I struggle. Why is he doing it when it will eventually prove to be a fraud?

He could (a) be mentally ill or (b) have an angle. Delusion doesn't demand explanation, and playing an angle doesn't require the angle to be good, it just requires that the hustler thinks it's the best angle he's got.

Einstein toiled away in obscurity for a long time, but so did a great big boatload of people who were in fact just quite bad at science but wouldn't or couldn't admit it. I share your enthusiasm for the dream of the bright-eyed iconoclast shaking the world of science with a bolt of invention, but I'm comfortable waiting for the bolt to actually strike something.
posted by cortex at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


They keep talking about chemistry and physics and shit and I don't see any pictures of the cat. Or of the buttered toast. I call bogus.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perhaps the e-cat measurements need to be adjusted for relativistic effects.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:45 PM on October 28, 2011


This is where I struggle. Why is he doing it when it will eventually prove to be a fraud?

He can skip the relevant country with cash, like he did last time.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:48 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just to succinctly sum up my posts, which I see actually seem at odds with each other.

1) I think this is bullshit. The fact that he's avoiding peer review, and being obsessed with secrecy and private backers and patents leads me to this view.
2) But I so, so, so wish it were true.
3) So I'm going to keep watching.
posted by Jimbob at 6:56 PM on October 28, 2011


If the U.S. Patent Office does not grant these patents, there will be blood on their hands. They will be literally taking clean water out of the mouths of infants, stealing food off the plates of children, slapping poverty stricken people in the face, and contributing to the financial decline of the world.

Nope.
If you've got this tech, it's not the patent office keeping the world from being a better place, it's you and your greed.

Also: literally taking clean water out of the mouths of infants? Is there some patented device to facilitate such an activity?
posted by NMcCoy at 7:11 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


3) So I'm going to keep watching

Please don't. This is how frauds like him keep going. While you're watching, he is out there living comfortably off the money of his backers.

Meanwhile, actual scientists doing actuak real stuff are out there losing their funds. Watch and support them instead.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:12 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You really, really, don't have to eat the whole apple to know it's rotten. Unless it is specifically your job to prove this man is a liar, just go ahead and assume he is. Because he is. Search your heart--you know it to be true.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:13 PM on October 28, 2011


Skepticism is sometimes warranted. This is one of those times.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:16 PM on October 28, 2011


Meanwhile, actual scientists doing actuak real stuff are out there losing their funds. Watch and support them instead.

Yeah. I'm one of them. Doesn't mean I can't spend my spare time following an interesting story.
posted by Jimbob at 7:17 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Skepticism is always warranted. At least I'm pretty sure it is.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:18 PM on October 28, 2011


This sets off my bozo-bit.
posted by SansPoint at 7:19 PM on October 28, 2011


This is such total bullshit that I really have to ask why we need it on metafilter, again. Might as well post 9/11 truther stuff.
posted by spitbull at 7:22 PM on October 28, 2011


I've heard this story before, and I know how it ends.

Seriously people, how long do we have to keep giving attention to supposed inventions that are both highly implausible given our current understanding of physics and are being promoted in a way that is sketchy as hell?

And yeah, we should keep open minds, but not so open our brains fall out.
posted by jcreigh at 7:24 PM on October 28, 2011


So as to not waste more breath on this guy, I'll just repost from the last thread.
Look, folks, big science ain't that hard. 1. submit exhaustive description of experiment and results to peers; 2. wait for disinterested third party to analyze your results and reproduce them. 3. trumpet claim in journals, magazines, and newspapers. If you skip either of the first two steps, you ain't doing big science: you're doing a stage show.
posted by introp at 7:25 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look, folks, big science ain't that hard. 1. submit exhaustive description of experiment and results to peers; 2. wait for disinterested third party to analyze your results and reproduce them. 3. trumpet claim in journals, magazines, and newspapers. If you skip either of the first two steps, you ain't doing big science: you're doing a stage show.

That's what Alfred Wegener did. Just sayin'. Like I said, I don't believe Rossi. I'm just sayin'.
posted by Jimbob at 7:29 PM on October 28, 2011


This is such total bullshit that I really have to ask why we need it on metafilter, again.

A good question for the OP, since this is his 4th post on the topic this year.

If you really have a world-transforming idea, you don't keep it a secret. You're going to be rich and famous regardless of how things pan out. You think Tim Berners-Lee is wanting for anything because he open-sources the web? Dude's worth $50M according to one website (ha!).

There is just no reason to be this secretive and vague about something so important unless there's nothing behind the curtain.
posted by auto-correct at 7:30 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Think very hard, Brian.

Comment best read in HAL's voice.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Doesn't mean I can't spend my spare time following an interesting story.

I'm with you, but I don't know... This one line from the National Review(!?!) just seems way too much like a straight line from somebody trying to be cute:

A public demonstration in Bologna is scheduled for the 28th of October.

Really? A public demonstration in Bologna, eh? In more ways than one, get it?

If this somehow beyond all odds proves to be real, then that would be wonderful. But it sure does have at least a whiff of snake-oil to it so far.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:32 PM on October 28, 2011


Also, in a world of physics obsessed with string theory, I'm still waiting for those experiments...
posted by Jimbob at 7:32 PM on October 28, 2011


Running Cold Fusion without getting jrun errors? MetaFilter already proved that's impossible...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:35 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, in a world of physics obsessed with string theory, I'm still waiting for those experiments...

This dude has testable claims. He just won't let anyone else test them.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:38 PM on October 28, 2011


Obligatory XKCD link
posted by ancillary at 7:43 PM on October 28, 2011


Of the substantive links in the post, all are from sites with the word 'ecat' in them.

Bravo indeed.
posted by kmz at 7:43 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


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