[extropy-chat] Elvis Sightings (2)

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Fri Feb 9 18:29:50 UTC 2007

"Keith Henson" <hkhenson at rogers.com>

> There might not be a really detailed theory, but superconducting
> was fairly well understood.  (BCS model as I remember.)

Low temperature superconductors are fairly well understood, but one of the
few things known about high temperature superconductors is that it must work
by a different mechanism. We didn't understand it then we don't understand
it now, but unlike cold fusion everybody believes it's real.

When Roentgen won the very first Noble Prize in Physics more than a century
ago for discovering X rays nobody including Roentgen knew what in hell they
were or how they worked (that's why he called them X rays) but every
Physicist alive believed they existed because he used then to see the bones
in his wife's hand. Where are cold fusion's bones?

> It's quick and easy to replicate HTS.

You need to mix exotic rare earths in precise percentages in just the right
way, with great care taken not to include any impurities, then you have to
cool it down to liquid nitrogen temperatures, then you have to measure that
it really is superconducting. That doesn't sound enormously easier than a
electrolysis experiment.

> If HTS had taken hundreds of hours to anneal and
> still been intermittent I doubt it would have faired any better.

Was it harder than determining that the universe is accelerating? Was if it
harder than building a microscope that can see atoms? Was it harder than
detecting a neutrino after it went through the entire Earth and then
weighing it? Is that stupid heat really that illusive?

Well to be honest maybe it is that illusive, because as soon as a real
scientist fails to see it the cold fusion people say, oh I forgot to tell
you for it to work you also need to do this and that, and when that also
doesn't work they say oh I forgot to tell you for it to work you must also
do that and this, and when that fails to work....

> This was at mid to late 70s.

If he was scoffing at continental drift in the late 70's then the man was a
fool. I am not a fool. But again I want to emphasize the enormous difference
between having a theory and claiming a experimental result. Disproving one
is easy, the other is not.

> It's been 30 years now.  Still, it would not
> surprise me one bit to get the same reaction now.

Neither would I, among Scientologists and Christian fundamentalists; but
among scientific skeptics they have all either changed their minds about
continental drift, died, or gotten Alzheimer's disease by now.

>  There are thousands of pro scientology articles.

Well sure there are, and there are thousands of pro cold fusion articles,
but none of them are in Nature or Science or Physical Review Letters, or any
journal a real scientist could cite without acute embarrassment.

So Keith, will cold fusion become mainstream in the next year or not, I
mean, the mainstream can't ALWAYS be wrong, if the phenomena is real they're
bound to catch on sooner or later, it's flabbergasting they've managed to
avoid it for 17 years. Can this ridiculous state of affairs really continue
for another year? I say it can because the phenomenon is not real, so one
year from now (or 10 or 100) we will be in exactly precisely the same
situation, just like ESP.

  John K Clark

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