[ExI] Cold fusion paper

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat May 25 16:38:35 UTC 2013

On 25/05/2013 16:24, Mirco Romanato wrote:
> If I talked you about rounds of zinc copper and paper soacked with brine
> in the 1800 and told you it could change the alignment of a compass you
> would had called me nut.

Then you would have demonstrated it, right? And given Spike a simple 
diagram of how to put the setup together so he could independently 
replicate it.

This is why the magnetic induction unit is named after Ørsted. And not 
after Romagnosi.

One can certainly demonstrate effects that are outside the predictions 
of all existing theory, just think of Michelson and Morley, or Becquerel 
and the image of the key on the photographic plate. But in order to 
convince people that you have some actual discovery you need to describe 
what you have done so others can replicate it. (Even Romagnosi did give 
a decent account of his experiment, he just published it in an obscure 

Rossi's problem is that he is not describing what he is doing. So smart 
people have no real reason to think he actually has discovered anything 
- especially in the light of a long tradition of demonstrated frauds who 
behave almost exactly like he does. Even his past disaster in making oil 
from garbage followed almost exactly the same lines - and that was based 
on a real chemical possibility.

> I'm pretty convinced that, if we were in the XIX century, we would had 
> some e-cat around to play now. But the current environment is 
> different. Rossi can not sell me an e-cat, even if I'm willing to risk 
> to use a prototype. The first cars were too insecure for modern 
> standard. Wall Mart, or Home Depot will not sell anything without 
> security certification and a lot of cover from lawsuits. 

If demonstrating safety was the only problem he would have no trouble at 
all. Just build a lot of e-cat and test them in different conditions 
(including actually checking for radioactivity - if cold fusion actually 
turns out to be real it might be an environmental disaster to have a lot 
of little reactors making isotopes).

No, what is holding him back is that he cannot get money from sensible 
investors since they will demand to look inside the box and their 
contracts will be hard to get away from if he is a fraud. So he has to 
deal with the investor undergrowth. In the XIX century he would probably 
have found more people buying into it, and I expect he would have 
absconded much earlier.

>  Elforsk has allocated around 230,000 euros each year, for the next 
> three years for further investigations according to ECW. 
> http://www.e-catworld.com/2013/05/swedish-rd-company-elforsk-ab-comments-positively-on-e-cat-report/

No, they budgeted 23,000 Euro according to that page. Which is peanuts. 
Their total research budget is around 28 million euros, and their 
corporate remit (they are owned by various Swedish energy companies) is 
to fund and research various projects linked to energy. They are not for 
profit and can easily afford looking at weird longshots, especially if 
there is a local champion who pushes for it (and apparently the research 
was only partially funded by them). Their comments are also rather 
sceptical, essentially boiling down to that exactly what is going on 
cannot be determined until they are allowed to look inside. They did 
their testing, that's it.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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