[extropy-chat] Elvis Sightings (was: cold fusion warms up)
thespike at satx.rr.com
Mon Jan 22 17:48:43 UTC 2007
At 01:50 AM 12/26/2006 -0500, John K Clark wrote:
>there is no big controversy
>over this matter, 99.9% of the scientific community think cold fusion
>(except Muon-catalyzed cold fusion) is utter crap. It would be neat if it
>worked but it doesn't and there are plenty of other neat things that do
>work; life is short, time to move on.
Elvis lives! Since we are in the post-"cold fusion"-claim crackdown
era, apparently outlandish claims of this sort are either refused
publication, or peer reviewed, published, and entirely ignored. At
the risk of confirming John's probable estimate of my gullibility, I
commend the following book, which I'm reading on the recommendation
of my old mentor and friend Arthur Clarke:
EXCESS HEAT: Why Cold Fusion Research Prevailed, by Charles G.
Beaudette (an MIT-trained retired electrical engineer).
This fine book shook up my prejudiced concurrence with the prevailing
view of CF, and helped explain how it's possible that so many sober
technicians (more than 100 worldwide) persist in getting positive
results from such apparatus even though no principled explanation is
remotely forthcoming. (As it wasn't with superconductivity for
decades.) The error Pons and Fleischman made, in my view, was largely
one of bypassing some of the traditional filters to announcement (as
Steorn, of course, are also doing), and in contaminating their
earliest declared results with some errors on neutron counts. But it
now seems clear that a huge amount of consolidated work has been done
in the nearly 20 years since. The calorimetry looks good, the results
moderately repeatable (more so than IVF pregnancies let alone routine
animal cloning), the excess heat production anomalous and worthy of
study. But the sociology and politics of the evolving situation has
made that impossible for the moment. Have a look at Beaudette's book.
It's also fun to read.
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