Mitt Romney: I believe in basic science, and by "basic science" I mean "cold fusion"

Discuss

182 Responses to “Mitt Romney: I believe in basic science, and by "basic science" I mean "cold fusion"”

  1. Grey Eyed Man of Destiny says:

    Sort of a misleading headline… cold fusion is basic science (at the moment).

  2. Brainspore says:

    It is worth noting that Romney seems to be referring to the 1989 experiments done by Stanley Pons (who worked for the University of Utah) and Martin Fleischmann.

    It’s much worse than you think. He was actually referring to “Spider-Man 2.”

  3. Matthew says:

    I read the entire transcript, and I am shocked at how woefully uninformed Romney is about, well, just about everything.  Doesn’t stop him from having an opinion on all of it though.  In addition, whenever he is asked about his plans for the country if he wins, he has zero details.  Did this guy really think this through?  Or does he just like the idea of being President?

    • msbpodcast says:

      This 1%er thinks that you become president to get money and power. (Even though it consists mostly of the power to [expletive deleted] things up or people over.)

      1%ers just wants the perks, they dont and smell the coffee. The 1%ers are the reason I have a wiki page about a potential solution to this dilema.

      We’ve become a government
      • OF the thousandaires (the 99%, that would be me and thee,)
      • BY the millionaires (the 1%, that would be the extremely insular privileged overlords and bosses,)
      • FOR the billionaires (the 12,400 individuals identified by the IRS as the people who count (though they don’t really count as they hire some thousandaires to run machines to do that.)

      We need to wean them off of their obsession.

      • anwaya says:

        I think Mitt Rmoney’s platform is perfectly clear. Reduce Capital Gains Tax to 0%. Everything else is window-dressing to get the punters in.

    • bcsizemo says:

      You are somehow implying that the last 10 presidents or more have been scientific master minds… 

      But really there should be some kind of entrance exam for role of president.

    • Vic Hoon says:

      “Doesn’t stop him from having an opinion on all of it though. ” As a non-American, the limited impression I have of Romney is that here’s a chap who will have an opinion that agrees with everyone’s at some point in time, before he changes it. 

    • chris jimson says:

      “Did this guy really think this through?  Or does he just like the idea of being President?”

      (sigh) Yes, he has actually done a 180 on a lot of his apparent views since he was governor of the bluest state in the nation, so did he “liberal up” to get the governorship of MA, or did he move right to get the GOP nod?  How the hell does anyone really know?  (And why was John Kerry a “flip-flopper” for changing his opinions on bills he had to vote on, but Romney isn’t for completely reversing his deepest views on abortion and gun rights?)  Ultimately none of us truly knows for certain anything Mitt believes, except that he *really* wants to be President.

      • wysinwyg says:

        Yes, he has actually done a 180 on a lot of his apparent views since he was governor of the bluest state in the nation, so did he “liberal up” to get the governorship of MA, or did he move right to get the GOP nod?

        There’s another possibility which is that he doesn’t actually possess deeply felt moral values one way or the other.  I think he’s a cynical pragmatist who will “believe” anything to get his way.

        • RedShirt77 says:

          His primary deep held belief is that is monetary success is evidence of his personal genius.  So, all the details are unimportant in the process of getting someone as smart as him to be in charge.

    • James says:

      He only wants to be president… not the job.  

    • benher says:

      He’s going to set America back to the dark ages.

    • AlainCo says:

      Just for thos looking for more info I’ve made an open letter with many reference.
      It is too long, since people today refuse to reand more that 3 lines.
      Sorry for the bad english, it is a french translation…

      http://lenrnews.eu/?p=764

      it is not even basic science (it was a strongly re-proved fact before 2000).
      It is an industrial fact.

      anyway it cannot convince hard believers, nothing can.

  4. Jonathan Badger says:

    It makes me wonder if cold fusion has a special place in the heart of Mormons, coming as it did from Utah (although neither Pons nor Fleischmann were members).

    • Mordicai says:

      It makes me wonder if even the right wing wonders we suspect are faking the “oh, sure, the Earth could be 6000 years old, evolution is a theory, teach the controversy” nonsense are…maybe legitimately ignorant of the basic workings of science?

      • There’s a similar “true believer,” syndrome between cold fusion and religion.  Wouldn’t it be really nice if we could all have a simple little fusion reactor in our basements to solve all our energy problems?  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an invisible sky-father who loved us and looked out for us?  The lack of actual evidence for either proposition is immaterial to some people because the so desperately WANT it to be true.  And they react with anger and conspiracy theories of being repressed if you point out the lack of evidence.

        • Douglas Stuart says:

          I think that “I want to believe” is the reason behind having Clint Eastwood speak at the RNC. They don’t actually *want* Clint Eastwood, they want the average of the characters he portrays, and the ideals imparted to (but not necessarily embodied by) those fictional persons.

        • Mark A says:

          In addition, Mitt wants the cold fusion to be developed at a public university so that he and his buddies in the energy industry can make billions of dollars off of it.

        • rastronomicals says:

          I believe you are making a false equivalency

        • Ito Kagehisa says:

          James, I am religious (ordained, even) and I do not believe in any invisible sky-fathers who love us and look out for us.

          You might want to entertain the idea that your preconceptions about the viability of cold fusion are similar to your preconceptions about what religion is.  In either instance, an open mind isn’t likely to harm you, eh?

    • SethTS says:

      Right.  R-Money was just reaching for one of his Utah-booster talking points that happened to be vaguely ‘sciency’.

    • Warren_Terra says:

      I wondered the same thing – that the level of boosterism might have been that much higher (not that it lacked nationwide) and the level of debunking that much lower in the media consumed by the Romneys, because it was a “local” story even to a Michigan-raised Mormon educated in California and working in Boston.

    • skunky says:

      Fleischmann is an old Mormon family name, dontcha know?

    • Tashi F says:

      I’m mormon, from Utah, and I attended the University of Utah, and I can tell you it doesn’t.  Mitt is just one guy, ok? 

  5. “I believe in participating in space.”

    Wouldn’t have thought there was too much room for maneuver on that issue.

    • Brainspore says:

      Isn’t “participant” pretty much the lamest award you can get for any endeavor? Way to reach for the stars, Mitt.

      • soithascometothis says:

        That language sounds like a Mormon hedging his bet on his religious belief.

        If the Mormon faith really is “the one true way,” then there is necessarily life on other planets that should be discoverable by science. Not pursuing this vigorously to give people the “proof” of the Mormon religion smacks of “but what if I’m wrong.” At least it does to me.

        Also, just to clarify, I don’t really care what religion a politician subscribes to, if any. That’s their personal thing to work out. As long as they don’t do anything illegal in the name of their “X” I just don’t give a shit.

        • Tashi F says:

          Are you really saying that a republican doesn’t want to fund space exploration because he is afraid of finding aliens?  Doesn’t it make more sense that he doesn’t want to fund space exploration because he is republican? 

          • soithascometothis says:

             No, I’m not.

            I’m saying a mormon who is running for president should have as part of his platform a large increase in NASA funding for the purposes of potentially finding the proof of alien life that will prove his religion correct to the exclusion of all others.

            I’m saying that he’s afraid of NOT finding aliens or, more likely, finding the wrong kind of aliens according to what Joseph Smith tells him.

    • Thad Boyd says:

      PARTICIPANTS…IN…SPAAAAAAAACE!

      • bcsizemo says:

        When can I get there?
        Seriously, send me on that one way trip to Mars.

        • BillStewart2012 says:

          We’re not close to knowing how to build a closed-loop ecosystem that can support you for a year without restocking, much less keep you alive for five years.  That trip to Mars would be far shorter and more one-way than you’d like.

    • Thorzdad says:

      I have to wonder if “participating” means “hitching a ride with other countries’ programs”? It sure sounds passive.

      • TheKaz1969 says:

        I would think that the entire Earth is already participating in space. In fact, I am not sure we have any other option.. well, other than no longer existing.

      • wysinwyg says:

         Especially when you consider that the program we’re hitching rides on is the Soviet-developed and -designed Soyuz.  But socialism is a complete failure doncha know.

  6. Nonentity says:

    when the government removes the extraordinary burdens that it puts on markets, why I think markets are more effective at guiding a prosperous economy than is the government

    I always love how people who complain about the “burdens” the government puts on markets are able to conveniently ignore the reactionary nature of most regulations, and the number of bad solutions that have thrived in the free market due to extreme short-term thinking.  The free market knows best, and who cares how many people are killed, maimed, poisoned, or enslaved along the way?

    • otterhead says:

      Mitt speaks from the perspective of someone who’s never known any life but that of the obscenely rich businessman whose job it is to move money around. In his mind, the ‘government burdens’ (ie, taxes) are forefront. Hello, Cayman Islands!

    • Dylan Boyce says:

      Waaah the government won’t let us externalize our costs!

  7. Deidzoeb says:

    Cold fusion is easy if you can read reformed Egyptian. Otherwise you have to use a seer stone to translate it from those golden plates.

  8. Richard says:

    Miracles. He believes in miracles.

  9. hal9001 says:

    So investing in alternate or “green” energy research shows stupidity? You need to tell that to DARPA and NASA and The Navy who are all investing money (not a lot) in researching why some of these “cold fusion” devices do put out more energy than they consume and why it’s not always repeatable.

    • Brainspore says:

      The stupidity isn’t that Romney wants to research such things, it’s that he apparently still believes a spurious claim from two incompetent scientists that was thoroughly discredited almost a quarter century ago. Read the last sentence of the passage quoted above. He says they “solved that.”

      • hal9001 says:

        Pons and Fleischmann were well respected scientists, that is why their announcement had so much credibility.  I’m sure glad I don’t give interviews to have everything I said decades ago dug up and used against me. I know I’ve had some pretty silly gaffes.  But seriously; I believe in allocating money for basic and off-the-wall research and I am glad that neither candidate has rulled it out.

        • Brainspore says:

          I’m sure glad I don’t give interviews to have everything I said decades ago dug up and used against me.

          The person being criticized in this case isn’t Pons or Fleischmann, it’s Romney. And his “they solved that” quote isn’t from decades ago, it’s from last December.

          • Steven Bell says:

            http://ecat.com
            http://brillouinenergy.com/
            http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4955212n

            I’m an Obama supporter, but almost every poster on this blog has incomplete and outdated information about the subject. It’s far from a hoax or bad science. In fact, it may be the technology that drags the world out of the economic and environmental hell we’re sliding into.

            NASA discovered that there are 6 different parameters that have to be carefully controlled to duplicate the original experiment. There were a flurry of half-assed attempts to duplicate the experiment in 2-4 weeks and then a movement to discredit the original scientists and anyone else who reported anomolous heat findings.

            Anyone who wanted to protect their careers self-censored their own findings and the perception became set in stone that it was junk science.

            There has been groups of scientists working in the field quietly for 20 years now due to the treatment of Fleischmann and Pons and the field being black-balled by departments studying conventional fusion. Regrettably, one of the villians of that situation is the President’s current secretary of energy :(

            Now there are 6 different companies racing to bring products to market and studies being done in Universities, the Navy, Nasa etc…to understand the underlying nature of the effect.

          • robuluz says:

            Uh Ohh, sounds like someone doesn’t have a neo-con-can-do attitude!

            “They solved that!”

            “We built that!”

            “I borrowed heavily against and then wrote off for personal profit… that!”

          • Douglas Stuart says:

            I’ve actually met the Dr Chu, and in addition to being really smart, he is a really nice guy.

          • Petzl says:

            [In reply to Steven Bell, because Disqus won't allow further comment indentation]
            Even a cursory look at your ecat.com link and the Wikipedia link shows that it’s a non-replicable experiment, almost certainly junk science.

          • wysinwyg says:

             @google-f253b84f89f724c2abe68346be8d0573:disqus There was a news story a few years ago about a car that runs on water.  People were very excited about it and I ended up having to slowly and excruciatingly explain to people why it’s not actually possible to do that — and, despite the fact that I have a much firmer grasp of thermodynamics than the people I’m talking to they still wouldn’t believe me.

            Still no water-powered car on the market.  So excuse me for being skeptical.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Still no water-powered car on the market.

            Well, duh. They’re using the wrong water.

          • Brainspore says:

            @wysinwyg:disqus : I got you beat. One of my friends excitedly told me about a story she saw on the news about a car that ran on air. I pointed out that if people could harness air as an energy source then countless industries would pounce on that technology to save on fuel costs, and she just responded with the standard “the oil companies are keeping the technology down” sort of response.

            Eventually I found a video clip of what she had apparently seen: it was a little go-cart sized vehicle that was propelled by a motor that ran on a tank of compressed air that had to be refilled by an external air compressor. Little nuances like “that’s not really an energy source so much as an energy storage medium…” never really registered with her.

          • AlainCo says:

            @wysinwyg
            @antinous / moderator
             about LENr car it is pllaned to be launched by a Swiss Startup, financed by an Incubator around Lausane EPFL

            http://www.lenrforum.eu/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=261#p937

            look at the slides

      • Teller says:

        Maybe he just confused cold fusion with the Keanu Reeves’ documentary, Chain Reaction.

        • Brainspore says:

          If he gets his energy plan ideas from Keanu Reeves movies then I just hope he doesn’t see “The Matrix.”

        • Alien Radio says:

          He’s more of  Abattlefield earth fan. No seriously. It’s his favourite book. given the similarities between scientology, and mormonism, and certainly the similarities between Joseph Smith and LRon, I wonder if it’s there’s something in the cult afflicted mind….

      • Elmar Kitse says:

        Sorry – go follow the link.  Click on the 2nd video and scroll to about 5:10 and listen to what he’s saying.  He’s endorsing basic science, funding lab research, and is joking when he’s talking about Cold Fusion.  He’s *laughing* on the audio when he’s suggesting it.  He’s using Cold Fusion to lighten the mood. 

      • Ito Kagehisa says:

        Eugene Mallove, who resigned from MIT when he found out that he had been manipulated and used in order to discredit Pons and Fleischman, wrote in 2003:

        When many people are asked today about cold fusion, if they recall the 1989 announcement at all, they may offer remarks such as, “The experiment couldn’t be reproduced.” Or, “Cold fusion was quickly dismissed by other laboratories as a mistake.” One of the most significant players in establishing in the public mind that thoroughly erroneous view was a team of investigators at MIT

        Mallove was the guy who published the “thorough discrediting a quarter century ago” you are referring to.  He has been saying for ten years now that he was wrong, and Fleischman and Pons discovered a real phenomena that deserves attention.

    • knappa says:

      Do you have any evidence that DARPA, NASA or the Navy are actually funding cold fusion? If so, in more than cursory amounts? I seriously doubt it. 

    • AlainCo says:

       NASA, DARPA, make research in CF.
      NASA GRC have very good results and claim that CF effect exist on their site.
      http://www.lenrforum.eu/viewforum.php?f=48
      DARPA hide Cf research as nanotech
      http://www.lenrforum.eu/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=288

      SPAWAR have done on of the best results (replicated results, reliable protocoal, 100% success), yet when they tried to mediatize their results they get shutdown…
      http://www.lenrforum.eu/viewforum.php?f=47

      note that even if you use the old excuse that if it exist it is small…
      if it exits IT Is A REVOLUTION in physics.
      The worst is tha looking ate recent italians results (Celani, Focardi, piantelli, and even NASA GRC gas permeation) the heat is sure and high enough to allow industrial application..

      that it does not cause more revolution than Higgs Boson, is the proof of a dysfunction. I have hypothesis
      http://www.lenrforum.eu/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=40
      based on Roland Benabou Patterns of Denial.

      more links there
      http://lenrnews.eu/?p=764

  10. That fine and all, but what’s Romney’s position on UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster?

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

       He believes they should be subject to lower taxes and less federal regulation, in order to create jobs and support traditional families.

      Oh, except the gay UFOs.  He doesn’t believe in them at all.

  11. bauderer says:

    Mitt: I believe in…
    carpet. 

    [pause] 

    Mitt: I I believe in… desk. 

    Interviewer: Mitt, are you just looking at things in the office and
    saying that you believe in them? 

    Mitt:I I believe in lamp. 

  12. KvH says:

    “I do believe in the power of free markets, and when the government removes the extraordinary burdens that it puts on markets, why I think markets are more effective at guiding a prosperous economy than is the government.”

    Does this mean Bain & Co will pay back the $10 million in loans it got from the FDIC?

    Has he announced which industrial subsidies he’ll be eliminating? Farm? Oil perhaps? Will he charge oil companies fair market prices to drill for oil on public lands? Does he think states should stop offering tax incentives to companies that move there?

  13. Bill Musick says:

    Maybe he spent more time studying economics than science.
    Which do you think would make him more qualified right now to lead our country.

    • Aloisius says:

      Science?

      Preferably a hard science. One that involves a lot of critical thinking and testable hypothesis at the very least.

    • Snig says:

      There are grownups who know both.  It’s not too much to ask.  The future of human civilization depends partly on an understanding of health, climate, energy etc.  Not understanding either should disqualify a candidate. 

    • bcsizemo says:

      Honestly I don’t care if the president doesn’t know the technical details of cold or hot fusion.

      What I really care about is his ability to sit down and listen to a solid group of scientist who are experts on these topic and let them guide him to a reasonable and sound position/outcome.  Leaders don’t always have to know every detail of everyone’s job below them, what they need to know how to do is listen and use the resources at hand in the best possible way.

    • BillStewart2012 says:

      Investment isn’t economics.  Business isn’t economics.  Sure, to succeed at either one, you need to pay attention to the economic climate change around you, but macroeconomic problems are much different from microeconomic problems. 

      And making money for your investors is a much different and more focused problem than making money for your workers or making good products and services for your customers.  And they’re both a lot different from growing a national-scale economy.  For instance, purely extractive approaches can make a lot of short-term cash for your capital investment company, even if they mean throwing people out of work or finding what parts in a dying company can be sold – but that’s not a long-term growth strategy.

      • Snig says:

        You said that well. 
        Additionally, there’s also an incredibly random element to investing.  There are unpredictable factors that arbitrarily reward some and punish others, regardless of merit.  There may have been 99 Romney equivalents (excellent family connections, right prep school and college connections) who started in business, who, because of the vagaries of the stock market, are no longer part of the 1%.  Romney having won the investing lottery does not by itself means he’s better, but has, to this point, been lucky.  As any investment will tell you, past performance is no guarantee of future results. 

  14. capkavern says:

    http://www.fusionacademy.eu/ look! look people! A mormon academy.

  15. Jeremy Lusk says:

    Listening to the interview — he was laughing as he mentioned cold fusion. Not sure how to interpret that laugh, but it didn’t come through in the transcription.

    • Petzl says:

      He was in no way making a joke about cold fusion. He was sincere. He just doesn’t know enough about the subject to realize it’s all bunk. He was acknowledging that the results weren’t replicable when he chuckled.

      • Elmar Kitse says:

        He was in every way joking about Cold Fusion, although he sounded sincere about investing in basic science.  This is a guy who above all else we can trust will follow anything that will make a buck … cold fusion would fall into that category if it weren’t bunk, just like advances in solar power etc.  He likely didn’t want to talk solar because of Solyndra mess that occurred right before this interview took place

        He was talking about funding basic science, laboratory research, and a willingness to try to find new ways of going about generating electricity.  

        His whole voice and cadence changes here, he’s joking about ‘Cold Fusion’ and goes on to poke fun at that by saying they can’t quite get it to work again.  Follow the links and as they say in slashdot RTFM.   2nd video on the page, about 5:10 min into it for his clip about cold fusion. He’s drawing a contrast between the government investing in a company and subsidizing Fiskar and Tesla to make electric cars (influencing the market with subsidies instead of letting Toyota / GM / etc come to it in their own time, which they might never do without government regulation of course) …. vs putting money in basic science research.  

        Because he joked about Cold Fusion, suddenly we’re all collectively ‘facepalming’ and saying he’s an idiot who believes in gold plates and mormanism, instead of having a conversation about what happens with the government meddles.  I don’t go full GOP and agree with River Tam “We meddle and we haven’t the right” but I also think it’s valid to wonder and or question how and why the government does what it does with the money it takes from us.  

        Investing in basic science research is going to result in some duds, but I’m more comfortable with that than putting money into the hands of luxury car brands.

        I also don’t think anything is advanced by fanning the flames of some sort of self indulgent ZOMG COLD FUSION + ROMNEY snipe hunt…. there are much better ways to knock Romney down several notches.  I love Boing Boing and read it daily but coming from the right ish side, junk posts like this are frustrating and seem just to be here as an outlet for venting without any real care for what’s really going on.

        • Petzl says:

          I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.

          The talk he’s giving to the reporters is completely sober, completely buttoned-down, completely sincere.  Yes, he laughs at the reference to cold fusion, in acknowledging it’s non-replicable. Just because he laughs, doesn’t mean he wasn’t being sincere.  It’s could be cognitive dissonance.

          Look, it was a gaffe.  He was speaking glibly and expansively and ran into a pothole along the road.  If he’d said “alchemy” instead of “cold fusion”, we’d know he was making a joke, at Utah’s expense no less. But he didn’t.  And there are many “fusion truthers” who still think cold fusion can work, so there’s a lot of ambiguity here.

          Whether he “believes” in fusion, or not, it was an inept reference. It’s made murkier by the fact that cold fusion was “invented” in Utah, so we don’t know if he’s showing “state pride” or not.

          • AlainCo says:

             Next conference on cold fusion will happend in Uni Missouri because Robert Duncan have been convinced.
            He have been convinced after a CNBC doccument, whe he was hored as a debunker, because he was very skeptical like all mainstream.

            now he his a strong supporter…
            http://www.lenrforum.eu/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=434

            you need more ?

            anyway, impossible to convince…

        • wysinwyg says:

          I love Boing Boing and read it daily but coming from the right ish side, junk posts like this are frustrating and seem just to be here as an outlet for venting without any real care for what’s really going on.

          And we know people “coming from the right” would never vent by taking cheap shots at liberals.  Ever.

          Edit: Having now listened to the video I disagree with your interpretation that he is joking. There’s a sort of chuckle mixed in there but his tone and cadence really don’t suggest “joke” at all.

  16. Daniel says:

    What does it mean to “believe in basic science”?

    As opposed to what?

    • Brainspore says:

      The logical answer would be “as opposed to unsupported religious dogma and superstition,” but somehow I don’t think that’s what he meant.

    • Petzl says:

      You know… junk science like science that looks into climate change, immoral science like science that works with stem cells, and liberal science like using investigative methods that show that Voter ID laws tend to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

    • Well the full quote IS much clearer.  What he means is more “believes that the Federal government should invest in basic science.”

    • wysinwyg says:

      I know it’s not a funny response, but as opposed to “applied science.”  it’s easy to get funding to make a better refrigerator, it’s hard to get funding for basic research in thermodynamics.

  17. titfos says:

    Cold fusion is cool

  18. Petzl says:

    This interview is 10 months old… how is it that boingboing is breaking this news?  Poor traditional news guys in suits don’t know gold when they have it.

  19. Sam Haynes says:

    Hydrogen implodes when it is ignited.

    • wysinwyg says:

       Umm, no it does exactly the opposite.

      • Sam Haynes says:

        When you electrolyze 1 liter of water you get 22 liters of resultant hydroxyl gas. When you burn 22 liters of hydroxyl gas you get… 1 liter of water. The expansive properties are from steam that  expands 1,300 times the amount of water.

        • wysinwyg says:

          Yes, and if you gathered up all the smoke from a forest fire into nuclear dense matter it would be smaller than a pinhead.  So forest fires are also a form of implosion, amirite?

          • Sam Haynes says:

            No. The hydrocarbons are oxidized into monoxides, dioxides, and water, gases that expand from the original hydrocarbon chains. Pure hydrogen oxidizes into water, which has a tighter bond than H2 gas. 

  20. vonbobo says:

    Superman flew against the rotation of the earth and made time go backwards. Maybe we can figure that out and do that some more?

  21. I can’t believe Mitt Romney doesn’t know that it was Elisabeth Shue who discovered cold fusion.

  22. Tim H says:

    A cold fusion aside:  A relative of mine worked as middle management for a power company.  He told me that the company had worked out a plan in place on how to stay afloat in case of the realization of free fusion energy, basically renting lines and prepping smaller converter stations into generator stations.  This was in 1990, and the management at the company considered free, easy fusion inevitable.

  23. Hugh G says:

    I’ve observed quietly as BoingBoing — an excellent site about design — has decided to make an unfortunate habit of occasionally blindly endorsing anything which is conventional science.  And while this certainly assists their popularity, it honestly does no service to scientific inquiry and curiosity.  While blind endorsements for conventional science superficially appear to be a great — almost obvious — idea for most of BoingBoing’s readers, it appears lost on everybody (Americans, at least) that no generation of *any* people has EVER perfectly distinguished between “cutting edge science” and “fringe science.”  Are we claiming that we are the first?  This is the type of attitude which actually turns students off to science, guys.  Why would any kid go into science if it’s all been figured out already?

    It’s also worth mentioning what should be obvious to all who cherish science: We need people studying cold fusion, and other “fringe” topics, as there is always a chance that they are actually cutting edge.  Probably many people who do not follow LENR research would be surprised to learn of the sheer number of people who *are* working in that field (like the US Navy), and who claim to be seeing things which cannot be explained by the textbooks.

    And there is a nasty side-effect of blindly advocating whatever it is that is in the textbooks: It creates an artificial immunity amongst people to unconventional ideas in science, in the process suppressing creative problem-solving — and it does so at a moment in history when we very badly need to be hedging our scientific bets.  As a nation, we literally cannot afford the position of being against everything which is unconventional.

    I personally hope that BoingBoing will stop feeding these stereotypes that there is no such thing as cutting edge science at the fringes.

    • KvH says:

      Science is not a collection of facts, it’s a method for discovering facts. If by “fringe science” you mean claims made from methods that don’t follow the scientific method, then those claims should be ignored until actual science is used to prove or disprove them.

      One of the prime components of the scientific method is replication. Can you replicate your own experiment under similar conditions, can others replicate your experiment, also under similar conditions. What specific conditions?

      Fleischmann & Pons have had decades to reproduce their own experiment, others have tried as well. It can not be reliably reproduced.

      How many failures does it take to declare a fringe science “failed” or how many successes does it take to make a fringe science “science”? For such a simple experiment 2 decades of failures seems like an awful lot. Cold fusion is way on the “failed” side. Far enough that the government should no longer invest in it.  Just as they should no longer be investing in ESP studies or having men stare at goats.

      Many fringe sciences become science. But it’s by following the scientific method, not some board of science picking winners and losers as people seem to think.

      • bigmike7 says:

        I agree with HughG in a general way. While initial published studies and attempts at replication are an integral part of the scientific process, scientists are not immune from forming biases early on and rallying around favored ideas. There’s a certain amount of group think going on. 

        An example is the way evolutionary biologists tend to hold to gradualism in a reactionary or defensive manner. The defensiveness comes from the need to fend off attacks from creationists seeking to poke holes in evolution. So huge gaps in the fossil record are explained away as imperfections in the record itself. This is understandable. How annoying it is that creationists pick through scientific findings to support their magical idea while they ignore the scientific process itself. But in arguing away the significance of gaps, scientists ignore opportunities to actually figure out what is behind the gaps. I’ve glossed over here the theory of punctuated equilibrium which proposes long periods of stasis followed by sudden jumps. But, in general, people that seek to question evolutionary gradualism based on jumps in the record are ridiculed. 

        Another example is any type of explanation of our history that starts with stories and myths passed down through storytellers. World-wide flood stories, and lost continent stories, occur in so many cultures and yet these stories are not taken seriously by the scientific community as a starting point for investigation. And of course, a story itself is not evidence. But the whole notion of catastrophe as a major contributor in our history is rejected out of hand. If a scientist ever does approach the idea of a flood, it is invariably linked to a local affect, like a sudden rise in the Black Sea, misunderstood by ignorant people of the time. A scientist seriously looking for Atlantis is guaranteed to be ridiculed unless he identifies some tiny little seawall in a marsh in Spain as the lost continent. Again, there is the assumption that early historians like Plato were ignorant and that there could not have been a global catastrophe.   The science community holds to the dogma of gradual, predictable processes. It is probably a reaction against attacks by the religious fanatics that seek to prove their myths and stories as a way to prove their religion. Or, it could be just arrogance. 

        Why should people that insist on investigating cold fusion be ridiculed or have their careers ruined? There have been some unusual and unexplained effects in cold fusion experiments. Isn’t that worth checking out even if it doesn’t pan out as a significant energy source? There’s something to be learned in unexplained effects. 

        I am not a creationist or a free energy fanatic. I “believe” in the scientific method. I’m just getting a little bothered with the “scientists are infallible” meme. I’m waiting for the day the science community conducts research on its own built in biases and how they self-replicate.

        • scav says:

          If you understand the scientific method, you know it is actually based on a “scientists are FALLIBLE” meme.

          The whole point of requiring replication and critical peer review is that humans are way too vulnerable to wishful thinking.

          Initial scepticism isn’t a systematic bias, just a set of prior probabilities, which EVIDENCE can always overcome. Where evidence is not forthcoming, continued scepticism is a reasonable standpoint, I’m sure you’d agree.

          • bigmike7 says:

            Yes, I understand the purpose of peer review and replicating results. It works most of the time. Does this part of the scientific method make scientists as a group immune from unsupported biases? No. And I think the more the science community insists the method is fail proof, the more room there is for shutting down novel hypotheses in fields that are already very well “settled”. In theoretical physics, for example,where so many fundamental questions are unsettled, this is less a problem. 

            I would offer the same example of how evolutionary biologists “dig in” over the issue of fossil record gaps. What evidence is there that the gaps are there because we just haven’t looked hard enough to find transition fossils? None. And yet this is repeated over and over: The gaps are a fault of the fossil record, not of gradualism. And this gets back to Kvan’s point: There are some areas that some scientists have decided have been answered once and for all, despite some glaring problems with evidence. 

            Scientists have a bias for theories which hold to favored principles. One of these is uniformitarianism, a principle that holds that any processes that were important in the past are the same processes we see acting today. Uniformitarianism discounts explanations that rely on the unusual or catastrophic. Scientists have a natural bias toward the predictable. 

            So, I’m not questioning the scientific method’s ability to efficiently weed out quack ‘science’ like homeopathy or hollow Earth. And I get what you’re saying about being skeptical until evidence comes along. What I’m talking about is a tendency to simply ignore ‘upstart’ hypotheses. Who chooses what gets published, what gets funded? Right now I can’t get grant funding for a high school soil science project because I’m not insisting students incorporate sustainability into their project. And, as much as I support anthropogenic cause for global warming, I would imagine it would be pretty hard to get funding for a study that sought to prove other causes or other contributing causes. 

            So, no, I don’t trust that evidence will ALWAYS overcome because it is people that choose what is worth looking at. 

          • Petzl says:

            With enough evidence and enough scientists, evidence will always overcome. Unless there are cultural biases at work (eg, when religion prevents fundamentalist scientists from accepting evolution).  But it’s hard to see what “bias” could be at work with cold fusion, except the bias against unreplicable science.

          • wysinwyg says:

            @bigmike7:twitter

            I would offer the same example of how evolutionary biologists “dig in” over the issue of fossil record gaps. What evidence is there that the gaps are there because we just haven’t looked hard enough to find transition fossils? None. And yet this is repeated over and over: The gaps are a fault of the fossil record, not of gradualism.

            The “gaps” you’re talking about are very easily explained.  Only a very small percentage of organisms get fossilized in the first place.  Of course there are gaps.  It’s impossible for the fossil record not to have gaps.

            The debate over “punctuated equilibrium” is nonsense.  If you try to actually understand what “punctuated equilibrium” means it’s another obvious point: evolution doesn’t always proceed at the same rates.  There are periods of relative stasis and periods of relative novelty.  This is not the least bit controversial among evolutionary biologists.  The reasons biologists push back are a little more complicated, but it’s largely because people like you complaining about “gaps in the fossil record” and “punctuated equilibrium” sound like creationists.  These are the arguments creationists use and they’re based on failing to engage with what evolutionary theory actually says.

            Very few scientists seem to think we have everything figured out.  This makes sense because…why would they have become scientists otherwise?  You also underestimate the intellectual diversity of scientists.  There are uniformitarians but there are also catastrophists.  The give and take between different schools of thought within science is a lot more significant than you seem willing to admit.

          • Brainspore says:

            @wysinwyg:disqus :

            The “gaps” you’re talking about are very easily explained.  Only a very small percentage of organisms get fossilized in the first place.  Of course there are gaps.  It’s impossible for the fossil record not to have gaps.

            Put another way: “every time you fill a gap you create two more.”

          • Mister says:

            @boingboing-d6ce336295150f807784dc4dea3ffe10:disqus

            I would offer the same example of how evolutionary biologists “dig in” over the issue of fossil record gaps.

            “Digging in” does not signal a failure in the scientific method. It is a perfectly valid response in the face of unconvincing or otherwise insufficient evidence. Geologists “dug in” for something like 50 years against the plate tectonic theory before finally accepting it — after accumulating convincing evidence — in the ’50s and ’60s.

            What evidence is there that the gaps are there because we just haven’t looked hard enough to find transition fossils?

            If you’re asking that question then I have to assume you aren’t a scientist. Lack of evidence is not evidence. By your logic, we should seriously consider the possibility that hobbits living in the center of the planet are the primary cause of global warming. I mean, what evidence is there that we haven’t found GHG-emitting hobbits because we just haven’t looked hard enough for them?

        • Hugh G says:

          BigMike –

          You get it.  The problem is that there are so few of us who truly do get these important points that we may actually know each other, from elsewhere on the web (?).

          What we usually see in science is a specialist’s approach to complex problems, when what we truly need is an interdisciplinary, synthesis-based approach where paradigms are being compared and contrasted, if our goal is to ever be able to adequately question and move beyond existing conventional theory to better, more predictive theories.  To be clear, this is impossible to do so long as people discount the value of investigating and learning about unpopular notions in science.  The refusal to learn about unpopular leads and ideas in science which might cast doubt upon the textbook view is actually a decision to make oneself ignorant of any potential theories which might explain those leads.  The problem should be obvious here: We cannot get down to the business of comparing and contrasting paradigms and theories until we cultivate a deep interest in anomalous, or “fringe,” topics.

          There is this amazing little book which at first glance will seem unrelated.  It’s titled “Immunity to Change,” and it’s based upon the lifelong work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey.  I believe that this book shows, quite clearly, that those misleading cognitive habits which send scientific theory astray are there for extremely important reasons: What is wrong with science is also precisely what is right with it.  For instance, we avoid fringe science, at risk of ignoring cutting edge science.  But, the reason we ignore fringe science is because we are concerned that it is pseudo-science.  This dualistic pattern manifests at all levels of scientific decision-making, i.e., the inferential step.  Science is in tension with competing interests and forces (many of which are in fact subconscious!), and this tension is what maintains the stability of conventional science over huge periods of time.  Break that tension — eliminate the immunity to change — and dramatic breakthroughs become possible.

          This is precisely why more senior scientists are less likely to discover  groundbreaking, theory-busting findings, as they get older: Because those findings can present a serious dilemma to their own knowledge structures.  We should not dismiss the crisis that a scientist would face were he or she to discover that everything they knew, at a deep, foundational level, might be wrong — for that means that they would no longer be the experts.  People who dismiss these things are adopting a specialists’ perspective for an interdisciplinary problem.  Of course psychology plays a role in the inferential step!

          Most conventional scientific thinkers have drastically misunderstood the role that our minds play in the inferential step.  People behave as though the subconscious mind is in fact a subset of the rational mind, when in truth, the opposite is the case.  When people refuse to cultivate an awareness of “fringe” science’s claims, they totally lose sight of this dualistic nature of the inferential step.  Instead, they just pay attention to one half of the tension: the pseudo-science half, for instance.  This incomplete cognitive framework is then used as an information filter, which then reinforces the person’s belief that fringe science is not cutting edge.  You will see this just about everywhere you look online today.  Very few are immune to it.

          Kegan and Lahey are clear that these cognitive systems exist in order to provide stability to our frameworks for thought.  I would propose that science is facing precisely the same situation: The stability of conventional science is not a coincidence, and I would even argue that it’s not even due to the strength of conventional science itself, as I could stream out a list of 100+ critical anomalies in the scientific textbooks that people simply willfully ignore.  The stability of conventional science derives from a large number of cultural, psychological, sociological and educational factors — each of which make us immune to changes in our scientific beliefs.

          The only authentic way forward for science is to discover ways to free ourselves from being the *subject* of scientific paradigms.  We must transition, as I believe Carl Jung and others have apparently advocated within the discipline of psychology, to viewing scientific paradigms as the *object* of our thought, so that we can compare and contrast scientific paradigms, and critique our own beliefs.  Unfortunately, studies demonstrate that only 1% of the population is able to do this, and many of those are Fortune 500 CEO’s.

          • wysinwyg says:

            No, you guys really don’t get it.  The skepticism and conventionalism of scientific culture is a feature, not a bug.  Credulity is a much bigger threat to scientific integrity than closed-mindedness.

            Considering how well communities of scientists do their jobs of discovering things, maybe you amateurs ought to consider whether you might be overlooking some important details in your zeal?

            Incidentally, a great number of scientists are interested in syntheses, anomalies, and everything else you decry scientists for ignoring.  That suggests to me you either don’t know what you’re talking about or you’re engaged in motivated reasoning.

            The problem is that there are so few of us who truly do get these important points that we may actually know each other, from elsewhere on the web (?).

            This sort of self-congratulatory back-patting really undermines your credibility from my point of view. You are advocating for people to be skeptical of their own beliefs, right? Too much to ask that you take your own advice?

          • bigmike7 says:

            Hi, Hugh. You probably don’t know me from other sites because I usually don’t post these thoughts. I’m usually posting science boosterism. 

            It is refreshing to read your thoughts here and I’m probably going to get called out by the Gestapo for “self-congratulating” by saying as much. 

            What is really bizarre to me is that boing bingers just love having a chuckle over 1950′s better living through science advertisements, but seem so unwilling to objectively critique the philosophical underpinnings –the paradigms you refer to– behind science now. 

            As you say, the reason it is extremely unlikely the scientific community would ever embrace looking at anomalies as an organized endeavor is that it just looks to much like pseudoscience. And that’s because there are so many hoaxes behind things like UFO’s. And an over reliance on anecdotal evidence which science doesn’t real have a way of dealing with other than rejection. But what about anecdotal evidence from military and airline pilots? Many of these pilots say they are worried about even talking about what they saw for fear of ridicule. 

            I really am amused at the crazy reaction you got. What’s so unacceptable about acknowledging the role of the human mind and cognitive systems in regards to science?

        • wysinwyg says:

          World-wide flood stories, and lost continent stories, occur in so many cultures and yet these stories are not taken seriously by the scientific community as a starting point for investigation.

          False.

          Why should people that insist on investigating cold fusion be ridiculed or have their careers ruined?

          Usually when people are “ridiculed” or have their “careers ruined” it’s because they are pompous blowhards who insist they are brilliant revolutionaries who are going to CHANGE EVERYTHING. Such people deserve what they get. People who investigate anomalous science with some degree of humility and skepticism are usually granted a certain amount of respect. William Corliss is a great example. Albert Einstein could probably be counted as another.

          • bigmike7 says:

            I’m not sure what you have labelled “false” in scarlet red lettering. False that there are multiple flood mythologies or false that scientists don’t look at them with any seriousness? If the latter, the most scientists are willing to grant is the ignorant misinterpretation by a small group of a local effect. For example, that since tribes were more likely to live near rivers, then naturally they would have assumed the whole world was flooding when the river overran because people weren’t as smart back then as we are now.
            If stories said flooding was world wide why not consider that? After all, humans were around at the end of the last ice age when relatively fast melting covered over Doggerland and the continent sized island (Sundaland) of which only the mountaintops (current day Indonesia) remains. Why not give ancient people some credit for being aware of the scale of what was going on? Surely hundreds of thousands if not millions of people would have lived on Sundaland  and would have had to migrate away over many generations, possibly suddenly in the case of a sizable tsunami flooding an already shrinking island. Why assume stories of lost continents were based on ignorance and explain them away with some paltry event like the destruction of tiny Thera in the Mediterannean? 

            I think certain modes of thinking can become so clubby and institutionalized that “blowhards” as you say eventually serve a certain function. Why has science failed to capture the imagination of so many American youth? Is it really only because they are distracted by media? Why are they so captivated by 2012 predictions? Has anyone asked them? If science has failed in this regard the scientific community could benefit from some self-reflection. 

          • AlainCo says:

             another reason why some good scientist, sometime egotic I agree, sometime not, is that they have to fight against the self-contentment of well installed old scientist…
            see Wegener story, Newton agains achromatic les, or against leibnitz…

            hard to differentiate stupidities from new idea when you are powerfull, egotic, fear of change, feared to lose you place and feel stupid…

          • Hugh G says:

            Re: “People who investigate anomalous science with some degree of humility and skepticism are usually granted a certain amount of respect. William Corliss is a great example. Albert Einstein could probably be counted as another.”

            Well, now, we appear to have come full-circle, then, because when Albert Einstein died, the book “Worlds in Collision” was prominently open on his desk — A book which advocated for a GLOBAL FLOOD due to a global catastrophe.  Few may realize it, but Einstein and Immanuel Velikovsky spent much time discussing uniformitarianism and catastrophism — and they did so with a much more level head than we see being done on the Internet today.  

            It never ceases to amaze me how Einstein’s followers have always been so much more devoted to his ideas than Einstein himself was.  To his credit, he held to his death that he could still be wrong.  It’s also vital to point out that Einstein was an outsider to the disciplines of physics and cosmology when he proposed Relativity.  And yet, the devout Einsteinites appear to assert boldly that this must be the last time that this will ever happen in science.

            Humility indeed.

            Re: “The skepticism and conventionalism of scientific culture is a feature, not a bug … Incidentally, a great number of scientists are interested in syntheses, anomalies, and everything else you decry scientists for ignoring.”

            This issue is far more nuanced than you’re getting here.  When you treat science as a lens through which you look, you will never see its faults.  Kegan and Lahey explain, rather clearly actually, that paradigms — such as in science — *must* be treated as an object which we look *at*, if we are to maintain an ability to critique, compare and contrast them.  So, if you have any respect for Thomas Kuhn, it might help to remind people that Kuhn was looking *at* science — not *through* it.  His entire analysis would be completely impossible if he had been looking *through* science as a lens.  And everybody would be wise to attempt to do the same — to look *at* science — if we are to make progress towards better, more predictive theories.  It’s sad to me that I have to explain this, but there it is.  Should be obvious, really, but so many people simply don’t get it.

            And to be honest, there shouldn’t really be anything controversial about this.  But, unfortunately, what we have on BoingBoing, Slashdot and other forums like the Bad Astronomy / Universe Today forum is a form of faith in science which has proven adept at dismissing anomalies as being disruptive to conventional theory.  Ad hoc modeling is valued as a means of fixing problems in conventional theory, but few ever accept that each time theory is altered or amended, this is an admission that it was formerly wrong.  The very notion that conventional theory can be wrong at a fundamental level is strictly forbidden amongst conventional thinkers — especially those people who would no longer be acknowledged as “experts” as a result.  Again, this should be painfully obvious.  The superficial view of scientists as being prepared to abandon everything they’ve learned, and start over, is pie-in-the-sky belief born of a specialist’s view of the process.  Change almost *always* comes from the outside, just as it did with Einstein.

            What I see happening here is that people are simply forming information bubbles around themselves, in an awkward attempt to deal with the information overload that they are suffering.  In this manner, science is simply refashioned as a form of religion, where faith is necessary to fill in for the specialist’s inability to know all of science.  Those who disbelieve the Big Bang theory, even when based upon evidence, are cast aside as heretics who have sinned because they refuse to place faith in those popular notions which they don’t have confidence in.  Mankind has seen this stuff before.  Those who truly value the principles of science think beyond the reactionary view that scientific consensus can never be wrong.  Those who fully appreciate science can see that we must always protect peoples’ rights to disagree over claims and arguments, so long as logic and data is involved, for the very reason that change usually comes from the outside.

          • Hugh G says:

            BigMike is right about the flooding.  Those who have spent any time looking at the mythological archetypes will know that these archetypes are universal among cultures.  The flood archetype, WHICH CLEARLY PREDATES RELIGION, is just one of numerous points of agreement between the cultures of the world that we live in a catastrophist universe.  The fact that the arguments over global flooding have become confused as an argument over religion by most people today indicates the incredibly sloppy treatment that conventional scientific thinkers have offered to the world on the subject of mythology (which they have linguistically equated with “untrue”).  To be clear, what we are talking about here is several thousand years of human-storytelling which is essentially dismissed as nonsense — Our very first stories.  And not only that, but the ancients also give us congruent testimony across numerous cultures of the world regarding the observed birth of the planet Venus, and even its arrival in a cometary form, in contradiction to established theory.  What is absolutely fascinating is the data which came back from Venus in the 70′s from four separate probes, which indicated clearly that Venus’ heat is originating from its surface — not its atmosphere.  But, since this was a paradigm-busting observation, all four probes’ data was either “normalized” or simply rejected, in order to hold to the belief that Venus is in thermal equilibrium.  Nevermind that Carl Sagan and others had predicted that Venus would be desert-like, and Velikovsky had predicted that it *must* be covered in volcanos in order for his catastrophist theory to be true.  Charles Ginenthal was actually prepared to completely abandon catastrophism if Venus was NOT covered in volcanos (YouTube search on “charles ginenthal venus”).  Sagan’s Super Greenhouse Theory had to win the day in order to ensure that the threat of Velikovsky to mainstream science would be extinguished.  It didn’t hurt that Velikovsky could barely be understood due to his thick accent, and Carl Sagan was on broadcast television.

            After all, this is ‘Merica, as GW would say …

      • dioptase says:

         I want to go on record as opposing replicating the Big Bang to test the theory.

        Tuskegee syphilis experiments, Coke II, and the Permian extinction should also go on the short list.

        • bigmike7 says:

          dioptase, this isn’t in reply to you, I just chose this spot because your comment is funny.

          First, I think some people are missing that I said the scientific method works well for most of the time. I really meant that. 

          @Petzl:disqus : “With enough evidence and enough scientists, evidence will always overcome. Unless there are cultural biases at work (eg, when religion prevents fundamentalist scientists from accepting evolution). ”

          The point I’m making is that there are cultural biases within the scientific community itself. As long as the scientific community imagines that it is immune from subjectivity, the more time these biases have to become institutionalized. 

          Here are some cultural biases:

          Science and positive progress are intertwined. Scientists create solutions to current problems, they don’t create new and bigger problems by putting off nature’s built-in self correcting mechanisms. (This one is really only questioned using a rear view mirror: It’s okay to chuckle–a la boing boing–at the promises of 1950′s food technology fetishes, but we’ll only go so far. We might question whether the miracles of the Geeen Revolution inadvertently worsened soil degradation or the population explosion which exacerbated carbon output and global warming, but we absolutely won’t question science’s ability steer us toward “progress” today. We must reduce carbon output and continue to control nature.

          Here’s another one : A theory is more trustworthy if it is “elegant”. The simplicity favored by physics theorists is actually a holdover from earlier times when natural philosophers made the goal of science the revealing of the perfection of the mind of god. It is only over the past several decades that scientists are less free to say that the discoveries of science support the magnificence of a divine creation. I favor this separation, really. But what I don’t favor is the refusal to examine these built in assumptions. A similar one is the bias toward grand theories that unify sub-theories. It’s another variation of “mind of god” bias that assumes there must be an organic wholeness and unifying logic to existence. Why isn’t there a principle that the universe is just humorously and irrevocably fucked up? Well, because that precludes the promise that human genius and logic can solve everything.

          @Mister44:disqus : 
          “Lack of evidence is not evidence. By your logic, we should seriously consider the possibility that hobbits living in the center of the planet are the primary cause of global warming. I mean, what evidence is there that we haven’t found GHG-emitting hobbits because we just haven’t looked hard enough for them?” 

          Huh? Am I mistaken? It appears you compared fantastical hobbits to missing transitional species. I think you just made my point for me. Although, my point is not to preclude the real possibility that gaps are there because fossils aren’t made all the time. It’s very likely. 

          @wysinwyg:disqus :

          I am aware of all the subtleties of everything you discussed and I agree with most of your points. I am also aware that creationists seek to distort or recast punctuated equilibrium to suit their own ends.  The rare times I actually post about science is usually to argue with creationists or abiotic oil cranks. My point is that scientists don’t really know for certain why the “gaps” are there. What’s wrong with saying, “we don’t really for sure”? The insistence on saying they are “very easily explained” only makes sense in in that there is a concerted effort to discredit all of science to forward creationist “thinking”. But this talking point gets a life of its own to the point where possibilities such as extremely rapid evolutionary jumps are rejected or ignored simply because it would give fuel to creationists. And this gets back to my earlier point about uniformitarianism (another cultural bias of scientists). If we insist on explaining past events only with processes we see in action now, we have put up a huge blinder to looking for possible mechanisms which simply aren’t in play now. We have never lived through a biodiversity collapse– we are only just starting to right now. Our only perspective is stasis. So there is a blindness in assuming that periods of rapid change favor the same mechanisms observed in periods of stasis. 

          I think the responses I have gotten make my point very well about there being a reactionary tendency in the scientific community. Everything I wrote earlier made it very clear I am in full support of the scientific method. Only one thing I question and that is the unwillingness to admit that human subjectivity or bias and group-think dynamics are sometimes part of the equation. 

          • Hugh G says:

            Re: “My point is that scientists don’t really know for certain why the “gaps” are there. What’s wrong with saying, “we don’t really for sure”?”

            Mike hits the nail on the head once again.

            In a catastrophist plasma-based universe, high-intensity electric discharges would occasionally slam our planet, similar to (and even dramatically exceeding) the Carrington Event — when there was so much electricity in the air that telegraph operators were able to communicate with batteries disconnected, just from the atmospheric supply of electricity.  With that electricity would be a huge amount of *radiation* — in particular, synchrotron radiation.  Furthermore, if the event is severe enough, the entire planet’s atmospheric conditions can even permanently change, absolute dates can become scrambled, and some would even claim (based upon anecdotal observations of disconnected PG&E power lines petrifying tree stumps as they discharged into them over the course of some days) that dirt can be turned to stone, and trees and organisms can become petrified.  When mainstreamers refuse to consider such inferences, based upon a uniformitarian, gradualist assumption, they ignore a very good candidate for explaining the gaps in evolution: Global catastrophe which includes radiation.  They also arguably place our entire human species at risk.

    • atimoshenko says:

      The only justifiable circumstance for bucking the consensus of experts is if one is an expert oneself. Note my use of “experts” and not “authorities” – one is an expert if one is among the people who know most about a given subject, and can prove it by engaging in drawn-out and detailed debates with other experts. In other words, a dissenting expert is one who knows at least everything that consensus experts know. Expertise and authority sometimes happen to go together, and sometimes not.

      This does not mean that one must take the present expert consensus as absolute truth – current conclusions are predicated on the set of current knowledge and can change as that set expands. Neither does it mean that experts are angelic creatures whose caste mere mortals cannot join. It does, however, mean that you have to put in the blood and sweat necessary to acquire expertise before trying to overturn present conclusions. Wishful thinking and a dilettante’s interest do not cut it.

      Not being a nuclear physicist, I’ll stick with the current expert consensus about (Pons-Fleischmann) cold fusion, and Boing Boing is right in doing the same. Could we end up being proven wrong? Of course, but it’s not very likely we will be, given present knowledge.

      On a side note, fringe science and cutting edge science are not as difficult to tell apart as you suggest. Fringe science tends to care more about the destination (“let’s turn lead into gold”, “let’s cryogenically preserve brains”) while cutting edge science tends to care more about exploring the path, without being too attached about where it ends up (“let’s explore the atomic structure of metals”, “let’s explore what happens to neurones under different temperatures”). Cutting edge engineering tends to be destination focused, but cutting edge engineering also tends to use basic science that is already consensus.

      • Hugh G says:

        Re: “Not being a nuclear physicist, I’ll stick with the current expert consensus about (Pons-Fleischmann) cold fusion, and Boing Boing is right in doing the same.”

        And yet, those of us who have read Mallove know that the hot fusion group pronounced cold fusion dead-on-arrival, BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY DID THE TESTING.

        See “MIT Cold Fusion Report” for the party flier pronouncing cold fusion’s wake, dated *before* the actual experimentation was done.

        Placing faith in mainstream scientists demands that we treat them like priests, free of all of the forces which affect regular peoples’ lives.  What you will find is that the more faith you put into mainstream scientists, the more they faith that they will expect (ala ClimateGate).  In the case of cold fusion, the label of “cold fusion” constituted a clear conflict of interest, given that the “hot fusion” researchers were tasked with its evaluation.  The similarity in names put the two groups in direct competition for funding.

        This was a huge mistake.

      • Hugh G says:

        Re: “On a side note, fringe science and cutting edge science are not as difficult to tell apart as you suggest. Fringe science tends to care more about the destination (“let’s turn lead into gold”, “let’s cryogenically preserve brains”) while cutting edge science tends to care more about exploring the path, without being too attached about where it ends up (“let’s explore the atomic structure of metals”, “let’s explore what happens to neurones under different temperatures”). Cutting edge engineering tends to be destination focused, but cutting edge engineering also tends to use basic science that is already consensus.”

        By the way, cutting edge “engineers” do not require theory to be functional in order to create things which work.  Innovation oftentimes occurs through trial-and-error, without theory.

        You’ve presented an opinion here which, by definition, is unprovable.  This is a philosophical problem which is rhetorical in nature.  In other words, there is no actual solution.  To propose some guide is misleading, because there is no guide.

        People need to get over their desire to feel certain.  Uncertainty serves a vital purpose in science, insofar as it guides us to better questions.  When you pretend that you’ve somehow eliminated uncertainty, all that you achieve is that you ask worse questions.

        Real scientists care far more about asking good questions than having good answers.

    • wysinwyg says:

      Why are you crapscreaming?  BoingBoing has some of the best science journalism available anywhere.  If you want fringe woo woo crap there’s plenty of that elsewhere on the internet. 

      If you bother to pay attention, BoingBoing does tons of stories on the problems with science as well — bias towards positive results and stuff like that.  Skepticism towards conventional wisdom is a constant theme of Maggie’s posts.  The claim that BoingBoing is “blindly advocating whatever it is that is in the textbooks” doesn’t stand up to even a modicum of scrutiny.

      • Hugh G says:

        Re: “BoingBoing has some of the best science journalism available anywhere.  If you want fringe woo woo crap there’s plenty of that elsewhere on the internet.”

        To be clear, Einstein was initially considered “woo woo crap” when he proposed Relativity.  I think that you’re confusing “best science journalism” with being a member of a large club of websites which agree with one another.  Since critical thinking results from contrasting worldviews, websites which fail to stimulate dialogue on controversial scientific subjects deserve to be called out on it.  I lack any sympathy for people who call everything that is not mainstream “woo woo crap,” for in the event that the whole lot is shown to be wrong, all of these websites will simply point the finger away from themselves, at each other, claiming that they could not have possibly known.  The truth is that BB is just as sloppy as all of the other sites in sizing up against-the-mainstream science.  Period.

        Websites which consider everything which is not mainstream as “woo woo crap” will not be remembered by future generations as the force which managed to get us from our current system of beliefs to those cutting-edge, currently “fringe,” scientific innovations which will eventually propel our economy out of its funk.

        Re: “If you bother to pay attention, BoingBoing does tons of stories on the problems with science as well”

        Great, then BB should attempt to do some authentic coverage of The Electric Universe and Gerald Pollack’s gel cell hypothesis (as he explains in great depth in “Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life”).

        To be a part of the future of science, websites which comment on science must take risks in their journalism.  As BB should know by now, success is impossible without some failures here and there.  If you think that science journalists are taking risks today, then you’ve clearly not invested any efforts yourself into learning things which you fear might not be true.  Some of us HAVE taken that risk, at great expense in time and effort (many years of personal investigation actually), and it’s clear to us that there are major, unresolved problems in science — as well as its reporting.  The refusal to consider that it might possibly be true simply reinforces the belief amongst conventional thinkers that it isn’t.  The mind is tricky like that, because we use our belief systems as a means of filtering information.  If you spent just a few hours reading psychology press releases, this stuff would become impossible to ignore.  But, most people don’t, because they imagine that they can consider science without thinking about ANY psychology.  Future generations will laugh at this approach.  And, similarly, few websites today see their mission as being defined as helping people to overcome these tendencies.  Instead, the websites are designed, very fundamentally, to SERVICE these misleading tendencies, to varying degrees.

  24. Mister44 says:

    I don’t think either candidate really gives two shits about science. They are the type of people who thumb through a National Geograhic once a month and think something in there was “neat”.

    You take a “pro-science” stance because science sounds smart! You want to be smart, right?

    But will any of them take some proactive measure to, say, push an increase NASA’s budget. I don’t think so.

    Science nerds may vote – but there isn’t enough of them to make it worth pandering.

  25. Steven Bell says:

    I’m an Obama supporter, and I don’t want this technology associated with any particular religion or political party….why? Because it’s REAL…

    This CBS report came out in 2009 when the Navy validated the effect was real.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4955212n

    There are 6 companies competing to bring a product to market.
    http://www.cleantechblog.com/2011/08/the-new-breed-of-energy-catalyzers-ready-for-commercialization.html

    National Instruments is working with some of the parties involved, developing process control equipment to help measure and control the process. Mind you-> this is an OIL INDUSTRY INVESTMENT BLOG that’s covering this.
    http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Yet-Another-Successful-LENR-Device-Enters-the-Race.html

    There will be books and movies and even college courses about the original flawed discrediting and 20 year mass denial of this technology, but the evidence is mounting.

    I used to be amazed that people were so uninformed until I learned people still didn’t believe men could fly as late as 8 years after the Wright Brothers.

    • atimoshenko says:

      I used to be amazed that people were so uninformed until I learned people still didn’t believe men could fly as late as 8 years after the Wright Brothers.

      Yes, because an average individual’s ability to acquire and verify information has not changed much over the past 110 years. The difference between (mass) scepticism and (mass) denial comes down to the commonality of independent replication, and rightly so.

    • Bucket says:

      I’m still amazed that after 20 years and a stint in the slammer there are people who still believe that Andrea Rossi isn’t a con-man.

    • scav says:

      The evidence is mounting? CBS news and a couple of blogs? SRSLY?
      Um, haven’t all those approaches pretty much failed to come up with the goods? (e.g. Rossi didn’t build his 1MW power plant last October) You don’t cite any credible sources such as research papers, replicated results or anything like that.
      I’ll tell you what, I bet nobody who *saw* the Wright brothers fly still denied it, and people accept the possibility of flight now because of the huge number of aeroplanes and their importance to the economy.  Cold fusion, not so much.

      • Randome hope says:

        “and people accept the possibility of flight now because of the huge number of aeroplanes and their importance to the economy”

        So people (like you) are wrong if they assume cold fusion does not exist just because they did not see it.  Like the situation with the airplanes, no?

        • Mister says:

          No, I think most people here would settle for independent verification by a trustworthy third-party. And personally, I couldn’t really care less if the third party knows the first thing about fusion, I just want him/her/them/it to have impeccable credentials when it comes to making the appropriate measurements. Measuring physical quantities accurately is far more difficult than most people realize, and that is where cold fusion/free energy types often get in trouble.

          • Ito Kagehisa says:

             The only problem with that is when you predefine “trustworthy third parties” as people who say what you already believe.

    • Brainspore says:

      I used to be amazed that people were so uninformed until I learned people still didn’t believe men could fly as late as 8 years after the Wright Brothers.

      Know who didn’t take a lot of time to be convinced? Anyone who saw an airplane in flight. Or for that matter, pretty much any scientist or engineer presented with reliable information and documentation of the Wright Brothers’ achievement.

      It also didn’t take more than 23 years for anyone else to replicate that feat. In fact, during the 23-year period after their initial flight in 1903, aircraft technology had progressed to the point where airplanes were a major industry that was already playing a critical role in World War I.

      You want to convince us that cold fusion is a real technology? Skip the blogs and uninformed TV news clips and just show us a cold fusion reactor already.

  26. If our nation could only harness the muscle power of Sasquatch, we could easily meet 1 – 2 % of our nation’s stone-ground organic cornmeal needs in areas of the country without naturally running water.

    AGW: averted.

  27. The._.Joker says:

    More charitably, perhaps he was talking about acoustic cavitation fusion, (otherwise known as bubble fusion or ‘sonofusion’) it’s not ‘cold fusion’ but it is looking likely to become a cheap and easily available source of energy when perfected, literally table top fusion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHyaJc85Vl0

    • AlainCo says:

       in theory possible
      but since it is hot fusion, the gamma will kill everybody around.

      that differenc with cold fusion make people think LENR is impossible, yet no physics rule forbide it, provided you accept that lattice can cause some coherence effects…

  28. tsa says:

    Not so much shocked about what he said about cold fusion, as about what he said about Tesla and Fisker. Basically he says yeah, they make nice toys, but they will never make anything as good as a Toyota can make it. I think the Tesla Roadster is one of the most efficient electric cars on the market right now. And Mr. Romney wants to wait until a Japanese company takes over? Toyota will maybe buy a license for the technology Tesla uses and you can say goodbye to American produced electric cars.

    • soithascometothis says:

      It may be, electrically, the most efficient, I don’t really know.

      But, to purchase a Tesla you are looking at around USD100,000. That’s house buying money. That’s not going to change the face of the car market. Ever. It’s a way for the upper-middle class and/or the rich to have their luxury muscle car and still have the “warm fuzzies” that they get from “helping the environment.”

      On the other hand, you have companies like Ford and Honda who are offering their electric vehicles at a much more friendly price point. Still more than the equivalent models in ICE configuration, but do able for a much greater portion of the population. The Ford electric is a “Focus” that’s designed for commuting and costs around USD40,000 before any federal/state/local incentives which when applied would bring it pretty much into parity with the equivalent ICE model. The Honda electric is a “Fit” and is only available as a lease. But the lease price is based on a sale price of around USD37,000.

      There are many other manufacturers that have released or soon will release electric vehicles in the “sanely priced” tier. Toyota has already licensed Tesla’s battery tech and will incorporate it into their electric only offering.

      With the federal government’s fleet fuel efficiency standards continually rising over the foreseeable future, all automotive companies will be pursuing electric or they become irrelevant.

      Not continuing to invest in Tesla isn’t the end of the world, the American automotive industry, or electric vehicle innovation. It actually sounds like it’s either time to get out of the electric car research funding all together, or find someone else to invest in that has a wacky electric car idea that might just be crazy enough to work.

      • People said the same thing about Apple Computer.  Sure the Macintosh is nice, but look at that price tag.  No one would every buy that when they can buy an IBM or later Dell.  Now Apple is the most valuable company in the world.  True innovation is far more likely to come from a small startup than an established multi-national.

        • Mister says:

          Yeah, but it’s the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes that made Apple the most valuable company in the world. When they were just a computer company their stock was in the toilet and everybody was waiting for them to go bankrupt.

          Although I’m not really sure whether that strengthens or weakens your point….

        • soithascometothis says:

          If you can’t see the difference, I don’t really know what to say.

          I think the cars/computers analogy is even more shaky than it usually is in this instance.

  29. jbond says:

    I do wish we could stop these people saying anything that begins with the three words “I believe in”

  30. Paul Renault says:

    I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it.

    Yeah, I like to look at ways of delivering pizzas using coke ovens.

    And ways of delivering books using feller-loggers.

    And ways of delivering…

    • Randome hope says:

      I would like some money for real research in energy and not only for solar and wind that cost a fortune to produce for mainstreet.

      • Mister says:

        Even if cold fusion turns out to be real, it’s going to cost a fortune at first and need development time and money before it becomes affordable. That, or it’s going to be absolutely unique among energy technologies. Nuclear fission is the only energy technology that has ever taken less than 60 years from invention to providing more than 1% of US energy needs, and it required eye-watering subsidies to get there that fast (something like $1/kWh produced over its first 20-30 years — and that doesn’t even include military expenditures on nuclear power).

        In other words, if you think some as-yet undeveloped energy technology is going to pop up and take the world by storm in a few short years, keep dreaming.

  31. Snig says:

    “Governor Romney, we really need a four legged domesticated animal capable of pulling a cart”
    “Well, there’s some really promising work being done with zebras…”

  32. Barry Kort says:

    Scott Pelley and his CBS News crew missed a chance to debunk Cold Fusion when they visited Mike McKubre’s project at SRI.  All they had to do was slap a good old-fashioned VU meter across the terminals of McKubre’s Cold Fusion cell to measure the AC noise power and note that it exactly accounted for the otherwise unexplained excess heat coming out of the cell.  For reasons unbeknownst to any competent electrical engineer, McKubre (whose project is funded by the Electric Power Research Institute) only reckoned the DC power (average DC current times average DC voltage) going into his cell.  He erroneously assumed the AC noise power was zero.  Anyone familiar with telephony or audio engineering knows there is energy in the AC perturbations around the DC average, and those AC (noise) perturbations carry electric power that must be accounted for in the total energy budget of the system.

  33. Peter` Card says:

    Martin Fleischmann died recently, and his obit appeared in today’s print version of the Grauniad. The smartphone app had it a couple of days earlier.  It makes rather odd reading – the author is Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, (as in Josephson Junction)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/31/martin-fleischmann?INTCMP=SRCH

    Clearly, the cold-fusion debate hasn’t entirely gone away, embarassing though it may be.

    • AlainCo says:

       the end is near, and I’m afraid that science credibility may be damaged deeptly
      http://lenrnews.eu/?p=764

      facts are unavoidable, yet mainstream succeed in avoiding them.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        You’ve made 23 comments containing 40 links to the same website, all in less than two hours. Unsurprisingly, most of them ended up in the spam filter. Please desist. Thank you.

  34. IronEdithKidd says:

    Mittens is a singular twit.  Maggie, I *headdesk* in solidarity.

    [edit] DearFSM, the astroturf is thick in this thread.

  35. edthehippie says:

    i still have ” high ” hopes for both cold fusion , or lenr as it seems to be called now , and also for hot fusion , although neither might be easy or soon , i ” believe ” that both deserve basic  and applied research funding  ~ http://lenr-canr.org/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion  ~ http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Livermore-Lab-Ignition-Facility-s-woes-3797461.php and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Ignition_Facility ~ yes , i believe and hope , for both , but neither will be easy or soon , and both will require effort and $$$
    ” We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, ”
    and fusion , both hot and cold , counts as part of ” other things ” http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm

  36. Jim Kelly says:

    “I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion…”

    Sounds like he’s mashing up two big physical-science stories from the late Eighties (high-temperature superconductivity and cold fusion).

    Maybe it’s been a while since he’s read Omni on Pan Am.

  37. Steve Conklin says:

    Let me rearrange that a bit to show some more of Romney’s basic misunderstanding . . .

    “I think Android and the iPhone are delightful-looking phones, but I somehow imagine that Motorla, Nokia, and even Microsoft will produce a more cost-effective cell phone either Google or Apple.”
    He doesn’t understand the basic cycle of innovation.

  38. Bender says:

    Personally, I would *head desk* if Mitt ever becomes president, but I’m disappointed that BoingBoing would post this kind of stuff. He was chuckling when he mentioned cold fusion, yet it’s presented here as though he was serious. 

    It’s catnip to commenters, but sort of bogus in my opinion.

    • Petzl says:

      You know, even if he was being glib (and for some reason throwing in a gratuitous insult U of Utah’s way), we’re having a hard time with his “joke” because his party is the party whose Presidential nominees:
      * don’t believe Evolution is established science
      * don’t believe anthropogenic climate change is real or that it’s damaging the earth, or that the temperature rise/ocean level rise could damage the earth
      * do believe the Earth is 6,000 years old (invalidating astronomy, physics, geology, biology, chemistry, cosmology, archeology, anthropology, ….)
      * believe a zygote has the same Constitutional rights of a post-born human being.

      So, you see why it might be difficult to give the guy any slack.

  39. I believe in decreasing universal entropy, if we can come up with it.

  40. Jed Rothwell says:

    It is not clear to me whether Romney was serious or not, but cold fusion is definitely real. It has been replicated in over 200 major laboratories. I copied more than a thousand peer-reviewed, mainstream journal papers on this research, from the library at Los Alamos. I have uploaded a bibliography and 1,300 papers here:

    http://lenr-canr.org/

    Some people here have discussed claims made by Andrea Rossi. Please note that these claims have not been independently replicated. Other cold fusion claims have been, in some cases by hundreds of researchers in tests repeated successfully thousands of times. In many cases the signal to noise ratio is very high.

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      A thousand peer-reviewed papers and reproducible experiments only count in Boing Boing threads if you agree with established dogma, sorry.

      But all snarking aside, thank you for the link, and for your generosity in making that information available in one place. I’ve been following LENR for years now and it’s often hard to remember where I read any one particular paper.

  41. maryyugo says:

    Romney’s remarks about cold fusion sound like the sort of bumbling nonsense we’d have expected from Bush.

    I disagree with Jed Rothwell.  I think cold fusion and LENR have not been proven to exist.  All the effects which can be independently reproduced are small and subtle and could be systematic measurement errors or chemical reactions. 

    LENR *may* be real but until someone produces a *robust* experiment with lots of transmuted “ash” end products, significant radiation or a great deal of power sustained over a long period, we won’t know.  And that has not happened.

    Unfortunately, the picture is even more blurred by huge claims from the likes of Rossi and Defkalion.  Neither allows independent testing and both behave as investment scammers trying to extract money from careless and overly optimistic investors.

    • Jed Rothwell says:

      Maryyugo: You are not disagreeing with me. You are disputing widely replicated, peer-reviewed, high sigma experimental data. This is not a matter of opinion. As Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it, science is true whether you believe it or not.

      You claim the effect are small and subtle. In many cases — in hundreds of tests — the heat has been measured between 20 and 100 W, sometimes with no input. That is not small or subtle. This has been measured with the best instruments available. There is not the slightest chance such measurements are instrument errors.

      Tritium has been measured by experts at millions of times background. That is not small. Again, cannot be an experimental error.

      Your opinions cannot be cited to counter or magically disprove experimentally established facts. That is not how science works. You would have to publish a peer-reviewed paper showing errors in the experiments. In all of the major experiments, in fact. Or you would have to replicate the experiment and show that it has a prosaic cause. Until you do that, you have no case, no standing, absolutely no qualifications, and no support for your unfounded opinions. Your opinions do not get a free pass. They must be subject to the same rigorous peer-review that the cold fusion experiments have passed. In 23 years, not a single “skeptical” opinion has passed that test, and I very much doubt that yours could pass it.

      • maryyugo says:

        OK, I’ll bite.  *who* has produced 20 to 100 watts, has measured it properly, published it in a well known peer reviewed journal, had it replicated, and sustained it long enough to completely and unequivocally rule out chemical reactions and stored heat (days or weeks without fresh fuel)?  Please give *one* credible  reference to that level of power, long duration, no fresh fuel, and replication.  I’d love to see that because I don’t believe it exists.

        Please don’t point to the usual list of hundreds of papers that are vague, badly written, poorly illustrated, not replicated, have small outputs or short durations, input a lot of power or otherwise show nothing conclusive.  That doesn’t help your cause.

        And even if LENR exists (which well it may), there is nothing whatever to suggest Rossi and Defkalion know how to do it and there is no evidence that it is anywhere near practical for industrial or home heat or electricity production.

        Rossi is currently giving a convention in Germany.  So far, it is an absurd collection of nut case claims about free energy and megawatt ecat power plants that have never been shown to work.   And not a single proper replicated experiment has been provided.   Can you claim otherwise?

        • Jed Rothwell says:

          Please do not pay silly games with me. You know as well as I do who has published in the peer-reviewed journals, and who has been replicated. Time after time I have pointed you to papers by Fleischmann, McKubre, Bockris, Mizuno and others. You choose not to read them. You pretend they do not exist. You are trying to fool the readers here. Any reader can go to a library or LENR.org and see that you are wrong, so you will only fool lazy people who do not do their homework.

          As for Rossi, if he and his claims went away it would make no difference to the body of peer-reviewed facts that prove cold fusion is real. If you do not care for Rossi, I suggest you ignore him. Do not hold other researchers responsible for his shenanigans. They have no connection to him, no control over him, and no say in what he does.

          • maryyugo says:

            I read many of the papers which you recommended.  Not a one of them has 20-100 watts of power *and* long duration without fresh fuel *and* proper calorimetry with calibration and blank runs.

            So I ask you again because I suspect you can’t do it.  Find me ONE such paper and link it here.  Or don’t pretend you can.   I refuse to rummage again through a wasteland of words on your web site!

             Once again just ONE link to ONE paper with:

            - power 20-100 watts with a decent “COP” (6 or better)

            - sufficient duration without fresh fuel (many days or weeks)

            - proper calorimetry (not simple spot temperature measurements, not isoperibolic calorimetry)– either heat flow or fluid flow or steam sparging type calorimetry

            - calibration of the measurement system before and after the run

            - an appropriate blank run to rule out stray sources of heat energy

            I told you I read many of your suggestions and not a one even came close to those criteria.  If you have one, this is a good time to exhibit it.  Stress yourself a bit: FIND ONE BEST EXAMPLE.  I’m sure others want to see it too.

            As for Rossi and Defkalion, the main reason I mention them is that you keep insisting that you know they are real because people you won’t name tell you so.  Sorry, that’s not credible either.

  42. dsoodak says:

    Incidentally, scientists have since learned to reliably duplicate the cold fusion results.   It ends up that you have to soak the electrodes in solution for 0ver 3 weeks (among other things).   The original researchers were pressured(by the university, which wanted the publicity so it could get more funding) into releasing results early so never got a chance to test all the variables.
    There are now a handful of electrochemists continuing this research, though they are careful never to put the words “cold” and “fusion” in the same sentence (this will still result in an instantaneous end to your research career(right after the first round of negative results, it was professional suicide even if you DIDN’T call it cold fusion)).
     Last I heard, they have proven for sure that a nuclear reaction is going on (some of the products can’t be created with a chemical reaction), but they only have a vague idea of how it works and it isn’t anywhere near enough (yet) to be a useful source of energy.
    Of course, Mitt Romney’s doesn’t have any valid reason to believe this. Unless he really was joking, as one comment suggests, it sounds like he just doesn’t realize that the inability to duplicate results usually means that it never existed in the first place.

  43. hidethedecline says:

    Romney said ”I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it.”
    This is not the same thing as he would have said he know it is real and works, he just said that he thinks it would be great if we could come up with it.
    Of course behind the scene he probably has been briefed of what is going on now giving him a reason to say what he said.

    I see a lot of comments from besserwissers types who think they know LENR ”cold fusion” has no substance and is a joke.
    I’ve been following this subject on the sideline for over 20 years and can say for various reasons that anomalous nuclear reactions in metals are real. Recently the interests in the phenomena has been increased as a number of companies are claiming that they are developing commercial applications based on this effect.
    Here is a revealing talk at a convention at National Instruments

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