Cold fusion at 20: Healthier than intelligent design, featured on 60 Minutes


Once in a while I get a physicist who argues biologists ought to teach intelligent design and “let the kids decide.”  I always ask whether they teach cold fusion “and let the kids decide,” and they always say there isn’t time to teach unproven science, or crank science.  I then point out to them that cold fusion’s advantage over intelligent design is that there are more than 100 times the scientific papers supporting or explaining cold fusion that there are for intelligent design.

So, with that perspective, maybe you’ll find as much humor in Bob Park’s Friday missive as I did:

4. COLD FUSION AT 20: IT WILL BE ON 60 MINUTES THIS SUNDAY.
The faithful, who regard themselves as martyrs, have endured the scorn of skeptics for 20 years.  An appearance on an evening entertainment program won’t make it science, and it’s unlikely to change the minds of many scientists, but it’s the most they’ve had to cheer about.  At least three well-known scientists who were interviewed by CBS will not appear on the show. I don’t know who will.

ID advocates would kill for such time on 60 Minutes.

To get on 60 Minutes, all ID advocates need to do is back their claims with research, like the the advocates of cold fusion have done . . .

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75 Responses to Cold fusion at 20: Healthier than intelligent design, featured on 60 Minutes

  1. Jed Rothwell says:

    Let me tackle this assertion about “cranks” head-on. Regarding Dardik’s reputation, I wrote to a correspondent:

    “[Y]ou reference the Washington Post article, Weinberger 2004 . . . about Dardik. Regarding that subject, I agree with the comments by McKubre, quoted in this article. In any case, the results have been independently checked and replicated, so even if Dardik turned out to be the world’s worst con man and a serial killer to boot, this particular claim is correct, and his background and reputation are perfectly irrelevant. Reputation should only be considered in the initial stages before independent replication, when no objective scientific method of evaluation is available. After replication it wouldn’t matter if a claim was originated by the Birdman of Alcatraz or Heinrich Himmler. Replication proves it is true and NOTHING can ever prove it is not true. Replication at high s/n ratio is the one and only standard of truth in experimental science. . . .”

    “. . . Regarding your mistake of citing the reputation of a researcher, instead of discussing the content of the research itself, I mentioned the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud. That is a highly relevant example. Stroud was a crazed murderer and psychopath who attacked and tried to kill several prison guards and others. He had to be held in solitary for years. He caused constant dissension and chaos. He was personally loathsome and filthy. He was also a leading authority on bird disease, and he wrote a textbook which is still in print, and highly recommended:

    “Stroud’s Digest on the Diseases of Birds”

    The fact that he was a lunatic and completely untrustworthy about everything other than birds has no bearing on the scientific validity of his claims. Once his methods were confirmed by others, they were valid and all considerations about the man himself became irrelevant. . . .”

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Robert L. Park’s newsletter “What’s New” has more comments on the “60 Minutes” story:

    1. COLD FUSION: PLEASE, MAY I HAVE A CUP OF TEA?
    Last Sunday’s edition of the CBS News program 60 Minutes was titled “Race to Fusion.” It was 1989, Fleischmann and Pons are shown with the “cold fusion” test tube that would have killed them had they been right. Because they lived, the race was called off. Michael McKubre of SRI apparently didn’t get the memo; he just kept doing it over and over for 20 years. Lucky for him there’s still no fusion, but he says he does get heat – except when he doesn’t. How does it work? He hasn’t a clue, but he showed a video cartoon of deuterium defusing through palladium and said it might be fusion. In fact McKubre called it “the most powerful source of energy known to man.” Whew! But wait, Dick Garwin did a fusion experiment 60 years ago; it worked all too well. Garwin thinks McKubre is mistaken. Just about every physicist agrees, so the American Physical Society was asked to name an independent scientist to examine the claims of Energetics Technology, according to 60 Min correspondent Scott Pelley. An APS statement issued Wed. says this is totally false, and the APS does not endorse the cold fusion claims on 60 Min. (Aside: This morning I thought I should watch the video on the 60 Min web site one more time. Drat! CBS took it off. No matter, there’s a full transcript. Uh oh! The part where CBS says the APS picked Rob Duncan to look into the ET SuperWave is gone. CBS can change history? My God, time travel! Now that is powerful.)

    2. SUPERWAVE: IMPALED ON THE SHARP STAKE OF REPLICATION.
    Rob Duncan, vice chancellor of research at the University of Missouri, went to Israel with 60 Minutes to visit Energetics Technologies, which claims SuperWave Fusion will solve the energy problem. It shouldn’t be necessary to remind scientists that neither visiting a laboratory, nor peer reviewing a manuscript, is enough. There must be independent replication of the ET claims. Without replication, the claims are nothing. The genius behind ET is the CVO, Chief Visionary Officer, Irving Dardik, MD. Dardik got into cold fusion after losing his license to practice medicine in New York. It puts us in mind of Randy Mills of BlackLight Power, another MD who says he can solve the energy problem. Is SuperWave Fusion another scam?

    I see. Still plagued by cranks, still subject to a lot of crackpot claims. It’s still better science than intelligent design.

    Like

  3. Graeme Bird says:

    Actually let me rephrase that. I didn’t appear at the time to be a full-blown economic principle that energy sources appeared to be complements as much if not more than competitors. I just remember noticing it as a tendency. But since I’ve been going back to look at these controversies its become such a striking feature that here I just naturally anticipated it in advance and wanted to see what you had to say about matters.

    Oil ought not have been a substitute for wood. Wood ought not have been a substitute for wind. Nuclear ought not have been a substitute for coal. These are all complements. Just as deuterium ought not replace but rather complement uranium and thorium…. then later Boron fusion/fission ought not muscle out deuterium. And if we wind up with access to Helium 3 this too will find its place in the mix.

    I think oil blinded us to this principle for awhile since it gushed out at you like sheilas going after ugly billionaires kids. The oil came almost unnaturally easy. But those days are over and while we can have vastly more energy than before it won’t be a case of the energy virtually throwing itself at us.

    Like

  4. Graeme Bird says:

    This is what I found when I studied energy-economics. It appeared to be a full-blown economic principle. That energy sources did not tend to be competitors they tended to be complements. And if you and Ted are right, and I think in the longer run you will be proved right, than this Deuterium fusion will be a great asset in the full spectrum of energy options CO-EXISTING with nuclear fission.

    Like

  5. Graeme Bird says:

    Alright. We are fundamentally but not exclusively talking about neutron-emission in this case are we not?

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0741-3335/48/6/003

    This link is not proof of anything its more an example. I’m not saying you don’t know this subject I’m saying you’ve proved incapable of a straight answer and so are unsuited for history teaching.

    “The effect of pre-ionization induced by depleted uranium (92U238) around the insulator sleeve on the neutron emission of (1.8–3.3 kJ) plasma focus device is investigated by employing time resolved and time integrated neutron detectors. The maximum average neutron yield of 2.5 × 108 is recorded at 3.5 mbar without pre-ionization, which increases up to 3.85 × 108 with pre-ionization. It is found that the pre-ionization enhances neutron yield, about (50 ± 5)%, broadens the neutron emission pressure range and improves shot-to-shot reproducibility of plasma focus operation for neutron emission. The pinhole images of charged particles emitting zones indicate that the pre-ionization increases the high temperature plasma volume.

    Print publication: Issue 6 (June 2006)”

    Right so from this link we have “depleted uranium”. Which I prefer to call bootylicious fuel going cheap. And we see that it is emitting neutrons without coaxing.

    “The maximum average neutron yield of 2.5 × 108 is recorded at 3.5 mbar without pre-ionization”

    But if this neutron yield is not sufficient to your liking you can pre-ionize this here bootilicious fuel going cheap. And presumably you can do even better by reprocessing and taking out the particular minority of the bootilicious fuel that you want.

    Now its just neutrons. And we have an whole industry that knows how to deal with neutrons. Furthermore you cannot plausibly tell me that this stuff couldn’t one day be harnessed down some abandoned mine shaft to lodge these neutrons into some seawater pumped down there to increase deuterium yield. It would not be credible for you to claim this. The neutrons must go somewhere.

    Heavy water is used in some designs of nuclear reactor expressly to keep up the speed of the uranium fission. Since the heavy water won’t absorb the neutrons. This means that normal water readily absorbs neutrons and so deprives the reaction of the sort of neutron buildup that makes the reaction work at a higher rate.

    Knowing this tells us straight that water readily absorbs neutrons. There is not much other than increasing the level of deuterium that this could possibly achieve under the right conditions.

    So no part of this stuff is a problem. And its not dangerous. Its hazardous but there is a difference in these concepts. People trained to use this stuff, and with the equipment to use it can reprocess it, re-use it and do so in any amount of applications.

    Like

  6. Graeme Bird says:

    I’ll try again. Ed. In your own words. You tell me what it means for material to be “radioactive”.

    Don’t try an evade the question. Don’t pretend that I’m asking the question because I don’t know the answer. Don’t tell lies.

    Just answer the question straight.

    Like

  7. Graeme Bird says:

    Look. If the fuel is radioactive IT IS STILL USEFUL. If is not radioactive IT IS SAFE.

    So there is no waste problem. The waste problem is a lie. This will become evidence if you stop lying and give straight answers to straight questions.

    But you know that. And so since you are a committed liar your will refuse to answer the questions straight, and pretend that its me being ignorant.

    So lets go again and this time don’t blow it you dummy. You ought not be teaching if you cannot even answer straight questions.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    When we say that nuclear material is radioactive, tell me precisely what we are saying about this material. What is going on, on the atomic level?

    GO!!!!!!

    Like

  8. GF says:

    He’s obviously never heard of high level waste.

    Like

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    See you are still totally devoted to dishonesty ED.

    I don’t know what CURRENT bans exist. I know that Jimmy Carter had all sort of ban and one of the on centrifugal reprocessing. The upshot was that light-water reactors that used only 0.7 of 1% of the fuel were encouraged. The remaning fuel was of course boutilicious in its potential energy usage but reprocessing was not allowed. Hence the build of of irradiated and unused fuel.

    The most easy mater and you’ve tried to lie constantly upon it talking of a ban IN THE PRESENT TENSE. But I don’t know if this madness is still extant.

    The problem is with your lying Ed. Its just there all the time.

    Problem is, Graeme, I can’t tell whether you are really convinced that you’re right or not, because you can’t show me anything to verify what you say. “Verify” being from the same roots as “veracity,” it is you Graeme, who appears to be dwelling in falsehood. I resent your scurrilous claims about my honesty, and I beg you again, if you have any honor, to stick to the discussion without calling names.

    If you have evidence to back a claim that there has ever been a ban on reprocessing spent fuels, show it. Otherwise, you owe a bunch of apologies.

    Your ignorance of radiation is astounding. Remind me never to hire you as a safety officer.

    Like

  10. graemebird says:

    Come on. Why is this radiation such a bid deal in this view?

    Like

  11. graemebird says:

    See you are still totally devoted to dishonesty ED.

    I don’t know what CURRENT bans exist. I know that Jimmy Carter had all sort of ban and one of the on centrifugal reprocessing. The upshot was that light-water reactors that used only 0.7 of 1% of the fuel were encouraged. The remaning fuel was of course boutilicious in its potential energy usage but reprocessing was not allowed. Hence the build of of irradiated and unused fuel.

    The most easy mater and you’ve tried to lie constantly upon it talking of a ban IN THE PRESENT TENSE. But I don’t know if this madness is still extant.

    The problem is with your lying Ed. Its just there all the time.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Lets go over it again because you are a liar and a moron who ought never be let near the kids.

    THERE IS NO RADIATION-ENHANCED LEFTOVERS PROBLEM WITH URANIUM-FISSION.

    Are you clear on that now? Radiaion-Enhanced uranium is useful while it has high radiation levels and safe when it not longer does.

    So its obvious that the problem was a leftist lie.

    “Personally, if Bird thinks that spent nuclear fuel is so valuable he should live next to it.”

    You dummy. I’d be fine to take possession of it all.

    There really is no problem. You guys tell me why there could possibly be a problem.

    Start by telling me what these substances are radiating out that your are so fearful about.

    Like

  12. Nick Kelsier says:

    Personally, if Bird thinks that spent nuclear fuel is so valuable he should live next to it.

    Like

  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Graeme said there is a ban on processing nuclear wastes:

    Leftists. Its a leftist problem. Its accumulated because of banning some forms of reprocessing. Its also valuable material and valuable stuff.

    News to me. Can’t find any evidence of a ban in searches. So, I asked for details, politely:

    What ban on processing spent fuel exists? Can you tell us where is this ban you talk about, Graeme?”

    And I get rewarded with this?

    This is the same sort of dishonesty that the DDT-holocaust deniers used when the spraying started up bigtime again. They phrased their wording just like that without saying whether the ban was extant or not and with all kinds of quibbles with the word “ban”.

    These evil bastards share all their verbal techniques for obstructing understanding.

    Graeme, you’re more juvenile and less reasonable than the 7th grade punks. You have no manners. You abuse my students who show up, politely, at your website. You are, so far, utterly without redeeming social value.

    Any reason we shouldn’t banish you from the Bathtub? Can you get a grip on politeness long enough to prevent it?

    And, if you have an answer for my question that doesn’t come from between your gluteals, could you let us know? Or are you doing what you falsely, boringly, and annoyingly claim everyone else does?

    Bird: All projection, no substance.

    Like

  14. Ed Darrell says:

    Right so are we all clear now then. Since new model reactors can keep reprocessing down near to barely radioactive material ERGO there is no waste problem with nuclear power.

    But since few of the reactors on line are the newer sort, and since few in the near future are destined to be this sort, then we still have a massive nuclear waste problem.

    Mr. Bird, kindly get a case of manners, look up “Yucca Mountain,” and stop the uncouth vitriol.

    The reality that denies Mr. Bird’s hissing: http://www.nrc.gov/waste.html

    Like

  15. graemebird says:

    Right so are we all clear now then. Since new model reactors can keep reprocessing down near to barely radioactive material ERGO there is no waste problem with nuclear power.

    Just so we are clear and Ed doesn’t try to lie about this all over again.

    Like

  16. graemebird says:

    “1. What ban on processing spent fuel exists? Can you tell us where is this ban you talk about, Graeme?”

    This is the same sort of dishonesty that the DDT-holocaust deniers used when the spraying started up bigtime again. They phrased their wording just like that without saying whether the ban was extant or not and with all kinds of quibbles with the word “ban”.

    These evil bastards share all their verbal techniques for obstructing understanding.

    Like

  17. graemebird says:

    I noticed that palladium and platinum were being used in the experiments that sixty minutes talked about. These are very rare substances. And whereas one day no doubt there will be substitutes,widespread use would lead to cost blowouts in these materials. This confirms my notion that these are complementary industries. And we simply cannot put up with people like Ed lying all the time in their efforts to obstruct ready-to-hand energy production.

    Now its pretty clear that as hopeful as this deuterium stuff is it cannot be used to get in the way of starting as many Thorium and Uranium reactors as we can get off the ground. Since nuclear reactors only take about 3 or 4 years to build if we can get the dirty leftists off our backs. And this other gear will evolve along with nuclear and be a symbiotic part of nuclear technology.

    Like

  18. graemebird says:

    “2. Can you explain how spent uranium could be turned into deuterium?”

    You see that? You are constantly lying man. I never once said that radioactive uranium could be turned into into deuterium.

    You are filth mate. You lie all the time.

    Like

  19. graemebird says:

    Now you are really pissing me off Ed. You EXTREME dishonesty is on show.

    Did I say the regulations were extant. Can you not say ANYTHING without being a liar?

    Like

  20. Ed Darrell says:

    1. What ban on processing spent fuel exists? Can you tell us where is this ban you talk about, Graeme?

    2. Can you explain how spent uranium could be turned into deuterium? Generally, heavy water is made through refinement, often using electrolysis, which involves electricity but not uranium. What process are you thinking of?

    Like

  21. graemebird says:

    Surely any leftovers are going to be useful in producing deuterium. Its very difficult to imagine how that would NOT be the case. Here is this stuff giving off neutrons and if you have it in some deep Australian mine covered in water where are those neutrons going to go but into making Deuterium. And Jed has already attested to how potentially useful this deuterium is.

    Like

  22. graemebird says:

    “Right…have fun explaining then why there are casks filled with spent fuel at the two nuclear power plants in my state, Bird.”

    Leftists. Its a leftist problem. Its accumulated because of banning some forms of reprocessing. Its also valuable material and valuable stuff.

    Like

  23. graemebird says:

    Look Ed. There is no fuel waste problem. You are not talking about reactors that constantly reprocess and their materials. So you are just being dishonest. If it is highly radioactive it can be reused. And if it is not it can be stored. Stored in your own back yard since it is not a problem.

    You are lying. You are talking about reactors functioning under Jimmy Carter regulations. You are talking about fuel that has accumulated under bans of centrifugal reprocessing and like bad regulations.

    Like

  24. Nick Kelsier says:

    There’s no spent fuel problem?

    Right…have fun explaining then why there are casks filled with spent fuel at the two nuclear power plants in my state, Bird.

    As I said before, we had a Republican President from 2000 to 2008, a Republican Congress from 1994 to 2006. If the powers that build nuclear power plants had really wanted to build more nuclear power plants they would have applied for permits in that time period…and oops…they didn’t. It’s not like Bush would have listened to the environmentalists.

    The reason that no nuclear power plants have been built is because noone wants them in their backyard.

    Like

  25. Bird's priest says:

    Sure, I’ll accept it as his confession. Either way he’s still going straight to hell.

    Like

  26. Ed Darrell says:

    One of us is not telling the truth.

    Will your priest accept that as your confession? That’s an odd way to confess error, but if that’s what you’re saying, and if your priest will absolve you, hey — whatever floats your glowing, radioactive boat.

    Like

  27. Ed Darrell says:

    But whatever the historical details the fact is that the alleged waste can be continually reprocessed until it is nearly inert.

    Not always feasible, and you’re talking only about the spent fuel rods. For every ounce of fuel rod there are several tons of dangerous ore tailings piled up outside a mine or mill, or both.

    When fully “spent,” there is still waste that needs to be stored for ten or more millennia.

    No one has demonstrated feasibility of constant reprocessing of spent fuel to reduce waste.

    Like

  28. graemebird says:

    I don’t know whether I can be polite. One of us is wrong and one of us is right. And since I know I aint lying then by straight deduction I have to suspect you. Notice that Jed has gone silent. Silent when I asked him a question politely for the first time, whereas prior he had gritted his teeth and come good with the answers though I’d given him a hard time right?

    I didn’t say I was ignorant of nuclear issues. I just said I wasn’t paying attention as to what the cold fusion business was all about. You allowed yourself to get carried away since you thought I didn’t know about a lot of this gear. Not true.

    The deal is this. You are lying or I am. Light water reactors only used that Isotope of Uranium that made up about 0.7 of 1% of the Uranium proper. And left 99.3% irradiated and unused. And some nutballs must have convinced Jimmy Carter to make centrifugal reprocessing illegal. Or at least there were some terrible regulations.

    But whatever the historical details the fact is that the alleged waste can be continually reprocessed until it is nearly inert.

    FISSILE” WASTE” AND DEUTERIUM PRODUCTION.

    Now I will check on this but I would have thought anything you weren’t going to reprocess for fuel in a fission reactor ought to be helpful in making heavy water. Thats what one would think intuitively. But as I’ve been saying I was going to leave it to you guys to explain things and see if you could tell your story straight. Jed had a slow start but he came good. However, with you its still the same old nonsense.

    As I say one of us is lying and its not me. Because I’ve checked out reactor designs that are claiming they can even reprocess spent nuclear submarine fuel. This is particularly the case with the new underground helium-cooled fission reactors that can operate safely at higher temperatures.

    So lets go over it again…..

    … THERE IS NO SPENT FUEL PROBLEM WITH NUCLEAR FISSION POWER.

    All that spent fuel can be reprocessed and I think intuitively it ought to be helpful to Jeds superb project as an offshoot. Which as I say I haven’t checked out.

    NUCLEAR FISSION, SYNTHETIC DIESEL, WATER-DESALINATION…. SYMBIOSIS.

    I know that nuclear fission and synthetic diesel are symbiotic undertakings. As are nuclear fission and desalination. But as I’ve kept saying it appears to me, without checking, that nuclear fission and deuterium fusion ought to be symbiotic undertakings AS WELL.

    And Jed going quiet would seem to tip me off on that. I’m now convinced that Jed does know what he is talking about whether all the technical difficulties are within near-term reach or not.

    But not you Ed. I’m not happy that you have your logic hat together at all.

    FIRE IN THE DISTANCE.

    We used to just burn off the best part of the oil you know ED. Did you know that? Always in the night if you drove from one city to another in the distance you would see a fire in the sky. That was us wasting the most versatile part of the fuel that we were pulling out of natural oil-wells.

    And so it goes with this alleged nuclear waste. Its the best stuff that there was. One of my ex-Prime Ministers wanted to have Australia graciously take the nuclear waste from the rest of the world. Most of that waste was probably the result of the “Atoms For Peace” project that the Americans had after the war.

    But in any case my heart breaks to think that the rest of us dummies didn’t take Bob Hawke seriously. But he wouldn’t want to have sent me to negotiate for all this wonderful booty.

    Because I would not have been able to keep a straight face. Alternatively I would be overcome with waves of guilt and pure glee. “We’ll take this off your hands” one might say solemnly. But how would you then be able to not fall apart in fits of laughter? Or when you were about to sign the deal, how would you stop your hands from shaking knowing that you might blow it and miss out on all that loot?

    This isn’t Shroedinger’s cat, jive-ass quantum voodoo Ed. There cannot BOTH be a waste problem and NOT BE a waste problem.

    One of us is not telling the truth. And Jed has gone silent on you. And Jed really does know what he is talking about I think.

    Like

  29. energyguru says:

    I liked the story but I think was lacking in information.
    I wanted to know more about the company Energetics Technologies. I found their website if
    you want to check them out too.
    http://www.energeticstechnologies.com

    Like

  30. Ed Darrell says:

    But can you set the record straight and let Ed know he’s a full of it as usual. We have to get things moving with anything that works. It would take only 3 or 4 years to put up a nuclear fission reactor if these leftist goons could get off our backs and from there you’d have the energy to produce the capita-goods to develop all this fusion gear over time. Quantity industrial extraction as you say. Perhaps partially spent fuel can help generate heavy water in some way.

    Mr. Bird, you are ignorant in so many areas there is not time to list them, let alone correct you. You know nothing about my position on nuclear power, you assume much that is false about nuclear power and atoms generally, you falsely portray science, politics, and most annoying at the moment, other people on this board.

    I’m getting complaints from people. They avoid posting here because you insult them. Constantly.

    Can you be polite? I’m putting you on probation here.

    By the way, here in Texas we have a power company who has applied for two new nuclear reactors to generate power. Obviously you didn’t know that, or you, as a reasonable person, would not say what you have said.

    You cannot cite any opposition to the licenses to support your claims. Best if you just leave the issue alone, probably.

    But you see ED is a lefty. So he’s hardwired to obstruct anything that is going to work on a short time horizon.

    But unlike you, I have real experience in expediting federal licensing to speed construction of controversial projects. Unlike you, I have real world experience in making projects comply with safety and conservation rules and regulations. I’m hardwired to be polite to commenters. You’re trying to snip the wires.

    We have so little time left before a total collapse. Already people are dying in poorer countries by the bushel because of leftist obstruction and stupidity. Food riots everywhere. When people are suffering malnutrition it doesn’t always show up what finally puts them away.

    Odd, because in every case it’s righty opposition to delivering food or farming aid that appears to be at the root of the problem. Not leftist obstruction, but rightist obstruction. Malnutrition? What right-wing organization works against that?

    Now I want you to confirm that there is no spent fuel problem with breeder reactors and where one is allowed to keep reprocessing the fuel.

    Because Eds full of it and he will mislead the children.

    You keep asking for impossibilities and statements contrary to the facts, and then you make statements contrary to the facts merely to insult.

    Not only on probation, but probation with a short leash. Tone it down, Mr. Bird.

    Like

  31. Graeme Bird says:

    Jed. If you are right about Deuterium fusion then its surely going to grow and take over or take a proportion of the market in its own good time.

    But can you set the record straight and let Ed know he’s a full of it as usual. We have to get things moving with anything that works. It would take only 3 or 4 years to put up a nuclear fission reactor if these leftist goons could get off our backs and from there you’d have the energy to produce the capita-goods to develop all this fusion gear over time. Quantity industrial extraction as you say. Perhaps partially spent fuel can help generate heavy water in some way.

    But you see ED is a lefty. So he’s hardwired to obstruct anything that is going to work on a short time horizon. We have so little time left before a total collapse. Already people are dying in poorer countries by the bushel because of leftist obstruction and stupidity. Food riots everywhere. When people are suffering malnutrition it doesn’t always show up what finally puts them away.

    Now I want you to confirm that there is no spent fuel problem with breeder reactors and where one is allowed to keep reprocessing the fuel.

    Because Eds full of it and he will mislead the children.

    Like

  32. Graeme Bird says:

    Jed. If you are right about Deuterium fusion then its surely going to grow and take over or take a proportion of the market in its own good time.

    But can you set the record straight and let Ed know he’s a bulls— artist. We have to get things moving with anything that works. It would take only 3 or 4 years to put up a nuclear fission reactor if these leftist goons could get off our backs and from there you’d have the energy to produce the capital to develop all this fusion gear over time. Quantity industrial extraction as you say. Perhaps partially spent fuel can help generate heavy water in some way.

    But you see ED is a lefty. So he’s hardwired to obstruct anything that is going to work on a short time horizon. We have so little time left before a total collapse. Already people are dying in poorer countries by the bushel because of leftist obstruction and stupidity. Food riots everywhere. When people are suffering malnutrition it doesn’t always show up what finally puts them away.

    Now I want you to confirm that there is no spent fuel problem with breeder reactors and where one is allowed to keep reprocessing the fuel.

    Because Eds full of it and he will mislead the children.

    Like

  33. Graeme Bird says:

    Fantastic Jed. An online book. I shall read every word and if its good stuff I’ll try and plug it.

    Just don’t let me catch you running down Uranium or Thorium fission.

    Now tell me. Am I right? Are these natural complements?

    Because the nuclear-synthetic diesel industries certainly are.

    Like

  34. Graeme Bird says:

    “To be a little more specific, heavy water costs $500 to $1000 per kilogram retail, depending on purity. The ultra-pure grade is not needed for cold fusion. It costs much less in industrial quantities, and the methods used to extract it have not been improved much since the 1940s. Much cheaper and cleaner methods are being tested.”

    Now you are talking Jed. But how is it made. And is the standard traditional nuclear industry not helpful in its manufacture. We don’t want to be acting like these are competitors if they are natural complements.

    You see when a liar like Ed is promoting Deuterium fusion what he’s really doing is obstructing Uranium fission and coal liquification.

    I am purposely not checking this out so I can see if you guys are capable of telling your story straight.

    But right now I can tell you that intuitively it would see that fusion and fission industries are symbiotic.

    There is no end to the energy we need to get us through the next few decades.

    Like

  35. Jed Rothwell says:

    Oops. I find that a pellet weighs about 7 g and U costs $95 but who knows what it costs when fabricated. Anyway, UO2 is way cheaper than oil but orders of magnitude more expensive than heavy water as fuel.

    Like

  36. Jed Rothwell says:

    To be a little more specific, heavy water costs $500 to $1000 per kilogram retail, depending on purity. The ultra-pure grade is not needed for cold fusion. It costs much less in industrial quantities, and the methods used to extract it have not been improved much since the 1940s. Much cheaper and cleaner methods are being tested.

    1 kg of heavy water produces 69 million MJ, or as much energy as 523,000 gallons of gasoline. 1 uranium fuel pellet weighs 16 g (I think) and produces as much energy as 126 gallons of oil (American Nuclear Society). So, 1 kg produces as much as 7875 gallons of oil (close to gasoline), 66 times less than heavy water. I do not know the cost of 1 kg of nuclear fuel prepared in a rod but I believe it is $40/kg, which means it would take $2,600 worth of U to produce as much energy as $500 worth of D2O (retail), but as I said, the D2O will soon be selling for a buck a kilogram.

    All of this is covered in chapter 2 of my on-line book, by the way:

    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJcoldfusiona.pdf

    Recommended by Arthur C. Clarke and many distinguished professors.

    Like

  37. Jed Rothwell says:

    Graeme wrote:

    “Now explain to me in your view why this would be the case. Why Deuterium would be cheaper. ”

    Not “would be.” It is cheaper than uranium by far. Most of the cost of extracting it from ordinary water is to pay for the cost of energy used in the process. This cost will fall by a large factor with cold fusion powered equipment. The overhead (heavy water needed to extract heavy water) will be roughly 0.05%. Thus, the cost per capita of energy will initial fall to ~$2.00 per annum, and later to a fraction of a penny.

    Like

  38. Ed Darrell says:

    Graeme, if you think we get everything wrong here, perhaps you’d be happier hanging out somewhere else. Your posts are not informative — you almost never provide information, instead merely hurling names at people and ideas — and you don’t advance discussion.

    Why not find a site where your views are considered more orthodox?

    Like

  39. Ed Darrell says:

    The fusion/fission that has interested me is the Boron+hydrogen fuses then splits three ways into Helium producing an electric charge. Now if we can do this one it will be way cheaper than uranium fission.

    Then by all means, study the process and provide information on it. But just because it piques your bizarre interests doesn’t make the nuclear waste problem go away, nor does your interest in a process you understand very little make cold fusion inoperable, or operable, or feasible today, or stupid at any time.

    Go to the CBS television site and look at the report. Here:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/17/60minutes/main4952167.shtml

    Like

  40. graemebird says:

    You moron. I don’t care how many years you think you’ve spent studying nuclear. YOu are a blockhead. There is no nulcear waste problem with modern nuclear reactors that can keep reprocessing the fuel.

    So how did you get it wrong you dummy?

    You get EVERYTHING wrong. So you want to think about how you keep systematically screwing things up.

    Like

  41. graemebird says:

    Its just incredible man. Everything you think you know is a lie.

    The fusion/fission that has interested me is the Boron+hydrogen fuses then splits three ways into Helium producing an electric charge. Now if we can do this one it will be way cheaper than uranium fission.

    Thats the one that looks really cheap. But this idea from dead that we are talking thousands of times cheaper is just bizzare. Why would that be? The Boron reaction might be able to get things down to equivalent 5c per gallon gasoline or something like that. Now thats cheap. But its not 1000 times cheaper and so one wonders about the cost of gathering deuterium.

    Like

  42. Ed Darrell says:

    Graeme, I’ve spent years studying what to do with nuclear wastes. Don’t go all UFO/tinfoil hat/bat excrement crazy on us.

    The nuclear cycle, including the mining, milling, and disposal of spent fuel rods, produces a wealth of radioactive and poisonous wastes. You might be able to hide them in Australia, but here where we have more than a dozen people in a village, there’s not a lot of places to store stuff that is deadly poison and radioactive for 10,000 or more years.

    Here’s a high-school level explanation:

    http://library.thinkquest.org/17940/texts/nuclear_waste_storage/nuclear_waste_storage.html

    Recent action:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/science/earth/06yucca.html

    The photo in that last article is a hole in the ground, Graeme. In the west here we distinguish between “burro” and “burrow.” One is a tiny ass used by uranium prospectors to carry goods in the desert while they’re out prospecting, and the other is a hole in the ground. You need to do some study: If you don’t know an ass from a hole in the ground, you’re incapable of discussing nuclear fuel at either end of the cycle.

    Like

  43. graemebird says:

    So have you got it now that this nuclear waste issue is a lie?

    Have you got that sorted yet you blockhead?

    You got that yet?

    Thats my main reason for skepticism with this deuterium fusion. If these people are doing it on the basis of alleged CLEAR FUEL then the people involved with be a bunch of dropkicks for starters.

    Like

  44. graemebird says:

    No they DON’T produce a serious waste problem. Thats not true thats a common lie. This is a big problem with people lying all the time. Modern breeder reactors constantly reprocess this fuel until you are lead with an inert lead-like substance that is barely radioactive. How about not lying about this again.

    Now about this deuterium fusion. If deuterium is cheap to get hold of there is no need to be skeptical about it at all. Why would one include it under matters of superstition? Is this just skeptics taking a mindless tribal position?

    Like

  45. Ed Darrell says:

    Nuclear power plants don’t use dangerous waste Ed so you can stop lying about that for starters.

    No, they don’t use it (except for the products of breeder reactors). They produce dangerous, radioactive wastes.

    Graeme, is there anything you know anything about? The nuclear fuel cycles are explained in basic science books, environmental science books, dozens of on-line sites . . . couldn’t you look it up yourself?

    Like

  46. Graeme Bird says:

    What we’ve got to hone in on is the inherent costs of gathering Deuterium. Is that really so cheap? Nuclear fission doesn’t have dangerous byproducts so its important not to lie about that.

    But is Deuterium really that cheap to gather?

    Like

  47. Graeme Bird says:

    “If it works, fusion will use water to power the world. It will leave very little in waste — much, much less waste of a dangerous sort like nuclear power plants do.”

    Thousands of times cheaper. Thousands of times. Now where is this coming from. I mean it sounds OK. Just so long as you can show how easily it is to get hold of the deuterium.

    But where is this “Thousands of times cheaper” coming from really. What is the estimate for the cost of gathering Deuterium.

    Like

  48. Graeme Bird says:

    Nuclear power plants don’t use dangerous waste Ed so you can stop lying about that for starters.

    Like

  49. Graeme Bird says:

    “If it works, fusion will use water to power the world. It will leave very little in waste — much, much less waste of a dangerous sort like nuclear power plants do.”

    No it won’t be using water. It will be using deuterium. So is there a good reason to believe that this would be cheaper that nuclear fission. Already cheap and clean.

    There are great reasons to think that Boron fusion/fission would be cheaper than Uranium-fission. But how is this the case with Deuterium? Its not water Ed. You might think its water but its not. Now there might be very good reasons why one thinks it would be cheaper. Does anyone actually know them as opposed to Ed attempting to fake it.

    Like

  50. MB says:

    You need to understand where Graeme is coming from (other than a profound ignorance of everything). Among his many dingbat theories is the one that claims the sun does not generate its own heat, but rather is powered by some mysterious form of ‘galactic electricity’.

    Hence the core of the sun is onle “alleged”, and the bizarre claim that “I’m aware that there are atomic fusion/fission reactions that have an electric current as their main energy output.”

    Good explanations BTW Ed and Jed.

    Like

  51. Ed Darrell says:

    If it works, fusion will use water to power the world. It will leave very little in waste — much, much less waste of a dangerous sort like nuclear power plants do.

    Cheap and clean — how could it be a waste to pursue something that promises those two great advantages?

    Like

  52. Graeme Bird says:

    Look dummy. Are they wasting money? They are wasting money unless they have some reason to believe that this will be more cost effective than nuclear fission. Which is incredibly cheap safe and effective.

    Now explain to me in your view why this would be the case. Why Deuterium would be cheaper.

    I can see how Boron-Hydrogen Fission/Fusion could be far more cost-effective then uranium fusion. But why would people think deuterium fusion would be this cost-effective.

    Like

  53. Ed Darrell says:

    Experiments in the U.S. are paid for with a mixture of private and public funding, the latter mainly from DARPA and other military agencies. In Italy, Japan and China most of the funding is public as far as I know, and the research is at national laboratories.

    You’re right. I stand corrected.

    Like

  54. Jed Rothwell says:

    Ed Darrell wrote:

    “According to the PhysicsWorld site, all current experiments are privately funded.”

    That is incorrect. Experiments in the U.S. are paid for with a mixture of private and public funding, the latter mainly from DARPA and other military agencies. In Italy, Japan and China most of the funding is public as far as I know, and the research is at national laboratories.

    graemebird wrote:

    “What I want to know is whether these guys are brazenly wasting public funds.”

    They are not wasting funds.

    “What cause do they have to believe this is cost-effective technology?”

    Read the literature and you will see. (But I doubt you would understand it.)

    “When we already have nuclear fission which is cheap, safe, clean, effective, and the technology is already perfected.”

    I would not call it perfected but in any case if cold fusion can be controlled it will soon be thousands of times cheaper than fission, oil, solar, wind and all other conventional sources of energy. It will also be far more compact, safer, and at present rates of consumption the fuel will last longer than the sun. So it has many advantages.

    It would appear that you know nothing about this subject. I strongly recommend you stop jumping to conclusion and assuming that people are “brazenly wasting public funds” and so on.

    I urge all readers to FIRST read the experimental literature carefully, think about it, and THEN reach a conclusion. That used to be considered the normal way to judge a scientific claim, but with regard to cold fusion many people jump to conclusions without having the foggiest idea what the experiments entail or what has been claimed. That is why there has been so much confusion and opposition to the research all these years. Read Beaudette’s history for details.

    Like

  55. Ed Darrell says:

    What I want to know is whether these guys are brazenly wasting public funds.

    According to the PhysicsWorld site, all current experiments are privately funded.

    Like

  56. graemebird says:

    What I want to know is whether these guys are brazenly wasting public funds. What cause do they have to believe this is cost-effective technology? When we already have nuclear fission which is cheap, safe, clean, effective, and the technology is already perfected.

    Like

  57. graemebird says:

    “No, the skepticism arose because cold fusion appears to violate the laws of physics, which predict that fusion can only occur at millions of degrees.”

    There you go again you blockhead. You are telling me no when what you mean is yes. People are right to be skeptical about cold fusion because THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

    But controversies to do with theoretical physics aren’t going to turn on their skeptical nonsense-detector one way or another.

    Twice now you’ve said no to me and been wrong on both occasions.

    Pull yourself together dummy.

    Like

  58. graemebird says:

    What isn’t cold compared to the alledged core of the sun? Thats not cold. And its not surprising that these guys haven’t had commercial success if they cannot get their definitions straight.

    Now how do they know they make this deuterium fusion more cost-effective than uranium fission? Is there any reason to believe this? Do you want to call Uranium Fission Cold fission by and chance. After all this is colder than the alleged core of the sun is supposed to be.

    I think I’ll just get me a cold cup of coffee while you are learning to deal with the English language.

    Like

  59. Jed Rothwell says:

    graemebird wrote:

    “THATS NOT COLD.”

    It is compared to the core of sun, where plasma fusion occurs. Until cold fusion was discovered, everyone thought that deuterium fusion could only occurs at millions of degrees. Compared to that, cold fusion is cold.

    “Thats the problem here. The skepticism comes about sinply on the basis of a bad name.”

    No, the skepticism arose because cold fusion appears to violate the laws of physics, which predict that fusion can only occur at millions of degrees.

    Evidently those laws need adjusting, or they are incomplete.

    Like

  60. graemebird says:

    I SEZ

    “So is it a simple misnomer to call such a thing ‘cold fusion’?”

    JED SEZ.

    No, it is fusion because it fuses deuterium atoms to form helium, and heat.

    Jed you dummy. Don’t tell me NO when you mean YES. That would be helpful if you got out of that habit for starters.

    THATS NOT COLD. Thats the problem here. The skepticism comes about sinply on the basis of a bad name.

    Several hundred degrees is not cold. People have to be more careful how they name things.

    Like

  61. Jed Rothwell says:

    Ed Darrell wrote:

    “But, Jed, can you explain it to Graeme?”

    Well I used to teach grade school kids ESOL, so I’ll take a shot at it!

    Graeme wrote:

    “What I mean by that is that I’m aware that there are atomic fusion/fission reactions that have an electric current as their main energy output.”

    I do no know of such reactions. The ones I have heard of produce heat, gamma rays, tritium and so on, not electricity.

    “But in these cases it usually takes powerful heat input to get the reaction to start.”

    I have never heard that is the case with fission. In any case, cold fusion does not require powerful heat input. It works better at high temperatures but, like fission, it heats itself if you insulate it.

    “So is it a simple misnomer to call such a thing ‘cold fusion’?”

    No, it is fusion because it fuses deuterium atoms to form helium, and heat.

    “The other thing is that if you are using some sort of fusion/fission reaction whose energy output isn’t an electric current then you have to harness that energy via steam and a turbine in order to convert the heat energy into the electrical energy that we need commercially.”

    That is correct. This is how fission power reactors work.

    “How could this be cold fusion?”

    It is cold because it is millions of degrees cooler than plasma fusion. However it is much hotter than the surroundings; several hundred degrees Celsius, about the same as a uranium fission reactor. Carnot efficiency is high at these temperatures so there will be no trouble generating electricity.

    Like

  62. graemebird says:

    Well so I was right. The point is Cold Fusion is a misnomer. There is no way it is cold. If we call it cold fusion then we are going to skepticism on the basis of the wrong name alone.

    But there is no question that we can get electrical power from fission and fusion. In fact the atomic reactions are very well known. The name is a meaningless name. If cold fusion is hot then its not cold fusion. Its just fusion. Or its direct electrical charge via fusion. Or something like that.

    Ed another fail on your part.

    Like

  63. Ed Darrell says:

    But, Jed, can you explain it to Graeme?

    (No, of course not; it is to laugh.)

    Like

  64. Jed Rothwell says:

    I uploaded a quick definition of cold fusion, but it did not appear here. To reiterate, the effect produces heat with no chemical changes (no chemical fuel), helium in the same ratio to the heat as plasma fusion, and tritium, neutrons and gamma rays at different (and varying) ratios.

    The current is not small. It is high at first. Later it can be cut completely and the cell will continue to produce the effect, for periods lasting from hours to days.

    The effect is sometimes easy to measure, since the heat is palpable (20 to 100 W) and the tritium is sometimes millions of times above background. The effect has been observed thousands of times by hundreds of scientist, who have published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers. I copied 1,200 of them from the library at Los Alamos.

    You can learn much more about this at LENR-CANR.org

    Like

  65. island says:

    Creationists will remain in denial so long as they insist on seeing things that are not there, that no one else can see.

    Whoops!… I already gave a very clear example of why this is a false statement. Lenny sees it just fine, so you missed the point of what your typically out of hand denial means to the integrity of your side’s argument.

    Like

  66. island says:

    Ah, but there is no denial of any plausible scientific explanation.

    No, I disagree.

    Like

  67. graemebird says:

    Lets go over it again. Can I go over it again? If thats not too much to ask?

    I don’t think thats too much to ask.

    “can anyone explain to me what they think was meant by “Cold Fusion?”

    What I mean by that is that I’m aware that there are atomic fusion/fission reactions that have an electric current as their main energy output. But in these cases it usually takes powerful heat input to get the reaction to start. So is it a simple misnomer to call such a thing “cold fusion”?

    The other thing is that if you are using some sort of fusion/fission reaction whose energy output isn’t an electric current then you have to harness that energy via steam and a turbine in order to convert the heat energy into the electrical energy that we need commercially. How could this be cold fusion?”

    Now if you cannot answer the query its better to say nothing or say “I don’t know”.

    Lord help me I’m having to deal with utter idiots here.

    Like

  68. graemebird says:

    Well you blew it Ed. I wasn’t the least bit interested in your feeble lecture of FUSION, a subject upon which I was more than abreast upon.

    Listen dummy. I asked you a question about COLD FUSION!!!!!

    COLD FUSION!!!!

    Got that now dummy?

    Here I am trying to be charitable and you cannot get the most simple thing straight.

    Like

  69. Jed Rothwell says:

    Someone asked for a definition of cold fusion. It is a reaction that occurs in highly loaded metal deutrides. It produces heat without any measurable chemical changes, helium in the same ratio to the heat as plasma fusion, and tritium, neutrons and gamma rays at levels far lower than plasma fusion (although sometimes millions of times above background in the case of tritium).

    Cold fusion has produced thousands of times more energy per gram of fuel than any chemical reaction, and it can probably generate millions of times more. In some experiments, it has reached temperatures and power density comparable to the core of a conventional fission reactor.

    Cold fusion has been replicated thousands of times in hundreds of laboratories, often at very high signal to noise ratios. There is no chance that all of these result are mistakes. Roughly 2000 journal papers including 1000 in peer-reviewed journals have been published describing these replications.

    Someone here wrote that that the current is tiny. That is incorrect. It is usually high, although in many cases cells have produced heat with no input electricity, sometimes for hours or days. With gas loaded cells, there is no input power.

    For more information, see:

    http://lenr-canr.org/

    Like

  70. Ed Darrell says:

    And they’ve got a point as long as your side of the debate continues to hurt science by willfully denying plausible scientific explanations for evidence that appear to be in favor of non-accidental occurrence at every confrontation with it, rather than to look for first principles that make us necessary to the physics, which is also a hands-down winner in the debate.

    Ah, but there is no denial of any plausible scientific explanation. Creationists will remain in denial so long as they insist on seeing things that are not there, that no one else can see.

    The quest for “first principles” was a dead end for science and deadly for humanity, without the scientific search for proximate causes. Of course there will be conflict whenever anti-science religionists insist on looking for ultimate causes, dismissing the chain of causes that would get us there.

    Like

  71. [...] Cold fusion at 20: Healthier than intelligent design, featured on 60 Minutes Once in a while I get a physicist who argues biologists ought to teach intelligent design and “let the kids decide.” I always ask whether they teach cold fusion “and let the kids decide,” and they always say there isn’t time to teach unproven science, or crank science. I then point out to them that cold fusion’s advantage over intelligent design is that there are more than 100 times the scientific papers supporting or explaining cold fusion that there are for intelligent design. [...]

    Like

  72. island says:

    The problem is that you are never going to convince creationists that their evidence for non-randomness or “purpose in nature” has been “thoroughly refuted”, and they will also occasionally get a bone tossed to them by some atheist physicists who is befuddled by the apparent non-randomness of nature.

    For example, Lenny Susskind, who makes statements about how the physics for the anthropic principle is so compelling that ‘we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics if there is no multiverse‘.

    Well Lenny, there is no multiverse until you have a final theory to justify it, so by default, you’re an IDist until that happens.

    You’re never going to convince creationists that this is wrong just because PZ Meyers blows them off out of hand with some crap from Vic Stenger or whatever. The best you can hope to get from this kind of garbage is a difference of opinion among atheists physicists as to whether or not the significance that Lenny sees actually exists.

    You’re never going to convince anybody that already believes in god that it isn’t you guys that are in denial of obvious reality. So they perceive you as enemies of science that supports their belief system. From their perspective it is you who are the liars, and so they think that scientists are a bunch of willfully ignorant liberals who are trying to force their cold-fusion ideology onto our kids.

    And they’ve got a point as long as your side of the debate continues to hurt science by willfully denying plausible scientific explanations for evidence that appear to be in favor of non-accidental occurrence at every confrontation with it, rather than to look for first principles that make us necessary to the physics, which is also a hands-down winner in the debate.

    Like

  73. Ed Darrell says:

    And I’ll ask you this question. Its a real question because back in 1989 or whenever I didn’t try to find out what the controversy was about. So can anyone explain to me what they think was meant by “Cold Fusion?”

    Fusion is the reaction that drives stars. Hydrogen is heated to a plasma state, and helium is the product, with a great deal of heat as a by-product. It’s the same reaction that fuels a hydrogen bomb. The useful energy released is heat (there is a particle released, and some radioactivity, too). Generally, it takes about 100 million degrees F and some containment vessel or process to keep the hydrogen contained for the reaction. Until very recently, the only place we could achieve fusion was in a hydrogen bomb, the fuse of which is an atomic bomb. Outside of a star, the reaction requires heavy hydrogen, or deuterium — but one out of every 6,500 hydrogen atoms in nature is the isotope, deuterium, so there is plenty of fuel available in water — if the reaction can be achieved. It produces no radioactive waste of any consequence, nor much other waste at all (water, helium). In a fusion reaction, the energy equivalents are staggering — 50 cups of seawater contains the equivalent of 20 U.S. tons of coal.

    What I mean by that is that I’m aware that there are atomic fusion/fission reactions that have an electric current as their main energy output. But in these cases it usually takes powerful heat input to get the reaction to start. So is it a simple misnomer to call such a thing “cold fusion”?

    Anything cooler than about 5,000 degrees F would probably qualify as “cold” in this case. The chief output we use in fusion, as in all other “peacetime” nuclear reactions, is heat, used to boil water to drive a turbine to generate electricity (a simplified but still accurate explanation).

    Pons and Fleischmann got some bizarre occurrence in a jar with a tiny electrical current, at room temperature. At that temperature, fusion would indeed be very “cold.” There was still some heat output, however, they had thought. Cold fusion simply hasn’t worked out — it’s not clear that fusion occurs, the theory behind what has been observed has not been worked out. Most physicists think some electrical reaction, and maybe a reaction with hydrogen, produces a small explosion. Tell-tale radiation from a fusion reaction has not been consistently detected from these experiments.

    Here’s a very nice slide show from General Atomics; see slide 41 for a diagram of how electricity is generated for use from any nuclear reaction; see slide 51 for a quick view of the toroidal magnetic “bottle” being used to contain the reaction in most experiments.

    The other thing is that if you are using some sort of fusion/fission reaction whose energy output isn’t an electric current then you have to harness that energy via steam and a turbine in order to convert the heat energy into the electrical energy that we need commercially. How could this be cold fusion?

    You’re right, we use steam and turbine to harness the energy. It’s called “cold” because at even a million degrees (and cold fusion is not thought to get anywhere near that) it would be 100 times cooler than fusion reactions being worked on in major labs. It’s “cold fusion” by comparison.

    I’ll take abuse for ignorance on this one. I suspect a simple misnomer. The closest thing to cold fusion that I could imagine would be helium3 fusion. And even that would have substantial heat output that would need to be harnessed, and so I cannot imagine what these people could have been talking about.

    Just like the Cold War was cold only in comparison to a hot war, cold fusion is cold only in comparison to the other fusion reactions we know, which occur in the hearts of stars or in a hydrogen bomb, or in a magnetic or laser-created “bottle” at temperatures that cannot be contained any other way.

    There are a half-dozen projects to get fusion going, to figure out how to get it going commercially. Each of them has the huge problem of how to contain a reaction so hot it vaporizes any kind of material container — again, look at the General Atomics slide presentation, slides 57-61, for an idea of how big, how complex and how expensive magnetic and laser “bottles” are.

    Here’s the description of cold fusion science from Physics World:

    Fusion on a lab bench

    A couple of palladium electrodes in heavy water and any high-school kid could do it, it was said. [Stanley] Pons, in the chemistry department at the University of Utah, and his mentor Martin Fleischmann, of Southampton University in the UK, claimed at the press conference in 1989 that they had fused deuterium nuclei using routine electrochemical techniques on their lab bench. This was a huge claim to make – nuclear fusion had been thought possible only at temperatures in excess of a million degrees, when nuclei could overcome Coulomb repulsion. The only cold fusion that had been detected until then was the kind mediated by muons, seen in accelerator experiments in the 1950s, and then only at minuscule rates.

    Indeed, questions were soon raised about the reliability of Pons and Fleischmann’s nuclear measurements, given their lack of experience in quantitative isotope analysis. Soon after they announced their findings, laboratories around the world tried but failed to replicate their results. In the rush to duplicate the cold-fusion results, chemists began attempting nuclear physics, and physicists tried to be electrochemists. In the months that followed many labs rushed into experiments, and hastily announced confirmation of cold fusion before they had carried out adequate controls. They then had to make equally speedy retractions when the experiments did not succeed.

    Eventually, a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found serious flaws in the gamma-ray spectra that Pons and Fleischmann offered as proof. This was to be the death knell, and the final nails in the coffin of cold fusion were hammered in by a US Department of Energy panel that concluded in October 1989 that there was nothing to cold fusion. This in turn spawned bitter accusations that hot-fusion physicists and particle physicists were out to get the cold-fusion community.

    The University of Utah continued to press forward with a cold-fusion research institute, but that lab was eventually disbanded in 1991 when it failed to replicate the earlier results. Pons and Fleischmann departed in 1992 for the south of France, where the Technova company, a subsidiary of the Toyota car company, funded a new laboratory called IMRA. As time went on, all but the diehards gave up, and the major reputable labs lost interest and dropped out of the experimental game.

    Work on cold fusion continued in several countries, notably Japan, and this was often cited by cold-fusion believers as evidence that that US would be left in the dust when the new world energy order finally dawned. But in 1997 Japan’s government finally gave up. And in 1998 IMRA was closed, having spent something like £12m on cold-fusion work. Then in March 1998 something of a milestone may have been reached. The University of Utah finally gave up its struggle to obtain worldwide patents on Pons and Fleischmann’s work, having been legally bound to pursue patents until last year. The rights now revert to Pons and Fleischmann themselves, should they choose to continue the pursuit of patents.

    Sporadic reports have continued to trickle in from various small research efforts, but in each case the results have proved erratic or impossible for other groups to replicate. It appeared to be a classic case of what the Nobel chemist Irving Langmuir called “pathological science”, in which the results are always near the limit of detectability and the proponents always have an ad hoc answer as to why. Yet the defenders of cold fusion have soldiered on, a number of them merging with a network of conspiracy theorists, psychic spoon-benders, UFO enthusiasts and believers in other exotic physical phenomena outside the ken of science.

    Like

  74. graemebird says:

    Just this once I’ll affect to trust everyone’s judgment in the first instance and see if this one-sided truce gives people the opportunity to lift their game.

    And I’ll ask you this question. Its a real question because back in 1989 or whenever I didn’t try to find out what the controversy was about. So can anyone explain to me what they think was meant by “Cold Fusion?”

    What I mean by that is that I’m aware that there are atomic fusion/fission reactions that have an electric current as their main energy output. But in these cases it usually takes powerful heat input to get the reaction to start. So is it a simple misnomer to call such a thing “cold fusion”?

    The other thing is that if you are using some sort of fusion/fission reaction whose energy output isn’t an electric current then you have to harness that energy via steam and a turbine in order to convert the heat energy into the electrical energy that we need commercially. How could this be cold fusion?

    I’ll take abuse for ignorance on this one. I suspect a simple misnomer. The closest thing to cold fusion that I could imagine would be helium3 fusion. And even that would have substantial heat output that would need to be harnessed, and so I cannot imagine what these people could have been talking about.

    I will purposefully remain ignorant on this subject to condescend to you people and see if you can put your brains into gear for something other than filibusting. I make no apologies for this condescension or for this blind spot in my general knowledge. After all the only way to look at leftists is downward.

    Like

  75. graemebird says:

    I believe this is a neutral topic. So I will try and be informative here without rancour and get back to bashing closet eugenicists later. I’m calling a truce for this thread alone.

    Like

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