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Cold Flusion?

This is a quick entry to allow me to have a little spleen venting.  And I am cross posting this over at Medscape.

Background for you youngsters.  In 1989 two electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, announced they had successfully developed cold fusion: nuclear fusion at room temperature.  Pons was chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Utah at the time and lent a fair amount of respectability to the announcement.

A great deal of brouhaha followed, but in the end “is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Cold fusion was and is a bust, although millions were spent in pursuit of that pot of gold.

Fast forward to this week.  Here is the data upon which important public health decisions are being made, in its entirety:

“new Canadian study — which has not yet been peer reviewed or published —that found those who receive the seasonal flu vaccine become two times more likely to get H1N1.”


That is all I can find as of 8:15 on 9/29/9.  Interesting but we do not have the data, the methodology, confirmatory data from similar or other populations.  Nothing.

There is some biologic plausibility for this effect. The flu vaccine or infection can increase the uptake of unrelated influenza strains into cells that have an Fc receptor.

So maybe its true. I don’t know.  No one knows. Yet.  It is almost, but not quite, an unsubstantiated rumor, and it is not known if it is clinically relevant. Hardly the information upon which you would want to use to make sweeping public health decisions that could affect the health of millions.  Unless, of course, you are Canadian. Evidently  Canadians have decided to stop vaccination with seasonal flu as a result of that information. That’s it.  And that makes little sense.

You  already have a population of people who already have had either the vaccine or influenza year after year after year after year.  So everyone should already be at risk from this phenomena, if clinically relevant, from either having had influenza or the vaccine. They should already have the evil antibody, either from disease or vaccine.  Please note.  No one had received THIS years seasonal flu vaccine before the H1N1 hit. Its PRIOR years vaccines that may have lead to this phenomena. Stopping this years vaccination should be too little too late.

All that should happen by discontinuing the vaccination this year is denying protection from the seasonal flu but not preventing slight increased risk for H1N1. Instead people should go on to get seasonal flu, have an increased risk of dying as a result, and in the end have ‘natural’ antibody from disease that should increase the risk for H1N1 anyway.

Unless I am missing something (and I often am), it would appear stopping seasonal flu vaccination is a decision that should have no upside in preventing H1N1 but should increase morbidity and mortality from seasonal flu.

It just does not seem rational to stop the vaccination program on so little information and with the knowledge that if the effect is real, it is from prior years vaccinations.  The horse is out of the barn. All that should happen is increase the risk of seasonal flu and death without decreasing the risk of H1N1.

And in the end what I bet will happen is rather than getting two vaccines late, Canadians will get no vaccines at all and flu will cut loose in Canada.

And that is assuming that this study is the real deal and will be reproduced and is clinically relevant.  Or it all may be cold flusion.

Addendum.

I have been perseverating on this since I posted it last night. It occurs to me that the phenomena, if real and due to antibody, should not be one way. If prior exposure to the seasonal flu or the vaccine increases risk for H1N1, then H1N1 vaccine or disease should increase risk for seasonal flu. That leads to the following possibilities:

1) You have had flu or the vaccine in the past. You have the increased risk already. There is no data that the current vaccine will increase the preexisting risk and all you will do is be at risk for seasonal flu when it hits. Might as well get the vaccine for seasonal then get H1N1 vaccine when available.

2) You have never had the vaccine or the disease.

You avoid all vaccines. But you do not avoid the flu.

a)You get seasonal flu, then increase your risk for H1N1, and then you develop H1N1. So you get flu twice in a year.

b) You get H1N1, then increase your risk for seasonal flu, and then you develop seasonal flu. So you get flu twice in a year.

By avoiding the vaccine, you increase the risk of getting disease twice.

So if you get the seasonal vaccine, you decrease the risk of seasonal influenza, but either way you slightly increase you risk for H1N1.

3) You avoid the vaccines and get lucky and avoid seasonal flu and H1N1. For this season. One day you will get flu unless you are a full time lighthouse keeper. Then you are there with the rest of us.

Some clever person can run the numbers and calculate the relative risk of seasonal and H1N1 flu with each behavior. As best I can tell, the best bet is to get vaccinated, it is the best way to decrease you risk for getting ill.

=======

J Infect Dis. 1994 Jan;169(1):200-3. Primary influenza A virus infection induces cross-reactive antibodies that enhance uptake of virus into Fc receptor-bearing cells. Gotoff R, Tamura M, Janus J, Thompson J, Wright P, Ennis FA.

Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester.

Sera of young children who had had a primary infection with influenza A virus or were immunized with a live attenuated influenza A virus vaccine were examined for antibody responses that neutralized virus or enhanced uptake of virus into Fc receptor-bearing cells, because antibodies that enhance uptake of influenza virus into Fc receptor-bearing cells have been reported using mouse immune serum and monoclonal antibodies. The neutralizing antibody titers to the homologous infecting virus and to another H1N1 virus isolated several years later were higher after natural infection than after infection with the live attenuated virus. Natural infection and the attenuated vaccine induced antibodies that enhanced uptake of homologous virus and H1N1 virus isolated several years later. These results demonstrate that primary influenza A virus infection results in the induction of infection-enhancing antibodies.

PMID: 8277183

Posted in: Science and Medicine

Leave a Comment (94) ↓

94 thoughts on “Cold Flusion?

  1. kill3rTcell says:

    RE: the 1994 study: I cannot help but notice that cells with Fc receptors are ones meant to take up antibody-antigen complexes. As stated throughout the discussion, the cells taking them up are antigen presenting cells. APC taking up the virions will be beneficial for the host.

    It is madness to make this new decision based upon non peer-reviewed data.

  2. fetner says:

    I am so glad you posted this. Living in Canada, it is very frustration. The decisions about vaccines differ depending on what province you live in, and it’s not just a recommendation – they are actually not distributing the seasonal flu vaccine until December (at least in Ontario, and except for seniors).

    On top of it all, they are basically spoon feeding anti-vaxxers and those on the fence with unsubstantiated fears and rumour. Ugh.

  3. Mark says:

    The publication by press release strikes again. It is hard enough convincing docs and nurses here to get their flu shots in the best of circumstances. Headlines like this do not help much either. Shame on the researchers for not having this vetted before sending it to the 24/7 media squawkbox.

  4. David Gorski says:

    God, I hate publication by press release.

  5. doubtingfoo says:

    It seems like if they were going to change their plan it would be to prioritize who gets the h1n1 vaccine. Give it to those who got last year’s flu shot first.

  6. wales says:

    Here’s another article on the subject.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/study-prompts-provinces-to-rethink-flu-plan/article1303330/

    “Dr. Rubinstein [Dr. Ethan Rubinstein, head of adult infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba], who has read the study, said it appears sound.

    “There are a large number of authors, all of them excellent and credible researchers,” he said. “And the sample size is very large – 12 or 13 million people taken from the central reporting systems in three provinces. The research is solid.”

  7. tariqata says:

    This is frustrating, but even more so is the province-by-province approach, so that for example Ontario is planning to make the seasonal vaccine available to seniors in October, H1N1 available to everyone in November, and seasonal vaccine for everyone else in December/January, while Quebec is apparently thinking of dropping the seasonal vaccine until January.

    http://www.thestar.com/article/700830

  8. kausikdatta says:

    kill3rTcell beat me to it. Once the virus enters the system, it is treated to two lines of attack, the primary being the already-existing neutralizing antibodies (as would result from a natural infection and/or vaccination). The second line of defense – a later but more prolonged response – would come from processing of the viral antigens in the antigen presenting cells, leading to more specific, class-switched antibodies and long-term immunological memory. That 1994 paper utilized macrophage like and lymphocytic cell lines, both of whom can present antigens. In fact, it mentions in the discussion:

    FcR bearing cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells are major antigen-presenting cells that present peptide in conjunction with class I and II molecules to T helper and cytotoxic T lymphocytes. These T-cells responses were enhanced when FcR bearing cells were sensitized with antigen in the presence of the antibody.

    Using the results of this paper to bolster a faux argument against vaccination should amount to scientific misconduct (IF the Canadian paper has done so).

    In this I differ from Dr. Crislip – this 1994 paper does not suggest plausibility for the Canadian study; proper representation is especially important, because a lay person may have difficulty in understanding the difference between, nor the context of, ‘influenza virus infection’ (of the host or the patient) and ‘infection-inducing antibodies’ (that help the immune cells recognize the antigen better).

  9. Ash says:

    Most people I’ve talked to have been treating this with a health dose of skepticism. I’m not even sure the provincial health authorities that are considering cancelling or delaying the seasonal flu vaccine really believe there is a greater risk resulting from this vaccination – I suspect they’re just using it as an excuse. With the current economic climate, governments are looking for expenditures they can justify cutting. This study gives them an excuse to cut the vaccination program without too much protest. If it turns out that novel H1N1 is the only significant flu strain circulating this year, then they save money. If other flu strains are present at their normal frequency instead, this would end up costing them more money in the long run.

    Also note that not all provinces have cancelled or delayed their seasonal flu vaccination yet. In Alberta (where I live), the health department is holding off on making a decision for now, and have specifically said they won’t make their decision on the basis of this study.

  10. stellarfeller says:

    “And in the end what I bet will happen is rather than getting two vaccines late, Canadians will get no vaccines at all and flu will cut loose in Canada.”

    Don’t tar us all with the same brush, please.

  11. Mark Crislip says:

    1) I added an addendum.

    2) I agree re: plausibility; there are a few similar articles on oubmed and it was the closest I could find for a reason for the results of the study. The lung is full of immune cells with Fc receptors, so perhaps maybe possibly it could give the virus a toe hold. I should have added qualifiers.

    3) “And in the end what I bet will happen is rather than getting two vaccines late, William Smith of 1256 SW Vista Lane, Vancouver, BC will get no vaccines at all and flu will cut loose in in his household of a wife and three children, as well as his visiting in laws.”
    Better?

  12. passionlessDrone says:

    Hi Mark Crislip –

    You might be interested in knowing that a growing body of physicists believe that the men who declared they had created cold fusion were, indeed, correct.

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

    The head of the AAP, as well as the Pentagon appear to believe that several research can create more energy than they input into the system.

    - pD

  13. trrll says:

    It’s difficult to see how the sample could be all that large. One article mentioned that British Columbia had had just 52 severe cases of swine flu. Adding to that is that so far they aren’t seeing much seasonal flu in Canada, so the decision to suspend seasonal flu vaccination for a while makes some sense.

    I’ve already had my seasonal vaccine, but I’m not really concerned. The swine flu vaccine should be available soon. Even if the study turns out to be right and not a statistical fluke or artifact, it won’t be relevant to those who get both vaccines.

  14. sj says:

    As others have noted, Canadian health policy is actually set by each province, more or less independently. In Nova Scotia, (apparently, the same as Ontario) where I live, the Chief Public Health Officer has sensibly recommended that those over 65 and those in long term care facilities – those most at risk for seasonal flu – get the seasonal flu shot starting October 5 when the vaccine becomes available (I’m over 65 and my flu shot is scheduled for October 6 and my wife’s on the 7th.) It has been standard policy for a number of years in NS to start the flu vaccine program with this group. The CMOH has not yet officially decided what to do about those under 65 with seasonal flu – because it isn’t clear, I think, how to coordinate seasonal flu and H1N1 “jabs”. Presently, teenagers and young adults have been prioritized for H1N1 in November (when the vaccine is expected to be available) because so far they have been the group most at risk for H1N1. (This is distorted a bit in this province because a private school made a trip to Mexico just as H1N1 was getting underway and then the school went ahead with recruitment visits from other schools after the H1N1 infected kids returned. Small sub-populations can distort statistics in a population of less than a million.) The province has acquired enough doses for H1N1 for the expected adult population, including those over 65. (I say “expected”, because there will always be some who refuse the vaccine.) As I understand it, the current plan is to resume the seasonal flu program once the H1N1 program has been completed; I believe the province has arranged for the usual supply of seasonal flu vaccine. As far as my understanding of the situation this policy makes sense to me: innoculate sub-populations against the greatest threat first (seniors = seasonal flu; young people = H1N1) and then proceed to innoculate each with the other vaccine unless evidence suggests this would not be wise or useful. I should say that part of the CMOH’s reasoning is that the evidence to date suggests that seniors have been considerably less susceptible to H1N1 than younger people. Here’s the announcement http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20090925005.

  15. trrll says:

    You might be interested in knowing that a growing body of physicists believe that the men who declared they had created cold fusion were, indeed, correct.

    Is it growing as fast as the “growing body” of biologists who don’t believe in evolution? Or the “growing body” of AIDS researchers who believe that HIV is not responsible? Or the “growing body” of climatologists who don’t believe in global warming?

    And how is it that these “growing bodies” of scientists are not matched by a growing body of peer-reviewed research supporting their alleged beliefs?

  16. Scott says:

    pd:

    Not at all convincing. As far as I can tell searching arxiv and the APS journals, none of this supposed work has ever been published. In fact, I can’t find a single article with McKubre as an author. So there’s no actual evidence to say there’s anything at all there. You’re overselling it by many orders of magnitude.

  17. Scott says:

    Oh, and a quick clarify – I looked at the APS journals specifically because, if such a thing were legit and not in Science or Nature, it’d definitely be a PRL. The rest of the PRs come along for the ride.

  18. kausikdatta says:

    And how is it that these “growing bodies” of scientists are not matched by a growing body of peer-reviewed research supporting their alleged beliefs?

    May be, it’s just the body that is “growing”, without proportional growth in the brain, or in intelligence or higher neural functions…

  19. marilynmann says:

    http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/swineflu/news/sep2409canada.html

    According to this article, investigators in other countries have looked at their data sets and have not found a similar effect.

  20. JedRothwell says:

    Your assertions about cold fusion are completely incorrect. Cold fusion has been replicated in hundreds of major laboratories, in thousands of individual tests. In some cases the signal to noise ratio is very high, such as when the effect produces ~100 W of heat with no input power, or tritium at millions of times background.

    I have a collection of 1,200 peer-reviewed journal papers on cold fusion from the library at Los Alamos, and 2,500 others from proceedings, government reports, EPRI, the NSF and other sources. I have uploaded a bibliography of 3,500 papers, and several hundred full text papers here:

    http://lenr-canr.org

    I strongly recommend you first read the scientific literature on this research — or any research — before commenting on it.

  21. Scott says:

    Further research shows that he published in chemistry journals (!) more than 10 years ago. That’s even worse for the idea’s credibility than not publishing at all…

  22. daedalus2u says:

    Dr Novella had a blog post on Cold Fusion last winter, and one of the “true believers” showed up with a website that had many of the papers on it. I downloaded and read quite a few, and the ones that show an effect are poorly done, the ones that are well done show no effect (just like CAM).

    All the effects of anomalous heat can be rationalized by poor technique. All of the work done using the unsilvered Dewars as calorimeters is flawed because the emissivity is treated as a lumped parameter with no temperature dependence. This is an unacceptable short cut when using emitters and absorbers that are optically thin (that is that are partially transparent to the radiation under consideration) and at non-uniform temperature. That is the case with their optically transparent unsilvered Dewars.

  23. trrll says:

    Early in the study of a phenomenon, it is sometimes the case that the signal to noise ratio is poor, or only some labs are able to get positive results. But with a genuine phenomenon, people get together, figure out the relevant variables, and generally there is a reproducible protocol within a few years that pretty much any graduate student can carry out successfully.

    On the other hand, some phenomena linger in this shadowland for decades. Some people can make it work, some can’t, and nobody has a robust, well-controlled protocol that will work in any lab. And very often, these are phenomena for which there is no solid physical or theoretical basis: psychic phenomena, cold fusion, effects of homeopathic preparations on cells. The longer people have had to work on a problem, the higher the expectations of scientists for evidence, if the phenomenon is indeed real.

    The honeymoon is long over for cold fusion. Anomalous heat generation might be an acceptable endpoint for early studies, but after this much time, a lot more is required.

    So call us when you have a car that runs by cold fusion.

  24. JedRothwell says:

    trrllon wrote:

    “Early in the study of a phenomenon, it is sometimes the case that the signal to noise ratio is poor, or only some labs are able to get positive results.”

    This is true, and important. There were 20 major failed attempts to reproduce cold fusion in 1989, with 135 researchers, versus 90 successes. That’s counting only experiments in the literature; there may be others but I have no record of them. I published a list here:

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

    It is now clear why some early experiments failed, but it was not clear back then!

    “On the other hand, some phenomena linger in this shadowland for decades. Some people can make it work, some can’t, and nobody has a robust, well-controlled protocol that will work in any lab.”

    This is true of some phenomena but not others. For example, you cannot publish a protocol for a tokamak plasma fusion reactor or the Top Quark experiment that any lab can run. These experiments require billions of dollars of equipment and a large staff of experts. Mitsubishi and the National Synchrotron Lab have developed a technique for doing cold fusion that always works, but it calls for $20 million in equipment and a synchrotron. Many experiments require expert skills decades after they are done, such as open heart surgery. There are hundreds of experiments in solid state physics and electrochemistry that only an expert can do. Cold fusion is one. Richard Oriani says it is the most difficult electrochemistry experiment he did in his 50-year career. By 1990, when roughly 100 labs had reproduced, the reasons it is difficult were explained clearly in the literature.

    “And very often, these are phenomena for which there is no solid physical or theoretical basis: psychic phenomena, cold fusion . . .”

    Many distinguished physicists such as Schwinger disagree with that assertion. They say there is a theoretical basis. I cannot judge, but you can read theory papers by these people at LENR-CANR.org.

    “Anomalous heat generation might be an acceptable endpoint for early studies, but after this much time, a lot more is required.”

    Anomalous heat was never the end point. By mid-1989 they observed anomalous heat at levels thousands of times above any possible chemical reaction with no chemical transformations; tritium at levels ranging from 50 to 10E8 times background, gamma rays, neutrons, and helium commensurate with the heat from a plasma fusion reaction. That is a lot more than heat, although the heat itself is definitive since it sometimes occurs at levels impossible to miss or mistake, such as 100 W with no input power.

    “So call us when you have a car that runs by cold fusion.”

    This is an unreasonable and unscientific standard. It is like demanding a nuclear bomb a few years after the discovery of radium.

    Bear in mind that cold fusion has not been funded much, and there is enormous opposition to the research because of academic politics. In 20 years, cold fusion has received roughly as much money as plasma fusion gets in a few hours, and plasma fusion has been funded for 60 years. Yet cold fusion is far closer to practical commercialization. Plasma fusion has never reached energy payback levels, and it has produced at most ~6 MJ in a reaction lasting a fraction of a second. By the mid 1990s, cold fusion achieved power density and temperatures equivalent to a fission reactor core, and fully ignited, stand alone reactions, and reactions well above energy payback that produced up to ~300 MJ. That is a heck of a lot closer to a car than the PPPL ever made, or than ITER is expected to make. This has been done for ~$10 million versus billions for plasma fusion, and who knows how much just to bury used fission fuel rods.

    In any case, the assertion made here that cold fusion was a “bust” is not in evidence. You might get that impression if you read Time magazine or Internet rumor mills. But if you read papers published in peer-reviewed journals of electrochemistry and nuclear physics, and reports published by China Lake, Los Alamos, EPRI, the NSF, Amoco, Mitsubishi and other serious, credible sources, you will see that cold fusion is real and that it has been widely replicated at high s/n ratios.

  25. kill3rTcell says:

    Dr Crislip,
    “The lung is full of immune cells with Fc receptors” – that is just the point, they are immune cells. It seems odd to suggest that a higher number of Alveolar Macrophages (or any immune cell) with Fc receptors will lead to increased uptake by epithelial cells – the cells the virus infects.
    Being coated by antibodies (opsonisation) will assist to prevent further infection (the vaccines stimulate production of anti-haemagglutinin and anti-neuraminidase antibodies, preventing these molecules in assisting in viral entry into the target cells) and lead to further uptake by the macrophages (thanks to the Fc receptors). The mechanism suggested seems absurd given our current knowledge of the virus and the widely-studied function of antibodies and their receptors.
    You mentioned similar articles on pubmed, I’ll have a bit of a butcher’s. It’d be fascinating id there was such an effect.

  26. kill3rTcell says:

    Though epithelial cells sometimes function as part of the immune system. They express IgG Fc receptors, but this should not apply for respiratory epithelial cells – the main class of antibody in the respiratory system is IgA. This does however provide a plausible mechanism for opsonisation leading to increased uptake.

  27. marc says:

    Since we often look at how mainstream news reports health news I thought this was a really interesting take from the Winnipeg Free Press:

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/Unpublished-studies-question-whether-seasonal-flu-shot-raises-swine-flu-risk.html

    Talk about going 180 degrees away from the usual “hype what has no proof, ignore what does” sort of approach. Very, very refreshing.

  28. Skeptigirl says:

    As more Provinces in Canada jump on this bandwagon, my annoyance grows and grows. I am giving seasonal flu vaccine now to free up my time to give the new H1N1 vaccine in a couple weeks, as the CDC urged us all to do.

    When my patients ask me about this matter, I point out a little known fact the press seems to have paid almost no attention to. Helen Branswell who reported on this initially included the information that while the Canadian data shows getting last year’s flu vaccine might have made it twice as likely one would get the new H1N1 infection, the infections in people vaccinated last year have generally been more mild than those who didn’t get the vaccine.

    If the data is true it suggests having had last year’s flu vaccine actually offers people protection from the new H1N1. So you are more likely to get infected but the infection is mild. That’s a GOOD thing, not a bad thing! That means you have some protection from the new H1N1 and getting a mild case would confer immunity while those not getting last year’s vaccine need to wait for the new vaccine and hope they do not get infected in the meantime.

  29. trrll says:

    This is true of some phenomena but not others. For example, you cannot publish a protocol for a tokamak plasma fusion reactor or the Top Quark experiment that any lab can run. These experiments require billions of dollars of equipment and a large staff of experts.

    Such special pleading might have merit if you were arguing that cold fusion requires the sort of extreme conditions of an accelerator or a fusion reactor, and cannot possibly be done on a benchtop apparatus. Of course, that would necessarily mean that all of the claimed “successes” were wrong.

    Many experiments require expert skills decades after they are done, such as open heart surgery.

    Nobody questions whether open heart surgery is actually possible, and for good reason. It is regularly done by surgeons in virtually every major hospital in the country. It requires training, but can be readily reproduced by any good surgeon who undertakes that training.

    There are hundreds of experiments in solid state physics and electrochemistry that only an expert can do. Cold fusion is one. Richard Oriani says it is the most difficult electrochemistry experiment he did in his 50-year career.

    A certain amount of fundamental skill is needed to do science, but experiments do not remain that difficult if there is real progress. Once the variables are understood and the protocol is worked out, almost any skilled scientist can do them. Procedures that only a few years ago were done only in a handful of labs in the world are now available as kits, or turnkey benchtop instruments. This is the normal trajectory of real science. When an experiment remains that difficult after decades of effort, it is a strong indicator that something is badly wrong.

    Plasma fusion has never reached energy payback levels, and it has produced at most ~6 MJ in a reaction lasting a fraction of a second.

    Pretty lame analogy. Nobody questions the reality of hot fusion. It has been duplicated in numerous experiments, some very large and dramatic. Whether the extreme temperatures required for fusion can be usefully maintained on a small scale without a huge energy input remains an open technological question. But supposedly, cold fusion does not require extreme physical conditions.

    Anomalous heat was never the end point. By mid-1989 they observed anomalous heat at levels thousands of times above any possible chemical reaction with no chemical transformations;

    The scientific term “endpoint” refers to what you measure to determine the result of an experiment. Are you seriously claiming that there were never any experiments that were designed to determine whether cold fusion was occurring on the basis of excess heat generation?

    tritium at levels ranging from 50 to 10E8 times background, gamma rays, neutrons, and helium commensurate with the heat from a plasma fusion reaction. That is a lot more than heat, although the heat itself is definitive since it sometimes occurs at levels impossible to miss or mistake, such as 100 W with no input power.

    It sounds like you are trying to have it both ways. If it is really such a huge effect, then there should be no difficulty building benchtop tritium or neutron sources, or cold fusion generators. So where can I order a turnkey system for my lab?

    Bear in mind that cold fusion has not been funded much, and there is enormous opposition to the research because of academic politics.

    Academic? If it is real, cold fusion should be of immense commercial value. If the evidence is as convincing as you claim, private investors who care nothing about “academic politics” would be lining up to invest, and progress would be much faster than in academic science that is dependent upon limited public funding.

    But if you read papers published in peer-reviewed journals of electrochemistry and nuclear physics, and reports published by China Lake, Los Alamos, EPRI, the NSF, Amoco, Mitsubishi and other serious, credible sources, you will see that cold fusion is real and that it has been widely replicated at high s/n ratios.

    Cold fusion–if it works–is a big deal, revolutionizing our understanding of nuclear physics. If the evidence were reliable and convincing, it would be getting published in Science and Nature, not specialized electrochemical journals and obscure reports.

  30. qetzal says:

    @ JedRothwell

    Since you’ve already read the cold fusion literature, can you please list two or three recent papers that you believe are especially strongly in its favor?

    TIA.

  31. Scott says:

    Also, such papers need to be in nuclear physics journals. Fusion isn’t even related to electrochemistry; publishing there is morally equivalent to publishing the clinical trial of a new drug in Astronomy and Astrophysics. It’s simply not where the relevant expertise is.

  32. JedRothwell says:

    Scotton wrote:

    “Also, such papers need to be in nuclear physics journals.”

    As I mentioned, they are in nuclear physics journals. Specifically, cold fusion papers have been published in the 3 leading journals of plasma fusion, including several paper by the editors of those journals (now retired or dead) Miley, Li and Vigier.

    “Fusion isn’t even related to electrochemistry . . .”

    Yes, it is. Cold fusion is electrochemically induced. Your statement is somewhat like saying that chemical explosives are not related to fission bombs. Of course they are: explosives are used to implode the plutonium. In a cold fusion cell, electrochemistry is used to trigger the reaction, by means that are not presently understood. People also linear ion beams, gas loading and various other methods to trigger the reaction, but electrochemistry works better.

    “It’s simply not where the relevant expertise is.”

    Cold fusion experiments are multidisciplinary. They require experts in both nuclear physics and electrochemistry. In 1989, the 20 groups that failed to replicate failed mainly because they did not include electrochemists. They made elementary mistakes that no electrochemist would make. They did not even measure critical parameters or take precautions that any electrochemist would take. The ~90 experiments that succeeded were all performed by electrochemists, with assistance from nuclear physics experts, at places like BARC and Los Alamos, which have many chemists, electrochemists and physicists on staff.

    Also, for example, at the Hokkaido U. Nuclear Engineering Dept. by coincidence Mizuno had spent 30 years doing nuclear physics related work implanting hydrogen and deuterium in metals. This was done in studies of reactor wall embrittlement, which is a problem with fission reactors. You can induce it quickly with electrochemistry, instead of waiting for years. So it just happened they had an experienced team of nuclear and electrochemistry experts working together. They had little difficulty replicating. It took maybe 6 months, which is quick for cold fusion. It takes 6 months to 2 years to do an experiment, as you see from the detailed descriptions of the work. Many of the failed experiments were abandoned in a few weeks, something no electrochemist would have done.

  33. JedRothwell says:

    I meant to say people also USE linear ion beams. At Osaka Nat. U. they did that, with a $200 million gadget. Very impressive, yet electrochem. can produce even more extreme conditions on a microscopic level.

    It is rather odd that you would talk about “relevant expertise” when the cold fusion researchers are mainly the creme de la creme of mid-20th century physics: Schwinger, Teller, Vigier, Lonchampt (the guy who designed the French power reactors; member of the French AEC), the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry, etc., not to mention Fleischmann, FRC.

    As I mentioned, there is opposition to this research because of academic politics. The only people able to conduct it were prestigious professors with independent funding, such as the Fellow of the Institute at China Lake. Most of them are now retired or dead, as you see from the list.

  34. Scott says:

    As I mentioned, they are in nuclear physics journals. Specifically, cold fusion papers have been published in the 3 leading journals of plasma fusion, including several paper by the editors of those journals (now retired or dead) Miley, Li and Vigier.

    Then you should have no trouble providing the relevant citations.

    Yes, it is. Cold fusion is electrochemically induced. Your statement is somewhat like saying that chemical explosives are not related to fission bombs. Of course they are: explosives are used to implode the plutonium. In a cold fusion cell, electrochemistry is used to trigger the reaction, by means that are not presently understood. People also linear ion beams, gas loading and various other methods to trigger the reaction, but electrochemistry works better.

    Nope. Your argument is equivalent to saying that because chemical explosives are used to trigger nuclear bombs, chemists are most qualified to study the fusion reactions that take place in the sun. Quite wrong. Whether or not the supposed fusion reaction is taking place, and precisely how it works, are fundamentally questions of nuclear physics; electrochemistry provides zero insight into these questions and has no applicability to answering them.

    Cold fusion experiments are multidisciplinary…

    Summarizing the argument, cold fusion is electrochemical in nature because some electrochemists with no relevant knowledge or understanding of fusion think it works while the people who actually have said relevant knowledge or understanding find that it does not.

    The other half is that electrochemistry is somehow necessary to make it work; this is completely belied by the fact that nobody has ever been able to give any coherent explanation, backed by evidence, of WHY said expertise is at all relevant.

    Ultimately, the final nail in the coffin is that NO discipline can do it consistently, and the people who claim they can, have no idea what they’re doing that makes it work. That’s an unmistakable signature of a result that is not real, but due to a botched experiment.

  35. Scott says:

    It is rather odd that you would talk about “relevant expertise” when the cold fusion researchers are mainly the creme de la creme of mid-20th century physics: Schwinger, Teller, Vigier, Lonchampt (the guy who designed the French power reactors; member of the French AEC), the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry, etc., not to mention Fleischmann, FRC.

    You neglect to mention the far longer list of people with equally impressive credentials who conclude that the experiments were simply botched. And irrelevant in any case without cites to the actual papers with the actual evidence.

    As I mentioned, there is opposition to this research because of academic politics. The only people able to conduct it were prestigious professors with independent funding, such as the Fellow of the Institute at China Lake. Most of them are now retired or dead, as you see from the list.

    Yet you argue that said independent funding has been so successful – so again, you should have no trouble citing the actual relevant papers.

    I can’t help but notice that you completely ignored qetzal, and still haven’t provided any actual evidence or citations. Could that perhaps be because you know you’ll lose, and lose badly, in an actual examination of evidence?

  36. Ash says:

    There is hope – Alberta has officially stated that the seasonal flu vaccination will proceed, as well as the H1N1 vaccination. Considering our health minister is a high-school dropout and is looking to cut whatever he can, I was a bit worried, but the medical experts with the health agency seem to have won the day.

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/Alberta+begin+vaccine+rollout/2054889/story.html.

  37. daedalus2u says:

    The largest thermonuclear fusion reactor that humans have built produced ~1.4% of the power of the Sun. Good thing it only did so for 39 nanoseconds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba

  38. Zetetic says:

    Hmmmm…. Doesn’t cold fusion essentially = perpetual motion?

  39. JedRothwell says:

    Scott wrote:

    “You neglect to mention the far longer list of people with equally impressive credentials who conclude that the experiments were simply botched.”

    There may be many people who reach this conclusion but they have not published papers so I cannot evaluate their views. I have read all of the major published papers and books by supporters and skeptics, and by researchers whose experiments succeeded or failed. Knowledgeable, published researchers who succeeded in replicating far outnumber those who failed.

    Most scientists and journalists who have criticized cold fusion in the mass media have no knowledge of the subject, and their assertions are technically wrong. See, for example:

    http://lenr-canr.org/News.htm#SciAmSlam

    “. . . so again, you should have no trouble citing the actual relevant papers.”

    All of the authors I listed are on file in the LENR-CANR indexes. We have a variety of indexes by author, date, journal and so on, plus the Google search box on the front screen, which is limited to LENR-CANR, is handy. We have ~1,000 full text papers. Our bibliography lists about ~1,200 other papers that you can find at a university or national laboratory library. I have copies of all of these papers, from Los Alamos and Georgia Tech, but I cannot upload them because of copyright restrictions.

    “The other half is that electrochemistry is somehow necessary to make it work; this is completely belied by the fact that nobody has ever been able to give any coherent explanation, backed by evidence, of WHY said expertise is at all relevant.”

    This is completely incorrect. I have hundreds of papers and several textbooks explaining in great detail why electrochemical expertise is relevant. The electrochemical conditions that must be satisfied to produce the effect have been described in enormous detail. The theoretical reasons why these conditions give rise to heat, tritium, neutrons and so on are not well understood, although many theories have been proposed. But the electrochemical conditions are described and understood exhastively. Of course it is still difficult to achieve them, as you see in the literature.

    Your assertions about this subject reveal that you have not read much about it. Let me suggest that you read several papers and reviews and perhaps the book by Beaudette before you try to evaluate the research. I recommend the reviews by Hagelstein and Storms, and the papers by McKubre and Miles. Please bear in mind that this is difficult and involved subject with a long history. Cold fusion effects were first reported in 1927 and later in the 1930s by Dee and others, and again in the 1980s. There is a lot to learn about this. You should not jump to conclusions without first reading original sources carefully.

  40. JedRothwell says:

    Zeteticon wrote:

    “Hmmmm…. Doesn’t cold fusion essentially = perpetual motion?”

    That is probably not a serious comment, but the answer is no. Cold fusion consumes deuterium, converting it to helium and heat in the same ratio as plasma fusion does. Therefore a cold fusion cell will only run for a long as the deuterium fuel lasts.

    In practice no cell has run that long. However, they have produced up to ~10,000 times more energy than any chemical cell of the same mass can produce. There is no doubt they would produce millions of times more, if you let them run for a few decades.

    Someone wrote:

    “Cold fusion–if it works–is a big deal, revolutionizing our understanding of nuclear physics. If the evidence were reliable and convincing, it would be getting published in Science and Nature, not specialized electrochemical journals and obscure reports.”

    I agree it is a big deal, but it will not be published in Science or Nature because the editors of these journals went out on a limb in 1989 and denounced the researchers. They have told Fleischmann, me and many others that they have not read any papers on the subject since the first paper. They are absolutely certain it is wrong, and they reject all papers without peer-review.

    The problem is that many scientists and journalists have the mistaken impression that cold fusion does not exist. They have often written articles attacking it, and they refuse to publish rebuttals by the researchers. As I mentioned, here is a good example:

    http://lenr-canr.org/News.htm#SciAmSlam

    Note that the people who wrote this, the editors of the Scientific American, told me they have not read a single paper on cold fusion, and they know nothing about it, but they are sure it is wrong. That seems like an unscientific attitude, but that is what they say. Their article leaves no doubt that they are telling the truth: they are completely ignorant.

    People have often assumed that an important discovery will become widely known just because it is important. History shows that is not the case. For example, by 1906 the Wright brothers had published two papers in leading journals and flown many times in public, for as long as 40 minutes. They had dozens of affidavits from leading citizens of Dayton, Ohio who had observed the flights. They published photos and they were granted a patent. Hundreds of other people had seen them fly because they were flying next to a trolley line, and the conductors used to stop and let the passengers watch. Yet despite this, every major newspaper and magazine in the U.S. and Europe claimed that the Wrights were fakers, frauds and liars. Many of them made the same assumption made here, that if it is important, we would know about it. The Scientific American wrote:

    “It seems that these alleged experiments were made at Dayton, Ohio, a fairly large town, and that the newspapers of the United States, alert as they are, allowed these sensational performances to escape their notice. . . . Wright’s mysterious aeroplane covered a reputed distance of 38 kilometers at the rate of one kilometer a minute, we have the right to exact further information before we place reliance on these French reports. Unfortunately, the Wright brothers are hardly disposed to publish any substantiation or to make public experiments, for reasons best known to themselves. If such sensational and tremendously important experiments are being conducted in a not very remote part of the country, on a subject in which almost everybody feels the most profound interest, is it possible to believe that the enterprising American reporter, who, it is well known, comes down the chimney when the door is locked in his face–even if he has to scale a fifteen-story sky-scraper to do so– would not have ascertained all about them and published them broadcast long ago?”

    Given the affidavits, photos, patent, scientific papers, the fact that hundreds of commuters had watched them fly, and so on, these statements were ludicrous. The Sci. Am. did not know anything about the Wrights in 1906 for exactly the same reason they know nothing about cold fusion today: because they have not bothered to look. These statements are remarkable similar to statements made today about cold fusion, that it was never replicated, there are no published papers and so on. Go go any university library and you will find hundreds of papers. Until you have read a fair number of them and thought very carefully, you should reserve judgment. That’s what scientists are supposed to do.

    There has also been a lot of harsh political opposition that stymies publication in major journals. People at the APS such as Robert Park, for example, have published accusations in the Washington Post, the New Scientist and elsewhere claiming that all cold fusion researchers are frauds, lunatics and criminals. Park recently told me and several others that he has not bothered to read any papers because he is still certain it is fraud and lunacy, so why bother. These allegations in the mass media have caused a great deal of personal grief for the researchers. Several thousand professional scientists have been put through hell because the mass media says they are criminals. You can imagine that when such allegations are printed repeatedly in Time, the Washington Post, and in other powerful mainstream mass media, it ruins people’s lives, and of course it prevents adequate funding of the research.

  41. Scott says:

    Your assumptions about what I have and have not read are entirely incorrect, to begin with. It is also simply false to claim that “the electrochemical conditions that must be satisfied to produce the effect have been described in enormous detail.” They have not been described sufficiently to render the effect is genuinely reproducible, which conclusively demonstrates that the critical points have never been described.

    You continue to handwave about what the evidence is and where. Cites. Precise, exact cites, in relevant (i.e. nuclear physics) journals, for the papers you keep claiming prove the case. You can’t just shrug it off and demand that WE figure out which papers YOU are relying on.

  42. JedRothwell says:

    Scott wrote:

    Your assumptions about what I have and have not read are entirely incorrect, to begin with.

    It is my impression, not my assumption. You seem unfamiliar with the research.

    “It is also simply false to claim that ‘the electrochemical conditions that must be satisfied to produce the effect have been described in enormous detail.’ They have not been described sufficiently to render the effect is genuinely reproducible, which conclusively demonstrates that the critical points have never been described.”

    I don’t understand why you say that. The conditions have been described by McKubre, Storms, Miles and others. See, for example:

    Storms, E., How to produce the Pons-Fleischmann effect. Fusion Technol., 1996. 29: p. 261.

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

    I do not know anyone who followed the protocols described here and not succeeded. Do you? Where did they publish?

    The effect is highly reproducible, up to 80% of the time. With the Mitsubishi technique it works every time, as far as I know.

    “You continue to handwave about what the evidence is and where. Cites. Precise, exact cites, in relevant (i.e. nuclear physics) journals . . .”

    Well for goodness sake. I gave you the names of some authors I recommend: Hagelstein, Storms, McKubre, Miles. I listed some others and told you how to find their papers. I uploaded a thousand papers and a huge bibliography. What more do you want? Read the authors I recommended and get back to me (or to them) if you have any questions.

    You say have already read the literature, you are familiar with these papers already, and you disagree. Okay. Perhaps you would care to write a critique explaining why. If you publish it in a journal or proceedings I would be pleased to upload it, if you want. I have several papers from skeptics that attempt to disprove cold fusion. See, for example, Morrison.

    You are asking me provide documents that will address your doubts, but I cannot guess what these doubt are or why you are not convinced. I know why the people at AMOCO (for example) were convinced, because I read their papers, met them, and discussed their work in detail. But I have no idea what you have read or why you do not think it is valid. As I said, what makes you think the Storms protocol does not work?!? Who tried it, and failed? Why did they fail? You would have to tell me what you know before I can recommend various papers and books. Of course this is beyond the scope of the discussion. As I said, you have to write a paper.

    “. . . for the papers you keep claiming prove the case.”

    All of the papers prove the case! That’s why I uploaded them. Look at the ones from BARC or AMOCO. Anything from Los Alamos is good: Storms, Talbott, Claytor. You can find them easily with our indexes.

    I do not understand you keep demanding I give you papers, when I have given you HUNDREDS. Read them.

    “You can’t just shrug it off and demand that WE figure out which papers YOU are relying on.”

    I am relying on the whole body of work obviously. All the authors I mentioned, and thousands of others. Everyone described in the Hagelstein review, for example, “New Physical Effects in Metal Dueterides” He lays out the claims in detail with 129 referenced papers, and believe me, I have read all 129 of them. He wrote the review for the 2004 DoE review panel.

    You can find it easily; just look up the author or title. Plus it is all here, with ~100 of the referenced papers:

    http://lenr-canr.org/Collections/DoeReview.htm

    Read and enjoy!

  43. Scott says:

    Not a single proper cite to a single peer-reviewed nuclear physics journal there. Almost exclusively cold fusion conference proceedings; they mean less than nothing.

  44. JedRothwell says:

    Scott wrote:

    “Not a single proper cite to a single peer-reviewed nuclear physics journal there.”

    As I mentioned there are several papers in plasma fusion journals, the Jap. J. of Applied Phys. and so on.

    “Almost exclusively cold fusion conference proceedings; they mean less than nothing.”

    As I explained, the peer-reviewed articles are mostly limited by copyright restrictions, so I cannot upload them. You will find them listed in the paper, and you can read them in the library.

    Until you have read these papers and can point to specific errors or reasons to disbelieve them, I do not think you have made your case. You appear to be dismissing them mainly because they in the Japanese Physical Society flagship journal rather than the American Physical Society journal, or perhaps because they are in J. Fusion Energy or Naturwissenschaft rather than Nature. That seems unreasonable to me. I think you should concentrate on the technical content rather than the name of the Journal.

    As I said, this is beyond the scope of the discussion, but if you would care to write a detailed technical article describing why you disagree with these articles perhaps I can assist you or clear up some misunderstandings. If you have already published a critique of cold fusion, please let me know where it is.

    For now, let me recommend that when you find a body of work written by thousands of distinguished scientists over a period of 20 years, you should not dismiss it without a very good set of reasons. People like Schwinger and Fleischmann probably knew more about their areas of expertise than you do. You should think twice before dismissing their claims just because you prefer American journals to Japanese ones, or for some similar frivolous and unscientific reason.

    More to the point, the experimental method and the scientific method work. When an effect is replicated thousands of times in hundreds of labs at high s/n ratios, that proves it is real. Whether it can be explained by theory or not is irrelevant. As Schwinger put, “never forget that physics is empirical.” The effect is real even if the editor of Nature disagrees and will not publish a paper about it. Journal editors are only human and often wrong, after all, whereas the scientific method never fails. As Prof. Robert Duncan put it:

    “Research funding needs to become less dependent on the common assumptions within the culture of scientific communities, and much more courageous and objective.

    The Scientific Method is a wonderful thing, use it always, no exceptions!”

    You will find a link to the video of that lecture at U. Missouri and also a link to Duncan’s appearance in the April 2009 CBS “60 Minutes” program in our news section:

    http://lenr-canr.org/News.htm

  45. qetzal says:

    JedRothwell,

    It seems the only specific site you’ve listed since my request was “How to Produce the Pons-Fleischmann Effect” by Edmund Storms, “as submitted to J. Fusion Technol. 29 (1996) 261.” Is J. Fusion Technol. a real journal? It doesn’t appear on a Google search. Was that paper ever actually published?

    So far, I’m not at all impressed. I don’t care how many 1000′s of references you have on your list. Given the one you’ve cited so far, I’m not inclined to wade through the rest.

    Again, if you can cite one or two that you think provide strong evidence for cold fusion, I’d be interested to look at them. Otherwise, I’ll be moving along.

  46. trrll says:

    This is the same kind of special pleading that one hears from advocates of other “fringe” scientific claims, such as psychic powers, microwave-induced cancer, intelligent design, or “water memory.” This brings us back to one of the themes of this blog, which is that Bayesian theory tells us that a claim with a low prior probability–such as one for which a plausible mechanism has not been established–requirers stronger evidence to convince other scientists of its validity. Or as more commonly stated, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” When after a couple of decades there has been no clear progress in meeting that standard, most scientists conclude that it is a dry hole. When you look at the literature, you see an initial burst of publications, trailing off into a trickle of publications in increasingly-minor journals. I’m sure that there must be some example of such an apparently-failed scientific hypothesis “reviving” and managing to win general acceptance–but I can’t think of any.

    Of course, the die-hards always blame lack of support from the scientific community for their lack of progress, but in reality it is the other way around. Who wouldn’t love for cold fusion to be real? Cheap, carbon-neutral energy? What could be better? Much of the resistance to the idea is simply the natural wariness of scientists who have discovered the hard way how easy it is to be seduced by wishful thinking.

    Of course, there are many examples of scientific ideas that achieved success after initially meeting with great skepticism from the scientific community, or opposition from established scientists with a vested interest in an opposing hypothesis, but they follow a different trajectory–the number of publications begins slowly, but then accelerates as the accumulated evidence persuades more and more (often younger) scientists that the topic is worth of study.

    Of course the attempt to blame resistance by the scientific community for the lack of compelling progress on cold fusion is particularly absurd, because in contrast to the other topics mentioned, cold fusion, if it actually worked, would have immense commercial value. Yet private investment in development of cold fusion, like scientific interest, has waned in the absence of convincing progress.

  47. Scott says:

    As I mentioned there are several papers in plasma fusion journals, the Jap. J. of Applied Phys. and so on.

    Then provide the citations! I looked through the links you provided for about half an hour without finding anything fitting that description. Simply asserting that they exist, without providing the actual citation, is meaningless.

    Bottom line: You haven’t been able to unambiguously provide a SINGLE peer-reviewed publication in a relevant journal.

    Just to be clear, I’m not maintaining that cold fusion is impossible. I’m saying that it’s highly implausible (Can you provide the primary reason for this conclusion? If not, you don’t have any real understanding of the subject.), and that you haven’t been able to provide any real evidence for it. If you do, I’ll be happy to take a close look and evaluate it.

  48. JedRothwell says:

    Scott wrote:

    “As I mentioned there are several papers in plasma fusion journals, the Jap. J. of Applied Phys. (JJAP) and so on.”

    Then provide the citations!”

    Everything in JJAP is good. I recommend you read everything they have. Use the publication index or the Google search. Pick whatever you like. I recommend you read a few dozen papers before reaching any conclusion.

    I went to all this trouble to organize the site and make it easy to find papers, and you won’t even look. Do you own homework for goodness sake.

    “I looked through the links you provided for about half an hour without finding anything fitting that description. Simply asserting that they exist, without providing the actual citation, is meaningless.

    Bottom line: You haven’t been able to unambiguously provide a SINGLE peer-reviewed publication in a relevant journal.”

    I do not understand what you mean. I gave you Storms, a Los Alamos nuclear chemist, in a plasma fusion journal. What’s the matter with that? What more do you want? I gave you Schwinger, the head of the Indian AEC and France’s top fission reactor designer. Surely you realize these people are nuclear physicists!

    You say you looked and found nothing. Well, I’ll be darned if I can imagine what it is you are looking for! I am not a mind reader. People have downloaded 1.2 million papers from LENR-CANR so obviously a lot of people are finding what they look for. I am sorry you can’t, but I can’t imagine why not.

    You keep saying “definitive.” How the heck should I know what you consider definitive? I already told you what I consider definitive: the work at BARC, Los Alamos, China Lake or AMOCO. Also SRI. So I suggest you read it and find out if you agree. Some is not peer-reviewed but all is better than most peer-reviewed papers I have seen. The internal peer-review at these places is much more rigorous than most journals. I trust you can think for yourself and judge the quality of a paper no matter where it was published.

    You said you already read papers. Which ones? What was the matter with them? What was not definitive? I can maybe set you straight if you will tell me what errors you think you discovered. But I cannot read your mind and determine why you think there is a problem.

    The most “relevant” journals are in electrochemistry because most of the skill and knowledge is in that field, and because electrochmical journal editors do not reject papers out of hand. I realize you disagree, but that is where you will find the papers. If you disregard them because you think they are published in the wrong category I cannot help you. I think it is unwise of you to ignore thousands of experiments performed by distinguished experts for this reason. The teams of people doing these experiments include many top nuclear physicists as you saw from my list and as you see in the author lists. I don’t see why it matters to you which journal they end up in, but if this is a sticking point, feel free to ignore the field.

    For a definitive paper in an electrochemistry journal, see:

    McKubre, M.C.H., et al., Isothermal Flow Calorimetric Investigations of the D/Pd and H/Pd Systems. J. Electroanal. Chem., 1994. 368: p. 55.

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

    Garwin went loaded for bear trying to find an error in this paper. On “60 Minutes” he claimed he did find an error, but in the report he wrote to Pentagon he said: “We have found no specific experimental artifact responsible for the finding of excess heat . . .” So either he was lying to the Pentagon or to the public. Garwin is a nuclear scientist from central casting!

    See his comments and my rebuttal here:

    http://lenr-canr.org/News.htm#CBS60minutes

  49. Scott says:

    Everything in JJAP is good. I recommend you read everything they have. Use the publication index or the Google search. Pick whatever you like. I recommend you read a few dozen papers before reaching any conclusion.

    You’re making the claim, you provide the evidence.

    I went to all this trouble to organize the site and make it easy to find papers, and you won’t even look. Do you own homework for goodness sake.

    I did look. Extensively. If you have any REAL citations on your site, they’re very hard to find.

    I do not understand what you mean. I gave you Storms, a Los Alamos nuclear chemist, in a plasma fusion journal. What’s the matter with that? What more do you want? I gave you Schwinger, the head of the Indian AEC and France’s top fission reactor designer. Surely you realize these people are nuclear physicists!

    I want actual citations to actual papers, not simply assertions that said papers exist!

    Bottom line, you continue to refuse to provide any actual evidence.

  50. Scott says:

    Oh yes, and please do demonstrate that you have a basic understanding of the subject by explaining why cold fusion is extremely implausible.

    Until you’re able to do that, and provide real, meaningful citations in relevant journals, the only conclusion I can reach involves kitchen tables…

  51. JedRothwell says:

    Okay, Scott, you want definitive. Here is a paper that the authors consider definitive, and so do i:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Lautzenhiscoldfusion.pdf

    Their conclusion:

    “The calorimetry conclusively shows excess energy was produced within the electrolytic cell over
    the period of the experiment. This amount, 50 kilojoules, is such that any chemical reaction
    would have had to been in near molar amounts to have produced the energy. Chemical analysis
    shows clearly that no such chemical reactions occurred. The tritium results show that some form
    of nuclear reactions occurred during the experiment.”

    Now if you don’t consider this definitive then you live on one planet, and the folks at AMOCO and I live on another planet.

    “Oh yes, and please do demonstrate that you have a basic understanding of the subject by explaining why cold fusion is extremely implausible.”

    That’s the most obvious thing in the world! Cold fusion fuses deuterium to form helium and heat, but it does not produce neutrons at the expected level. It seems to violate the laws of plasma fusion. Therefore the theorists and especially the plasma fusion scientists claim it is wrong, and there must be an experimental error. As Huizenga put it:

    “Furthermore, if the claimed excess heat exceeds that possible by other conventional processes (chemical, mechanical, etc.), one must conclude that an error has been made in measuring the excess heat.”

    Or as Feshbach put it:

    “I have had 50 years of experience in nuclear physics and I know what’s possible and what’s not. . . . I don’t want to see any more evidence! I think it’s a bunch of junk and I don’t want to have anything further to do with it.”

    I have no idea why the neutron ratio is different, but I am sure the experiments are right because they have been widely replicated and I know a great deal about how they are done and what methods are used to confirm them. So I conclude that the theory is either incomplete or wrong. The bedrock basis of the scientific method is that when replicated experiments conflict with theory, the experiments always win, theory always loses. No exceptions granted.

  52. JedRothwell says:

    Scott wrote:

    “I want actual citations to actual papers, not simply assertions that said papers exist!”

    Look I recommended you read everything in JJAP and everything published by Storms, McKubre and Miles. That’s maybe 50 papers. A good start. You can find them easily with our indexing system. If you are too lazy to read them don’t blame me and don’t accuse me of not helping. As I said, people have downloaded 1.2 million papers. So it can’t be difficult. They did not need my help. When I tell people “read McKubre” they don’t whine and complain that they can’t find the papers. That is an actual citation to 16 actual papers, filed under “M” for McKubre (between “L” and “N”) so I suggest you do your homework and read them. Anyone who has not read McKubre has not begun to study cold fusion.

    If you can’t figure out how to find papers indexed by “McKubre” please learn the alphabet or learn how to use Google.

    You have to read lots of papers before you understand this subject. Reading one or two will only confuse you.

    Or, as I said, read the reviews by Hagelstein (that’s “H” — it comes after “G” and before “I,” okay?), Storms, or the book by Beaudette (on line and at Amazon) or the Storms book (Amazon). They synthesize and organize the information, so you don’t have to work through original sources to understand the claims.

    And please, if you are not willing to read papers and spend weeks on this subject, or months, or however long it takes, don’t dabble in it or pretend you know something when you don’t. People who do that spread confusion and chaos, especially when they write mass media articles about cold fusion and get Every Single Detail wrong. I have read dozens of newspapers and magazine articles like that.

  53. Scott says:

    Okay, Scott, you want definitive. Here is a paper that the authors consider definitive, and so do i:
    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Lautzenhiscoldfusion.pdf

    Unless it’s published in a peer-reviewed journal, it’s meaningless.

    That’s the most obvious thing in the world! Cold fusion fuses deuterium to form helium and heat, but it does not produce neutrons at the expected level.

    Bzzt. Wrong. That’s the experimental evidence that it’s not happening; it is not the reason it is implausible from first principles. Hint: ?eV

    Look I recommended you read everything in JJAP and everything published by Storms, McKubre and Miles. That’s maybe 50 papers. A good start. You can find them easily with our indexing system.

    I was completely unable to find anything that’s a genuine peer-reviewed publication in a relevant journal in your indexing system. Either your index system completely sucks, or you’re deliberately avoiding the fundamental point.

    I mean, seriously. You claim to have all these articles and reference your website. I tell you that I can’t find anything on your website fitting the specified criteria and your response is to reference your website again?

    Or, as I said, read the reviews by Hagelstein (that’s “H” — it comes after “G” and before “I,” okay?), Storms, or the book by Beaudette (on line and at Amazon) or the Storms book (Amazon). They synthesize and organize the information, so you don’t have to work through original sources to understand the claims.

    Cites. Not generalities. Actual specific cites to actual peer-reviewed journal articles. Books are irrelevant. Review articles are irrelevant unless properly published; the ones I was able to find fitting your description were not.

    If you don’t get the fact that it’s meaningless and irrelevant unless it’s in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, then you’re quite hopeless.

  54. JedRothwell says:

    Scott wrote:

    “Unless it’s published in a peer-reviewed journal, it’s meaningless.”

    The authors and I disagree. We feel that internal documents from places like AMOCO and Los Alamos are as good as peer-reviewed journals. I suggest you read the paper and critique it based on the content rather than the source.

    To put it another way, you should not let the editor of Nature do your thinking for you, or assume that something he does not approve of and will not even put to peer-review is automatically wrong. Maddox was not God.

    “‘That’s the most obvious thing in the world! Cold fusion fuses deuterium to form helium and heat, but it does not produce neutrons at the expected level.’

    Bzzt. Wrong. That’s the experimental evidence that it’s not happening; it is not the reason it is implausible from first principles. Hint: ?eV”

    Not sure what you mean. Was there supposed to be a question mark here in front of “eV”? I don’t take hints; please express your thought explicitly if you would like me to address it.

    How can a lack neutrons be evidence that it not happening?!? The effect is detected using calorimetry, x-ray film and mass spectroscopy (measuring helium). Those techniques do not detect neutrons. Neutrons or a lack of neutrons will not affect x-ray film. The neutron deficit only proves that cold fusion does not produce neutrons. No one ever said it does!

    “I was completely unable to find anything that’s a genuine peer-reviewed publication in a relevant journal in your indexing system.”

    Apparently your definition of a relevant journal is different from mine. Sorry about that. As I said, I consider JJAP and the electrochemistry journals both genuine and relevant. So does McKubre. So do all 4,000 of the other authors in our database. It is a shame you don’t, but I guess that rules out your reading anything about this subject. That being the case, please do not pretend you know anything about it.

    “I mean, seriously. You claim to have all these articles and reference your website. I tell you that I can’t find anything on your website fitting the specified criteria and your response is to reference your website again?”

    Your specified criteria are unclear to me. I am telling you what I have. I don’t know what you are looking for. I can’t imagine why you don’t think the AMOCO results are definitive. I find it mind-boggling that a person would reject a paper from this institution, or Los Alamos or China Lake. If that isn’t good enough, nothing is!

    Or let me put it this way:

    1. If you demand papers in Nature, there are none. The editors will not allow them.

    2. If you demand papers showing commensurate neutrons, there are none. The effect does not produce them.

    You can’t dictate to nature how things will work. It is unwise to reject replicated experiments that do not fit your assumptions, so I suggest you look at the data that exists, rather than what you demand or expect.

    “If you don’t get the fact that it’s meaningless and irrelevant unless it’s in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, then you’re quite hopeless.”

    The authors and I do not think that papers are meaningless or irrelevant just because they are published in peer-reviewed physics journals in Japan, India or Italy, or by major industrial corporations and national laboratories. We think that’s every bit as good as U.S. peer-reviewed journals. I think the Indian AEC is as reputable as the U.S. DoE. Evidently you don’t. This is a difference of opinion but also, it seems to me, it is an unscientific cultural bias on your part.

    I wouldn’t say you are hopeless but you are extremely arrogant denigrating and ignoring researchers just because they publish in other countries. If you think that Nature and Science are the only reputable journals, and JJAP counts for nothing, you are closed minded and biased.

  55. trrll says:

    Okay, Scott, you want definitive. Here is a paper that the authors consider definitive, and so do i:
    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Lautzenhiscoldfusion.pdf

    Now this cracks me up. So this is your best shot: “definitive” evidence, sufficient to convince a sober scientist that a startling, novel phenomenon, inexplicable from accepted physics, is taking place?

    From the paper:

    The electrolyte was analyzed for tritium activity before and after the experiment. Prior to starting the experiment the electrolyte had a value of 2.5+/-1.0 pcurie/mL. After the experiment was completed, a sample of the electrolyte was counted again and was found to have 7.4+/-1.1 pcurie/mL. While not a large increase in tritium, this increase is significant.

    Well, let’s see: 7.4 pCi is about 16 disintegrations per minute. Typical scintillation counter efficiency for tritium is about 50% (they say that results were corrected for efficiency, but they don’t say what it was) so that’s about 8 counts per minute if they counted a full ml (they don’t say how much they counted, but 1 ml is a fairly substantial volume of aqueous solution to put into a scintillation vial). Scintillation counter background for tritium tends to run around 8 counts per minute or so (they say they corrected their results for counter background, but they don’t say what it was). So they have a “signal” of barely twice background, and they are looking at an increase over a baseline that is less than background. I would be embarrassed to go to a journal with a signal this small. Perhaps it would slide by if it was merely confirming something everybody believed anyway, but I doubt it. When you are this close to background, statistical tests of significance aren’t very reassuring (and what test did they use anyway? They don’t say). Anybody who has ever done scintillation counting of tritium will tell you that it is easy to get highly “significant” and completely artifactual counts an order of magnitude greater than this.

    Quite frankly, a paper like this would not have a prayer of publication of any decent journal, even if the results were completely unremarkable. The signal is tiny, and well within the range of common experimental artifacts, and the description of the experimental protocol is grossly inadequate, lacking even the most basic information (what scintillation cocktail? what volumes of sample and cocktail? counted for how long? what was counter background? what was counter efficiency? determined how? what was the statistical test? one-tail or two-tail? are those +/- values standard deviations or standard errors? how many replicates?).

    Pathetic.

  56. JedRothwell says:

    I would ask that you widen your target of opprobrium. You say:

    “If you [Jed Rothwell] don’t get the fact that it’s meaningless and irrelevant unless it’s in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, then you’re quite hopeless.”

    This is not about me. I have not published any research. You are rejecting people like Schwinger, because Maddox disagreed with him. Let us make it clear who it is you think is hopeless. This should say:

    “If you, the cold fusion researchers and theorists, don’t get the fact that it’s meaningless and irrelevant unless it’s in a reputable peer-reviewed journal — even though the editors of these journals summarily reject your work — then you’re quite hopeless.”

    Let us make it clear to everyone that you are denigrating and rejecting a group of 4,000 distinguished professional scientists including several Nobel laureates, and your only reason for doing so is because a handful of U.S. journal editors disagree with them. You will not even look at their work because it is published in Italy or Japan and not the U.S., or because it is in plasma fusion journals or official publications from China Lake, not nuclear physics journals.

    I submit this is not a scientific point of view.

    I have heard from other people like you, but I have not encountered someone so willing to be cowed by journal editors. Maddox had more power than I realized!

  57. JedRothwell says:

    You wrote:

    “Now this cracks me up. So this is your best shot: ‘definitive’ evidence, sufficient to convince a sober scientist that a startling, novel phenomenon, inexplicable from accepted physics, is taking place?”

    There is no single paper that suffices for that purpose.

    If you don’t care for that tritium result, try this:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEelectrolyt.pdf

    Or this:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/WillFGtritiumgen.pdf

    Or this:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/ClaytorTNtritiumprob.pdf

  58. DrNo says:

    Hey Mark,
    I thought I would point out that the Influenza A composition of the 09-10 seasonal flu for both the H3N2 and H1N1 is the same as the 08-09… only the influenza B strain changed (this is for the TIV vaccine)

    09-10 is
    A/Brisbane/59/2007(H1N1)-like
    A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like
    B/Brisbane 60/2008-like

    08-09 was
    A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like virus
    A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus
    B/Florida/4/2006-like virus

    So anyone vaccinated last year would be in the same situation…
    sorry if some else already pointed this out …I only scanned the comments and didnt read every comment

  59. JedRothwell says:

    Some of my previous responses were over the top and impolite. I apologize.

    I hope you look at more papers. There are many more about tritium. The three that I noted use different approaches, especially Claytor.

  60. trrll says:

    “Now this cracks me up. So this is your best shot: ‘definitive’ evidence, sufficient to convince a sober scientist that a startling, novel phenomenon, inexplicable from accepted physics, is taking place?”
    There is no single paper that suffices for that purpose.

    Yet you yourself identified it as “definitive.” When the single paper that you submit to us–presumably the best you have to offer–is not up to even the most minimal standard of scientific evidence, why would I waste my time looking at more? A bunch of weak findings do not add up to one strong one. I can tell you that if this is the standard of evidence, it wouldn’t matter if you had a thousand more like it. It is “tooth fairy science”.

    Moreover, the fact that you would imagine this to be a definitive study should lead you to reevaluate your own ability to evaluate scientific literature. Have you considered the possibility that the reason this work is not getting published in major journals is not because of what you imagine to be Maddox’s “influence,” but rather because it is not up to the standard of quality that such journals demand?

  61. JedRothwell says:

    trrll wrote:

    “. . . So this is your best shot: ‘definitive’ evidence, sufficient to convince a sober scientist that a startling, novel phenomenon, inexplicable from accepted physics, is taking place?”

    There is no single paper that suffices for that purpose.

    Yet you yourself identified it as ‘definitive.’”

    Yes, I still agree with the authors regarding the 50 kilojoules. The calorimetry is more convincing than the enhanced tritium, but I doubt the latter is an artifact.

    It is a mistake to think there will be one “best shot” in an experimental finding such as cold fusion. No single result is meaningful until it is widely replicated with a variety of different instrument types. Heat and tritium have been widely replicated. This was one of the impressive early replications. It is far better than many of the peer-reviewed journal papers that were published that year, such as MIT or Harwell.

    “When the single paper that you submit to us–presumably the best you have to offer . . .

    No, it is not THE best. There is no single “best.” I think it is very good, but if you don’t care for it, read the ones by McKubre, Storms, Miles and others. McKubre was in peer-review for many years so it is perhaps the most polished.

    Cold fusion resembles the fission experiments of Hahn and Meitner: “Their early papers are a mixture of error and truth as complicated as the mixture of fission products resulting from the bombardments. Such confusion was to remain for long time a characteristic of much of the work on uranium.” (Segre)

    A new field of experimental science that cannot yet be explained by theory is very difficult to grasp. It takes patience and hard work just to understand what it is that is being claimed. It is much harder than evaluating an incremental improvement in a well established subject. You have to read a lot of bad papers and bad sections in good papers to find the important stuff. I have not read Hahn and Meitner, and I would probably not understand them, but I have read a large number of computer theory papers from the late 1940s and early 50s, such as van Neumann’s original papers. They are also a mixture of brilliant ideas and mistaken ideas. Only in retrospect was it clear which was which.

    “. . . –is not up to even the most minimal standard of scientific evidence . . .”

    I disagree with that characterization, and I know many professional scientists other than the authors who also disagree with it. John Huizenga was very impressed by this paper. He turned green, left the presentation, refused to meet with the authors, and never discussed it in any of his books or articles attacking cold fusion.

    “. . . why would I waste my time looking at more?”

    If you feel it is a waste of time reading these papers you should stop. That is not a productive attitude.

    If you are looking for a cut and dry, easy subject, where the answers are served up on a platter (in the back of the textbook), and the theory is complete, don’t bother with cold fusion. If you want to see new science in the making, and see how a bunch of 70-year-old experts struggle to replicate and understand anomalies while working on a shoestring, then I invite you to have a look.

    “A bunch of weak findings do not add up to one strong one.”

    I disagree with that characterization. I think there are many strong findings. I think you need to keep reading and you will see that this one is stronger than you might think. I suggest you read many more papers, including some of the negative ones, before arriving at a conclusion.

  62. JedRothwell says:

    You wrote:

    “. . . Maddox’s ‘influence,’ but rather because it is not up to the standard of quality that such journals demand?”

    Based on the comments in this rejection letter from Nature, and others like it, I have a low regard for the quality of Nature vis a vis experimental science:

    http://lenr-canr.org/Collections/Lindley.jpg

    This letter has many severe errors and misunderstandings. It is clear that Lindley does not understand experimental science and particularly not calorimetry.

    (Many rejection letters like this were forwarded to me by authors.)

    I have read many other letters and articles by Lindley, Maddox and other journal editors with similar mistakes and what I would call a bad attitude, such as this:

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

  63. JedRothwell says:

    That letter Lindley.jpg is somewhat involved. Unless you know the papers it refers to it might be a lot of work to find out who is saying what about whom. Let me supply a cheat-sheet I wrote some years ago. I apologize for flooding you with technical details, but it is based on such details that I conclude Nature has done a poor job of evaluating this subject.

    Noninski wrote a critique of Lewis, and Lindley sent the critique to Lewis himself for “advice.” In other words, he asked Lewis whether a critique of his own paper should be accepted or rejected, and Lewis decided that his own work was valid and should not be critiqued. However, this is not quite as bad as it looks. Note that the paper was rejected by an “independent reviewer” in the first round. As I recall, this letter was sent after the second or third round. Noninski tried to rewrite the paper to satisfy the independent reviewer. In the later round, Lindley decided to skip the independent review and have this paper checked by Lewis directly.

    The first paragraph is unconventional and surprising. The second paragraph which is mind blowing. This copy was sent to me by Melvin Miles, and he marked the strangest portions second paragraph. Here are some of the weird assertions Lindley has packed into these few short but telling sentences:

    1. Lindley demands that Noninski find a single reason — an equation — that would simultaneously prove that all negative experiments, including Harwell and others, are actually positive. (Actually, Harwell was a positive result, with excess heat, but at the time Lindley and others were under the impression it was negative.)

    2. In other words, but Lindley asserts that all cold fusion experimental results are uniform. The experiments all produced the same result. One explanation must account for all of them. Lindley rejects the idea that some null experiments failed for one reason and some for another. He thinks that all experiments produce a single yes or no result that can only be explained by a single set of equations. The effect either exists or does not, and all experiments automatically prove the issue one way or another.

    In reality, Lewis got positive heat but he made a mistake in his equation, so he did not recognize it. In many other experiments the result was actually negative because the cathodes cracked, or people did not wait long enough, or the surface was contaminated, or the experiment failed for any of a hundred other reasons. Lewis made a mistake in his equations, but many other researchers used in the proper equations and actually did get a negative result. Noninski did not prove that other negative results were actually positive, and he never set out to do that or claimed he had done that. He did not even address these other experiments. But Lindley assumed this is what Noninski was trying to do.

    We assume that the wide variety of puzzling and varying results, both positive and negative, indicate that the experiment is complicated and that it is difficult to understand what is happening. Again, this thought apparently never crossed Lindley’s mind.

    3. Getting back to wild assertions, Lindley apparently believes that Noninski’s methods are “unorthodox” and that he is trying to make a special case, or invent new physics. On the contrary, Noninski is only asserting that ordinary, conventional equations should be applied. Noninski is saying that Lewis made a mistake. Several other experts in calorimetry, such as Miles, also wrote to Nature pointing out this error, but Nature did not respond. (To summarize briefly Lewis assumed the calibration constant changed, when in fact it remained the same and the apparent change was caused by excess heat.)

    Lewis’ mistake is described on p. 20, here:

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

  64. JedRothwell says:

    I wrote:

    “In other words, but Lindley . . .”

    That is ungrammatical. Such errors may leave an odd impression. I should explain that I am using voice input because of neurological difficulties. You might say these messages originate from a cyborg, and the computer side does not speak English well. I blame Bill Gates.

    If I have overwhelmed the blog with off topic material and annoyed the author, I apologize and shall stop. Cold fusion is one gigantic mass of detail, with as yet no overriding or unifying theory to simplify it.

  65. daedalus2u says:

    The paper “Electrolytic Tritium Production” sure looks like the “tritium” is actually potassium leached from the glass vessel by the electrolyte. K40 has a lifetime of 1.28E9 years, tritium has a half life of 12.26 or 10^8 times shorter, 1 part K40 will have the same activity as 10^-8 parts tritium. The natural abundance of K40 is 0.001%, so 1 part natural K will have the same activity as 10^-13 parts tritium. The energy of disintegration of K40 is ~100 times higher than tritium, so will produce 100x the scintillation signal. So 1 mM/L (40 ppm) natural K will “look like” 10^-14 M/L tritium. The reported tritium levels were on this order.

    Their statement about the spectrum of light being characteristic of tritium is false. The light measured in scintillation comes from the passage of high energy electrons through the scintillation medium and is in the few eV range and is characteristic of the scintillation medium, not the energy of the beta rays emitted by the radioactive isotope.

    Pyrex is 0.3% potassium; other types of glass are likely higher. They only report the K content of the lithium they used, 8 ppm. They don’t report analysis for K in the D2O, the electrodes, the epoxy, or anything else. They report that the water collected from evaporation or recombination didn’t have tritium in it. I suggest because the potassium didn’t carry over. They report that using plastic vessels didn’t work. I suggest plastic didn’t “work” because there was no potassium to leach out.

    They didn’t do any positive controls where they took known tritium, added it to their system to see how much they recovered. They report only a single negative control which was ongoing (but for a shorter period of time) when this was submitted.

  66. JedRothwell says:

    # daedalus2 wrote:

    “The paper ‘Electrolytic Tritium Production’ sure looks like the ‘tritium’ is actually potassium leached from the glass vessel by the electrolyte. K40 has a lifetime of 1.28E9 years, tritium has a half life of 12.26 or 10^8 times shorter . . .”

    I do not know much about tritium, but the guy who worked on this project knows a lot. I happen to have his c.v. from their earlier paper, presented at the NSF conference. Maybe you should ask him if he thinks he made this mistake:

    Roland A. Jalbert
    *25 years working with tritium and tritium detection
    *involved in the development, design, and inplementation of tritium instrumentation for 15 years
    *for 12 years he has had prime responsibility for the design, implementation, and maintenance of all tritium instrumentation at a major fusion technology development facility (Tritium Systems Test Assembly).
    *Consultant on tritium instrumentation to other fusion energy facilities for 10 years (Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at Princeton)

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

    He does not sound like an amateur.

    Storms and Talbott also have a lot of experience with tritium, and so does the safety dept at Los Alamos, which monitored this experiment.

    The people at BARC, TAMU, the NCFL, the Nagoya U. Plasma Center (Japan’s principle Tokamak) and elsewhere who have done these studies are equally qualified, so I doubt they made this mistake, but you should read their papers and ask questions.

  67. JedRothwell says:

    Regarding the K40 in glass hypothesis, one of the reasons I urge readers to examine many different papers is because you will find, for example, that many tritium results were obtained in metal cells, without glass. That does not absolutely rule out the K40 hypothesis, but given enough studies with no glass, it makes it extremely unlikely. There are over 100 tritium studies, and the only commonality between them is highly saturated deuterides (Pd or Ti).

    This is why independent replication with a variety of different instruments is important. It rules out systematic errors, because different systems are used. The researchers are, of course, well aware of this, and they use different instrument types themselves in different studies.

    And this is why I say you have to look at the totality of results, rather than hoping to find one definitive experiment that proves (or disproves) cold fusion. There is no “best shot.” On the other hand, one tritium finding re-enforces another.

    These researchers are no slouches. It is a good idea to imagine every possible error they might have made, with K40 or what-have-you. You should always read papers with a critical eye. However, just because you come up with a possible problem along these lines, you should not assume they did not think of that, or rule it out. It is likely they know more about their area of expertise than you do. I know little about tritium, but I have spoken with people from Los Alamos and BARC who did these experiments and I can report they know a terrific amount about it. They say it is relatively easy to detect with confidence, and they are not likely to confuse it with other radioactive elements.

    One of the reasons these people know so much about tritium in particular is because their lives depend upon that skill. At BARC, LANL and elsewhere, the reactor safety group experts took part in these experiments, and confirmed that it was tritium. In India, and I believe at LANL too, there is a rule that they must take part in any experiment that produces T, and they must confirm it. Claytor’s LANL experiment produced enough of the stuff to be a concern for the safety group. BARC is India’s premier nuclear research lab and also its biggest power reactor, on the same campus. So the reactor safety group is experienced. They told me they have absolutely no doubt cold fusion produces tritium. We have many reports from them, and a nice autoradiograph here:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/Experiments.htm#AutoradiographsMSrinivasan

  68. Mark Crislip says:

    I learned my lesson. After this reply, I will never mention cold fusion again. And I just liked the pun.

  69. JedRothwell says:

    Mark wrote:

    “I learned my lesson. After this reply, I will never mention cold fusion again.”

    Sorry about that! It is an engrossing topic for those of us involved in it. Endlessly fascinating. But it is not polite to hijack your forum.

    Anyone with questions about cold fusion, or who would like assistance finding specific documents should please contact me via LENR-CANR. I have ~3,000 other papers I have not uploaded, so I may be able to recommend something not on line.

    On that note, let me say that your real topic, science based medicine, is interesting and your blog is well written. And let me leave you in peace.

  70. trrll says:

    Heat and tritium have been widely replicated. This was one of the impressive early replications.

    That you would regard as “impressive” an alleged tritium signal that is marginally above background, and well within the range of common scintillation counting artifacts, says more about bias and level of knowledge than about cold fusion.

    Yes, I still agree with the authors regarding the 50 kilojoules. The calorimetry is more convincing than the enhanced tritium, but I doubt the latter is an artifact.

    Given that you obviously want very strongly to believe and do not have practical experience in the field, that is perhaps understandable. I can’t evaluate the calorimetry, but I know tritium and scintillation counting. And the fact that the authors would report such data (and with such a deplorable absence of the basic experimental and statistical detail that any reasonably well-trained scientist should know to provide) leaves me in doubt of their overall competence, so I’d be hesitant to put much stock in any work done by this group. As I said before, work with such glaring flaws has essentially zero chance of being published in any respected journal.

  71. daedalus2u says:

    The technique of using unsilvered Dewars described in the paper by Miles and Fleischman titled “Isoperibolic Calorimetric Measurements of the Fleischmann-Pons Effect” is fatally flawed. Pyrex is not opaque to thermal radiation produced by a black body at 375 K. You can’t accurately model radiation heat transfer through partially transparent materials at varying temperatures using a single lumped parameter the way that they do. They simply don’t appreciate that borosilicate glass does not behave precisely as a black body with uniform optical properties over the temperatures they are using. They wave their hands and say helium is entering the Dewars. Have they measured helium in the Dewars? Have they tried to ionize the gas in the Dewar and look for helium emission lines? Have they added helium and reproduced the increase in heat transfer?

    Their calibration method is also flawed in that they use short pulses in electric heaters to add heat. The heaters are at a temperature higher than the fluid, so they radiate more and because the glass is transparent to that radiation, the heat loss is greater during calibration than expected given the average temperature of the system. This results in a “Dewar constant” that is too high (that is the heat loss attributed to radiation at the Dewar temperature is low, so it is made up for by a higher constant). When the Dewar is heated to a higher temperature, there is “apparent excess heat” because the radiation heat transfer increases as T^4 times the erroneously high Dewar constant.

    Jed, I don’t hold anyone to a higher standard than I hold myself. When people say they use techniques that I know are sloppy and inaccurate, I don’t assume the authors did things correctly when the correct technique is not what they said they did. I am a very good experimentalist. Seeing technique that is sloppy and inaccurate for no reason offends my sensibilities. When the effects being measured are full of noise and scatter, and known effects are wrongly described, I don’t have confidence that unknown effects are correctly described. Claims of excess heat are extraordinary. Claims of fusion with a complete absence of ionizing radiation or neutrons are extraordinary squared. Ionizing radiation is trivial to measure.

    I have great sympathy for people trying to push the boundaries of what is known. I know how hard it is to get new ideas accepted, even when they are completely consistent with everything that is in the literature and are correct and are reproducible.

  72. Scott says:

    The authors and I disagree. We feel that internal documents from places like AMOCO and Los Alamos are as good as peer-reviewed journals.

    Then you and the authors are wrong, and rejecting the entire process of science.

    Not sure what you mean. Was there supposed to be a question mark here in front of “eV”? I don’t take hints; please express your thought explicitly if you would like me to address it.

    Yes, there was. You’ve just proven that you have zero understanding of the processes involved, so thank you.

    The correct answer is the energy scale. The claim being made is that eV-scale phenomena are somehow triggering an MeV-GeV scale reaction. This is a priori highly implausible; akin to someone asserting that they can knock down the Eiffel Tower by shoving on it.

    How can a lack neutrons be evidence that it not happening?!? The effect is detected using calorimetry, x-ray film and mass spectroscopy (measuring helium). Those techniques do not detect neutrons. Neutrons or a lack of neutrons will not affect x-ray film. The neutron deficit only proves that cold fusion does not produce neutrons. No one ever said it does!

    You REALLY don’t get it. The hypothesis that fusion is taking place leads to the prediction of a large neutron flux. That prediction is false. A responsible, intellectually honest scientists then accepts that the hypothesis has been falsified and moves on.

    Apparently your definition of a relevant journal is different from mine. Sorry about that. As I said, I consider JJAP and the electrochemistry journals both genuine and relevant. So does McKubre. So do all 4,000 of the other authors in our database. It is a shame you don’t, but I guess that rules out your reading anything about this subject. That being the case, please do not pretend you know anything about it.

    OK, so you admit that there’s been nothing published in peer-reviewed journals that actually deal with fusion. Thanks.

  73. Scott says:

    Oh, and just to be clear. Once a person has proven themselves sufficiently incapable of understanding the concepts involved, and demonstrated that they have no interest in the actual relevant science if it disturbs their preconceived notions, they are no longer worth my time. You have reached that point.

  74. Joe says:

    @ daedalus2u on 02 Oct 2009 at 9:31 pm “The paper “Electrolytic Tritium Production” sure looks like the “tritium” is actually potassium leached from the glass vessel by the electrolyte. … The energy of disintegration of K40 is ~100 times higher than tritium, so will produce 100x the scintillation signal. So 1 mM/L (40 ppm) natural K will “look like” 10^-14 M/L tritium. …”

    The scintillation counter registers events; so the energy does not enter into the number of events. At the same time, it registers the energy of the events; so tritium is not confused with potassium, rather it can be identified.

  75. JedRothwell says:

    daedalus2 wrote:

    “The technique of using unsilvered Dewars described in the paper by Miles and Fleischman titled “Isoperibolic Calorimetric Measurements of the Fleischmann-Pons Effect” is fatally flawed. Pyrex is not opaque to thermal radiation produced by a black body at 375 K. . . .”

    I have bowed out of the discussion, but please keep reading. You will note that Miles also used stainless steel cells and obtained similar results. Many other people have used a variety of materials in order to rule out the kind of thing you describe. They are aware of such problems.

    Anyway, I believe you are wrong about half-silvered (not unsilvered) Dewars, based on the calibrations.

  76. trrll says:

    The scintillation counter registers events; so the energy does not enter into the number of events. At the same time, it registers the energy of the events; so tritium is not confused with potassium, rather it can be identified

    This is correct. Particle energy is reflected in the intensity of the flashes (i.e. number of photons produced). For example, it is possible to distinguish tritium (0.0186 Mev) from C14 (0.156 Mev, which is very convenient, as you can do double-labeling experiments. K40 beta are even higher energy than C14, so it should be readily discriminated, if done properly.

  77. daedalus2u says:

    Jed, the “half silvered” Dewars are only silvered over the upper half. They are unsilvered in the bottom. The glass is partially transparent to thermal radiation, and the emissivity is not independent of temperature. A single lumped parameter is inappropriate.

    It isn’t a question of belief.

    If you think a single lumped parameter is appropriate, show me the data showing that the emissivity and absorptivity of the glass used does not change over the temperatures used.

    An alternative would be to calibrate the Dewars at the actual temperatures being used. This has not been done.

    I concede that my idea about potassium was mistaken. However, chemiluminescence may still be a factor. I find it quite disturbing that they go to the effort of mentioning that “Other, isolated high values are assumed to be caused by sampling errors.” and also ”Occasional, isolated high values occurred. They were ignored as being
    possible sampling errors.”
    without telling us what they were or explaining them as other than “sampling errors”. If their technique is robust, then only gross contamination with tritium could cause erroneously high results due to sampling errors, which means there is a source of tritium in their lab that has contaminated some samples. Without identifying the source of that contamination they have no way of knowing if the lower numbers they think are ok are not simply due to lesser quantities of that same contamination.

    A chemiluminescence result would most likely come from reactive oxidized species, hydrogen peroxide or superoxide produced during the electrolysis and then reacting with the scintillation fluid. They test the scintillation after waiting only 20 minutes, after which time they say “the count rate becomes independent of time” (but they only measure the count rate for 10 minutes, so how do they really know? They don’t.

    They say that chemiluminescence can be distinguished from tritium because it has a different energy spectrum. That is true; however they report a counting efficiency of only 0.38. Usually scintillation produces multiple photons per beta decay, about 10 photons per keV of energy for plastic scintillators. Tritium is ~18 keV, so it should produce 180 photons. If the quantum efficiency of the photomultiplier is ~50%, then it should detect 90 photons. If it only detects photons 038 of the time, then something like 88 of those photons are getting absorbed. If the number of photons being detected per event is only a few, then there can’t be enough to distinguish between tritium and chemiluminescence. It may still be able to distinguish tritium from potassium because the higher energy of K40 decay produces ~100 times more photons, and all of those photons occur in a very narrow time window (few nS). Chemiluminescence produces photons one at a time, and if single photon detection is counted as tritium, so will chemiluminescence.

    The controls that they used did not contain electrolysis products and so would have electrolytically produced chemiluminescent species.

  78. JedRothwell says:

    daedalus2 wrote:

    “Jed, the ‘half silvered’ Dewars are only silvered over the upper half. They are unsilvered in the bottom.”

    That is correct. That is done to eliminate the effects of changing water levels (electrolyte level) in open cells. Nearly all of the heat leaves through the unsilvered portion, which is always submerged (except in the boil-off experiments).

    See also this paper (almost the same as the Phys. Lett. A one):

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Fleischmancalorimetra.pdf

    “It isn’t a question of belief.”

    That was a figure of speech.

    “An alternative would be to calibrate the Dewars at the actual temperatures being used. This has not been done.”

    That has been done. The calibrations are performed across the full level of power and temperatures. Calibration is done with a joule heater and also electrolysis with ordinary water and Pt. Also, as I mentioned, many other calorimeter types are used, such as stainless steel where the heat flux is measured outside the cell. See the Miles papers published by China Lake. Other researchers have used flow calorimeters, Seebeck calorimeters and other types. The only commonality between positive experiments are supersaturated deuterides with various conditions met, as described in detail by Storms, McKubre and others. The heat originates in the cathode. This has been established by various methods such as an IR camera and visual observation of very hot cathodes in heat after death (with no input).

    You are making progress. Seriously. Keep reading, stay skeptical, but I suggest you question your own assumptions as well as the papers. You might find an error but bear in mind that skeptics and researchers alike have been searching for errors diligently for 20 years, but there are no published papers describing any. As I mentioned, Garwin was anxious to find an error but he was unable to do so, according to his report to the Pentagon. He and many other skeptics have been over these experiments time after time. Also bear in mind that the colorimetric techniques used in most of these experiments were developed between 1840 and 1920, and they have been widely used.

  79. Joe says:

    Mark Crislip on 02 Oct 2009 at 11:17 pm “I learned my lesson. After this reply, I will never mention cold fusion again. And I just liked the pun.”

    Didn’t you want a procedure named after you? That could be it, as in “Dang, I did a Crislip and the discussion went wild!”

  80. daedalus2u says:

    Jed, when I look at the literature I do see that there have been criticisms of the techniques used, for example from your site

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Fleischmanreplytothe.pdf

    I find Fleischman’s reply does not address many of the criticisms. I find the switching of the discussion between units of energy and power by him to be disingenuous and deliberately confusing because many of the sources of heat can occur at very high power (i.e. oxidation of accumulated deuterium). A better critique is here (which is not on your site (at least as indicated by google scholar)).

    http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=829839

    These criticisms could be addressed by changing experimental techniques to eliminate them and then acquiring more data. Instead the approach is to hand-wave them away. Many of the techniques have been around for a long time, so there is no excuse to get them wrong. The cost to do these techniques better is not high. Why no one has done better experiments and then published positive results suggests to me that positive results are incompatible with better technique.

    The cold fusion research community doesn’t seem to point out errors of other researchers in that community when they are achieving “positive results.” It is only when positive results are not achieved do they find fault with the techniques. To me it seems similar to the CAM communities where CAM treatment modalities are not criticized even when they are incompatible. The more I look at it, the more cold fusion looks like cargo cult science. In cargo cult science the major factor is the charisma and perceived expertise of the person leading the experimental program. In real science all that matters is the data.

    The idea that fusion can happen without generation of ionizing radiation is quite extraordinary. Fusion generates MeV per nucleon. Ionization requires only tens of eV per nucleon. There is no hint in physics of how MeV could be degraded to eV without generation of ionizing radiation. If it were correct it would call into question things like conservation of energy, momentum, and spin (so far as is known nucleons can only lose energy by emitting energetic particles which are easily dectable). There is no other type of nuclear decay that occurs at the MeV level without producing ionizing radiation. If there was, it would be easy to find. Just look for MeV level transitions via nuclear mass data where there is no corresponding ionizing radiation generated. No one has reported any. That would be easy to find and would be a first class ticket to Stockholm (if it were true).

    In the tritium paper, they mention that after the solutions are mixed, the signal becomes independent of time after 20 minutes. Presumably that means the signal was not independent of time for the initial 20 minutes. That signal could not have been tritium because the tritium signal couldn’t decay that fast. They don’t identify what that spurious signal is, they simply assume it is gone after 20 minutes. To me, it is much more plausible that a spurious signal remains after 20 minutes because the researchers were sloppy than that there is a breakdown of conservation of energy, momentum or spin.

  81. JedRothwell says:

    There is nothing disingenuous about Fleischmann’s paper. Electrochemists tend to use units of energy differently than others.

    Shanahan’s hypotheses are incorrect because they would apply to all measurements of electrochemical energy balances, including control experiments with ordinary water. This is never observed. The only difference between a cold fusion experiment and any other is in the condition of the cathode. It is a supersaturated deuteride. Shanahan cannot explain why supersaturated hydrides or Pt cathodes do not also produce the artifact he describes.

    In some of his other papers he describes positional effects that are not in evidence. Again, they would be seen with blank runs, and they are not.

    We have some of his papers but he did not grant permission for this one, as I recall.

  82. kirkshanahan says:

    Jed Rothwell is pushing his usual misinformation here. I developed a conventional explanation for the Fleishman-Pons effect that doesn’t require nuclear reactions, and he translates that into me challenging all of calorimetry. Folks, it’s just hype.

    His statement: “would apply to all measurements of electrochemical energy balances” is false. Also: “Shanahan cannot explain why supersaturated hydrides or Pt cathodes do not also produce the artifact he describes.” is false.

    If he ever actually read my papers with the intent of understanding them, he might realize why.

    Kirk Shanahan {{My opinions…noone else’s}}

  83. Chris says:

    Funny how he shows up when ever cold fusion is mentioned, even though the subject is not cold fusion. I wonder what section of the DSM that falls under?

    Oh, he missed this version!

  84. Mark Crislip says:

    I want something medical named after me, not an interweb faux pas.

  85. Chris says:

    How about a condition that involves a battle between a bacteria and a fungus, a sort of pirates versus ninjas disease? Or humans versus zombies?

    (Apparently son is going to participate in a human versus zombie conflict on his college campus later this week. I don’t remember having that kind of campus activity when I was in college. Though we did have disco. sigh)

  86. Chris says:

    :)

    Next to my laptop is a printout of the paper When Zombies Attack! : Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection, by Munz, Hudea, Imad and Smith? (the question mark is part of his name). The scary thing is that I understand some of the mathematics, and I am only an engineer (okay, of the type that is heavily into math, second order nonlinear multivariable differential equations are fun!).

  87. kirkshanahan says:

    Chris wrote: “Funny how he shows up when ever cold fusion is mentioned”

    Jed is a self-proclaimed advocate of the truth of cold fusion. Basically, he is a fanatic. He searches the Web daily for mentions of cold fusion and uses them to justify posting his advocacy rants.

    Kirk Shanahan {{My opinions…noone else’s}}

  88. Scott says:

    And amusingly, he does so with no understanding of the scientific background. Initially, I was wondering whether he might actually have something. But no, he quite quickly proved himself to be another in the line of clueless cranks.

  89. wales says:

    Can anyone knowledgeably address this comment from an Oct. 7 Reuter’s article regarding H1N1 vaccines used in the US vs. those used in Canada? I thought only the nasal spray vaccine contained live virus.

    “The U.S. vaccine differs from the one Canada is preparing to use in that it contains small amounts of live virus, making it unsuitable for inoculating the elderly and young children, who have the highest risk of getting the disease, Butler-Jones [Canada's chief medical health officer] said.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-SwineFlu/idUSTRE59654X20091007

  90. Mark Crislip says:

    I checked with the package insert, the pharmacists and our state health officers.

    Not true.

    Either he is misquoted, uninformed or off his nut. Or all three.

  91. daedalus2u says:

    Or is being paid off by antivaccine quacks.

  92. wales says:

    Thanks for checking Dr. Crislip.

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