LENR gets some more Mainstream Coverage

Update:Much digital ink has been spilled in the past when speculating about how much NASA is invested in LENR research. To find out why there is this new spat of mainstream coverage I contacted the Gizmag editor. He believes this goes back to a NASA press release.  And indeed there is this story on a NASA site dedicated to climate research. Phys.org picked it up as well as ANSnuclearcafe.org. Even the Nuclear Energy Institute posted it on their Facebook page. (h/t Gerrit)

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Gizmag.com is one of the largest English speaking tech sites and they currently prominently feature Joseph Zawodny’s work.

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38 Responses to LENR gets some more Mainstream Coverage

  1. John Milstone says:

    This story has gotten a lot of play in the last couple of days, but I don’t see anything new. It seems to be a rehash of the NASA video (which he partially disavowed in his blog).

    He still (AFAIK) never publicly stated that he has any evidence at all of LENR being a real phenomenon. All that he has said is that he believes there is enough evidence out there to justify further research.

  2. admin says:

    Agreed. Gizmag being one of the better sites out there portrays it pretty much as such. One of the most balanced LENR articles that I came across – wisely ignoring all the more circumspect actors and keeping the focus on Zawodny and NASA.

    The meta news – that remains unanswered – is why does this receive attention now?

    Actually emailed the author and asked him about the timing.

    • Gerrit says:

      it receives attention now probably because NASA ran a piece on it on their climate.nasa.gov site. Phys.org picked it up. ANSnuclearcafe.org picked it. Heck even the Nuclear Energy Institute posted it on their facebook page.

      In July this year the University of Missouri together with Purdue will host the international conference on cold fusion.

      Missouri currently runs a 5.5 million USD research project on cold fusion.

      I think we’ll be hearing more of it this year.

      • John Milstone says:

        I think we’ll be hearing more of it this year.

        Perhaps, although they’ll have real trouble outdoing Rossi in 2011.

        The problem isn’t “hearing” about LENR. The problem is that it is never anything beyond noise.

        • Gerrit says:

          I think that’s more a problem on the receiving end of the message, maybe consider adjusting your antenna or filtering algorithm.

          • John Milstone says:

            We have a quarter of a century of experience disputing your position.

            If LENR were “real” researchers would almost certainly have made enough progress that we wouldn’t still be debating whether it even existed or not.

            Maybe LENR is real. But then, maybe UFOs, Bigfoot, ESP and all sorts of other unlikely things are also real.

            But you have to have better evidence than what the True Believers have been repeatedly bringing up over the last 25 years before you’ll convince reasonable people.

    • jami says:

      It is funny how much the German-speaking side of this scam seems to be firmly rooted in the well-known-crackpot niche. First the Schneiders and Uta Stechl, now Frank Lichtenberg (who is appearing on just about every blog or forum even remotely touching on energy, justifying perpetual motion machines in the context of his very own ZPE theory). At least none of the victims will be able to complain they didn’t know what they got themselves into with these people.

  3. maryyugo says:

    Zawodny never said anywhere even as much as that LENR is real. He simply thinks it’s worth investigating.

    • AlainCo says:

      NASA GRC confirmed heat anomaly and tell it on their site. (read the data and don’t argue about my style)
      Zawodny says the maximum possible in todays context.

      and you are right, i should not have bothered you. still waiting for interesting data here. Only abd ul-rahman Lomax, storms and rothwell, are bringing skeptical data.

      • John Milstone says:

        “Anomalous heat” is not necessarily LENR. I believe that Jami has mentioned a CERN report that replicated Focardi’s work, discovered the same “anomalous” heat that Focardi described, but CERN was able to identify it as something mundane and therefor no longer “anomalous”.

        The problem with the LENR “fans” is that they start with the assumption that LENR must be real (and significant), and therefore judge every finding and result in that light.

        We’re seeing that play out with the MFMP right now. If they ultimately find no excess energy, they will most likely assume that they did something wrong. They won’t even consider the possibility that they found nothing because there is nothing to be found.

        • jami says:

          Probably more worrying about MFMP is that they don’t really consider other, more obvious explanations for whatever anomaly (which they seem to define as everything hotter than what they measured on average during roughly comparable calibration runs) they find. Some of their readers had to point out to them that they probably haven’t really seen anything anomalous so far which didn’t bother them enough to refrain from claiming success early in the game.

      • jami says:

        “NASA GRC confirmed heat anomaly”

        Kind of. We had an unexplained heat anomaly with copper chips. Nearly 100j/s/mm3/V more than what we could account for. Took us almost 10 years to figure it out and it wasn’t nuclear fusion.

      • Frank says:

        The Swedish Defence Material Administration, FMV has financed some very rudimentary experiments with Nickel and hydrogen, trying to experimentary reproduce the excess heating power clashed by Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi. And – oh wonder – they didn’t find any excess energy…
        http://www.lenrnews.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Reactions-with-nickel-and-hydrogen142972_TMP.pdf

  4. RonB says:

    Admin,
    Nice digs! : )
    It’s great to see maryyugo here. Has popeye showed up yet? I sure miss that guy! ; )

    I’ve not been searching out 3rd party results lately but I see our I-friend hasn’t came through with the goods even yet. (rolls eyes)

  5. Bigwilly says:

    Well, the thing is with popeye is he only surfaces when someone is making a complete ass of themselves. It is in those special times of need that he comes blasting down on his chariot of knowledge and wit and smotes all fan boys and true believers alike with properly cited arguments and polite discourse.

    About a year or so ago i stopped checking ecat sites for the “proof of LENR or proof of rossi”. Sorry to say i just started checking it out to see people loose their reasoning and be have that loss thrown in their face by able typing posters like our late popeye.

    Enjoy the weekend
    BW

    • admin says:

      With forum contributors like this the subject matter almost becomes a side show. If there wasn’t this unique ECN community I don’t think I would have bothered with setting up this secondary blog.

    • John Milstone says:

      I wonder if the system prevents the same person from voting multiple times.

      I know people were voting multiple times to get Miley’s project included in that “competition” that (supposedly) was going to be presented to DARPA.

  6. Feb, 22, 2013 – New Energy Times: NASA’s LENR Article “Nuclear Reactor in Your Basement”
    news.newenergytimes.net/2013/02/22/lenr-nasa-widom-larsen-nuclear-reactor-in-your-basement

    Some of you correctly noted that there is nothing much new in the NASA article which started this news cycle. Our article will help explain some things.

    NASA’s interest in LENR and its public relations about the field have been generally enthusiastic and supportive. NASA has been communicating information about the science technically correctly. However, there is another side to the story. We show in our report that NASA is behaving less like a government agency that is trying to pursue basic science research for the public good and more like a commercial competitor of at least one private company, Lattice Energy LLC, and Lewis Larsen, its chief executive officer and LENR theorist.

    We also critique Dennis Bushnell for his irresponsible propagation of claims made by a few wayward researchers and would-be entrepreneurs who have claimed excess-heat in the hundreds- to thousands-of-Watts range in recent years. There are no heat effects in the magnitude they claim. Bushnell’s suggestion of a slow-acting LENR experiment with extremely high-heat production that would melt windows is also not believable.

    Steven B. Krivit
    Publisher and Senior Editor, New Energy Times
    Editor-in-Chief, 2011 Wiley Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia
    http://news.newenergytimes.net/

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the link. And congrats for the good call on Rossi.

      Bushnell’s over the top statements are indeed rather puzzling, but it seems to me that Zawodny’s research is well warranted.

      But frankly, I simply don’t get the obsession with monetizing LENR and that goes for all commercial actors, Larson included. If LENR can be proven without doubt any scientist who contributed to it will have celebrity status. Trying to angle for pool positions by hanging on to “trade secrets” at this point just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • popeye says:

      On February 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm
      Steven B. Krivit says:

      Some of you correctly noted that there is nothing much new in the NASA article which started this news cycle. Our article will help explain some things.
      NASA’s interest in LENR and its public relations about the field have been generally enthusiastic and supportive. NASA has been communicating information about the science technically correctly.

      Which just goes to show that Bushnell and Zawodny are as daft as W&L. The most blatant example of their daftness is the proposed reaction
      He4 + n –> He5,
      which you reproduce in your article. He4 is a highly stable entity, and therefore adding a neutron actually produces a decrease in average binding energy per nucleon, and is therefore endothermic, requiring something close to an MeV to proceed. W&L insist the neutrons are cold, so where does the energy come from? Simple kinematics show that the alpha would have to have energy 9 times the Q-value (no more and no less) to conserve both momentum and energy with only one product. Not only would 9 MeV alphas be trivial to detect (from other reactions they would produce, if not directly), but the probability of producing them with the exact energy would be vanishingly small.

      It’s all a big pipe dream for some, and a scam for others (almost certainly including Larsen).

      We show in our report that NASA is behaving less like a government agency that is trying to pursue basic science research for the public good and more like a commercial competitor of at least one private company, Lattice Energy LLC, and Lewis Larsen, its chief executive officer and LENR theorist.

      Whether or not that’s true, your claim that Larsen has the secret to a reproducible excess heat experiment is just not plausible. If he does, why hasn’t he demonstrated one? Rossi has shown that even lame demonstrations can be lucrative. If Larsen did a credible demo, using the money from his angel investor, he would be swamped with cash that would dwarf the few million he might have been hoping to con out of NASA. Like you said above, these experiments are not that expensive.

      Whatever the case, Bushnell and Zawodny’s incompetence in all this (which you describe to some extent) brings shame to NASA; Larsen is almost certainly just a crook.

  7. Thank you “Admin”,

    Your comment on your About page is most refreshing: “The admin of this site called it quits when he came to the conclusion that the most notorious LENR commercialization effort was a scam.”

    With the claims made in the last two years, I would have to agree with you. There is/was/has been a climate of both desperation among the very old and aged researchers as well as a receptivity for aggressive opportunists. For the opportunists, it doesn’t really matter if a Rossi device or a Defkalion device works or not. What matters to them is if they can interest a fool to part with his or her money to continue the appearance of an R&D operation while the corporate directors pay themselves a nice salary. Years later when they go belly up, the directors will run for the hills and the stockholders will be left out in the cold. Case study: http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/companies/IESI/IESI.shtml

    You wrote, “If LENR can be proven without doubt any scientist who contributed to it will have celebrity status.” No way. Science’s dirty little secret can be summed up in two words: “Academic backstabbing.” Just look at the Taleyarkhan case. http://newenergytimes.com/v2/bubblegate/BubblegatePortal.shtml

    In the case where the competition for fame and fortune is less bloody, you’ll merely find, to use the well-known saying, “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.”

    You wrote “Trying to angle for pool positions by hanging on to “trade secrets” at this point just doesn’t make any sense to me.” So if you knew of a way to fabricate a device that would bring about a revolution in energy technology, you would give it away for free, right? Actually, that would probably be an effective thing to do. But it would take a lot of guts and a lot of faith to know that you’ll be recognized for the idea and that NASA, for example, wouldn’t try to say that IT came up with the idea. Gee would they really do that?
    http://news.newenergytimes.net/2013/02/22/lenr-nasa-widom-larsen-nuclear-reactor-in-your-basement/

    And giving it away for free would take someone who was more of a saint than a capitalist. Thus, the theme of the movie, The Saint, was quite apropos.

    Steven

    • admin says:

      Steven, I only use the “Admin” handle here in this domain’s sub-blog (it’s a separate WP installation) on the main wavewatching.net blog I use my real name (Henning Dekant). I hold a physics degree, but make my living as business intelligence consultant. So I had exposure to both the academic as well as corporate world.

      In my experience humans will be humans, the motivations for academics are usually different (less about greed and power) but the underlying human nature is the same: As far as politics, backstabbing and all that jazz, it really seems to be a wash to me.

      Having said that, I really don’t see how Larson could get side-lined at this point. The Widom-Larson theory has a publishing record and no matter what anybody thinks about it, it is the only one that has a level of sophistication that doesn’t allow for immediate dismissal.

      If Larson was to publish an experimental design that allows for the repeatability that escaped Fleischmann and Pons his reputation would be set for good. Really don’t see how NASA could spin this away given that they already endorsed his theory.

      And here is the rub: Given the state of the world, if he really had this iron clad LENR excess heat recipe, it would be unconscientious not to open source it. He’d be still able to make a very comfortable living of all the speaking and consulting engagements that’ll follow from there.

      Actually, the same line of reasoning let me to conclude that Rossi either has nothing or is a moral pygmy. Of course at this point it seems safe to assume he is both.

    • popeye says:

      On February 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm
      Steven B. Krivit says:

      There is/was/has been a climate of both desperation among the very old and aged researchers as well as a receptivity for aggressive opportunists. For the opportunists, it doesn’t really matter if a Rossi device or a Defkalion device works or not. What matters to them is if they can interest a fool to part with his or her money to continue the appearance of an R&D operation while the corporate directors pay themselves a nice salary. Years later when they go belly up, the directors will run for the hills and the stockholders will be left out in the cold.

      Quite right. And examples almost certainly include not only Rossi and Defkalion, but also Larsen, Mills, Godes, nanospire, and others. Rossi had the good fortune to get Mats Lewan as a press stooge, and a couple of credulous Swedish professors as academic stooges. Larsen had the good fortune to get Steven Krivit as a press stooge (less prestigious journal, but more vigorous defender), and a couple of Professors (who may or may not be complicit) to do the grunt theoretical misdirection, as well as a couple of credulous scientists at NASA as academic stooges.

      The thing about theory is that it can be checked by other qualified theorists. And if a plausible theory for cold fusion or LENR were developed, it would be a revolutionary event with or without credible experimental results.

      The maser was predicted based on theory, and when von Neumann was skeptical, Townes convinced him over a beer with mathematics.

      Muon catalyzed fusion was predicted theoretically too, and then observed experimentally. Likewise Bose-Einstein condensates, and so on.

      Most of these theories were accepted without explicit evidence for the predicted phenomenon (although of course, they were based on a consistent body of related evidence).

      So, if the WL theory were plausible, one would expect that at least within the community of true believers, there would be consensus. But the very existence of so many other theories shows that there is not, and in fact, outside of WLS, very few scientists take it seriously.

      Furthermore, if it were plausible, outside theorists would be all over it, to make their little contribution, because there’s nothing like a revolution in physics to get your name up in lights. It would be like Einstein’s miracle papers in 1905.

      But all I hear are crickets. The WL papers are scarcely cited at all.

      You wrote, “If LENR can be proven without doubt any scientist who contributed to it will have celebrity status.” No way. Science’s dirty little secret can be summed up in two words: “Academic backstabbing.” Just look at the Taleyarkhan case.

      admin wrote an excellent reply to this already, but I’ll just add that it’s no good giving as an example another case (Taleyarkhan) where the claimed stabee failed to convince the mainstream that his experiments had any merit.

      It makes no sense that Larsen would hold out for a few million (tops), when (as admin argues) his contribution (if it worked) would be undeniable, and would be worth many many times that to him. He’s been at this for 7 years or so. He either has the patience of Job, or much more likely, it’s a big bluff.

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