AOH :: FUSION53.TXT|
More rambling about CNF and duplication
From: jon@Apple.COM (Jon Singer)
Subject: I b'lieve I have suffered a cranio-rectal insertion.
Keywords: cold fusion, view from here, incorrect predictions
Date: 8 May 89 09:12:29 GMT
Organization: Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, CA
Some weeks ago, I suggested that we would have clear confirmation
or denial of the PFH results within a few weeks, if I didn't miss
I missed my bet.
Worse, it looks to me like a number of Bad Things have happened.
I would like to take a few lines to discuss some of these, and to
put forth a few ideas.
DISCLAIMER: The following idea was suggested to me by a recent
posting to this (alt.fusion) newsgroup. I have looked for that
particular article, and I have failed to locate it. This means
I cannot give proper attribution to the idea. :-( My apologies
to the original author. I am not even 100% certain how much of
the idea is due to that author, and how much is mine, alas.
Let us presume that the Brigham Young results are reasonable, which
does not seem too terribly far out of line. This being the case, we
have some reason to believe that fusion can occur at rates on the order
of 10^(-23)/dd/sec in various metals.
Let us further presume that those metals (if you want examples,
Palladium, Titanium, and Zirconium) can indeed sop up large quantities
of Deuterium. I don't think we will have any argument about that,
Let us finally presume that the muon-catalyzed fusion results
are in fact reasonable. (See the various articles on the subject.)
These thing being given, WHY ON EARTH has NOBODY filled some metal with
Deuterium and stuck it into a muon beam???
Even granting the fact that there is no _a_priori_ reason to
think that this will be spectacular, surely there is reason
to believe that it will be of more than passing interest!!
Consider: If nothing at all happens, we have a data point. If the rate
increases measurably over the J&P rate of e-23, we have something of
real interest. If (heaven forfend) the rate increases by even two
orders of magnitude over the regular _muon-catalysis_ rate (e+11), we
could have breakeven, entirely aside from the PFH work!
(My understanding is that if you put muons into liquid D2, you are
about an order of magnitude shy of breakeven - that you get about 150
fusions per muon, and you need 2000 or 3000. I could, of course, be
misremembering. Even if I am, however, an advance beyond the regular
rate observed in muon-catalysis is definitely of interest!)
I realize that the experiment proposed here is something of a `mixed
metaphor' on a couple counts, but I think it is a neat notion
Remember, you didn't see it here first, you saw it here second!
Small Unhappinesses with the Current Situation:
o I can understand various people finding errors in the PFH paper.
It is not my idea of a model lab-report!
o I can understand various people finding it impossible to replicate
the PFH experiment with the information furnished in that paper.
(Please remember that, as has been mentioned here several times
recently, Dr. Pons seems to have realized that cast Pd was important
only fairly recently. Thanks to James Kowalczyk at Utah for this piece
of info. <firstname.lastname@example.org>?) That is, while I am not exactly
`blaming' PFH, the paper seems to be inadequate to part of its task as
a scientific document, and that is an unhappy thing.
o I can understand many people becoming exasperated with the paucity of
information contained in the paper and early press releases. One would,
think, after all, that if it took them 5.5 years to get the thing going
with some regularity, they'd have some lab notebooks to show for it! I
guess some of it has to do with patent application problems, maybe. In
any case, it seems that lots of people feel that they have wasted time,
effort, and bucks trying to duplicate the work from insufficient
information. One would hope this sort of problem would not occur very
o It seems that there are some very real problems with the PFH work.
While I have seen at least one posting that cited Pons & Co. as having
done some of the definitive calorimetry on Pd Hydride and Deuteride
formation, there appears to be more than a little grossitude or
bogosity about the data in the fusion paper. I don't know how to
reconcile these things.
o For some reason, any Federal money that is likely to go into
furthering this research seems to have to come out of money already
earmarked for `traditional' fusion research. This, in my book, sux
rox. Fusion is poor enough as it is, without people cutting holes in
it. Why don't they roundfile 1/100 of 1% of the defense budget
instead? That's more than 10 million right there! Should get 'em
started decently well.
What I have difficulty understanding is this:
There is at least one lab _other than the UU lab_ reporting that they
have several cells, of which some number demonstrate the effect, and
the rest fail.
Now, I will grant that it is possible that they have some thermometers
in funny places, and others in colder funny places. I would hope that
they read this newsgroup, and are stirring better or moving their
thermometers around. I do seem to recall hearing that the people in one
group (Huggins@Stanford) have tried moving their thermometers, and
don't see any particular difference. (I think that info came from Mary
Holstege, in <8972@polya.Stanford.EDU>.)
At the same time, the UU group reports about 90% success rate in
building `working' cells, again arguing for a bimodal distribution -
let me state this as "some cells give very different data from others".
Think about this: If these groups are at least consistent in their
errors, it would seem that unless _something_ strange is occurring, all
the cells would give similar data, no?
If I may repeat myself, there are two groups (at least!) that have some
`working' cells and some `nonworking' cells. If we discount thermometer
placement and thorough incompetence, then something must be going on,
or I have missed some key parameter, in which case I b'lieve I have
suffered TWO cranio-rectal insertions, and am in desperate need of
assistance!! -- That is, if (say) the PFH group has a crock in their
calculation or measurement that gives them 800% more heat out than they
put in, how come it only works 90% of the time? That's NUTS!
Please note that the conclusion I have reached is quite independent of
the process that is generating the heat. I don't care if it's Martians
with pea-shooters. Some cells give off more heat per joule input energy
during the `run' part of the experiment than others, under controlled
conditions, and that is very peculiar.
I would be happy to entertain alternate explanations for the observed
condition (that is, the fact that the same people, using the same
calorimetric techniques, have some cells that `work' and some that
don't). Will anyone out there oblige me? Please note, I am NOT looking
for "some of the cells may have milled electrodes instead of cast" -
we already know that. What I'm asking is, IF there is nothing unusual
going on here, what factors could cause a group to come up with data
that show heat being emitted from cell A, but not from cell B?
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Now: I've heard that H2O has different conductivity than D2O, and that
the same current may generate more heat in one cell than it does in
another. That is, what appears to be a `control' may not quite work the
way people expect.
More seriously, I hear claims that Dr. Pons was merely guessing that
the voltage across some part of his cell was 0.5, and that his
calculation of ohmic heating is suspect for that reason. Is there any
good way to measure the voltage at the electrolyte-Pd interface, a
number that seems to be important to this work?
Does anyone here care to speak to the issue of exactly how you
calculate the energy that is put into the cell by the power supply? I
gather that it's not quite as simple as measuring the current coming
out of the supply and the voltage across the cell and multiplying
together, else there wouldn't be any discussion of this issue, right?
My friend Alan Bostick notes with some distress that the news media
were entirely happy to jump on the bandwagon when the original results
were mentioned, and have lately been equally gleeful at jumping into
the opposing camp, now that MIT and CalTech have announced pejorative
statements. (I am paraphrasing him very heavily here.)
It is regrettable, but in fact the best info I've seen suggests that
the current furor, with its hype, accusations, recriminations and
generally adolescent behavior (that includes us, friends - we ain't
immune; I've seen a few too many flames in this very newsgroup), is
not at all unusual, and is the regular way that the course of
scientific endeavor has proceeded since there was any such animal.
As I say, regrettable. I suppose there isn't any chance that we can set
a good example for the rest of the world, is there? Huh? Maybe?
...Oh, well... it was a good idea.
[You may be able to guess how I feel about the appropriateness of
scorn and derision. If you have any trouble guessing how I feel on
this issue, I suggest that you spend some minutes going back to some
times when you were treated with scorn and derision, perhaps in your
childhood, perhaps more recently. Really get into it, if you have to.
Then notice how you feel. Remember that recent medical research
indicates deleterious effects on people's immune systems from that kind
of stuff. Finally, read Alice Miller's book, "For Your Own Good". If
you still think that scorn and derision are appropriate ways to deal
with living breathing human beings, you may want to hire someone to
shower you or your kids (if you have any) with scorn and derision for
a period of 3 weeks or so, after which you may detect changes in the
quality of your life. Oh, yeah, if you _do_ think it's appropriate to
deal with people using scorn, derision, blame, humiliation, etc.,
please do me the small favor of staying as far away from me as
you possibly can, ok? Thanks!]
One last item: a friend (I'm not yet sure he wants to be identified)
has sent me a "Mr. Fusion" kit. It consists of a Pd-plated Ti
electrode about 3/16" diameter and perhaps 1/2" long, with a Pd wire
arc-welded to it, a short length of Pt wire for the other electrode,
and a little vial containing some cc of roughly 97 or 98% D2O with
some Li dissolved in it. Came with a note that said, roughly,
"Yew know whut ta do with this. Ah red yer 'structions!"
I think I c'n rassle up a truck batt'ry an' a Rubbermaid "crock".
Anybody got a thermometer and a gamma spectrometer? :-) :-)
-- If you are wondering why I said a gamma spectrometer rather than a
neutron counter, I have been informed by Dick Lynch that if you let a
nice waterbath thermalize and then capture the neutrons, you get a
lovely 4.5732MeV (or is it 4.3752MeV? I forget, but it's in the
literature) prompt gamma, which is quite easy to detect. The peak, he
says, is quite recognizable. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.
One more nicety is that it removes the majority of the neutrons.
If I may quote myself, "'Member, neutrons ain't yer fren's!"
(No, I don't really think I'm gonna try it in my `basemit'. Hell, I
don't even HAVE a basemit! The kit is pretty cute, though.)
...and that's the way it looks from here, 8 May, 1989, 0100PDT.
- jon singer
And when I gazed back |
over my shoulder, there I |
was, in hot pursuit! | Jon Singer is jon@Apple.COM, or
| (AppleLink) SINGER2
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