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308) Expected things


Ludwik Kowalski; 9/19/2006
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043



1) About a year ago I asked Steven Jones about progress of his work, especially about high energy alpha particles that he asked me not to write about because it was work in progress (item 124). The reply surprised me; instead of finishing this work Steven simply switched to something that has nothing to do with cold fusion. That is how I learned that he was investigating the conspiracy idea about the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. He wrote that the towers were too strong to collapse from the airplane hits alone. He was waiting for samples to be analyzed for the presence of explosives presumably pre-located in critical locations of each building.

In the last ten days two people sent me an article about that investigation of Jones'. It was recently published in Utah's newspaper Desert Morning News. The university seems to punish Steven for this work; they did not allow him to teach (payed leave). The full text of the article can be found at

http://newenergytimes.com/Inthenews/2006Q2-4/Q3/DESERET-BYUPlacesJones.htm

How will this affect reputation of CMNS? Jones and Fleischmann were the most important contributors to that field; the term 'cold fusion" was invented by Jones three years before the 1989 announcement. The effect could not possibly be positive, unless the so-called "conspiracy theory" is confirmed. I do not want to probe into this subject but this unit will have an appendix about possible consequences.

2) Another thing worth mentioning is a new book about CMNS. The author, Edmund Storms, is still working on this book. On August 28 he posted the following message on the restricted Internet list for the CMNS researchers. "Dear Fellow Confusionites, In the process of writing a book, I have come to some conclusion which some people in the CF field might find heretical. In addition, new published information, when viewed in its totality, leads to some conclusions that are in conflict with some major theories. I would like to have these assertions debated in semiprivate before I publish what might be incorrect ideas. So that the debate can be kept focused, I will make each assertion a new link. Of course, ideas in one link will spill over into others, but hopefully the idea will only be applied to the subject dujour. Some people might want to continue a more detailed discussion in private, which is ok, but I do not have time to handle many private discussions. So there goes. (Assertion #1) . . . "

I am not going to quote numerous replies generated by the Assertion #1, and by two subsequent assertions -- #2 and #3. They shows that, contrary to what many think, the CMNS community is far from being a society of mutual admiration. Numerous disagreements, and traces of past disagreements, emerged from the debate. After examining a list of chapters I realized that something very important was missing. This prompted me post the following message. " I suggest that a chapter about promising commercial initiatives that failed is worth adding, for example, between chapters 6 and 7. The most spectacular, as far as I know, was at iESiUSA. Or it can be an appendix. A book without this would not be a total description of what was going in the CMNS field during the last 17 years."

Here is the reply from Ed: "Thanks for the suggestion, Ludwik. I'm afraid I'm not the person to evaluate the commercial aspects. Steve Krivit is doing this. My job is to make sense of the science. Too many of the commercial attempts were not based on science and failed because of human limitations. Such failures will not happen in the future if and when the science is understood." Another old-timer wrote: "Regarding 'promising commercial initiatives that failedÓ, I'm reminded of Ceti's claim, made in their 1995 Corporate Video that: -- 'Ceti is scaling up the size and efficiency of the cell and expects to produce 1 kW of power as part of a 250 kW array. At ICCF-6 Ceti were claiming they had 40 firm orders for their Rifex demonstration kit. In the event I think only 4 were sold."

I was not aware of this fact. Would it be appropriate to say that the above mentioned corporate video was an axample of a fraudulant manipulation? The same question can be asked about the iesiusa company, as described in units #216, #229, #236, #237, #239, #263 and #279. Assuming the answers are positive one can ask another question. Who is responsible for the fraud, scientists or business people? That question, addressed by S. Krivit (at ICCF12), was asked by Krivit. He said that iesiusa scientists were victims, rather than perpetuators, of fraudulant business activities. I would like to know what Peter Hagelstain thinks about this now. He was deeply involved in the iesiusa situation last fall.

I think that commercially motivated projects are worth describing in a book about CMNS. They were taken seriously in the CMNS community (for example Case presentation at the ICCF10 that I attended) because each project was based on ideas discussed at gatherings of non-commercial researchers. In that sense commercial projects were not different from other projects -- nothing is "based on science" in our area, everything is based on proto-scientific speculations, both theoretical and intuitive. By the way, Case presentation does not appear in the ICFF10 conference proceedings. Why it so? Probably because he failed to submit it before the deadline. I do remember him speaking at the confernce, and showing an impressive metallic setup.

CMNS will remain proto-science until at least one reproducible on demand experiment becomes available. That is why I think that all efforts should be focused on finding such experiment. How many millions of dollars were spent on the CMNS research since 1989 worldwide (including support from Toyota, Mitsibushi and other private benefactors)? Would we still be asking for reproducible on demand demos if all that money was used more rationally? I do not know how to answer these questions. But they should be addressed in a book on cold fusion. Storm and Dash decided to reinvestigate the experiment demonstrated by Dash's students at ICCF10, but not before the book is published. Will this impressive 2002 demo be described in the book? I hope so. This relatively inexpensive setup was enthusiastically described by Eugene Mallove. And, as far as I know, it was not criticized by those who saw the demo. Was it seen by Fleischmann himsef? He was attending the conference but I do not recall seeing him the public demonsration of the experiment. I suppose it was shown to him privately. It would be useful to know his comments.

3) Below is a piece about peer reviewing. It is from Photonics Spectra (April, 2006, page 10). The author, Wendy A. Laurin, is a group publisher of that journal (devoted to applications of optics, lasers, imaging, fiber optics, electro-optics, etc.)

Journals: Advancing Science
As do other qualIty publications, Photonics Spectra uses peer-reviewed journals for news ideas and information on scientific research. Science, Nature, Optics Letters and Applied Physics Letters are a few of the journals we use regularly. They provide not only details on the results of an experiment, but also the technical details of how the experiment was conducted.

Peer-reviewed journals depend on individuals who are willing to commit their time to judge whether submitted papers are suitable for publication and to ask questions if the research is not clear. Most of these people are experts in their field, making them the best ones to perform the initial review.

The accuracy of these journals is now being questioned following the retraction of some articles, including the well-publicized research on cloned human cells and a cancer study from Norway. Some in the general press are asking for more policing of the research that peer-reviewed journals publish.

The reality is that journals do not have the money or time to scrutinize every experiment. Additionally, they do not claim to Investigate each paper. They do, however, ensure that enough information is presented for the experiment to be replicated. Although they have been taking a more proactive approach to the problem, there is no denying that the most powerful means of review are the readers.

Journals are doing their job. They disseminate scientific information to a large group of scientists who can redo the experiments and examine the results in detail. Most highly rated publications will acknowledge that there are some problems with the peer-review process, as evidenced by Science's retraction of a paper. But if the journal had not published the paper, fellow researchers would have had no other way to effectively review the experiment and point out the fallacies.

This is a system that has been productive because peer-reviewed journals rely on their advisers and their readers for feedback. Although there may be individuals who falsify research, in most cases the very act of publication keeps most researchers honest because they know that the work can be thoroughly examined. There is no doubt that the system can be improved, and It has been only in the past few years that some journals have required the authors to report financial interest. But peer-reviewed journals remaIn a powerful way for researchers to communicate with each other.

The power of publication can be shown in other ways as well. A recent editorial in Science magazine states that there are times when an organization or individuals have asked that research by a particular group not be published. Because Science does not believe In censorship, it instead suggests that the would-be suppressors put their thoughts In a technical comment. And therein lies the true job of peer-reviewed journals - putting research in the open for everyone to see.

The upcoming 2007 ACS conference (appended on 10/14/06):
Several days ago someone made a suggestion that papers devoted to CMNS topics should be presented at the next American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting. Such presentayions have been made at recent APS (American Physical Society). But presenting CMNS papers at ACS was not easy, as described below by Mel Miles. Instead of addressing the issues scientifically (during the conference) the organizers tried to block presentations administratvely. What a pity. Is such discrimination justifiable? When will it end? Here is how one 1999 discrimination episode was described, on the CMNS list, by Dr. Miles:

In 1999, my China Lake co-workers were tasked with organizing the ACS Ontario, California Western Regional Meeting, October 6-8. They asked me to organize a battery and cold fusion session which I did. This caused all hell to break loose. The special plenary symposium speaker, Dr. Jerome Karle of NRL, threatened to withdraw from the conference if cold fusion papers were allowed. Others such as Dr. Cotton of Texas A&M threatened to resign from ACS. At one point, ACS proposed a compromise solution where the cold fusion session would be allowed but would not be sponsored by ACS and abstracts would not appear in the ACS Abstract Book. At this point, my China Lake co-workers (Peter Zarras and Erick Erickson) threatened to resign from ACS if the cold fusion session were treated this way. In the end, ACS sponsored our session and allowed our abstracts (For program, see http://www.vidrine.com/paccon/techprogram.html). However, the cold fusion session was separated from the battery presentations and moved to Friday, we were told to keep a low profile, and not to invite any more speakers on cold fusion. Speakers at this cold fusion ACS meeting included Martin Fleischmann, Stan Szpak, Mike McKubre, Talbot Chubb, John Dash, Ed Storms, Robert T. Bush, Ben Bush, Russ George, and myself. I believe that this was the last time that cold fusion papers wee allowed at an ACS meeting except for maybe a few isolated papers that escaped detection. In contrast, APS (Physics) has been allowing cold fusion sessions at their March meetings for years - thanks to Scott Chubb.

I hope my experience with ACS will give Dr. Marwan and others some insight on what to expect when word gets out about these submitted cold fusion papers.”
In giving me permission to post the above message Dr. Miles added: “I consulted my notebook before I wrote this, thus it is accurate.” Will the 1999 opposition episode be repeated in the spring of 2007? That remains to be seen.

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