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Journal of Applied Physics, NASA, and the Hydrino

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-snack-food dept.

Science 247

Erik Baard writes "I wanted to bring you the last on a story that was slashdotted in June: NASA's investigation of the 'hydrino' rocket. In June I reported for wired.com that the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts was funding a six-month study of rockets propeled by plasmas created by BlackLight Power Inc. The company claims that energy is released when it shrinks hydrogen atoms, bringing the electron closer into its nucleus than thought possible. Here's the scoop: the researcher told NASA that *something* was indeed generating plasmas with more kinetic energy than would be expected for the power input. And the kicker is that BlackLight founder Randell Mills scored a paper about his plasmas in the mainstream Journal of Applied Physics -- after a few years of following this bizarre startup, that floored me." Here's the Village Voice story with these updates.

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FP (-1, Troll)

norculf (146473) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835492)

Ahahahahh I didn't evne read the artical. What's it about?

YOU DID IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835533)

The art of first posting is one that takes many years to achieve. It has been shown that a robot can not complete the task as it requires a soul. You have proven yourself successful above the best of your peers.

YOU DID IT!!

Re:YOU DID IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835591)

At least he was brave enough to use his real account.

Re:YOU DID IT (0, Offtopic)

norculf (146473) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835597)

No bravery involved. I just don't care.

YUO AER TEH GHEYEST TROHL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835716)

Congratulations! Yuo aer teh gheyest trohl!

YUO AER TEH GHEYEST TROHL!

Re:YUO AER TEH GHEYEST TROHL! (0, Offtopic)

norculf (146473) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835900)

Lol crackhead.

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835494)

first post

IN SOVIET RUSSIA.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835496)

Richard Stallman is capitalist pig!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835497)

sorry I couldn;t resist :)

this might be a good place to mention (-1, Offtopic)

vectus (193351) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835498)

in the sciences section, the article entitled, "High CO2 Levels Can Reduce Plant Growth" is screwed up (for me at least) so that you cannot post replies.

Re:this might be a good place to mention (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835510)

Prepare to feel the wrath of ...

-1, Offtopic

Re:this might be a good place to mention (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835542)

lol, i think i'm going to cry. i can't believe they took my precious karma.

Suggestion (-1, Troll)

unterderbrucke (628741) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835499)

In reference to: "The company claims that energy is released when it shrinks hydrogen atoms, bringing the electron closer into its nucleus than thought possible."

They should add a new line to the Slashdot FAQ: "You should only read this site if you payed attention in science class."

Re:Suggestion (4, Funny)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835512)

They should add a new line to the Slashdot FAQ: "You should only read this site if you payed attention in science class." ...and if you paid attention in English class.

Re:Suggestion (5, Funny)

mz001b (122709) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835582)

payed [reference.com] is a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:Suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835651)

Except you spelled "cromulant" wrong.

Re:Suggestion (2, Funny)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835868)

But he used it with such a noble spirit that it still embiggens his post.

Tim

Re:Suggestion (0, Offtopic)

Knife_Edge (582068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835592)

No, that requirement should be for posting to the site. Poor spellers should still be allowed to read it, as long as they realize this will not improve their spelling!

Seriously, I am not criticizing anyone specific here, but when you misspell common words, it takes a lot of credibility away from your thoughts. I wish slashdot allowed me to automatically mod down the poor spellers by a point or two. A system to correct them before they post incorrect spellings would be better. Though admittedly I like being given indications that the poster is a fool before bothering to read some badly reasoned nonsense, which sometimes can delay me for some time before jumping to erroneous conclusions in a digusting logical error which I immediately dismiss in annoyance. Watching for the misspelling of words gives an early warning that the poster is not thinking clearly and may be attempting to disguise an opinion in the garb of a fact.

Bear in mind that this very criticism is just an opinion. There are surely exceptions to this rule, but in general I doubt I am the only one that feels this way. I honestly believe that if you are uncertain how to spell a word, you should never use it in written communication.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

-attribution uncertain, sometimes given as Mark Twain

I probably missed a word somewhere in this post, and that means the trolls will eat me alive. I had a good run I guess.

You're right. You're an idiot. (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835860)

Seriously, I am not criticizing anyone specific here, but when you misspell common words, it takes a lot of credibility away from your thoughts.

It takes away credibility in some peoples minds, in other's it doesn't. 99% of the time I don't even notice typographical errors in peoples writing. I wish slashdot allowed me to automatically mod down the poor spellers by a point or two.

I wish I could mod you down by a point or two, but it looks like someone's already beat me to it.

A system to correct them before they post incorrect spellings would be better.

Yeah, we wouldn't want anyone talking about new ideas or concepts like 'hydrino' or anything. Better change it to 'hydrant' on the fly, or maybe trigger the lameness filter! Everyone loves that! The lameness filter never stops anyone from talking about anything interesting. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

-attribution uncertain, sometimes given as Mark Twain




Yes, but also 'sometimes attributed to Mark Twain' the quote "Never trust a man who only knows how to spell a word one way" as well, so perhaps it would be rather foolish of you to go around misattributing quotes to MT in your anti-miss-spelling crusade. I probably missed a word somewhere in this post, and that means the trolls will eat me alive. I had a good run I guess.

Ah, ever the brilliant prognosticator. You're right. You misspelled 'digusting' which should be 'disgusting' (or did you perhaps mean degusting [reference.com] ?).

now, normally I wouldn't hold that against you, but I do believe that the standards set for others should be applied to self, and thus I suppose you have "removed all doubt" that you are, in fact, an idiot.

Oh no! It IS possible! (3, Funny)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835501)

Better recalculate those schrodinger equations. Lets add more variables this time :D

Re:Oh no! It IS possible! (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835546)

Just thinking of that makes my head hurt.

Re:Oh no! It IS possible! (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835621)

"Better recalculate those schrodinger equations."

Just so long as it doesn't involve reaching into any more alphabets. I've had my fill with Greek and Cyrillic. My TI-92+ just doesn't have enough buttons.

fuck you amnericunts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835504)

1st good post

HOWS IT FEEL KNOW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835508)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,72449,00.html

How does it feel know you dirty sand niggers! Not so fun to get blown up is it?

Re:HOWS IT FEEL KNOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835520)

what the fuck is wrong with you?

Re:HOWS IT FEEL KNOW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835538)

They were not bombs, they were the wrath of Allah. It is a punishment to the dirty sand niggers for not killing infidels fast enough for the streets of New York to run with the blood of the Great Satan.

PS:

Happy Hannukah

Mod parent fLaMeBait, not Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835616)

Thank you

Should be lots of skepticm (5, Funny)

dagg (153577) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835527)

There are many reasons to be skeptical of this project:
  • The company is named "Blacklight Power".
  • The guy looks funny in that lab jacket.
  • Most of the scientific community finds these theories "crackpot ideas".
  • He's raised 30 million dollars.

--No money raised for this... [tilegarden.com]

Re:Should be lots of skepticm (5, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835600)

  • "The company is named "Blacklight Power""
    • All the really cool names like "Lockheed-Martin [lockheedmartin.com] " are already taken.
    • If you weren't spending money on start-ups with silly names several decades ago, you would have missed the opportunity to invest in General Atomics [ga.com] .
  • The guy looks funny in that lab jacket.
    • It's the guys that don't look funny in a lab jacket that worry me.
  • "Most of the scientific community finds these theories "crackpot ideas"."
    • So? We should all be more concerned with what the scientific method has to say about his ideas, not the "community."
    • If we don't, we'd be no better than the Catholics who locked up Galileo.

"He's raised 30 million dollars."

  • 99.99% of which did not come from Slashdot users.
    • If we're not monetarily involved, what's wrong with a little cheerleading?


Re:Should be lots of skepticm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835671)

It's the guys that don't look funny in a lab jacket that worry me.

yeah but that guy looks like Dan Ankroyd [imdb.com] , which means he's probably just trying to hit on aliens that look like Kim Basinger.

hmmm... i was wondering who/where Eminem's father was! [imdb.com] god bless the tie-ins.

warning, this is a good, old-fashioned flame (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835731)

Who else here is sick of seeing the ad in your signature for yersex.tilegarden.com? It can't be just me.

For those that haven't seen the page, allow me to recreate this hilarious joke for you:

Please choose one:

- I have a penis.
- I have a vagina.


You press the submit button and the next page says either "you are a man" or "you are a woman." If you select both or neither, an equally hilarious response is displayed.

Oh, and there's an oh-so clever plug to three 'humorous' books on Amazon. I can only hope they are as funny as this page. I may bust a gut.

ENOUGH WITH YOUR LAME-ASS PAGE. I would rather look at a gaping asshole [goatse.cx] .

Re:Should be lots of skepticm (2, Interesting)

MonkeyBoyo (630427) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835894)

From looking at the references I would say that Blacklight is (in rough descending order of likelyhood):
Crackpots

Charlatans
"Winging Scientists"*
"Mislead Scientists"*
Really onto something.
*(By "a Winging Scientist" I mean someone who has trouble understanding some work done by other scientists and assumes that they are just making up things. Thus a "winger" feels justified in making up thing to sound impressive.)
*(By a "Mislead Scientist" I mean decent people like Pons and Flieshman in their pursuit of cold fusion).

And if you think he looks funny, have a look at all of the coporate officers at http://www.blacklightpower.com/management.shtml
I could see them as pastors at a fundamentalist church involved in snakehandleing but I wouldn't want have them in company I was involved with.

Randell Mills scored a paper about his plasmas (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835531)

I'd rather score a woman about my semen.

Haha! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835532)

In SOVIET RUSSIA, atoms shrink you!

I loves my gun... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835539)

And I'll shoot any dirty hippies who try and take my beloved Microsoft products.
All you Linux bitches need to stop being cheap and buy a REAL OS.

I use windows, buts its pirated (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835552)

are you going to shoot me as well?

P.S. I support the killing of linux zealots, perhaps you might want to think about killing their leader LINUS TORVALDS while you're at it.

Re:I use windows, buts its pirated (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835562)

Bring me the flea infested head of RMS and the left nut of Torvalds, and your life will be spared.
You can send these to: 6747 MINNOW POND DR, WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI 48322

Guns will be banned (9th circuit) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835615)

Read it and weep you idiot. Americans have absolutely no right whatsoever to keep or bear arms. Turn in your guns you son of a BITCH!!!

reputed journal... Maybe.... (4, Interesting)

Papa Legba (192550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835540)

I would take the publishing of a science paper these days with a grain of salt. The register just did some ground breaking reporting in this area for another company like this and found out that the state of peer review at most of these mags is poor at best.

As long as it sounds plausible then it gets published. Stringing enough buzz words together usually does the trick. Unfortunatly the science mags have gone the same way as the game review mags. Don't make waves or you don't get content and loose readership and advertising dollars.

Read the whole article at the Register [theregister.co.uk]

Re:reputed journal... Maybe.... (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835629)

"As long as it sounds plausible then it gets published. Stringing enough buzz words together usually does the trick."

If only that problem were limited to science mags.

Excuse me while I go utilize a paradigm shift while thinking outside the box. That will surely decrease my TCO.

Obligitory Simpsons quote: (1)

thoolie (442789) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835722)

Writer: Arn't statements like, "Paradigm shift and Thinking outside of the box" just buzz words that stupid people use to sound smart?

Producer: "Your fired."

Re:reputed journal... Maybe.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835706)

I hope that I don't knock you off your feet with suprise here, but The Register is the Internet equivalent of the Enquirer. If you're honestly worried about scientific journals being inaccurate or false, PLEASE don't look for facts at The Register, of all places.

By the way, I recommend you read the news on the Onion, there's an interesting story there about the discovery of an ancient race of skeleton people.

Re:reputed journal... Maybe.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835714)

After that affair, I'd expect the journals to be a little more cautious.

Not only that, but this is from BlackLight Power - they've been the subject of ridicule for years now. The editor most certainly knew it, and as mentioned in the article was hesistant to publish. You can bet that the reviewers looked very carefully.

Not to mention the guy from Nasa lending his credibility.

I'm amazed that this has happened. I too had written off Blacklight years ago as being just another joke. We'll see.

Re:reputed journal... Maybe.... (5, Funny)

Rothfuss (47480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835775)

Blah blah blah...

You, an uncredentialed /.er who goes by the name Pap Legba, have just dismissed the peer review process of scientific journals, comparing "science mags" to "game review mags."

I considered arguing your pseudo-point, perhaps suggesting that you read the actual journal article, which you might find to be intelligent and thorough, and to provide sufficient information to duplicate the experiment in your own lab, which is expected in peer review journals.

I also considered mentioning that the people that review these articles, although quite busy, are well versed in their respective fields.

But that would only serve to validate your ridiculous point.

So instead I will directly attack your apparent lack of intelligence.

You are an idiot.

-Rothfuss

Re:reputed journal... Maybe.... (5, Insightful)

adminispheroid (554101) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835784)

Since I've been in the position of peer reviewing similar journals, I have some sympathy for people who let through results that are obviously wrong. Here's why: with a result that's based on an experiment, nobody expects the reviewer to go repeat the experiment. If somebody writes a paper that clearly describes an experiment, says they checked everything they should have checked and made all the calculations they should have, and comes up with a "surprising" result, it'll get published. And if you think about it, this is how it should be. If other people repeat the experiment and get the same answer, then it's right. And if everybody else gets a different answer, then we all know the original author is an ass.

I don't fault the journal for publishing this trash, but I certainly fault NASA for funding it.

Interesting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835541)

This technology certainly sounds interesting but it also could be used for bad purposes therefore I am going to write my congress people a letter asking them to ban this new technology for use by private citizens because terrorists could then get ahold of it and use it in missiles to attack the US or Israel. I'm willing to give up freedom to protect the federal government and Israel as are all non-terroristic americans. Please urge your congress people to do the same!

Unfair comment (4, Insightful)

soramimicake (593421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835544)

From the article:
"The proof is in the hydrino pudding. The question is, when are you going to have desktop hydrino pudding?"
Regardless of the validity of the research, this comment sounds unfair to me. You can say the same about nuclear fusion, which is also being researched for a long time. When are we going to have desktop nuclear fusion?

Re:Unfair comment (2, Insightful)

ParallelJoe (624814) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835570)

We have nuclear fusion. It's that bright ball in the sky during the day. Or the H-Bombs that hopefully will never be used against people. The physics of fusion are well understood. It is only the application that is proving difficult.

Re:Unfair comment (1)

ZaphodCrowley (624486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835627)

Hell, I'd settle for desktop fission... Microwave too slow? Just toss yer frozen pizza in the reactor core!

Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (-1, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835545)

After years of following the news from various "fringe" groups that claim some pretty impressive (but "impossible" things), it pleases me greatly to have something finally get taken seriously.

*SO* many self-righteous so-called "scientists" have this incredible fear of anything outside their understanding. Meteorites? They don't exist, said the French acadamy of sciences. The ether? Pish, everyone knows that Michaelson and Moreley (sp?) disproved that. Lower-than-ground state Hydrogen? What nonsense. ;-)

When "scientists" stop acting as defensive about their holy truths as any other two-bit religion with a tenuous basis, perhaps we can make some real progress.

And, just for the record, no, I do not either "fear" science, or have anything against it. I have a fairly decent grounding in the "hard" sciences, and see that the methods and results (so far) of science have a whole lot to offer mankind. So, it *really* bothers me when so many "experts" categorically refuse to even *look* at claims such as this, on the grounds that it violates what they BELIEVE as the underlying basis of reality.

Throw down with the priesthood, and get back to the "real" work of investigating the universe *as it exists*, not as you believe it to exist.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (5, Informative)

redfiche (621966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835589)

There is a very interesting refutation of hydrino theory here [freeenergies.org] . The author uses basic E & M, a little calculus, and the uncertainty principle to assert that the Bohr radius is the minimum energy for a Hydrogen atom's electron. I'd love to see someone refute the argument.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835844)

Such as, just pulling an example from the top of my head, someone SUCCESSFULLY MAKING USE OF this refuted theory???

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835851)

That's like someone refuting relativity based on the predictions of newtonian physics... If he's onto somethign new here, then it's obvous that existing science isn't going to predict it.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (1)

redfiche (621966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835893)

How much physics do you know? The science used to refute the claims of the hydrino is extremely well grounded in years of experiment. You'd have to do a hell of a lot more than he has done to get me to doubt the E & M work of Maxwell or the uncertainty principle of Heisenberg.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (4, Interesting)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835594)

For every ground breaking discovery there are a million crackpots. Scientists have plenty of reasons to be sceptic. Once this guy is able topower a space heater with his plasma they will have to believe him.

btw who says the ether exists?

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (0)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835658)

"btw who says the ether exists?"

Have you taken a look at the vacuum lately? At this point I'd be more comfortable calling it "ether" instead of "vacuum," because there seems to be more "something" than "nothing" out there.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835720)

Of course I've looked at the vacuum. I'm staring at it right now. It doesn't look anything like the old theories of what the "ether" was.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835595)

Those comments would be vaild if the person in question had a single shred of evidence to support his theories. However, after millions of dollars invested, he's yet to demonstrate his "technology" in a controlled environment, nor has anyone been able to reproduce a single one of his results beyond what is expected by conventional science.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835601)

It sounds nice to say that every idea should get a fair examination, but in reality there are limited resources, both materially and in terms of peoples' time. You have to make some judgment calls, and it makes me angry that NASA is wasting money on a textbook free energy scam when they could be spending it on something useful. Of course it's possible that 'hydrino' theory is correct, but I certainly don't see any reason to believe that's so in the meandering mess of 'experiments' that have been advanced so far as proof. Having an open mind is a great ideal, but you have to practical about things too if you want to get anything done.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (5, Interesting)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835639)

many self-righteous so-called "scientists" have this incredible fear of anything outside their understanding. Meteorites? They don't exist,

Psychic powers? Oops, they went away when you walked in the room.

Psychic powers? Oops, we ignored basic sercuity cautions and let the subject cheat.

Psychic powers? Oops, it looks like we fudged our numbers.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you.

When "scientists" stop acting as defensive about their holy truths as any other two-bit religion with a tenuous basis, perhaps we can make some real progress.

Because the odds of surviving cancer haven't steadily been going up. Because there's no drugs for people with HIV to hold back the virus. Because our movies all come on magnatic media, or long rolls of optical media. Because we have to search for a payphone when we need to make a phone call. Because slow mail or expensive phone calls are the only way for most Americans, Europeans and Japanese to communicate.

get back to the "real" work of investigating the universe *as it exists*, not as you believe it to exist.

Small enough circuits have quantum bleed-over, just like predicted by theory. Einstein's theory predicted gravitational lenses, just like they were found in real life. These theories describe the universe fairly well.

On the other hand, we've been seeing perpetual motion machines for how many centuries? And they never seem to work if and when we get our hands on them. How much work should a scientist spend studying something that's been disproved time and time again? When given something that seems bogus and is presented by someone with a financial motive, that doesn't correspond to the theories that are correct in every observation they made, the general trend is that it actually is bogus.

Here's another question: what do you do? Scientists would rather not go on what they feel will probably be a wild goose chase, instead working on stuff they feel will get results. I can hardly fault someone for making that decision - I try to avoid wasting my time myself. If you believe it has value, why don't you dedicate your time to studying it?

Fool me once (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835781)

Shame on you. Fool me twice... Can't... Can't get fooled again.

Re:Good to see a payoff for "bad" science finally (5, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835642)

Im 100% with you on this one. The guy has a weird ass phenomenon and a theroy about why it happens. Other people are trying to verify it. Thats pretty much science in a nutshell.

It the theroy isn't verified, thats science to. Also, there is no harm in trying to do something with the phenomenon even if we don't understand it. I think its likely that the guy might be able to make something usefull and *have no clue* why it works. Electricity was being used and studied 100 years before we had a clue what it was.

To control plasma (2, Informative)

FosterSJC (466265) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835551)

See this slashdot thread [slashdot.org] for a complementary project working on the other half of the technology necessary to yield plasma-powered rockets. Plasma, essentially the fourth state of matter, is VERY hot and cannot be contained by normal means. A magnetic field, ostensibly impervious to temperature, is thought to be the way to contain the plasma and direct it. There is nothing really new here, except that this scientist is using a novel way to try to create this high energy plasma: the hydrino. Good luck to him... but I am also somewhat skeptical. He seems to be too much venture-capitalist, not enough scientist.

Different Angle: (3, Insightful)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835553)

Nasa OK'd the physics, and made sure that the scientists weren't fudging the data. Great, and too bad all this company has right now is "abnormally energetic plasma". So far we have an unexplained phenomenon. Genereally, unexplained phenomena get researched by scientists for years *before* a company and patents are formed, ne? Something stinks here, but I don't think it's a scam. It's mostly the smell of optimism ^+_+^ Who other than me predicts a "yeah, well, it's kind of like that antigravity effect - it happened, but no one can explain it or use it" type of situation arising from this research?

Re:Different Angle: (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835647)

"So far we have an unexplained phenomenon."

Hell, transistors work on an unexplained phenomenon (Don't tell me how they work, tell me why). If we all had to fully understand something before putting it to some use, we'd still all be living in caves.

"Genereally, unexplained phenomena get researched by scientists for years *before* a company and patents are formed, ne?"

That, or you figure out how to boil water with it. Forget mouse traps, if you can build a better way to boil water, then you will have the world beating a path to your doorstep.

Re:Different Angle: (1)

charon_on_acheron (519983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835709)

"That, or you figure out how to boil water with it. Forget mouse traps, if you can build a better way to boil water, then you will have the world beating a path to your doorstep."

They then will stand around your kitchen stove waiting for the proof, and asking each other, "Should I lift the lid to look?" To which the the smart ones would reply, "Idiot, it's a see through saucepan." Then they will drink all your beer to see if you invented a better refridgerator too.

Re:Different Angle: (2)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835927)

Exactly. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. And what was that about Occam's razor? Is it not possible there are explanations for the observed phenomenon here (abnormal energy levels in plasmas) than "hydrinos" that fly in the face of very well established theories that (in their relevant domain and length scales) have been proved accurate in thousands of experiments in the past (E&M, basic QM principles)? I'm not saying that these formulae are absolute doctrine and cannot be refuted - by definition all science must be disprovable, or it's not science at all. But until there was not only evidence of abnormal phenomena, but also no other reasonable explanation posited by the scientific community AND several years of proven replication of the experiment AND similar experiments designed to test the "hydrino" hypothesis via other mechanisms, well, I wouldn't accept the otherwise quite outrageous claims.

This science is filth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835564)

Want to go to the stars? You don't get there by this "hydrino" FILTH, you pick up a Bible and go there! The Bible can take you anywhere with the Lord's help. If there is anymore blasphemy on this site then I'm going to personally report this site and it's operators to the Department of Homeland Security.

The people waste with this so-called science (the only Truth is the word of God) could be spent much better praising God and reading your Bible.

Re:This science is filth (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835581)

It's been a long time since I've seen a religious troll. You really played the part of a christian nutcase well!

Nice trolling!!!

PS Learn RPN, and you will be saved!

Re:This science is filth (0, Offtopic)

waferhead (557795) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835585)

I can't make up my mind if this shall be modded "Troll" or "Funny"....

Use RPN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835566)

Reverse Polish Notation is an excelllant method for using calculators. It's less error prone then algerbraic, and fewer keystrokes are required.

Learn RPN today!

ps First Post!

blp (1)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835572)

Of course this is a scam, but I think there's an interesting question here: if they have any kind of setup which stores energy in a worthwhile way, and their patents depend on their explanation of how it works, which is crap, a sub-ground state of hydrogen, might their patents be ineffective at limiting commercial usage of the setup when it turns out the mechanism of operation's different than the patents claim?

Re:blp (2)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835580)

yes it will. It will probably be invalidated based on hte so called "best mode" requirement.

subtract JAP publications (5, Informative)

Raiford (599622) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835576)

Having a paper accepted in the Journal of Applied Physics is no great feat. JAP is not considered as one of the more scholarly physics journals and often times publication in JAP translates to "you couldn't get the work published anywhere else." Folks who regularly publich in Phys. Rev or Phil Mag tend to look down on JAP publications.

Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (2, Informative)

Dougthebug (625695) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835583)

From the link, "Randell Mills has pledged for a decade to spark a revolution in physics that will not only overturn much of the atomic science that been taught and rewarded since the early 20th century, but will also provide a source of clean and nearly limitless energy."

Saddly, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (0, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835611)

"Saddly, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is..."

Except we need a revolution in atomic science to make sense of things. How come we can get over 200 completely unique elements with nothing more than three different subatomic particles? And while you're at it, how come they can form molecules that have nothing in common with any of the parent elements?

Oh, and as for "a source of clean and nearly limitless energy," that's something people have been working on for decades. It could be anything ranging from fusion to figuring out how to harness useful amounts of zero-point energy.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (1)

redfiche (621966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835633)

Will someone with a PhD in physics please provide a cogent response to:

Except we need a revolution in atomic science to make sense of things. How come we can get over 200 completely unique elements with nothing more than three different subatomic particles? And while you're at it, how come they can form molecules that have nothing in common with any of the parent elements?

I'm confident he's wrong, and would like an expert's opinion.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835685)

i dont have any degrees in physics, but i still feel qualified to respond.

he is an idiot. or a troll. hard to tell which really.

okay, you want a real response:
we can get over 100 unique elements with nothing more then three subatomic particles because the properties of elements are largely determined by how their outer shell of electrons interacts. There are many other factors (mass is determined by number of nuclear particles ...), but outer shell electrons are important. the fact that there are only three subatomic particles means nothing. it is how those particles stack together that matters.

that also answers the second part of his troll. the reason that molecules can be nothing like the elements they are composed of is that once elements bond together, they have a different outer electron shell structure (well, not really, but you can think of it that way), so they have different properties.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (1)

zaffir (546764) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835700)

Think about it this way - how can we get computers, and everything they do, with just two "elements" - one and zero?

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (0)

Dougthebug (625695) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835643)

True, revolutions in science are neccisary. However I don't expect to find a hydrino powered space heater sitting squarly in the corner of the room, at least not in my lifetime. Not to say I think this guy is a crackpot or anything, but I see no reason to get my hopes up about obscure physics research.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (5, Informative)

StarHeart (27290) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835653)

"How come we can get over 200 completely unique elements..."

Where do people get this crap? I have recently run into this belief with some coworkers. They also seemed to believe there were over 200 elements. There are around 112-118 elements. After around 92 they are man made. Somewhere around 110 they are only last few a split second and are only seen indirectly by their decay. Do yourself a favor and look at a recent periodic chart, or even just do a google search.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (0)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835678)

"btw who says the ether exists?"

It's been years since my "Chemistry for Engineers" course and I confused atomic number with atomic mass. So sue me already.

But that's besides the point. Even 90-some-odd elements is a heck of a lot more than you'd expect counting the possible mathematical combinations of 1-3 different subatomic particles. For example: Why isn't deuterium helium instead of hydrogen? After all, it's exactly one-half of a helium-4 atom.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835750)

Why isn't deuterium helium instead of hydrogen?

Is that a trick question? Because a proton is not a neutron.

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (2)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835718)

Except we need a revolution in atomic science to make sense of things. How come we can get over 200 completely unique elements with nothing more than three different subatomic particles? And while you're at it, how come they can form molecules that have nothing in common with any of the parent elements?

Please mod this guy as funny.

Have you noticed how computers only have 1s and 0s. And yet you can have software that is as different as Windows and Linux?

(Quantum Chemistry, and molecular chemistry is very very well understood right now. Everything, from why most life is likely carbon based (as opposed to silicate based like in Aliens) to why cyanide kills us humans is provable given very 'simple' quantum assumption/rules. Sure, the schroedinger equation might be hard to solve. But it's been solved, and the answers have been used...)

Re:Cold Nuclear Fusion Anybody? (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835911)

Except we need a revolution in atomic science to make sense of things. How come we can get over 200 completely unique elements with nothing more than three different subatomic particles? And while you're at it, how come they can form molecules that have nothing in common with any of the parent elements?

No, what we need is for you to read a damn book.

Reckless Disregard for the Truth (2, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835613)

people like Robert Park. Park even went so far as to falsely charge in Forbes magazine that Mills was claiming a cancer cure from hydrinos. In 1988, Mills published a paper on cancer therapy in the journal Nature that relied on conventional physics-- he hadn't conceived of the hydrino yet.

With enemies like Park, Mills doesn't need friends. This is a really good way to get credibility with investors for Mills.

Re:Reckless Disregard for the Truth (4, Informative)

Lucas Membrane (524640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835725)

Park's latest newsletter says:

NIAC (NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts) contracted with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rowan University in Atlanta, to test the idea. Well, they just issued the final report for the 6-month Phase I study. They "successfully test fired" the thruster. "However, due to time and cost constraints successful measurements of the exhaust. velocity have not been completed." Not to worry. "These concepts will be proposed for an ongoing Phase II study."

Park seems to be a freethinker. He's very conservative on some things, but he mocks a makery of idiocy like the SDI.

Re:Reckless Disregard for the Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835843)

...the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rowan University in Atlanta...



There is no Rowan University in Atlanta. It appears to be somewhere in New Jersey [rowan.edu] .

Let the scientific method operate (5, Informative)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835637)

Whether people believe or don't believe that this effect is real or non-existent is completely irrelevant. We have a perfectly good scientific method for distinguishing reality from fiction, and any "opinions" volunteered by experts and lay readers alike are not just irrelevant, but actually harmful to the success of that method.

The company will in due course provide all the info necessary for independent verification, which may succeed or fail, or else it won't provide it, in which case it fails by default on the scientific front. Opinions are, quite literally, just a waste of time.

Re:Let the scientific method operate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835691)

Opinions are, quite literally, just a waste of time.

not when you're determining whether or not to drop $30 million into the company!

Re:Let the scientific method operate (2, Insightful)

obobo (18583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835867)

It's actually not irrelevant at all. At the end of the day, the scientific method is practiced by the "people" (and "experts") that you say don't matter.

If no reputable member of the scientific community (ie expert) believes that this can possibly be true, then none of them will bother trying to replicate the experiment. And, as the advisors to the folks with the money, it probably won't be funded nearly as much as if the experts did believe in it. If it does happen to be true, then it does indeed matter to all of us that these experts take it seriously, since that's the difference between having this become reality in a year or in a few decades.

That said, it doesn't really matter what the average slashdot reader's opinion is, since he/she is not going to replicate the experiment in any event.

Also, I don't mean to imply that I think that the process is bad- it sure beats wasting a lot of everyone's time and money chasing down every crackpot perpetual-motion/free-energy theory that comes along. But, it does lead to situations where, as Pauli said, you need to wait for most of the current scientists to die off before your new really revolutionary theory is accepted by a majority of the scientific community.

The JAP Paper is online (5, Informative)

davecl (233127) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835640)

The details of the paper are:

Journal of Applied Physics -- December 15, 2002 -- Volume 92, Issue 12, pp. 7008-7021

The abstract is as follows:

Comparison of excessive Balmer alpha line broadening of glow discharge and microwave hydrogen plasmas with certain catalysts

R. L. Mills, P. C. Ray, B. Dhandapani, R. M. Mayo, and J. He
BlackLight Power, Incorporated, 493 Old Trenton Road, Cranbury, New Jersey 08512

(Received 11 April 2002; accepted 25 September 2002)

From the width of the 656.3 nm Balmer alpha line emitted from microwave and glow discharge plasmas, it was found that a strontium-hydrogen microwave plasma showed a broadening similar to that observed in the glow discharge cell of 27-33 eV; whereas, in both sources, no broadening was observed for magnesium-hydrogen. Microwave helium-hydrogen and argon-hydrogen plasmas showed extraordinary broadening corresponding to an average hydrogen atom temperature of 180-210 eV and 110-130 eV, respectively. The corresponding results from the glow discharge plasmas were 33-38 eV and 30-35 eV respectively, compared to [approximate]4 eV for plasmas of pure hydrogen, neon-hydrogen, krypton-hydrogen, and xenon-hydrogen maintained in either source. Similarly, the average electron temperature Te for helium-hydrogen and argon-hydrogen microwave plasmas were high, 30 500±5% K and 13 700±5% K, respectively; compared to 7400±5% K and 5700±5% K for helium and argon alone, respectively. External Stark broadening or acceleration of charged species due to high fields can not explain the microwave results since no high field was present, and the electron density was orders of magnitude too low for the corresponding Stark effect. Rather, a resonant energy transfer mechanism is proposed.

'Goatman', goatse star, dead at 75 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835684)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Internet sensation 'Goatman [goatse.cx] ' was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even though you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to troll culture. Truly an American icon.

Slash Compromised (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4835697)

Within the last hour a unicode crap flood caused the Slashdot staff to put the site in read-only mode for users (can't reply). During this time they selectively deleted (censored) postings. Read the About Slashdot part of the site, they don't support censorship!

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/06 /0 7/2159210&tid=134

Likelyhood (1)

confusion (14388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835717)

The likelyhood of this is being real is pretty low, but if true, it would likely stand atomic & quantum theory on its ear. I know that I don't know enough to say for sure, but I have to think that the fundamental basis of the proposition hear, that electrons are a sort of 'bubble' versus the accepted 'cloud', would require a lot of coincidental observations for the bubble theory to actually be true while the cloud theory appears to be true.

I'm very skeptical, but I'm sooo ready to see *some* kind of advance in the area of power generation.

More about the verifier (5, Informative)

Cerlyn (202990) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835756)

Anthony Marchese [rowan.edu] is a professor at Rowan University [rowan.edu] , where he teaches Mechanical Engineering. He is a rather nice, young, "cool" professor, as I used to have him.

I'm guessing the reason NASA sent him out to research this is because among other things, he has done reasearch on how things combust (burn) [rowan.edu] in space. He has had his experiments taken up on the "vomit comet" as well as on the taken space shuttle mission STS-94 [rowan.edu] , to which I recall a CNN reporter stating in an obviously overpitched tone, "Well, isn't that dangerous?"

I shall now turn this into the first ever slashdotting with credits as I list the names of the network administrators I know run various rowan.edu servers, ALL of which are now non-accessable:

Engineering.rowan.edu's administrators: (NOTE: an old Sun SPARC workstation box, will not survive any slashdotting, which it appears to be already getting!!!)

  • John Robinson [rowan.edu] (Head engineering network admin)
  • Dennis Dipasquale [rowan.edu] (Secondary engineering network admin, which is funny, since he was hired first)

Rowan.edu (in general) administrators: We must be fair - the school only had (has?) about a 4.5 Mbps total Internet connection (assuming no faster lines ever came through; they were waiting on a certain phone company for years...) - I'm timing out connecting to their stuff too...

  • Mark Sedlock [rowan.edu] (General all-around network administrator and good guy to know)
  • Patrick Ackerman [rowan.edu] (Primary generic *.rowan.edu webmaster and graphics designer)
  • The rest of the general Rowan Information Resources Department

All the above URLs are off the top of my head, as I can no longer access any of those servers. Of the above, only www.rowan.edu seems to be up.

Congratulations to all the slashdotters who now have successfully flooded an entire campus' Internet connection. The students trying to stea^H^H^H^Hresearch their term papers but are now unable to get online will forever remember you.

It gets better:... (5, Interesting)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835792)

From the refered article [villagevoice.com] :

It's not just BlackLight Power's work in bombs, rockets, and rusty ships that has the military's attention. Mills has stacks of proprietary research on artificial intelligence. In what he calls Brain Child Systems, Mills has done the math for a reasoning machine with consciousness.

The more I read this guy, the more the hairs on my back stand straight.

My uncle had a saying, that I just can't keep out of my mind as I'm reading all this:

"Someone who knows everything knows nothing."

OhNo (5, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835834)


WHAT IS IT WITH YOU GUYS!!!

This guy is a con-artist taking you for a ride. Why are you feeding his ego. Utter nonsense!

If you actually read the NASA study, you will immediately see that there the amount of experimental evidence in NO WAY justifies any of the claims made. Excess power generation based on microwave heating of two different gas mixtures invalidates millions of REPEATABLE experiments conducted over the past 80 years? I DON'T THINK SO. Much more likely is that the adsorbtivity of the gases wasn't the same.

The NASA study didn't even get to the point where they measured exhaust gas velocity.

GIVE ME A BREAK.

Will Science Never Learn? (3, Insightful)

Vertex Operator (100854) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835857)


You don't send a scientist to investigate questionable science, and what may or may not be a scam. You send a scientist *and* someone familiar with con artists, scammers, sleight of hand, misdirection, etc. How many times does this have to be said?

-Chris

Obligatory... sorry. (1)

failrate (583914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4835926)

As Skeptic publisher Michael Shermer says, "The proof is in the hydrino pudding. The question is, when are you going to have desktop hydrino pudding?"

"Desktop"? No, imagine a Beowulf cluster of >THUNK
Thank god he didn't advise a laptop version. I only fill my lap with pudding for *special* occasions.

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