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Cold Fusion Gets a Boost From the US Navy

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the fuse-this dept.

Science 168

Tjeerd writes in to alert us to the publication in a highly respected, peer-reviewed journal of results indicative of table-top fusion. The US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego, CA (called Spawar) has apparently been conducting research on "cold fusion" since the days of the discredited report of Pons and Fleischmann. They are reporting on the reproducible detection of highly energetic charged particles from a wire coated in palladium-deuterium and subjected to either an electric or a magnetic field. Their paper was published in February in the journal Naturwissenschaften (which has published work by Einstein, Heisenberg, and Lorenz). New Scientist also has a note about the fusion work but it is available only to subscribers.

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Figures (3, Interesting)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19008953)

You can bet the Navy is interested in any portable, high-power energy source that could exceed the efficiency of fission reactors. Those rail guns they're pimping probably take a lot of power to operate.

More power to em (literally and figuratively).

Re:Figures (4, Informative)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19008957)

There's a huge difference between mere fusion reactions and an actual fusion reactor that will sustainably produce power. From what I've read, this is about the former, so I'm not keeping my fingers crossed just yet. However, it's still good to see that fusion research is being carried out along several different approaches.

Cold fusion (2, Funny)

Oshkoshjohn (537394) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009281)

The experiment would probably work better if they built the prototype in a cup of tea!

Re:Cold fusion (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009687)

Add a rubber band and a little improbability and well, you know the rest.

Key: Output Energy Exceeds Input Energy (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011079)

The key for this experiment is whether the output energy is greater than the input energy. If the former exceeds the latter, then some experimentation may harness the excess energy.

Does anyone know how the output energy compares to the input energy for this military experiment?

Re:Key: Output Energy Exceeds Input Energy (4, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011589)

At this point, they are not aiming for net energy production. Their two main advances are to 1) use codeposition to get deutrium loading from the beginning and 2) using a detector that can fit within the experiment. The first advance means that the effects are seen just about every time, and the second means that the background has less of an effect on detection, particularly if charged particles are involved since these have trouble escaping the experimental setup owing to Compton losses. Getting more power out than in is not really the basic measure though. The power out so far is heat, so you want quite an excess before you can turn that back into something usable.
--
Energy out from the Sun: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Figures (-1, Troll)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19008975)

Why was it published in a German journal? Does it mean that all the American and British ones rejected their data/methods/results?

I suspect so...

Re:Figures (4, Interesting)

MancDiceman (776332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009009)

Talk about xenophobic racism.

Read the post. That journal is one of the best journals in the World - look at the previous contributors mentioned in the post and tell me it's not a decent journal. Just because it's German, it doesn't mean it's "sub-par". Your post should be modded down for trolling, but unfortunately I expect it'll bubble up as "Informative".

Also, most US/British journals would refuse to publish not because they doubted the ability of the scientists to produce good quality data, but because they have a knee-jerk reaction that cold fusion is junk science.

Well done to this journal for actually taking it on.

Re:Figures (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009253)

With a ISI Impact factor of ~1.2, it really is not one of the best journals in the world. It is also featured principally as a "Biomedical and Life Sciences" journal, so it would seem strange that the authors would publish a physics related article in this journal.

Also, note that the list of previous famous contributors to the journal does not cite any *current* researcher. Maybe this used to be a great journal, but it's clearly no longer the case.

Re:Figures (4, Interesting)

qrad (1098411) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011527)

Perhaps the authors chose this journal for its historical significance. In 1938 Naturwissenshaften reported the work of Hahn and Meitner which was later referenced in establishing the existence of fission.

qrad
Ph.D. Student in Nuclear Science and Engineering
MIT

Re:Figures (4, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009273)

xenophobic racism
xenophobia [reference.com] : an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.
racism [reference.com] : a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

You might also consider
hyperbole [reference.com] : obvious and intentional exaggeration.

Re:Figures (4, Informative)

fritsd (924429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009283)

Yeah, and Forbes used to be a respected business magazine.

I agree with gp, in that the journal can have a brilliant reputation, but it's probably been a while since Einstein and Heisenberg wrote articles for it.

The contents page of the issues of 2007 seems to deal more in zoology, biochemistry, ecology and palaeontology than materials science or quantum chemistry. Why was this article not published in "US military journal of applied physics" (surely there must be something like this)?

Also, I didn't read gp as being derogatory of a journal because it's in German; that would just be silly.

Re:Figures (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009367)

How else could the sentence "Why was it published in a German journal?" interpreted? He didn't ask "Why was it published in a low-impact journal?" or "Why wasn't it published in a journal with better reputation?".

Of course, otherwise the question is valid. If you had proof of cold fusion, the first place you'd submit it to would normally be Physical Review Letters. Not because it's American, but because it's simply the most reputed magazine in physics.

Re:Figures (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010467)

Well, presumably the US Navy consists primarily of English speakers. Also, the bulk of the people who ought to be interested in work by the US Navy, an arm of the US government, are English speakers. So, it would seem that the US Navy should publish their work (at least, that which is publishable) in a English-language journal. The fact that this was not done might suggest that it was not possible; no English language journal would accept their work. There might be other explanations, but this is the most obvious one, and it is certainly plausible.

Add to that the fact that, since WWII, English has become the de facto language of the physics community, and it looks suspicious again.

Thus, we see that the question "Why was it published in a German journal?" is quite likely the result of a thought process similar to that outlined above, rather than "xenophobic racism".

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010917)

Yes, I work in biology and I associate Naturwissenschaften with bio articles. The journal now, however, publishes in English. It is a curious choice for a paper that may be widely important.

Re:Figures (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011227)

Lets stop tiptoeing around it. This is a credible journal but not the first choice because the most obvious choices refused to publish an article on cold fusion no matter how credible the source.

Re:Figures (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011299)

the first place you'd submit it to would normally be Physical Review Letters

This might be true under normal circumstances, but the way cold fusion was introduced to the world created an exceptional condition. It could be that the submitters of this paper feel that the world is still in the 'catch' pathway of the exception that P&F had 'thrown'. It seems pretty obvious that Naturwissenschaften was chosen partly because it creates an association between cold fusion and proven theories that have rocked the foundations of scientific communities.

We've seen a little bit published on why P&F took their findings to a media circus rather than a refereed journal. Something I've never seen discussed is that their press conference announcement of cold fusion assured that it would get so much instant wide publicity that neither government nor big business would be able to suppress it. So maybe this was a good way to break the news. But combined with the difficulties of repeatability in CF experiments and possibly several smear campaigns to discredit P&F, anyone attempting to publish legitimate work in CF now faces an abnormal publishing environment.

Next month it won't matter very much where the current work was published; what will be important is whether other laboratories have been able to reproduce the results as claimed. I'm guessing that sufficient reproducibility will be found to raise serious doubts about a wide range of postulates that we have been taking for granted:

If cold fusion is demonstrated, then

  • supernovae might not be the only natural mechanism for producing heavy elements, which would introduce major doubt about some basic theories of cosmology
  • there might be an explanation for galactic organization, etc, does not require esoteric dark energy or dark matter
  • currently there are only 4 recognized sources of natural energy in the global ecosystem:
    1. solar
    2. fission
    3. residual heat from planetary formation
    4. tidal effects and other mechanical energy derived from lunar orbital degradation
    CF introduces a possible 5th source of energy, independent of the above. This could, for instance, be involved with the heat of the earth's interior. Current theories in geology and ecology might need to be modified.
  • paleontology dating techniques based on isotope decay may need to account for isotopes produced by naturally occuring CF processes
  • Since CF occurs within biological parameters, it might be a player in biology itself. I haven't had to work with Kreb's Cycle for much more than a decade, but AIR there are some unexplained details in the "magical" electron transfers, etc, where a little CF might get rid of some those black magic veils

Basically, demonstrating CF would have a much bigger impact on our culture than the rail guns, decentralized non-polluting power grids, or affordable flying cars that practical CF promises. All those technologies are implied by CF, but its greater impact will be on theories, not technologies.

Re:Figures (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011215)

'Why was this article not published in "US military journal of applied physics" (surely there must be something like this)?'

That seems pretty obvious. Cold Fusion is considered junk science in the US and even credible labs releasing credible and reproducible results can't get anything related to Cold Fusion published in a US journal.

Just look at this thread, this is obviously a credible scientific journal and people are already looking for excuses to disregard it.

Re:Figures (1)

tc9 (674357) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011283)

Why was this article not published in "US military journal of applied physics" (surely there must be something like this)?

No there isn't, because the US is not about government the way much of the old world is. While in an Old World country, such a journal would have extra oomph, here a military reasearcher would feel dispapinted if he couldn't publish in a real journal.

Possible Exception: NASA does run some lightweight journals more akin to a hard core Popular Mechanics than to scientific journals. But then, there goal is to disseminate technology rather than to publish science.

Re:Figures (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009485)

"Also, most US/British journals would refuse to publish not because they doubted the ability of the scientists to produce good quality data, but because they have a knee-jerk reaction that cold fusion is junk science."

and they would be right. please alt+F4 yourself NOW.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010069)

Talk about racism!! Probably where Mengele published too!

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010243)

wow. I am guess that you are NOT in the science world. First, for a chemistry degree, you must have several years of college level German. Why? Because to this day, the bulk of top-end chemistry is written up in German. Does that mean that ALL of it is in German? No. But in general, most of my old chem profs sent their papers into German journals. As to other sciences, each field has their relative top journals and yes, many are in english. But in particular, the older sciences are in traditional languages. Physics has a large number of German journals.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009021)

I for one, do not welcome our Metal Gear RAY overlords..

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009039)

Isn't the whole point of winning energy out of fusion the heat it generates? So that you can drive those turbines?

I suppose cold fusion is very useful if you want that special atom, but I don't the how it can power the net.

Re:Figures (4, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009185)

"Cold" fusion means cold relative to the temperature of the Sun (hot enough to fuse hydrogen). "Cold" fusion in theory could potentially boil water, and drive the turbines. However, a basic quantum physics result is that there is basically no way in heck that cold fusion will ever work, unless there is some new unknown physics taking place. While possible, it's unlikely, which is why most respected journals shy away from it, in addition to the large number of quacks the field has attracted. I put more hope in the Polywell stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell [wikipedia.org]

Boiling water (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009383)

I think I remeber that some of the references in this review http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Hagelsteinnewphys ica.pdf [lenr-canr.org] to the "heat after death" effect described buckets of water evaporating. For most experiments they try to keep delta T low because they are trying to get an accurate energy measurement using flow calorimeters.
--
Mr. Fusion on your roof: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Figures (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010815)

You say that "a basic quantum physics result is that there is basically no way in heck that cold fusion will ever work" but this is untrue. Long before the Pons and Fleischmann, muon-catalysed fusion experiments had been successfully conducted and neutrons detected. The basic idea is to replace the electron in a hydrogen atom with a muon, which is 207 times heavier. This allows formation of a 'muonic atom' which makes a regular chemical bond with another atom, but with the nuclei much closer together. The nuclei are close enough that a (low probability) tunneling effect can allow the nuclei to fuse. The chief problems with the scheme are 1) muons don't hang around that long and 2) nobody has ever tried to produce them in the large quantities needed to make a productive reactor.
Fusion is easy, the trick is always making an energy producing reactor with it.

POLYWELL IS COLD FUSION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011621)

Sorry to break it to you, after you gave us all those sources on why cold fusion can't work, but the polywell is cold fusion too.

Re:Figures (4, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009049)

You might be interested to know that this isn't actually the case. A few hundred kilowatts of generating capacity is sufficient to fire rail guns. Why? Calculate the total energy content of 2 tons of explosives. That's how much kinetic energy a rail-gun shot might yield, and it isn't actually very much energy. (just released all at once : is why the rail-gun power supply would need to have massive accumulators of some type)

Re:Figures (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009167)

Yes, but how often can you fire your guns with that kind of generating capacity, and how many can you fire? Plus, I'm sure the Navy will eventually be interested in firing rail guns that can achieve a higher velocity projectile and/or higher-mass projectiles.

Considering the fact that traditional naval guns have relied on chemical energy to propel projectiles, the amount of power generation capacity needed on a warship to fire old-school guns is/was likely much lower than that required to fire rail guns.

Re:Figures (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009181)

You would think that. But it actually isn't the issue. And, in any case, if power generation were the main limit, the navy could always install a fission reactor in a rail-gun packing destroyer.

Re:Figures (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009467)

"how often can you fire your guns with that kind of generating capacity, and how many can you fire? "

compared to the equivalent from traditional gun powder? it's probably about the same.

Re:Figures (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011669)

except that you don't have the stored chemical energy, you have to get the power for each shot from the ship generators.

Re:Figures (2, Informative)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010823)

Incidentally, guns on ships as an offensive weapon have been pretty much obsolete since Pearl Harbour, the occasional shore bombardment mission notwithstanding. The primary naval offensive platform is the aircraft carrier, seconded by the ballistic missile carrying submarine and the guided missile armed cruiser. The old battleship is a distant fourth, if in service at all, and even the use of guns as fleet defense is being phased out in favour of destroyers and frigates armed with guided missiles.

Mart

Re:Figures (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009127)

Please note that if cold fusion really exists, it will probably not bear the same amount of energy. After all, the first occurrence of hot fusion was in the Hydrogen Bomb and the first occurrence of cold fusion was a bottle making bubbles.
Still interesting to power my laptop battery but maybe not enough for my jetpack.

That Depends (4, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009469)

The energy produced per fusion event pretty much has to be the same, but the rate at which the fusion occurs is controled differently. If this can be harnessed for energy production, it may end up as distributed power generation rather than centralized power generation envisioned for hot fusion. There does seem to be sufficient palladium available to make significant levels of power.
--
Hot fusion now with no installation cost: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Figures (2, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009765)

the first occurrence of cold fusion was a bottle making bubbles.

Not so. The first occurence (the discovery itself) was caused by a fire in the lab where the experiment was housed; the starting point of the fire was the closet that contained the cooler with the heavy water.

Several years later, probably the first replication of the effect was marked by a fire in the Palo Alto Lab containing the experiment. (To this day, both Stanford and the City of Palo Alto deny there was such a fire, but the local newspapers including the SF Chronicle carried the story.)

So, yes "cold" fusion can provide a source of heat. Obviously.

Re:Figures (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009905)

Damn, I hate to correct my own syntax in a post, but I feel I must before some eagle-eyed /.-er siezes on my error:

I should have written (in the first sentence) "The first occurence (the experiment itself) was discovered when a fire in the lab was investigated;......." rather than what I wrote, which might be misunderstood to reverse cause and effect. Sorry.

Love, Anna.

Re:Figures (1)

celticryan (887773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009833)

So many things about this make me a little curious:

1. Why choose this Journal?
      -It is almost completely dominated by biological sciences. This makes me wonder about the credentials of the reviewers and therefore the credentials of the paper.
      -Why not PRC? Or if it is that great of a result- Science or Nature?
2. Why short communication rather than a full article?
      -Is it really such a prolific article that they wanted to get a short comm. out immediately
3. They specifically mention CR-39 detectors which are well established and well understood detectors.
      -Lends some credibility to results by minimizing some of their errors.
4. Reproduction of the results.
      -They claim to be able to reproduce their results, which tells me they understand very well the production of their electrodes.

I will have to wait until Monday to read the original paper.

Re:Figures (3, Interesting)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009927)

Why choose this Journal?
From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

In 1991, Eugene Mallove who was the chief science writer with the MIT News office, said that he believes the negative report issued by MIT's Plasma Fusion Center in 1989, which was highly influential in the controversy, was fraudulent because "data was shifted" without explanation, and as a consequence, this action obscured a possible positive excess heat result at MIT. In protest of MIT's failure to discuss and acknowledge the significance of this data shift, he resigned from his post of chief science writer at the MIT News office on June 7, 1991. He maintained that the data shift was biased to both support the conventional belief in the nonexistence of the cold fusion effect as well as to protect the financial interests of the plasma fusion center's research in hot fusion. Also in 1991, Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger said that he had experienced "the pressure for conformity in editor's rejection of submitted papers, based on venomous criticism of anonymous reviewers. The replacement of impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science". He resigned as Member and Fellow of the American Physical Society, in protest of its peer review practice on cold fusion.
--bold added

Re:Figures (4, Informative)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010099)

I read the paper. As you note, it is a short communication documenting some observations from an experiment. It does not purport to be a breakthrough, although it does claim that the observations must be due to a nuclear reaction. The discussion clearly states that they have no theory as to the physical mechanism that might account for the observations.

As an editor or a reviewer, I might well choose to publish a paper -- especially a short paper -- that documented some experimental results, even if the mechanism behind those results was unclear. Maybe there's a future paper forthcoming that either contradicts the results, or offers an explanation, nuclear or not. It makes sense to me to document the alleged evidence in the archival literature.

I want to repeat that the conclusions of the paper are very weak. The outrageous claims have been added later by the popular press. And the argument that "Einstein published there 100 years ago, so it must be true" is unworthy of repetition or rebuttal.

Re:Figures (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010853)

Perhaps it's published as a means of trying to get an explanation for the mechanism. Sort of like saying, "OK, we see this, and we can't think of any other reason why this might be happening, but we're scratching our heads bald, so anyone with an idea, please speak up."

curious (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19008981)

The US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego, CA (called Spawar) has apparently been conducting research on "cold fusion"

I wonder why they chose that over ASP .NET or J2EE.

Re:curious (2, Funny)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009103)


Computer geek vs. science geek battle alert!

I will take the science side any time! Web technology fads come and go, science will stay.

Re:curious (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010537)

Like how quantum theory is so very stable? or how the Earth is the center of the universe and also flat? Science fads seem to last longer but is that really better? I'd rather that science advanced as quickly as web technology.... would be nice to see this new science Cold Fusion come out of Alpha by next year so I could deploy my beta home CF Reactor and get off the grid.... like how I can now use an off the shelf OS CMS to run my own website without paying a million bucks for a dev company to build one from scratch (they did that for those prices less than 5 years ago).

Seems like there's more productivity gains in Web tech than science to me. I'll bet my ready money on web tech for the near term and put steady but small incremental investments in science for the long hold to offset my riskier web tech losses and squirrel some away for retirement.

Re:curious (4, Funny)

Jessta (666101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009247)

Because Myspace proved that you can make a solid, easy to use, and efficient website with it. :P

Re:curious (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009693)

Myspace is transitioning to ASP.NET though ... :)

Far more exciting (5, Interesting)

ab8ten (551673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19008983)

is the work (also funded by the navy) undertaken by Dr. Bussard (of interstellar spaceship fame). His design for an electrostatic inertial confinement machine shows more promise than the heavy, expensive tokamak prefered by the internatinal ITER project, and has been built and tested in the lab, but not yet to an energy-return scale. The work was kept secret due to the source of funding, for the last 12 years, so it is only now that we're hearing aboutu it. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1996321846 673788606 [google.com] - Lecture given by Bussard at google, giving an overview of the project. 1:30 long, so if you don't have time, read: http://www.askmar.com/ConferenceNotes/2006-9%20IAC %20Paper.pdf [askmar.com] - Summary paper, outlining the research and results so far. The real research paper is yet to be published, but that's what he's working on now.

Re:Far more exciting (1, Interesting)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009017)

Last I heard richard bussard is still looking for funding. I bet even if he was being funded we probably wouldn't hear anything about it anyway. It's rediculous that no one would fund $200 million to create a working fusion reactor. Relatively thats not much money and if we could put it into our powerplants we would reduce the need for oil.

Re:Far more exciting (5, Insightful)

VoidCrow (836595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009121)

On the contrary, I'd suggest that the LENR work is far more exciting because we don't have a theoretical framework which describes it. New physics, anyone?

Theory exists (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011709)

Correction: We don't have an accepted theoretical framework. I've certainly heard talks where such a framework is proposed, and the codeposition particle sizes in the present experiment are anticipated by theory, but it is still much too soon to say if one theory or another is correct, or if any existing theories are adequate. But, I think you are right that this is a more exciting area to dig in.
--
Hot fusion now! http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Far more exciting (1)

spankey51 (804888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011643)

Ok... I watched the WHOLE DAMN VIDEO... and read everything I could find about the Polywell fusor, and it seems universally deemed to be the proven method of fusion; decades ahead of, and orders of magnitude more realistic than ITER.
The resounding story seems to be that Bussard can't raise a simple $200 million after touring the world with his idea and freely presenting his (patented) design for the IEC Polywell fusor to every conceivable entity, from Google Co. to China and the US NAVY.

The articles I read (Eg. http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2584496&C=a merica [defensenews.com] ) claim that the funding he requested from the Navy was denied because the IEC concept is a direct threat to the Navy's other fusion baby: ITER.

So why is the Navy funding this other cold fusion technology?
And what is it about Bussard's research that makes it so dismissable?

Twofo GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009003)

University of Warwick file sharing faggots. [twofo.co.uk]

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What happened to your first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009239)

Slowpoke is sloooowwww.

Why keep working on Cold Fusion? (1)

El Icaro (816679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009007)

This is completely useless and a waste of time. Everyone knows if they need it they have Naquadah Generators [wikipedia.org] at their disposal!

Re:Why keep working on Cold Fusion? (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009031)

This is completely useless and a waste of time. Everyone knows if they need it they have Naquadah Generators at their disposal!

Get with the times. ZPM [wikipedia.org] is the energy source of choice now. Naquadah is backup.

Either way its the Air Force that has them... (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009077)

Not the Navy.

Re:Why keep working on Cold Fusion? (2, Insightful)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010031)

y'see!

its useless drivel like this that makes wikipedia look like a comedic joke. ( aside from the politicians pumping their own ( or opponents ) entries... thats just comedy )

when i want to find shit out, i like to search wikipedia. when it comes up with 'naquadah generators' it makes you think the thing is driven by a bunch of high school trekkies with far too much time on their hands.

sorry for the rant jimbo, but please keep this shit out of wikia or whatever the wikipedia #2 is called.

LERN (5, Funny)

Skrynkelberg (910137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009033)

"... low energy nuclear reaction (LERN)" Someone needs to LERN to abbreviate correctly. (-:

LENR-CANR (2, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009285)

Yup, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions or Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reaction. There is quite a lot that is published here: http://www.lenr-canr.org/ [lenr-canr.org] . The SPAWARS work is quite impressive, with more links to it at http://www.lenr-canr.org/News.htm [lenr-canr.org] .
--
Get fusion now: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:LERN (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010777)

Don't poke fun at the members of the ASD (American Dyslexic Society).

I hope this means ... (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009053)

... that one day I'll be able to use the melted ice in my 'Cold Fusion' brand beer cooler to recharge my laptop and my iPod ... or even my TV remote.

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (5, Interesting)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009061)

The "Cold Fusion" field has seen many more experimental successes: detection of neutrons, tritium, helium, transmutations of heavier elements, non-natural-abundance isotope ratios, detection of ionizing radiation. The best place to visit for an overview of the field is http://www.lenr-canr.org/ [lenr-canr.org] .

Though the experiments are remarkable, no concensus on the theory has emerged yet. Nuclear reactions are clearly happening, but it is doubtful that it is conventional fusion, that is, nuclei moving fast enough to surmount their mutual Coulombic repulsion. Something seems to be screening or catalysing the reactions.

Re:Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (4, Interesting)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009193)

Shit... "nuclear catalyst" - there's a phrase to put fear into the heart of anyone who knows what a catalyst is.

Re:Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (3, Informative)

KitsuneSoftware (999119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009633)

"Nuclear catalyst" the most sensible phrase, given the theory (false or not) is that palladium can be used as a nuclear equivalent to a chemical catalyst (i.e. not used up in the reaction it assists). This "misue" of catalyst is also found in other approaches to fusion, such muon-catalyzed fusion [wikipedia.org] and antimatter catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (1, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009949)

"nuclear catalyst" - there's a phrase to put fear into the heart of anyone who knows what a catalyst is.
...but doesn't know what "nuclear" actually means.

Re:Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010345)

No, it's still quite scary. though probably not for the reason the gp intended..

For instance, in addition to the sub-critical nuclear terrorism angle, nuclear catalysts could cause a bit of a stir in isotopic dating.

If such a catalyst exists, geology should give us some clues: We should look for minerals composed of reaction products, but in concentrations that shouldn't exist.

Re:Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (2, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010407)

nuclear catalysts could cause a bit of a stir in isotopic dating.

Yes, that could be an issue... But that's absolutely, positively, NOT SCARY, in any way, shape, or form.

Re:Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011407)

nuclear catalysts could cause a bit of a stir in isotopic dating.
Yes, that could be an issue... But that's absolutely, positively, NOT SCARY, in any way, shape, or form.

Um... actually I find the thought of anything scientific that would give credence to the idea that the Earth is only 6,000 years old to be VERY SCARY.

I won't believe it for real until... (4, Funny)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009143)

I won't believe the Navy has really discovered anything until they commission The Village People to write a song about it.

Re:I won't believe it for real until... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009613)

...L - E - N - R! It's fun to play with some L - E - N - R...

The sailor died (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010807)

so they can't, sorry. BTW, the sailor was also the policeman.

Perhaps the navy has incentive.. (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009279)

After all, obscenely noisey, light emitting shrimp bubbles have been jamming their sonar.. [sciencedaily.com] Someone finally went hmmmm...

Oh yeah, something similar proposed to kick off supernovae [space.com] and detected in solar reactions [bbc.co.uk]

Anyhow, seems like sound waves might make a plasma confinement field and also pump energy into it, rather than using magnets and lasers etc. Some other thread [slashdot.org] Definition of Sonoluminescence [wikipedia.org]
PS If the universe is electrical and acoustic, it must be a giant stereo!

Re:Perhaps the navy has incentive.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009415)

>> "PS If the universe is electrical and acoustic ..." ... it must be a giant guitar!

Call me ignorant (but considerate) (2, Interesting)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009305)

So maybe I've had a few tonight, but I'm thoughtful enough to not go texting people at this hour. I'll just bug all of you instead.

I feel like I've been reading about cold fusion for as long as I've been old enough to read about science. I can't shake the feeling that cold fusion research is the modern equivalent of alchemy. That is to say that it's kind of a dead end in itself, but the amount of work being done to that end is yielding all kinds of results that will be beneficial to other scientists at some other point.

As to why I just had to come on here and spew this, I will refer you to my colleague, Professor Daniels.

I work in the wrong department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009329)

Damnit, I work for SPAWAR but didn't even know we were messing around with cold fusion. You learn something new everyday on /.

Re:I work in the wrong department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009515)

>I work for SPAWAR

There's a government department just to handle warfare in spas? No wonder our taxes are so high!

Re:I work in the wrong department (0, Offtopic)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010543)

Pssst...Hey, we are working on some black ops there as well, mud packs and all. Plus the Spooks of SPAWAR are trying to pit the Swedish Spas against the Korean Spas, and we are going to use Japanese Spas as a proxy against the Tuscans.

But, whatever you do, don't tell the folks in Santa Fe, we have really big plans for them.

Cold Fusion (3, Funny)

NotFamousYet (937650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009441)

When I saw the title I thought it was about ColdFusion and started wondering why the hell would the Navy want to improve MySpace :)

stages of human history (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009479)

stages of human history

1) confusion - what the fuck?
2) profusion - fuckety fuck fuck fuck
3) hot fusion - holy fuck!
4) cold fusion - fuck, yeah!

Method (2, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009511)

The method of recording nuclear tracks is a solid is an old one but it has the advantage that the recording material can be placed very close to the reaction. This has lead to the discovery of very short lived particles that might be long sought axions in a recent accelerator experiment: http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0954-3899/34/1/009 [iop.org] . The plastic detectors used in the SPAWARS experiment can be placed close to the electrode so that background is a smaller part of the overall signal. Their method of electrode fabrication is also impressive. It seems to work just about every time.
--
Get solar power for what you pay your utility now: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Obligitory... (3, Funny)

bronzey214 (997574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009519)

...Yvan Eht Nioj

Not for them to say (1, Flamebait)

fatphil (181876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009561)

"The experiments were reproducible."

That's for other scientists to say.

Loons tend to tell you their results are reproducable. Scientists tend to tell you to see for yourself.

Re:Not for them to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19009859)

Hmm... The sentence you quote is from the abstract of the published article from the German scientific journal. Perhaps you should consider publishing something yourself also and get a career in science like these scientists.

Re:Not for them to say (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010627)

absolutely incorrect. It is perfectly valid, in science and almost any other field, to clarify that your results are reproducible. In fact, in science and nearly any other field, if you can't reproduce the results yourself, people don't want to know about it.

In this particular field, it is in fact important to clarify such a thing. It could be that you only saw signs that you stumbled upon, not quite understanding them, but they looked like fusion took place. Others might still want to look at your lab notes, your results, what you were doing...in an effort to see if they can stumble upon it as well.

When a loon tells me they were able to fly, but only once, I'm substantially less interested than I am in the loon (esp if it's a huge gov organization like the Navy...) that says he knows how to fly, and can show me.

Re:Not for them to say (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011711)

But the results of a fabricator hold no more credibility because he says that he can reproduce his results. N*0=0.

Therefore there is absolutely no point at all in claiming that one can repeat ones results. Don't make useless claims - just show me the error bars. Of course, if one says one can't reproduce ones results, then one's a different type of loon. The only validation occurs when _others_ reproduce the results.

Article excerpts (4, Informative)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009579)

New Scientist:

Could it really be true that nuclear fusion can be coaxed into action at room temperature, using only simple lab equipment? Most nuclear physicists don't think so, and dismiss Gordon's pitted piece of plastic as nothing more than the result of a badly conceived experiment.
Naturwissenschaften article, last sentence:

from a physicist's point of view, the theoretical arguments offered in this communication are pure speculation. It is hoped that future investigations will undoubtedly provide a clearer picture of the nuclear events taking place in the polarized Pd/D-D2O system.

ohhhh.... THAT Cold Fusion.... (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19009921)

*wipes brow*

the other one needs to just go away.

As with Fission... (1)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010087)

...it's all about probabilities.

For my fellow nukes out there, remember cross-sections [wikipedia.org] ? [Note to self: Wikipedia is like the duct tape of encyclopedias; there's nothing it can't do, but do use with caution]. If the experimenters can improve the probability of the reaction's occurrence, then sure, fusion can result. I mean, who would have thought that less than 100 years ago, setting up a pile of graphite bricks with bits of U metal at Stagg Field [wikipedia.org] would have spawned an entire industry for energy and war. More power to these folks who test the boundaries... just try not to create black holes that sink to the center of the earth and consume it . :-D

energy from a wire and magnetic field? Brilliant (2, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010203)

It's called Ampere's Law(http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mag netic/magcur.html ).
Your tax dollars at work. ;-)

I didn't bother with the article due to the subject matter being of little interest other than to show how money and minds are being wasted. IMO.

LoB

Re:energy from a wire and magnetic field? Brillian (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010489)

Really? I don't recall the part of Ampere's Law that mentions the production of energetic subatomic particles. That's what this story is about. They aren't claiming excess energy production. That was in the SUMMARY.

Doubtful (3, Interesting)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010285)

About ten years ago, I met a couple of guys at NRAD (Navy Research And Development) in San Diego who were doubtful of the work being done on cold fusion. One of the them was making comments about dadiation being detected with some ancient technology (e.g. electroscopes) but not with more modern radiation detectors.


The most amusing comment was that they were able to recreate Fleischman and Pons 'excess energy' - but pointed out that the palladium electrodes became more resistive when absorbing hydrogen and that they were using constant current power supplies (hint: Fleischman and Pons weren't monitoring the power supply voltage).

Linked article = lies, damn lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19010367)

Now, I am certainly not a nuclear physicist. But the link from the headline was just plain wrong. The paper titled
"Further evidence of nuclear reactions in the Pd/D lattice: emission of charged particles"
As linked from slashdot only goes to an erratum for the paper:
"Evidence of nuclear reactions in the Pd lattice"

I hope nobody actually paid $32 for the former, which is a 1-page mention of an overlooked reference to the latter. The latter paper, which properly comes from "Volume 92, Number 8 / August, 2005" of the same journal, is 4 pages long.

I wish an editor would have caught that one. Its rather silly to get excited about an erratum rather than the actual paper.

Theory (3, Informative)

Darth Cider (320236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010631)

Pons and Fleischmann didn't begin with lab experiments but with a theory, that protons packed together under intense pressure would have a quantum probability of fusing, similar to the way that electrons tunnel. Palladium soaks up hydrogen (that's why it is used) and inside a palladium electrode, the hydrogen is forced by electric charge to be highly pressurized. Lab experiments have verified that funny things happen, resembling nuclear fusion, but to say there is no plausible theory as to why is just plain wrong.

in case you were wondering the Navy's connection.. (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010679)

right now China has made us look like asses by very effectively using very old tech (diesel-run subs) to sneak up on US carrier groups a couple times. They charge up massive batteries with the diesel engines, then can run for a while completely silent, and at the same temp as their environment.

We were brainiacs and went to nuclear power for many of our more important subs, which run very *hot*, even if they are silent. They can be seen easily due to their thermal footprint.

Cold fusion, therefore, would be a way to have the diesel benefits, without having to surface frequently to recharge. A completely silent sub that can stay down for very long periods of time, with no thermal footprint...what, other than cold fusion, could possibly provide such a thing? Unless they could train some whales, and make some harnesses...

Not unexpected. (1, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19010707)

Keep in mind that the purpose of military R&D isn't to develop working products; it's to get funding to continue work. This is especially true for the pseudoprivate military contractors like Boeing and Raytheon, but also partly true for groups like Spawar... who tend to be less greedy but also less concerned with actually making something that works. Military R&D labs and contractors don't manufacture products; they manufacture grants.

Saying "They must be on to something, because they're still doing the research" isn't valid, because they're only still doing the research because they can get money for it.

I had an engineering professor who once worked on Reagan's Star Wars program. He admitted that everyone in his team knew for a fact, based on sound science, that what they were doing would never work ... but they kept at it, because they were getting paid to do it by people unconcerned with whether or not it *would* work.

Budget (3, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011399)

Actually, the budget that funded this paper was a few thousand dollars a year of discretionary funds http://newenergytimes.com/news/2006/NET19.htm#ee [newenergytimes.com] . One of the main contributions of Navy labs to this field is metalurgical skills. There has been actual funding from time to time but for the most part people work on this on their own time.
--
Go solar sooner: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

It MUST be true, they have a PICTURE... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011307)

...of the very piece of CR-39 plastic that detected the atomic particles. And it even has a genuine Roosevelt dime next to it. What more proof could you want?

No, wait, it's only a piece of CR-39 plastic like the one that detected the atomic particles. Never mind.
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