30 October 2011

Get Your Cold Fusion On

E-Cat, anyone? Both Forbes and Wired have been covering the latest cold fusion gambit, Italian Andrea Rossi's "e-cat" power generator. A couple days ago he "demonstrated" the device for a supposed US buyer. Comically labelled a "success", the demonstration consisted of some water being heated up, while his devices remained hooked up to a *running* (and somewhat loud) power generator. Unknown people from the undisclosed "buyer" were said to "verify" the thing a success. Attendees at the glorious event were allowed to witness, sort of, but only one at a time. This is not even a good magic trick. Seriously, "Penn and Teller Do Cold Fusion" would be mind-bogglingly convincing, but you'd know it was a trick. So what's the play here? Is the idea that it is so obviously dodgy that people will believe it?

Contrast with the gents who thought they might have convinced some neutrinos to go faster than the speed of light (no word on whether the neutrinos immediately started plotting to kill their own grandparents). They made a public appeal to the rest of the particle physics world to find their mistake. They were highly reluctant to declare victory, and very eager to have tests repeated. That's good science. (Bit of a shame Gary Taubes isn't still writing about this kind of thing.)

In any case, Steven Krivit is recommended reading, e.g. this one from earlier in the week. One of Krivit's earlier hypotheses on the matter might be the most accurate one in play: “I believe [Rossi] doesn’t have what he claims. I believe he knows it. I believe he’s hoping that, if he can just get enough money, he can eventually make it work.”

1 comment:

JustJoeP said...

kill their grand parents? I don't know. Spank grandpa on the ass and say "give it to her old man!" might be more like it =P LOL! "Killing" might result in the neutrinos blinking out of existence!

Yes, Krivits has nailed it correctly. Funding funding funding.