NewportBarGuy: Just give me enough time to pour a bourbon, sit out on the deck and watch it all burn. kthanksbye
Any Pie Left: ... So it is up to some private sector Bond Villain level guy and his money to speculate on a guy that can make a working device.
Any Pie Left: My skepticism and my hopeful imagination are locked in battle over this cold fusion/LENR thing. It has all the ingredients for a great story you want to believe: we don't know everything there is to know about weak force interactions and we don't understand everything about fusion, though we think we know just enough that this LENR stuff seems like wishful thinking and snake oil.
Professor Science: Any Pie Left: My skepticism and my hopeful imagination are locked in battle over this cold fusion/LENR thing. It has all the ingredients for a great story you want to believe: we don't know everything there is to know about weak force interactions and we don't understand everything about fusion, though we think we know just enough that this LENR stuff seems like wishful thinking and snake oil.I did some reading into the background behind this guy's work when this story showed up a day or two ago. It's all snake oil, enabled by a combination of wishful thinking and the fool's perpetual eagerness to part with his money.The big "We're not Pons and Fleischman! There's a theoretical basis for our work!" claim comes from a hypothesis (which they call a theory, naturally) by Widom and Larsen which states that hydrogen (or deuterium, or tritium) atoms bound to metal surfaces undergo spontaneous electron capture to form neutrons (from protium) or dineutrons (from deuterium, and the dineutron claim alone is pretty farking silly). They base that on some questionable quantum field theory1, which they claim shows that surface plasmon-polariton modes cause a huge increase in electrons' mass (not band theory effective mass, but real plugs-into-mc2 mass), so that the electron capture reduces the energy of the system.If you know anything about physics, this is where you're probably facepalming or laughing your ass off. If that mass increase actually happened, then it would be impossible to form metal surface hydrides (by their paper's own math, sticking a hydrogen atom to palladium would cost about 10 MeV), and any hydrides that did form would tend to spontaneously decompose with nuclear-bomb-scale energy output. That's not exactly in agreement with observation, and it's absolutely critical to their line of reasoning. The problem is also so obvious that I can't attribute it to incompetence -- they have to know this is bullshiat, but they crank it out anyway.Add that to the constant refrain of "We swear it works, just not when anybody else is watching too closely," and I just can't quite see how anybody gives this crap serious attention.1 If anybody here is better at QFT than me, take a look at equation (14) of the first paper under http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/WL/WLTheory.shtml#papers (Fark doesn't like the direct link to the PDF?) and tell me if it makes any damn sense in the case of a spectral function that doesn't vanish at low frequencies. I'm guessing that's a high-frequency approximation that they're applying in the low-frequency limit, and getting bullshiat as a result.
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