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313) Nonscientific aspects of CMNS

Ludwik Kowalski; 11/17/2006
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

This morning Peter Gluck started a thread “we are not alone.” That was on the restricted list for CMNS researchers. Referring to two recent publications in Science, he wrote that high temperature superconductivity, like CMNS, is also struggling with explanations of experimental discoveries made many years ago. Several hours later, John Coviello posted the following reply.

“It is interesting how relatively uncontroversial high-temperature superconductivity is compared to cold fusion, considering they are both in the same quandary of lacking an explanation that satisfies mainstream science. What are the differences? Perhaps the fact that cold fusion could destroy a multi-trillion dollar fossil/nuclear fuels industry, while high-temperature superconductivity barely even threatens multibillion dollar communications and power transmission industries is a factors? I say barely because high-temperature superconductivity would not doom the industries, in fact, it would cause a new wave of spending on infrastructure and equipment upgrades and create a lot of business activity, as firms rush to install the latest technology, so perhaps they have nothing to fear at all. Cold fusion would mostly end the financial prospects of the bloody oil trade, dirty coal industry and wasteful nuclear fission industries. Is it any wonder cold fusion enjoys few friends in high places given the implications of its commercialization?”

Three people responded. They pointed out that, unlike in CMNS, experimental observations in the area of high temperature superconductivity turned out to be reasonably reproducible. Here one of the responses; it was posted by Scott Little. He wrote:

“My son and I made some YCBO blocks for his junior high-school science fair project in 1991. around 4 years after their discovery. Following a published recipe, the first batch we made worked well enough to demonstrate the Meissner effect (magnet levitation). I still have these superconductors. They still work. Somehow that doesn't remind me of cold fusion at all.....:)”

“What I would like to know, is whether or not factors mentioned by John played any role in creating the discriminatory attitude toward CF, in early 1990s. The young lady, CF, Ed Storm's mistress, is going to be 18 next spring. That is about time to be treated as adult science. Will Ed's book help? Will confirmations of San Diego results help? Will conformation of Oriani's results help? We will see.” That was my own comment on the list. No one responded so far. John was not the first to point the accusing finger at oil companies. What evidence is available to support such accusations? Perhaps other factors, such as personal animosities, jalousie, and, above all, competition for grant money, should also be blamed for excommunication, if I can use this term, of cold fusion in early 1990s. I hope that others will help us to understand the mechanism of the process of social discrimination of cold fusion. The "nonscientific" aspects of the history of CMNS are interesting; I hope at least some of them will be addressed in the book about cold fusion that Ed Storms is writing. Let me mention that I first saw the word “excommunication” in one of his essays, written several years ago.

Personally I am not convinced that oil companies are behind those who use administrational means (like rejecting papers, not accepting patents, etc.) to discriminate against cold fusion. Big companies would probably be among the first to invest heavily in CMNS technology, if convinced that it is promising. But blaming of “rich and powerful” is not new. What evidence do we have that oil companies conspired against cold fusion in 1990s?

Appended on 11/23/06
The only reply, so far, was that suppressing an emerging new energy technology (such as electric cars) would be in the interest of oil companies. That is not a proof of conspiratorial manipulations. When Enron executives were accused of such manipulations they were confronted with convincing proofs, I believe. The argument “that would be in their interest” is not sufficient. Being prudent and not investing in the not-yet-demonstrated technology is a virtue. Automatic blaming of rich and powerful for everything bad is not new. Sometimes these “bloodsuckers” are responsible for bad things but sometimes bad things have other causes. I am thinking about hurricanes, epidemics and famines, for example.

The more I think about this the more am I convinced that accusing oil company executives of conspiracy against cold fusion makes no sense. Why would they be less concerned about consequences of pollution and global warming that most of us? Most of them also love their children and grand children. And they always look for opportunities to make money. Replacing declining oil resources by CMNS sources of energy would offer a chance to make money. Therefore, it is only logical, to expect them to sit and wait for opportunities to make money. Some of them are probably watching carefully what is going on in the CMNS fields. Why should they think that CMNS is “ready to deliver” when we still do not have a reproducible-on-demand demo?

Absence of additional comments is a good indication that most CMNS researchers do not blame oil companies for discrimination against cold fusion. This can be contrasted with what one often reads at open websites at which cold fusion is discussed by non-practitioners. At those websites accusations of oil companies are much more frequent.

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