Thursday, May 07, 2009

Junk Science? No... Junk Reporting

Is there a mechanism for suppressing great ideas in America? This should convince you:

60 minutes recently aired a revealing report on Cold Fusion. You know, that “crazy” idea that was discredited years ago. Well it seems the phenomenon may have been crazy and discredited, but it continues to happen anyway.

To see the 60 minutes video click here

To read the 60 minutes transcripts click here

I remember when the first reports of Cold Fusion came out. I was cautiously enthusiastic. Observations in science don't always lead to practical, economical technologies (just consider hot fusion). But I enthusiastically read everything I could find about Cold Fusion. The potential for humanity was huge! The possibility of no longer being dependent upon coal, oil, and nuclear power – and their civilization destroying pollution, was extraordinary. And the liberating dream of generating our own power seemed almost within reach.

And then, in just a couple weeks, the press saturated stories that a couple other universities couldn't replicate the findings. The scientists who made the announcement were effectively accused of being frauds. The world was quickly convinced that Cold Fusion was a hoax. And it was almost instantly back to business as usual...

This was shocking to me. How had this all happened so fast. I never felt right about it. Something as important as this was studied just a few weeks and then shelved forever.

So what if a couple more “prestigious” universities couldn't replicate the experiments the first time they tried. But it happened. The once distinguished scientists who made the announcement were now banished. And anyone who continued to work on Cold Fusion was immediately considered a “quack.” How convenient...

And now we find out that the banished scientists were right. There really is a Cold Fusion phenomenon. What a waste of 20 years of scientific inquiry. We might have figured out how to utilize Cold Fusion by now. We might have been free from the fossil fuel industry by now. We might have stopped Global Warming. We might not have been at war in the Middle East. And we might have stopped our hemorrhaging of money. (Which of course, is what some people actually want).

Back when the suppression of Cold Fusion happened in the press, it was surprising to me how one-sided the story was covered as a fraud. Why didn't anyone in the press stand up for these once respected scientists? Why didn't anyone point out the obvious; that just because a phenomenon isn't consistently repeatable, doesn't mean it never happened. What conditions were there that made the coverage of something so positive so undesirable? ...And later I realized what it was; “diversified portfolios.”

That's right, diversified portfolios. Everyone has their hands in everyone else's pockets. Everyone has investment in the status quo.

What seems like a wise investment strategy has turned us all into frightened fools in fear of change. Because change might hurt our investments. Change might reduce our profit margins. Change might cut our advertising revenue. Change might bring others into power.

That's what it was. That's what generated the almost universal press attack on Cold Fusion. The mass media, owned and controlled by established big business, didn't want their formula for profits changed. And they were more than willing to suppress a great discovery to keep the advertising (etc.) money flowing in.

I also remember how President Jimmy Carter tried to bring about a new energy paradigm in the '70s.

Jimmy Carter knew that if we didn't develop alternative sources of power, America would someday be at constant war over the remains of the world's oil. Jimmy Carter knew that our nation's wealth was draining away to the fossil fuel industry. Jimmy Carter knew that our nation was in crisis, and that business as usual would eventually break us. President Jimmy Carter was right... and his efforts were suppressed. (Much of the mass media still vilifies President Carter.)

As a consequence of his support of alternative energy, the fossil fuel industry (and the mass media) supported Ronald Reagan in the election of 1980.

The Reagan Era was essentially a sell-out to the fossil fuel industry. Alternative Energy was not only no longer supported, it was suppressed. What else would you call multi-billion dollar subsides for fossil fuels and none for alternatives? Bush senior was an oil man. So its pretty obvious where his alliances stood. Clinton got slapped down within the first year of his first term. But some progress was made. And then, Bush Jr. practically gave away the country to the fossil fuel industry.

We now have a new President who is trying to change things. President Obama's support of renewable energy is a refreshing, and absolutely imperative decision.

So, is the suppression machine at work? Just check this out.

One more thing; hydrogen.

The U.S. military has just invested $3.3 million on drone airplanes powered by hydrogen fuel cells. These hydrogen fuel cell powered drones operate two to four times as long as battery powered drones.

And yet, the American people have been led to believe that hydrogen can't store enough power to drive a car – or that the technology is somehow not ready for prime time. We hear that hydrogen is flammable – like gasoline isn't. And we hear that there needs to be a massive hydrogen infrastructure built to replace the oil industry.

What we rarely hear is that America could generate our own hydrogen from renewable resources.

The liberating dream of generating our own truly clean power is even closer now. Don't let them fool us again.


Jed Rothwell said...

You can learn a great deal more about cold fusion here:

http://lenr-canr.orgRegarding the history of cold fusion, and the suppression, read the books by Mallove and Beaudette referenced on this page. (The latter is available in electronic format.)

Regarding the potential of cold fusion, read the e-book by me, also shown this page. I discuss the suppression briefly in the Introduction and chapter 19. In my opinion, the main cause is academic politics, rather than press ownership.

Some of the press attacks are quoted here: hydrogen powered vehicles, it has long been known that they are possible and that aircraft would have a longer range, but the cost of both the engines and the fuel remains prohibitively high for most applications.

Rick Spilsbury said...