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You are here:
PureEnergySystems.com > News > October 16, 2012

Andrea Rossi's Black Box -- by Popular Science

A story mentioned on the cover of November's Popular Science magazine describes Steve Featherstone's experience in trying to track down evidence for Andrea Rossi's E-Cat. While that trek was frustrating, he seems to have been generally impressed by the LENR community and science.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

The long-awaited article by Steve Featherstone of Popular Science regarding Andrea Rossi's E-Cat and cold fusion / LENR in general has now hit the news stands. This November issue of the famous magazine mentions the topic on the home page with caption: "Cold Fusion: A Special Investigation", then gives it ten pages of coverage starting on page 62.

[Click here for the online version of Popular Science's article.]

Titled "Andrea Rossi's Black Box", it is an engaging piece that, given the author's not-so-exemplary experience in pursuing this, seems to have integrity to that experience, not jaded by an agenda one way or the other. He just takes us with him on his journey, sharing his reflections along the way.

Though it gives a dim view of Rossi, I don't think it was a hit (derogatory with a destructive agenda) piece, as sometimes is the case of mainstream reports on these exotic energy technologies.

If anything, it seemed to me that the author wanted the science to be vindicated and was frustrated, though not convinced that there is nothing there.

A significant correction I would make is that from my understanding, Rossi was exonerated from the charge of fraud. That charge was leveled due his not agreeing to do business with the Italian Mafia, so they set him up. And it is one of the reasons he left Italy in disgust.

Another correction I would make is that at the October 28 demonstration, he didn't leave us waiting out in the cold while letting 1-2 people at a time in to view the device in operation. We had a large, adequately warm room to wait in, with tables and refreshments and camaraderie of chit-chatting with the others who were in attendance.

I wish I had time to point out a few other discrepancies, but let that illustrate that there are some substantive inaccuracies in Featherstone's report.

The article addresses the topic of cold fusion in general in what I could consider to be a favorable light, which is refreshing, since most mainstream coverage is usually slanted the other way. It also gave voice to some of the skeptic thinking in Italy including Ugo Bardi, Giancarlo Ruocco and Antonio Polosa. It portrayed them as lacking objectivity and being pathological skeptics, if anything.

Here is a thumbnail view of the relevant pages from the magazine. (Story continues below.)

In the closing of the article, it seems to me that Featherstone grossly underestimates the value of Celani. Ending with Celani's laugh saying he didn't know why NI (National Instruments) Week invited him to present at their annual conference. I would interpret his laugh as humility. 

Apparently the cut-off date for that story was just before NI Week took place a couple of months ago, and a lot has happened since then.

In retrospect, we know that Celani's performance there was a highlight, openly demonstrating more power out than in for several days straight, now being sought to be made into a kit for widespread replication by universities (see http://QuantumHeat.org).  While Celani's work isn't to the point of practicality, it certainly serves the purpose of validation of the field in general -- much needed after a couple of decades of derision as "junk science," which it definitely is not.

E-Cat Doesn't Change Position in Top 5

Even though some of the skeptical points made in this article are very significant, portraying Rossi as a clever shyster, overall, at least for now, I think the E-Cat deserves to keep its spot in the Top 5 Exotic Free Energy Technologies. But I do think the heat should increase to have him produce strong evidence. He would probably say he is presently busy doing just that.

"LENR" is more accurate than "Cold Fusion"

Off the subject of this article in particular, I wish to mention that while I was reading the article and contemplating on the topic of cold fusion, it dawned on me that "cold fusion" really probably isn't the right description for what is taking place here. It probably isn't fusion but transmutation. It's still a nuclear reaction, but not fusion.

Bill Donovan suggests that in the Ni-H cells, the H goes to deuterium (non radioactive), as the primary reaction providing heat, and Ni transforms to Cu (non-radioactive) as a much less frequent secondary reaction. [This description is my lay representation of his very exhaustive and scientific description of the process.]

Note about My "Accuracy"

As I was reading this article, it occurred to me that I'm more of a generalist than a pin-point accuracy specialist. The latter is not something I'm good at, but I am good at generalities. So when you hear me give facts and figures, unless they are backed up by sources and references, you should take them with a grain of salt as generalities and ball-park portrayals of an idea.

P.S. (Oct. 16, 5:40 am GMT) Case-in-point, a friend from NASA who forwarded the article to me in the first place, just corrected me. In the title and news bullet for this story, I had "Scientific American" rather than "Popular Science". Well, you get the idea, right!

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PESN Coverage of E-Cat

For a more exhaustive listing, see News:Rossi_Cold_Fusion | Mainstream | News:Cold_Fusion  


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Page posted by Sterling D. Allan
Last updated November 21, 2012


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