Fleischmann Passes, Fusion Claims Continue

From his perch just outside Washington DC, former CIA analyst Tom Whipple notes the passing of chemist Martin Fleischmann, who with Stanley Pons, claimed to have sustained a nuclear reaction at low temperature, generating, “anomalous heat.” Whipple once again hints that such Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR), of some sort, may be the answer to our energy depletion woes. For many years now, in his ASPO reports and Falls Church News Press columns, Whipple has been steadfastly noting the small signs of energy depletion — from saber-rattling to power outages — to a growing community ranging from grim peakists to the merely concerned. I have been puzzled that he has taken to championing “cold fusion.”

Last week Martin Fleischmann died in England. He was the electro-chemist who started all the “cold fusion” fuss back in 1989 when he and a colleague announced the discovery of heat which could only be coming from a “cold” nuclear reaction. Now, I understand they do not give out the Nobel Prize posthumously, but perhaps they could make an exception for the guy who saved the world by showing us the way to get off fossil fuels in time to avoid extinction.

I don’t understand how Whipple can write about LENR as if it was a done deal. LENR is not impossible, of course, but it does still seem to be in the realm of oblique announcements in press releases rather than peer-reviewed experiment. Advocate sites like Pure Energy Systems News or Oil Price.com always have some positive spin, usually centered around claims by Andrea Rossi or Robert Godes. But the death of Fleischmann has propelled the topic into more mainstream outlets. At The Edge blog (US News & World Report) tries to keep LENR buzz in perspective:

… what has inspired hope within this small community are several recent developments: LENR demonstration projects recently initiated at respected places like MIT, the University of Missouri, and the University of Bologna; public presentations by executives at one of the world’s largest instrument companies, National Instruments, apparently designed to attract the top LENR researchers into a project to test and quantify observed LENR effects; and a July report from the European Commission’s research and development center that LENR at least has sustainable future energy technology potential.

But near the top of the cold fusion research community’s hit parade are musings from NASA, like the fact that the agency apparently filed two LENR-related patents last year and that a leading NASA scientist has indicated that LENR is real enough to pay attention to and study. Boeing and NASA may even be testing aircraft using LENR or other similar concepts.

But how does one know whether *testing* LENR indicates serious interest or a polite dismissal?

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