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NASA’s Zawodny On Camera – Updated

May 24, 2012

Update: First impressions point to an awareness drive from the Langley Research Centre. Thanks to Frost in the eCatNews comments section, we learn that Dennis Bushnell, LaRC’s chief scientist, has also posted on LENR in what appears to be a coordinated effort. After summarising his position, he calls for resources to be allocated to the study of the field. This is another indication that Joe Zawodny’s video has official backing. How deep that goes we have yet to learn but, in my opinion, the double tap is significant.

Bushnell’s post is here.

End Of Update

The methodical march of real science can be painstakingly slow, with dead ends and disappointments spanning years before someone makes a breakthrough – if at all. If or when LENR becomes a widespread and accepted fact, that will change as an increasing number of bright minds and shiny toys lend themselves to the task and make up for the relative paucity of researchers working in the field at present. Meanwhile, it is pretty cool when we get a glimpse behind the scenes. Joe Zawodny of NASA has given us just that in a new video, employing cautious language couched in terms of genuine hope and potential. (Posted yesterday, it looks recent, but I am not sure when the video was made).

No matter your position on the Widom Larsen theory, you have to applaud any credible effort to test it. It seems that Zawodny has developed a method for running parallel samples in a way that does more than increase the number of data points. By comparing one section of the experiment to its neighbor, analysis becomes comparative, the delta less prone to error than the absolute.

We all love to read the tealeaves to figure out what’s happening on the other side of the curtain. The video edit tends to cut from a show-and-tell to a sudden ‘what-if’ vision of the future. I cannot help but wonder what was in between. The public claim appears to be modest (we are testing a theory that may or may not be true) but the sober minds have to tread a fine line. If they did not believe there was strong evidence for LENR (Zawodny specifically refers to this in the video) they would have no hope of getting NASA’s support. That LaRC continues the research and puts its signature to a deliberately public-facing narrative says more than the brightest sceptic can ever manage.

There is value in tough review but it only goes so far. In citing such criticism in the video, Zawodny is indirectly offering critics partial credit for inspiring the experiment’s design. Without peer review, sloppy work can pass unchallenged. However, when an experienced scientist spends as much time on a negative campaign as a hands-on researcher does in making things happen, we have to wonder at motive. Such a campaign begins to look more like lobbying than science. A common argument says that we should look at the meat of any critique and not at its source but that is an oversimplification. No critic has brought down the LENR house of cards but merely points out (obsessively) that proof has not yet been delivered. Fair enough. It is easy to pick holes and not so easy to make things happen in the real world. Zawodny and his like are putting their careers on the line while some anonymous critics attack anything positive that surfaces from their labs. Popeye’s points (whoever he is) are incisive and worth reading but while he is making his view heard on this site with astonishing regularity, remember that progress at the LENR coal face and the voices coming from it will be more measured and infrequent. The volume of argument is not a measure of its weight.

Meanwhile, evidence for LENR is growing. I suggest we pay careful attention to Zawodny and the guys who are actually trying to make things happen even if they are often too busy to talk and each step on the journey is measured by the calendar and not per post.

[With thanks to Frost]



Posted by on May 24, 2012. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

886 Responses to NASA’s Zawodny On Camera – Updated

  1. Neil Taylor

    June 7, 2012 at 3:24 am

    “I don’t find any of the existing data to be very convincing, but that does not mean that the phenomenon does not exist.”

    J.Newman, quite the CYA statement for a once confirmed pathoskeptic. Keep it up and you could be eligible for converting soon?

    • JNewman

      June 7, 2012 at 3:52 am

      Would you like to show me the evidence that I am a confirmed pathoskeptic (whatever that actually means)? I think if you look at my posts here over time, I have been pretty consistent in saying that I have found the arguments for LENR to be quite unpersuasive and that I see no reason to believe it to be a real phenomenon. On the other hand, I have also never said that it is not a real phenomenon. I have never said Rossi is a scammer. If you don’t believe me, go rummage through the last 6 or 8 months of posts and see if I am wrong. Anybody posting here who doesn’t “drink the Kool-Aid”, as John Milstone likes to say, is immediately branded as a pathological skeptic. I am not. I am simply a skeptic. If something convincing comes along, I will be convinced. Do I think that will happen in this case? No. But I could be wrong. And as for CYA… Why should I care? Like I have said before, I am not protective of the reputation of my pseudonymous identity.

      • spacegoat

        June 7, 2012 at 9:44 am


        I am more positive than you about LENR due to the Piantelli presentation at the Italian International Conference (several links in this thread).

        In particular “a 1 kg device, maintained at 300 degrees Celcius for weeks, with no input power”

        Did you check out the presentation/video? Assuming authentic, rational, diligent science … how do you assess the above statement (1kg device) ? Quite unpersuasive?