With a day to consider yesterday’s HotCat report, the following is an update on my thoughts:
There are too many unknowns to be answered but the initial positive impression has survived a close reading of the paper. In purely scientific terms, people are right to be cautious and question the extent of its independence. This can be done without accusation. I await the assault that usually follows such tests but, by the relative silence so far, my guess is that specific debunking is taking more work than usual. Where this is in evidence, the reaction appears to be hurried and flawed.
An example of this follows cautiously positive comments from particle physicist, Tommasco Dorigo at Science 2.0. Currently working at CERN, Dorigo says he still opts for the eCat being a scam. However, he also admits to being impressed by the results and will follow the developing story with more interest.
To some, anything but absolute condemnation is confirmation that you are an idiot.
Luboš Motl, a Czech physicist, castigates Dorigo and tears apart the report. I have no problem with this. Such is the stuff of science and Motl might end up being substantially correct. However, it does appear to me that he has only skimmed the paper he accuses of sloppiness. Commenting on the use of unity as an approximation for the emissivity of the device, he points out that, rather than underestimating the final result, it overestimates it and on its own could account for much of the claimed excess power. However, the paper clearly states that in the December test, the approximation was plugged into the IR software to calculate the temperature from the measured colour map and that temperature was then used in the radiated power calculation. I am no expert and am ready to be proven wrong by someone who is, but it appears to me that since the emissivity would be used again in the actual Stefan-Boltzmann formula, the net effect is minimal. Indeed, this is confirmed in the March test by using white dots of known emissivity supplied by the IR camera manufacturer.
My point here is not to slap Motl down but to demonstrate the tendency of smart people to read what they expect to find (this works both ways). I look forward to honest comment from scientists such as these and wish we would dump the habit of assuming someone an idiot because they are willing to admit a cautionary interest in wtf is going on.
With that in mind, I am encouraged by this paper and hope the coming analysis from mainstream scientists will be constructive even if it is critical . We are a long way from scientific proof but in business terms, I would not be surprised if this makes a few potential investors wonder if they should chuck some pin-money on the fire.
I’m not ready to abandon caution – I cannot dismiss the obvious lies and obfuscation surrounding this subject over the past two years and don’t think others should assume we have The Holy Grail. However, the report has definitely made me pause. I hope others do too. It is entirely possible to do so without switching off our brains and believing everything we are told.
[With thanks to Akira Shirakawa on Vortex]<< Previous Post -- -- Next post >>