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Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 3:51 PM

Rossi--a lone Italian inventor with no real credentials and a history as a convicted scam artist--has convinced a small army of researchers that his box can harness a new type of nuclear reaction. What if they're right?

.......

He called it the "E-Cat," short for "energy catalyzer." It contained a pinch of powdered nickel, a puff of hydrogen gas, and a dash of a secret catalyst. When the mixture was heated with an electrical current, a mysterious reaction occurred, generating large amounts of excess heat-far more than any known chemical reaction could produce. The heat boiled water into steam. The steam could be used to spin a turbine to make electricity.

.....

Here, Rossi claimed, was a machine that harnessed a previously unknown type of nuclear reaction-a machine that could produce nearly infinite energy cheaply and with no radioactive by-products. It would put the oil companies out of business. It would enable humanity to explore space on the cheap

....

An eminent Swedish physics professor who attended one of Rossi's demonstrations publicly stated that what was happening inside the E-Cat had to be a nuclear process. NASA offered to test Rossi's E-Cat (for a fee). The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and DARPA each arranged private demonstrations. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Brian Josephson uploaded a video to YouTube arguing that the E-Cat "may well be the most important technological advance of the century."

POPSCI Link

<sigh> It just goes to show that some people just plain don't learn.

The article does go into depth regarding how convincing (even to experts) someone can be even when a mountain of facts and common sense says that this is all a scam.

Worth a read given the number and scale of real scientists involved in reviewing this "development"

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#1

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 4:10 PM

If it sounds too good to be true.............................................................

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#2

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 4:31 PM

It wouldn't be the first time a physicist was duped into believing the impossible:

http://www.skepdic.com/shynesseffect.html

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#3

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 4:38 PM

Scam. Or at least complete delusion.

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#4

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 5:31 PM

Unless it can turn water into hydrocarbon base stock its not going to put the oil industry out of business. Far more than just fuel for vehicles and power generation comes from oil.

Plastics, fertilizers, asphalt for roads, lubricating oils, etc and so forth.

My family owns oil stocks so I have every reason to learn about what it goes into.

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#5

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 5:58 PM

Hands all those who remember in the late 50's when nuclear energy was going to be so cheap and plentiful that it wouldn't be worth billing us for it?
Right, that's most of us.
, and nuclear energy does actually work!
So, you'll forgive me if I think that in the highly unlikely event of this cr4p working, it will still cost me a small fortune every month on the bill.
Del

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 6:39 PM

I can honestly say I have not ever had to pay for nuclear supplied energy in New Zealand.

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 4:05 AM

Whell, if one can charge for it, why give it away?

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#26
In reply to #5

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/29/2012 9:08 AM

They're only charging you. The rest of us get it for free. You didn't know?

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#6

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/25/2012 6:37 PM

The interesting thing is the fact that cold fusion is indeed the scientific equivalent of the "flogged dead horse" but so many scientists seemed willing to believe last year, even ignoring such warning signs as the fact the magic box produces 15 to 20 times more energy than it consumes and that the demonstration and available data was heavily staged.

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#8

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 12:34 AM


"For $1.5 million, Australian customers can order a 1mW plant right now to heat their hospitals, sports stadiums, or swimming pools, through the website of Rossi's licensee in Australia."
How can 1mW power all these things?

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 6:25 AM

And what would the universe do with all the waste heat?

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#11
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 7:19 AM

Argue about is universal heating a myth.
Del

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#27
In reply to #8

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/29/2012 9:14 AM

Oznians are very thrifty folk. I ordered a Ute powered by a one nanowatt rechargable mossie. Lessee Rossi beat that!

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#12

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 8:07 AM

What he fails to mention is that he has secreted inside the box a 'Flux Capacitor'.

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#13

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 9:04 AM

I'm in the process of reading the article in the magazine. What's really disappointing, is that PopSci would dedicate space to this.

I almost cancelled my subscription when they were were running ads for Brown's Gas generators for cars. Maybe it's time to just do it.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 9:16 AM

Yeah, I cancelled a long time back, after I, and others wrote letters to the editors, complaining about the hyper-gaseous headlines of articles with phrases like "Presages the end of the world" and then the article talking about "near misses" by asteroids 140 billion miles away and what they COULD do IF they EVER hit the earth. Or an article I read years ago that talked about a potential crack in the earth's mantle allowing the collapse of the earth's crust, and showing extensive photographic shots of active volcanoes in Hawaii and Peru, and talking about the last eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, in the Phillipines.

Report science as science, but when its just bunk, take the word science out of your name. Or give the rest of us a bad name, too!

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 10:51 AM

Some years ago my mom bought me a year subscription to Mother Earth News. After reading about half of the first issue everyone after that went right in the garbage when it came.

When the subscription ended they kept calling me pestering me for a renewal and every single time I told them what I did with their magazine and why.

I have also dropped Popular Science and Popular Mechanics as well simply due to their having similar cr4p articles and politically biased nonsense they insist on spewing out.

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#28
In reply to #15

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/29/2012 9:16 AM

They're nearly all like that these days, products of our esteemed educational system.

Ever read The Marching Morons, by Cyril Kornbluth? It's coming to that.

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 11:25 AM

I'm not a PopSci subscriber, but your comment got me curious. The Editor-in-chief, Jacob Ward, has his resume posted online and the PDF version contains this:

Education
Bachelor of Arts, History, Wesleyan University, 1996
Culinary Degree, Cookery at the Grange, UK, 1996
Video training, Film Arts Foundation, San Francisco, 199
Video training, 911 Media Arts, Seattle, 2002-2003

He may know science but does not cite a formal education in it.

I suspect the editorial content is more a reflection of people who grew up on video games and science fiction movies, like "The Matrix," than any lack of education. I've felt for a long time that so many movies are just extended video games.

Since the readership of Popular Science doesn't expect a peer-reviewed journal, some speculation and fun is probably published as tongue-in-cheek stuff.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 12:08 PM

The guy he replaced didn't seem to have much of a science background either.

I used to enjoy Discover magazine, but they too, shifted to a political agenda rather than sticking to real science.

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#20
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 12:26 PM

And the problem when science becomes political is that politicians are professional liars, who utter the lies they do to meet their own agendas. Once Science (so called) signs on to the liars agenda, the scientists who do so become liars themselves. And to the unwitting public, all scientists thus become suspect, and all science loses all credibility.

It's a slippery slope ....

Oh what a tangled web we weave ... (author unknown, to me, at least)

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#21
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 12:46 PM
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#22
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 1:09 PM

Thank you. I used to say it was Ogden Nash, just because he was the kind to have said it. But, Sir Walter Scott? One does not tend to identify him with the pithy, and humorous. Just goes to show, I guess, that a great writer has a broad talent, as well as deep. And I don't think too many would suggest that SWS was NOT a great writer.

I'm glad to be able, thanks to you, to give all credit, where credit is due.

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#24
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 7:14 PM

Sure thing. I had to look it up.

Youth sure has changed over the years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Scott

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#29
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/29/2012 9:20 AM

The uneducated masses are the ones politicians love most because they're easily led down the garden path, like sheep, and don't recognise the slaughterhouse for what it is until it's too late.

Except that it's been too late for awhile now, but nobody wants to see that. Instead they want their iPads and their Sunday football games and that new truck they can't afford, whilst the country is now $16 trillion in debt and counting - at the rate of $100 million per day - and borrows three dollars out of every four from China, and prints the rest. We're living on borrowed time but nobody wants to hear it. "Just tell us the good news, please, and keep that which makes us uncomfortable to yourself. We're a Great Country, you see, and we can do this forever and never have to pay the piper."

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#19
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 12:23 PM

No. The answer the editor at the time (Oldham, if I remember correctly, and an early, and well-celebrated auto racer, engineer, mechanic) was that "The reading public doesn't know the difference, and our editors like to write that way, because it makes better headlines and article titles, so I let them have their heads on this issue." No apology, no concern for the stated intent of many of us to leave the magazines followership. Of course, all of us who took the time to write were "old guys" who learned our science in a) the books, then b) the labs, then c) in real life, and applied it daily on the job.

No longer an important qualification for recognition of breathtakingly bad science, that string of methods of learning, I guess.

It wasn't "tongue in cheek", it was the editor's considered position. But probably not well considered, I think.

I'm with the poster who dropped all the "Populars" and Mother Earth News. I now read the Small Stock Journal, Countryside, and others of their ilk, and do a lot of my research and reading online at Instructibles.com, YouTube (some great instruction and education stuff there, if you choose carefully), Ask.com, E-How, and others, and then go out and Build, Make, and blow stuff up (just to keep my hand in, so to speak).

And I find I don't miss the purveyors of pseudo-science at all.

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#23
In reply to #19

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 1:13 PM

I was trying to give him/them the benefit of the doubt.

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#16

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/26/2012 10:59 AM

And then we'll have a bazillion black boxes to bury at Yucca Mountain.

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#25

Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/29/2012 12:06 AM

....and Italy is sending the Seismologists to jail?

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#30
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Re: Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

10/29/2012 9:40 AM

It's the New Renaissance.

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