Saturday, May 25, 2013
E-Cat: fool me n-times.....
The E-Cat keeps returning. Initially I had found it intriguing, then sort of fun (also here). Eventually, I had lost all interest in this ever-repeating story of unverified and unverifiable claims.
However, the recent publication on ArXiv of a series of tests on a new version of the E-Cat has generated a flurry of questions arriving into my mailbox. So I figure I could briefly comment on this subject, here.
Basically, the new ArXiv report is nothing new: it is the same style and substance of earlier reports from Rossi. It is true that it has at least a veneer of scientific correctness, but it falls apart after just a cursory examination. The new tests have the same problems of the earlier ones: poor experimental set-up, inadequate instrumentation, lack of reproducibility, and, more than all, the impossibility for external observers to verify the characteristics of the experimental set-up.
If you want to read an in depth criticism of these latest results, you can look at the post by Ethan Siegel of "Starts with a Bang". If Rossi and his followers want to revolutionize physics, they have to do way better than this.
Now, as I said, the story of the E-Cat keeps repeating itself. This is the n-th claim of success of a long series that has led to nothing verifiable and that has become rather boring. What's not boring in the story is the question of why these claims find so much resonance with people everywhere. It is important to understand this point, because our survival in the coming decades depends on whether we'll find good solutions for the problems we face; from mineral depletion to climate change. And good solutions need good science. Let's not forget that.
Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014)