Talk:Cold fusion/Archive2

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A conspiracy of woo[edit]

Even textbooks on physics are now promoting this pseudoscience. Springer-Varlag was already gone, though, because they publish that journal of dumb preposterousness, Naturwissenschaften. The woomeisters have managed to take over Elsevier, as well.[1][2] The American Chemical Society was a pushover, they and Oxford University Press obviously know nothing about nuclear physics,[3][4] what do you expect from those soft-science chemists? There is a conspiracy to suppress proper skepticism here, journals are refusing to publish material critical of cold fusion, so this mind-rot is being spread without opposition in the journals, what are we going to do about it? --Abd (talk) 16:23, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

What the fuck are you talking about? Scarlet A.pngtheist 16:36, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
There is a conspiracy to suppress proper skepticism here To what end, exactly? This reminds me of 30 Rock: "We have no way of knowing, because the powerful bread lobby keep stopping my research!" Cow...Hammertime! 16:44, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
I suggest clicking on the links. Abd is trying to satirise the (perceived) position of RationalWiki on the matter.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:50, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Trying to point out that stuff about LENR has been published in "mainstream" sources in a trollish manner?--ZooGuard (talk) 16:50, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Armondikov: I believe the correct term should be Argumentum ad tl;dr. EVDebs (talk) 18:07, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
And I thought I had the monopoly on that. Scarlet A.pngbomination 18:09, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Just imagine the love child of Abd and Maratrea(n)...--ZooGuard (talk) 18:38, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
We don't have to. Sophiebecause liberals 18:55, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
JimJast, eh? JimJast is clearly a crank, which doesn't mean he's wrong, and I'm not sufficiently interested in his theories to even try to figure it out, but he was obviously advocating his own ideas, while reporting the mysterious failure of journals to publish them, and he's a poor writer. Maybe it's English not being his first language, or maybe it's something else. What I'm representing here aren't my ideas, with a few exceptions (the idea of a "single replicable experiment" is mine, but the facts behind it are simply what's known in the field, and what is now obviously known to peer reviewers at some journals, I've just repackaged it). It's not isolated, even if it looks like that to you, it only seems isolated because you aren't familiar with the history. I'm covering what is being published.
I'm still a crank, but of a different sort. My idiosyncracy is that I'm even trying to explain this here, most people who know what I know would not be bothering. You already had a well-known expert in the field try to point things out above. That's Jed Rothwell, who is a writer and translator, not a "scientist" as such, but he edits papers for academic publication, has translated a lot of cold fusion work from the Japanese, and has probably read more in the field than anyone else in the world. No, you don't have to read 3000 papers to get it. But he's read them and more. Maybe I feel I owe some debt to Martin Gardner. Besides, I came within a few feet of Richard P. Feynman, more than once, so, woo woo, I can deliver you some of his aura or something. Can't you just feel it? Obviously I have better karma than you, you might as well get over it.
Isn't RationalWiki great? --Abd (talk) 00:17, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
  • You guys can imagine what you like, but I'm not "trying to satirize the (perceived) position of RationalWiki on the matter," because I don't "perceive" that position. Is there one? I was responding to a position taken by EVDebs. This section is indeed satirical, of course, congratulations, Sherlock et al. You win the Pin the Tail on the Donkey With Your Eyes Open Prize for today.
  • Interesting about "bread lobby." The bread lobby isn't very big, I think, but Archer Daniels Midland might be big enough to pull off some, ah, selective pressure. Dunno. Mostly endemic ignorance is just endemic ignorance, people being attached to what they said before or what their friends have said. Common -- and boring. And God forbid that a person should have an opinion different than his or her colleagues. It can be hazardous to one's career. There is a well-known case of a grad student who did good research on cold fusion, working with a world-famous professor, a leader in his field, with results that are still important today, and whose doctoral thesis was rejected because .... it was about his cold fusion research. He was required to do a new thesis on something else. Once that got around, there went the normal supply of labor for pure replication, it had a major impact, if you ever want to know why there is so little exact replication in the field. Rather, everyone kept varying conditions, trying to get new results or stronger results. You don't get a Nobel Prize for a pure replication, nor do you get rich from it. In any case, that's now changing, with the changing of the guard.
  • I'm saying more than "stuff about LENR has been published in mainstream sources," I'm actually pointing to the utter disappearance of the highly skeptical position from those sources. I know that skeptical papers and letters are being written, but they aren't making it through review. What does that say about the quality? I really don't know, for sure, I just know that when cold fusion papers weren't being accepted by certain major journals, it was claimed by CF advocates that there was a conspiracy. So what is said when the reverse is the case? (The reality is that many poor papers have been submitted by all sides, and also that sometimes good papers are rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the paper or the underlying research.)
  • As to tl;dr, no argument is ever won by writing what isn't read. However, if it's a waste of time to write it, whose loss is that? Hey, does RationalWiki have good collapse templates?
  • Do you know that long posts on discussion pages were the stated reason for my bans on Wikipedia, but that the opposition got strongest and most strident when I wrote tight commentary, and used collapse for detail and evidence, and when I was being effective.? I'll say this: I do intend to refactor what I write here, if allowed, so that it becomes tight, far from "too long," with the originals being archived to history or collapsed or on subpages. --Abd (talk) 22:27, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

The single significant replicable experiment[edit]

One of the problems with cold fusion research is that a lot of it is single-result, and causation without correlation is iffy. I.e., CF results tend to be all over the map, there is high variability. Lots of studies show anomalous heat, but just that there is an anomaly doesn't tell us much, it is merely a starting point for research to discover the cause. Anomalous heat in CF experiments is alleged to be beyond what chemistry could produce, but that's a relatively weak argument. Especially to non-chemists!

However, since the 1990s, there has been a single replicable experiment that, once it was actually replicated, should have made "unknown nuclear reaction" the likely explanation for the anomalous heat. I'll describe it. Storms (2010) shows about twelve research groups which have done this. There are no negative replications of weight.

  1. Use the state of the art to generate, at least occasionally, the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect. Measure the apparent excess heat and integrate it to find apparent excess energy.
  2. Do this for a series of experimental cells, the longer the series, the better. Ideally, the cells are identical, but that's not absolutely necessary.
  3. Capture effluent gas and measure helium content from each cell, using mass spectroscopy. The assays should be blind to heat results.
  4. Examine the correlation between excess heat and helium, and determine the ratio of excess heat/helium.

Various efforts at this have enjoyed different levels of helium measurement accuracy, the most careful study (according to Storms) produced a value for heat/helium with error bars of a few MeV at most, that straddled the expected value (23.8 MeV) for deuterium fusion to helium. The earliest work (Miles et al, 1991 I think) only measured helium (blind) to an order of magnitude, but still showed very strong correlation. Reviewing all the work, Storms estimates the overall experimental Q at 25 +/- 5 MeV. It is reasonable to be skeptical about this exact value, but what is very clear is the correlation. If there is no excess heat, anomalous helium has not been reported. In many experiments, atmospheric helium is excluded and levels are being measured that are far below ambient, all the way up to and beyond ambient; in other work, ambient helium is not excluded and the levels measured are excess helium, i.e., above ambient. When there is excess heat, commensurate helium is found.

The famous early negative replications confirm this work, because some of these replications looked for helium. They found no excess heat, but they also found no helium. Essentially, what that demonstrated was the likelihood that they were simply replication failures, they did not succeed in setting up the reaction. They were showing the difficulty of replication, they were showing that the FPHE was not produced by simply running a little electrolysis with palladium in heavy water. If Pons and Fleischmann were misleading in their initial report, it would be in what they did not say, then. They did not say that this was really difficult, that, after five years of work, they were seeing anomalous heat in only about one out of six cells. So when others rushed out and, without adequate experimental details, tried to replicate in a few weeks, being clueless for the most part, it was no surprise that they found nothing. The Fleischmann and Pons approach took months of electrolysis to reach very high loading levels, and it took special palladium, to be able to hold the high loading. By the way, highly pure palladium, as perfect in structure as can be imagined apparently does not work. Researchers have learned how to prepare the palladium so that it produces the effect, which may include cold-rolling, annealing, and careful surface preparation.

In any case, the "single replicable experiment" has been done, by twelve research groups, collectively over 50 cells (Miles alone reported on 33 cells, with 21 showing anomalous heat), maybe more than that. The measurement of helium to assess whether or not the reaction has taken place is now routine in some labs. It's a difficult experiment, but it's known how to do it, if anyone really wants to investigate. I was told, when I entered this field, that I'd need to spend at least $8,000 to have a chance of seeing the effect. That's chicken feed compared to a lot of cutting-edge work. It does appear, however, that some cold fusion results may be replicable for far less than that, perhaps the SPAWAR neutron findings. But work with precise calorimetry and helium measurement, that's much more expensive, unless a lab is already set up.

At this point, to maintain the highly skeptical position will require more than armchair skepticism, creative imagination of artifacts, it will require the kind of work that led to the debunking of N-rays and polywater, hands-on research to demonstrate actual artifact, not just the making up of theories of artifact. Contrary to some claims I've seen (made without evidence), that footwork was never done. The alleged artifact in the FPHE was never identified and demonstrated. Later independent review of the calorimetry of Pons and Fleischmann found only minor possible errors, not enough to affect the significance of the results.

At this point, however, I wouldn't waste money and effort trying to prove cold fusion is bogus. Rather, it would be smarter and more efficient, for, say, a graduate student with a sympathetic supervisor, to engage in a project to measure the Q, the ratio between excess heat and helium, using the state of the art to get apparent excess heat (as has been reported in 153 peer-reviewed papers and many more conference papers and other documents), and carefully measuring helium. If you are getting excess heat, and you get helium in a certain range, you know the origin of the heat, it's pretty obvious. If you get heat and no helium, then you can look for the cause as other than fusion. If you could show an artifact behind the whole "cold fusion" claim, you probably wouldn't get a Nobel Prize, but you would have accomplished work of great value. Or, alternatively, you have another replication that helps nail down the heat/helium ratio, which is important in consideration of various cold fusion theories. --Abd (talk) 23:40, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

bollocks attacking bollocks is still bollocks.[edit]

The following was added to the section of the article on the Energy Catalyzer claims of Rossi.

Considering the claimed reaction is so ridiculously unfeasible it doesn't even happen in supernova explosions,[ref] this one is generally considered complete bollocks.
Source asserted: blog

Many people do consider Rossi's claims "complete bollocks," but there are three claims, that can be clearly separated.

  1. kilowatt-level heat.
  2. Reliable reaction rate, sufficient for commercial application.
  3. A theory of operation, involving significant transmutation of nickel into copper, with some unconfirmed evidence asserted for that.

Rossi's explanation of the physics of his device is considered ignorant nonsense even by scientists who are saying that the claims of major heat seem sound (I.e., Kullander and Essen). Rossi is certainly not a physicist, he's not a trained scientist at all. He's an engineer and inventor and entrepreneur.

All three claims were unexpected. All prior work with nickel-hydrogen has reported the same difficulties with stability and thus with easy replication that have plagued LENR research (mostly based on palladium as catalyst and deuterium as fuel) from 1989 on. Some in the cold fusion community think that Rossi has indeed found a way to enhance a reaction, but that the delays in his releasing the technology are due to instability and unreliability. Rossi is secretive and combative and looks like a complete scammer, and there are some who think this appearance is deliberate, it's so blatant.

The argument about supernova explosions is completely irrelevant, however. LENR is likely based on stable configurations of matter, creating catalytic conditions through the arrangement of atoms in a lattice. That's why the field is now officially called "Condensed matter nuclear science." LENR is not known to occur without the presence of a possible catalytic configuration of atoms, and such a configuration cannot form at high temperatures. No reaction mechanism postulated for LENR, that is under any serious consideration, would function above the vaporization point of the catalyst, which is far, far below ordinary thermonuclear temperatures, not to mention supernova conditions. The argument is, itself, bollocks. --Abd (talk) 19:13, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

  • My, my, revert warring to maintain bollocks in article, and to take out clearer, more neutral explanations, about what is really notable about Rossi. You want your cold fusion article to contain blatantly bogus arguments, your wiki, folks. I don't revert war. Perhaps the editor will come to his senses, perhaps someone else will intervene and mediate this. Or perhaps I'll just do something else.
  • The argument given in the source and summarized by the editor is a general argument against all LENR reactions, not just against the specific one asserted, possibly ignorantly, by Rossi. It does, in fact, represent the kind of thinking that led to the general rejection of cold fusion in 1989-90, in spite of accumulating evidence for some kind of nuclear reaction taking place. That LENR is real, and that the FP Heat Effect probably involves some kind of fusion of deuterium to helium, is now what's being accepted by peer reviewed journals, and the "impossibility" argument is no longer passing peer review anywhere, in spite of accelerating positive publication. Rossi may be a total con, he may be a fraud, i.e., deliberately faking results, and I've helped expose some of those possibilities, but that would not make this "not in supernova explosions" a valid argument. --Abd (talk) 19:38, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
You were kicked off Wikipedia for being a persistent cold fusion crank over a long period. Bringing it here is unlikely to convince - David Gerard (talk) 20:03, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd hope that, here, we'd be interested in evidence and logic and clear argument, not ad-hominems. David, I'd guess you are the David Gerard who is a major mover at Wikipedia, for a long time, one of those perhaps responsible for Wikipedia being the way it is. My removal of your bollocks was unrelated to your identity. If I was blocked on Wikipedia "for being a persistent cold fusion crank over a long period," then the official ban reason was not real, it was a cover-up. That would not be surprising. The real reason was different, though, I'm pretty sure about that. I'd think that it mostly would be irrelevant here, but maybe not. What do you think? For sure, it's not relevant on this page.
I was welcomed here precisely for being a well-known "cold fusion crank." But there are cranks and there are cranks. What kind are you? --Abd (talk) 21:58, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Abd, here are a few questions to determine whether you know what you are talking about at all.
  • What is the reaction postulated for Rossi's e-Cat?
    • Is it 64Ni + 1H —> 65Cu?
    • Is it 62Ni + 1H —> 63Cu?
  • Does the isotopic composition of nickel change when it is being consumed in the Rossi catalyzer?
  • What is the expected heat output in MJ per kg of nickel consumed?
--Tweenk (talk) 20:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
The most likely reaction I'd postulate is (confusion) plus (claim) → (money and fame). At least it rhymes. Would you like to put this in the article as a hypothesis? Rights have hereby been released.
Really, Tweenk, you suggest I propose a reaction mechanism for a reported reaction that has no accompanying data showing much of anything, no independent confirmation, almost zero evidence aside from the claim of excess heat in some inadequately supervised demonstrations, that show, carefully analyzed, that maybe there is excess heat, maybe even significant heat, but maybe there is error and maybe there is deliberate fraud (which is almost impossible to rule out without truly independent testing)?
There is no quantitative data, showing heat/product, which would allow judging a reaction possibility. All we have is some very anecdotal and untrustworthy demonstrations of unexplained heat, with a vague claim of significant copper in what remains in the device. After how long and how much energy release, and how much original material being lost? Look, with far, far better data available on ordinary PdD cold fusion, the mechanism still is not known, after more than twenty years. The ash is known, it's helium. And the energy released is consistent with the unusually high value for helium formation from deuterium, 24 MeV/He-4. Which means?
However, I could answer your question differently. What did Rossi claim about copper, specifically? I don't remember, because it didn't seem important to me. The first question with Rossi is whether or not there is the heat that he claims. If there is, then the other data we'd need, to look for possible mechanisms, becomes a matter of interest, and also any prompt radiation (which data Rossi has actively concealed). I could look it up, but I can't be arsed, looking up the claims of someone who is known to claim a lot of things with little or no basis. So what?
Tweek, I know you are testing what I know, so let me be quite explicit here. I've read expert discussion of the transmutation claim, on a private list for CMNS researchers, and I consider practically all of it premature, as do many of the experts. It doesn't matter. Hence I haven't remembered it, and I'm not going to look it up just to pretend I keep every crappy and unfounded claim in my mind. I don't. If the excess heat claim is confirmed, and if quantitative data becomes available, then, sure, it will be very interesting.
Again, I could do the math for a particular reaction, to calculate expected Q from mass deficit, and, again, I can't be arsed, because it's completely irrelevant to the question before us, which is about this supernova nonsense. If you want to ask these questions about deuterium and helium, in palladium deuteride experiments, and there is some need, I can answer, because it's crucial in the field and there is real experimental evidence available. We aren't there yet, or are we? --Abd (talk) 22:43, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
That'll be "no" in six paragraphs, then. Argumentum ad tl;dr is not convincing - David Gerard (talk) 08:09, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Typical Wikipedian snark. Tweenk asked some questions to test my knowledge. I could answer the questions briefly with a few minutes of research. They are irrelevant questions, but simply saying so wouldn't accomplish Tweenk's goal. Now, my answers test Tweenk, in turn. Your participation here is completely useless, David. All you did was add bullshit to the article and revert war to keep it in. I put text in the article that I can source, skeptical text, you removed it with no comment in your revert, that's why it's a "blind revert." Now, if I had time I'd do something about this. I don't. Tweenk, thanks for engaging. Your wiki, folks. Over. --Abd (talk) 14:53, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Let's refocus to "PdD cold fusion" then. Was there any gamma radiation or only a heat effect?
I can't determine whether you are trying to squash some minor flaw in the argument against Rossi or whether you do not agree with the crux of it, that Rossi is, without a shred of doubt, a fraud. It would help if you kept your responses short and focused. --Tweenk (talk) 22:35, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Rossi is likely a fraud, in some way, my opinion, but that does not mean that everything he says or reports is false. Some scientists familiar with NiH (Rossi is not the first to report anomalous heat from NiH) say that he may indeed have found something. I've seen no proof either way, but plenty of cause for high suspicion.
What I'm trying to "squash" here is, yes, a flaw in an argument. It's not minor, but even if it were, so what?
The article should cover the coulomb barrier issue thoroughly, and mention that the barrier is truly enormous for NiH.
With PdD cold fusion, i.e, the Fleischmann-Pons heat effect, no significant radiation is detected. However, there is not "only a heat effect." Helium is also detected (and confirmed) in quantities proportional to the anomalous heat, at roughly the right value for deuterium fusion to helium. That's an experimental fact. --Abd (talk) 02:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

This article needs to foreground...[edit] clear, layperson-friendly terms, some of the basic stakes of the debate/topic in the intro section. As it is, I read the first paragraphs and I have no idea why I should give a shit about any of what follows. P-Foster Talk ""Santorum is the cream rising to the top."" 16:42, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

We'll get there. Right now, I'm having enough difficulty removing blatant nonsense and error from the article.
Briefly, though, if low-energy nuclear reactions are possible, and if they can be made practical and reliable -- that's two ifs that are often confused -- then a new source of energy becomes available. I'll be showing that the state of the research in the field indicates that the reaction behind the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect involves the fusion of deuterium to helium, with very little radiation and practically no radioactive products. That leads to an eventual possibility of abundant, clean power.
Since RationalWiki is not about Energy Dreams for the Future, however, the topic is of interest because it's an example of a reversal of scientific consensus, in process over the last few years. At least that's how I see it; obviously, others may disagree. I suggest we look at the evidence, eh? --Abd (talk) 17:17, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

I've rewritten the intro given this concern. P-Foster, your thoughts? - David Gerard (talk) 22:49, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I doubt that answered his concern. If what you wrote there was true, then why should we care at all? However, you're just repeating bullshit that you heard and want to continue believing. It's fine as snark, as long as you don't mind being snarky and self-assured stupid at the same time. --Abd (talk) 03:22, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Recent publication[edit]

From a section above

Can you direct us to recent/current peer-reviewed research at major universities or other research centers that take the topic as a serious topic of scientific inquiry? 'Cause that's pretty much the standard 'round these parts. P-Foster ... 16:21, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Preferably without being nebulous and long-winded? I checked out this Dieter Britz guy (mentioned above) and look what I found. Seems odd to me that the amount of papers has dropped off to almost nothing, which is the opposite of what I would expect for a subject that yields actual results. CowHammer ... 16:30, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The most comprehensive review of the field published in recent years is "Status of cold fusion (2010)," Edmund Storms, Naturwissenschaften, October, 2010.[5] preprint It's unchallenged in the peer-reviewed literature, so far. I do know that rebuttals are being submitted, but they are not passing peer review, apparently. I found about nineteen reviews of the field, published under peer review or in the academic press, since 2005, and not including an issue of JSE, which I won't consider mainstream.[6] The skeptical position is almost totally silent. Except, of course, on blogs, etc., which apparently we prefer to use as a source for the article.

The Dieter Britz charts make it look like publication has disappeared. That's because the field truly exploded in 1989-1990, with huge numbers of failed replication attempts or hasty explorations. Thus the plot can't show a more normal publication rate as anything that looks more than pathetic. In addition, Britz hasn't compiled his data for 2011 and 2012. No, publication has not ceased. The nadir was something like 2005, when publication rate in what he covers (peer-reviewed journals, generally) hit a bottom of about 6 papers per year. It's roughly quadrupled since then.

Most continuing work in the field is investigational, it's been that way for years, and it's published either as conference papers or in specialized journals that we wouldn't consider mainstream. But there are serious theoretical papers being accepted under peer-review, for example, in mainstream journals. --Abd (talk) 17:42, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The same guy is enthusiastically plugging Rossi here. The comments below contain no science, but a lot of conspiracy-mongering. Despite 22 years of work, the field has failed to produce a single standardized setup that consistently shows the claimed effect. Yet only 17 years after nuclear fission was discovered, it powered a submarine. --Tweenk (talk) 23:15, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
This is rational argument? Ad hominem. Comments on what amount to a blog "contain no science." (What does that mean? I saw some reference to science there, and a lot of uninformed opinion, which is what we see on blogs.) --Abd (talk) 02:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The rational argument is this: there is a continuing failure to find a setup that consistently (nearly 100% of the time) reproduces the supposed effect. Even the "recent publication" you cited mentions that the great majority of papers fail to obtain excess heat. The primary research effort should be on improving reproducibility. Instead, the cold fusion people live in some fantasy where their field has imminent practical applications. This is a telltale sign of crankery. --Tweenk (talk) 22:10, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
That's a misreading of the study. There were many papers considered "negative" by Britz, published in the first year. Nearly all recent publication is "positive." Over the 23 years, there are more positive papers than negative, by a large margin. Research has been aimed at improving reliability, but also at increasing the amplitude of the effect. A Chinese review (2007, mainstream peer-reviewed) found major research groups around the world now reporting 100% of cells showing excess heat. (With thousands of runs involved, as I recall) Heat still widely varies quantitatively. It's largely a materials problem. The FPHE does not appear except in palladium loaded to or above about 90%. Before the work of Pons and Fleischmann, 70% was considered a normal maximum, and P & F did not announce higher loading as a requirement. (I don't know if they actually knew this, the numbers are from later research.) Getting 90% was quite difficult, and the early negative replications didn't get more than about 70%, from what is known. (They often did not bother to determine the loading.)
Nobody working in the field, as a scientist, thinks there are immediate practical applications. So that characteristic of "crankery" is simply made-up. But someone might get lucky, in which case practical applications might be a few years away. I'm now seeing experimental work that is quantitatively controlled, to high accuracy, and it might be published within a year, but it still has no immediate practical applications, other than making research into the mechanism easier (and the work was done following certain theories, so there are theoretical implications). PdD cold fusion is almost inherently impractical, because of the expense of palladium and poisoning effects. That's why there is such interest in NiH, and if Rossi isn't a total fraud (long-shot!), then practical applications are almost here. While I'm quite prepared to argue that PdD cold fusion is a real effect, and that it is actually fusion, but all bets are off if it's NiH. The evidence is nowhere near as solid. Rossi's work is not science, he explicitly disparages controls, there is no publication of adequate information allowing replication, etc. --Abd (talk) 15:39, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
"Over the 23 years, there are more positive papers than negative" - it might be because the percentage of cranks in the field is increasing.
"A Chinese review (2007, mainstream peer-reviewed)..." - a link would be useful. Unless it's in Chinese.
"Nobody working in the field ... thinks there are immediate practical applications" - I had a different impression when skimming the interview with Storms about Rossi. The article you linked in the section "trolling for trolls" also mentions that there are people searching for practical applications. --Tweenk (talk) 22:49, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Tweenk. As to the issues you raise:
  • (Re % of cranks.) Possibly, but if you look at the lists of papers, that theory doesn't hold water. You just made it up. However, this much is true about it: in order to continue working with cold fusion, you had to be willing to stand out from the crowd, and to buck widespread opinion. Cranks are more likely to do that, but cranks aren't ordinarily publishing in peer-reviewed journals. There are crank presentations at cold fusion conferences, I've seen them. The cold fusion community, because it has been so widely ridiculed, is, no surprise, fairly tolerant. But that doesn't mean you can get total crankery published in the Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, or in the American Chemical Society's LENR Sourcebook, there had better be some real science involved.
  • He, J., Nuclear fusion inside condense matters. Front. Phys. China, 2007. 1: p. 96-102.. It would be some difficulty for me to find my copy of this paper, but Jed Rothwell (he showed up here some time ago) quotes some data from it.Comment May 29, 2009, at 6:22 PM.. As I recall, it shows, for recent results, 100% of cells at some level of excess heat. Personally, I think that is not typical of the field. For example, a 2008 paper by McKubre in the ACS LENR Sourcebook shows, for the SRI work, replicating Energetics Technologies' approach, 14 out of 23 cells with clear excess heat (5% - 300%), and for ENEA, Frascati, six cells with high excess power (24% - 7000%). Unfortunately, and this is way too common in the field, the number of lower-heat or zero-heat results from ENEA are not shown. To make the picture clearer, SRI measured D/Pd ratios for the cells. There is a clear correlation between the ratio attained and whether or not excess heat was found. One cell was an exception, it reached 0.971, higher than any other cell, but only showed 1% excess heat. (From prior work, calorimetry noise might be about 0.5%).
  • The variability is typical of most cold fusion results, until very recently. The cause is reasonably well-known, uncontrolled nanostructure of the palladium, which shifts during the experiment, particularly at the surface, which is where the effect probably is sited. --Abd (talk) 00:43, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "No immediate applications" refers to mainstream PdD work, and everything pre-Rossi on NiH. Read what I wrote about Rossi! I've had extensive discussions with Storms about this. Everyone knows that Rossi looks like a total con, but Storms, and a few others in the field, perhaps with extensive knowledge of prior NiH work (which would include Storms), think that, even if Rossi is exaggerating or otherwise deceptive, he's found something. And if Rossi's heat is real, and not fraudulent, even if exaggerated, it changes things. I warned Storms and others not to validate Rossi without far better evidence. These are scientists, though, and, as such, tend to take "experimental reports" at face value. they are accustomed to being charged with fraud, themselves, witness what was said here at first! Rossi is not a scientist, but is working with one or two, so .... bottom line, Rossi is claiming, and purporting to demonstrate, something so different from what everyone else has found that it's shaky to connect this with the whole field. Most CF researchers are highly skeptical of Rossi.
There is a lot of garbage out there about Rossi. Came across this from CBS News. Very sloppy, full of errors, it might be fun to point them out. But the interview with Hagelstein I found useful, and it matches what I know directly from him and others in the field. Notice that Hagelstein is careful and hedges his comments on Rossi. He's really just speaking against knee-jerk rejection of what he knows is widely confirmed. But Rossi isn't confirmed by anyone who has published. Rossi has held demonstrations that have been observed, and those demonstrations always left a great deal to be desired, with mechanisms for major error being very possible, even likely, plus some signs of possible fraud, plus secrecy, and no independent, unmanaged demonstrations are public. --Abd (talk) 00:43, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The thing this article is really missing is a section on the cold fusion cranks themselves, their pseudo-journals and so forth. (Fortunately, it appears a lot of useful material for such is being posted to the talk page.) Someone noted on the to do list that the cold fusion thing at Wikipedia needed documenting as well, that'd be a subsection of a piece on the personalities - David Gerard (talk) 23:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Great idea. Huizenga called cold fusion the "scientific fiasco of the century, but coverage of it on Wikipedia has been very weak. However, David, do you think that Naturwissenschaften is a "pseudo-journal"?
The field mostly was published in chemistry journals, because ... it's done with chemistry! Papers attempting to explain the effect continue to be written by physicists, but cold fusion, so far, is entirely out of the experience and expertise of nuclear physicists. It's now showing up in encyclopedias and textbooks, though. Want some references?
"Cold fusion" is a term for the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect,which is heavily confirmed. Is it actually "fusion"? The review I cited says, yes, is, but mechanism is still not specified and Storms doesn't know what it is. There are lots of other theories, but "stupidity" is not among them, not in the journals, anyway. If it's chemistry, it's damned unusual chemistry. Cold fusion is not pseudoscience, that's just silly polemic. The Heat Effect is measured by long-known and understood methods, and belief that there wasn't any anomalous heat was just reasoning from conclusions. It's falsifiable. It's quantifiable, and the effect doesn't disappear with increased measurement accuracy. And helium is correlated. This isn't some vague imagined connection, it's solid. But you are free to continue to believe whatever your religion requires, evidence apparently is of no interest to you. --Abd (talk) 02:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Pseudojournal. The only one I know of is Journal of Nuclear Physics, which is operated by Rossi, and the home page calls it a blog. But it also makes the claim that All the articles published on the Journal Of Nuclear Physics are Peer Reviewed. The Peer Review of every paper is made by at least one University Physics Professor. Yup. Pseudojournal, all right. I do see, there, some papers by some recognized experts (such as Kim of Purdue University), but I have no idea what that means.
There is another journal in the field, the Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, published by the International Society for CMNS. While it's a specialized journal, obviously, it's reasonably legitimate, and papers are reviewed, it has a editor-in-chief, who is a scientist, and a real editorial board with six of the most well-known scientist-researchers in the field. It does not only publish positive results; for example, vol. 5, 2011, included a "replication failure" by Kowalski et al, reporting an attempt to replicate Oriani's published work finding radiation in the headspace of electrolytic cells. A tragic case, that, I could have warned them. Oriani's claim of a replicable experiment was defective on the face. It was a variation of the old error of "I did something and something unusual happened, therefore ..." with no careful controls. Major clue: Oriani's work purported to show an effect from electrolysis, but Oriani himself said, Kowalski told me, that the current didn't matter. Really? No variation with current? Okay, to be fair, maybe there is a threshold and all experiments were above it. However, Kowalski, working with the cooperation of Oriani, found nothing other than some isolated anomalies. No pattern.
There are many other publications that cover cold fusion, but they don't pretend or claim to be peer-reviewed. That would include Infinite Energy, which publishes lots of weird energy stuff, various smaller publications, and New Energy Times, an on-line news journal run by Steve Krivit, another ... figure in the field. Not a scientist, a "journalist", and generally considered within the field to be on the yellow edge. But he's well-known, and has done some serious writing, for serious mainstream publications. You can count on Krivit to come up with the latest poop on Rossi, Rossi called him a "snake" because Krivit didn't swallow Rossi BS. Krivit, however, has jumped on a particular theory bandwagon, Widom-Larsen theory, and doesn't have the science background to understand the issues, and, because the real research results in the field don't appear to confirm that theory, Rossi has attacked every error he could find in some of the best cold fusion work, both real (and minor) errors and imaginary ones (and Krivit has come up with some real bloopers.) And Krivit doesn't publish the very substantial criticism of his pet theory, only shallow explanations. --Abd (talk) 01:33, 1 March 2012 (UTC)