Is it possible to get an answer as to why Jed Rothwell's answer to this question: What are the challenges to achieving cold fusion? was deleted?

I am sure that this is somewhat borderline, since the web page is his own, and there might be some conflict of interest, but in cases where you have hundreds of papers ignored by the mainstream community, with obvious political pressure you can feel, and no sound arguments beyond nonsense estimates from idiots, I think one must bend over backwards to avoid censorship and let people get heard (and perhaps downvoted, but that doesn't matter) without politics getting in the way.

One must be mindful that censorship is the enemy of science. The question is: is it appropriate to delete Rothwell's answer? Perhaps it may be undeleted?

  • $\begingroup$ I tried to find out who "community" is, it's some sort of bot. I think this was bot-deleted, for being from a new user, and being at -3. Is that true? $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Nov 4 '12 at 5:59

Deletion by Community indicates that it was automatically removed due to spam or offensive flags (in this case likely the former). The answer could be reposted if Jed makes it clear that he is linking to his own site.

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    $\begingroup$ He said "I run a site..." at the beginning of the answer, it wasn't disguised. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Nov 4 '12 at 14:55

I've asked on the moderator's chat group about the handling of requests to undelete material that was killed by spam flags, and the consensus seems to be that the default answer is "No.", and that exceptions should be made only for answer that clearly add a lot of value to site.

Jed's answer is little more than a link, and such answers are mostly discouraged in any case, so I'm going to leave things as they are.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not so terrible in terms of censorship, because I incorporated his answer into my own, so no text was lost. But Jed is a fantastic resource, as he has shown the capacity to maintain scientific integrity through trying circumstances for decades without any renumeration and with no motivation other than scientific honesty. In that, he is a model scientist, and I hope he can be given some rep and encouraged to stay. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Nov 5 '12 at 20:29

To start with the closed answer to the question should be reopened. I would have given a + to get it out of the danger zone ( if it happens automatically) but was asleep at the time.

I checked the list, not in depth. The papers in the usual journals for physics were theoretical papers. I did not find experimental papers except within their inner circle of conference publications. ( I may be wrong, and if you can give a link to a Nuclear Physics B or physics letters etc I will read it carefully).

I accept that the field has been painted with a "crackpot physics" brush and it will be hard for an experimentalist to publish in the usual journals. That is why it is important not to censor the subject in this forum. An open mind to sincere search should be kept.

I was around when cold fusion hit the news. I do not know an experimental physicist in my institute who did not drop everything and start to read about this for a few days. Some even experimented. People were excited and then felt let down, and turned against it when it was not consistently repeatable ( a lynch pin of experimental physics) and the energies not commensurate with fusion energies, though larger than run of the mill. I believe this disappointment is what turned the crowd against research in this field, and not the lack of theories.

As I said in my answer there are now two commercial products down the pipe. If they are selling snake oil, it will become evident soon. If it is gold ( and better) that will also be transparent and a lot of people will eat their hats. Let us not make this site a hat eating site :).

  • $\begingroup$ The physics journals (and Arxiv) reject all cold fusion papers as a matter of policy, they don't send them to referees. The theory papers (that are sometimes in the big journals) are total nonsense, the experimental papers are the only ones that are important. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Nov 4 '12 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ That is what I thought. It is a failure of the system of peer review. Nevertheless until that is bridged, or Rossi and Defkalion solve our energy problems, the run of the mill physicist will be skeptical. $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '12 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ It means you have to be a little more skeptical re design, and read carefully to see if there is a major error and reproductions. But this is not necessary for the SPAWAR group, where they published in peer review journals (the co-deposition process made it that it didn't obviously look like cold fusion), and it is trivial to do for Arata's stuff (which has absolutely no source of error one needs to worry about, it's just gas loading and thermometers.) Pons and Fleischmann's papers are generally excellent, and the political criticism of them comes from brain-stem and no cerebrum. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Nov 4 '12 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ Also, don't think Rossi is doing anything other than fraud piggy-backing on the legitimate cold-fusion folks. He is misting water and claiming to vaporize it! He is looking for investors through front companies in the US. He lies about where he is (he said he had a unit working for a year heating his office, he doesn't, he won't show it to anybody else, he claimed to roll out a plant last year, he didn't). His setup is Ni-H (no fusion potential, but this is theoretical) and observers have detected obvious signs of scam, like him sending "fusion products" for analysis that were crap. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Nov 4 '12 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ "To start with the question should be reopened." Er....it was. Days ago. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Nov 4 '12 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee sorry I meant the answer to the question.will edit $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '12 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon there was a Nasa scientist working with Ni $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '12 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon I would like to reproduce the experiment shown in the video of dust fusion vimeo.com/38731566 but I need my microwave and at these economical straights in Greece it is not a time to buy new ones :). If there is no sleight of hand there or photoshopping it is indisputable. $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 4 '12 at 15:19

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