Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

The sentiment I hear in this thread is like those that dismiss cold fusion. Sure, we can all make statements like "obviously, someone screwed up" but it is another thing entirely to have to the patience to simply cite the experiments that disprove the proposed effect. I don't know what to make of cold fusion, but I also know for a fact that neither do physicists, and instead of studying it, they're just simply saying because there is no theory it must not work. Same with this stuff.

The one YouTube guy discovered the beaded-chain lifting effect, and then it had to be studied to find out what was going on. Obviously that was an easily reproduced experiment.

So with this thing, we must find conclusively the unmeasured heat or ions or whatever and show a repeatable method for such mistakes. That is my opinion about science, of course I probably lost most scientists with my first sentence.




Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the history of physics is littered with intentional fraudsters and sloppy experimentalists. Disproving every perpetual motion machine via experiment would take a lot of effort from scientists who don't want to do it. If you think those experiments should be done, then by all means do them.


Fair enough, but the problem with perpetual motion stuff is that no energy can be extracted or the time until the device stops is very long, not that they don't do what people claim that they do, which is work more or less perpetually.

We need to find that kind of explanation for this supposed propulsion.


These devices work "more or less perpetually" the same way 1000.0f is "more or less infinite".


I upvoted you because you're right, but maybe you and I should take a few months off and time some of the better ones! Worthless machines but I've heard of some lasting a great deal of time.


Like many of these types of inquiry, the details matter. For example: cold fusion is real. It's just not terribly useful for powering a city. But you can use it as a neutron source for generating the short half-life radiological treatments for cancer [1].

For this drive, what we have is an experiment that begs a theory. There's something interesting going on, and so far it eludes easy explanations. Quite possibly we'll get an innovation out of it in experimental setup, or best case real, easily verifiable thrust is detected. Chances are there won't be any new physics, but rather a very clever engineering exploit of what was already known (but not properly applied).

Enjoy the failures in science; it means we're actually trimming the dead ends carefully instead of assuming all innovation is low hanging fruit. There's a lot of bunk out there, but there's also tons of neat edge cases to map out!

[1] A friend's husband works in one of those labs. I forget the mechanism at play (I think it was cavitation), but it was room temperature fusion generating neutrons. It'd never be self sustaining for power, but still incredibly useful.


>For example: cold fusion is real

You are probably referring to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor


People challenging the established, many-times-checked basics of a field need to bring some data.

Otherwise, by analogy, on Stack Overflow should we take each new programmer's statements at face value, without seeing their actual code or error messages, unless an experienced programmer has the patience to refute it individually?

It wouldn't fly here if it was an astonishing claim about gcc backed with no specific code or output.


Possibly... There should be more distributed participation instead of the small few that instantly dismiss questions as not worth the time.


The point is that when someone asks for code and output, the user with the anomaly either has to show some, or people give the question up as unresolvable. We need the data.

People don't just say 'well multiple teams have written code and gotten output that agrees with what I'm saying.' We need the actual information, not vague reports that a friend of a friend thinks there were test cases.


Oh yeah no totally. I mean, it is indeed difficult in those A/B problem situations where you don't even know enough to ask the proper question. Perhaps SO needs an army of question vetters, code experimenters, and educators?


Physicists didn't just dismiss and ignore cold fusion. It's been tested a lot, and it just doesn't work as originally described.

Likewise, the EmDrive is also being tested. So far it's pretty inconclusive and it looks likely to have a mundane explanation. But testing continues, so what exactly are you complaining about?


At the time of writing this, there seemed to be a majority of a hollow dismissal tone to most comments in the thread.


"HN commenters dismiss it" is pretty far from "physicists refuse to test it," especially when the dismissal is based on test results.


I guess I wanted to know more about cold fusion, and you have to be really careful because there is just so so much bullshit out there from scammer link spam people and UFO crazy people. Then, however, there are just tons of physicists using it as a punchline... so after you weed through all of that, you do get to some of the US Navy stuff, some of the real people doing the work, but even a video series about it from some MIT professors say that you can't just go around talking about it because it is career suicide.

Anyway... I started to hear some of that tone, and I guess I assume that there really are some physicists here on HN, and so I posted what I did.


I think that last part is where you've gone wrong. I'm sure you've seen discussions about computers in non-computer forums, where there's just an astonishing amount of cluelessness on display but the people don't know enough to realize they have it all wrong. It's likely the same here but in reverse. (And to be clear, I don't exclude myself from it at all.) I'm sure there are some actual physicists here, but most of the commenters are informed laymen, with all the good and bad that implies.


Yeah, you're probably right... thank you, heh.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: