The Slow Pace of Technological Progress (Guest Post by Billy Jackson)

The following post has been submitted by Billy Jackson

The Slow Pace of Technological Progress

“When the Wright Brothers first began seriously thinking about the challenge of manned flight, their only goal was the notoriety that would come from being the first ones to solve the problem.  Soon, they came to realize that flying held a commercial promise as well.  In March of 1903, prior to adding propulsion to their machine, the brothers applied for a United States patent to cover the 1902 glider design. That patent, would not be granted until 1906.  Not wanting to publicly demonstrate their flying machine, for fear of being copied by others, the brothers knew that without practical demonstrations and widespread publicity, any thought of commercial sales would be impossible.  Many potential buyers, upon hearing stories about a manned flying machine, simply did not believe the claims as real.” (Gary Palamara)

The Wright Brothers story has a uncanny resemblance to the story of Andrea Rossi and the E-cat. Simple bicycle shop repairmen were not scientists. Their findings, their stories, and their claim was seen at best as laughable. Despite demonstrations, accredited attestations, and repeated reports of success, they faced continued resistance of acceptance by the skeptical who knew powered flight was impossible.

The Phone, the Radio, the Automobile, the Airplane. Placing your cellphone in your pocket, sitting at home watching TV, driving down the road listening to the radio, or quietly watching an on-board movie aboard a 747, These are things we take for granted without thought. These technologies have existed in our lives since most of us were born. Yet once this was not always so.

Apple just recently announced that it sold over 10 million of its latest iPhones in just its opening weekend. You may be shocked to know that it took 75 years for the first phones to reach 50 million users. It took the Radio 38 years to reach the same point. Television took 13 years. The automobile, invented in the 1870’s,had only reached about 8000 operational vehicles in the early 1900’s. It was not until Henry Fords application of the assembly line that automobiles reached 2 million users by 1915 — a process that took nearly 45 years to reach even a very small user base. Its adoption rate, while popular, was slow — yet continued to grow. It was in 1956, when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act and creating more than 42,500 miles of highway across the nation that the automobile became the main source of transportation for the general population in the United States.

The Third Part Report on the E-cat released October 8th 2014 has come and gone. It has both answered some questions and brought with it more. Unarguably it has concluded as a successful test. Only the most ardent of skeptics who are sticking to stories of collusion and incompetence remain in dispute over the findings. I personally find the attacks on the testers, scientists and professionals in their fields to be detestable, yet we must reluctantly agree that the skeptical bring at least a few points that deserve honest recognition.

1. Rossi must not be near or attached to any test to prevent the tainted accusation of tampering.

2. A 2nd team of separate scientists for a T.I.P. Report unconnected with the first party to compare results and remove accusations of collusion.

3. Professional management of the project. To document, lead, supervise and prepare all steps of a conclusive report to eliminate gaps or holes left unaddressed by the T.I.P.

* (personal request) I personally would like to see one known, yet honest skeptic on the team report his or her findings at the conclusion of said test.

True world changing technologies come about rarely. They are adopted even slower. Do not be discouraged at the pace of progress, it is inevitable, for even the mightiest dam can seem indomitable until you hear the sound of cracking concrete.

Thank you,

Billy Jackson

http://www.garypalamara.com/Articles_USAFM%20Wright%2002.htm
http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/briefing/technology/tech.pdf
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/cars-dominant-form-transportation2.htm

  • Andreas Moraitis

    German Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1912:

    „The car has no future. I’m putting my money on the horse.”

    http://www.stuttgart-buch.de/pdf/010-011_1886_en.pdf

    • timycelyn

      “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”
      – Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859), Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London. {Looks like those whjo gaze at the sky seem doomed to lose the plot from time to time….]

      Or, somewhat longer but very evocative of the noises coming from the skeps:

      “A new source of power… called gasoline has been produced by a Boston engineer. Instead of burning the fuel under a boiler, it is exploded inside the cylinder of an engine.
      The dangers are obvious. Stores of gasoline in the hands of people interested primarily in profit would constitute a fire and explosive hazard of the first rank. Horseless carriages propelled by gasoline might attain speeds of 14 or even 20 miles per hour. The menace to our people of vehicles of this type hurtling through our streets and along our roads and poisoning the atmosphere would call for prompt legislative action even if the military and economic implications were not so overwhelming… [T]he cost of producing [gasoline] is far beyond the financial capacity of private industry… In addition the development of this new power may displace the use of horses, which would wreck our agriculture.”

      – U. S. Congressional Record, 1875.

      And many more. if you want to see how skeps and pseudo skps go way back – they pobably even had an excellent reason why banging two rocks together would be doomed to failure – try visiting ‘It’ll never work..’ at :

      https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/neverwrk.htm

      • psi2u2

        Quite an impressive quotation.

      • GreenWin

        There seems to be a bottomless pit of “Dumb Things Smart People Say.” It makes humans look kinda dumb.

  • AlbertNN

    By now there has been at least two errors found in the report, which both are serious if it is to be taken as a scientific publication. One is the use of a measurement instrument outside its calibrated range for documentation, the other being a misuse of Kirchoff’s law.
    I can’t see that pointing out these errors is detestable, as it is a classic step in doing science. Criticism is an important part of refining experiments and theories.

    • Freethinker

      Those are not errors, they are opinions.

    • Billy Jackson

      AlbertNN i agree with you about criticism. but your doing what you should be doing. you’re pointing out flaws in the report that you feel needs to be addressed, you are debating the science of the report. all those things are great. what i find detestable is the accusations of intentional fraud, or that the scientists are all incompetent and cant read a simple meter right..

      • Barry Kort

        In my own occasional reviews of the literature in Cold Fusion, I found a variety of errors (mainly in the energy budget models) that ranged from gross to subtle. As I see it, there is no utility to alleging fraud, when one can suss out correctable errors that can be forthrightly addressed in subsequent evaluations.

        Beyond that, my other concern (and this extends to all of science, not just CF) is the propensity to depart, however inadvertently, from the protocols of the scientific method. A few years ago, I interviewed Edmund Storms and discovered that he was interpreting and applying the scientific method in a manner that departed from my understanding. See my informal write-up here.

  • Mark

    Perhaps I should post a link to a snarky comment that I posted on a UFO website some years back:

    http://forum.podcastufo.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=306

  • Ophelia Rump

    An excellent bit of writing Billy, but I have to disagree with your belief that science will even get the further opportunity to test the device, unless they buy one to test with.

    I do Hope that IH will make reactors available for educational and research purposes. Perhaps they will sell operational bench models with the necessary ports built in. Then there will be no difficulties with replication.

    • Donk970

      It wouldn’t be the first time a company with a legitimate product took way longer to market than expected. I worked for a company a few years back that was constantly underestimating how long it would take to finish product. The sales guys were running the company and just couldn’t stop making promises they couldn’t keep. The company had a good product and eventually did ship product but not before disappointing a lot of potential customers.

      • Ophelia Rump

        They are already in market.

        • winebuff67

          Where!?!?!?

    • Billy Jackson

      I do not disagree with that Ophelia. Rossi still has the ability to cut science out of the loop and just go strait market forces. It seems to be his intention at the moment. yet sooner or later pressure will build again and the device will be tested, even if its after its on sale.

    • winebuff67

      Miss Rump they cant even put up a web site let alone produce proof of happy customers. U expect much more than they are willing to offer.

  • Ophelia Rump

    If all I ever got was heat and hot water, it would improve my standard of living considerably through savings. But yes I want to have a micro power generation investment in my home, making a profit for me and making life better for everyone.

    • winebuff67

      Ill take it for a water heater. That simple.

  • Ophelia Rump

    It is much easier to change something which already works, if you have correctly defined the operational requirements. Heat is heat, a housing, is just a housing.
    How many versions of the automobile have there been, anything which Detroit touches just magically works, do you find this troubeling?

  • Billy Jackson

    I am only say that it was around that time that cars became the main form of transportation over the train, and the bus. both long distance and local. the average user was still middle to upper class income, the car in every driveway was just starting.

  • GreenWin

    I don’t think that’s Billy’s goal. He’s trying to temper expectation. However as you point out, there is little reason why this technology will not follow the wireless phone model – replacing the general use of wired networks in the span of a single decade. With cities like Los Angeles and States like Arizona dying of thirst, someone will need to build massive desalination plants. Hey! What a concept. Replace the dying electric utilities with clean water industry. That’ll keep Fluor, Siemens, Bechtel, GE etc. busy for a century.

    • Billy Jackson

      For the first time ever most of us are being exposed to the side of research and development that has remained unseen. You didn’t see it on the local news, rarely was it reported by a major news network, and patent rejections were just plain not news.

      With the internet available to us we are able to follow on a “mostly” daily basis the progress of the e-cat. Expectations for the technology is high. a lot of people want it and see that we need it right now. the frustration of seeing set backs or disappointment in lack of progress is something that people have to learn to handle without getting angry or just throwing their hands up and quitting because nothing seems to be happening.

      These things were handled by researchers, scientist, Inventors and mechanics at almost all levels before they were approved or attained the funds and backing to go forward with their research or product.. just inventing something is not enough.. sometimes you gotta work to let people know its available.. and that takes time.

      GreenWin is correct about my goal for tempering expectations with this article. By pointing out some of the technologies most of us couldn’t imagine living without today.. It allows us to see that even these technologies didn’t become over night sensations with billions of devices in the first few years.

      The e-cat & LENR are progressing even if we dont get to see the day to day behind the scenes in Rossi’s or other labs across the world. We honestly have no clue how far along the progress is.

      As we have learned from the report Rumors lead to misinformation, repeat it enough and misinformation becomes “fact” Aka 6 month run time for the last test was actually 32 days. most of us were shocked to find out it was only 32 days.

      Questions were answered, new ones were raised. the story of LENR has a strong test now as standard for us to point at. Hot Nuclear didnt die over night with the report. cities didnt riot to get the e-cat, and frankly the world just kept turning regardless of the hopes, dreams, and expectations of the busy bodies running about its surface.

      Yet progress has been made. that progress will continue to march forward. For those thinking that change is not inevitable i simply point to the last 5000 years of our history and challenge you to sit and watch for a while change is about the only thing constant in our world 🙂

  • GreenWin

    “When will they ever learn?” Peter, Paul and Mary

  • Barry Kort

    With regard to errors in basic electrical engineering, I would appreciate your comments on a similar criticism leveled a few years ago at Mike McKubre’s work.

    Please see Analysis of AC Burst Noise in Cold Fusion Electrolytic Cells and let me know if your background in EE is deep enough to independently examine and review this analysis.

    With regard to this latest ECAT report, a number of reviewers independently discovered a serious error in the energy budget model. The experimenters assumed the heat could all be accounted for by an isothermal black body radiation model. But that model requires that the alumina case be 100% opaque. Unfortunately (as can be seen in the iconic photograph), the 3mm thick case is translucent, thus invalidating the black body radiation model. (Note that Mike McKubre was one of the reviewers who independently pointed this out.)

    Here is my summary of the gory details:

    Analysis of the Assumption of an Ideal Isothermal Black Body Radiation Model

    In the iconic photo of the device under test, one can see the apparatus with the red-hot glowing wires visible through the translucent 3mm thick alumina casing.

    This is a significant observation, because it’s the principle source of evidence that the thin alumina shell is translucent and not 100% opaque.

    Why does that matter? It matters because the IR camera equipment that is used to reckon the heat coming out of the device assumes that the alumina shell is an isothermal black body radiator operating at the emissivity of alumina at that temperature. But that conveniently simple energy budget model breaks down if the alumina casing is not 100% opaque. As can be seen in the photograph, some of the photons from the interior apparatus are being transmitted through the translucent shell, rather than being absorbed by it. When those directly transmitted photons impinge upon the IR camera, which is calibrated for the emissivity of alumina, the calculation model incorrectly assumes the alumina shell itself is glowing red hot in accordance with a black body radiation model. This results in a sizable systematic error in reckoning the heat being produced by the device.

    Imagine looking at an ordinary household light fixture with a typical translucent shade around the bulb. The filament inside the bulb is at an incandescent temperature, but it also has a very small surface area. When you look at the light fixture with the translucent shade in place, you see those same photons, but now they appear to come from the large surface of the translucent shade. If you imagine the shade to be the originating source of those photons, in accordance with a black body radiation model, you (incorrectly) deduce that the shade itself is glowing at that same incandescent temperature. Since the shade has orders of magnitude more surface area than the filament inside the light bulb, you end up concluding (incorrectly) that an enormous amount of heat is being produced.

    In short, the experimenters have to reckon the translucency of the 3mm alumina shell that encases the apparatus, and adopt a corresponding energy budget model. Since that’s not practical, they need to encase the entire apparatus in a fully opaque isothermal shell, so as to be able to properly apply their isothermal black body radiation measurement technique to the system.