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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

189 - yet more correspondence

Dear Reader,

For the purists among you - here's more detail on the correspondence with one of our local editors. It's a mild variation on others and therefore relevant. It's all so sad.

Dear *****,

This is the 'write up' that I'm offering just to help you all focus on the appropriate points. Obviously you are free to use any or all of this as you wish. My overriding interest that this news is put out there. It will put paid to any need for nuclear expansion which may be a good thing.

I'm systematically sending it out to all our local papers in the interest of spreading the word.

Kindest regards,
Rosemary Ainslie

(I'll spare you all a reprint of this. It's already posted here)Focardi and Rossi are producing generators for sale that are capable of delivering Megawatts of energy – at a fraction of the cost of our grid suppliers......

Hello Rosemary

Thanks for your mail.
The reluctance of the media more or less reflects the scepticism which cold fusion has generated.
I don’t count on Wikipedia to deliver unremitting veracity, but I think it is a good guide and the following does, I think, provide the context for understanding this scepticism:

Hello *****,

I actually took the trouble to forward that precise link to *******. I'm well aware of it. May I, by the same token, refer you to the work of our Nobel Laureate Professor Emeritus - David Josephsson. He and many other academics are in open support of cold fusion.

Here's the thing. The minute you have a technology that is available for sale - as is this e-cat - then you have achieved the following. It's efficacy and safety must be established - unequivocally - and it falls under the protection of global consumer acts all over the world. Therefore it cannot be a 'scam'. Then too - there is a published paper on a replication of an earlier (pre-production) by some highly respected academics at the universities of Bologna and Siena - respectively.

The only thing that mitigates against this is technology is that it hasn't been incorporated into the standard model. It is not strictly nuclear as there's no evidence of that required radioactive waste that would prove this. And there is no chemical interaction known that can account for it. But bear in mind. Our Wright brothers were flying their planes when our academics were publishing the 'impossibility of heavier than air flight'. The Wright brothers won that argument. Hands down. It won't be the first time that - historically - our academics have 'limped' behind a new technology.

But - more to the point is this. Eskom claim they are unaware of it. I've also taken the trouble to phone those many academics that I keep pestering. They have none of them heard of this. Isn't that the job of the media? To offer up the news and then afford the expert comment. It seems that the relationship has now changed somewhat. The media are electing to promote the news that they prefer without any reference to the expert at all. It makes perfect sense to publish both sides of the story. It makes no sense to publish neither. The more so as - in the very real likelihood that this technology actually works as claimed - then we've got a solution to the rather toxic wastes of our conventional energy supplies. At it's least the entire future of the planet rather depends on this kind of story being told. Golly.

I am well aware of the fact that this is not likely to advance the best interests of those in Eskom and those in our Government who are actively advancing that nuclear expansion program. But again. They too need to be alerted to this development. Else we'll all be gridlocked into an antiquated technology before it's even started. Frankly I can see no justifications AT ALL in refusing to publish on this subject. And at the risk of regressing into an inappropriate moral high ground - on this matter - it has the general appearance of a conspiracy to co-operate with that appalling intention of our Department of Energy to squander our tax money and our futures on something that is quite simply NOT required.

And may I refer you to my blogspot where the last few posts are exclusively about this.
Kindest regards,

Hello Rosemary

I hear you … but, various things.

First, conspiracy theory always fails on the grounds of its essential optimism, the optimism that the world is explicable and functions rationally. It doesn’t.
Newspapers are incurably fractious institutions in which it is almost impossible to guarantee agreement on anything. Universally, newspapers function by what I am almost inclined to think of as a natural law, and it is simply stated: news is what is new. Thus, for instance, a Fresnaye child winning a violin competition in Salzburg would merit page three or page five. A Khayelitsha child winning the same competition would be guaranteed front page treatment. A gang shoot-out in Lavender Hill that claims three men’s lives would be page three; a gang shoot-out in Bishops Court would be the front page lead. Ten thousand die in a monsoon … a filler on the world page. Twenty five Londoners die in Thames flood – front page.
And so it goes.
These general rule frustrates the best efforts of the journalist or editor of proprietor who wishes to propound a view or back an industry or silence a line of reasoning.

But, importantly, a newspaper, because it is only really reflecting what is new or old hat in the society in which it functions will also broadly reflect the values of the society it serves. A good idea has to be a generally accepted good idea for it to gain any traction as news. We could suggest, for instance, that pubs be closed on weekends, the speed limit reduced to 40km/h and driving licences issued only to people of 30 and up – which all might be excellent ideas for reducing the appalling carnage on our roads – and they will rejected as laughable.

I know this last is not a good analogy … but there is actually something hugely complex in the fact that a revolutionary idea has to be thoroughly workable, proven and – this is important – accessible before it can hope to gain news traction.
As things stand, cold fusion does not meet these requirements. It will enjoy some attention once every three years – and whenever someone important does something related to it, or says something newsworthy – but the mere existence of a putative alternative electricity source with untold benefits is not going to generate much public excitement.

A few years ago – a decade ago, actually – an uncle of mine berated me for the fact that the ***** was not reporting Aids and its dangers on the front page every day, with banner headlines. It’s that important, he kept telling me. And my answer? My answer was, it would be the front page lead every day if this society believed it was that important. But this society doesn’t. We all get on with our lives. We yawn at the very thought of a well-meaning 1 000-word opinion piece on HIV/Aids.

So the real issue is not Eskom and its profits, or the government, or the media … the real issue is the public, the society. I can tell you, if ordinary people were really exercised about cold fusion, this would register in our politics, in our media and in our marketplace. The fact that some promising experiments have been carried out with extraordinary results has been reported on; if nothing further comes of it, there’s not a lot newspapers can do about that.

I hope this helps explain how we react the way we do. (Most people in any given newsroom lean to the left; they are generally ill-disposed to the powerful, in the market as much as in politics – they lost no opportunity to knock the mighty. But they have an acute intuition about what the battle amounts to, and how it’s fought and – rarely – won).

All best

Here's your own criterion - ENTIRELY SATISFIED.

"… but there is actually something hugely complex in the fact that a revolutionary idea has to be thoroughly workable, proven and – this is important – accessible before it can hope to gain news traction."

Therefore, your argument is somewhat spurious. Had it not been available for sale - with the required contractual agreements - determined and well defined - then it would be an entirely different matter.

It would be nice if you could actually even put this to the vote with your own staff. I know that those I've spoken to are more than sympathetic to getting this news out. Else the day will come, with respect, that your own readers will want to know why you've put a gag on this.

Kindest as ever,