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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Evening Wrap 5/28

Politics, music, a little about me, and cold fusion on the menu today.  I hope I cooked up some interesting stuff for you.  Be back again tomorrow.  Have a great evening, and thanks for coming by.

CSPAN Washington Journal: 2012 And The Youth Vote

Social issues surprise me. It goes to show you how much influence the left has on the youth. I shouldn't be surprised by this, I am definitely not a modern liberal. I know how much influence they have on the young because it worked on me. Unfortunately, by the time you figure it out, the damage is done.

Jobs are a big issue, of course. Shocking lack of basic skills.

Manfred Mann - Doo Wah Diddy

Not what I was looking for, but it will do.

Steve Miller Band- Fly like an Eagle

Maurice Davis Band- Not Tomorrow

Original composition, check it out

Stout and Schonfeld

I went to high school with these guys. Funny, they don't look so old here. Yuk, yuk

Sarah LaCroix's latest

She seems to have a new boyfriend or something like that

Spellfury new season

Looks like the first episode is out. I think this was a good job. Some folks may not agree, but they are being a bit too critical.

Here's a plug for the first season of Spellfury on DVD. First time ever for a song to be recorded by a Wooty.

Iran Angling for Helicopters With Nuke Capability

The use of nuclear devices by an Islamist terrorist group is one of the chief fears of Iran, a terrorist client state, becoming a nuclear power.

Based upon what I've learned about Thorium, the mere intention of getting nuclear power from uranium is suspicious, regardless of all denials.  There can be no peaceful intentions regarding uranium reactors.  In my opinion, the Iranians are up to no good.

Walk down Memory Lane

Did you know that here in Houston that there is such a street as Memory Lane?

But, I wasn't referring to that.  I was referring to the next big thing.  I wrote something on that way back in October.  It looks the same to me today as it did then.

Why should you read this blog?  Click this and see.

Morning Jay: There's a Bad Moon On the Rise

These farsighted few now see the bad moon rising over the nation's capitol, and they know it portends a dramatic, painful change in the way things work in D.C.

Key quote:
One way or the other, the country has voted for the status quo in just about every election for the last thirty years. What do they do when they realize that they can't vote for the same thing anymore?  

Obama 2012 Win a Sure Thing?

Bernard Goldberg thinks Obama has the cool factor in his favor.
Consider these four things that set President Obama apart from his likely Republican challengers: he’s young, he’s cool, he’s black and he’s liberal.
He may have something else on his side: luck.  Sometimes lady luck just beats everything.  It can also turn against you.  I think Hoover had bad luck.  If he had been elected president eight years earlier, he probably would have been remembered as a great president.

"Cold Fusion" Facts Page

Frequently Asked Questions About Low Energy Nuclear Reactions(part of the field of condensed matter nuclear science historically known as "cold fusion")

Pretty good summary of what is known.  However, it hasn't been updated since 2009.

Great Scott! This is heavy!

How many watts in a lightening bolt? In the movie, Back to the Future, it was supposed to be 1.21 gigawatts.

The wikipedia article says a bit less than that. Wikipedia expresses it in joules. One joule equal one watt, so 500 megajoules equals about half a gigawatt. Looks like Doc Brown was a little off.

If I have Volts, and I need eV, how do I get that?

eV is a unit of energy. It is exactly the amount of kineitic energy that one electron would obtain if it accelerated across one volt of potential difference. You do not convert eV to volts. You convert eV to joules.Since potential difference is defined as the energy per unit charge ratio you will get a unit of energy when you multiply a unit of charge times a unit of potential, hence "electron-Volt"; here the charge is the fundamental charge of the electron. A joule (unit of energy) is equivalent to a "coulomb-volt." Since 1.602 x 10^-19 coulombs is the charge of an electron, then 1eV = 1.602x10^-19 joules.

Assuming the above is correct, let's make some calculations, shall we?

A typical nuclear reaction releases millions of electron volts.  This sounds impressive, and is, but consider this on an atom by atom basis.  If only 1 atom has a nuclear event and releases about 1 million electron volts, how many watts is that?  Well, 1 joule equals 1 watt.  1 million electron volts = 10 ^6 times 1.6 x 10 ^-19 which equals only 1.6 x 10^-13 watts.  Not much energy from just one atom.  But there are many atoms.  How many?

Since there are 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd power atoms in one mole of any substance, and in the case of nickel, about 60 grams.   This reaction if carried through all of the atoms in 1 mole or 60 grams (approx) would yield approx 10 ^11 watts of energy.   Now that's a lot.

The foregoing discussion was not intended to show that a lot of energy can be obtained from a nuclear reaction.  That isn't new.  What is intended is to show that not that much energy is required to make a fusion happen on the atomic level.  Since fusion takes place in the stars at 100,000,000 million degrees Kelvin, this is equivalent to about 10,000 electron volts per atom.   If you had the control to deliver 10,000 electron volts to individual atoms, you can have enough energy for fusion.  The key word is control.  This is the key word in all fusion research, whether it is in a tokomak or a polywell or a deep plasma focus, or a star.  The method of control varies from system to system.  In stars, it is gravitation.  In most fusion devices, plasma is controlled by magnetism.  In a polywell, electrons are controlled with magnetism and the reactants are introduced after the energy potential has been achieved.  In "cold fusion", where's the control?  Is it chemical, or is it bypassed by quantum effects?  That's the question, I think.


This discussion is a lot like something I said before.

While I am at it, I want to link to other posts that were similar in some concept.

While I was looking for that, I found a video with this young lady saying that a gallon of water has the energy of 55 million miles.  And I thought it was only 25 million miles a gallon.
cold fusion: fire from water

" 'cold fusion' is a surface effect phenomenon"
Comment:  Surface effect phenomenon: how interesting.  Could there be spark gaps as in lightning or spark plugs, in which electrons build up, then leap across the gap after building up energy?  Enough energy for fusion?

catalysts for "cold fusion".  Is it a chemical process?

"palladium on activated carbon"
Without the catalyst, it doesn't work, says Dr. Les Case, retired chemical engineer.

Sir Arthur Clarke refers to it as "so called cold fusion"
discusses the history of the wright brothers and how their discovery was not believed for years.
 This is a "must see" video.  Don't miss it.

Morning Summary, 5/28

There was a drop in traffic yesterday.  Since I was gone for several hours doing an errand, one may conclude that this absence was the cause for less traffic.  That may be a problem for me, because I may not be able to stay at the computer all the time.  There are other things to do.  I want very much to increase my traffic, but there are limits to everything.  There's no money coming in from this blog and this blog takes time.  I've mentioned that fact from time to time- it is always on my mind.  Not to be complaining, but that is the reality of the situation.  If I was independently wealthy, it would be a different matter.

I continue because it pleases me and I am able to continue for now.  This may not always be the case.

I like to look into the truth of events.  About twenty years ago, I looked into the assassination of President Kennedy and the conspiracy theories surrounding the event.  Also, I looked into the 911 event, to look for a possible conspiracy there.  After 911, there was the war in Iraq, which stirred up a great deal of controversy as well.  I looked into that too.  This type of thing draws my attention.

Is there something political about this "cold fusion" controversy?  I think there could be.  For the reason of money and possible power as well.  If this "cold fusion" works, it could change the world.  That could be a problem for certain people who like things just as they are.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Evening Wrap 5/27

I think I've done enough posts for one day.  Thanks for coming by and have a good evening.

Staying at this later than usual

And frankly not finding much to write about.

One thing I'm looking at is this.  I'm not too familiar with this as I do not contribute anything to Wikipedia.  This kind of back and forth isn't very interesting to me.  They are all comparing credentials.  I could make a crude remark, but I'll keep that to myself.  I have offered some ideas on how E-cat might work, but that is based upon rampant speculation.  I haven't seen the device, nor if I was there to witness it, could I see inside of it.  Even if I see inside of it, I couldn't tell much.

All I'm doing is making some comparisons and some speculations.  But I won't become a Kool Aid drinker as I wrote before.  It seems plausible to me, for what it's worth.

Here's a discussion posted fairly recently.  If you're interested in the theoretical aspect of this, there it is.  What looks to me like a full discussion of what's going on that causes this fusion reaction.  It differs from my discussion, but my discussion is dismissed, most likely.  His is a quantum mechanical model, it seems.

Well, there somebody goes again.  It says that the journal in which this is posted isn't legitimate.  So, who's legitimate and who isn't?  People waving their credentials around again.

Hailstone as big as a melon

You gotta be kidding me!

Interesting question

I am curious about fusion reaction cross sections

He wanted to know if there was an equation that he could use to calculate this and the answer was that there wasn't one.

I was wondering myself about this, that is why I googled it and came up with this. Just wondering how much energy it takes to cause fusion between nickel and hydrogen. And whether of not internal sparking ( like this) can be set up hot enough to cause fusion.

Translations don't always work with machines

Somebody said something pretty funny about these machine translators.  I tried it but it didn't work out the way the commenter said.  It was "out of sight, out of mind" translated to Russian and back into English.  It came back into English from Russian supposedly as invisible maniac, which was pretty funny.  So, I tried a song by Freddy Fender called "Before the next teardrop falls" where he sings in Spanish and English.  Actually, the words don't exactly match up in the translator, but I know enough Spanish to know that the words in the actual song are equivalent.  So, I decided, why not just let the song play here and enjoy.

Green and Lean: Secreting Bacteria Eliminate Cost Barriers for Renewable Biofuel Production

ScienceDaily (May 27, 2011) — A Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University research team has developed a process that removes a key obstacle to producing low-cost, renewable biofuels from bacteria.

More than one way to skin the energy cat.

Intel to build fab for 14-nm chips--- what does this have to do with fusion?

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Continuing its aggressive fab expansion efforts, Intel Corp. on Friday (Feb. 18) announced plans to invest more than $5 billion to build a new chip manufacturing facility at its site in Chandler, Ariz.

Maybe nothing.  But, as usual, I think about things.  So, I wonder about this:  what if you could replicate what polywell attempts to do by confining electrons and do it on the nanoscale?  Chipmakers routinely design chips with features in the nanometer scale.  Why not use this technology to make something that could enable fusion on the nanometer scale?  Impossible?  Maybe.

I was thinking if there was a way to bring enough energy to bear on one small point at one time and if that energy would be enough to cause fusion.  Duplicate that over an entire "chip" and maybe you can design a fusion chip.

This idea isn't Rossi Focardi's idea, I'm sure.  Relatively speaking, Rossi's device may be crude in comparison to what it may become in the future.

Tim Pawlenty addresses Cato Institute on issue of spending

This is a clip that lasts about 40 minutes.


A full 65 percent of the public supports an amendment to the Constitution to require Congress to pass a balanced budget every year, The Daily Caller reports today. Just 27 percent oppose such an amendment, with 8 percent undecided.

Yahoo Breakout: Simon says rotation into defensive stocks will continue

Simon is with Tactical Allocation Group.  Says they are taking money off the table in small to midcap growth area.  Holding more cash because of weaker economic growth. Best opportunities in emerging markets.  What happens after QE2?  Called it the Great Experiment - record amount of fiscal and monetary stimulus.  Weak recovery, is cautious.

Note: I'm back.


New debt ceiling? Ask David Walker, former US Controller General.

Will we go up to the deadline? Walker says he hopes not. Playing with a tactical nuclear weapon. [Scare talk.] Thinks they should make a deal soon and quit "dilly dallying along".

Debt limit is a confidence issue, he says. But not enough money to pay everybody, so who will get paid? Lots of fiscal irresponsibility, he says. [of course]

Walker is on a second segment. He has some interesting things to say. Don't miss it.

Lite blogging for the next few hours

I need to run an errand.

Still working on that errand.  I think I'll blog later than usual today in order to make up for the disruption.  Thank you for your support.

Of digging holes and filling them in again.

Did Keynes really say that?  Here's an article that strongly suggests that he did.  This is the thinking that motivates Krugman and his ilk.  Better than nothing!, they say.  Because that is what Keynes says.  If you are going to spend money, do something useful with it, like produces goods for some purpose.  Digging holes and filling them up again improves nothing.  You can do the same thing by merely giving the money away.

Question: What causes a war?

An answer is offered here.

People don't fight over unlimited resources.  They fight over limited resources.  That's what I think.

There's little reason to fight over the air we breathe.  It is freely available to all.  But people will fight over water and food.

It would seem that unlimited supplies of water, food, and territory could lead to lessened tensions and fewer wars.  The conquest of energy can provide all these things and more.

Houston, we have a solution.

Where did you get that turn of phrase, you may wonder?  It is obviously borrowed from Apollo 13.  That was the ill fated mission to the Moon in the early seventies that became a "triumphal failure".  What made it a failure is the fact that they didn't make it to the Moon.  What made it a triumph was the fact that they managed to survive.  It was dramatized in the Ron Howard movie "Apollo 13", which includes the following scene that I am referencing in the title ( no, not the "Houston, we have a problem")

The point to using this is this: just as the Apollo astronauts had to come up with a solution to a life threatening problem with the materials that they had available- so can we. Therefore, we have a solution. We just have to make the materials we have work to our advantage.

25 million miles a gallon, are you interested?

Not yet available.  Maybe never, but wait!  Did you know that a basketball size of uranium has the energy equivalent of a million gallons of gasoline?  Don't like uranium?  How about fusion power?  Fusion power is even more powerful than fission based uranium power, much more powerful.  If, and admittedly this is a big if  -if you can master clean fusion, you can get a vehicle that can get some extreme gas mileage.

How to get to this point is the big problem.  Interestingly, fusion itself is not that difficult.  What makes fusion power difficult is getting useful energy out of it.  Fusion is so powerful that controlling it is a big challenge.  That is the challenge before us.  But the challenge is so great that it may be considered far beyond our capabilities for decades to come.  But such a dismal scenario may not be the case.

What would it take?  Just throwing money at the problem won't necessarily reach a solution.  The ITER project, which uses tokomaks in order to control the fusion process, hasn't been very successful.  Some have called it "Eater" because it eats up so much money.  Is there a better way?  A new way will be necessary, as opposed to "the way" which is what ITER means in Latin.  This blog has explored other ways to generate energy more cheaply and more abundantly.  I invite you to click on the Energy label at the end of this post and follow the posts for some of the new ideas out there.

About that Juan William's speech

That was toward the end of the day yesterday.  It was late enough that a post that would give it justice was not in the cards for that day.  Rather than forget about it, let's go back and have a closer look.

If you haven't watched the speech, you are not going to fully appreciate this post.  In fact, before going further, it may be useful to point out that it is nearly an hour long, so time may not permit a full viewing.  Such is my own case, thus it will be necessary for me to use memory as opposed to direct quotes that can only be obtained by watching it again.

Generally speaking, it was about the taboos that are being built up against free speech.  It has become too profitable for some to divide the population up into hostile camps and that make free expression harder because you have to follow the party line, or be punished in some way.  This is popularly known as "political correctness", and it isn't confined to just one side of the political divide.  Williams was fired from his job at NPR because he violated the party line against certain types of speech: even though his job was to provide political commentary, it wasn't welcome in this instance.  Not that he was even making a political point.  He was merely expressing his own feelings within the context of a certain situation.  But such feelings have been made taboo.  This notion has to be challenged if we are to keep this a free society.

Another example of punishment for violating the party line?  Let's look at Newt Gingrich.  Not too long ago, Gingrich violated the orthodoxy by criticizing Ryan's budget plan.  There are now those who say Gingrich's candidacy is in big trouble for this.  But what was so bad about what he was saying that his entire record up to this point can be tossed aside just because he happened to make one observation that was not well received?  Gingrich felt necessary to apologize and this may not be forgiven.  But this could be a serious mistake because there are others who have an interest in this- not just the partisans.  There will be a general election after the nomination.  If it turns out that Ryan's plan becomes a sacred cow, the Republicans can pay a heavy price at the ballot box.  Party purity will not necessarily bring victory, but the reverse.

Williams was surprised that he was no longer thought of as being liberal.  Gingrich seems to have discovered the same phenomenon in terms of his conservatism.  Political correctness is not necessarily confined to one side of the political aisle.

 I have dedicated a portion of this blog to this poltical division and conquest.  It is called "politics schmolitics".  It is meant to throw derision upon any attempt to enforce political correctness from any direction.  I applaud Juan Williams speech.  We need open communication, not taboos.

The consequences of these taboos could be severe.  In the last few weeks, it has come to my attention that not just one, but two promising fields of scientific discovery and technological advancement may have been suppressed all because of the raising of taboos upon a certain subject.  That subject is nuclear power.  In the first case, we have thorium, which could have been used as a fuel, as opposed to using uranium.  Inasmuch as radioactivity is now taboo, any attempt to exploit this as an energy source has now fallen into disfavor.  Yet, even a clean, non radioactive source of energy, which was dubbed derisively as "cold fusion" has been made taboo because it supposedly violated known laws of physics.  Even the discussion of "cold fusion" became taboo.  One could lose their job researching it.  The consequences to society have been immense.  Without access to these sources of energy, our entire civilization may be in jeopardy.

Juan Williams was fired because of what he said about Muslims.  We import vast amounts of oil from the part of the world in which Islam is dominant.  Could it not be the case that to continue importing vast amounts of a substance from a part of the world that is hostile to our ways- could it not be the case that that is an existential risk to our civilization?  Could it also be the case that the failure to allow open speech not only violates our traditions, but subjects us to a greater risk than what we may have to face anyway?  Wouldn't we be better off vis a vis radical Islam if we did not import so much oil from their part of the world?  Wouldn't we be better off if we could allow free discussion of all ideas so that we can have access to what we need in order to stay strong in the face of such a threat?  We could lose our civilization not because of Islam, but because we failed to honor what we have always been.

Morning Summary, 5/27

No doubt about it, this has become an E-cat blog.  Far and away, the most popular posts are about this emerging technology.  By popular demand, that's what I'll be serving up.  I'll do my best to keep the interest going and to build it up.

This may seem like a sell out, but no.  I've managed to become convinced that there is a real possibility that this could work.  That's been true for several days now.  But yesterday, I think it changed from possibility to probability.  This went from 50-50 to something well north of that.  I wouldn't say 100% probability of success just yet, but it is getting there.  Let's put it this way, it has a chance of success because the principles involved are sound, in my opinion.  I stated those yesterday, and I'll state here again for emphasis:  you need two conditions for fusion 1) sufficient energy and 2) confinement of the reactants.   I think "cold fusion" can meet those conditions just as well or better than any other method.  Secondly, there need not be any violation of known physics.

Note: I've changed the header to the blog.  It now has something of a mission statement quality to it.  You can say this blog has passed a milestone on the way to its destiny, whatever that might be.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Evening Wrap 5/26

I'm pretty happy with my posts today.  If there was a thing that I feel that could be better, it would be in productivity.  I'd like to produce quantity as well as quality.  It should be a goal going forward.  Thanks for coming by and have a good evening.

Freedom of Expression and Journalism- CSPAN

Juan Williams speech at a luncheon at National Press Club this afternoon.


Excellent show.

Andy Barr of Politico on CSPAN

Washinton Journal - 2012 Elections
Looks like a good show. I will keep an eye on this in the future.

Large Cap Banks and Brokers Are Dead Money for a Decade: John Roque

He doesn't like financials at all. European too.

We have met the enemy...

Probably the most famous Pogo quotation is "We have met the enemy and he is us." Perhaps more than any other words written by Kelly, it perfectly sums up his attitude towards the foibles of mankind and the nature of the human condition.

E-cat is being treated with so much skepticism and outright hostility because of the way it is being marketed by its own supporters.  There is no need to rewrite the physics textbooks.  Nobody treats polywell and focus fusion with so much skepticism.  Why is that the case with e-cat?  Only because too many people are insisting on treating this like it is mysterious and over the top.  What if it isn't so?  Just asking.

20 Questions To Ask Anyone Foolish Enough To Believe The Economic Crisis Is Over

If you listen to Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama and the mainstream media long enough, and if you didn't know any better, you might be tempted to think that the economic crisis is long gone and that we are in the midst of a burgeoning economic recovery. Unfortunately, the truth is that the economic crisis is far from over. 
 That's because the Government is in La La Land. Along with most of the population, it seems.

This is a joke, right?

Why you should love $5 gas
 The reasons are listed here:

1. Fewer people would die on the road  [ fewer people would die on the road if we went back to the horse and buggy days but that doesn't make it a good idea]

2. Demand for high-mileage cars could grow [ if high mileage cars mean smaller cars, more people will die on the road]

3. Shorter security lines [ if all the airlines went out of business, security lines would be smaller too.  does that make it a good idea?]

4. Less pollution [ see #1]
5. Less congestion. [ditto]
6. High prices lead to lower prices.[ huh?  if Obama says no to this idea, not necessarily]
7. More exercise. [ cavemen got more exercise, see #1]
8. End of wars [ wishful thinking, wars preceded the automobile, and may well continue when cars are obsolete]
9. Local businesses could profit. [ maybe, they could go out of business too. ]
10. It's all about democracy. [ more wishful thinking]

This article is so dumb it has to be a joke.

Dred Scott decision 1857

This was the Supreme Court decision that plunged the nation into Civil War.  The effects
...of the decision in history were the rise of the Republican Party over the Whig Party,the subject of the Lincoln–Douglas debates, the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, and the American Civil War.
I think that the current mood of this country is not unlike what was happening during the antebellum years, such as the example above.  The latest decision of the Supreme Court is yet another example of the problem.   The decision was along ideological lines- liberals voting against Arizona, while the conservation faction voting with Arizona.

The key quote of the dissenters is this, in my opinion:
In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted E-Verify is a voluntary program, and said criticism that the federal government is not doing enough to enforce the law is irrelevant.

That's how the Civil War got started.  One side of the controversy said that the law was irrelevant.  This leads one to the conclusion that minority rights are not going to be respected by the majority in power.  Once the Republican Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency, the South seceeded from the union.

Enforce the laws or nullify them.  Don't say that they are irrelevant.   What's the point of having laws if they are irrelevant?  Does it come down to who has the majority at any one time?  In this instance, the case seems to be yes.  In that case, history could repeat itself.  We could have the beginnings of a Civil War on our hands.

Comparative fusion techniques

This may seem a bit repetitive, sorry if I am boring anyone.  Let's compare and contrast fusion techniques

technique      reactants                 energy                                     confinement
sun               hydrogen                 self sustaining fusion reactions    gravity plasma
ITER            hydrogen                 externally started, sustained       magnetic plasma
polywell        hydrogen boron       externally started, sustained      magnetic electrons
focus fusion   hydrogen boron       externally started pulsed           magnetic plasma
e-cat             nickel hydrogen       externally started, sustained     ????? chemical???

The difference with e-cat is that the confinement may be chemical in nature.  The reactants are held in place not by gravity nor by magnetism, but being chemically incapable of escaping each other when energized sufficiently for fusion to take place.   The metal is a solid, which makes it more dense than a gas.  The hydrogen saturates the nickel and cannot go anywhere but into the nickel's nucleus where it fuses with the nickel's nucleus.  All this depends upon enough energy being brought to where the hydrogen and nickel are so that they can fuse.  That is what I think is happening.

It must be something like this, or it breaks the known laws of physics.  What I am suggesting is that e-cat can work without breaking any known law of physics.

Let's call the whole thing off

Question: What's the point? Answer: Have you been paying attention?


This last post may require some explanation for those not familiar with the English language.  I get a lot of international visitors, so there may be those who don't understand, since their understanding of English is not up to the task.  No intention to give offense there.  Just saying, the argument is about how to say certain words.  But the words are the same regardless of how they are pronounced.  The point is this: you are doing the same thing, but in a different way.  If the final result is the same, who cares?

I think I know how any fusion reaction must work.  There must be confinement of the reactants and there must be sufficient energy for the fusion.  If those two conditions are present, fusion will result.  It doesn't matter which manner of confinement is present, so long as there is one.

In order for the E-cat to work, the reactants must meet those two conditions.  I think it can.

How ITER works

It is useful to study how all the fusion techniques work. The same is true for the most conventional of all the methods, ITER.   It is my understanding that ITER is Latin for "the way".  It is definitely "the way" to spend a lot of money.  It has not be "the way" to produce energy yet.  The future will decide whether it is the only way.

My impression of ITER is that it is a brute force method of obtaining results.  It is big and it uses tremendous amounts of energy and matter.  It attempts to duplicate, as does all fusion techniques, the processes that produce fusion in the stars.  But "the way" to duplicate the processes can differ, as ITER differs from the stars.  ITER uses magnetism to control the plasma.  Stars use gravity.  Both require tremendous amounts of heat to produce the energy in order for fusion to take place.

Note:  The link had to be provided because embedding is not allowed for this video.  It was uploaded by "MaxPlanckSociety" just about a year ago.

Video of tornadoes

These are hellish looking things.

Morning Summary, 5/26

Funny how you get used to things.  Yesterday's numbers would have seemed great just a week ago, now it seems disappointing.  What goes up must come down.

This is becoming an E-cat blog, which is something of a change.  Before the E-cat can change the world, it will have to change people one at at time.  Evidently, it has already changed my blog.  But change is often resisted- and I'm not swallowing the Kool Aid, remember that.  I'm not any different.

People may find it profitable to study other methods of fusion.  I've done that.  It may well be the case that in order to understand how E-cat works, you will need to understand how other fusion techniques work.

Fusion is not hard to do technically, students have made table top devices for polywell fusion.  These are "cold fusion" as well because they aren't huge tokomak machines which take enormous energy just to get them started.  Not only polywell, but focus fusion is also relatively small.  You may as well call it "cold fusion" as well.  As I wrote yesterday, "cold fusion" is just a semantic argument.  Fusion is fusion, it happens or it doesn't.  If you get fusion products, you have got fusion.  People argue about the silliest things.  I know, I have done it many times myself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Evening Wrap 5/25

A quiet day.  I thought I might find something scandalous in the history of "cold fusion", but it didn't develop.  Looks like a semantic issue that people insist upon having.

"Cold fusion" may spring up and surprise people.  Why the surprise?  Over a technical argument?  There must be something there and we may see something interesting soon.  There are plenty of folks who have been working on it since the beginning back in 1989.    It is hard to believe that this will just go away after all this time.

There's a lot of interest in the topic.  I'll do what I can to keep up.  Thanks for coming by and have a good evening.

Free Energy 400 Billion Dollar Secret

I have heard of this before.  Looks like this was uploaded in 2008.  Thermal depolymerization is what the process is called.

That reminds me of what I was writing about a couple months ago.  The idea then was fuel cells.  You could use this process to obtain hydrogen for fuel cells.   I had a lot of posts on that.  You can access them from the Energy label at then end of this post.

1/2 mile wide tornado on ground

In Northeast Arkansas.
Another pic

NASA announces asteroid sample return mission

NASA will launch a sample-return mission to an asteroid in 2016, agency officials announced today (May 25). 

The $800 million OSIRIS-Rex will be the United States' first asteroid sample-return effort and only the second mission in history to retrieve samples from an asteroid. Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft successfully returned pieces of the asteroid Itokawa to Earth in June 2010.
 The mission will take seven years.  This seems like an optimistic mission.  The way things are going, there may not be any NASA when the ship gets back.

VASIMR with 200 megawatts nuclear electric generator?

Some discussion of fusion electric propulsion there.  Still think that the Dense Plasma Focus is the way to go with that, especially if it becomes net energy soon.

Obama Grounding Space Program, Astronauts Say

The American voyage into the unknown territories of space is over with President Obama’s failure to fund the space program, according to an USA Today opinion piece by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan.

From the USA Today editorial:
But today, America's leadership in space is slipping. NASA's human spaceflight program is in substantial disarray with no clear-cut mission in the offing. We will have no rockets to carry humans to low-Earth orbit and beyond for an indeterminate number of years.

Are they forgetting the Falcon 9?

Must be a slow news day

Breaking news on Twitter talks about nothing but the weather.  I guess if you have nothing else to talk about, talk about the weather.

Uncertainty Arises as USD Rallies and Gold Holds Up

Public article by Chris Laird .

     I wonder how Laird's apocalyptic views compare with these latest developments that I've been writing about?  His views are on the apocalyptic side.   It doesn't square.  Both can't be right, or so I think.

Edmund Storms on "cold fusion"

Has another perspective that I hadn't looked at. He thinks that it may be chemically assisted in some way.
Well it was called cold fusion by Steve Jones, and that stuck. And then later people said, you know, that’s not very accurate because you get transmutations, and it may not be fusion directly, so let’s make it describe a bigger area, so we’ll call it low-energy nuclear reactions [LENR]. I like the chemically-assisted nuclear reactions [CANR] description myself, but nevertheless, it’s all the same thing.

The following video covers this and more (about 45 minutes)

Edmund Storms' bio here, plus his book The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction.

Thinking is hard work

It is one of my conceits to view myself as a thinker.  In my more humble moments, I realize that I am often too lazy to really think as well as I ought.

I wanted to write something in connection to that last post about the language that was being used in the cold fusion controversy.  It was about semantics and then I recalled that I wrote something about that once.

That post is contaminated with conceit.  The truth is that I am not that sharp with the language.  It is also true that I make the effort to improve it, though.  So, here I am about to embark upon the discussion of language. If it is littered with more of the same conceit, well, I am only human, and a bit lazy.

This brings me to this notion of "cold fusion".  Martin Fleishmann denies that he ever used the term.  It appears that the term was invented by the media.  The media, for its part, is in business to sell itself to the public.  One way of doing that is to sensationalize an event.  Cold fusion became more of a media contraption designed to sell the public than a scientific discussion to enlighten the public.  The unfortunate part about this is that the media is the interface between such events and the public. If the media won't use the appropriate terminology, the public's right to know is being ill served. Now this term is forever fixed in the public mind as something that it never was from the beginning. This makes it difficult to go forward with an intelligent discussion when your viewpoint can be ridiculed from the start.

It has struck me that there can be no such thing as cold fusion.  The terminology is faulty from the beginning. The misconception may arise as to what is the nature of heat.  Heat is the opposite of cold, and most everybody knows that fusion is hot.  Therefore, the term "cold fusion" invites controversy.  It is a self contradiction.  An oxymoron.  But what is heat, and what is cold?  The terms are not well defined in this context, and were most likely, not supposed to be.  They were supposed to attract attention in order to sell newspapers.  Such an oxymoronic term certainly achieved that effect.  The term "cold fusion" will live in infamy.  So will the true ideas behind it, which are forever linked to the term.

People don't think about these things.  I know I didn't.  After listening to Dr. Robert Bussard's discussion of Polywell fusion, I didn't get it.  The part that was giving me trouble was that very notion of heat.  I just didn't understand, couldn't wrap my mind around the notion that he could fuse anything in such a small device because it wasn't as hot as the sun.  For if it were, it would melt.  The misconception I was having was about heat.  How it is measured.  I never did get Polywell until I heard another discussion of it from Tom Ligon, Bussard's assistant, who explained the equivalent way of expressing heat was in electron volts.  Bingo!

It turns out that the old TV sets used electricity in thousands of electron volts, which should have been enough to melt them into a useless slag.  Why doesn't that happen?  This requires an explanation that I may botch pretty badly, so I won't go too much into that.  Let's put it this way: "heat" isn't always what we think it is.  It can be manifested as electricity, or as infrared radiation, which we feel as heat.  In the end, it is energy, which can be expressed in a different way than with a thermometer. It is still energy, whatever its manifestation.

So, "cold fusion" was never cold at all.  The process used energy in order to accomplish a task.  Therefore, it was hot.  It was called "cold fusion" not to help understand what was going on with this device, but to sell newspapers.  It made it difficult to discuss the subject with intelligence.  And we are all a lot worse off now because of it.  Not necessarily because it was valid, or not.  No, because some basic ideas have been relegated to the equivalent of a taboo, just because of way some media people reported the event.

It is the product of laziness.  The public is too lazy to think for themselves, so they can be easily misled.  The media is too lazy to learn a little of the science behind it and report it honestly, as opposed to sensationalizing it.  Those who should know better are too lazy to educate us as to why this was an error.  It is hard work and thinking is hard work.


It will no longer be called cold fusion on this blog.  Instead, it will be called "cold fusion", to emphasize the inappropriate use of the term.  Other terms may be adopted as they are found, such as LENR.  Since there are no appropriate theory available to explain the phenomenon, there seems to be an inadequate way of expressing it.

Cold Fusion Controversy

I came across this website and thought it may be worth linking to:

293) Jed Rothwell comments on some accusations

Some of this discussion can get rather tedious, but the last part sums it up pretty well, I think:
Lindley [ibid.] and many other skeptics have said that before they believe the experimental results, cold fusion researchers must first provide a complete theory to explain the phenomenon. This also violates a fundamental tenet of the scientific method, since there are and always have been countless unexplained phenomena which are unquestionably real (such as high temperature superconductivity and radium fission, as noted above). Cold fusion researchers feel that it is the job of science to explain anomalies rather than to dismiss them.

If anomalies are being dismissed, it is worse than a violation of scientific method.  There can be no science at all if anomalies are dismissed.  How can science even exist if someone won't even ask a question about a puzzling phenomenon?  A puzzling phenomenon is an opportunity for someone to make a discovery.  To turn your back on it is turning your back on science itself.   If science is about anything, it is about discovery. Those who turn their backs this way are not defending science, they are attacking it.


Here is an analysis of the cold fusion controversy in terms of rhetoric employed by the participants.  It concludes as follows:
The study concludes that Fleischmann and Pons followed an unsuccessful rhetorical strategy in their initial published paper, one that addresses of issue of existence, but their evidence was insufficient to convince as to the scientific reasonableness of the cold fusion claim. An alternative rhetorical strategy was available to Fleischmann and Pons, one in which they could have interpreted, rather than asserted, their evidence, thereby evoking a less confrontational response from the scientific community. 

Mistakes were made on both sides.  Rigid positions get taken.  Battle lines get drawn.  The first casualty of war is the truth.

Morning Summary, 5/25

Good morning.  After a string of record breaking days, it appears that the string has been broken.  But not completely.  While the Blogger pageview record was not broken yesterday, the Siteview record was.  Given the mixed results, you can say that it wasn't clearly a pause, but perhaps it is the first evidence of one.  Well, if so, it is not completely unexpected.  There are bound to be bumps along the way.

Sitemeter's tally 84 visits above the previous 24 hour period.  A good show, clearly a record over the previous day, which I think was in the sixties.

Yesterday, I started looking into the Cold Fusion controversy.  I think there could be a big story here, so I am going to keep digging.

Also there was a troll here yesterday.  Rather than delete the post, I attempted to address the troll.  There could be a need for a "troll" policy.  It seemed that I had one earlier, but dropped it.  Or in this case, I didn't follow my own policy.  In particular, this rule was violated
Rule 3: This isn't going to turn into an insult contest from anybody to anybody else. This blog doesn't do it, and the commenters will not be allowed to do it.

A commenter used the word "moron", which is an insult.  The most immediate reaction would be to get mad and delete it.  Perhaps it may be useful to allow it this one time to show an example of what will not be tolerated.   In the future, I may make exceptions to a rule like this.  Those who do not like it can always ask for a refund.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ed Koch: Obama's Hostility to Israel Continues

If President Obama does not change his position, I cannot vote for his reelection. I've already made clear I won't vote for some crazy who urges we jettison Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as federal programs. I can stay home.

Obama can't afford to lose this constituency.  He may need every vote he can get.  When the former mayor of New York says something like this, he needs to rethink what he is doing.

That brings me to the conclusion for this day.  It has been interesting to say the least.  The part about cold fusion was the most interesting.  I would like to dig deeper into that.  There could be a bigger story there.

Thank you all for coming, and have a great evening.

Seven Reasons to Embrace Rossi's Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat)

There are many reasons to support the adoption and proliferation of Andrea Rossi's "cold fusion" E-Cat technology, including hope for a solution to our energy problems, cleaning up the environment, restoring the global economy, and more.

I'll add an eighth reason.  It is Kardashevian, meaning it will take civilization to the next level.

Oil speculators charged with price manipulation

Federal regulators charged five oil speculators Tuesday with manipulating the price of crude and making a $50 million profit from the scheme.

I suspect that the Obama Administration is doing this for political reasons.  They are feeling the heat for the high gasoline prices and are attempting to deflect attention away from their own policies.

Their own policies are to get higher energy prices so that uneconomical "green" energy will be more competitive with oil.  A better strategy would be to make so called "green" energy more competitively priced than oil is now. Then there would be no need for subsidies.  In my opinion, it is a mistake to make war on oil just because you believe that it is the energy of the past.  It is still the energy of the present until something better comes along. Obama should just leave it alone.  The problem will take care of itself.

Cold Fusion Video

This is rather long. I've been watching it, so that's where I've been. I'm a little concerned that it won't play. This is not an E-cat post per se, but it does have some slight relationship to the concept, so I'll include it in that category.

Update: It seems to be playing for me now.

As for what's on the video, there did appear to be some implausibilities. For example, the appearance of tritium seems unlikely. Also, helium. Other evidence found included some metals, which does appear possible, based on what I've written earlier.


One thing about the metals mentioned above. It is hard to deny their significance if they were found. If anybody tested this and found metals and then claimed that the experiments were a mistake because no explanation for their existence could provided, it would be a hard thing to square with one's expectation of a respect for truth in science. If it is claimed to be pathological science in such cases, one might well turn the table on the accuser.


I'm still watching this video. There seems to be an insistence about getting the same results each time. What strikes me as unusual is not the inconsistency of results, but the lack of curiosity about the anomalies. If something appears out of the ordinary, that in itself is indication that something is going on that needs to be investigated. What I'm getting at is this tendency to not to want to see anything. Or if it can't be explained, then deny anything unusual at all. If this turns out to be for real, the scientific community has a lot of explaining to do.

Eugene J. Mallove

The E-cat is not cold fusion, per se, but this book that I have just bought is about the very topic. I guess I bought it because my curiosity got the better of me. Here's how I found the book by Mallove.

reference to the book is at the 5:30 mark of the video. You may not agree with everything on the video, nor may you see the need to buy the book. By the way, the book is available on Amazon, in case you are interested.

I am going to include this in the e-cat category because there wouldn't be any other reason for me to read it. Perhaps the book can give some insights into how this e-cat actually works.

The trend is your friend

A Yahoo Breakout video link below, or you can click on the picture below:
As the president of Global Trends Investments and editor of ETF, Tom Lydon spends lots of time looking at -- you guessed it -- trends. And right now the trend is down, and the money flow is clear.

Talking a little business

Starting to look at the business side of this fusion device. There's a lively discussion over at NextBigFuture (NBF).

I think the skeptic there is a bit too harsh. If the E-cat can produce the amount of heat that is claimed, it can be exploited for energy. That's a non expert opinion. The rest is a discussion of how to do it profitably.

Here's a link to a company that makes Stirling engines.

If this is accurate, it is good enough for a Stirling engine. (very informative link, highly recommended)
In private testing, the temperature inside of the reactor can reach 1,600 C which is hot enough to melt the nickel powder (probably not desirable). 

Howard Dean hates Western Civilization

Sorry to have to do this, but sometimes liberals get so ridiculous that I have to say something.  The latest bunch of nonsense comes from none other the the dean of screams, the erstwhile Democrat candidate for President in 2004, Mr. Howard Dean.  One thing about these liberals, they want to get under your skin.  Yes, and he did that with this right here (from Free Republic)
Howard Dean is a contributor to CNBC, and in this role, he continues to say the darnedest things. On Monday's "The Last Word," Dean said of the far-right, "They hate Muslims, they hate gays, they hate immigrants, and the rhetoric in the primaries shows that"
 One observation about liberals, they love everything anti Western.  If Judeo Christianity disapproves of "gays", this is a cause for disapproval.  Isn't that hatred in return for hatred?  If Muslims want to overthrow Western Civilization as they have attempted several times in the past, this is also a cause for disapproval for "intolerance".  But isn't that returning "hatred" for "hatred"?  If patriots object to immigrants who won't learn the language nor the customs of this country, that is bigotry.  But isn't their criticism just as hateful?  If you are a patriot, you must be a bigot, in Mr. Dean's world.  But why do liberals get to preach to us about our intolerance?  What have they got against Western Civilization?

Liberals remind me of the old joke about the sitcom Seinfeld.  It was a show about "nothing".  When it comes to liberals, they are an ideology about nothing.  They don't want a country, because to have a country means that you are a chauvinist and a bigot. Their idea of a perfect society is no society at all. They don't want anybody to get rich, unless it is themselves.  What that ends up meaning is that everybody will have nothing. If you don't like it, then you are politically incorrect.  That means you don't get to say nothing.  Don't do anything, don't say anything, and don't want anything.  That's what liberals are all about.  Which is nothing.

Oh, by the way.  When it comes to religion, the left loves Darwinism.  Which means everybody came from nothing.  When you die, you go back to nothing.  While you live, you get to live in a liberal's world of nothing. Liberals problem is that they think they are something, but since they are all about nothing, they are just nothing themselves.

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing

How the E-cat generates energy and the significance

While looking for additional insights about how the E-cat works, I visited this page, which I have visited before. Although I found nothing new there, it did answer another question that arose of late- how does the energy manifest itself?

In conclusion, it should be underlined that the copper nucleus thermal perturbation, as a result of its mechanical backlash(heat), is transferred to its encompassing nickel lattice and propagated, by in phase phonons (G. Preparata), through the entire nano-crystal. This could explain why in cold fusion the released energy is mainly in the form of heat and the produced (low) γ radiation can be easily shielded.[emphasis added]

Heat as an energy source isn't exactly what we want.  It needs to be converted into electricity.  Therefore, as a useful energy device, it needs to do just that.  A Stirling Engine can do this, for example.  Or, you could make steam and that would turn a turbine that produces the electricity.  The significance of this is that, even though it produces energy, we won't be able to use all of it.  There will be energy losses.

By the way, this paper gives more detail about how the E-cat works.  As for me, it goes over my head a bit, as it is a bit technical.  Andrea Rossi is also a frequent commenter on this page.

Morning Summary 5/24

Good morning all, and I do mean all.  It looks like I've managed to get an audience here.  It has been a long time struggling here just to get a few people.  Now, it seems I've got more than a few, but less than a lot. Thank you all for your support.

Enough with the boasting.  Now that I have an audience, I need to keep it.  What brings everyone here?  It appears that the Rossi Focardi Ecat device is doing that.  It is a hot topic amongst some, but it isn't getting that much coverage out there.  People have to have somewhere to go for this news, and I guess some of them are coming here.  Just one problem with that, though.  I don't have much news to report.  But I'd like to keep that audience, so I'll do my best to find stuff when I can.

I think I should add another comment here.  I've written about the need to believe in things and the downside of that.  The downside is that it may blind you to some important truths.  But, let's consider the upside for a moment.  If you believe in something enough, it will fortify you against a lot of discouragement.  It so happens that this fortification will be needed, because it is a tough world out there.  Believing in something deeply will give you that strength to carry on in the face of discouragement.  Since I can see a downside to this, I can't be like the pastor in a church.  I tend to want to look in other "churches" from time to time.  This may be looked upon as a bit of betrayal by the true believers, but I regret to say that I can't be that pastor that some people might be looking for.  Instead, I will try to bring a realistic appraisal of it within my limitations.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cold Fusion

This post isn't about E-cat.  It is about Pons Fleischmann work of the eighties.  In the post on the 21st, I wrote that it appeared to be a mistake that it was referring to a deuterium deuterium fusion reaction, as opposed to a palladium hydrogen reaction.  It has occurred to me that this could have been what they were looking for, and not finding, decided that it was bogus.

If I'm right, then they may have overlooked something.  If they weren't looking for any other reactions, they may not have checked to see what other materials could have been present.  This means that something could have been produced, and they weren't looking for it, so they didn't find it.  Thinking that nothing was there, they could have concluded that there was some kind of mistake and stopped looking for an explanation.

It could explain a few things.  Looking for something, but not in the right place.

I fiddled around with the calculator again, the one I mentioned here.   I stopped after a short while.  That's when the thought hit me that something like this could have happened.  No need to keep fooling around with it.  It's ancient history now, anyway.

This will be my last post of the day.  I feel a little strange after that last thought.  Maybe a little sick at heart.
It was another good day, thanks for coming by.  See you in the morning.

Rossi Focardi E-cat

This is obviously a hot topic.  For those who are new to this blog, you could probably find everything relating to Rossi Focardi under Energy.  But this topic has become so hot, that I am giving it it's own label.  Now, if you want to read everything that I've written about Rossi Focardi, just click on the Rossi Focardi E-cat label at the end of this post. ( or any such post)  The blog will bring up all posts with that label.  I hope this is helpful.

Video link


Here's the 60 Minutes Broadcast on "Cold Fusion", which is not technically the same thing as the E-cat.  It is fusion, even though Fleishmann says in the video that it was a mistake to say that it was.


One more thing before I leave this post. In an earlier post, I couldn't understand where the iron was coming from. Well, here's an explanation.

Naturally occurring nickel (Ni) is composed of five stable isotopes; 58Ni,
62Ni and
64Ni with
58Ni being the most abundant
(68.077% natural abundance). 58Ni may decay by double beta-plus decay to 58Fe.

Free Energy Truth

I did a google search and found this site.

I want to reiterate my own agnosticism on any technology until it is proven. It is a fundamental feature of human nature to want to believe in things. That's all right for others, I suppose, but I won't be making a religion out of this.

Sovereign Debt Concerns

Markets down today.  What's the scoop? Let's take a look at Breakout.

John Merriman of Merriman Holdings is on:

S&P cuts Italy's credit
Merriman: Markets could end the year flat or slightly higher. Retail Investors: time to jump into the market?
Merriman: Retail participation has been low.
Merriman: Social networking IPO's will excite retail investors
Merriman: Fear and Greed still drive the markets despite all technology
Merriman: Europe's debt crisis will still roil the markets

Dan Rather Warns Chris Matthews

Bachmann Is For Real, This Is No ‘Palin Coming From Nowhere’

Can't offer my own opinion. I've never seen her speak and don't know much about her.

Rather says
Bachmann has real “break-away potential” and could potentially go all the way:

In the old Boots and Oil blog days back in 2004, I recall Rather's role in the controversy surrounding Bush's military service during the Vietnam War era.  He got mixed up in that, and it tarnished his reputation a bit.

Rather fits in with these guys on the panel discussing this.

Majestic Muck: Can Pond Scum Revive Airlines?

Algal fuel currently sells in the range of $4 to $5 a gallon, or $150 to $200 a barrel, according to Sayre. But once industrial scale production facilities are running at full capacity, and emerging technologies make algae more efficient, the price could drop to $2 a gallon, he said.

One way or another, the problem looks like it can be solved. It is just a matter of what way works the best.

Real Clear Science

A plug for Thorium reactors: Safe, Cheap Nuclear: Thorium Fluoride Reactors

And fusion power: Dreams of Fusion Power: I'm Not the Only One
In this one, he doesn't seem to be familiar with Focus Fusion nor Polywell.  Not to mention the Ecat. Conventional thinking here.  He praises the Tokomak research, which may turn out to be one the greatest white elephants of all time.
Currently, there exist two main roadblocks to creating and maintaining the fusion reaction. First, it requires immense heat (150 million degrees Celsius, to be exact). Second, it demands a massive magnetic force, like the one found in the center of a star.

Gold, silver coins to be legal currency in Utah

By JOSH LOFTIN Associated PressSALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah legislators want to see the dollar regain its former glory, back to the days when one could literally bank on it being "as good as gold."

It is not clear how that works.  Is the price for a good expressed in dollars, or in ounces of gold?  If it were a currency, it could be expressed in a measurement in gold.  Buy a car for 20 gold pieces, which would be equivalent to about $30,000 at today's prices.  The trouble is, when you make a deal, is to determine what the sliding scale is for dollars to gold.  You could use dollars if it is advantageous, or gold when it is not.

Saving the ET's

A little late for this idea, since the Shutle is being retired.  I bandied about recycling the ET's a few months ago. There was a short story written by David Brin along these lines which you can read here.

It came to my attention while I was looking for information about electrodynamic tethers.  This is covered in the short story.

Nuclear powered spacecraft

This one may be so obviously speculative, there will be no need for a speculation alert.

The reason I posed this question yesterday was that, in the lower atmosphere, you have to take drag into account when you are traveling high speeds.  I figured as long as your thrust could exceed the weight of the craft (I'm guessing here), the spacecraft will rise.  On the initial part of your journey into space, forward speed would be relatively low.  If you are going 100 mph and straight up, after an hour, you would be out of the atmosphere.

If you had an energy source, and plenty of reaction mass, you could thrust straight up at a slow speed.  I was thinking, just use the atmosphere itself on the first part of the launch.  When the air gets thinner, it gets to be more of a challenge though.  At some point, it no longer makes sense.  At this point, use some reaction mass onboard and start going forward.  You want to go forward for what I propose next.  Once you are going fast enough forward, you can use the Earth's magnetic field for support.  You do this with an electrodynamic tether.   Drop the tether down, put electricity through it and it will push against the magnetic field giving lift.

How fast do you need to be going to get sufficient lift from the magnetic field to support the weight of the spacecraft?  Don't know about that one.  It may not be necessary to go orbital velocity- that's the point.  In fact, you may not have to go anywhere near that speed.

I may want to think about this a lot more.  The main thing here is that you can use what is available along with sufficient energy, you can get into space.  JP Aerospace is trying to do that with airships.  However, if enough energy was available, you may not even need an airship, nor would you need high speeds.  You could just use that energy to push against the earth's gravity using various techniques into order to achieve your goal of getting into space.