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Re: Keeping up with the theory (was is Corum and Corum forbidden topic?)

Original poster: "by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>" <Mddeming-at-aol-dot-com>

Hi Paul, Terry, All,
Comments interspersed:
In a message dated 5/1/02 8:27:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time, tesla-at-pupman-dot-com

> Original poster: "Paul Nicholson by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>"
> <paul-at-abelian.demon.co.uk>
> Terry,
> I very much appreciated your comments on the history. It does
> help to explain the apparent regard for this stuff, despite its
> poor quality.  I'm afraid it doesn't say a lot for what went before!
> It surprises me that the field of Tesla coiling is so poorly 
> developed.  In its journey down history the Tesla coil just doesn't
> seem to have acquired a normal body of engineering knowledge behind
> it, in the same way that other branches of electrical engineering
> have.  Instead it's collected a huge tangle of modern superstitions -
> a ragbag assortment of notions that don't make sense and don't work.
> Anyway, why is it left to us amateurs to figure out for ourselves
> what the currents and voltages are doing in a secondary?  Why haven't
> the professionals sorted all this stuff out decades ago?  Is the
> pseudoscience keeping the experts away, or have the cranks simply
> moved in to fill a vacuum?  Maybe it's just not that important?

Perhaps because there is no profit motive to get Tesla coil research sponsored.
For the last few decades the trend here has been "that research which does nor
come with big ticket sponsorship gets the short end of the stick" 

> > Of course, 90% of Tesla coilers have never heard of the Tesla list.
> As many as that?.  Is it because they just don't get onto the Net, or
> that they don't think to do a search for Tesla?   How does everybody
> else share news and information?  If someone wanted to publish a
> technical article about TCs in a reputable place that would reach
> some majority of coilers, where would they go?

This is the kind of question that earns market researchers the big bucks. The
majority of amateur coilers are not scientifically trained and wouldn't know a
reputable journal if it bit them. This is what makes it such a fertile area for

> I suspect that the infrastructure - the peer reviewed journals, 
> necessary to support the development of a normal body of engineering
> knowledge on TCs just aren't out there.
> Jim wrote:
> > The other thought was that you could set up some form of peer
> > reviewed journal on "tesla coil theory", but, who would would the
> > reviewers be?
> I just don't know who, or how that would work.  Peer review systems
> are normally supported by an established institution of sufficient
> quorum to achieve stability, although even that doesn't guarantee
> rationality (eg Homeopathy).  We don't have such a foundation. Those
> that existed in the past encouraged pseudoscience, eg ITS, TCBA. 
> Where is the ARRL or RSGB of coiling?  

The Geek Group would like to be, someday. Maybe, but it takes a critical mass
of money and people to start the reaction to attract the capital to attract the
people to...

> >  Maybe one could get peer reviewed publications in other journals
> > (Rev Sci Inst type, but even that probably isn't the right venue.)
> I'm sure quite a few journals would take stuff, but as you say, it's
> not going to reach coilers.
> > on the other hand, I recall having seen some papers on TCs in peer
> > reviewed journals that had severe problems
> Yes, me too.  We must remember that peer review can never be a band-
> pass filter for correct info - it can only be a band-stop filter
> for things that are obviously wrong, meaningless, poorly presented,
> off topic, no science, or for some other reason would only add noise
> to the arena.
> And remember too, peer review is a necessary but not sufficient
> mechanism for sane research.  The other vital ingredient is 
> a non-credulous reception to the output of the peer review process.
> The best compliment you can pay someone is to take the time and
> trouble to check their work and to satisfy yourself that it really
> does make sense and work as claimed.  That effort benefits everyone.
> Of course, without a peer review front-end for this process, the onus
> falls to the author to ensure their work satisfies certain criteria
> which make it viable for that kind of critical scrutiny.
> >  Presuming to tell someone that their site is defective? 
> I agree that except for a few sites that invite comment and
> corrections, it's inappropriate to try to canvas sites into 
> reevaluating their links. 

Many sites are maintained by people as ignorant of their errors as are their
readers. They're passing on the myths in good faith These people might welcome
some enlightenment. 

> In any case many sites have an agenda for
> promoting pseudoscience so they're hardly likely to respond. Perhaps
> all we can do is post up as much good information as possible, in an
> attempt to raise the overall signal/noise ratio?

We've already seen this very recently

> > A lot of web sites ... (append only)
> Unfortunately yes.  It's an approach which shifts a lot of work from
> the author to the viewer, because the viewer has to sift the search
> output to discern the state of the art. Old docs known to contain
> errors just sit there injecting noise into every library search,
> forming a minefield of erroneous stuff that a newbie must somehow
> navigate to get to the real stuff. If someone reports a mistake in 
> any of my site docs it gets fixed up pretty quick, and the old faulty
> page is overwritten. I think folk keeping web pages should recognise
> that its not a one-off vanity buzz but an ongoing responsibility to
> keep things accurate and up to date.  After all, you create a site
> for other peoples benefit, don't you?

Were that it was that noble. Since opening of the Internet to the world, many
sites exist purely as a form of neurotic ego-boosting. (cf Bearden and Co.,
many of the Yahoos, and the whole "you're all in a conspiracy against me"
crowd. )

> --
> Paul Nicholson
> --

"Witch doctors and snake oil salesmen succeed where men of science go broke
because to the naive their floor show is better."

Matt D.