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Cold fusion -- the largely discredited science of making more energy from less -- may be making a comeback. Controversial yet high-profile demonstrations in Italy last month purported to show a cold fusion device turning 400 watts of heat power into 12,400 watts. The eye-popping 31-fold "excess heat effect" illustrates why lay observers say cold fusion is the "holy grail of energy independence" and why many scientists doubt, some to the point of apoplexy. Twenty-two years ago, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann made similar but ultimately unreproducible claims that turned their 15 minutes of fame into banishment from the scientific community.