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[P]
Jasker Power Source - Perpetual Energy or Hoax?

By Torgos Pizza in News
Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:25:42 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A 58-year-old Irish engineer is claiming to have invented an electromechanical device he says is capable of replenishing its own energy source. Reuters has pictures and has seen a demo of the machine in action, but the inventor wishes to remain anonymous due to the fiasco of the 1989 Cold Fusion "discovery" in Utah. Zero point energy has remained a goal of many researchers for years, but some critics are already calling this news report as being "voodoo science". A photo of the machine can be viewed here.


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Jasker Power Source - Perpetual Energy or Hoax? | 89 comments (87 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Perpetual Energy or Hoax? (3.75 / 12) (#1)
by greyrat on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:28:12 PM EST

Hoax. Next!
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

Hoax. (2.25 / 8) (#2)
by DoomGerbil on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:32:13 PM EST

I'm pretty sure I remember perpetual motion being impossible (Law of Conservation of Energy). That would kinda preclude anything like this from actually existing, wouldn't it? (Not a physics person, so if anyone's got more details, go for it.

The makers say its not a perpetual (3.50 / 2) (#4)
by greyrat on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:35:45 PM EST

motion machine. But it's still a hoax. Probably better to say a dud.
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
Well, basically he did. (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by niralth on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:32:46 PM EST

From the article:
"But he is keen to head off the notion that he has tapped into the age-old myth of perpetual motion. ``Perpetual motion is impossible. This is a self-sustaining unit which at the same time provides surplus electrical energy,'' he said."

So, if you take this "self-sutaining unit" and hook up a motor to its "surplus electrical energy" supply... you have perpetual motion! yay!

Word play. Bad, at that.

[ Parent ]
light (2.10 / 10) (#3)
by nodsmasher on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:34:25 PM EST

id like to poing out the fact that since we can see light its giving off it meens its giving off energy which is energy that it does not have any more to use and is thus losing energy and since it cant creat energy (law of convervation of energy) it is a hoax
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
Law of Conservation of energy (4.00 / 3) (#43)
by Ranieri on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:02:28 AM EST

As far as i can tell there's no way to prove unambigously that the law of conservation of energy holds in every case. Certainly, empirical observation supports it, and we have as of yet no evidence to suggest the contrary.

Keep in mind however that sometimes (especially in atomic/high energy physics) phonomena are discovered that appear to violate it. Usually a hypothetical particle is then introduced to take care of the missing (or excess) energy. I believe the most famous case of this would be the introduction of the neutrino to account for the energies in beta-decay.

Until now we have managed to track down each and every one of these hypothetical particles, but there's no guarantee that we will always find them. In that case we would have found a counter-example to the law of conservation of energy thereby rendering it false. (Falsification in the jargon of Karl Popper).

That said, i think it is extremely unlikely that this will ever happen, and even if it happens it's going to be at one of the "extreme regimes" of physics. Not inside some battery powered device.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

Law of Conservation of energy (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:16:02 PM EST

In actuality, we know that the Law of Conservation of Energy does not hold in every case, as Einstein showed. It is more properly the Conservation of Mass/Energy. And in this particular case, it is possible that this device could be somehow converting mass to energy. Something like "Cold Fusion". But given that the guy gives not even the slightest theoretical hints as to how he could do this (or even if it is being done), and given that doing such a thing without excessively high temperatures or radioactive materials, it seems unlikely that this is anything but a hoax.

In such a case, the rational approach is the scientific approach. Show us how you did it. Put up or shut up.

I suspect that if this really worked, the guy would do it, if for no other reason that to get a patent. The whole patent system is specifically designed to get people to show what they did, avoiding hoaxes like this almost certainly is.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Hoax (3.57 / 7) (#5)
by sticky on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:38:08 PM EST

1) I wouldn't trust a news wire service to have anywhere near the expertise required to evaluate such a device.

2) I wouldn't trust the CEO of the company trying to market the device in any assertion on the validity of the claims or the science behind it.


Don't eat the shrimp.---God
Hoax. (2.20 / 5) (#7)
by DoomGerbil on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:48:48 PM EST

I'm pretty sure I remember perpetual motion being impossible (Law of Conservation of Energy). That would kinda preclude anything like this from actually existing, wouldn't it? (Not a physics person, so if anyone's got more details, go for it.

"Law of Conservation of Energy" (4.25 / 8) (#8)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:51:42 PM EST

Look, I agree that this machine is either a fraud or an error, but somebody really should point out that the above-named law isn't really a law at all -- it's a postulate of physics, kept because it makes physics prettier. Nobody has yet proven it wrong, but nobody has yet proven it right, either.

vacuum hammers! (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by arjan de lumens on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:00:20 PM EST

It's a law as much as anything at all in physics is a law - it's one of those results of physics that hold throughout hundreds, if not more, different experiments. The only violations of this law that are known, occur at the quantum-mechanical scale and are limited in energy amount and time (to a ridiculously small amount) by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

Any process which could violate this priciple and produce useable amounts of energy from nothing would have some rather interesting implications. Given e.g. that energy = mass (which is what E=mc2 is saying, and what makes the atom bomb so powerful) you could create, say, a hammer from vacuum with such a process. Over and over again, until the entire universe is chock full of hammers .... is it even possible to prove that this hasn't already happened?

[ Parent ]

Vacuum (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by sigwinch on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:38:28 PM EST

The only violations of this law that are known, occur at the quantum-mechanical scale and are limited in energy amount and time (to a ridiculously small amount) by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
There's also cosmological expansion, which causes photons to lose energy to the vacuum, and does work against the gravitational attraction between cosmological objects. The vacuum is capable of some odd and poorly understood behavior, and I think it is plausible that you can extract energy from it, although I have no idea whatsoever how it would be done.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

um... no. (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by chopper on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:07:03 AM EST

yes, the vacuum is believed to have an intrinsic amount of energy due to uncertainty principles. however, extracting said energy would mean that the vacuum is in fact not the lowest energy state of the universe. this would imply that the current vacuum is really a 'false vacuum', and since physics dictates that the universe tends to strive towards a state of lowest energy, the whole universe would be majorly disrupted as it shifted into a new vaccum state.

kinda similar to Vonnegut's 'Ice 9'

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Think bigger (none / 0) (#77)
by sigwinch on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 02:50:09 AM EST

You're right about vacuum decay, at least for simple analysis based on classical quantum mechanics. There are, however, three major issues that are not explained by classical quantum mechanics:

  1. Gravitation Gravitation is poorly tested in both the near-field and strong-field cases, it has not been reconciled with quantum mechanics, and it produces embarrasing singularities that are difficult to describe. In the absence of positive evidence, conservation of gravitational energy is an unwarranted assumption.
     
  2. Ontology Classical physical processes evolve from higher-energy, lower-entropy states toward lower-energy, higher-entropy states. The universe is obviously not in the ground state. Therefore, at some point in the past there existed processes that violate classical conservation and entropic laws. If the Creator can do it, why not us?
  3. Hubble expansion Vacuum seems to be spontaneously popping into existence everywhere -- why? Red-shifted photons do work on the vacuum -- where does that energy go? How does Hubble expansion work inside/near a black hole?

#3 is especially interesting to me. Perhaps your vacuum decay is taking place, and the result looks like the Hubble expansion. If the decay lowers the bar and moves the lowest-energy state to an even lower value the effect would be self sustaining, perhaps even accelerating.

If it did work that way, would it be possible to build a 'Hubble laser' -- using some clever arrangement of matter and fields -- that locally intensified the effect? (Perhaps by decreasing the relaxation time it takes for the vacuum to fall into the new lower state.)

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

hmmm... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by chopper on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 12:17:16 PM EST

well, IANAP, but...

in response to number 1:

string theory has helped unite general relativity and QM in a pretty good way; the big problem is, GR requires a very uniform and smooth surface to space-time, and QM dictates that in fact space-time is very rough and choppy (read: 'quantum foam') at scales smaller than the Planck length.

string theory refutes this by showing that the Planck length is in fact the smallest possible scale possible, and thus such possible uncertainty undulations are ignored, and space has an overall smoothness good enough for GR to be applied.

secondly, given the non-zero length of strings, the infinities disappear since zero does not come into play. thirdly, string theory not only predicts a zero-mass particle with a spin of two (a graviton), it requires it

regarding number 3, that's a bit hard to say.

red-shifted photons (eg cosmic background photons whose wavelengths are being 'stretched out' by Hubble expansion) are treated thermodynamically as a kind of 'photon gas'.

the thing is, its not as if a red-shifted photon starts out as a regular photon, then midway through its journey to an earth telescope, it somehow 'stretches', throwing away energy somewhere. the red shift occurs at the moment the photon is emitted. its hard to say where the energy goes, but its also hard to assume that it is somehow 'absorbed' by the vacuum, because that would be a circular process;

1. a photon is red-shifted due to cosmic expansion
2. said photon thus gives energy to the vacumm
3. said more energetic vacuum causes more expansion.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Vacuum (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by sigwinch on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:44:50 PM EST

The only violations of this law that are known, occur at the quantum-mechanical scale and are limited in energy amount and time (to a ridiculously small amount) by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
There's also cosmological expansion, which causes photons to lose energy to the vacuum, and does work against the gravitational attraction between cosmological objects. The vacuum is capable of some odd and poorly understood behavior, and I think it is plausible that you can extract energy from it, although I have no idea whatsoever how it would be done.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

The problem (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by physicsgod on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:32:34 PM EST

Is that energy and time are non-commuting variables. In layman's terms: The more hammers you create the shorter they hang around. For example: 1 16oz (.45 kg) hammer would be observable for about 2e-50 seconds.

This whole zero-point energy thing is *WAY* overblown. Yes the vacuum does have a non-sero energy value, but energy itself is about as useful as a ferrit in your pants. In order to do anything you need an energy differential. Since the zero-point energy doesn't have anywhere to go you can't get it to do any useful work. It's like trying to get work from ground-state electrons.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Oh? (none / 0) (#75)
by DavidTC on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:22:17 PM EST

Who says there's nowhere to put the enegy? You simply have to dump it outside the universe. ;)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
Hmmm (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:33:00 PM EST

I'd say it's a postulate of physics, and remains as unproven as, say, Euclid's idea that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Clearly that shortest distance postulate is needed for Euclidian geometry, and clearly the law of conservation of energy and mass (to expand it properly) is needed for modern physics, but whether it's needed for the universe is an open question. How many of the experiments include, among their underlying assumptions, that very postulate?

[ Parent ]
It's more than a postulate. (none / 0) (#63)
by physicsgod on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:09:08 PM EST

All the conservation laws we know and love are the result of symmetries in the equations of quantum mechanics. You could ask how reality is the result of equations, it goes like this: QM describes the result of experiment very well, the QM equations are symmetric in time, which implies there is a conservation of energy (within the limits given by the Heisenburg Uncertaty Principle as I mentioned before).

You might be able to do away with conservation of energy, but you'd have to develop a mathematical framework that explains experiment better than QM *and* isn't symmetric in time. Good luck with that.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

I'm not saying I have a better idea (none / 0) (#66)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:50:58 PM EST

or even that it's wrong. I'm just saying that the concept certainly predates quantum anything, and was a part of the basic outlook of physics for what, a hundred years before Heisenberg? It's built into physics in much the same way that God is built into Catholicism.

I try always to remember that Ptolemy's vision of the universe was, in fact, consistent with the instruments of the time, and that any errors that were noted were dismissed, because "of course" the basic geometric forms would rule. Even Copernicus wanted to keep things in circles, because of what he probably would have thought of as "The Law of Conservation of Geometric Simplicity" or somesuch.

[ Parent ]

Well then think about it this way. (none / 0) (#76)
by physicsgod on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 12:52:40 AM EST

If this Irishman's right then QM is wrong, the equations just wouldn't survive.

Physicists have been trying for 100 years to experimentally disprove QM, all they've gotten has been better and better agreement. I find it extremely improbable that one guy working in his shed would eliminate QM while thousands of man-years haven't shown the slightest discrepancy.

You also need to remember that Ptolemy only survived for thousands of years because there was no scientific method. Ptolemy's cosmology was one of the first casualties of the Scientific Revolution, and when Kepler showed that Copernicus' circles wouldn't fit the data and ellipses would the community went with ellipses. I for one am not willing to give up on the theoretical underpinning of everything from atomic bombs to solar panels on the basis of one black box I've only seen a picture of. IF the guy posts schematics online and I build a copy and IF it works, then I'll brush up on my Linear Algebra and start rewriting physics.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Continuity equations (none / 0) (#71)
by adiffer on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:54:32 PM EST

I was taught to think of it the way you suggest by most of my professors, but there were a vocal minority that did it the other way around.

You could assume the symmetry and derived the currents and fields implied by them. This approach produces exactly the same physics even though it looks to be turned around. When the resulting theories are the same, Nature is telling us that the differences in the approaches are irrelevant.

I've seen a perfectly valid derivation of classical electromagnetism that starts with the assumption that energy-momentum and electric charge are independently continuous. I'm holding to continuity statements because they apply better in a space-time theory than conservation statements do.

As in other theories, the things you start with are the postulates. The rest of the statements are the equivalent of the theorems. Quantum theories can be derived from both angles, so it is all right to consider energy-momentum continuity as a postulate.

[ Parent ]
Two things (4.20 / 10) (#9)
by weirdling on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 03:58:37 PM EST

First, this device was powered by batteries, and the proof of its lack of draw is manifestly imprecise, as voltage variance in batteries is a function of hundreds of variables, one of which is charge. Far more convincing would have been an inline ammeter, something these people almost never try. Also, note that their estimation of power usage is off by an order of magnitude: 3 100-watt bulbs is a mere 300 watts, not 1.5 kilowatts or whatever. Further, at 12 volts, 3 100-watt bulbs are 3 10-watt bulbs, meaning that a mere 30 watts were consumed. Or, on a 240 volt system, it converts to just 15 watts on 12 volts.

Your average car battery is capable of six hundred amps, or 3600 watts (3.6 kwatts, or more than the 1.5 kwatts quoted). Most car batteries have at least sixty amp-hours, meaning 720 watt-hours. Of course, as it is not known if they are wired in series or parallel (or maybe I missed it), we can assume parallel, meaning the greatest amount of time on the battery, as series results in a higher voltage and therefore a higher draw, as the resistivity of the lights is constant. That means that four batteries have 240 amp-hours or 2880 watt-hours, roughly, meaning that two hours at 300 watts would not significantly dim the bulbs nor drain the battery. Of course, two hours at 30 watts isn't that much greater than normal loss on the battery. One would expect it possible to achieve 3 kwatt-hours (3000 watt-hours or two hours at 1.5 kwatt, as asserted in the text) on superlative batteries without significant voltage drop, particularly if they are of the deep-cycle kind.

Next, zero-point energy is not the same as cold fusion, or, more precisely, cold fusion is not zero-point energy. Also, while cold fusion has largely been discarded in the US, viable research continues in Japan and other places, in which many of the difficulties presented in Pons and Fleischmann's work have been resolved. Since anyone can get the plans and build their own cold fusion device, once the relatively expensive rare-earth metals are acquired, it isn't really the same as a secretive zero-point idea.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
not quite. (3.80 / 5) (#17)
by garlic on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:00:05 PM EST

The system contains more than just batteries and light bulbs. Otherwise disconnecting the batteries would shut off the light bulbs. I imagine its something like:

light bulbs <---->jasker_box<----->batteries

His power consumption equation has to involve something in the jasker_box part above. Since we don't know what's in there( big capaciters, hidden batteries, amazing power source with a jump start necessary) it's hard to analyse his power use estimate.

My guess is that this set up (supposedly?)acts something like a car engine. You have a battery, which is used to get the engine running. The engine produces your power, and runs the alternator to re-charge your battery. The question here though is what's he using for gas?

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

I know ... (4.25 / 4) (#42)
by Ranieri on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 04:53:00 AM EST

The question here though is what's he using for gas?

HUMAN BRAINS! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!


--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

Couple of nitpicks (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by Secret Coward on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:43:45 AM EST

First, they estimate 4.5KW, not 1.5KW. Second, it is likely that the batteries are in series, since they use four 12V batteries and the voltage starts at 48.9V. Third, a 600 amp car battery produces 12*600=7200 watts.

I don't know much about electricity, so I don't know if the current across the bulbs would remain constant as the voltage changes. You imply that it does, so I'll work with that. At 48V the three bulbs would draw:

(100W/120V)*48V*3=120W.

Let's face it, if a reporter looked at three 100W light bulbs and only saw 30W of light, they would know something was up. However, if they saw 120W, they probably wouldn't know the difference. Anyway, Over two hours, that's 240W-hours. Which is still less than 10% of the available energy.

[ Parent ]

batteries. (none / 0) (#50)
by garlic on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:02:28 AM EST

I'm not familiar enough with chemical batteries to know, but if you suck 10% of the energy from the battery, wouldn't there be a noticable voltage change?

The 4.5 kw estimate by the guy has to assume something like the batteries are running an engine that makes the electricity for the light bulbs instead of a direct connection between batteries and light bulb. Something like if you used your car battery to run your car engine (instead of internal combustion) to power your alternator which was connected to your head lights. That's the only way I can see that it makes sense.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Depends very much (none / 0) (#88)
by weirdling on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:44:56 PM EST

Car batteries are designed to produce an enormous amp load for a short duration, so would significantly dim if heavily drawn. However, like any other battery, if drawn slowly enough, one is not likely to notice the difference without sincerely sensitive equipment, which the human eye does not qualify.

Of course, if it was a deep-cycle battery or one of the more modern designs, such as nickel-metal-hydride, you'd not notice a significant dropoff until 60% or so.

Dropoff on batteries is logarithmic based on time, so it takes a long time to drop below a given threshhold...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
You have to ask? (3.57 / 7) (#11)
by RareHeintz on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 04:01:41 PM EST

Until he submits this thing to scientific review, I'm going to have to go with "hoax". If it actually worked, he'd wouldn't have to go to such lengths for "security", and could let scientists instead of reporters in.

Also, the article borders on the fraudlent by mentioning zero-point energy without ever explicitly tying it to the Jasker toy, but still implying to the careless reader that he is somehow working with established principles of science, rather than perpetrating a hoax. The editors at Reuters should be ashamed to have published such a piece of outrageously speculative crap.

OK,
- B
--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Security and Multinationals (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by suick on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 05:19:40 PM EST

If it actually worked, he'd wouldn't have to go to such lengths for "security", and could let scientists instead of reporters in.

Actually, if it actually works, he'd be dead within the hour. If someone actually came up with a cheap-energy alternative to paying the gas or electric companies, do you seriously think that a billion dollar industry is just going to take it in stride? The only hope of getting his idea out there would be mass-public exposure right away, and even then, getting the idea past the scientific community is difficult--or rather, they're easily bribed. "If you claim this formula doesn't work, you won't have to work for your grants ever again." Trust me, nobody's going to want to go the way of the horse drawn carraige.

That being said, however, I think this guy worked on the problem for 22 years of his life, gave up, attached a lightbulb, and said "lookey here."

Although I would be more than pleasantly surprised if this turned out to be true.

order in to with the will I around my effort sentences an i of more be fuck annoying.
[ Parent ]
Horse-Drawn Carraige? (none / 0) (#70)
by Matrix on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:48:53 PM EST

Trust me, nobody's going to want to go the way of the horse drawn carraige.

And yet, the horse-drawn carraige went the way of the horse-drawn carraige. Not without a lot of fuss, but go it did. At the time, that industry was quite profitable. And some of the "industrialists" at the time make modern-day CEOs look like pansies. Plus, consider this. The profits available to numerous other industries from cheap electricity far outweigh the losses to the energy industry. You think the other industries aren't able to gang up on the energy industry?

Add to that the fact that someone's still got to make and service the generators, and that there will still be demand for oil, and this argument starts looking very insubstantial.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Speaking of hoaxes (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by Secret Coward on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 04:04:58 PM EST

Does anyone no of a company called Black Light Power? I stumbled upon their website a few years ago. At the time, I thought for sure it was some scam that would be shut down in a week. It's still there, and they've added quite a bit of stuff.

Basically, the company claims they can extract energy from a hydrogen atom in amounts 100 to 1000 times greater than a chemical reaction. It looks interesting, but I'm skeptical.

More energy than a chemical reaction? (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 05:07:03 PM EST

Well, don't tell the Russians, but the US has a thing they call a "hydrogen bomb" that I hear makes a really big bang...

[ Parent ]
Too late... (none / 0) (#30)
by physicsgod on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:36:34 PM EST

Those ruskies have their own.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#55)
by trhurler on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:28:49 PM EST

They had theirs first. We had the first fission weapons, but their layer cake fusion weapons were the first such devices detonated, if I remember correctly. I believe they actually fused lithium, rather than hydrogen, but they had a severely limited upper bound on yield, so eventually the basic design of the US weapon(exploded later, if I'm remembering right,) was adopted by the Russians too.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Nope (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by physicsgod on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:45:04 PM EST

At least, not according to the FAS, the Sloika (layer cake) design was tested ~10 months after Ivy Mike (the first US H-bomb test), and only had 1/25 the yeild. Their first "real" H-bomb, identical in design to the Castle Bravo device (both were staged, using LiD fusion fuel) was 9 months after Castle Bravo, and had 10% of the yield.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Erm... (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by Lionfire on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:51:46 AM EST

Energy levels from hydrogen that is orders of magnitude higher than simple chemical reactions... doesn't sound anything like cold fusion to me :)

The Internet is full of websites claiming the impossible. Just because they've got a domain, doesn't make them experts (just look at me -- I have no idea what I'm talking about most of the time).



[ blog | cute ]
[ Parent ]
Black Light and Conectiv (none / 0) (#62)
by guinsu on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:49:17 PM EST

Black Light Power received some investment from Delaware based Conectiv power (formerly Delmarva Power) a few years back. That seemed to legitimize it a bit, but I have heard no news since.

[ Parent ]
contrary to the article... (1.00 / 12) (#13)
by zephc on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 05:06:28 PM EST

I think Guinness is a more is a more important invention... at least i'm sure the people of Ireland would rather go without indoor plumbing and electricity rather than forego a pint ;P Oh wait, they have (some anyway), at least up thought the 40's okay, irish-bashing mode: off

I'm sure I speak for most... (none / 0) (#22)
by m0rzo on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:51:34 PM EST

when I say that you make absolutely no sense.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

hehe sorry... (1.00 / 5) (#35)
by zephc on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:12:55 PM EST

the irish just piss me off sometimes ;P

[ Parent ]
Open mind (4.11 / 9) (#16)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 05:36:24 PM EST

Just thought I'd point out that if the device doesn't work, it's not because we don't believe in it and if it does work, it works in spite of our skepticism.

I'm not reaching for my wallet yet, but I'll wait for the thing to be thoroughly examined and tested before denouncing its creator as a fraudster or crackpot.

Closed Mind (2.33 / 3) (#25)
by SIGFPE on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:04:00 PM EST

It won't work. Perpetual motion machines don't exist and the 'inventor' is a fraudster and/or crackpot. One more thing - I'm prepared to act on my beliefs and stake any amount of money you care to mention on it not working. Are you prepared to act on your beliefs? If you're not - are they beliefs worth having?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
That's just super (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by mech9t8 on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:22:58 PM EST

Are you prepared to act on your beliefs? If you're not - are they beliefs worth having?

Good to see that if the human race actually does manage to get rid of all the conflict caused by religion, there will still be people around willing to jihad over the Laws of Thermodynamics. ;)

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Absolutely! (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by SIGFPE on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:42:52 PM EST

And guess what! My thermonuclear devices built using the principles of thermodynamics will blow that army of perpetual motion machines to kingdom come!
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
You didn't read the post (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:53:55 PM EST

He didn't say it will work. He didn't even say it might. What he said was that whether it works or not is independent of our beliefs.

I agree with both of you. I'd be willing any money you want that it won't work. I'd also be willing to bet any money that the Right Thing To Dotm is test his claim, not reject it out of hand.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Open mouth (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:14:15 PM EST

It won't work. Perpetual motion machines don't exist and the 'inventor' is a fraudster and/or crackpot.

Just saying it doesn't make it so. If people tell you day is night, it's still day.

If I can quote Dana Scully, "nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know if it."

And yes, I'll put any amount of money behind my assertion that trying the machine out under a variety of controlled conditions and assessing its performance will show is if it's genuine or not.

[ Parent ]
You're always correct in what you say (1.66 / 3) (#37)
by SIGFPE on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:52:56 PM EST

And yes, I'll put any amount of money behind my assertion that trying the machine out under a variety of controlled conditions and assessing its performance will show is if it's genuine or not
Ah! But I can do better than your almost tautological statement. You see I don't even have to test the machine out to know it's a fraud. I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but this is a useful skill to acquire - it can save you lots of money testing things out that aren't actually gong to work.

Just saying it doesn't make it so
Very true. But you see when I say so I ain't trying to make it so. I gave up that kind of magic as a kid.

If I can quote Dana Scully...
True again. But as long as you hover around tautologies your hit rate is going to be pretty high. When are you actually going to say something non-trivial? That's the whole point of science - to go beyond the trivial and say something new. I can pull endless truisms out of my hat too but it's tedious after a while.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
I`m not. (none / 0) (#45)
by FredBloggs on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:57:35 AM EST

It sounds like nonsense to me, to be honest - it would have to break several laws of physics. I`ll be waiting for proof that this ISNT nonsense before taking it seriously. Sounds like guilty before being proved innocent? Damn right. Do you assume a new theory is right until its been proved right?

[ Parent ]
Proven Right, I think not (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by jonnyq on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:25:12 PM EST

Do you assume a new theory is right until its been proved right?

It may just seem like pedantic nitpicking, but I believe it is an important distinction that in standard scientific education, theories are never proven right, they are either supported by evidence or are proven wrong, neither of which we can say about Mr. AnonymousIrishman's device.

I am inclined to think it is a fraud due to various past experiences, but I will wait for more evidence supporting his claim.

[ Parent ]
Nope (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Znork on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 08:15:34 AM EST

Dont hold your breath. It aint the first one and it wont be the last one, but they all have in common that either they dont work or they wont allow an examination. Heck, there was one of these on some news broadcast in sweden last month. Sure, it 'appeared' to be a perpetual motion machine, but noooo, he wouldnt show the insides.

Well, a battery 'appears' to be a free energy device too. Just hook two wires and a lightbulb to one and wow, it shines. It just wont last.

Funny how that thing looks like one big battery.



[ Parent ]
Hoax (2.20 / 5) (#23)
by bugmaster on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 07:42:56 PM EST

Unless someone explains to me very clearly how this device manages to successfully violate the laws of thermodynamics (esp. the 1st one), I mark this one as a hoax.
>|<*:=
The Free Engine Machine (4.90 / 11) (#24)
by greenrd on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:02:06 PM EST

The free energy machine is a very popular thing to "invent". It's been "invented" hundreds of times - of course, most if not all of them turn out to be hoaxes or cases of incompetent measuring. There are some interesting cases covered in the book "Free Energy", and there's a few niche magazines covering the phenomenon, such as "Infinite Energy". The original Cold Fusion debacle is covered, as well as lots of other parascience, by Richard Milton's very interesting book Forbidden Science (called Alternative Science in the US.) 90 matches for "free energy" books on amazon.com. KeelyNet is another longtime source. Last I checked KeelyNet were "still searching" for a reproducible free energy device. Not much surprise there.

I was surprised to learn that the famous sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke thinks that "cold fusion" may well be real. Make of that what you will.

The most credible proposal for a (not exactly free but) "too-cheap-to-meter" energy source I have heard of is solar panels produced by nanotech assemblers, in Ed Regis' excellent book Nano. But then I know nothing about the detailed science of nanotech so take that with a dumper truck full of salt.

Maybe the free energy device is a bit like the modern equivalent of the Philosopher's Stone - the holy grail for alchemists. The Stone was variously said to be able to grant immortal life, and/or turn lead into gold, depending on who you read.[*] In the olden days, it seems, for some people the highest priority was to live forever. Now it tends to be more often just "get filthy rich", and the advantages of a free energy device for achieving that end are obvious. Unfortunately, a lot of "free energy" inventors are extremely paranoid about having their inventions stolen, or being rubbed out by a Big Oil assassin [not entirely unreasonably, methinks!] - so even if someone did somehow hit the jackpot (and some scientists believe zero point energy is theoretically an exploitable energy source, so it's not out of the bounds of possibility), it might be lost again due to paranoia.

[*] Gratuitious offtopic Harry Potter note: The name of the first Harry Potter book and film is different in the US to here in the UK. The original name was "Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone", but it was changed in the US because it was thought that Americans wouldn't know what the philosophers stone was. Also, the character in the HP book who discovered the philsopher's stone is Nicholas Flammel - a real historical figure, who, legend has it, really did discover the philosopher's stone. </pointless waffle>


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

Nano was a great book. (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:48:12 AM EST

The most credible proposal for a (not exactly free but) "too-cheap-to-meter" energy source I have heard of is solar panels produced by nanotech assemblers, in Ed Regis' excellent book Nano. But then I know nothing about the detailed science of nanotech so take that with a dumper truck full of salt.

I'm impressed that you mention Nano, as it was a very entertaining and informative book.

Here at Rice University we have a number of projects aimed at fabrication of autonomous nano-assemblers. It is basically the dream of a number of people, from K. Eric Drexler and Hans Moravec all the way to innumerable science fiction writers. Unfortunately, being able to harness coherent work from free energy (sometimes called kT energy, where k is Boltzmann's constant and T is ambient temperature in degrees Kelvin) violates a central thermodynamic formalism, so any such process is guaranteed to be highly inefficient. The goal now is to make supramolecular assemblies, which would have an external energy source like a laser beam (for example), that could be programmed to do simple repetitive tasks.

Anyone saying they can 'harness' free energy at any useful level of efficiency is full of it. Period.



[ Parent ]

Surprised? (none / 0) (#69)
by SIGFPE on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:43:43 PM EST

I was surprised to learn that the famous sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke thinks that "cold fusion" may well be real.
And you were surprised because science fiction writers are well known as a good source of scientific information...?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Clarke did invent the comsat... (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by ToastyKen on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:16:54 PM EST

And you were surprised because science fiction writers are well known as a good source of scientific information...?

In the case of Arthur C. Clarke, certainly. After all, he did invent the geostationary communications satellite while serving in the RAF, you know.

And greenrd, if you read the article, you'll see that Clarke was just talking about research into possible cold fusion by reputable scientists, not the cold fusion that was "discovered" and found to be a hoax. Hell, if anything, the very fact that so many scientists got riled up that time is precisely because they don't consider it an impossible notion, just unlikely.

The difference between actual research into alternative energy sources and "research" by the free energy crackpots is that the former do their research in the open and subject their results to peer review.

Basic science is all about researching the silly, sure, but the key is to let others look at what you're doing once you succeed, so people have a reason to believe your results. Free energy crackpots don't do that, so we have no reason to believe them.

[ Parent ]

Inventing something doesn't make you a guru (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by SIGFPE on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 01:54:58 PM EST

AC Clarke is pretty ignorant about physics as is easily discovered by reading articles written by him and his science fiction (when I say ignorant I'm comparing to, say, the average Physics PhD). His knowledge is superficial and comes from the same sources as any reader of the popular science press. He did invent the communcations satellite, which is very cool indeed, but that's a piece of engineering. Few engineers have the faintest clue about the processes claimed to be involved involved in putative cold fusion: nuclear forces, boson statistics and possible bose-einstein condensation and so on. He probably doesn't even know the first thing about quantum mechanics.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Sounds great (3.33 / 3) (#32)
by ennui on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 10:25:03 PM EST

Hopefully in the near future a huge array of these devices can be built, providing free energy light to an area the size of my garage. Those freon bird things are free energy devices too in a sense, but other than pretending to drink water they're useless.

"You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone." -- Al Capone
To be believable (4.35 / 14) (#33)
by Blarney on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 10:40:51 PM EST

These free energy hoaxsters - Joe Newman, Dennis Lee, etc. - all have one thing in common. They refuse to bring a working model of their invention to any academic researchers to test.

Free energy scammers constantly complain about the "scientific establishment" and their refusal to accept their discoveries. Yet this is only talk, only a bunch of lies. Were Mr. AnonymousIrishman to show up at my lab door one day, I'd happily go borrow a couple watt-hour meters from the electronics shop - who, far from being stubborn and closeminded, would probably want to watch the test! - hook up one to his machine's input, one to his output, and watch the dials spin around. My boss might stop by and mutter something about getting back to work on chemistry, but that would about be it. Far from being close-minded, he'd probably stand there encouraging us to hurry up and get those dials moving. At the end of the day, we'd have two numbers - watthours in, and watthours out. If there was overunity power output, we would know very easily.

Free energy scammers constantly complain that their lives would be in danger if they released the details of their machinery! But these are just self-serving lies and/or delusions. I am pretty sure that if Mr. AnonymousIrishman were to bring his machine to my department on a cart, carry it up the elevator, bring it to my lab and hook it up to the previously mentioned power meters, no masked assassins would appear out of nowhere and steal it/destroy it/shoot him. At least, nobody ever does that to all the scientists wandering around our school with their more prosaic instruments. If he was totally paranoid, we could always get some guards. Our University, like most, does have its own police force which, though absolutely miserable at preventing burglaries and petty theft, could be quite useful deterring mysterious gunmen. We can even call them on the phone when we want them and have them stand around drinking coffee. Imagine that!

Free energy scammers constantly complain that their ideas will be stolen away from them if they demonstrate their machines to academic researchers. Yet most researchers are honest and respectful of each others work, and are mainly motivated by reputation rather than mere money. I'd work my ass off testing any of these machines, and I'd be happy to get my name as a co-author on a scientific paper. That would be enough motivation for me - I wouldn't need to kill Mr. AnonymousIrishman, dump the body somewhere, and keep the machine for myself. Probably most science workers would also be happy with this situation.

Yet Mr. AnonymousIrishman doesn't bother calling up the local University, or publically offering to demonstrate it for interested scientists. No, he goes straight to the newspapers. This guy is either a fraud, or he doesn't have enough common sense not to behave like one.

respectful (1.42 / 7) (#53)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:25:56 AM EST

Yet most researchers are honest and respectful of each others work

I take it that you're not like "most researchers" then?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Means nothing.. (3.66 / 3) (#34)
by eightball on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:10:53 PM EST

Until it is reviewed in a neutral setting. (couldn't get myself to say peer reviewed).

I would like to point out that it does not say that energy is not taken from the environment and it sustains itself. There is nothing inherent in what we know of so far to say this is a 'perpetual motion' machine. It could be sucking energy from the earth's magnetic field, heat from the air, feeder cable from secret basement, who knows? Wait and see, until then, I will withhold my +1 vote.

Zero point energy and the Casimir force. (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:04:52 AM EST

There have been some recent examples of simple machines (consisting of a baffle and a semi-elastic axle) that have measured tiny energies due to the Casimir force. These examples were published in the primary literature, but there is no speculation on how it could be used to generate macro-scale quantities of energy.

It's an effect of zero point energy, and a consequence of Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED), a subset of quantum mechanics which I am not qualified to properly summarize. Basically, you have two conductive parallel plates, of a certain area, that are maneuvered very close together. Once the two plate surfaces are less than, say, 100 nm apart, the plates start to act as a filter for isotropic fields that are depleted in the region between the plates. So there is a higher 'concentration' (I hesitate to use that term) of the energetic fields on the outside of the plates than in the inside, which creates an energy vacuum of sorts. The Casimir force is the induced force that pushes the two plates together in response to the energy vacuum, once they get close enough (within ~100 nm or less).



Conservative field (4.66 / 3) (#41)
by Blarney on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:25:20 AM EST

Though I'm not qualified to discuss the Casimir force either, my suspicion is that it is a conservative field. A typical conservative field would be gravitational potential energy on hilly frictionless terrain - you can pick up some speed going down a hill, and you need to spend some energy to go back up, but making a closed circuit will always leave you with the precise same amount of energy when you get back to the same place. So the plates might pull together, and you might get some energy that way, but you'll lose all the energy pulling them apart for the next cycle. If anybody ever discovers a force field that isn't conservative, it'll be free energy forever.

[ Parent ]
Yes. (2.75 / 4) (#46)
by Kugyou on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:48:38 AM EST

It's either real or a hoax. Silliness aside, I'd just like to say to all the "It's a hoax because of a postulate of physics" posters: It was believed during the course of human history that the human body could withstand no velocity greater than 15 miles per hour. Nothing of the forces of acceleration, just some arbitrary numerical term of velocity. I'm not saying that this man has disproven one of physics' most beloved "Laws", but remember that you don't have to be a scientific uber-god to find things.
-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
Uh, no.... (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:39:06 PM EST

I'm not sure where you got that idea, but I can assure you that such a belief has not been held by any significant group of people in recorded history. At least, any group of people that rode horses, which can easily reach speeds of thirty miles per hour.

Hell, human sprinters regularly exceed fifteen miles per hour. (Hint: a "Four minute mile" requires a speed of exactly fifteen miles per hour, and that's not a sprint.)

In any case, "The Law of Conservation of Energy" isn't scientific uber-god stuff. It's the second week of high school physics.

I suspect that you are somehow misremembering statements of one or two "respectable scientists" who claimed that people would asphixiate on trains travelling above sixty miles per hour, however, you need to realize that in that particular case, it was one or two as opposed to the healthy majority that were perfectly willing to get on board and throw as much coal on the boiler as it could take.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Exact numbers irrelevant... (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by aluminumaloi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:20:52 PM EST

The numbers may have been wrong, but his argument still stands: Just because current science says that something is true does not make it true. We often make assumptions about how the universe works, and many of those assumptions are based on huge amounts of evidence. And then, somewhere along the way, we find out that our assumptions were wrong, and come up with a new way to look at things. The new explanation still fits the evidence, but in a different way. I believe that is the real point Kugyou is trying to make.

[ Parent ]
chemistry (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by nodsmasher on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:43:03 PM EST

hell i can proove this wrong and all i have taken is high school chemistry (for which i got a c in) see previus coment for that
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Even faster! (none / 0) (#80)
by vrt3 on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 11:13:52 AM EST

I'm not sure where you got that idea, but I can assure you that such a belief has not been held by any significant group of people in recorded history. At least, any group of people that rode horses, which can easily reach speeds of thirty miles per hour.
Yes, but horses don't have a speedometer, so maybe nobody knew that ;)
Hell, human sprinters regularly exceed fifteen miles per hour.
Indeed: sprinters do 100 m in about 10 seconds. So their average speed on that distance is 10 m/s = 36 km/h = +/- 22 mph. And that's *average* speed, while they start from zero, so their top speed is even more than that (though I don't know how much more).
When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]
Sprinters (none / 0) (#86)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 03:15:07 PM EST

The figure I've heard for max speed is ~ 25 mph.

Interesting trivia note: an human being can outrun a horse in a ten meter race with a standing start.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Amazing biophysics result (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by SIGFPE on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:43:03 PM EST

It was believed during the course of human history that the human body could withstand no velocity greater than 15 miles per hour
Very interesting. I guess that people formulated this hypothesis as a result of observing people's bodies break up whenever they sprinted.

I have at least two hypotheses I could work with:
(1) the people saying we should investigate this perpetual motion machine further are intelligent, reasonable and have a good point
or
(2) the people saying we should investigate this perpetual motion machine are a bunch of idiots and I should stick with thermodynamics as I know it.

Your quotation of a non sequitur that's clearly a misheard piece of hearsay whose falsity is trivially obvious to even young children living before the advent of motor vehicles does wonders for supporting hypothesis (2).
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

Soo... (2.66 / 3) (#48)
by pistols on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:28:18 AM EST

...if he has this all magical energy producing machine, why doesn't he do something useful with it, like propel a small object into orbit, or sell power to his neighbors? As it stands, I too can produce a washing machine sized blackbox that powers light bulbs. Ooooh, spiffy.

Power (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:43:37 AM EST

Just having free energy dosn`t mean you can send someone into space. I mean, you can't use the nuke plant from, say, an aircraft carier to get into space, even though that's 'free'.


--- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
[ Parent ]
yeah you could (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:22:59 AM EST

Just get the plant, bend its rods down, sit on top of it and wait. You'll be in space before you know it ....

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
pardon me if I'm wrong (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:36:28 AM EST

But how did anyone manage to estimate that three 100-watt bulbs adds up to "4.5 kilowatts"? This would appear to be out by a factor of fifteen.

I certainly hate to appear on the same side as the show-offs, know-alls and religion-of-science types crowding this thread, but the fact that Reuters didn't even bother to ask this question makes me inclined to ignore this story.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Let's set the numbers straight (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by danb1974 on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:44:44 PM EST

1) The runtime.

Your average car battery is rated at 12 volt, 45 amps/hour. That gives 12 * 45 = 540 watts/hour. Four fully charged batteries give 540 * 4 = 2160 watts/hour.

Three 100 watt bulbs burning for 2 hours gives a mere 3 * 100 * 2 = 600 watt/hour.

So that does not prove anything. The bulbs could have run more than 6 hours on the batteries.

2) The voltage.

The voltage of a battery decreases with load, due to the battery's internal resistance. It's the reason your car lights fade when you are starting the engine.

So that does not prove anything, too.

Any questions? :)

Patterns in History (3.20 / 5) (#58)
by PresJPolk on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:48:27 PM EST

The Catholic Church - In *this* house we obey the laws of God!

Homer Simpson - In *this* house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Saying something is a law doesn't make it so.

That said, conservation laws have a *lot* of experimental evidence, so this guy had better be prepared to present some very well-done experimental evidence, and write up a cookbook so that everyone can prove for himself.

Discrepancy (1.00 / 1) (#67)
by jaypuck on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:15:41 PM EST

I'm not trying to flame but I have seen too many posts saying "those car batteries could have powered those light bulbs for x-number of hours" or "x-watt bulbs do not draw x-kilowatts". Assuming this device uses magnetic fields for generating power you would need to create an electromagnetic field from somewhere, in this case three car batteries. It then creates enough energy to power itself, three light bulbs and replenish the batteries that started it going. I'm not saying the device works, I am pointing out that you can not start any electrical or mechanical device without an outside power source.

He built it in his garage (none / 0) (#72)
by alkaline on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:58:05 PM EST

Ok, what I'm wondering is, if this guy could build this thing in his garage using common household parts, why are we arguing about quantum mechanics? Do you know what kind of energies you deal with when getting into quantum mechanics? Not anything you can get from 4 12-volt car batteries.

How to make this not a hoax. (none / 0) (#74)
by Inoshiro on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:08:25 PM EST

How to make your scientific not a hoax is 3 easy steps:

  1. Write up your careful, repeatable experiment setup detailing the equipment used, theory, etc. Think of it as a lab report for university or high school, except you submit it to a physics peer-review maganize instead of a bored lab attendant.
  2. Get letters from other scientists who are able to (not) duplicate your results, point out potiential errors in your math, etc.
  3. At this point, if everyone has also been able to repeat the experiment under the same conditions, and the theory of cause's relation to effect has withstood the peer review, we consider it a scientific truth until someone makes a better experiment/postulate which agrees with the data.

You *don't* hold a stupid press conference with ignoramus reporters who couldn't balance a simple chemistry equation or calculate the kinematics of a ball throw from a car. We learned that lesson when that stupid U of T pushed the people who found promising intial results from "cold fusion" into having a press conference, rather than a proper 3-step publishing bit. The U of T ruined their careers. This guy just pointed out how stupid most reporters are (we knew that already).



--
[ イノシロ ]
On second reading (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by streetlawyer on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 03:15:41 AM EST

On second reading, I'd note that the inventor of this machine at no point claims that it is a free energy source, or that it is a perpetual motion machine. He says that it is a "self-sustaining unti which at the same time provides surplus electrical energy".

Of course, dear old Michael Sims at slashdot, the unthinking man's James Randi comes down pretty hard on this one, saying

"This quote is simply embarassing. It parses to "Perpetual motion is impossible. This is a perpetual motion unit." The inventor must be snickering in his Guinness right now to have snuck that one past."
But in fact, it's Michael's assertion which is, well, embarrassing. If you will allow me the following unproven assertions:
  1. Michael Sims is capable of feeding himself.
  2. Michael Sims has a brain and nervous system.
  3. Michael Sims' brain and nervous system function in roughly the same way as other people's
and the provable medical truth that the nervous system of a normal human being produces low-level electrical activity, then it seems hard to escape the conclusion that Michael Sims is a self supporting system (ie, he can feed himself) which at the same time produces (small amounts of) surplus electrical energy.

Of course, Sims isn't a wonder of nature; the electrical energy is produced from the chemical digestion of the food he eats. But nobody, least of all its inventor, made any specific claim that the Jaskers box was a closed system thermodynamically. For all we know, it eats flies. Or perhaps he's invented a cool way to separate out oxygen from the air to run a fuel cell. A bit more humility might be in order.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Yeah, maybe... (none / 0) (#85)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 03:03:24 PM EST

But only an idiot would invest any money without an explanation as to what it was doing.

It's all well and good to talk about "might be possibles" here, but that's not strong enough to make us take things seriously. I mean, it's theoretically possible that I've figured out a way to predict what tomorrow evenings's Dow Jones will be within five points. If I make that claim, are you going to take me seriously? Or are you going to assume I'm a crank?

Probably the latter. Probably you are going to insist on some sort of explanation on how I did it before you assume I'm not completely full of shit. You are not going to take my claim at face value because the claim is extraordinary, because it is a type of claim beloved of cranks, because it flies in the face of most accepted economic theory, and because I haven't given any indication how I did it. An insistance that it "might be possible" probably isn't going to mean much to you as you'll rightly regard this possibility as exceedingly remote.

That's exactly what's going on here, but in the field of engineering, not economics.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

yeh, probably (none / 0) (#87)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:04:26 AM EST

But on the other hand, I am not going to write any articles demanding that your viewpoint be literally censored by news outlets. Nor would I put words in your mouth, or commit any one of a million journalistic sins that Sims did commit and Reuters (for once) didn't.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
That's impressive. (none / 0) (#89)
by andrewm on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 08:13:33 PM EST

Michael Sims is capable of feeding himself by eating nothing but his own limbs and having them grow back in time for his next meal? That's really quite impressive - I don't know anyone who can do that.

If you actually meant that he can feed himself by eating food, then he isn't self sustaining - he's sustained by an external fuel supply (known as 'food'). (er, can I assume you knew that? I'ld really like to think you were just trolling. If you were, well, at least you've had one person wondering if you were actually serious.)

Assuming the latter, then this machine would still qualify as 'amazing' even if you discovered it was plugged into the local power supply. After all, it would be self sustaining, as long as it's source of power isn't cut off. But claiming to have invented a machine that provides electricity as long as you have it plugged into a power socket is hardly newsworthy (unless you want to make jokes about the Irish, I guess.)

Incidentally, the claim that it's self sustaining is a claim that it's a closed system - if it's not a closed system, how exactly would you say that it's self sustaining? That was actually the whole point - the claim that it's self sustaining is another way of saying it's a perpetual motion device. And I like to think most people can understand why those aren't possible.

[ Parent ]

Not the first time I've come upon stuff like this. (none / 0) (#79)
by boxed on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 04:58:52 AM EST

Last time I heard of a similar device was a few years ago. The trick with that device was that it converted matter into energy, but way slower and less risky than a nuclear plant does. Not that I believe this thing but there are "machines" we've built that does what the inventor claims his machine does, they just have a nasty side effect: lots of radioactive material.

Viktor Schauberger (none / 0) (#82)
by Joshua on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 12:56:02 PM EST

I would like to point out that there are many who have claimed technologies that don't quite jive with the laws of thermodynamics. To avoid lots of excess typing, check out my comment about this on slashdot, discussing a persona who interests me greatly, Viktor Schauberger. Also, check out this page with lots of interesting articles by Josef Hasslberger. Some interesting stuff on physics, water, and the laws of thermodynamics (and some interesting links as well).

Cheers, Joshua

Am I missing something, or is this demo trivial (none / 0) (#84)
by nixman on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 06:02:16 PM EST

  • Buy an UPS (preferably one with a flywheel to get a nice humming sound) and appropriate power converters.
  • Use four car batteries to charge the UPS.
  • Measure the voltage of the batteries under load.
  • Once the UPS is charged, disconnect the batteries and measure the voltage without a load (it will be higher).
  • Run the light bulbs off the UPS.

  • It seems to me this setup could easily work for a couple of hours. If it had run a week, I would have been impressed.

    Jasker Power Source - Perpetual Energy or Hoax? | 89 comments (87 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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