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Steorn's "Free Energy" Jury Comes Back To Bite Them 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-backpedal dept.
chiark writes "Remember Steorn? Free energy for all, coming soon, and a gauntleted slap in the face to the physics establishment: 'come be our jury, and prove us right or wrong.' Well, 2 years later, the jury's verdict is in, and it's not the validation Steorn was hoping for: 'Twenty-two independent scientists and engineers were selected by Steorn to form this jury. It has for the past two years examined evidence presented by the company. The unanimous verdict of the Jury is that Steorn's attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy. The jury is therefore ceasing work.' Steorn had the choice to either accept this and move on, or attempt to rebut. Guess which approach they took?"
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Steorn's "Free Energy" Jury Comes Back To Bite Them

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  • FP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CheShACat (999169) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:45AM (#28452393) Homepage Journal
    I just can't believe that anyone wasted 2 fucking years of their life trying to "disprove" it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Indeed, Especially since Homer Simpson only took a few seconds to make a similar determination.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      But they could have all the pizza they wanted delivered to the deliberation room!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Steorn's extraordinary claims are outside of the realm of known physics, many others have made similar claims (Galileo, Newton, Einstein, etc). The difference is proof...

      Steorn needs to provide substantial proof to the world that their claims are legitimate, that the known laws of physics need revision.
      Proof would open up enormous possibilities for research and development, now that we know what to look for, and how to test it (think airplanes, transistors, etc).

      But Steorn has failed to provide any basic p

  • by spafbi (324017) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:48AM (#28452435)
    And I bought a DeLorean in preparation just for this... Thanks a lot, Steorn. Bah!
    • by nido (102070)

      You must've missed last year's story: Successful Cold Fusion Experiment? [slashdot.org]

      There was a followup this March, from another group: 20 Years After Cold Fusion Debut, Another Team Claims Success [slashdot.org]

      There is something important going on here. Mr. Fusion-powered flying DeLoreans are in our future, for sure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by DinDaddy (1168147)

        Well, if they actually work, shouldn't they be in our past and present as well?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by nido (102070)

          They are in our past. Nikola Tesla was working on some interesting inventions, before his financiers pulled the plug. Jeane Manning covers the history of innovative energy in her book, The Coming Energy Revolution [google.com]. Work on the present state-of-the-art is covered in the followup book, Breakthrough Power [breakthroughpower.net]

          These stories are the smoke that should alert us to barely-contained fires burning all around. Steorn might be onto something, and they might not - but it does us no good to scoff and laugh at them when there

          • Hahahahaha

            That's hilarious.

            You really believe this pseudo-scientific hogwash?

          • by gtall (79522) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @12:18PM (#28454921)

            Personally, I think scientific laws should be open to voting. There are so many that are downright pesky and inhibit innovation, like the laws of thermodynamics. C'mon, these have been the single greatest impediment to free energy for over 80 years. It is about time we rewrite them and put new ones up for a vote. Even something as time-tested as the law of gravity. It's waaaaayyy past time for that law to die so it wouldn't cost so much to lift our satnavs. Come to think of it, the law of large numbers is a bit of a pest too.

        • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:27AM (#28454045) Homepage Journal

          Well, if they actually work, shouldn't they be in our past and present as well?

          Because they haven't been invented yet. As soon as they are invented, then they will be in our past as well. Duh, did you skip Chronodynamics 101, or did you just think "I'll come back and study it when I invent my time machine"?

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:49AM (#28452447) Homepage Journal

    they accepted the results gracefully and in the future all their ideas will comply with the laws of physics, just like every other crank out there~

    • Re:I'm guessing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:52AM (#28452487) Journal
      I'm not sure. Cranks offering opportunities, or even prizes, for disproof of their stuff are fairly common; but they generally structure the terms of the contest so as to make it unwinnable. Setting up the contest such that TFA could actually come about looks a lot like actual sincerity. I doubt they like the outcome; but they might actually respond in good faith.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        No. People who don't understand magnets and thing their is 'free' energy there is too far gone.

        I have never seen anyone switch for any length of time. At best they loko at the results, accept them and then 24 hours pivot back to their stance.
        Sad really. OTOH, I do maintain a glimmer of optimism that there ar epeopel out there that realized there were being foolish and stopped.

      • Re:I'm guessing (Score:4, Informative)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:26AM (#28452977)

        Doesn't look like it. On the page linked to by the summary, the cranks thank the judges profusely, say they understand the judges' frustration, and note that they have always said that there are still bugs in the process. They very carefully avoid actually stating what the judges' verdict was.

    • by harl (84412)

      As we know them. We've still yet to prove that our model is correct. Trends point to our physics model being incomplete and/or wrong. For thousands of years we've laughed at what our ancestors knew to be true. I hope our descendants laugh at what rubes we are/were.

      • Proof is for liquor; not science.

        All we have is repeated observations that energy is conserved. Conservation of energy has been shown to be true over and over and over again.

        Our 400-year-old physics model, Newtonian Mechanics, was supplemented by a newer physics model, Special Relativity, a little more than a hundred years ago. Newtonian Mechanics still describes the movement of just about all objects above/on/inside the earth to within the precision of measurement (particle accelerators are just about th

  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:49AM (#28452451) Journal

    So, after failing to provide enough evidence, a jury decides the company cannot prove their claims. In the press release, the company claims to still move forward? Sheesh....

    In other related questions, what's going on with the Markus Zahn [slashdot.org] guy? Everything I can pull up about him and his invention comes to an abrupt stop in the 2 months following shortly after that story.

    • by Seakip18 (1106315)

      Sorry! It's not Markus Zahn, it's Thane Heins.

      That, said I still cannot find any further news on it, however.

    • âoeduring 2009 the company had resolved the key technical problems related to the implementation of Orbo and is now focused on commercial launch towards the end of this year, at which time academic and engineering validation would be released concurrent with public demonstrationsâ

      Methinks that if they make a single sale, they should be charged with fraud. It's bad enough that they screw with whatever miniscule understanding of science people have left... but they're going to go ahead and sell this

      • by Seakip18 (1106315)

        Weird. I knew they shut them down after they failed to produce any proof. I haven't seen smiling bob for a long time.

        Funny part about why it took so long is that in order to get a refund for the product, the patient had to go to a medical doctor and get confirmation that his, er, smiling face did not get larger and continued to stay small.

        Hence, no one really wanted to complain and get a refund.

      • And any investor who still buys from them after this deserves to be ripped off.
        Personally, I would demand a really convincing public demonstration before I take Steorn seriously again. Along the lines of
        1) (Optically) transparent design so I can see there are no batteries hidden inside.
        2) Permanent output of energy that is used up by an external load. Like driving a bicycle dynamo with an incandescent bulb attached. And I want to see it glowing!
        3) the opportunity to watch it for a while, and see if it does

  • Fools (Score:3, Interesting)

    by captaindomon (870655) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:50AM (#28452459)
    Or Geniuses?
  • by eln (21727) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:53AM (#28452497) Homepage
    The solution to their problem is to form a lobbying group to get Congress to reform the Laws of Physics. Those laws have been around for centuries and are clearly woefully outdated. Sure, at first the so-called "Laws" of Thermodynamics were a good idea, but now they're just holding us back.
    • by Bemopolis (698691)
      Congress will get to it after they're done repealing evolution.
    • Bankers seem to think this will work for changing the laws of economics, so why not?

      • Except economics is not science, it's mathematical hand-waving. Changing the laws of economics just means finding another model you can regress on past data but which predicts something different i the future.

        • Except economics is not science, it's mathematical hand-waving.

          Economics is science. Like most social sciences, controlled experiments generally require statistical controls rather than constructed situations, but that's true for some investigations even in many areas of the physical and life sciences.

          The problem economics has is that there are lots of people with ideological stakes in the outcomes, and a lot of them willing to put out money for the results they want, so you get a lot more, better supported

    • Lisa, in this house, we obey the Laws of Thermodynamics!

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Fools, Congress doesn't have enough authority to repeal these laws. For that you need the Supreme Court, who as we know, are the people who really make the laws around here.

      I'm already preparing my case to overturn the so-called conservation of energy "law" by arguing that it violates executive privilege as well as the right to privacy. The first one is for the right-wingers and the other one is for the liberal ones.

      What? You are wondering how I could relate those? That's why my case is pure GENIUS. The

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am willing to prove it as well.

    But only for the next five minutes.

    You will not be allowed to look inside the box, ONLY to measure the energy going in and out. You're not allowed to touch the machine and it must be in a completely dark room. You must pay all expenses for travel and lodging yourself. You must address me as "esteemed scienctist sir" at all times.

    A-ha, and there the time is up. I see none of you felt brave enough to try to disprove my claims. I am the winner. I'll be sure to quote this in my

    • by Wuhao (471511) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:12AM (#28452773)

      From what it sounds like, this is more like:

      I have free energy, and I invite you to come take a look. Oh, you've come to take a look, have you? Wonderful, just have a seat over there while I go work out where I put that damned free energy machine... Hmm... Yes, just be patient now, I'm sure it's probably in one of these cabinets. Or maybe one of the boxes? I've moved recently, and I must admit it might be in my storage shed.

      In the meantime, let me tell you how it works. It's really quite simple, based on the principle of mag-- oh, HELLO Mrs. Reynolds! No, I'm not busy. How IS your cousin doing? Oh, fantastic... ...

      Sorry about that, gentlemen, Mrs. Reynolds is a lonely widow, and needs all the social contact she can get. I'm so glad you're still here. In any case, down to business. The notion is really quite simple: use magnets and induction to generate unlimited power. Well, yes, there IS quite a bit more to it that that, but it's all quite technical. Oh yes, quite right, you are trained scientists and engineers, and I suppose you would be interested. All the necessary information is in my notes... Now, where did I put those...

      You know what, I think my brother has a copy, I'll just drop him a note. He's living as a vagrant in Somalia, trying to explore the human condition. I'll just send him a quick e-mail, and when he makes his way to a city with working telecommunications infrastructure, I'm sure he can tell me where to find them. In the meantime, who's up for some Boggle? It's really a fantastic game. ...Wait, where are you going? Come back! Demonstrating free energy is a difficult task, and while I understand your frustrations with the process, you must be patient! Come baaack!

      Pah. The scientific establishment has ONCE AGAIN proven that they are unwilling to consider new ideas. Now, where DID I put that perpetual motion machine...

      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:08AM (#28453705) Homepage

        Pah. The scientific establishment has ONCE AGAIN proven that they are unwilling to consider new ideas. Now, where DID I put that perpetual motion machine...

        *and just after the last scientist leaves the room, closing the door behind them with an angry scoff*

        Oh here it is! It was behind the copy machine the whole time along with the free energy machine! Gawd I'm such a dunderhead sometimes!

        Guys! Guys! I found it! Oh... they're all gone. Well I guess they just aren't interested in the best thing ever. Their loss!

        *tosses the free energy machine into the basket on the perpetual motion machine, and effortlessly flies off into SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!*

  • by Garbad Ropedink (1542973) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:58AM (#28452573)

    The fact that people take these free energy claims seriously is the prime example of how scientifically illiterate people are, and it's a real problem. It's what allows things like alt-meds to gain a foothold, UFO abduction proponents to have a voice, and free energy claims to waste everybody's time.

    Even somebody like myself with no scientific background whatsoever can understand basic scientific principles like thermodynamics. It's called scientific literacy, it's like regular literacy except you replace regular words with science words.

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:08AM (#28452711) Homepage

      Knowing the basics allows you to avoid pseudo-science without effort.
      Once you master physics, you see the world for what it really is. Everything turns to green code, and you can tear apart charlatans with a wave of your graphic calculator.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:45AM (#28453293) Journal

        While this is true now, the more we keep digging into quantum mechanics (that seem to have rules that are completely batshit nuts compared to the macro level) the more likely IMHO that something is labeled pseudo-science simply because we don't have a clue about how the quantum mechanics are affected it.

        Do I think this nut's thingamabob works? Nope, not at all. But could somebody while researching new materials and processes (probably by pure accident) come across cold fusion or something else that on the surface looks like bullshit but because we haven't really found a quantum/macro unifying theory and don't really know exactly how everything ties together could turn out to actually work? Who knows.

        Just as I'm sure if you told someone living in 1909 that we would have nuclear fission, man would send robots on rockets to Mars and would walk on the moon you would have been looked at like you were batshit crazy. The simple fact is we are still in our infancy when it comes to truly understanding how everything works from the quantum levels up through the galactic proportions. Just look at how we really don't have a clue if dark matter exists or if we have gotten something wrong with Newtonian physics when it comes to galactic level gravities.

      • by Andr T. (1006215)
        ...and real physicists [xkcd.com] set the universal constants at the start such that the universe evolves to contain the laws of Physics they want.
    • The fact that people take these free energy claims seriously is the prime example of how scientifically illiterate people are

      I'm not really that concerned about claims of 'free energy' being taken seriously. I'm more concerned about misinformation around issues that really matter such as immunization (thank you Jenny McCarthy - Nice t!ts, now go fnck off), or in Africa the discussion around aids and HIV. In the scheme of things, some whirly magnets are neither here nor there.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "scientifically illiterate people are, " Not really. There are a lot of very educated people that fall for these claims, or have bought into an idea they won't let go of.

      What the lack is critical thinking skills. Something that takes training, experience, and the rarest ability of all: the ability to go holy shit, I was wrong.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @12:17PM (#28454909)

        That last bit is key.

        In order to think critically, you must be continuously re-evaluating your own ideas, as well as everything you hear. You don't write things off immediately, you take a stance of "sounds interesting, but I'm not ready to believe it yet" for just about everything. If evidence and experience verify what someone tells you, or what you have observed, you believe it. But when new evidence comes out, you must immediately re-evaluate your belief to see if the new data will change your belief.

        In this way, when someone comes up with a new "free energy" scheme, they should never be written off immediately. However, if their data falls into the realm of what has already been thoroughly disproven, you should definitely not jump on their bandwagon, so to speak, until they have thoroughly proven that this is new science.

    • by harl (84412)

      People _knew_ the world was flat.
      People _knew_ the sun revolved around the universe.
      People _knew_ the atom was the smallest particle.
      People _knew_ that neutron/electron/protons were the smallest particles.
      People _knew_ that germ theory was complete hogwash. Little invisible bugs? Ludicrous!

      Please don't make the mistake of thinking that what we know to be true is true.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        Mod parent up!

        Critical thinking doesn't allow you to "know" anything. If you are a critical thinker, you simply believe X is true because all current evidence suggest it is true. The further away from "all" the current evidence is for a theory, the weaker a critical thinker's belief in something should be.

        For example, if there are three competing theories, with one of them looking like the more plausible, a critical thinker will pick the more plausible as best, but not with any amount of certainty. He wi

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by spun (1352)

        I see what you are saying, "Just as we used to believe that the sun revolved around the earth, we used to believe that free energy was possible. Now we know better. People used to believe all kinds of ridiculous, untrue things. Let's not make that mistake here. " Gotcha! Thanks for that heads up.

  • And will any of the investors be gullible enough to invest additional money for the company's plans to commercialize it?
    • by cowscows (103644)

      That's a pretty valid question, but look at it from the point of view of an investor that's got giant piles of money just sitting around. Sure, chances are 99.9999% that these guys are chasing a dead-end, but if against all odds they've actually figured something out, there's going to be bazillions of dollars and fame and publicity as a reward, and you can potentially be a part of that for an amount of money that's rather minor to you.

      For the vast majority of people, basically throwing away a couple million

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:08AM (#28452701)
    "In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
  • the company had resolved the key technical problems related to the implementation of Orbo and is now focused on commercial launch towards the end of this year..

    Those are some hardcore ***ards. They have been told by scientists they have nothing, but they carry on. Respekt!

    /s
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Those are some hardcore ***ards. They have been told by scientists they have nothing, but they carry on.

      But they're not forcing anybody to invest in their venture, so it's really not any worse than talking somebody into investing in a restaurant that you insist on putting in a place that gets no foot traffic, has no parking, and to which you stand no chance of attracting patrons. Somebody might buy into the wishful thinking, but a rational investor will realize that it's not easy (or ever likely) money.
      • by idontgno (624372)

        But they're not forcing anybody to invest in their venture, so it's really not any worse than talking somebody into investing in a restaurant that you insist on putting in a place that gets no foot traffic, has no parking, and to which you stand no chance of attracting patrons. Somebody might buy into the wishful thinking, but a rational investor will realize that it's not easy (or ever likely) money.

        Well, more accurately, like a restaurant which specializes only in imaginary (say, Elbonian) cuisine, has

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xaositecte (897197)

      Don't do that ** self-censoring shit. It makes you look like a retard.

      • by delt0r (999393)
        I like doing it, because is seems to offend a lot more of you ****ards than using the full word. *****!
  • by sifi (170630) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:32AM (#28453093)

    Look, I admit that their claims sound unlikely, but you can't just dismiss all claims out of hand because "they break the laws of physics". The fact is that they break the current laws of physics.

    Hell, there could be all sorts of unlikely explanations that don't even break the current laws of physics (like perhaps some mass is being converted into energy)

    Real Science means conducting experiments and taking measurements. The 'laws' of physics are only as good as the experiments and measurements taken.

    The fact is that the experiments have been conducted, and it appears that it doesn't work. It doesn't mean that the Jury are 'idiots' for trying to test it - it means that they are scientists.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      It doesn't mean that the Jury are 'idiots' for trying to test it - it means that they are scientists.

      No matter how irrational and unlikely the claim?

      My dick tastes like taffy. Go on, test it, or else I shall dub thee "Not a scientist."

      • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:54AM (#28454513) Homepage

        My dick tastes like taffy. Go on, test it, or else I shall dub thee "Not a scientist."

        Well, if you say so. I'll get a sharp knife and start preparing some samples for the double blind trial.

        Or was this kind of experiment [theregister.co.uk] more what you had in mind?

      • by Ifni (545998)

        Certainly. I will need a sample of at least 4 grams, shipped in ice and hermetically sealed. Please also ship the variety and flavor of taffy that you believe that your "male organ" tastes most like. I shall provide a team of 8 scientists from around the world who will each need a sample as described previously. I will provide shipping information upon your agreement to the terms.

      • by radtea (464814)

        My dick tastes like taffy. Go on, test it, or else I shall dub thee "Not a scientist."

        There are many ways of testing a claim. In this case, I'd just ask your boyfriend or girlfriend.

        Or did you have some other means of testing in mind? Taking a tissue sample from the surface of your dick and subjecting it to chemical analysis would also work.

        You've inadvertently identified an important aspect of crank claims: they typically not only make a claim, but also want a great deal of control over what is done to

    • Thank you very, very much, mod the parentt up. There's been major paradigm shifts before, there will be again, and the laws of thermodynamics, physics, or other such areas may once again change with new information. The only way to know is to continue to test, which is exactly what happened here.

      It's dangerous to just accept "laws" as fact without further testing. ALL science should be open to question and testing...that's part of the whole idea. Taking it as holy writ stops it being science.
      • Thank you very, very much, mod the parentt up.

        Nahhh, don't bother.

        It's dangerous to just accept "laws" as fact without further testing. ALL science should be open to question and testing...that's part of the whole idea. Taking it as holy writ stops it being science.

        It's also dangerous to just accept the words of hucksters as fact. So the question is, which danger is greater? Hucksters seem to be far more common than paradigm-changing breakthroughs.

        Science puts the burden on those who are challenging conv

    • by mugnyte (203225) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:31AM (#28454111) Journal

      Except when the laws you're testing are already being constantly tested, by motors, wires, chargers, etc - continuously around you. I'll admit, the subtle effects of magnetic fields are indeed interesting and strange in the details, but at SOME point one has to rely on the 1000's of prior experiments. Plus, there's a lot of machinery working because of the laws of physics, around us every day. "Current" laws of physics wouldn't change, but perhaps a very specialized edge case (usually at extremes of energy) may arise. This company is nowhere near this level of sophistication. Instead, it's just the same smoke and mirrors.

        Would you rather test gravity, magnetic induction, inertia, conservation of energy and a slew of other physical concepts each day?

        The place for experiment is where the math behind the observations is doubted, or leaves an anomaly. If there are solid formulas born from prior experiments, one simply can do the experiment "on paper" using the new scenario and deduce what will happen.
        Then, if you're still interested, you can compare to a real-world experiment - that's real science.

    • "Look, I admit that their claims sound unlikely, but you can't just dismiss all claims out of hand because "they break the laws of physics". The fact is that they break the current laws of physics"

      If I give somebody five pieces of cedar planking, they might build a television out of them, and that would certainly break my understanding of the laws of physics. I won't, however, drive to another city to validate some guy's claim that he built a television entirely out of cedar planking. I'll just assume t
  • by BeardedChimp (1416531) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:42AM (#28453251)
    Its quite simple really. They explain it [steorn.com] so even a layman with a wad of cash can understand and invest their money:

    Orbo is based upon time variant magnetic interactions, i.e. magnetic interactions whose efficiency varies as a function of transaction timeframes.

    It is this variation of energy exchanged as a function of transaction time frame that lies at the heart of Orbo technology, and its ability to contravene the principle of the conservation of energy. Why? Conservation of energy requires that the total energy exchanged using interactions are invariant in time. This principle of time invariance is enshrined in Noetherâ(TM)s Theorem.

    The time variant nature of Orbo interactions can be engineered using two basic techniques. The first technique utilizes a method of controlling the response time of magnetic materials to make them time variant. This is achieved by controlling the MH position of materials during permanent magnetic interactions.

    The second technique decouples the Counter Electromotive Force (CEMF) from torque for electromagnet interactions. This decoupling of CEMF allows time variant magnetic interactions in electromagnetic systems.

    I may as well get out my cheque book, I'm convinced.

    • Well, that certainly is a lot of words.
    • by Ifni (545998)

      Orbo is based upon time variant magnetic interactions, i.e. magnetic interactions whose efficiency varies as a function of transaction timeframes.

      Heh. This is likely true, though they ignore the (likely - nay, guaranteed) possibility of interactions whose efficiency is less than 1. However, once you select those out you are left with the free energy they are claiming. They are implying that the variances are from a little bit of energy gain to a little bit more energy gain, where in truth it is certainly between a small energy gain and a sightly larger energy loss.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:46AM (#28453307) Homepage

    I'd note that we get free energy all the time. We get more energy out of a gallon of gasoline than was put into making it. We get far more power from a pound of fuel in a nuclear reactor than we put into mining the uranium, refining it and turning it into nuclear fuel. Neither of those violates the first or second laws of thermodynamics. That's because those laws apply to closed systems, and we're not in a closed system. In the case of gasoline, the sun put energy into the system from outside. In the case of uranium, the supernova that created the uranium atoms put the energy into creating them. So it's entirely possible to have a source of energy that's simply tapping something outside our normal view of the system. Such a source would appear to be providing free energy.

    OTOH, Steorn seems to have failed the acid test: producing results. It'd've been much more convincing if they could've just dropped a unit down on the bench and told their jury "Here it is, here's how to turn it on and off, here's where the power comes out. Have fun with it.". A working prototype trumps all theoretical arguments, and Steorn couldn't produce a working prototype. Until they can, I'm inclined to believe they're either mistaken or running a scam.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "We get more energy out of a gallon of gasoline than was put into making it."

      Only because you're failing to account for the entire process of making that gasoline.

  • Working as a design engineer and FEA analyst at a small mechanical design shop gives me the chance to work with on a lot of different projects.

    One day, my boss comes in and tells me to look over a design this old guy from Florida has for a power generating machine.

    This guy wasn't taking the "violates the laws of thermodynamics" line, so I had to spend some time to model up his design (a large drum that rotated, with small pistons that would drive up and down in relation to the surface of the drum, dri
  • In the short story "Waldo," one of the main themes were "magical" energy generating devices called "DeKalbs." SPOILER: Ended up that they were actually sucking energy from an alternate universe. At any rate, I'm not inclined to dismiss it outright just because it can't be explained. However, I agree with a previous comment that they need to produce a working prototype in order for it to be taken seriously.
    • I haven't read it, but that sounds a bit like the plot from Asimov's "The Gods Themselves".

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        "Waldo" is (one of the?) short stories that was later fleshed out into "The Gods Themselves."

        The classic scifi masters used to do that a lot. Write a short story for one of the magazines, then turn it into a novel later.

      • by TheBig1 (966884)
        Not to mention a couple of SGA episodes... (Rodney and Mrs. Miller IIRC is one of them...)

        Cheers
  • In Finland (Score:2, Informative)

    by Santzes (756183)
    We have this in Finland too. Called "Utele", and obviously they're collecting money from investors. http://www.utele.org/utele/?page=6000002&l=1 [utele.org]
  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @12:34PM (#28455229) Journal

    If I invented a free energy machine, here is what I would do.

    1. Create a "Solar Panel Farm" on my Property. The panels would be cheap panels of glass spray painted silver on one side. In an obscure shed would be the "AC/DC converter for the cells" which in actuality would be chock full of my amazing magnetic free energy engine thingies. I would produce about 2x as much energy as I would if the solar cells were actually real. :) Have another shed with "batteries" to supply the grid at night, in reality, they are filled with more of my machines and used batteries that don;t work with GNDN (goes nowhere, does nothing) wiring.

    2. Sell the energy to the electric company and take the money to buy more land and build more "fake solar farms or fake windmills" more nondescript sheds built housing my free energy devices.

    3. Keep repeating my process of making "fake" solar energy farms and maybe some real ones that produce more electricity that they should, (wink wink), selling electricity till I have built up a war chest enough to buy a region power company. Take several coal powered plants and fill them with my machines and only burn enough coal to make a diffuse small amount of smoke so no suspicions are raised. Lower my electricity rates as well for the consumers cause I don't have to buy so much coal to make power. Start selling power to other companies and take them over in the same way.

    4. Once I have over 52% of total electricity in the country being produced by my free energy devices I would then open a chain of plants that would extract CO2 from the air, break sea water down and make hydrocarbons the hard way, sure it would be energy intensive, but what do i care, I gots free energy! Disguise them as refineries and buy a token amount of crude from domestic producers, make about 20x the amount of hydrocarbons for the amount of crude processed. Sell the produced oil to China and Russia first and then to the US, take over the oil companies the same way I did for the electric companies. Build enough infrastructure to crush the middle east and OPEC financially.

    5. When the whole world is dependent on my free energy, then come clean about how I did it and how I made free energy and laugh my ass off from my personal moon base which is powered by my free energy machine.

  • Although there is ample evidence to suggest the universe as we know it began with a Big Bang, it never made any sense to me how anything could come out of nothing, much less anything of such magnitude.

    Clearly, our current laws of physics are incomplete. For example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy [wikipedia.org].

    I wonder when we finally figure it out whether we'd also discover a new source of energy that'll solve all our energy needs once and for all.

  • I say we find a way to steal energy from another universe, this free energy would be awesome! What could possibly go wrong with increasing the amount of energy in our universe, other than turning an open or flat universe into a closed universe.....

    Enjoy the big crunch, all our fault, at least we could enjoy the Omega point while it lasts....

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      Sounds a little like The Gods Themselves [wikipedia.org] by Asimov. A very nice piece of SF, especially if you consider its origins in a casual unscientific remark on Plutonium-186.
  • Sorted in seconds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @02:12PM (#28456853) Journal

    Just ask to see the company's quarterly electricity bill. If it's greater than 0.00EUR (0.00GBP/0.00USD) walk away.

  • but the Irish leprechaun is dead.

Science and religion are in full accord but science and faith are in complete discord.

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