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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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  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:49AM (#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.

  • Fools (Score:3, Interesting)

    by captaindomon (870655) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:50AM (#28452459)
    Or Geniuses?
  • Re:I'm guessing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @10:52AM (#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.
  • And will any of the investors be gullible enough to invest additional money for the company's plans to commercialize it?
  • by Draconian (70486) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:24AM (#28452947)

    Perpetual motion is actually a fundamental property of the universe, though we usually call it inertia: a body will not stop moving, unless somebody moves it. Therefore, linear perpetual motion is the norm, with change of velocity depending on an outside force.
    To make it even more interesting: non-linear perpetual motion is actually also present in all molecules, at any given temperature, even at 0 Kelvin. Quantum chemistry shows that vibrational motion in a molecule changes by energetic quanta, where at least half a quantum is always present in a vibrational degree of motion (so-called zero-point energy). Hence, the atoms in a molecule are always in motion, even at 0 K, and the motion is non-linear. In first approximation, especially for diatomic molecules, it can be described as an oscillation with a parabolic energy profile, for multi-dimentional molecules one usually gets ergodic movement that is a bit more complex to describe, and is usually considered chaotic where only the statistical properties are relevant.
    But no free energy, of course.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:45AM (#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 Bruiser80 (1179083) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:51AM (#28453401)
    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, driving a crankshaft). He couldn't get it that this was essentially an overly complex gear, except with way more inefficiencies.

    He tried to use the "if you roll a wine bottle with a string attached to the circumference, you can lift a load". He just couldn't accept that this was an example of transfer of work. Sigh.

    What finally got him to calm down was that even if the drum could produce positive energy, it would immediately be gobbled up by the inefficiencies of the drive motor, gearing, and generator.

    Best part of it was that I still got paid! :-)
  • by nido (102070) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {65odin}> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:58AM (#28453521) Homepage

    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 are huge clouds of proverbial 'smoke' telling of other types of clean, free energy technology.

  • by opiv6ix (1033966) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @12:04PM (#28453653)
    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.
  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:34PM (#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.

  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:51PM (#28455549) Journal

    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....

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb

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