Sunday, February 24, 2008

Free the Energy!

I was amused by last week's What's New by Bob Park where he wrote about seeing 5 perpetual motion machines in an average year.

I got got visited by a Free Energy crank a few weeks ago. This one wanted to use motors to drive flywheels that would drive generators that would do some work while driving motors that drove flywheels ...

I'd guess that even a professor of English could spot the flaw in that one, but it took some doing to convince him that the first law of thermodynamics was not going to let him get more energy out than he put in.

Despite the obvious fact that even a tiny bit of friction or resistance anywhere in the system would result in a loss of energy, the magic of the word "theorem" (referring to unrelated proofs by Carnot, et al.) seemed to do the trick. You see, he was convinced that the losses were only a problem if there was one motor and generator. Ten of them would make those losses go away rather than get worse. Classic.

I didn't ask him if he wanted to buy mail order device a friend told me about, a device that alters the quantum mechanical phase of gasoline to increase the mileage you get on your car.

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