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News Media Scammed by 'Free Energy' Hoax

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the not-even-free-beer dept.

Editorial 928

Dozens of submitters, some of them quite credulous, have written in pointing to this Reuters story about an anonymous inventor who claims to have solved the universe's energy woes. It's amazing that Reuters ran this story. It's even more amazing that news media across the country are running it too. Check your local newspaper, see if they were taken in. Update: 01/24 16:38 GMT by M : Contest is over; see below.

The General Electric corporate empire was scammed - they modified the story with a skeptical headline but otherwise left it alone. The AOL/TimeWarner corporate empire didn't have any problem with the story. The Environmental News Network, which probably should know better, didn't.

Now I know that wire stories are often run with minimal verification - each paper or website assumes that Reuters, or UPI, or AP has checked the story for veracity before it went out. And I know that reporters and editors can't be experts on every field of endeavor that they report on.

But this is Basic Science. The Three Laws (everyone loves the Second Law[1]) are not a new thing, and they're not going away any time soon. This should have been taught in junior high. There's a simple, well-known test that Reuters could have applied to this story: "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof". This claim is the most extraordinary of all - free energy, perpetual motion, whatever you want to call it, and it demands proof beyond question. Reuters is running this story based on an anonymous inventor. Is that extraordinary proof?

But wait, I said perpetual motion. The phrase "perpetual motion" is one which sets off alarm bells in people's heads, so the anonymous inventor was quick to head off that thought process:

"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."

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.

The story gets better when you read it several times. Three 100 Watt light bulbs created a drain of 4500 Watts, according to the nameless inventor. That would be an impressive feat all by itself, except that it's total nonsense.

The piece would have made a good humor article. A properly skeptical and properly educated Reuters reporter could have examined these claims, poked holes in them, and published a story that simultaneously reported on the claims and educated the public about why they are a load of hogwash. Too bad that's not what happened.

Maybe you'd like to take a crack at evaluating their claims? You think you can examine their device a little more critically than Reuters? Give them a call.

And I have a second task as well. Slashdot is occasionally criticized for getting a story wrong, even though we diligently correct ourselves when necessary. My theory is that the difference between Slashdot and other media is that they never correct themselves, no matter how inaccurate, so readers are left with a false picture of accuracy. To test this claim, I'll send a Thinkgeek t-shirt to the first person who finds a retraction of this 'free energy' story published by Reuters or any of the newspapers/media outlets that ran the original story. *Any* of them. I don't expect to pay out.

Update: 01/24 16:38 GMT by M : CNN has updated their story with a new headline and several new paragraphs at the end, which qualifies. A couple of people also noted that ZDNet appears to have taken their copy of the wire story down. Lucas Garsha was the first to email, so he gets a t-shirt. I wasn't clear whether the claim should be email or in the comments, so I'll also send a t-shirt to the first commenter noting this, which appears to be skia.

[1] This is a fine world that we live in, where I can find a website devoted to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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Kill more jews (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891189)

First anti-semitic post!

Re:Kill more jews (-1)

dead_puppy (532541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891205)

shit dog! let me aks you sumtim, how does a shady brotha like you always be beatin a brotha outta da FIRST POST. i thinkz dat you been gettin insida info from taco himzself, yo.

Shut up nigger (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891225)

Your speech resembles English but it is obviously some lesser, subhuman dialect. This darkening of the English language is intolerable. Learn English or die, gorillas.

Re:Shut up nigger (-1)

dead_puppy (532541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891255)

Yo homedog! youze gotz 2 chilll out wit a big ole phatty blunt, homie! we all be brothas and sheeot! and what you be talkin bout, "yo spetch be resemblin english but it ain't" sheeot? you best be learning yoself some engrish, daddy o...

Niggers are all zionist tools (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891312)

It has become painfully clear that negroes are all little more than tools of the global zionist conspiracy since they were rightfully enslaved for brute labor. Little has changed since the "civil rights" movement, and now the foolish negro is setting out to ruin America with their perverted "English" and their rap "music".


It is time for us to ship those niggers back to Africa, where they belong, along with their simian relatives. Pack them in ships with some fried chicken and let them find their way.

Heed thy words, CmdrTaco, Cmdr of VILE. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891227)

I hope CmdrTaco wakes up to the needs and the will of his own community THAT UNDERWRITE HIS EXISTENCE.

CmdrTaco, you are a complete ass... This "SLASHDOT" is in the doldrums.

Taco, you are a far cry from a Linus Torvalds or an Alan Cox, who can work WITH people and their community to make things BETTER; you make this place suck worse. You suck. You wield your stick of power, you and you fag editors.

John-fucking-Romero selling a car on Ebay? Indiana Jones 4?

I would never presume to make Slashdot a 'freshmeat.net' or a 'sourceforge.net', that is to announce every picayune release of every little open-source project, but there have been some gross oversights here - particularly in light of the fact the very site and community relies on various core technologies and the distributions that in turn support those applications. My gripes are no longer relevant, as several releases of important things have gone unnoticed and honorable maintainers of the unsaid projects don't get recognized by the site that proclaims to be "news for nerds." What a crock.

I have also attempted to post using precedent. Doesn't help. What was front page worthy a week, month or year ago isn't again because I'm not an editor - even if the context and circumstance is the same. Bill Gates could die, and I'll bet anything I would never get the post, even if I knew a day in advance. Death, dark, painfull, death to you who hold the scepter of power.

You betrayed your community, you are a lucky bitch like Bill Gates, right place, right time. I hope to the powers that be you quit being the "leader" of this dirty unreadable mess you call slashcode and hand the scepter of power to someone who can RESPECT his community.

And a tip for you; you elitist jerk: Tell people why, besides blind stupidity or bias, you reject stories! You can't - that would be like seeing the M$ source code, it would be a laughing stock to actually reveal your twisted half-assed reasoning.

No wonder the Taco Snotting FAQs and all sorts of shit comes out on here, and all the crap flooding and trolling. YOU FAILED as a leader, you betrayed your community and you suck. I love slashdot for the others that come here, and the news ends up being better than shit (not hard to do in a world full of mega-omnipediaplex corporations that spew forth garbage 'news'), but the editors here are biased, unfair and categorically suck; I hope you all re-evaluate how lucky you are to have jobs, you suck at interviews, you suck at content and community management. You are not the "portal for nerds," the Yahoo for nerds if you will. You are a petty band of garbage vendors who have duped a larger company into giving you jobs so they can spray ads in our faces.

Give this project to a real person who has sex with people and doesn't fuck blow up dolls of anime characters and plays video games and "hack" Perl for a living. God damn loser. And pick up a book on Perl idioms.

DIE.

first (-1)

dead_puppy (532541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891190)

cunt. lick it.

Where did this come from? (-1, Offtopic)

forkspoon (116573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891191)

Hello?

If so, there would be no need to resort to therapeutic cloning - cloning people to get matching stem cells from the resulting embryos. Nor would you have to genetically engineer embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to create a "one cell fits all" line that does not trigger immune rejection. The discovery of such versatile adult stem cells will also fan the debate about whether embryonic stem cell research is justified.

Give the author credit. (5, Funny)

eAndroid (71215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891199)

Not only did he scam most news agencies, he drinks Guinness.

Re:Give the author credit. (5, Funny)

redcup (441955) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891356)

In other news...
In a trailer park on the shores of the Mississippi, a local man has claimed to have invented a perpetual motion human.

To prove his claim, he hooked a car battery up his wife/cousin for 10 minutes while she held a 100 watt light bulb in each hand. After removing the car battery, she proceeded to twitch for more than 37 hours.

Aleady companies are clammoring for the device, known as the "shockway," claiming it will revolutionize the world. "We could have our employees work 24 hours a day," said one business owner. "This could be the most important invention to come out of Mississippi since... since... paternity tests"

I would like to revise the headline for Reuters... (3, Funny)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891204)

"Irish Inventor on Crack Says World Needs His Energy"

cya

Ethelred [grantham.de]

Wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891206)

Slashdot analyzes an article critically. Truly the apocalypse is upon us!

Whoo-boy. (0, Troll)

daeley (126313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891217)

Somebody got up on the wrong side of the keyboard this morning. ;-)

Re:Whoo-boy. (2)

daeley (126313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891260)

Troll? Please note use of ;-) emoticon.

Re:Whoo-boy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891337)

Well, you said it yourself: Somebody got up on the wrong side of the keyboard this morning. ;-)

Has everyone forgotten cold fusion...? (2, Insightful)

max.inglis (232314) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891224)

How quickly we are to jump to wondrous conclusions. I doubt this is a real application of the zero-point effect. I guess all the news media personell who were working 12 years ago when cold fusion came out have moved on and weren't around to lend caution where it was needed?

max inglis

Re:Has everyone forgotten cold fusion...? (2)

dotderf (548723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891268)

They mention cold fusion, which contributes to the irony!

Whoever got Reuters to carry this must've been dealing with some pretty ignorant people, when it comes to science, and common sense. I wonder if Reuters will notice their error and make some sort of statement. Glad to see /. has higher standards (well, for somethings) than the 'professional' news.

Re:Has everyone forgotten cold fusion...? (3, Insightful)

sallen (143567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891319)

How quickly we are to jump to wondrous conclusions. I doubt this is a real application of the zero-point effect. I guess all the news media personell who were working 12 years ago when cold fusion came out have moved on and weren't around to lend caution where it was needed?
I think it tends to support the criteria used by the 'new media', ie internet or cable news:
(1) No need to use history or past events or have any knowledge of them;
(2) Don't bother about using journalists with any background in the subject;
(3) Don't bother with attempting to get knowledgable source when you don't know anything about the subject being reported;
(4) If the story was carried by any other organization online or on cable, assume it's totally accurate and don't bother checking it out, no matter how far fetched it may seem (if they can figure out it really is far fetched).

Re:Has everyone forgotten cold fusion...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891369)

No, I didn't forget cold fusion. I just haven't proven how it works yet.

Not just the major outlets (2, Flamebait)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891226)

It wasn't just the big players, who I didn't expect to know any better - the readership of Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] was taken in as well.

Someday, I'll live in a world where every child grows up with a decent science education and critical thinking is encouraged...

OK,
- B

Re:Not just the major outlets (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891279)

Someday, I'll live in a world where every child grows up with a decent science education and critical thinking is encouraged...

Bah. Science at its most basic *does not* say that the laws can never be changed. It just says that you're probably better off not trying to break them.

A real scientific mind would be intriqued by the concpet of such a shakeup, and could at least spare such a grand hypothesis enough time to think up a suitable experiment or twenty.

Just because magnets are the domain of quacks doesn't mean they don't attract.

Re:Not just the major outlets (3, Insightful)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891293)

I'd be intrigued as all hell if evidence were presented. None was. A lot of hand-waving and some blather about zero point energy were all I got.

(Yes, I know zero-point energy is real. No, I don't think this crank from Ireland could even explain the concept.)

OK,
- B

Re:Not just the major outlets (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891351)

I'd be intrigued as all hell if evidence were presented. None was. A lot of hand-waving and some blather about zero point energy were all I got.

In a news report? The fact that they were any numbers at all was amazing! (The msnbc story I read was up on this.)

(Yes, I know zero-point energy is real. No, I don't think this crank from Ireland could even explain the concept.)

How do "know* something is real that's never been demonstrated? All I said was that it *might* happen. (And yes, that's a *might* with the same level of "Wayne might make a living doing Wayne's World" or "Monkeys might fly out of my butt.")

:) Sorry, couldn't resist the Wayne's World reference.

Re:Not just the major outlets (1)

brulman (183184) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891328)

not really, Kuro5hin suggests a hoax in the headline, then the commentors proceed to tear it apart. Not as wordy as Michael's story, but I'd hardly say they were taken in.

Re:Not just the major outlets (1)

GreenHell (209242) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891330)

They were 'taken in' as shown through a story titled: "Jasker Power Source - Perpetual Energy or Hoax?"?

Hmmm... not sure if I'd call that 'taken in' or 'thought it was worth discussion.' If you look, a lot of the comments don't believe it's real either.

I have discovered a wonderful proof of this (3, Funny)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891228)

But the *$!? lameness filter won't let me type it in.

Laws (5, Funny)

gandalf_grey (93942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891230)

Young Lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

-- Homer Simpson

What's next? (1)

Chagatai (524580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891232)

RedHat being bought out by AOL/Time Warner, a perpetual energy machine... the funny headlines keep flying. What's next? John Romero teams up with Jon Katz to create an ultimate Net-based first-player shooter that dissects the problems of big corporations in detail?

let's not hang em just yet (5, Interesting)

Synistyr (529047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891233)

I don't know about that assumption that the media/news outlets never do retractions. If you do read an actual physical newspaper, you'll see that usually on the editor's page they do print retractions and corrections.

It's quite possible that a) they don't even know that the story is wrong, b) no one has read and analyzed some tiny newstory from AP/Reuters/etc.. and c) no one has told them it's wrong.

Why don't you write your local paper that ran the story, and let them know? How else are they going to know to print a retraction/correction?

incredulous (3, Insightful)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891236)

"If the Jasker men really are onto something, it could be the most important Irish invention since Guinness."

Nothing is more inportant than Guinness. Nothing.

Re:incredulous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891366)

Spoken by someone who obviously has never tried Beamish!

Define the extraordinary proof, please (5, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891239)

If you're going to draw the line, please finish it.

If you require "extraordinary proof" to refute science, why not define what you need? I agree that running a light bulb for three hours isn't that impressive, and this is probably a scam of some sort.

But on the same time, science demands that we ask "what if this is true?". If he really has a free energy device, what amazing thing could he do to prove that it works?

My own suggestion: go to an ivy-league school (heck, any college) and set the darn thing up powering something that causes a healthy drain. (*not* a lightbulb... well, maybe a strobe light or something that really sucks up the juice) and let it go until it stops.

Once the bulb stops, plug it into the wall and see if it starts. If it does, the invention's probably not free energy. If it doesn't, plug in another bulb and see how long THAT one lasts.

A year or so of healthy drain would be enough to prove free energy, don't you think? Or at least, enough to get the damn patent and immortalize the freakish invention.

Re:Define the extraordinary proof, please (5, Insightful)

michael (4716) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891269)

I think a test along these lines [syc.org] would be a good start. That was a link I was thinking about including in the story, maybe I should have.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891348)

The link directs you to goatse.cx [goatse.cx] ! Somebody mod this vicious troll down!

Re:Define the extraordinary proof, please (1, Troll)

C4v3_7r0ll (551132) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891314)

science demands that we ask "what if this is true?"

Quite simply, no it doesn't. Science is if nothing practical. Practically speaking, the laws of thermodynamics are laws for a reason. Common sense tells you that you cannot get 'free' energy. No matter what kind of machine it is, the energy has to come from something. Why burden real world scientists with obvious crap? If you must, get some grad students together and have them do a paper on it. Then at least we will have applied the scientific method to it.

Re:Define the extraordinary proof, please (1, Interesting)

st. augustine (14437) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891335)

I'd settle for answering these arguments [xnet.com] from the sci.skeptics FAQ. This sounds like a classic case of item 8.1: "If they can provide so much energy, why do they need the battery to keep going?"

Second law... (1, Offtopic)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891241)

This is a fine world that we live in, where I can find a website devoted to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Drat! Some domain squatter already snapped up secondlawofthermodynamics.com [secondlawo...namics.com] !!

Arthur ? (2, Funny)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891242)

Well, doesn't this bring us one step closer to the Infinite Improbability Drive ?? Hmm ??

And I bet it solves the Stopping problem too (4, Funny)

MagikSlinger (259969) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891244)

I wonder if the inventor will prove NP=P and provide a 2 terraherz processor that can be overclocked indefinitely with zero waste heat.

Personally, I think this story is a hoot! :-)

Oops. (5, Funny)

chrisserwin (448761) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891245)

"The 58-year-old electrical engineer, who lives in the Irish republic and intends -- for ``security and publicity-avoidance reasons'' -- to keep his identity a secret, has spent 23 years perfecting the Jasker Power System."

Ummm... Mr. Jasker... I think we let the cat out of the bag.

Re:Oops. (0)

Pussy Is Money (527357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891301)

The makers of the Jasker --
a name derived from family abbreviations -- say it can be built to scale using off-the-shelf components and can power anything that requires a motor.
Italics added by me. Whatever.

Illegal (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891247)

You, sir, are under arrest for violating the laws of physics. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney, but having an attorney won't help you if you're stupid.

Re:Illegal (2)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891274)

Old T-Shirt I had: 186,000,000 miles/second - It's not just a good idea. It's the law.

PS - Sorry if I botched 'c'. It's been a long day.

Punishment (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891282)

You, sir, are under arrest for violating the laws of physics.

s/jail/Faraday Cage/

young irish einstein (0)

ubugly2 (454850) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891248)

does this mean he split the Guinness atom?

Hee hee hee... (5, Funny)

gnovos (447128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891249)

Next time you are handed one of those promotional AOL CDs with a "free 70 hours", here is your new retort:

"So is that Free as in Beer, Free as in Speech, or Free as in Energy?"

What Scam?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891252)

Is it just me or am I the first one to even hear about this whole "hoax" right here?

I consider myself somewhat of a news junkie and science articles usually interest me. I look forward to the Science section in the ny times. I read my daily local paper. I scan thru half a dozen different newspaper and news sites every hour every day. But nowhere did i see this free energy story until I see this article.

Is Michael making much too big of an issue here? That really wouldn't be a first for him. A reuters story, and a cnn story hardly qualifies is a big scam. Please help me out here.

It's all true! (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891254)

And to demonstrate how true it is, he's going to launch the Eiffel Tower to the moon! All he needs is someone to come up with several billion dollars to purchase the tower, to be given to his partne- um, that little man with the false-looking mustache and glasses over there...

P.S. (1)

Synistyr (529047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891256)

Let's not even get into that whole Cold Fusion fiasco!

;)

Hmmm (4, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891257)

Maybe that Mendocino guy could use this to power the town without all that nasty electromagnetic radiation?

Since E=mc^2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891262)

What puts out more matter than it takes in? If you can increase the amount of matter in this equation, it stands to reason that energy will also increase.

The secret is the Guiness. Even drinking a little results in a huge increase in piss volume.

I do believe the man is onto something!

great scott! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891267)

think this thing can push 1.21 gigawatts?

CNN too. (1)

jfroot (455025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891271)

Looks like CNN [cnn.com] ran the story also.

No surprise, it's Reuters (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891272)

Reuters ran that story? HA! It's a British news organization.

What else would you expect from those stupid, ignorant stuck-up Brits?

Re:No surprise, it's Reuters (0, Flamebait)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891313)

No, don't mod this down, actually that's pretty true, the British media are pretty much specialists of sensationalist, distorted reports, when not plain lies. It seems to be a kind of tradition with them. Look at the tabloid press.

Re:No surprise, it's Reuters (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891338)

Reuters calls members of al-Qaeda "freedom fighters", as part of their drive toward neutral reporting.

Ahh, my 5th grade science fair ... (2, Insightful)

lcorc79 (549464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891275)

Boy does this story take me back ... when I was in 5th grade this concept was the basis for my science fair project. I was *convinced* that I could make it work somehow ... some of my prototypes were combination wind tunnels (powered fans) and windmills (turbins/fans generating power) with my hopes of somehow using the right combination of equipment to generate more power from the turbins than it required to operate the wind tunnel and tapping into the surplus. Boy was I a dumb naieve kid! I didn't know much back then ... but I knew I loved experimenting. I still remember being absolutely *crushed* and hating my science teacher when he tried to explain to me that it was impossible -- laws of conservation of energy and all that jazz. I just did not want to believe him.

Ah well, to be young and inquisitive and stubborn :) I guess the folks at Reuters are about par on my mental development at 5th grade ... sheesh.

Re:Ahh, my 5th grade science fair ... (2, Interesting)

GRH (16141) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891360)

Maybe we all need to keep such open minds...

For me, it was grade 4 when I came up with the brilliant idea of coupling a generator to a motor and using the power from the generator to run the motor, and draw off the "excess".

However, in a true feat of stubborness, I actually built a small prototype. Well, needless to say, it didn't work. But it would spin for a while before stopping (clearly much longer than just coasting).

Now that I'm all grown up and aware of such scientific limitations, I think I'll built a small, unlicensed, nuclear reactor..... :)

Battle bots or Dr Who? (1)

chabotc (22496) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891277)

I find my self lost, does this picture remind me more of a leftover from the old Dr. Who episodes, or does it remind me of a future battle-bots participant?

U.S. Patent office's solution. (5, Informative)

enkidu (13673) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891278)

A long while back the U.S Patent office got so many of these "perpetual energy" machines that the office head put down the policy that the inventor had to submit a working prototype. The office would then set it going and if it was still running a year later, they would consider the patent application. This cut down on the number of applications considerably.

A two hour test run is bullshit. Let's see it run for 2 years in an empty room, then we'll talk.

this article debunks itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891280)

"Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out,"

How else are the parts going to wear out than by removal of matter which uses energy. This energy comes from friction usually but in any case it means that the first law of thermodynamics is fully in effect.
and c'mon.. an IRISHMAN? aren't there whole chapters of joke books dedicated to making fun of the irish? some singualrity of truth must exist.

Not at no cost (1)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891281)

Anyhow, the "inventor" claims that his machine runs only until it wears out. So you need to to replace it. So it is not energy at no cost.

Getting it to work forever... (1)

Cowculator (513725) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891284)

How do you determine if it's really a perpetual motion machine?

Get one of these [alexchiu.com] , sit back, and watch it operate!

Global Warming, here we come (1)

Lucky Kevin (305138) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891285)

17 months of power?

Great for California but think of the global warming when everyone starts to use it and can't give a damn about wasted energy.

science ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891286)

This just points out the fact that most people, especially Americans (if we are talking about the western countries), are idiots when it comes to even basic science understanding...

Trust me - ask people on the street what is closer, the moon or the stars? Is the sun a star? Is the solar system bigger than the galaxy?

Lets not even mention more, perhaps, important issues, relating to genetics, encryption, carbon dating, etc...it really is very sad, IMHO.

Having to hold someone's attention to make a point, while you explain the size of the Milky Way, for example, is like explaining the 'funny' behind a Polac joke to an isolated tribe along the Amazon - you just can't make a point or get people to understand if you have to provide a 20 minute background lecture.

Of course media outlets will be therefore fooled.

Batteries Not Included (0)

Anenga (529854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891289)

A multimeter reading of the batteries' voltage before the device started up showed a total of 48.9 volts. When it was switched off, a second reading showed 51.2 volts, indicating that, somehow, they had been reimbursed.
Did it ever occur to them to check for batteries? Alot of the other information, too, is incorrect.
In a demonstration for Reuters, a prototype -- roughly the size of a dish-washer -- was run for around 10 minutes using four 12-volt car batteries as an initial power source. Emitting a steady motorised hum, the machine powered three 100-watt light bulbs for the duration.
Well, uh, three 100-WATT bulbs is 300 WATTS.. totalling to 0.3 Killowats?
"The draw on the batteries was estimated at more than 4.5 kilowatts. With any existing technology the batteries would have been drained flat in one and a half minutes," the inventor said.
A Car Battery is around 1.2 Killowatts each, roughly around 4.8 Killowatts of juice. Thus, a 4.5 Killowatt drain on them would leave them empty in around an hour, not a minute in a half. Shouldn't he know this, being an Electrical Engineer?

wouldn't it be ironic (5, Funny)

Jafa (75430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891290)

Wouldn't it be ironic, the one time slashdot takes a high headed journalistic stand, it's for a some crazy story that some time from now turns out to be true.

J

At least they went for skepticism (5, Interesting)

Logic Bomb (122875) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891291)

The CNN article that's linked to here is the one I read. While it seems silly they even bothered to run this story, they at least offered significant skepticism and the words of several expert-types who said it was probably a big load of crap. In other words, they don't need to correct themselves, because they never said "this is true".

Where's the energy? (0)

forkspoon (116573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891295)

Anyways, I was thinking about the machine they said they developed, and with tradiational mechanics there is no way to get more potential energy than exists in the highest potential state (1st law). So there must be some energy added to the system at some point or it wouldn't do anything. And unless he's invented frictionless gears too, then nonconserved heat energy will be generated by moving parts. So this guy has to make up for all that evergy lost. How?

Thanks,

Travis
forkspoon@hotmail.com

Shame Shame (1)

flikx (191915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891296)

In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics.

I don't care what you do in yours.

Whoa! Down there Mike! (1)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891299)

You know, after reading the story, I just got the impression that Reuters is saying: "There is this guy in Ireland who says that he built a perpetual mtion machine, about 99% of the world scientists say that is impossible, he show it to us and it looked like it worked, if its real this could be big". They aren't saying that this is real, and most importantly (unlike some of us) they are not taking a viewpoint that this is rubbish without knowing how the device functions for a long time people thought the world was flat and they accepted it without question, you never know, the 2nd law of thermodynamics may be looked upon this way in 1e3 years.

(Disclaimer: I still think this thing is a load of bullocks, but I still refuse to dismiss it without acknowledging that this person may or may have not done it. I'll believe it when he/she/it rips it apart and shows us how it works)

Free Energy not impossible (2, Interesting)

bakes (87194) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891302)

There have been a number of people working on 'free energy' for some time, and some have had a good degree of success. Check out http://www.nexusmagazine.com/freeenergy.html for a summary of some of them, and some links.

And this 'three laws' thing? How many other laws of science have been revised, updated or completely discarded after new discoveries were made? How about the phlygisten theory? Earth is the center of the universe? The single shooter theory? Perhaps these laws of thermodynamics are only valid within a particular context, and the free energy comes from outside that context?

Wears out... (2)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891304)

Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out

Isn't that what a (non rechargable) battery does?

Slashdot correct itself? In what universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891305)

Slashdot is occasionally criticized for getting a story wrong, even though we diligently correct ourselves when necessary.

Give me a break. You almost never correct yourself when posting bullshit.

It's easy to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891306)

..Just connect an electric motor to a generator and connect the circuit between them. It should run shoudn't it?

power cut? (1)

NightHwk1 (172799) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891308)

"The machine went on to run for around two hours while photographs were taken, with no diminution in the brightness of the light bulbs, which remained lit during a short power cut."

Is it just me or does that imply that this "power generator" was plugged into an electrical supply?

Machine doesn't take energy? (1)

Galahad2 (517736) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891310)

"Three 100 Watt light bulbs created a drain of 4500 Watts, according to the nameless inventor."

You are assuming that the machine itself would take zero watts to run. The 4500 watt drain was on the battery, which, because it had to be there in the first place, proves that the machine requires energy.

They also were very careful to say that it isn't perpetual motion. Returners isn't exactly a scientific journal: they didn't even attempt to explain how the machine actually worked. So you can quote the laws of thermodynamics all you want, but it means nothing.

There is no doubt that this story is fake, but is there any actual confermation of that, other than your overzelous commentary?

-Galahad

Complete Text of story, in case of slashdoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891315)


Reuters

Inventor says cracks world's energy needs

22 January, 2002 02:26 GMT

By Kevin Smith

DUBLIN (Reuters) - It has been a pipe-dream of inventors since Leonardo da Vinci, but has the secret of free energy now been found in Ireland?

A cold stone outhouse on a windswept Irish hillside may seem an unlikely setting for the birthplace of such an epoch-making discovery, but it is here that an Irish inventor says he has developed a machine that will do no less than change the world.

The 58-year-old electrical engineer, who lives in the Irish republic and intends -- for "security and publicity-avoidance reasons" -- to keep his identity a secret, has spent 23 years perfecting the Jasker Power System.

It is an electro-mechanical device he says is capable of nothing less than replenishing its own energy source.

The Irishman is not alone in making such assertions. The Internet is awash with speculation about free or "zero point" energy, with many claiming to have cracked the problem using magnets, coils, and even crystals.

"These claims come along every 10 years or so and nothing ever comes of them. They're all cases of 'voodoo science'," said Robert Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland in the United States.

The makers of the Jasker -- a name derived from family abbreviations -- say it can be built to scale using off-the-shelf components and can power anything that requires a motor.

"The Jasker produces emission-free energy at no cost apart from the installation. It is quite possibly the most significant invention since the wheel," Tom Hedrick, the only person involved with the machine willing to give his name, told Reuters.

Hedrick, chief executive of a company set up with a view to licensing the device in the United States, said the technology shattered preconceived laws of science.

"It's a giant leap forward. The uses of this are almost beyond imagination."

RED HOT WITH CONTROVERSY

Not surprisingly, this topic is red hot with controversy -- sharply dividing a world scientific community still on its guard after the "Cold Fusion" fiasco of 1989 when a group of Utah researchers scandalised the scientific world with claims -- quickly found to be unsupported -- that the long-sought answer to the problem of Cold Fusion had been discovered.

Experts contacted by Reuters were wary, citing the first law of thermodynamics which, in layman's terms, states that you can't get more energy out than you put in.

"I don't believe this. It goes against fundamentals which have not yet been disproved," said William Beattie, senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"These people (Jasker) are either Nobel prize-winners or they don't know what they're dealing with. The energy has to come from somewhere."

Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out, adding that he has supplied all his own domestic power needs free for 17 months.

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."

THE SIZE OF A DISHWASHER

In a demonstration for Reuters, a prototype -- roughly the size of a dish-washer -- was run for around 10 minutes using four 12-volt car batteries as an initial power source.

Emitting a steady motorised hum, the machine powered three 100-watt light bulbs for the duration.

A multimeter reading of the batteries' voltage before the device started up showed a total of 48.9 volts. When it was switched off, a second reading showed 51.2 volts, indicating that, somehow, they had been reimbursed.

The machine went on to run for around two hours while photographs were taken, with no diminution in the brightness of the light bulbs, which remained lit during a short power cut.

"The draw on the batteries was estimated at more than 4.5 kilowatts. With any existing technology the batteries would have been drained flat in one and a half minutes," the inventor said.

Modern theories of zero point energy have their roots in quantum physics and encompass the fraught areas of "anti-gravity machines" and "advanced propulsion" research.

Contributors to the debate range from serious exponents of quantum science to those who insist free energy secrets have been imparted to them by aliens. Still others seem convinced the U.S. government is conspiring to suppress such discoveries.

Nick Cook, aerospace consultant to Jane's Defence Weekly and author of "The Hunt for Zero Point" is not as quick as some to dismiss the possibilities.

"Zero point energy has been proven to exist, the question is whether it can be tapped to provide usable energy. And to that end, I think it's possible, yes. There are a lot of eminent scientists now involved in this field and they wouldn't be if there wasn't anything to it," he told Reuters.

"In my experience opinion in this field is extremely polarised...people either go with this area of investigation in their minds or they don't, and if they don't they tend to pooh-pooh it vehemently. It's very difficult to get an objective assessment," he said.

"Basically, no one wants to be the first to stick his head above the parapet."

IRELAND'S BIGGEST INVENTION SINCE GUINNESS?

Impervious to scepticism, Jasker's makers see the first practical application of their technology as a stand-alone generator for home use, although the automotive industry could also be a near-term target given the huge investment in developing substitutes for petrol-fuelled engines.

With world oil reserves running down, there is mounting urgency in the quest for alternatives.

If the Jasker men really are onto something, it could be the most important Irish invention since Guinness.

bootstraping (2)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891318)

I have invented this awesome technology. I call it "battery bootsrapping". Just take any ordinary battery operated electrical device and start it up with the batteries in place. While the apparatus is running, remove the batteries. Voila! YMMV, but my palm operated for exactly 0.00013 seconds before dying... zero point energy!

Jasker (0, Offtopic)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891320)

You know, am I the only person here who swears up and down I've seen Jasker on BattleBots ?!

Claims versus facts (3, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891325)

And I have a second task as well. Slashdot is occasionally criticized for getting a story wrong, even though we diligently correct ourselves when necessary. My theory is that the difference between Slashdot and other media is that they never correct themselves, no matter how inaccurate, so readers are left with a false picture of accuracy.

All of the reports said "So and so CLAIMED to have done X and Y." Reporting a claim is not the same as getting a story wrong. I'm not saying that they SHOULD have published it but I don't see why they should publish a retraction...

www.freelectric.com (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891327)

This guy also has an add in Popular scince
Is it for real?
Supposedly it uses Rare earth magnets to make a generator that powers your house.

Insightful quote from Yahoo article (1)

bahtama (252146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891336)

`These people (Jasker) are either Nobel prize-winners or they don't know what they're dealing with.'

Isn't that always the case? It's a fine line between genius and lunatic. :)

One question for Micheal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891339)

If this story is indeed true, will you agree to eat your mouse and keyboard? I mean, for all I know, you're no greater authority than Reuters (And falling onto the fallacy of Authority? Who should I believe over who? -- also assume I know no science, execpt, the bulb glows, when I turn on the switch)

Junk Science debunked by Junk Science! (1)

jgore26785 (460027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891340)


The story gets better when you read it several times. Three 100 Watt light bulbs created a drain of 4500 Watts, according to the nameless inventor. That would be an impressive feat all by itself, except that it's total nonsense.

Oh sheesh, the article has been debunked by someone who insists that 100W bulbs always and only disperse 100W of power!

Nice. Do all your 6A fuses always pass 6A of current as well? Now that would be a feat that would equal the subject of this article.

A bulb's wattage rating simply tells you how much power is consumed with a 120V 60 Hz AC Source. Change the input, increase the voltage, make it DC, your power dispersion will go up or down accordingly.

Still think it's total nonsense?

Re:Junk Science debunked by Junk Science! (2)

michael (4716) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891373)

The key is that they are light bulbs. Other resistors might have a lot of variability possible in how much power they consume. Here's what happens when you try to put a lot of current through a light bulb:

*pop*

<darkness>

If you can come up with a way to use three hundred-watt bulbs to absorb 4500 watts, I'd like to see it...

Here's how it works--- (5, Funny)

Muerte23 (178626) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891341)

First, you connect the three car batteries (12V each) to the machine for an "initial power source". Those of you who have read "Stone Soup" might know where I'm going with this.

Then you power three 100W light bulbs for an hour. That's only 0.3kWh, or probably close to $0.05 worth of electricity.

Upon demonstration to the reporters, the three batteries on the outside are left with an "increased charge". The machine put out more than it took in *.

The secret: Four car batteries are in the box. It's self repleneshing! Demonstrate this to enough reporters, using nwe external batteries each time, and it will run forever!!!

Sigh.

*Editor's Note: If only more women were like that.

Why is 4500 Watts so wrong? (1)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891342)

I haven't read physics since highschool, but IIRC Watts measures power which is energy / time. So 300 Watts running for 2 hours 10 minutes would draw:

300 W * (130 * 60 s) = 2,340,000 Joules

to gain that many Joules in 10 minutes would take

2,340,000 J / 600 s = 3,900 Watts

which isn't quite 4,500, but not far enough off to make the numbers ridiculous.
Any physics majors willing to correct me?

Pipe dream (2)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891343)

It has been a pipe-dream of inventors since Leonardo da Vinci...

... and, apparently, it still is.

great! (4, Funny)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891344)

that means I'll never have to stop to charge my Segway Human Transporter!!

I knew it! (1)

niftyeric (467236) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891347)

I knew this had to be fake. The energy has to come from somewhere, doesn't it? :P

Read and comprehend the article! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891350)

Reuters never said that they believed the inventor. They only reported what the inventor's claims were.
They never said it couldn't turn out to be a hoax and even reported that other claims later proved to be hoaxes.

`These claims come along every 10 years or so and nothing ever comes of them. They're all cases of 'voodoo science','' said Robert Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland.


They reported both views of the claim. Give em a break.

Erm, sorry to have to say this... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891353)

Quite frankly, in my experience at least half of the Slashdot stories about physics are incorrect, whether due to hoaxes, a submitter who didn't understand what he was talking about, or an editor who just had to stick in that sentence of his own to prove how smart he was.

When it comes to science news, I don't trust Reuters to get it right, but I do trust them a hell of a lot more than Slashdot. So stop crowing so loudly over someone else's embarrassment.

Corrections (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2891354)

Slashdot is occasionally criticized for getting a story wrong, even though we diligently correct ourselves when necessary.

So are we ever going to see a retraction of "Yahoo News Posts Advertisements as News" [slashdot.org] , which was widely debunked by commenters? Or how about "Message from Kabul" [slashdot.org] , where Jon Katz claimed to know a boy in Afghanistan who was downloading movies off the Internet using a Commodore 64?

Even I... (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891355)

...can think of a half dozen ways to power a hundred watt bulb for ten minutes just off the top of my head (ding!)... Wait a second...

Anyhow, why not? I don't think the Second Law ever mentioned anything about a machine from Robot Wars... :)

Hey, I just bought a bridge in NY from this guy... (1)

UsonianAutomatic (236235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891357)

Fake news as promotion [lostskeleton.com] , or even just for the heck of it (as seems to be the case here) is great when it's done well, but you usually don't need to read more than a paragraph or two to get the joke.

It's discouraging that something like this got by an organization like Reuters. :/

A little credit to Reuters (5, Informative)

blamanj (253811) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891358)

I wouldn't say that Reuters was completely scammed. They did, after all, put this page not in the Science,or Tech categories, but in the "Lifestyle" category, note that the link directly after the title is to "Ann Landers."

Their view of the thing seems to be along the lines of "Hey, some guy claims he saw the Loch Ness Monster and he's building a submarine to search the lake."

But the voltage *increased*!... (5, Interesting)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891362)

*snicker* According to the CNN report, part of the "evidence" that the 4 12V car batteries were recharged while powering 3 100W light bulbs was the fact that the voltage actually increased from 48.9V to 51.2V.

Could there be any other reason for the voltage (and voltage alone, not power) to increase?

Surely it couldn't be something as trivial as the batteries warming up.... or would that only occur to someone who knows of the (really dangerous) way to deal with a dead battery in cold weather - hook up the jumper cables then short them. If you don't succeed in blowing up the battery, you may have warmed it up enough that it will have enough juice to turn the starter.

My conclusion: charging device (3, Interesting)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891365)

A multimeter reading of the batteries' voltage before the device started up showed a total of 48.9 volts. When it was switched off, a second reading showed 51.2 volts, indicating that, somehow, they had been reimbursed.
Just similar to magic show, we all know it is a hoax. How to uncover the ground truth is the interesting part right now.

This is just my wild guess. The voltage reading looks really dubious to me. I suspect that the system consists of 4 lead-acid battery connected in series and connected to an external power sources.
48.9/4 => 12.2 (voltage before)
51.2/4 => 12.8 (voltage after)
These figures are typical for lead acid for such a charging regime.

He may hide the external power connection through non-cable charging solution (e.g. IPT: inductive power transfer). Probably the only truth in this article is that cheater is (was) an electrical engineer.

Another clue... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 12 years ago | (#2891370)

He quotes AL GORE [jasker.com] ! (The father of the internet.) That should have been a clue.
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