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

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the time-to-backpedal dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 213

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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FP (5, Insightful)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452393)

I just can't believe that anyone wasted 2 fucking years of their life trying to "disprove" it.

Re:FP (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452423)

Indeed, Especially since Homer Simpson only took a few seconds to make a similar determination.

Re:FP (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453599)

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

What? No Mr. Fusion? (5, Funny)

spafbi (324017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452435)

And I bought a DeLorean in preparation just for this... Thanks a lot, Steorn. Bah!

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (1)

nido (102070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452643)

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:What? No Mr. Fusion? (2, Funny)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452943)

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

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453211)

They are in our past and present, we are just not in that dimension. Time travel to the past would lead you to another dimension but would never alter the past we have presently lived. We will never see time travel in our past and our current present. Our future is a different story since the path we are traveling can still be altered.

-aEN

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454959)

They are in our past and present, we are just not in that dimension. Time travel to the past would lead you to another dimension but would never alter the past we have presently lived. We will never see time travel in our past and our current present. Our future is a different story since the path we are traveling can still be altered.

-aEN

Not to be pedantic, but you seem to have missed something. Say you travel back in time, and end up in another dimension, not your own. You are a time traveler in someone's present. Time passes, and people in that dimension talk about 'that time traveler guy who came and gave us the secret of time travel.' You are a time traveler in someone's past. Someone may have already traveled back into our past and we could one day find a fossilized time machine. We don't know about it right now, but that does not mean it could not have happened, and been recorded as part of our past. Nothing gets altered, the time machine is already there, waiting to be discovered (hypothetically.) So when you say, "We will never see time travel in our past and our current present" you may very well be right, but not for any of the reasons you give.

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (1, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453521)

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.

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453877)

Hahahahaha

That's hilarious.

You really believe this pseudo-scientific hogwash?

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (4, Funny)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:What? No Mr. Fusion? (4, Funny)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454045)

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"?

I'm guessing (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452447)

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 (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452487)

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.

Re:I'm guessing (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452653)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453243)

"People who don't understand magnets and thing their is 'free' energy there is too far gone."
Wow. I've read that six times now and all I get is a migraine. WTH were you trying to say?

Re:I'm guessing (0, Flamebait)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453813)

You really need to work on your English comprehension. A few spelling errors shouldn't screw you up like that.

What GP said, was: People who don't understand magnets, and think they produce 'free' energy are too far gone [to be rational].

Which is really an application of the TANSTAAFL principle. TANSTAAFL really ought to be taught alongside Newton's laws, and in every grade from kindergarten on.

Re:I'm guessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453675)

English, please!

Re:I'm guessing (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm guessing (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453169)

Well, so much for that. Perhaps I can restore my faith in human nature with some Quantum Homeopathy!

Re:I'm guessing (1)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454307)

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.

Ok, one more discredited.... (2, Interesting)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452451)

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.

Re:Ok, one more discredited.... (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452509)

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

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

Fraud (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452523)

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 shit?! Fuck, they must be doing the same drugs that makers of Enzyte are taking. Btw - why am I seeing Enzyte ads on TV again? Wasn't the CEO and a bunch of execs meant to serve sentences for fraud?

Re:Fraud (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452571)

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.

Re:Fraud (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452583)

They're claiming it's almost ready for production in order to draw attention; No company in their right mind would try to sell perpetual energy, in the same sense no company in their right mind would try to sell omnibenevolant hotpink bananas. Snake oil only works when the results are subtle and easily affected by other things. It's going to be hard to claim your device is putting out more energy than is put in, when, you know... it doesn't work?

Re:Fraud (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453035)

I occasionally end up in debates with people about those things.

And, seriously, there's no better disproof than: If this actually worked, someone would sell a device that powered your toaster or something.

And, no, yammering about 'patents' doesn't cut it. For one thing, various fools have been claiming free energy since the 70s, and, guess what? All those patents are expired.

Re:Fraud (0, Troll)

Tycho (11893) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454421)

And, no, yammering about 'patents' doesn't cut it. For one thing, various fools have been claiming free energy since the 70s, and, guess what?

I assume that you are refering to the 1870s, in which case that's pretty much the situation. Also, replace energy with money, and you describe what more fools claim. This works for both Ponzi schemes and other scammers like libertarians, like those who claim the government creates free money and who espouse the merits of "free" markets. In all cases these groups are wrong and have no clue as to the how the actual theories work that indicate they are wrong. They also conveniently ignore the massive amounts of reliable experimental data that back up these theories. How I pine for a decent, required class on reasoning in American high schools. Meh.

Re:Fraud (3, Insightful)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453945)

Religions really have the best take on this business method: claim the reward/product/proof will come after you're dead!

Re:Fraud (1)

da' WINS pimp (213867) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454675)

Careful there! You might violate one of Scientology's patents.

Re:Fraud (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454117)

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 wind down somehow over time.

Fools (2, Interesting)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452459)

Or Geniuses?

Re:Fools (3, Informative)

literaldeluxe (1527087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452503)

Fools.

Re:Fools (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453103)

Fools.

this should be the next poll.

Re-butt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452465)

They're going to make asses out of themselves again?

The answer is obvious (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452497)

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.

Re:The answer is obvious (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452579)

Hey, now, one step at a time! The government's got a big crisis to deal with, and the economy needs to be one of its top priorities! They're working on repealing things like the Iron Law of Wages. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The answer is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452625)

It's only a matter of time...

Re:The answer is obvious (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452935)

Congress will get to it after they're done repealing evolution.

Re:The answer is obvious (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452995)

If congress can't even change a THEORY like evolution, how do you expect them to change an actual Law?

(no, I'm not being serious)

Re:The answer is obvious (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453003)

Bankers seem to think this will work for changing the laws of economics, so why not?

Re:The answer is obvious (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453989)

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.

ObSimpsons (2, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453431)

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

Thermodynamics wins again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452499)

Once again, some nut/fraudster claims the laws of thermodynamics don't apply, and they are wrong.

The fact that these people get any attention is a sad reflection of the state of scientific understanding in the general population and the media.

I am using free energy right now! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452525)

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 journal.

Re:I am using free energy right now! (5, Funny)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 5 years ago | (#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...

Re:I am using free energy right now! (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453705)

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!*

I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (5, Insightful)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Should have stuck with it (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452711)

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.

Re:Should have stuck with it (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453293)

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.

Re:Should have stuck with it (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453779)

That's a valid point.

The only failing that I see with "free energy" by exploiting Maxwell's Demon [wikipedia.org] is that it's completely unimplementable at this time. But as we keep digging in to the nano/quantum worlds, who knows? If somebody out there manages to build one, it looks sufficiently like "free energy" but without breaking the laws of thermodynamics. Not really creating energy, just extracting random energy that exists but is currently unusable.

Re:Should have stuck with it (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453595)

...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.

Re:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452841)

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.

Re:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452855)

This is no different than the family who refused chemotherapy for their kid and still claim they don't think that the chemo is really responsible for shrinking the tumor despite the fact that the tumor is MUCH smaller now after the chemo was started. Some people (really stupid and superstitious ones) INSIST that science is the real hoax. I'll never understand it, but we see it every day. This perpetual motion machine is no different than its predecessors.

Re:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453033)

"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.

Re:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (4, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (1)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454407)

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:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454767)

Ah, the same old limp wristed argument for believing in things that can't be proven.

Go back to your homeopathy clinic you vampire.

Re:I failed physics and even I know this is junk. (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455101)

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 will be completely willing to re-asses the theories when new data shows another as more favorable.

When a new theory comes out that has 40 years of solid physics saying that it is impossible, it automatically goes in to the "do not believe this catagory". However, a critical thinker will be open to new evidence that proves 40 years of physics wrong. It's just going to have to be substantial to make the switch.

A good critical thinker never thinks "this is the way things are, and the way they will always be". He thinks "This is almost certainly how it is, but who knows? Things change."

How much money have they raised from investors? (3, Interesting)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452593)

And will any of the investors be gullible enough to invest additional money for the company's plans to commercialize it?

Re:How much money have they raised from investors? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455069)

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 dollars on such a long-shot certainly seems foolish. But there are people in this world for which a few million dollars isn't that big of a deal, so it might be worth the risk.

Scammers (1)

edivad (1186799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452609)

It's sad that this people get any attention at all.
But then again, if you're so dumb to buy into their BS, you probably deserve to be screwed.

Re:Scammers (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452809)

A fool and his money are soon separated, and it's better for idiots to invest in perpetual energy scams than pyramid schemes. At least this way they have the opportunity to learn some basic science ("there is no such thing as free energy") once they've lost their money.

Re:Scammers (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453073)

I have no problem these claims getting attention; my problem is that once critical thinking and rigor have been applied and shown it not to work, people don't just pack up their bags, say "Oops,, my mistake and move on, like real scientists do when there theory has been shot down.

If you believe in zero viscosity (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452615)

You believe in perpetual motion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z6UJbwxBZI [youtube.com]

Of course, one still can't extract useful energy from such a system. But as a superfluid, as long as the temperature and pressure were maintained, a superfluid fountain would never stop flowing. I think that counts as "perpetual motion". And for those who say one must expend energy to cool a local environment down to create superfluidity, ask yourselves: are there places in the universe where such conditions could exist naturally? As the universe cools over time, should one expect such conditions to become more widespread? Because if so, then what you're really saying is such conditions need not be artificially created and therefor it is a "natural" effect. Weird stuff.

None of which gives us so-called "Free Energy".

Re:If you believe in zero viscosity (4, Interesting)

Draconian (70486) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:If you believe in zero viscosity (1)

Draconian (70486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452999)

Garh... I should have previewed that :-( That should read "a body will not stop moving, unless something stops it"

Re:If you believe in zero viscosity (1)

growse (928427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454141)

'Perpetual motion' is a bad term to use, because perpetual motion is guaranteed by Newton's first law.

Re:If you believe in zero viscosity (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454549)

maybe they meant "Perpetual Reciprocal Motion"? /shrug

Even cartoon characters wouldn't fall for this (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452701)

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

Crackpotery milestone (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452703)

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

Re:Crackpotery milestone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452961)

Careful... The same was told to the Wright brothers and look where that got us.

I'm not saying that they have a damned thing (...they very likely don't...to the best of my knowledge, magnetism doesn't QUITE work the way they're claiming...), but to say that Scientists are the final say is about as foolish as the people that claim they've got perpetual motion (which really isn't possible...but people keep chasing it...). Now, to be sure, if you drew the box around a windmill real close, you'd have to call it that. But, draw the box a bit larger and you're no longer in a closed system.

Re:Crackpotery milestone (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453047)

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.

Now, if they're actually defrauding investors by falsifying data, that's another matter. But they seem to be walking the line pretty cannily, here. At which point, the investors get what they deserve.

Re:Crackpotery milestone (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454249)

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 no kitchen, and has no plan to ever try to acquire real food (even in a cynical attempt to pawn it off as the aforementioned imaginary cuisine.) Especially if the business plan consists of hiding the investment and going bankrupt when it all falls apart.

Now, if they're actually defrauding investors by falsifying data, that's another matter. But they seem to be walking the line pretty cannily, here. At which point, the investors get what they deserve.

I think presenting marketing material touting technology entirely contradictory to established laws of physics sufficiently constitutes fraudulent solicitation. No falsified experimental data necessary; the failure to provide scientific evidence cannot be permitted to be used as a defense, as an intentional lie of omission is still a lie.

Re:Crackpotery milestone (2, Insightful)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453217)

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

Re:Crackpotery milestone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453523)

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

Yow! Is there a two-letter word that is so awful that even Xaositecte, the final arbiter of whether one should self-sensor, had to block it out? I wonder what could have been in place of those two stars in his/her post. Ni? Belgium's top level domain? Help me out here.

Don't bash the jury. (5, Insightful)

sifi (170630) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Don't bash the jury. (1, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453681)

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."

Re:Don't bash the jury. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454145)

Er, he said that being willing to test new ideas scientifically makes one a scientist. The implication is that this is a sufficient condition for being a scientist, rather than the sufficient condition for being an idiot.

It is not a necessary condition for being a scientist -- not all new ideas need (or can) be tested, so frankly, that proposition is laughable. Please, quit being retarded.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454513)

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?

Re:Don't bash the jury. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454527)

alright, well, we've got the painkillers, test tubes, and the scalpels ready for taking some skin samples, now all we need is your penis in front of us. what's that you say? oh, no, testing your penis to see if it tastes like taffy doesn't mean you get lots of free blowjobs, it means that we take bits and pieces of it and compare it on a molecular scale to actual taffy.

seriously? are you really comparing something that can't really be tested scientifically to something that, however crackpot it is, can be? what a dumbass.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454543)

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.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (1)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453881)

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.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (1)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454315)

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 conventional wisdom. There is much fame and recognition to be won by successfully challenging what everybody knows. That's how Einstein, Hubble, Wegener, and Feynman did it.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454521)

but the company isn't doing science in an unbiased and methodical way, with publication, peer review, and a healthy dose of self doubt, which are the hallmarks of good science. Instead of teasing out all the details of the presumed behavior before trying to market a product, they've created the product and then after the fact are trying to cherry-pick an explanation.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (3, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454111)

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.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454261)

Even if it doesn't work as advertised, isn't it worth looking at? Maybe they accidentally discovered a brand-new way of doing something that is actually valuable.

Re:Don't bash the jury. (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454583)

Maybe they accidentally discovered a brand-new way of doing something that is actually valuable.

Indeed. They got twenty-two scientists to spend two years working for next to nothing. That's quite an accomplishment in itself.

How It Works (3, Funny)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:How It Works (1)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453843)

Well, that certainly is a lot of words.

Re:How It Works (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454695)

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.

Re:How It Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455209)

I couldn't even finish that because it's all bullshit designed to sell things and make money. It's like someone let a marketer loose in an undergraduate Electromagnetism text and now he thinks he can define new ideas without explaining what they are or where they come from or how they fit into theory. If you can't link to a journal article where you've published your groundbreaking new theory, then don't bother selling anything because you're likely a fraud.

Your reaction upon completing that huge string of words is "wow, I certainly do feel stupid."

This is closely followed by "anyone that can make me feel that stupid certainly is on to something."

Free energy vs. energy from nothing (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453307)

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.

How free? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453363)

Is this free as in beer?

I had to disprove this to a guy, and got paid! (2, Interesting)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 5 years ago | (#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! :-)

Praise be to Orbo! (1)

Hausenwulf (956554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453629)

I'm wondering which bright boy will get the idea to start a new religion based on "Orbo?" This free energy must be coming from the gods, right? ;)

Reminds me of a Heinlein story.... (2, Interesting)

opiv6ix (1033966) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Reminds me of a Heinlein story.... (1)

onemorechip (816444) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455109)

I haven't read it, but that sounds a bit like the plot from Asimov's "The Gods Themselves".

In Finland (2, Informative)

Santzes (756183) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453949)

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]

Free Energy, what I would do if I invented it. (5, Interesting)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455229)

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.

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