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The Museum of Unworkable Devices

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the more-fun-than-broken-packets dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 309

Jippy_ writes "The quest for perpetual motion has been going on since at least the 11th century according to this site, and scientists have been getting it wrong ever since. Take a gander at some of the most valiant efforts (and ultimately the biggest failures) in trying to beat the laws of physics through the last 1000 years, along with other impossible inventions and devices."

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309 comments

The newest item added to the exhibition... (4, Funny)

netsharc (195805) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623814)

the server that hosted the site!

Re:The newest item added to the exhibition... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623895)

The site is still working fine moron.

Re:The newest item added to the exhibition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623957)

IST EIN SLASCHDOT-EFFEKT

Better yet... The Museum of Unworkable Politics! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624028)


The largest exhibit would be dedicated to the Bush II administration. It would be crammed full of countless US flags, and everything would be decorated in the colors of red, white and blue.

The Bushites must always wrap themselves in the flag. Haven't you noticed?
Their policies are plainly motivated by greed and nothing more, and this disgusting greed must be kept hidden from public view behind endless jingoistic rhetoric.

"Honk if you support our troops!" is a last ditch passive-aggressive tactic to build support for a morally bankrupt presidency.

Re:The newest item added to the exhibition... (1)

DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624042)

and the penultimate item ... Slashdot itself.

Also known as the (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623815)

MS-Windows Museum :-P

(somebody had to say it)

Re:Also known as the (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623913)

u represent the gay community pretty damn well.

Re:Also known as the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624029)

(somebody had to say it)

No. Nobody had to say that. It was annoying and dumb.

Making crappy Microsoft jokes is not getting you any closer to going on a date with a real girl.

but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623819)

do they have a BeBox?

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623821)

post ?

Re:first (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623842)

You struggle against the laws of nature...and FAiL IT! Feel the dismay build inside you as you realize your won dismal failure!

Chemical weapons likely to be used in Iraq war (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623822)

Not by Saddam of course, but by US forces. [basicint.org]

Why didn't they just ask... (2, Funny)

ksheka (189669) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623825)

...Lisa Simpson?

Re:Why didn't they just ask... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623843)

In this house we obey the laws of Thermodynamics!

Re:Why didn't they just ask... (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623844)

"In MY house we obey the laws of thermodynamics" --Homer Simpson

ef pee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623829)

f to the pizzy my nizzy fo shizzy 20 sec post delizzy cowbizzy

Goody! Lots of ideas... (5, Funny)

irritating environme (529534) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623830)

For new bogus-physics product companies to get coverage from wired.com and get 10 million in funding

I think that the problem with these devices isn't the laws of physics per se, I think its just that they were never properly marketed.

Re:Goody! Lots of ideas... (1)

Tweakmeister (638831) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623870)

Don't give any VC's ideas...

our next dotcom era will be companies trying to make these machines...

Re:Goody! Lots of ideas... (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624012)

"I think that the problem with these devices isn't the laws of physics per se, I think its just that they were never properly marketed."

If you used "viral marketing" you won't just have perpetual motion...you will create energy from the ether as excitement around the idea grows. Physics meets MLM.

Heh. (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623841)


That's ironic, coming right after a story about yet another Sendmail security update.

Re:Heh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623848)

it's ironic that yet another moron like you posts incorrectly about the article... RTFA you shitbarge

Scientists ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623846)

> scientists have been getting it wrong ever since.

No. NON-scientists have been getting it wrong.

A solution? (2, Interesting)

Tweakmeister (638831) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623849)

It's just not possible. Energy will always be taken away in the process that can't be "recycled." It's neat to watch people try to make super efficient machines though...I wonder if any low friction fluids, etc. have come out through the development of these inventions?

Re:A solution? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623898)

...I wonder if any low friction fluids

Just that fluid I pump into your moms ass every night.

Re:A solution? (1)

axxackall (579006) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623905)

take a box with gas and put the wall with the hole in the middle. Gas molecules will fly randomly in all directions. There is a chance (extremely low) that they will be gathered more in one half. There will be a pressure and if you will be lucky you can extract some energy from such pressure. In your dreams. In reality there is a second law of thermodynamics saying that enthropy cannot be dropped in the closed system.

Now consider thousands of open source developers coding as one thousand monkeys typing on 1000 type machines. There is a chance they will type something good. Wait a minute, they did! OOo, Mozilla, Python, Perl, Apache, Linux, even that everdying BSD. So, either the open source is not a close system or their result doesn't decrease the overall enthropy at all.

I think both. As for today, open source mostly repeat (sometimes with much better quality!) the functionality of close source software products. And overall enthropy by the end of such work is way higher then before.

BTW, ./ users cannot be used to produce a free energy either. All we do is a participating in overall increasing the temperature of our planet.

Unworkable-DRM. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623851)

My nomination for the museum of unworkable devices is DRM

Surely life is a perpetual motion machine, (0)

jeanicinq (535767) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623857)

but the condom was not.

The Museum of Unworkable Devices (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623861)

Linux accounts for 90% of the museum space.

People will always try (4, Insightful)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623876)

I for one have always been interested in perpertal motion machines and the related laws of physics. I believe so that if we could just improve effeciency we will achieve very near pertual machine like effects. I meen if we are using engines that are only 40% effiencent and we can improve that to 98% then that is still very possible. IMHO

Re:People will always try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623922)

that is still very possible. IMHO

When you use words such as 'perpertal' no one gives a damn about your opinion.

Re:People will always try (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624015)

I wonder which way (physics or perpetual motion) your interest swings. The Carnot cycle places a limit on even ideal circumstances for the thermodynamic production of Work from Energy.

For a typical steam power plant, (800K hot, 300K cold), the maximum theoretically possible efficiency is ~60% for a 100% reversible reaction (hint: these don't exist in power plants). I seriously doubt it is possible get anywhere near 98% efficient without some new ground-breaking physics in the same vein as Newton -> Einstein.

Simon.

Re:People will always try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624094)

I think that Stirling engines with regenerators can get over 90% efficiency.

The problem with your idea is thermodynamics (4, Informative)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624039)

The problem with your idea is thermodynamics. Thermodynamic analysis will tell you the maximum efficiency that an engine can acheive. Look up the Carnot engine (or cycle) for a good discussion. A Carnot engine is the most efficient engine possible, nonetheless, the thermodynamic limits are a killer. Throw in friction, realistic melting points for materials, etc. and the world is a dreary place. Engines will NEVER approach 98% efficiency.

Buttered toast (4, Funny)

TummyX (84871) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623880)

Where's the cat with buttered toast attached to its back?

Re:Buttered toast (4, Funny)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623962)

I thought that was an anti-gravity device? At least that's what I've been using mine for.

Re:Buttered toast (2, Funny)

Dunark (621237) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624019)

Where's the cat with buttered toast attached to its back?

The judges are still out on that one, it hasn't stopped moving yet.

Using 2 Cats are cheaper (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624053)

You take 2 cats (which can be found as strays or free from kittens) and then tie them them back to back then drop. Tost cost money cats are inexpensive.

problem with PM machines (3, Interesting)

cyko500 (315074) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623889)

In theory a PM machine CAN work. Only one itty bitty problem... The machine needs to be perfectly designed and built. Also, no mass can be gained or lost (A perpetual waterfall can't work because water evaporates). PE(potential energy)=KE(kinetic energy) so you use the KE to make more PE. The major problem comes in when someone wants to use this machine to power somthing. Then some of that KE is used for other work than "recharging"(adding PE back to) whatever medium you are using to power your PM machine. This causes the machine to slowly lose its energy and come to a halt. There must also be no interferance at all (no wind, rain, or movement of the machine). Gravity and atmosphere wouldn't cause the machine to stop though. Again... it is possible to make on of these machines but: a) It must be designed and built flawlessly and b) It cannot be used to power anything other than its own movement.

Re:problem with PM machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623914)

That is the most erroneous, moronic rambling I have read in the past year.

Re:problem with PM machines (0)

cyko500 (315074) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623966)

lol... Just as a note to AC. I'm a med school student not a physics major. All I'm saying is that if designed to be 100% efficient(never will be humanly pssible) a PM machine can be used to power its own movement, but it will never be able to do anything else other than moving itself. I'm not saying I'm going to go out and build one in the parking lot in front of my appartment and use it to power my death ray :P I must admit all of my posts are a bit (at best) rambling and incoherent, though, you do have me there. Unfortunately you did not see fit to enlighten me as you seem to have a better understanding of the subject than me.

Re:problem with PM machines (0)

cyko500 (315074) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623927)

Didn't make this clear before, the only way to make this work would be using a mass distribution design.... that type of system is 100% effiecient as long as there is enough weight to get the machine moving.... also, when I say built flawlessly I mean a machine that could never be build by human hands. Everything would have to be down to the nanometer and nanogram and even with our technology that isn't possible. If the weight of the machine isn't distributed PERFECTLY one side will spend more time at the bottom due to gravity and eventually stop. It isn't possible to make more energy than you start with though so no matter how perfect the machine is it will never be able to power anything, it'll just sit there moving forever. Not useful at all.... if they made one it'd make a neato paperweight though :)

Re:problem with PM machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624033)

> In theory a PM machine CAN work.

No, it can't. Haven't you been paying attention?

You're right that creating a frictionless surface and all the other stuff that is impossible under 'perfectly designed and built' is a problem. But even if such a things were possible, a PM machine still wouldn't work because it'd violate the second law of thermodynamics

Entropy is a bitch.

Re:problem with PM machines (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624052)

You're defining a PM machine by excluding the 'machine' bit. Part of the definition of a machine is that it has to do Work (technical definition - The transfer of energy from one physical system to another).

A body set spinning on a (somewhat miraculous) journey along an isopotential of gravitational force in the universe will continue spinning for eternity (or thereabouts. The universe might collapse...)

The spinning body's still not a perpertual motion machine because it doesn't interact, and should it ever interact, it'll be subject to the laws of motion and thermodynamics and still not be a perpetual motion machine.

Simon.

Do they have the ultimate 20th-c vaporware? (4, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623892)

Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

Surely they must be there, at least for another 10 years ;-)

Re:Do they have the ultimate 20th-c vaporware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623952)

You need to get Retro Engines first...

Re:Do they have the ultimate 20th-c vaporware? (1)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624047)

man,

i really thought you'd ask for Duke Nukem Forever

Well, there's your perpetual motion, right there. (5, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623901)

The quest for perpetual motion has been going on since at least the 11th century

Without ever stopping!

Poll: How many of us have tried? (3, Interesting)

Neuronerd (594981) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623902)

I am a scientist now and after studying physics I guess I am completely cured from the idea that there could be a perpetuum mobile, a machine that produces energy out of vacuum.

But I remember say 20 years ago I spent a long time trying to invent such machines. I kept trying to design it and kept asking people why it wouldnt work. It took a long (frustrating) time before I could sortof acknowledge that it didnt seem to work.

So honestly... who has undergone the same process?

Re:Poll: How many of us have tried? (2, Interesting)

flonker (526111) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623951)

"Why won't this work?" is a good way of learning all of the practical details of a system. "Why can't you put a wheel inside of a wheel inside of a wheel, and have them spin relative to the wheel just outside, and thus break the speed of light?" is a good one. Answer that, and you've just learned something. (Assuming just physics 101 knowledge.)

Desinged a car to be pulled by megnets (2, Funny)

alch (30445) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624017)

It was cool !! Metal wheels and magnets to pull itself along !! Never figured out how to stop it though.

Re:Poll: How many of us have tried? (2, Interesting)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624068)

In my 200-level physics class, I was constantly coming up with new "perpetual motion devices" for my teacher to shoot down. I understood full well that it was fundamentally impossible, but it's kind of nice to bash into your own preconceptions and watch them break.

Anyways, the most interesting things I came up with weren't perpetual motion devices per se. I came up with some ideas that sucked energy from Brownian motion in matter. I don't think anything like that has ever been fielded as a large-scale source of energy, and probably for good reason. But he seemed to agree that, when nanotech really improves, such devices are feasible.

I'm not taking credit for it. I'm sure there are similar ideas doodled in the notebooks of thousands of undergrads. I'm simply pointing out that, even though it was a pointless waste of time [pointlesswasteoftime.com] on one level, on another level it was a real eye-opener for me.

Re:Poll: How many of us have tried? (1)

Neuronerd (594981) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624125)

Well ... the the second law of thermodynamics seems to imply that even such micromachines are not possible because entropy would then be changed into the wrong direction.

As said on lectureonline.cl.msu.edu: [msu.edu] (You can browse through the book changing the url. "These machine then violate the second law of thermodynamics, as we will see in the following, and are thus impossible to work. This is much harder to see, because the concepts are rather delicate. The book proceeds to introduce the concept of Entropy".

Other works discuss if the second law of thermodynamics (which forbids your machines) can be derived from quantum mechanics [drchinese.com] : Such quantum mechanical systems would be adequate to describe your micromachines.

I tried to design such micromachines too some day and I even think that scientific american had an article about it that I unfortunately cant find

Perpetual submarine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624081)

In elementary school I came up with the idea of a submarine that powered itself by hooking its propellors up to a generator.

Re:Poll: How many of us have tried? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624109)

Energy from the vacuum, that sound a bit like energy from sunlight or wind. Nah, that will never work.

Ideas (1)

eenglish_ca (662371) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623908)

This images are pretty neat with the stereoscopy. Don't substance exist that when you put pressure on them they generate electricity so therefore you could take a big rock and sit it atop some of this substance and you would have unlimited amounts of power. I think the more elaborate the perpetual motion machine the better. That would be a great contest, who could design the most elaborate and outrageous perpetual motion machine. I have the ultimate perpetual motion machine why not just throw something into space. Theoretically it should keep on spinning forever. Thats perpetual motion. Anys just my crazy ideas.

Re:Ideas (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623965)

Don't substance exist that when you put pressure on them they generate electricity so therefore you could take a big rock and sit it atop some of this substance and you would have unlimited amounts of power.

Wouldn't the energy you use to push the rock count? :P

Re:Ideas (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623993)

It's the changing pressure that produces the electricity You have to have a way of moving the rock up and down.

Re:Ideas (2, Insightful)

russx2 (572301) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624000)

Regarding the rock, yeah, in theory it will spin forever. But, asides from the initial energy to get it into space and give it momentum... how do you harness the "energy" from the spinning? The short answer is, you can't.

The rock spinning isn't really energy as such since it is just obeying Newton's first law of motion - anything moving will continue moving unless acted upon by an external force.

And unfortunately the only way to harness the "energy" is to apply an external force.

Re:Ideas (1)

eenglish_ca (662371) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624077)

Yes, but it is still in perpetual motion which has nothing to do with getting more energy out than you put in, a major misconception of the term.

and the timecube? (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623911)

what of the timecube? [timecube.com]

I have requested that the UCS, or
Union of Concerned Scientists, act
to evaluate Nature's Harmonic Time
Cube Principle of Creation - for the
welfare of children, nature and the
future of all humanity. The dumb,
stupid and evil bastards have ignored
their obligation to their humanity
fellowship to research Time Cube,
and deserve to be spit upon publicly.
It is their moral duty to test Time
Cube, and a curse of evil if they ignore
the greatest discovery of humanity.
I have offered $10,000.00 to the evil
bastards if they disprove Time Cube.
They can't disprove it, so they hide
like yellow-belly bastards they are.

Re:and the timecube? (1)

machine of god (569301) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623961)

I bestow upon myself the "Doctorate of Cubicism", for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever.

I'd have to say that's the best quote from that site.

Re:and the timecube? (0, Troll)

dodgyville (660660) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624088)

Your father was a fish. You evolved from an egg laid in water, fertilized by a sperm fish swimming upstream - just as salmon swim up stream to fertilize female egg laid in the water. Maybe, you should worship a fish god.

I like this quote. At first it's funny, but then it starts to make sense in a post-modern/ideas-are-bound-by-words way... Anyone know if this web-site is for real or not?

Maybe I *should* worship a fish god.

Yes, this guy is for real. (1)

fredistheking (464407) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624105)

In 1999 a few of my friends at Georgia Tech got this guy to come and talk. If I remember correctly, he got highly irritated when he failed to convince us.

Re:Yes, this guy is for real. (1)

tunesmith (136392) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624119)

"If you remember correctly"? Four years ago? What memory-limiting drugs have you been on, anyway?

Re:Yes, this guy is for real. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624132)

you're kidding really? what is this guy like in person? is he like the "flux capacitor" professor from "back to the future"? bulging eyes and wild white hair? he seems to me to be the very archetype of the perfect crank crackpot. when they made him, they must have broken the mold.

Perpetual motion *IS* possible (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623915)

In a superconductor, electrical resistance is ZERO. Electric current will move forever.

Of course, you need to keep your superconductor cold, so put it in outer space, or keep the liquid helium flowing.

And for you nitpickers: yes, there are superconducters that work at liquid nitrogen temperatures, but you can't make wire out of them yet.

Re:Perpetual motion *IS* possible (2, Informative)

Fabio Dias (224542) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623980)

As long as there's a eletric potential difference. A superconductor dissipates zero energy when it is in transit. It does not feed that energy into itself nor generates energy.

Re:Perpetual motion *IS* possible (2)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624008)

So? If you spin a wheel in space, it'll rotate forever. Same concept, perpetual motion, but it isn't a machine because there is no energy conversion - part of the definition of a machine is (afaik) that it converts energy.

Re:Perpetual motion *IS* possible (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624071)

Electric current will move forever.

No, because it's radiating energy. It will keep going if you keep putting energy in (which would then make it a non-perpetual motion machine, funny that).

how about..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623940)

A wheel that can only turn in one direction(ratchets or something) and two paddles on it. Place it in a very very very very low density gas. There will be times when no particles are striking the wheel, and times when more are striking one paddle than the other. Sometimes this will cause the wheel to move in a direction it cannot-the ratchets won't let it, and sometimes it will try to move in the other direction, where it will turn.

No energy lost in collisions and no friction and an infinite supply of high-energy, low-density gas of course.

I heard this somewhere, but I forgot why it doesnt work.

It doesn't work... (1)

dunedan (529179) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624024)

because you suck energy out of the gas to turn your wheel.

thats like saying that sometimes my cars pistons get pushed down by gas and so its a perpertuall motion machine.

WTF?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623948)

Slashdot requires you to wait 2 minutes between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been -230 seconds since you last successfully posted a comment

Let's add slashcode to that list of unworkable devices.

I've got it!!! (4, Funny)

heli0 (659560) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623974)

A flawless design for a perpetual motion machine... the only thing I need to make it work are a couple monopole magnets and a room-temperature superconductor. Honest!

Send $1,000 to P.O. box 324, NY, NY 20002 to get in on the ground floor!!

Re:I've got it!!! (4, Funny)

neurostar (578917) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624005)

Send $1,000 to P.O. box 324, NY, NY 20002 to get in on the ground floor!!

I'm guessing that with the intelligence of some of the /. crowd, you should be recieving approximately $20,000 in unmarked bills within the next week...

;)

neurostar

Atari: Masters of unworkable devices (2, Informative)

Sir Network (183139) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623978)

Try using the Atari 5200 or Atari Jaguar joystick without taking your eyes off of the screen.

I thouht I was terrible at Aliens vs. Predator until I realized I kept getting killed because I was staring at the controller more than I was looking at the game.

Go Forever? (1)

Malicious (567158) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623987)

Voyager 10's on it's way to perpetual motion.... until it slams into something/someone.
Matter 'o' factly, last I checked, it's getting faster.

Re:Go Forever? (2, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624131)

And until it slams into something, it's simply in perpetual motion, it's not a perpetual motion machine...

A machine must do Work (definition: The transfer of energy from one physical system to another).

Perpetual motion is easy. A perpetual motion machine is impossible.

Simon.
(Getting tired of pointing out that machines have to DO something)

Excellent museum (2, Funny)

quantaman (517394) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623990)

I mean even the server [netcraft.com] follows the spirit of the exhibits!

More unworkable devices (2, Informative)

SaXisT4LiF (120908) | more than 10 years ago | (#5623992)

This reminded me of the Anime Laws of Physics [tarleton.edu] .

Things that don't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5623999)

They want things that don't work? Monday through Friday I'm in an office full of them.... They get paid too!

Zero Point Energy Device Coming Soon! (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624004)

Ha, just when you thought the field was closed, suddenly it's open again.... And since it's being exposed and marketed by Dr. Steven Greer you know it has to be true.

The Transcript Here [disclosureproject.org]

I have a source of unlimited power (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624007)

The Troll Engine.

what it does is post a comment extoling the virtues of Windows 95 over Linux. It then uses the heat generated by the ensuing flamewar to power a small town.

Re:I have a source of unlimited power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624031)

Windows95 can do a LOT that Linux can't do!

For one, Windows95 can fsck up the sectors on your HD when not properly shut down or upon crashing... can Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can automatically open a CD upon closing the tray, resulting in enforcer hits to the processor, and crappy performance... can Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can allow everyone access to files that you don't want them to have, despite having the ability to have separate accounts... can Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can run brain dead development software, engineered for morons, who cringe at the sight of a CLI... can Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can give the user a BSOD, which is very pretty... does Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can take as long as 3.7 minutes to boot up... can Linux do this?... HELL NO!

Windows95 can search for hardware upon rebooting, and thusly, uselessly duplicating hardware drivers and rendering the system unstable... can Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can allow a single application to take control of the entire tasking scheme of the OS, rendering other applications in the background useless... can Linux do this?... NO!

Windows95 can turn an otherwise useful workstation, and turn it into a bloated, pathetic, luser toy... can Linux do this?... NO!

Re:I have a source of unlimited power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624037)

Can you extract useful energy from tedium?
If so I expect you to fulfil all our future energy needs.

First hand experience (5, Interesting)

gsyswerda (550684) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624009)

When I was younger, in early high school, I discovered that my father was trying to build a perpetual motion machine in his basement workshop. It was a rotating wheel with slots that contained ball bearings. The idea was that the bearings would roll in the slots in such a way that the wheel would constantly be unbalanced, causing it to rotate forever. He hadn't quite gotten it to work, of course, and was concerned about the angle of the slots and friction at the hub. I had taken some physics by then, and tried to explain to my dad about conservation of energy and how his machine, in principle, could never work. Maybe he was already discouraged by then, but he quit working on it shortly after that.

almost (4, Funny)

trb (8509) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624014)

I have a design for a perpetual motion machine that almost works.

Why isn't the Earth a PM machine? (1)

Chinju (662523) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624018)

Why isn't the Earth's revolution around the sun an example of a perpetual motion machine? I'm sure it isn't, but I can't see why not.

Re:Why isn't the Earth a PM machine? (0)

gibbdog (551209) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624059)

Earth will eventually be enveloped by the sun. The travel around the sun seems to stay constant, but we are always getting just a little bit closer to it.

Re:Why isn't the Earth a PM machine? (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624079)

You're confusing 'perpetual motion' with 'perpetual motion machine'. A machine has to do Work (definition: The transfer of energy from one physical system to another), whereas a body in a perfect orbit does not.

The only Work the earth does is when it hits "stuff" in its' orbital path. Every time the earth hits a single atom in its' path, it slows down slightly, and spirals slightly farther in towards the sun. OTOH, it doesn't move too much closer because the earth has a very high mass, and the atom doesn't... There is also "stuff" hitting us from the 'back' side as well, which speeds up the earth slightly in the same fashion.

Simon.

Re:Why isn't the Earth a PM machine? (1)

Chinju (662523) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624087)

I thought that might have been it, but I wasn't sure if perpetual motion itself was outlawed, or just devices which output usable energy. Thanks for setting me straight.

Re:Why isn't the Earth a PM machine? (1)

c4tp's friend (658237) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624083)

Remember when you try to capture the energy, the kinetic energy becomes less and there is no way to add more potential energy. Even if there was a way to harness some of the earths potential energy, eventually our orbit would stop and we would become fried crisps of humans.

Tidal Energy is like perpetual motion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624022)

Well, generating tidal energy is like perpetual motion. The Moon orbiting the Earth causes the tides to move, and there are even power plants that generate power from that.
By far the biggest flaw in all of the perpetual motion machines is that they assume a closed system. In reality, there is no such thing as a closed system. The Moon orbits the Earth, the Earth orbits the sun, and the Sun orbits the Galaxy. Now only if there was an effecient method to take adavntage of the ever changing gravitational changes without relying on an ocean.

Problem solved (1)

Isldeur (125133) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624036)



Sorry, I've already solved it. Take two bodies, put them in a vacuum with no other external forces, and have them orbit each other without decay. There. Perpetual motion.

Re:Problem solved (1)

Dunark (621237) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624063)

Sorry, I've already solved it. Take two bodies, put them in a vacuum with no other external forces, and have them orbit each other without decay. There. Perpetual motion.

Maybe. If Einstein was right, the system will slowly lose energy by emitting gravitational radiation.

The closest thing we know to a perpetual motion... (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624038)

The closest thing we know to a perpetual motion machine is a super conductor. A superconductor is a material that offers no resistance to electrons which freely move about. It's not quite perfect because there is no such thing as a perfectly closed system.

Re:The closest thing we know to a perpetual motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5624086)

It's not quite perfect because there is no such thing as a perfectly closed system.

Except Dubbya's mind.

Weather and other perpetual motion (2, Interesting)

tunesmith (136392) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624076)

Isn't weather kind of a perpetual motion machine?

I feel like (as a non-scientist, non-physicist) that I have an intuitive understanding that all self-contained devices relying only on their own mechanics would never attain perpetual motion due to the dragging forces of gravity, friction, and other forms of external resistance.

But I don't have such an intuitive understanding that a machine that takes advantage of outside consistent forces as a source of energy (like gravity) could not attain perpetual motion. Especially if we loosen the definition of "outside consistent forces" from the scientific definition (those natural forces that always balance themselves) to the practical definition, like those forces that aren't naturally occuring but happen all the time anyway, like the directional airflow in a building's exit corridor, or the vibration of a dance floor, or all the other places in the world where energy is being expended and not captured. If we made machines that were built to rely on those forces always happening, and capturing them to convert them to energy, wouldn't that be generating more energy than is expended to run it, considering that the expended energy it depends on would be happening anyway? I know it's mathematically lazy but there's no reason why we can't double-count that stuff.

PM (1)

c4tp's friend (658237) | more than 10 years ago | (#5624096)

Obviously it has been proven it cannot work, so why argue that it will?

Cmon guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5624116)

Yes , i am one of those that thinks its posible.
But NOT in the way everyone has been conditioned
to perpetual motion. Everyone needs to realise
that you need to be more open to things.
Yes i do understand that perpetual motion
is posible in a closed system , and it can't power
excess loads ( its closed ). But there can be
open systems which are just as good .
It can't be that fision is the most effective
way of generating energy . For instance ,
can someone explain why static electricity can't
be used to fuse atoms at very very high potential
where they can overcome the repulsion forces
and the energy release be direcly converted
to electricity . Fusion can have extremely
negligible amounts of radiation
and fuel consumtion would be extremeley low.
One in each car woul be less dangerous than
a gass tank. And please say no to this crazy
idea of creating the sun here on earth
(the curent fusion research).Even if they do
make it , they will still hold a monopoly
on the energy , its not like you will be able
to buyild one in your garage.
Or how about electrolysis of hydrogen from
water with a cheaply atainable catalyst of sorts ?

But then again , i dont think we can have any of
this untill we grow up as a species. Just imagine
free clean unlimited power in todays world.
The polution would go through the roof
from the careless ways we would use it .
Unlimited power weapons that could basicaly
split the earth in half or better yet
blow up the whole solar system.
I get extremeley scared thinking about tesla
conspiracies and such . And our governments
having those kind of weapons etc...

Lets try to wake up first

Perpetual Motion Machines of the First Kind (4, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 11 years ago | (#5624129)

I got the page to load before it got slashdotted, and it looks like these are all perpetual motion machines of the first kind. These machines violate conservation of energy.

Perpetual motion machines of the second kind don't violate conservation of energy, but they rely on a decrease in entropy. With a machine like that a ship could run an engine that extracts energy from the ambient water temperature to do work, leaving a trail of colder seawater behind the ship. That doesn't violate conservation of energy, but it does cause a global reduction of entropy.

It takes more cleverness to come up with a machine of the second kind, and it's usually less obvious why they don't work.

Here's a machine like that. Assume we have a propellor made of some heat resistant material like ceramic, inside a larger ceramic housing in which it is free to rotate. Stick a big permanent magnet around it so that there is a magnetic field running through it, parallel to the propellor axis. Now inject a hot plasma of some sort into the device. Electrons in the plasma move in tight little counterclockwise circles because of the field. Protons move in much wider clockwise circles (they're heavier), so they hit the propellor blades preferentially in one direction and make it rotate.

Of course the plasma is going to cool down quickly if the protons in it are imparting kinetic energy to the propellor. So as a perpetual motion machine of the first kind, it's obviously going to run down and stop. But take the whole machine and drop it on a planet where the ambient temperature is high enough to keep the plasma hot. As the propellor extracts energy, more heat flows into the machine. What's wrong with it now?

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