Join 3,434 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Breaking the Laws of Physics?
August 19, 2006 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Free Energy? Family Guy viewers already know that Ireland's top scientists once discovered how to turn their population into pure energy, but have they now discovered the key to perpetual motion? The Law of Conservation of Energy would seem to suggest otherwise, but these fellas (Google video) would seem to claim otherwise. Steorn, an Irish "technology development" company, claims that they have discovered a means to free energy, and have issued a challenge to the scientific community.
posted by chudmonkey (70 comments total)

 
I suspect that if Matt deletes this one too it'll just be posted again.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


This isn't really a double, since the original thread was deleted, but for those who want to see what's already been said : here ya go.
posted by suckerpunch at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2006


The inventors of a perpetual motion machine are going public in a bid for funding? This has never happened before!
posted by mek at 2:11 PM on August 19, 2006


The video's a new addition. Anyone who makes a video that shows penguins next to oil piplelines is obviously not real strong in the research department, or even the common knowledge department. Unless they've been pumping oil in Antarctica and nobody mentioned it.

And mere fact that they've got a new economy style hype video at all, to say nothing of a logo that echoes the (new about ten years ago) Lucent style isn't doing them any cred favors either.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:17 PM on August 19, 2006


This post is a heck of a lot better than the last one. I hope it sticks around.

However, I'd love to see just a little more details of the technology, so we can discuss it properly. Right now people will be stuck on this human-made law assuming it's 100% correct and we don't have anything available to dispute them or the law.

Personally, I think it's a bunch of hooey. I'd love to see it happen though.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:19 PM on August 19, 2006


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by blue_beetle at 2:22 PM on August 19, 2006


The video's a new addition. Anyone who makes a video that shows penguins next to oil piplelines is obviously not real strong in the research department, or even the common knowledge department. Unless they've been pumping oil in Antarctica and nobody mentioned it.

Penguins live all over the southern hemisphere, not just Antarctica.
posted by cillit bang at 2:26 PM on August 19, 2006


However, I'd love to see just a little more details of the technology, so we can discuss it properly.

They showed you everthing they have already.
They showed you nothing.
posted by caddis at 2:36 PM on August 19, 2006


Penguins live all over the southern hemisphere, not just Antarctica. Hmm. Quite. Looks like Humboldt penguins are found as far north as Peru. Still, I can't help suspecting that they were attempting to depict the ecological impact of arctic tundra pipelines.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:39 PM on August 19, 2006


"The Company will then be seeking to license its technology into a variety of markets including the consumer electronics and automotive sectors. The company will also be releasing several products that it is developing itself."

If my Company had a perpetuum mobile, the business plan would be more like "seeking to replace all other energy sources in the world, colonize Mars, and get started on the Dyson Sphere." Cell phones and cars?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2006


I can't help but notice the Google video is tagged "hoax," "snake oil," "scam," "bs," "not possible," "lies," "crap," "blarney" and "you'd have to be a moron to believe it."
posted by futility closet at 2:44 PM on August 19, 2006


Perhaps some sort of confounding, misjudged viral marketing - the presentation is too damn slick to be associated with any self-respecting crackpot.
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2006


That's a lot of otherwises.
posted by absalom at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2006


"seeking to replace all other energy sources in the world, colonize Mars, and get started on the Dyson Sphere."

Well, just to be the devil's devil's advocate here, but maybe it only works in small ways. Plus there are some pretty major hurdles other than energy for colonizing Mars and building a Dyson sphere.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:56 PM on August 19, 2006


Kickstart70 writes "Right now people will be stuck on this human-made law assuming it's 100% correct and we don't have anything available to dispute them or the law."

Well, it's a "human-made law" in the same sense that gravity is a "human-made law". Feel free to videotape yourself falling upwards from a tall building and prove it wrong!
posted by clevershark at 2:57 PM on August 19, 2006


Viral marketing. Metamonkey, you may be on to something there. Is anyone familiar enough with television shows in development to say whether or not this may be associated with one?
posted by suckerpunch at 2:59 PM on August 19, 2006


From the company's front page:

"Our technology has been independently validated by engineers and scientists - always off the record, always proven to work."

If it's been "independently validated" and "proven" again and again, why is it "always off the record"?

Any combination of "proven" and "off the record" sounds like "scam" to me. No doubt to countless others as well. How do you even "validate" something "off the record"?!?
posted by clevershark at 3:00 PM on August 19, 2006


Moreover, why? If they have validated results, why aren't they already licensing the technology?
posted by owhydididoit at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2006


This is like all those infomercials on late at night claiming to have something so great they can't sell it in stores. Bull pucky. If it was even remotely great they could sell it in stores. Lookit all the crap that already gets sold in stores.

I liked the link to Family Guy, and I'm not a big Family Guy fan. Except for the little kid that wants to kill his family and rule the world. That kid's cool, but the rest of the cartoon sucks. So it's rare to find a clip from Family Guy that DOESN'T have that kid in it, which actually makes me laugh. So if we could keep this thread and just get rid of the links aside from Family Guy references, I'd be cool with that.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2006


I guarantee this is some sort of hoax for a TV show - Discovery Channel or something like that.
posted by A189Nut at 3:08 PM on August 19, 2006


"The first roadblock is the world of science."

Hmm.
posted by owhydididoit at 3:08 PM on August 19, 2006


Ah, yet another entity that claims that "the man" is holding them down... like that Trudeau scammer and his "cures THEY don't want you to know".

Actually it's shocking how many people let themselves be scammed by this latter. Wasn't his book #1 on the non-fiction book charts for a while?
posted by clevershark at 3:11 PM on August 19, 2006


A189Nut: "...some sort of hoax for a TV show..."

You think this might have something to do with TLE? Cuz I could use an extra fragment that no one else has yet found.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:19 PM on August 19, 2006


I think more some sort of genuine sociological experiment in our oil-starving times. Too slick not to be.
posted by A189Nut at 3:22 PM on August 19, 2006


futility closet writes "I can't help but notice the Google video is tagged 'hoax,' 'snake oil,' 'scam,' 'bs,' 'not possible,' 'lies,' 'crap,' 'blarney' and 'you'd have to be a moron to believe it.'"

Until it's tagged "malarkey" the jury's still out!
posted by clevershark at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2006


Well, just to be the devil's devil's advocate here, but maybe it only works in small ways.

If it can run a car (200 horsepower = 150kW) then one of them could replace the electrical feed of a couple buildings, even allowing for generator inefficiencies. (Averaged over a 24 hour period my apartment uses about 500 W in the summer.)

You'd need to parallel a lot of them for industrial applications where you may be using serveral MW, or just retool the grid more towards distributed generation and use the surplus from the ones that are powering apartment buildings, but there's no big barrier to that, either.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:54 PM on August 19, 2006


I love how people (here, even) talk about Conservation of Energy as a "human made law". As though those who believe in it are just fools bound by orthodoxy, and violating it is on par with crossing the street against the light - a matter of being FREE man, being an individual.

Yes, science can be just as dogmatic as anything else, and yes, there are plenty of cases where it's wrong. But the Conservation of Energy seems like more than that. To me it seems like a fundamental quality of reality that you can't get something for nothing - there's always friction, there's always loss to entropy, there's always a cost. Independant of anyone's views on physics, to claim greater than 100% energy return in any sense of the word betrays either a weak mind, duplicitous intent, or a viral marketing campaign.
posted by freebird at 4:08 PM on August 19, 2006


publicity stunt.
posted by signal at 4:23 PM on August 19, 2006


Why the hell don't they just make a power plant, and start selling energy cheaper than the other guys, then explain how they did it once they're billionaires?
It's probably just some student marketing project.
posted by wumpus at 4:24 PM on August 19, 2006


A189Nut: "...some sort of hoax for a TV show..."

You think this might have something to do with TLE? Cuz I could use an extra fragment that no one else has yet found.


That's exactly what I was thinking. This looks like some Hanso stunt or something.
posted by bob sarabia at 4:52 PM on August 19, 2006


Bah, if I had a free-energy device I wouldn't bother with a lame-o Dyson sphere. I'd be heading straight for the stars, spindizzy style!
posted by hattifattener at 4:58 PM on August 19, 2006


The domain was registered in 2004, and has the same address as they list: Docklands Innovation Park in Ireland...

Interesting.
posted by disillusioned at 5:22 PM on August 19, 2006


Again?!?!?! What is this, like the eight or nineth time this has been posted?
posted by nlindstrom at 6:17 PM on August 19, 2006


So, this perpetual motion machine, it vibrates?
posted by moonbiter at 6:31 PM on August 19, 2006


YOU ARE BEING SOLD TO.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:38 PM on August 19, 2006


Seriously, is it just me or does anyone else want to kidnap the people who make these free energy/perpetual motion claims, throw them into a locked laboratory, put a loaded gun to their temple, and say "Demonstrate it now or I blow your fucking head off."

I guess it's just me.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:42 PM on August 19, 2006


It has been duly reported to crank.net for cataloguing and safe-keeping for posterity.
posted by spazzm at 6:50 PM on August 19, 2006


Perhaps they are laying the groundwork for another Asimov movie. A similar website was launched to promote I, Robot, anyway.

If that is the case, would be nice if they didn't fuck it up the way that Robot was mangled.

Of course if it is real - hot damn, that stock will go FAST.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:03 PM on August 19, 2006


it's a computer that hooks up to the net and transfers all the energy of millions of monk^H^H^H^H humans as they type up their valuable and endless opinions on things ... all those fingers going type type type ... not only will we get a rocket to mars, a dyson sphere and hummers the size of a city block but we'll also get the complete works of shakespeare
posted by pyramid termite at 7:04 PM on August 19, 2006


Steorn is making three claims for its technology:

1. The technology has a coefficient of performance greater than 100%.
2. The operation of the technology (i.e. the creation of energy) is not derived from the degradation of its component parts.
3. There is no identifiable environmental source of the energy (as might be witnessed by a cooling of ambient air temperature).


There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and claims of breaking 100% efficiency. This isn't even worth reading... anyone who claims to break 100% efficiency is lying or crazy. No further investigation is necessary.

These guys are scam artists and should be arrested.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:46 PM on August 19, 2006


Who wants to bet that this company pops up in season 3 of LOST?
posted by c:\awesome at 7:51 PM on August 19, 2006


I already insinuated that several replies ago, c:\awesome.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:53 PM on August 19, 2006


Art project. Like the Yes Men.
posted by stbalbach at 7:56 PM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I would have to cite this as the final word on the subject of perpetual notion, and then move on to more youtube links of kittens falling asleep.

Although y'know, if you tie buttered bread to the back of a cat? Perpetual motion engine!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:58 PM on August 19, 2006


Well, just to be the devil's devil's advocate here, but maybe it only works in small ways. Plus there are some pretty major hurdles other than energy for colonizing Mars and building a Dyson sphere.

Ok, you're really failing to grasp the consequences of someone actually developing an "over-unity" device. If it were possible, it doesn't matter how small over 100% it goes, because you can chain them, and have enormous amounts of power at your disposal. Power enough to vaporize oceans, is the level of power we're talking about here. This is one of those things where if you really really think about the consequences of it being invented, you can easily understand why anyone who did invent it wouldn't need funding.
posted by odinsdream at 8:02 PM on August 19, 2006


Yeah, it seems like a no-brainer to market -- if it's big, make it a power station. If it's small, put it in a car. If it's tiny stick in into a phone or laptop.
posted by clevershark at 8:22 PM on August 19, 2006


It's a trap!
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 9:51 PM on August 19, 2006


What I find odd is that they have maintained a decidedly non-perpetual motion related web presence since 2001, with some of the same names showing up. Strange...
posted by greatgefilte at 9:55 PM on August 19, 2006


Is this Patent Application theirs?
posted by Dub at 11:00 PM on August 19, 2006


I wonder how much money a list of 6,000 world-class suckers is worth...
posted by muppetboy at 11:54 PM on August 19, 2006


I'm with greatgefilte. Why is a 20-man company with a developing reputation for non-crazy work suddenly staking everything on a claim that every legitimate scientist on earth is likely to refute?

I don't really believe they've done what they claim, and I can't say I'm a hoax expert either, but why would they do this? Is there really an investor out there who would give them money without an independant scientific analysis (which would surely be discouraging)? Are they hoping their Noble Prize cheques will come before they're found out? Are they hoping that an association with a gigantic and improbable fraud will look good on their resumes?

And say what you will about liars and con-men, but the two Steorn reps in the linked video seem very sincere. Enough to make me wonder if they haven't fooled themselves somehow.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:51 AM on August 20, 2006


Pastabagel:
Seriously, is it just me or does anyone else want to kidnap the people who make these free energy/perpetual motion claims, throw them into a locked laboratory, put a loaded gun to their temple, and say "Demonstrate it now or I blow your fucking head off."

I guess it's just me.


It's not just you
posted by Sandor Clegane at 1:28 AM on August 20, 2006



So, this perpetual motion machine, it vibrates?


Oh absolutely. You see, what they've done is harness the energy of the Vibrating Square just one level above Moloch's Sanctum. Limitless power there.
posted by IronLizard at 2:26 AM on August 20, 2006


*sigh* if its a magnetic motor, they sorrta work. Well, until the field strength of the magnets drop.

http://www.perendev-power.com/

Now, with unlimited power it needs somewere to store it. How about a blacklight power battery?

http://www.evworld.com/archives/interviews2/mallove1.html
posted by rough ashlar at 4:41 AM on August 20, 2006


Perhaps they are laying the groundwork for another Asimov movie.

Holy crap, I think you're right caution live frogs. It's got the markings: Aliens (always popular in times of uncertainty and strife), intellectual alibi, and the last film based on the same author was a success.

Maybe submitting it to crank.net was premature.
posted by spazzm at 5:22 AM on August 20, 2006


Ether this is an xbox marketing campaign, or the company is misguided enough to assume that someone will be fooled enough by the campaign to eventually just buy the company out now and ask questions later.

Buy 1 company get 9731 email address free!
posted by takeyourmedicine at 5:27 AM on August 20, 2006


So, this perpetual motion machine, it vibrates?
posted by moonbiter at 8:31 PM CST on August 19


Batteries not included.
posted by ninjew at 7:20 AM on August 20, 2006


chudmonkey wrote...
I'm with greatgefilte. Why is a 20-man company with a developing reputation for non-crazy work suddenly staking everything on a claim that every legitimate scientist on earth is likely to refute?

Well, they're not really staking everything, now are they?

Two weeks from now they can put out a press release saying: "It's easy to make bold claims -- and hard to prove them. This is why you need to hire a technology consulting firm like us to evaluate new products for you."

It's easy as pie for them to cast the whole thing as a PR stunt, and in the meantime their company name is on the lips of every technical professional in the world.
posted by tkolar at 10:10 AM on August 20, 2006


I hereby issue this challenge to the MeFi community: if anyone can prove that the novel I am currently writing is not The Great American Novel, in fact, the Greatest, I will personally give them the equivalent of $1000 in the currency of their choice.

Please do not email me for samples, as I am much too busy writing to respond.

However, if you believe my claim, as well you should, because I would not make such an outrageous claim if it were not true, I would suggest you will send $100 to help me finish this masterpiece, which would happen a lot sooner if I could quit my day job. Thank you.
posted by kozad at 1:45 PM on August 20, 2006


Seriously, is it just me or does anyone else want to kidnap the people who make these free energy/perpetual motion claims, throw them into a locked laboratory, put a loaded gun to their temple, and say "Demonstrate it now or I blow your fucking head off."

If we can include the religious, you can use my secret lab.
posted by Sparx at 2:44 PM on August 20, 2006


This is hilarious. I need to invent a "technology", too.

I wouldn't be surprised if they genuinely think they've got something. They probably hooked up some magnets and went "oh wow!" not realizing that they weren't anywhere near 100% efficiency, and convinced themselves that they've found the answer to everything.

It's quite possible that they just haven't realized what >100% efficiency actually means.
posted by blacklite at 4:24 PM on August 20, 2006


I think I hinted at it in the last post this came up in, but this really screws up so much more than the non-conservation of energy (or at least more than you might initially think). Here's for starters:

1) By Noether's Theorem it means the laws of physics don't stay constant with time
2) Since as far as I recall Maxwell's Equations give you a conservative field and that thing they say about magnets basically says they think electromagnetism is nonconservative, that means Maxwell is nowhere near right
3) If Maxwell was wrong that makes you suspicious of the whole speed of light being constant thing, and that makes you start to think Einstein was wrong

and basically the whole shebang starts falling apart. The shebang being a pretty well tested shebang that has stood up to much playing with magnets, much fun with particle accelerators and much other stuff. It's really a principle that's at the root of so much more than maintaining the profits of oil companies.
posted by edd at 4:43 PM on August 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


Which is why it's called a law of physics rather than just a theory. It's a principle that applies to, well, just about every phenomenon which has been studied to date. To be fair, most claims to a "perpetual motion device" get around this by claiming that there is energy waiting to be tapped somewhere out there. But if so, it is quite likely that this energy would "leak" out through non-man-made processes which would have been discovered.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:57 PM on August 20, 2006


I, for one, welcome our new Steorn Infinite Energy overlords...
posted by owhydididoit at 7:05 PM on August 20, 2006


This... looks like it's the beginning of a Viral Marketing campaign for Halo 3 guys. An "I Love Bees" 2, if you will.

Linkie to a gaming site discussing this.
posted by Talanvor at 7:43 PM on August 20, 2006


They are shockingly photogenic for a bunch of supposed inventors...usually one of them should have stringy greasy hair, right?
posted by Deathalicious at 9:01 PM on August 20, 2006


KirkJobSluder wrote...
Which is why it's called a law of physics rather than just a theory.

Just to be clear, the reason that it's called a "Law" is that philosophers and scientists in the Age of Reason were intent on providing a reason-based world view that could completely compete with the religious view.

Many bold statements about the intrinsic nature of the universe were made, and often they were presented as unbreakable universal "Laws". Some survived the test of time, and those are still around with their original names.

As religion and science have come to coexist rather than compete, and most particularly as it has become clear that every answer in science yields ten more questions, scientists have become much less enthusiastic about using the "Law" appellation. It implies a certainty that is hard to come by in modern physics, and "Theory" (ala "of Relativity") works just as well for everyday use.
posted by tkolar at 10:01 PM on August 20, 2006


did anyone else notice how the two dudes in the video keep getting a greenish tinge that slowly becomes more pronounced, and then goes away?
posted by owhydididoit at 10:19 PM on August 20, 2006


Anyone remember this?. Any connection? I mean if it is viral marketing, the sheer balls of their interview in The Guardian today is freaking me out...
posted by klaatu at 8:02 AM on August 25, 2006


When klaatu mentions the Guardian I assume he means this article.
posted by edd at 8:27 AM on August 25, 2006


« Older In a small town in Central Serbia called Guca, the...  |  Unicorns,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments