Weird Science & Bad Photoshopping
January 15, 2004 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Top 10 impossible inventions that allegedly work. Includes such conspiracy-nut favorites as a system for sending power wirelessly, an anti-gravity device, the cloudbuster and an electronic telepathy device. [Snagged from Disinformation.]
posted by boost ventilator (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
7. ORGONE ACCUMULATOR ... Wilhelm Reich, M.D.

He lived the last part of his free life in the Rangeley region of Western Maine. In the 80's (maybe still) his house was a museum and you could be led around his lab by prim young women who talked about orgasms. Then you saw something that looked like a cable bundle on a big tripod that allegedly could make rain. I was about 10 when I went there. It made a big impression on me.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:55 AM on January 15, 2004

You know, wireless power just doesn't sound like a good idea. I kind of like my electricity trapped inside heavily-insulated cables.
posted by goto11 at 7:59 AM on January 15, 2004

I love how everything was shut down by 'bankers' or 'medical unions' or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 8:03 AM on January 15, 2004

Orgonon! I love that place. One of the most interesting parts of the Orgone energy saga is the relationship between Wilhelm Reich and the FDA. As The Skeptic's Dictionary notes having the US Government burn a man's papers and books is a sure-fire way to ignite interest in him.
posted by anastasiav at 8:07 AM on January 15, 2004

Wireless power can indeed work. However, they cause so much RF interference you say goodbye to radio, wifi, broadcast tv cell phones, GPS. basically spreading white noise on the whole EM spectrum.
posted by MrLint at 8:19 AM on January 15, 2004

Wilhelm Reich, of course, is the subject of an excellent Kate Bush song.
posted by dnash at 9:00 AM on January 15, 2004

Telsa did set up a wireless power transmissin system. Basically, it was a huge RF generator that pumped out power across a wide spectrum. It turned on every light bulb in range.

The problem is, people using it discovered that they couldn't turn OFF the light bulbs.
posted by dragonmage at 9:04 AM on January 15, 2004

No time machine?
posted by normy at 9:26 AM on January 15, 2004

I knew a guy that tried a homemade orgone accumulator out of an old refregerator and a bunch of rotting vegetable matter. I don't know what laying in a compost lined boxed accomplished for him, beyond compelling him to speak on facism and its relationship to the orgasm on a more regular basis than most.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 9:31 AM on January 15, 2004

The most 'proveable' claim in the whole mess:

U.S. Patent 4,394,230, Method and Apparatus for Splitting Water Molecules, and The Pacheco Bi-Polar Autoelectric Hydrogen Generator (U.S. Patent No. 5,089,107).

A patent is to explain how to do the task. If the idea 'works' then the patents mean one could break apart water with less energy input. You can either build one that works, or you can't.

Now, if #8 is correct "but it may need a more advanced understanding of what nuclear power plant emissions do to the atmosphere. " A correctly running nuke plant sould have 0 rad of radiation to the atmosphere, while a correctly running *COAL* plant will release radiation into the atmsophere.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:07 AM on January 15, 2004

Very interesting and cool stuff. I hope that much of it comes to fruition as the world is in need of some aid right now.

Wireless power is a slightly frightening concept.

Telepathy machines with the ability to teach subliminally are both cool and scary. Cool if you could skip much of high school and just have it implanted and scary if the military decided to use it to program killer ninja soldiers.
posted by fenriq at 11:11 AM on January 15, 2004

The mind boggles. Pauli sums it up well.
posted by joaquim at 11:12 AM on January 15, 2004

Cloudbusting, otherwise known as etheric weather engineering, invokes principles that are hard for the conventionally trained mind to accept.

I would love to see James Randi's take on this list.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:37 AM on January 15, 2004

RakDaddy: I suspect that he would spontaneously combust upon reading it (and then be eligible for his million dollar prize...)

I know of at least one proven way of transmitting power wirelessly - through microwaves. There are a whole bunch of plans of varying feasibility that call for solar power stations in orbit or on the Moon to beam microwaves back to Earth.
posted by adrianhon at 2:47 PM on January 15, 2004

I know of at least one proven way of transmitting power wirelessly - through microwaves.

You know, everything I need to know about life, I can learn from SimCity.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:07 PM on January 15, 2004

I cannot believe they left the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer off the list.
posted by daHIFI at 4:10 PM on January 15, 2004

...and BK's Bunless Whopper.

I found the list of devices that would accelerate your child's inner and outer nerdiness interesting as well.
posted by boost ventilator at 5:51 AM on January 16, 2004

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