Having a web presence attracts all kinds of unusual requests and suggestions. Many of them get shredded immediately, but some are so outlandish that they’re worth sharing.
What to make of an email addressed to the sciencebase feedback address and cc’ed to Science, Popular Science, World Science, and Scientific American, that begins:
“You probably heard of the impossible Perpetual Motion Machines. Some of you may even be working on some variations. We have found that scientists and textbooks have ignored the contribution of non-obvious energies such as air or gravity for centuries. Inventions that can directly extract energy from still air, water (floatation), gravity, magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves are possible. If you want to understand the theory and participate, read on.”
If emails could be written in green ink, you just know that this one would come on smudgy graph paper. The email goes on to explain how much work the correspondent and his colleague have carried out:
“We have done a great deal of research into the field of Cosmic Energies and we are convinced that their use will solve the Energy Crisis of the World and bring lasting World Peace. Cosmic Energies include still air, water (floatation), gravity, magnetic, electric fields and others. Such energy sources are non-polluting, abundant and inexpensive.”
It’s not so much the claim to have found a previously unrecognised and “perpetual” energy source, but that the invention will not only solve the energy crisis but also bring lasting world peace [Sorry, those words should have been in bold green with capitals, I think]. Oh, and cause global cooling and so solve the greenhouse effect.
Feel free to check out their website at www.energyfromair.com. It doesn’t work properly with Firefox unfortunately and even in their preferred browser (Internet Explorer) their “equations” don’t display properly. For some reason they illustrate their web slideshow with an old pair of glasses, some medals and a Chinese checker board, really don’t know why.
Regardless, anyone with just a smattering of physics education will be able to shred the underlying concept. Although the scientific paper they provide is, they say, “much too difficult for the non-scientist”. Thankfully, they have provided a “simple, easy-to-understand song for the layman in Chinese”. So, that’s alright, then, we can just read that instead. Apparently, responses to the song have been positive, “but we shall need the melodies”.