~e; zero-point: to hoax or not to hoax

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Thu, 24 Jan 2002 10:14:07 -0600

  [i am vaguely familiar with zero-point energy, absolute novice on the idea,
  other than a rumbling suspician that i cannot let go of that 
Einstein's Michelson-
  Morly experiments were insufficient to debunk the theory of the aether, which
  i associate, maybe wrongly, with zero-point energy. in any case, here is an-
  other story, told well enough, then decon'd via slashdotted 
analyses, hoaxwise]

Irish inventor claims of 'free energy' a hoax?

January 24, 2002 Posted: 9:48 AM EST (1448 GMT)

DUBLIN, Ireland (Reuters) -- It has been a pipe-dream of inventors 
since Leonardo da Vinci, but has the secret of free energy now been 
found in Ireland, or is this just another misguided attempt to build 
a perpetual motion machine?

A cold stone house on a wind-swept Irish hillside may seem an 
unlikely setting for the birthplace of such an epoch-making 
discovery, but it is here that an Irish inventor says he has 
developed a machine that will do no less than change the world.

The 58-year-old electrical engineer, who lives in the Irish republic 
and intends -- for "security and publicity-avoidance reasons" -- to 
keep his identity a secret, has spent 23 years perfecting the Jasker 
Power System.

It is an electromechanical device he says is capable of nothing less 
than replenishing its own energy source.

The Irishman is not alone in making such assertions. The Internet is 
awash with speculation about free or "zero point" energy, with many 
claiming to have cracked the problem using magnets, coils, and even 

"These claims come along every 10 years or so and nothing ever comes 
of them. They're all cases of 'voodoo science'," said Robert Park, 
professor of physics at the University of Maryland.

The makers of the Jasker -- a name derived from family abbreviations 
-- say it can be built to scale using off-the-shelf components and 
can power anything that requires a motor.

"The Jasker produces emission-free energy at no cost apart from the 
installation. It is quite possibly the most significant invention 
since the wheel," Tom Hedrick, the only person involved with the 
machine willing to give his name, told Reuters.

Hedrick, chief executive of a company set up with a view to licensing 
the device in the United States, said the technology shattered 
preconceived laws of science.

"It's a giant leap forward. The uses of this are almost beyond imagination."

Red hot with controversy

Not surprisingly, this topic is red hot with controversy -- sharply 
dividing a world scientific community still on its guard after the 
"Cold Fusion" fiasco of 1989 when a group of Utah researchers 
scandalized the scientific world with claims -- quickly found to be 
unsupported -- that the long-sought answer to the problem of Cold 
Fusion had been discovered.

Experts contacted by Reuters were wary, citing the first law of 
thermodynamics which, in layman's terms, states that you can't get 
more energy out than you put in.

"I don't believe this. It goes against fundamentals which have not 
yet been disproved," said William Beattie, senior lecturer in 
electrical engineering at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern 

"These people (Jasker) are either Nobel prize-winners or they don't 
know what they're dealing with. The energy has to come from 

Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run 
indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out, adding that he 
has supplied all his own domestic power needs free for 17 months.

But he is keen to head off the notion that he has tapped into the 
age-old myth of perpetual motion. "Perpetual motion is impossible. 
This is a self-sustaining unit which at the same time provides 
surplus electrical energy," he said.

Size of a dishwasher

In a demonstration for Reuters, a prototype -- roughly the size of a 
dishwasher -- was run for around 10 minutes using four 12-volt car 
batteries as an initial power source.

Emitting a steady motorized hum, the machine powered three 100-watt 
light bulbs for the duration.

A multimeter reading of the batteries' voltage before the device 
started up showed a total of 48.9 volts. When it was switched off, a 
second reading showed 51.2 volts, indicating that, somehow, they had 
been reimbursed.

The machine went on to run for around two hours while photographs 
were taken, with no diminution in the brightness of the light bulbs, 
which remained lit during a short power cut.

"The draw on the batteries was estimated at more than 4.5 kilowatts. 
With any existing technology the batteries would have been drained 
flat in one and a half minutes," the inventor said.

Modern theories of zero point energy have their roots in quantum 
physics and encompass the fraught areas of "anti-gravity machines" 
and "advanced propulsion" research.

Contributors to the debate range from serious exponents of quantum 
science to those who insist free energy secrets have been imparted to 
them by aliens. Still others seem convinced the U.S. government is 
conspiring to suppress such discoveries.

Nick Cook, aerospace consultant to Janes Defense Weekly and author of 
"The Hunt for Zero Point" is not as quick as some to dismiss the 

"Zero point energy has been proven to exist," he told Reuters. "The 
question is whether it can be tapped to provide usable energy. And to 
that end, I think it's possible, yes. There are a lot of eminent 
scientists now involved in this field and they wouldn't be if there 
wasn't anything to it."

"In my experience opinion in this field is extremely polarized ... 
people either go with this area of investigation in their minds or 
they don't, and if they don't they tend to pooh-pooh it vehemently. 
It's very difficult to get an objective assessment," he said.

"Basically, no one wants to be the first to stick his head above the parapet."

Impervious to skepticism, Jasker's makers see the first practical 
application of their technology as a stand-alone generator for home 
use, although the automotive industry could also be a near-term 
target given the huge investment in developing substitutes for 
gasoline-fueled engines. With world oil reserves running down, there 
is mounting urgency in the quest for alternatives.

Is this story a hoax?

Since publication of this story, CNN and other media have been 
criticized for falling for a clear hoax. According to popular 
technical web site slashdot.org the story is full of holes.

"Three 100 Watt light bulbs created a drain of 4500 Watts", - it 
should be 300 Watts. The inventor comments that perpetual motion is 
impossible, but then says what he's created is a "self-sustaining 
unit" that generates surplus energy, surely just another name for the 
same thing?

Slashdot points out that this inventor's claim contravenes the second 
law of thermodynamics which states that in a closed system, any real 
physical process ends with less useful energy than it started with, 
some is always wasted.

In other words, a perpetual motion machine is impossible.

Copyright 2002 Reuters.	All rights reserved. This material may not be 
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  (fair-used, EM edu, ~e.org 2002)

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