Friday, May 20, 2011

This is why we can't have nice things.

There was the story recently about the guy who took pictures of Michael Jackson back when he was 19 and was now trying to sell the heretofore-unpublished photos in order to supposedly raise money for his magic perpetual motion machine, an electric motor that "...generat[es] more energy recharging the battery than it actually draws from the battery":
"It's written in the stars," Garcia said. "We have a destiny of a greener earth, a door opening today that should lead us to this clean earth."
Either the guy is serious, which is a little poignant, or he's just another snake oil salesman, which is more likely because, seriously, if you've got an electric motor that puts out more juice than it takes in, you don't need to sell anything to raise the money to develop it; you just walk that little bad boy through the front door at GE and you'll be farting through silk, brother; you'll never need to work another day in your life.

But what really got to me was that I made the mistake of reading the comments at the CNN piece. Aside from the fact that, like most comments on the wider internet, half of them read like they were typed by functionally illiterate morons, utterly innocent of the most basic concepts of spelling and grammar and using their noses to strike the keys, the naivety was simply breathtaking:
"The government as well as big oil, the automotive and defense industries, and the big brokerage houses will do everything they possibly can to ensure this invention never sees the light of day, as far as being adapted."
"If his motor works, it would NOT be a perpetual motion machine. He would be using a force of nature that is there, and very real. Solar panels are NOT perpetual motion machines, they are "free energy" machines. Learn the difference before you start flapping your jaw. People used to think the world was flat, and it is thinking like yours that will keep us using oil for the rest of our lives."
"i am sure 100 years ago! people said flying airplanes in the air violated the laws of physics and gravity! As long as the saying " Laws are made to be broken" holds, i say anything is a possibility. Goodluck to you Mr. Garcia, and i hope you take down our oil dependence with your invention."
"Oh no, this could threaten the oil company and thier billions of profits if it worked(if?). This person will probably die of unknown causes shortly."
...and countless more in that vein. I tell you, there's nothing that will break my spirit and crush what little faith I have in humanity quicker than an open comments section that encourages readers of CNN's "entertainment" section to parade their knowledge of science. I'm going to go to sleep tonight and have nightmares about these cretins all lined up outside a voting booth...


Drang said...

I refuse to believe that the refuse that posts on CNN can break your spirit.
Make you grumpy, and maybe even depressed, sure, but... breaking your spirit? No way.

WV: hyperjar. Mr. Klein, I presume?

Lanius said...

The Rossi-Focardi device looks more promising IMO... because, there apparently is something to many LENRs.. but no one knows what.

Still, I wouldn't get my hopes up. They claim to be preparing to ship first devices in 10/2011. Yeah sure..

Seems too good to be true... getting energy by making nickel nuclei capture protons.

Also, there you have a good proof that most people really are stupid. I mean.. it's obvious, but if you tell them, they always take affront.

Me, stupid? That's unpossible. Stupid and unaware of it.. that sums up human existence. True, there is the occassional, humble nice, but not very bright person.. but there are rare.

BTW, learn Hebrew and check up Israeli news comments. Supposedly, the Ashkenazi Juice have an average IQ of 115.. which perhaps might reflect in the quality of their web comments.

DaveFla said...

Will his motor work in concert with my fuel-line magnets, Tornado intake-path-turbulence device, and most especially my 85 MPG carburetor?

wv: zinstr. Yeah, most conspiracies are, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Heh,farting through silk! Good one to get the day started with a little giggle. Thanks.


Marko said...

"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" --Isaac Asimov

Blackwing1 said...

I've actually got an idea for a perpetual money machine...

Of course, it depends on the government subsidy for wind-power generation.

Just take a really big fan, put it into a duct in front of a big windmill. Use the fan to turn the windmill, generating electricity. Yes, the fan will be using electricity, but you can make a profit by utilizing the direct 1.5-cents per kW-Hr subsidy that wind-generated electricity gets. All you have to do is make sure that your fan/windmill combination has a higher combined efficiency than the difference in price between your wholesale electriciy cost for fan power, and the price you get paid for the subsidized "green" power.

The more electricity you use in your fan, the more you produce in "green" power. Why, we could save the world with this concept! (Ignore that man in the corner asking where the juice to power the fan comes from.)

The scary thing is that now that I've written it down, somebody might actually do it.

Tam said...

You'd be converting dirty, polluting coal power into clean wind power, thereby reducing everybody's carbon footprint!

Dave said...

See, this is why I don't bother reading MSM comment threads. For some reason, they're always a pit of stupidity, second only to Youtube comment threads. Hope you didn't spend too long reading that, it may have leached a few IQ points away...

westofthewest said...

"I tell you, there's nothing that will break my spirit and crush what little faith I have in humanity quicker than..."

At such times, I console myself with this

Anonymous said...

westofthewest: Thank you for making my day.


og said...

And people say I'm nuts when i claim that the human race may not be worth saving.

WV: Housni. Housni Mubarak needs a new job.

Bubblehead Les. said...

It's not the fact that they get to Vote that scares me, it's the fact that many of them get into Political Office!

Lumps937 said...

"I'm going to go to sleep tonight and have nightmares about these cretins all lined up outside a voting booth..."

Did you dream of 2008?

Lanius said...


May not be worth saving, but I think if the top 30% IQ wise decided to snuff the other 70%, we would come out better off. Maybe a lot of people would have really bad consciences and remorse.. but conscience is a chemical.

In a decade, I bet DARPA will be chemically neutralizing conscience and other liability-producing traits in soldiers in order to improve combat performance.

It's fucking depressing, I'm telling you. I know I'm not half as bright as I'd like to be, but these damned psychologists keep saying something about the 98th percentile..

I hate them.

og said...

"but I think if the top 30% IQ wise decided to snuff the other 70%"

Trust me on this: IQ is not an innoculation against stupidity.

westofthewest said...

"I think if the top 30% IQ wise decided to snuff the other 70%, we would come out better off."

This reminds me of an old joke.

Ole and Lena have been unhappily married for 30 years and she just can't take it anymore. Their Lutheran church frowned on divorce so she settled on suicide as the only option.

She tells Ole (in a heavy Norwegian accent of course). "It's just not working Ole and divorce is out of the question so one of us must commit suicide...and then I'll go live with my sister."

Robert said...

"I'm going to go to sleep tonight and have nightmares about these cretins all lined up outside a voting booth..."

Now wait a minute. Is that voting booth up against a wall?

Joel said...

Lady gets around - she said pretty much the same thing to me. 'Cept she went by a different name then...

Weer'd Beard said...

My Mother-in-law was once telling me a tale of a gentleman in Vermont who had built a 75mpg Carburetor (for an '81 F-150 of all things!) and attempted to sell it to Detroit, only to have his life befall constant tragedy.

Given that I took a few physics courses in my day I dropped the BS flag.

Mom-in-law told me to ask Dad-in-law who was his legal representation at the time.

Dad-in-Law? "Oh him? Yeah he was a conman bilking investors!"

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

I'm kinda curious how somebody can build a perpetual motion machine given they they obviously flunked out of HS Physics.

Probably the same way somebody who flunked Economics 101 thinks they can fix the economy.....

Lanius said...


You know.. I have done far less stupid shit than others my age.
I suppose I have to thank my schizoid tendencies for that.
(in short, I'm not a herd animal, but more of an associate. I won't stay in a group that does stupid things, and am completely impervious to most testosterone induced stupidity)

I've never crashed a car, gotten drunk, had anything stolen, lost something important, or dunno..anything else. No ND's so far. I can't even dry-fire my pistol if I have only left the room for half an hour, I have to check the chamber.

Sure.. I've had stupid ideas, but I'm pretty aware of my own limits, and like getting advice. I'm not one of these people who think they are smarter than everyone and have it all figured out. Even If I am smarter than most people, I'm not ominiscent, nor an obsessive knowledge hoarder, so there is a lot of stuff I know bupkis about. Such as how to put together a decently accurate AR-15 rifle in .308.. etc etc. (can a 2 MOA rifle be obtained for under $2000?)

If I want a powerful, accurate semiauto rifle, would it be better to get an SVT-40? Or are these too inaccurate, or very hard to accurize?

I like that gun.. it's not a Mosin, but Finns and Germans liked it more than Soviets..

In fact, I love getting advice, because the more information you can chew on, the better solution you can come up with.

According to the WAIS-R scale my intelligence is 'Superior', and would likely probably 'Very superior' if tested on a good day. I'm not an atomic physicist, but I'll probably be a pretty good engineer one day.

But I was forced to attend ordinary school, where I spent most of my time breezing through tests, reading books in class or drawing shit... generally staving off boredom. So I never learned how to sit down and study.. and school = boredom was firmly imprinted into my mind back when I was even more impressionable. I think I'd have hated US schools.. they have a reputation for handing out lots of dull homework. I'd likely have gone insane.. I'm told I wouldn't react well to stimulants, and it's a fair bet I'd end up on Adderall or something like that (completely illegal to prescribe here.. go figure)

I am only figuring now to sit down and study. I've even tried the private sector.. but.. commercial IT's not my thing. Better to work in gun design, so I'm back in school. (and finally having fun )


You know.. the least canny people also overestimate themselves the most. That was proven in a scientific study too.

So... never trust someone who is just so cocksure he's right..

DirtCrashr said...

Whenever I hear people talking about a "greener earth" I think of a planet covered in algae...

Weer'd Beard said...

DirtCrashr, it could work:

: ]

Kristopher said...

Heh. His motor sorta works ... it generates negligible amounts of power by deliberately degrading the permanent magnets in it.

Fixing the motor after he has slowly broken it will require more power than was generated, however.

Matt said...

Yeah, this is pretty much why I refuse to read comment sections on any of the MSM news sites. I'm worried that the drivel posted by the mouth-breathers will cause my brain to strangle my optic nerves to prevent any IQ loss. Physically impossible I know, but if they can believe irregardless is a word I can believe that.

Paul said...

This sound like the chinese guy that figured out how to make a motor run of nothing. It needed to be in an environment with a high group of wireless transmitters, but it did work on "nothing"

When I hear the greenies talking a sustainable world I think of dirt and ovens. You need both to get there.

John B said...

Tam, I think you need to perfect your performance of "The Battle Hymm of the Decay of The Republic"

We'll look for it on YouTube!

Steve Skubinna said...

Every now and then I run into a "200 mpg carburetor" guy. My response is always 1) you could not possibly keep that suppressed, however much you paid the guy who developed it, and 2) if there were such a design, the car companies would have ninjas stalking through that warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and they would eventually get it, and 3) if one car company used it, within a year every car company would be using it.

Is anyone stupid enough to think that if Ford could market an SUV that got 200 mpg they wouldn't?

That thinking's right out of that Keanu Reeves movie where he invents a free energy source (whoa!) and Morgan Freeman blows it up because, ummm, because our society is, like dependent on expensive polluting energy sources, maaaaaan! Seriously, man, you can look it up on the internet!

Lanius said...


Funny.. there are 'decent' cars that get something like.. 235 mpg.

Decent.. as would be nice to drive in place where no one crashes. I just hope the car's big enough for the average Dutch male.

Some are supposed to be produced by 2013

Matt G said...

Tam, we've talked about this.

Never, EVER, EVER read the free comments section following any news, or YouTube vidjo, or... anything. You and I first met on that very battlefield, keeping those hoardes back behind the gate. But eventually, there are too many of them.

Tam said...


You are missing the social context of "200mpg carburettor", since it is a reference to a specific urban legend or trope that is older than you are (and practically as old as me) and they haven't put carburettors on automobiles hardly at all in your lifetime anyway. (The idea that some crackpot inventor has designed a simple replacement carburettor that will let an ordinary '73 Chevy Malibu get 200mpg, but the oil companies/car companies/government bought the design from him and are suppressing it...)

There's nothing magic about VW's little fuel-sipper; any car company could do it. They wouldn't be a roaring sales success here in the US, though, just like the pig-slow Honda Insight and the Smart. You'd sell a few in urban areas to hipsters and city dwellers, but too large a percentage of the populace lives in the 'burbs and commutes on superhighways to work. I wouldn't like to dodge Kenworths and Ford Excursions in a sub-1000-lb car that takes almost a full quarter of a minute to get up to freeway speed even if you're flooring the gas pedal.

(And personally, pig-slow econoboxes don't interest me in the slightest. Anybody who'd throw their hands in the air and yell "Wheeeeee! Look at the MPG I'm gettin'! Whoo-hoo!" is just frickin' incomprehensible to me.)

Lanius said...

@Tam.. I knew the context, I just chose to offer an example of a car that does that.

People who claim to have invented such carburetors are also common here. Other popular stuff is bragging that you can water down gasoline, and how great mpg that can give you..etc.

What about 80 mpg speeders?

The 1 liter car is supposedly pretty sturdily built and would withstand crash tests. There's a newer 2009 model ... it's accel rate is 0-100 kph in 14s. Not a sports car, but respectable for a low power car. A 100 mph capable version with 170 mpg is planned for production..

You could install a bigger TDI engine in it, get mileage down to 110 and it'd accelerate very welll.. top speed would likely get above 200 kph.

We once drove a Daewoo Tico(mother's car, father likes bigger vehicles). It had.. ~800 cc engine, but weighed about 400 kilos(less than certain Americans, I imagine), and it was great fun to ride.. like a go cart. It's acceleration time to 40-50 kph was pretty short, especially from 0.

Now my mum drives your basic 100 kw pocket car that gets ~60 mpg. I hope I never get to drive it alone, as I'm always tempted to floor it, especially on empty roads... and unlike her last, this one's top speed is what.. 130 mph?

Tam said...

"I knew the context..."

Apparently you didn't, as there's a fair bit of difference between a purpose-built high-MPG go-kart and a magic part that bolts onto a conventional auto and turns it into the roadgoing equivalent of the Gossamer Albatross, but whatever.

And crash tests don't mean shit. Smarts crash-test decently for survivability, too, but you need to overcome two factors: 1) Human psychology, and 2) The fact that a car that keeps you alive in a minor fender-bender with a giant pickup or SUV but gets totalled in the process just isn't of much interest to a lot of people. A skilfully-piloted motorcycle has the ability to avoid accidents far greater than that of a big sedan, but most people aren't skillful and have shitty risk-calculating abilities.

Further, piss on 14 seconds to 100kph. That's bog-slow. A V-6 Toyota Camry family bus will do that in less than half the time. My 13-yr-old 2.8L BMW roadster gets outdragged at stoplights by current production econoboxes and minivans; if weak-tea limp-wristed foreigners want to drive around in cars that accelerate at paces better measured with calendars than stopwatches, that's y'all's business.

Ken said...

If I'm going to drive something that small, it's bloody well going to be a Caterham Seven, and by hook or by crook it's going to be in the green-and-yellow -- and I'll spring for KAR 120C plates into the bargain.

WV: Canticir -- the only known cure for Leibowitz's Disease.