Why prove you have a perpetual motion machine?

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Steorn's full-page ad in the Economist inviting scientists to test their perpetual motion machine has unsurprisingly created a lot of buzz (that was the point, right?) Of course, the probability that their device actually does what they say it does is vanishingly small, especially since they provide no hint as to what the new physics that might enable it to work is might be. (See their uninformative video here). Apparently a bunch of anti-counterfeiting guys just happened to blindly stumble on whatever the underlying principle is.

Anyway, if you really have a perpetual motion machine that puts out any appreciable amount of power, why bother to set up some long complicated testing process. Just set yourself up as a power company and sell power onto the electrical grid. Since the fact that you're emitting power (however generated) is easily verifiable, nobody has to believe your technology works, though presumably they will when your audited financial statements pass a billion or so.

Now, that said, it could be the case that your technology only generates a very small amount of excess power, but then doesn't it seem more likely your problem is measurement error rather than new physics?


Of course, they're talking about "microgenerators" somewhere, so I'm pretty sure what they have doesn't generate megawatts. Presumably, taking their new energy source from microwatt to megawatt is a long and expensive process, so they'll need to convince people that their idea is real to raise the needed capital.

Hell, even though I don't believe it, it would put a lot of fun back into physics if this worked out. It'd be like 1905 all over again :)

Hey, I've got an idea--maybe they can solicit investments from some of those relatives of deposed African leaders who are looking for a safe haven abroad for their savings....

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