Mail bag.We get many emails, and some are gems. Sometimes we can't be certain whether someone is putting us on, as in this letter to Ken Amis, responding to his article Energy Independence: Perpetual Motion is the Way to Go.. We print it here as received, with permission of the sender.
Subject: Entropy Innovations Dear Mr. Ken Amis! You are probably the one and only person in the world, who can understand the seriuos danger of use of free energy and perpetual motion machines. Something terrible is going on, the mistical machine has been alredy build in many examples in the whole world! Let me explain this statement. In the years obout 1900 the state of science was on the level, which must certainly lead to invention of the radio. Many inventors, also Marconi and Tesla did it on the base of Hertz research. Novadays, the stand of alternative science is leading to the invention of "free energy" machines. Even my neighbour invented one! This machine is already in the phase of fine tuning, but it will run, shure, in few days. A friend of my neighbour, contrariwise, have a running machine in the cellar! It is his own invention, a very simple construction with a barrel of water, a rod, some bearings, a piece of styrophoam and two iron balls. The machine is realy working, it turn itself without any external force from the neutral position to 15 degrees clockwise. Obviously the machine is offering a surplus value of power, which can be used for running generators, cars, trains, toys etc. 15 degrees today, 15 tomorrow, in just 24 dais it will run continously, giving a huge portion of free energy. Everyone on the earth can purchase a barrel and some pieces of rusted iron. Free energy will be exploiting in a mass scale. Unfortunately, free energy is really tax free (for how long?), but it is limited with earth resurces as any other source. This means that Earth gravity will become weaker and weaker and will dissapear on the end completely. A scarry scenario, isn't it? Mother Earth without gravity... How will we play golf? Every ball will fly into the infinity! Our fast sport cars will be catapulted from curves, paperweights on our desks will give all of this important high society invitations to the wind... The end of the civilization. We should strike against irresponsible basement inventors! The government should tax "free energy" rigorously! This kind of power should be listed on the stock exchange like any other source. Illegal production should by sanctioned like growing cannabis sativa. I hope on your help in the rightfull battle against basement thinkers. I appologize about bad english. I am so scared because of horrible future so I can't speak my own language, nor others. Erutuf Fo. Reidlos, Ics. Rd. P.S.: The story about my neighbour and his friend is ... regretfully ... truth. My neighbour was a reasonable man. I'm really confused. I don't know what to do. Should I shoot him?Suspecting a put-on, I replied, wondering whether the sender was a friend of mine with a sense of humor. Here's the reply.
Dear Ken Amis! The letter is not the fault of Mr. ____. My name is _____, Slovenija, ex Yugoslavia. I have nothing to do with the scene. The tale is truth. I'am a simple fellow, a workman. You just can't imagine my schock, when a real "perpetual inventor" grow up in my neigbourhood. He is my old friend, a reasonable type of guy... this is a nightmare. The latest news - what sayd the inventor some days ago: "We have some overplus of energy. But the engine is become so complicated, that we can't find, what part of it made this overplus..." For education and fun - I allow you to publish this humorous text or parts of it anywhere in any form without any credit. Don't publish my real name and adress, please! The Free energy lobby is strong and dangerous. Still remember what sayd the old good Slade: "Mama, we're all crazy now!" Unfortunatelly, I know that you can't give me any sugestions in my case. Perpetual motion is a mental sickness, nothing more. With best regards, your _____. P.S.: Do you have some new plans for PPM? I'm really curious. My history teacher in primary school used to say: Limitation of human mind is unlimited. P.S. P.S.: Great pages! My favorite! Thak you!I couldn't make up good stuff like this. Creative talent of this level ought to be credited properly to the author, but this person chooses to remain anonymous.
This email came in mid August, 2009.
It is clear that a magnet has properties that we would like to convert to rotation without an outside energy source. After 30 years of tinkering in my garage, I have found the configuration that would do so. I have found a way to use a magnet's curl without interference from back EMFs. I did this 2 years ago and have done nothing with the results since there are so many obstacles preventing me. The first being that everyone would think I'm a good seed for the Funny Farm. The second being that all the scammers out there have created such a cloud of distrust. The third being that this would destroy the world's oil-based economy, and would take years to recover based on this new energy source. So if I'm not so sure that I could survive in the collapsed economy why even throw it out there. Anyway, just letting someone know once in a while that this kind of energy really does exist makes me feel better whether that person believes me or takes me serious or not.I assumed this was "tongue in cheek" from a reader continuing the joke of my essay. So I responded in kind.
Ray, It is a pleasure to receive an email in the spirit of my essay "Energy Independence: Perpetual Motion is the Way to Go". Very few people have correctly understood my intentions in writing that piece. You do realize that your device (whatever it is) that you say uses the magnet's curl without interference from back EMFs has consequences beyond mere over-unity energy efficiency? It must be violating Newton's third law, and therefore is a reactionless (or at least reduced reaction) engine. You could measure this yourself if you could find a way to determine which force is the action and which is the reaction in an action/reaction force pair. As an inspiration to others, may I use your letter on my web page? I will not include your name or email address unless you insist. That way you need not fear a visit from the guys in the white coats, or the men in black. In the meantime, connect your device to a generator and sever your ties to the electric power grid, then buy an all-electric car, and never visit a gas pump again. --Ken AmisThe reference to action/reaction forces is a physicist's joke, since a pair of forces that are said to be an action/reaction pair are equal size and opposite directions at all times, and therefore there is no distinction between them that would justify different names. Nor can one say that one is more fundamental than the other. You can't even say that one is the cause and the other is the effect. It is a common misuse of language that ought to be purged from textbooks.
A response came quickly.
Was surprised to receive a reply, didn't expect one. Why is it that any device that can be considered perpetual motion is said to violate some law? Maybe it comes from the notion that we are getting something from nothing. But if we removed that notion we would realize that the energy is the magnetic power in a magnet. Does it not hold our notes to the fridge forever? A tree has many types of power and we have learned to extract the power we want, such as heat when we burn it. But unlike a magnet, we no longer have the tree when we burn it. I have discovered how to use only half of the magnet's curl. This does not violate any law when we configure and use the power within something and the power source remains. The power source will always remain when we use a magnet to hold a piece of paper to the fridge. When I talk of configuration, it applies to the way in which we can extract the work needed. Such as if one man needed to lift 5,000 lbs. We can create a series of pulleys. That does not violate any laws for one man to be able to lift 5,000 lbs with his bare hands. Anyway, the very crude prototype I made spun out of control and destroyed itself. However it did prove the concept. You say I should connect this device to a generator. First I must tell you that I am not an engineer or a scientist. I spent most of my life in Law Enforcement, but I do have a very good mechanical aptitude and have always been interested in the power within a magnet. To build a device like this needs precision engineering and a braking system. It is too dangerous in prototype form. This is another reason I have done nothing with it. I don't mind if you use my e-mail but leave out my e-mail address.Well, I may have been mistaken. This fellow may have been serious, or was better at parody of the thinking of pseudoscientific cranks than I was. This short note reflects many of the mistaken conceptions perpetual motion believers display. Reading between the lines, it seems that he built something that destroyed itself, and he's unwilling to risk building another, hence his warning that it ought to have a braking system. But he says that the experience "proved the concept", though apparently he it didn't last long enough for him to do the measurements of performance that might support the concept.
Every month or so we get requests from someone who wants a copy of Ken Amis' forthcoming book "The Theory and Practical Applications of Perpetual Motion". Some have asked at bookstores and done online searches for it, without success. We have to regretfully inform them that production problems have delayed this book. The original publisher backed out of the deal, and then Ken, always the perfectionist, decided to revise and expand it to include new information from his researches. All that, and Ken's busy speaking schedule, make the publication date still uncertain.
We close with a quote from a colleague who also gets lots of emails from perpetual motion machine inventors. "Many of these folks are actually pretty clever and might really accomplish something if they'd just get some education."