Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dream the impossible dream?

Today at 1600 GMT a company called Steron will demonstrate in Dublin, Ireland, a device called Orbo that produces -- so they claim -- more energy than it uses. That is, the energy-out/energy-in ratio is greater than unity.

Spunky little Orbo is proclaimed to be the long-sought perpetual motion machine, the answer to all of humankind's energy needs.

I know about the demo because I have a friend in Ireland who keeps me posted. He's a big fan of free energy, and we have a long-standing bet about Orbo. If Steron's claim turns out to be true, I owe him a beer. Heck, I'll buy him all the beer in the pub.

I know nothing about Orbo except that it works with magnets. Certainly, I could find out a lot more by going on the web, starting, I suppose, with Wikipedia. But I can't be bothered. The bet stands, sight unseen and word unheard.

Does that make me close-minded, as my friend claims?

Well, let's put it this way. The search for perpetual motion machines is as old as machines themselves, so far unsuccessful. The idea violates the laws of physics as we know them. If Orbo is greater than unity it will be the greatest breakthrough in science since science, not what you'd expect to come out of a virtually unknown outfit in Dublin with nothing to show for past success except a website making extravagant claims. All the other bells ring too. This is just not the way science works.

So I think my bet is safe.

Could I be wrong? Of course I could be wrong. Who would have thought, for example, that a 747 could get off the ground, much less fly across the ocean in hours, or that a softball-sized lump of "dirt" could blow up a city?

But some things just don't bear wasting time thinking about. Perpetual motion machines. Antigravity shields. Teleportation. The Fountain of Youth. Better to get on with the joys of living. Like knocking back a cold pint in a pub with my Orbo-fixated friend. And, what the hell, I'll pay for the beers no matter what the outcome of today's demonstration.