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ArKay Questions and Answers


Alen to my readers. I am ArKay. Brother Bob sent a question to me which calls for a serious reply. He wrote:

I've been reading various sources about "free energy", "zero-point energy", and other modern examples of pseudoscience polluting the Internet and email inboxes. I'm well aware that it's all junk science, but would you like to offer a commentary on the topic?

I am pleased to do that. Basically such nonsense involves the attempted defiance of the laws of conservation of energy and the laws of thermodynamics.

The law of conservation of energy states that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant, although energy can be transformed from one form to another. The first law of thermodynamics states that when energy passes, as work, as heat, or with matter, into or out from a system, the system's internal energy changes in accord with the law of conservation of energy.

Put simply, they validate the old maxim that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. And therein lies the rub. The premise of "free energy" is that a system can be built that powers itself, and that it can provide energy to do useful work outside of the system. IOW, if a system requires 1000 watts of power to run, the system can generate that needed 1000 watts of power, and can also provide X watts of extra power to feed an external load.

One infamous example is the "Howard Johnson Magnetic Motor" (not related to the Howard Johnson chain of restaurants and hotels), a fanciful device that supposedly was powered solely by permanent magnets, and required no external energy source.

The drawings of it depicted the motor belt-driving a generator capable of supporting a substantial external load. The hype about it was the basis of an article in Science & Mechanics, titled "Amazing Magnet-Powered Motor" (the Spring 1980 issue). The article did nothing to enhance the reputation of the magazine.

One with minimal scientific education might conclude that Mr. Johnson had created a perpetual motion machine. However, any first-year science student should be aware that it is utterly impossible.

The scientific fact is that there are always energy losses in any enclosed system. They are inevitable and unavoidable. The so-called HoJo motor was certainly no exception. It was an impossible thing.

To anyone who has received an email or seen an ad that promises unlimited "free energy" that eliminates the need to depend on the power grid, here are a few considerations to put it in perspective.

If the ads are loaded with scientific-looking buzz-words or irrelevant math equations, or make claims of power and oil companies trying to suppress the device, it's a scam.

If the device to avail the user of free energy is not available off the shelf, and there are no public critical reviews of it, it's a scam.

If the buyer must invest a substantial sum for "plans" to build the device from materials that the seller doesn't provide, it's a scam.

If the seller really believed the hype in his ads, he would be in business manufacturing the devices and making billions of dollars, not in hawking $50 "plans" to credulous, deceived buyers.

As long as one exists in this universe, its physical laws apply. Free energy does not exist in a galaxy a billion light years from Earth, and it does not exist on your world. Best advice: ignore the nonsense, and if needed, explore real world energy options.

I am ArKay. Va i luce!

2018 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved