Australian snake-oil perpetual motion machine

Another day, another investment scam promoted by clueless TV journalists. Science is fun! In this case, Sky News Australia fluffs a perpetual motion machine, which purports to generate more energy than it uses.

"We don't need to prove the claims," says one of the pushers. "... no physicist or engineer has looked at our motor or our figures and says it doesn't work."

Would it be too geeky to play spot the logical fallacy? Home of the magical fuel-additive pill company that hoodwinked sports stars and politicians alike, Australia seems particularly vulnerable to this sort of escapade.

Australian Perpetual Motion Machine Runs on Snake Oil [Wired:Gadget Lab]

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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  1. It’s never too geeky to play “Spot the logical fallacy”. I have two spots on /my/ Bingo card (other than the free “Perpetual Motion Machine” square).

  2. Of course we built a machine that defies the laws of physics – watch how I retighten a ramdom screw – there you go!

    Spark – spark – wobble – wobble – hum – hum: These are all forms of inefficiency.

    No amount of shoddy construction can get in the way of a machine that outputs 5 x it’s input!

  3. Not interested in the perpetual motion machine, but I’m going to have to look up “the Triton workbench”…

  4. Why is it geeky to have a high school level education? And that they are swamped with investors begging them “Please take our money from us we don’t want it any more” just makes me sad….

  5. your idea to have some sort of mascot to let people know when they’re violating fundamental laws of physics a while back i thought was apt….

    best thing i can think of is the entropy slug…”remember kids, every time you violate a fundamental law of physics, mr. entropy slug swallows more of his tail!”.

  6. @2 “Spark – spark – wobble – wobble – hum – hum: These are all forms of inefficiency.”

    But, but… the coils don’t get hot!!

  7. now i don’t feel so bad about not finishing my physics homework. so. . . how do i determine the height of a child on a swing connected by 2.2m ropes at an angle of 31 degrees from the horizontal?! and can the child generate enough electricity to power the swing forever?

  8. did any one else think their fashion was a bit 90’s? how recent is this video for a device that will be “available in a year”?

  9. Andrew: All the extra energy being pumped into the Universe would render the entire enterprise unstable, most likely resulting in a giant black hole somewhere in the region of Brinsmead, Australia, which would eventually suck in the entire known Universe.

    Along with the off-switch it also has a fuse.

  10. love the news girl giving the insightfull ‘good idea’. f**king great generating infinte power!, me i’ll wait till they make one that makes 8x its input, so as to be better value and what not.

  11. The statement ‘… no physicist or engineer has looked at our motor or our figures and says it doesn’t work’ is false.

    I am a professional engineer in Australia. In September 2006 I was supplied with a summary of calculations by a potential investor to Lutec Australia, John Christie’s company.

    The summary had diagrams and calculations showing how this worked.

    The calculations were, to put it politely, fundamentally miscalculations. For example, they calculated the energy taken out of the battery as ‘Ampere Hour Rating’ of the battery multiplied by the battery voltage drop over the time of the test.

    Another basic mistake was that they did all kind of ‘chopping’ of a sine wave, then used formulas to convert ‘Ipeak’ to ‘Irms’ on the assumption that it was a non-chopped sine wave.

    They are just two of the many, many mistakes in the calculations.

    I know that my comments to the investor were passed back to them, as I was emailed John Christie’s response.

    I have no objection to them believing that they have invented something new. However, the claim that no engineer has looked at their figures and said it doesn’t work is incorrect.

    (PS: Note to any lawyers reading this – This is my own professional opinion and not my employer’s. If John Christie wants to take this up with me further then he has my email address – it was forwarded to him with my analysis of his calculations)

  12. They are from Cairns, Queensland – naturally.
    For extra lulz at the expense of these country bumpkins that think they are crafty scammers, check out their homepage:

    Choice bites:
    “Product release date postponed indefinitely due to possible Transfer of Technology negotiations”.

    Also note the ALL CAPS call for “sophisticated investors”.

    It’s even funnier if you read it in a thick Aussie accent.

  13. Owwwww!!! The stupidity makes my head hurt! I’m an Australian electrical engineer (we’re not all this stupid…) and if I had received this at in an email rather than seeing it here I would have thought it was a joke. I just love the “… no physicist or engineer has looked at our motor or our figures and says it doesn’t work” argument. Ooh! Nobody’s looked at my handmade Icarus wings and said that they don’t work, that must mean I can fly!

  14. This show is Today Tonight (then regurgitated by Sky News).

    Today Tonight (along with it’s ugly sister, A Current Affair) are quasi-semi-maybe-kinda ‘newstainment’ shows that proffer segments like “Killer Termites – are they in your basement right now?” and “Washing Machines – what you don’t know could kill you”.

    And presenter Naomi Robson is a douche.

  15. *sarcasm* Oh come on Matt Simpson. Those are fine quality programs. You obviously missed their in depth investigation into ethnic drivers the other day. */sarcasm*

    Media watch reported on the ‘investigation’ which essentially interviewed some True Blue Aussies talking about how the Ethnic Drivers rip everyone off by not knowing their way around. Then they asked some random* ‘ethnic’ drivers if they could take them to a list of locations including

    The MCG ‘aka’ The Melbourne Cricket Ground (note they only referred to it as the MCG).

    Circular Quay – famous hub of the Sydney Bay area.
    And a few other ‘famous’ spots.

    One thing they didn’t mention in the story was that the ethnic driver they were ‘investigating’ happened to be driving in BRISBANE!

    *a new driver on his first day on the job.

    So I’d just like to point out, I don’t believe Australia is particularly gullible to this sort of scam. Just the sort of idiots who watch these sort of ‘News Sources’. Much like the Fox News crowd I’m sure.

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