Classic Scam Techniques

Discussion of Switch-on spike in transformers

February 16, 2015

Good idea.

: 15/02/2015 18:38:37 GMT Standard Time
Subj: Re: Switch-on spike in transformers

Dear Franklin,

I am glad that Dr. Ide’s papers can be published now. Perhaps they can be accompanied by an additional paper of Kurt’s confirmative measurements.


As we have mentioned several times in connection with the Hill con, spiky outputs are one of the favourite tricks used by free-energy crooks to fool laymen into thinking that output is greater than input. Another trick is to play around with power-factor and phase effects. The simplest trick is just to argue in terms of power rather than energy (power is not a conserved quantity). Induction effects constantly baffle non-physicists, and this probably explains why electrical engineers are disproportionately represented in the lunatic fringe. The most popular device is the Faraday homopolar generator/motor. It confuses non-physicists because it does not obey the simplistic flux-cutting and flux-linking reasoning used by electrical engineers, and some idiots claim that (because of electromagnetic hidden momentum) it does not obey Newton’s third law and therefore is a route to not only perpetual motion but also antigravity. Siemens Stain has of course written about the homopolar generator in connection with Ron’s spin-connection resonance nonsense. Another standard trick used by ‘academic’ free-energy conmen is to choose their ground very carefully. When one has a gadget that has no chance of fooling a physics conference, one simply presents it at a chemistry conference instead. Similarly, we know of a crackpot biologist who managed to get loony papers published in optics journals. On the strength of this, he eventually went on to patent (pre-Futurama) a ‘Smaser’:  a laser-like device which supposedly projected smells. No, don’t laugh at the afflicted. Of course, the patent was published, but not granted. This is a subtle distinction which is also enthusiastically exploited by conmen such as Edwin Gray … in whose footsteps Ide is plodding. 

5 Responses to “Classic Scam Techniques”

  1. Ralph Johnson Says:

    You have made the claim, on more than one occasion, that the lunatic fringe is dominated by electrical engineers; “disproportionately represented”, as you phrase it.

    I respectfully challenge that assertion. The list of staff members at the Alpha Institute for Advanced Studies, for instance, doesn’t reveal a predominance of Electrical Engineers. And most of the internet kooks don’t have engineering credentials; in fact, a sizable portion have never formally studied any scientific discipline at all; let alone engineering.

    So how did you arrive at this predominance of electrical engineers? Do you have any actual data to support the claim?

    • crackpotwatch Says:

      This claim refers only to those involved in perpetual motion and antigravity. If one widens the coverage to telepathy, reincarnation, etc., all bets are off: many of the most famous physicists were mixed up with that nonsense. So, first consider just the ‘stars’. Firstly, there is their god, Tesla, of course, with his tales of death-rays, etc. But in the modern era, we have Eric Laithwaite, who claimed that gyroscopes did not obey Newton’s third law (and also toyed with perpetual motion). Harold Aspden, who backed perpetual motion and antigravity and was rabidly anti-Einstein. Thomas Valone, sometime patent examiner who runs the inaptly named ‘Integrity Institute’ and pushes perpetual motion and antigravity. Harold Puthoff, involved in perpetual motion, but who also tried to corner the silver market using paranormal means, ‘validated’ Uri Geller and (probably) misled the CIA into wasting millions on ‘remote viewing’. You may not have heard of Ivor Catt, but he was behind Clive Sinclair’s failed plan to market super-cheap super-computers. Catt says that electromagnetic theory is all wrong. Although little known to journalists, he is very popular in certain quarters: there is already a book about him, and talk of a film. It would be tempting to mention Searl in this connection, but we have attempted to restrict it to those having academic qualifications. Searl barely qualifies as an electrician, let alone an electrical engineer. It is probable that Bearden and Targ are also electrical engineers, but the situation is complicated by the tendency of crackpots to lie about their qualifications, and the fact that journalists automatically call them ‘physicists’. As for non-star run-of-the-mill crackpots, check out the membership of the Natural Philosophy Alliance and the French-published list of ‘dissident scientists’. There is no doubt that, among the crackpots who have inspired followers and who are frequently cited, they are all electrical engineers by training. Ron does not count of course: he is not an electrical engineer but, on the other hand, nobody takes any notice of him. Even we shall ignore him when he is stripped of his Civil List pension. If you can think of a leading crackpot in this field who is not an electrical engineer, please tell us. By the way, we are not the first to have pointed out this preponderance of electrical engineers: google “brain eater syndrome”.

  2. Dirac Equation Says:

    “This is a great challenge for spectroscopy and quantum mechanics whatever the outcome now. It either enriches both in ways that were unimaginable a few months ago or quantum mechanics has to be completely rethought.”

    This is how crackpot physics works: observe a known phenomenon, discount (or be ignorant of) the well-attested conventional explanation without bothering to examine the evidence for it, and formulate an alternative theory of your own. Propose a test of your theory; but if the results fail to match your prediction, explain it away by concluding that all of quantum mechanics is in error! Intellectually bankrupt from beginning to end.

  3. Richard Geist Says:

    I think the crackpot who runs this site is looking in the mirror.

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