Friday, May 3, 2002
1. SECRECY: PENTAGON SEEKS TO CONTROL UNCLASSIFIED PUBLICATION.
As early as last December, the White House sought to restrict the
publication of unclassified information it deemed of potential
use to enemies
(WN 22 Feb 02).
Now, the Pentagon is on the verge
of barring scientists from disclosing results of any DOD funded
research, even if the information is basic and unclassified,
unless they apply for and are granted specific authorization.
The new regulations are currently undergoing final review. The
APS opposes any impediment to the free exchange of unclassified
2. FREE ENERGY: PERPETUAL-MOTION HUCKSTER INDICTED IN KENTUCKY.
Last Friday, Dennis Lee and his various screwball companies were
barred from conducting business in Kentucky
(WN 7 Sep 01).
By Monday, a grand jury had indicted Lee on consumer-fraud charges.
Each of the multiple felony counts could net him five to ten in
the can. Other states are said to be lining up to file their own
charges. Lee takes an old fashioned approach to free-energy
scams, resurrecting failed perpetual-motion ideas from a bygone
era, that still have the power to bamboozle the scientifically
unsophisticated. He doesn't shy away from the term "perpetual
motion," and doesn't bother with applying for patents. What he
sells are dealerships. Delivery is just around the corner.
3. VACUUM ENERGY: HOW DO YOU PATENT A PERPETUAL-MOTION MACHINE?
First, you never call it a "perpetual-motion machine." It has
always been the policy of the Patent and Trademark Office to deny
patents for perpetual-motion devices. So when the PTO denied a
patent to Joe Newman for an "energy machine" that generated more
energy than it took to run it, he sued the PTO claiming it was
not perpetual motion. The energy, he said, came from conversion
of mass according to Einstein's equation; his machine was slowly
devouring its copper wires and iron cores. Newman lost, but his
real invention was to invoke new physics to explain where the
energy comes from. The new physics of choice these days is the
zero-point energy of the vacuum. Thus, patent 6,362,718
(WN 5 Apr 02)
is for a "motionless electromagnetic generator" that taps
the energy of "longitudinal electromagnetic waves that exist in
almost infinite abundance in the vacuum of space." Or to put it
another way "energy is conserved in the fourth dimension, time."
4. MARS: ACADEMY REPORT SAYS IT MAY BE A DANGEROUS PLACE.
Six months ago, a National Academy report, "Safe Passage," made it
clear that we don't know how to get to Mars alive
(WN 7 Dec 01).
A new report, "Safe on Mars," says we're not out of the soup when
we get there. Robotic sampling or sample-return is needed to
determine the presence and extent of any harmful organisms or
compounds. On the other hand, it's pretty spooky down here too.