Friday, May 19, 2006
Aren't they always? Cardinal Poupard, head of the Pontifical
Council for Culture, expressed shock this week at the Da Vinci
Code promotion: "It had nothing to do with the truth." Like
"transubstantiation" is the truth? Another powerful Cardinal,
Francis Arinze, is urging legal action. Members of Opus Dei seem
particularly upset at the shot of Silas with blood running down
his leg from a cilice. Opus Dei says their members do not do
this. Mother Teresa maybe. Ironically, you may recall that just
two months ago, Random House, publisher of the Da Vinci Code, was
being sued in the UK because the underlying theme was lifted from
a 1982 best-selling history book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
Scientists understand how the church and the historians feel.
After all, science-fiction writers have been stealing our themes
for years, and portraying us as Dr. Strangeloves. And if we're
the good guys, they get the physics wrong, like in Chain
Reaction, where cold fusion works.
Several people this week sent us video clips of a "breakthrough"
in energy research. A Florida company is calling it "Aquygen,"
(Patent Pending). New name, but it's just "Brown's Gas"
http://www.phact.org/e/bgas.htm . It's been scamming people
since the '80s. Dennis Lee, the notorious free-electricity
hustler, has had it as part of his sales tour for at least a
decade. It's produced by the electrolysis of water. Gas is
collected from both electrodes, giving you a stoichiometric
mixture, 2H2+O2. If ignited, it's completely converted back to
water. It still takes more energy to produce than you get back.
It was the goal of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Institute,
(WN 15 Aug 97) . Propulsion
without a propellant. BPI never quite made it. It was some
problem with Newton's Laws of Motion I think -- the center of
mass just wouldn't budge. Maybe they gave up too soon. A
history professor at California State U., Fullerton, James
Woodward, unveiled his research into "Mach-Lorentz thrusters" at
the Future in Review conference in Coronado, CA on Wednesday.
It's like the impulse engines in Star Trek. "They put out thrust
without blowing stuff out the tailpipe," Woodward said.
Well, a tornado hasn't struck Dover, PA as he hoped, but give it
time (WN 6 Jan 06) . After
all, it took several years after he called for a hurricane to hit
Florida before Rita struck. Now, however, he says he has just
spoken with God: both coasts will be lashed by storms this year,
and a Tsunami may hit the Pacific Northwest. God said, "may"?