Friday, March 05, 2010
"For now," the Iranian President said on Saturday, "we do not intend to use
it." He is, of course, a notorious liar. Whether he has it or not, the
worst thing the United States could do at this point is to allow Global
Laser Enrichment to proceed with plans to construct the first commercial
laser enrichment plant in the US. It would be hailed by Ahmadinejad as
justification for Iran to proceed with such a facility. His announcement
focuses attention on the timely Opinion article in yesterday's
Nature: "Stop Laser Uranium Enrichment," by Francis Slakey and Linda Cohen.
The article calculates that the mean US household savings from laser
enrichment of uranium would probably be less than two dollars a month.
Because of its relatively small size the laser technology could be
misappropriated to secretly enrich uranium for weaponry. The authors urge
the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess proliferation risks in the
The town of Odessa, MO, population 4,818, located somewhere east of Kansas
City, needs jobs. So when a company, Manna of Utah, said it wanted to
build a plant there employing 3000 people, folks cheered. All the town had
to do was provide $90 million in revenue bonds and a site. The company
even flew local officials to Florida for a demonstration of the "world-
changing" technology that would be built there. It's a home generator
developed by Maglev Energy in Largo, Florida, which is leasing the
technology to Manna of Utah. State Representative Mike McGhee (R-Odessa)
said the product would be the "equivalent of the light bulb." Steve Everly
of the Kansas City Star thought it might be a good idea to check with
scientists and engineers, including Bob Park. The mayor of Odessa, Tony
Bamvakais, who went on the trip to Florida, says it's not a perpetual
motion machine, but it's "so efficient that it keeps on producing power
when it's unhooked from an outside power source."
When Joseph Newman was refused a patent for his Energy Machine he sued the
US patent office. Legendary US District Court Judge Robert Penfield Jackson
ordered Newman to turn his machine over to the National Bureau of Standards
for testing. It was found to be a motor/generator of a design vastly
inferior to those on the market. The case, Newman v. Quigg (Quigg was the
patent Commissioner) is cited as case-law giving the patent office
authority to reject perpetual-motion claims out of hand. The only effect is
that they are no longer called "perpetual motion machines." They are
called over-unity devices, or zero-point-energy machines. Coverage of the
Joe Newman case in Wikipedia is terrible. It's a remarkably useful
encyclopedia, but you need to verify.
This week, saw the publication of his new book, "Belief: Readings on the
Reasons for Faith. But he is now the director of the nations largest
science agency, having promised to set his personal quirks aside for the
time. The argument is made that the book is work he did before he became
director, but that's pretty thin cover. He could wait until he steps down.
Modern science had its birth with the assertion of the Greek philosopher
Thales in 585 B.C. that every observable effect has a physical cause. We
should not regard any person as educated unless he understands those words,
including the director of NIH.