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jmw (Industrial) (OP)
8 Jan 09 8:06
Blacklight claim a breakthrough with a new primary energy source.
Well, it has the slick website with pretty animations we expect of the snake oil purveyors, but it will take some time to understand exactly what is on offer.

In the meanwhile, as I read it, I will continually remind myself of the two essential mantras (They may have kept me from buying London Bridge but I wonder if they have also kept me from some genuine deals?):
  • There is no such thing as a free lunch
  • If it seems to good to be true, it is.


SomptingGuy (Automotive)
8 Jan 09 8:17
This is a rather interesting bit of background readin:

- Steve

rb1957 (Aerospace)
8 Jan 09 8:44
is "snakeoil" a new bio-fuel ?
ScottyUK (Electrical)
8 Jan 09 8:46
More discussion:

If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!

Helpful Member!(2)  mauricestoker (Mechanical)
8 Jan 09 18:06
I thought snake oil was a marital aid for the elderly.
Co (Mechanical)
8 Jan 09 20:14
:). thats great, the elderly.
Interesting readings on the hydrino.  
Helpful Member!(4)  ivymike (Mechanical)
8 Jan 09 22:27
the wikipedia article is at least marked as having disputed neutrality.  It has clearly been written by someone who is conspiring (with the so-called mainstream physicists) to keep themselves employed by putting forth the hoax of quantum physics.  They use fudge factors and partial models to try to predict all manner of physical phenomena, but truth be told they can't even accurately predict the precise location of a slowly-moving single electron at a point in time.  It's good to see that there are at least a few scientists and engineers willing to question these theories, which are clearly created simply to support an agenda.


frv (Structural)
9 Jan 09 0:21

are you seriously questioning the validity of quantum mechanics and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle?
msquared48 (Structural)
9 Jan 09 0:45

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

ivymike (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 8:02
I thought the joke would be easier to get, given the other threads in this forum.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
9 Jan 09 8:02
Scam, for sure.

Nobody does chemistry, taking starting materials and producing products via chemical reaction (ie. without the addition of energy via light/radiation absorption or electricity), and gets more chemical energy out than the difference in the heats of formation of the starting materials and the products.  Catalysts etc. affect only the rate.  This is basically a chemical re-statement of the 2nd law of thermo.

If they were taking hydrogen atoms and transmuting them into lithium ions, that would be a different story!

This is a new spin on the same "zero point energy" scam that's been floating around for the past 30+ years.  The theoretical energy in the ground state of the hydrogen atom is just that- theoretical energy.  It's not accessible via chemistry.

Quantum mechanics is so bizarre and complex (and useful) that it is no surprise that it becomes a font of scams.  Hell, there are enough scams out there that exploit phenomena such as permanent magnatism and AC electrical phenomena that are a lot easier to understand than QM!
msquared48 (Structural)
9 Jan 09 8:08
I got didn't.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

ivymike (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 8:12
oh yeah?  what did I miss?
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
9 Jan 09 8:15
Well it was a good enough parody to make me wonder.

- Steve

ivymike (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 8:17
I thought that adding the bit about the slowly moving electron would be the give-away... oh well.
minerk (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 8:37
Is it time for someone to mention Shroedinger's cat? Don't all quantum discussions end up as arguments about that damn cat?
ivymike (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 8:54
meow, baby.  

two hydrogen atoms are floating by one day:
HA1: hey man, how's it going
HA2: I'm a bit bummed, actually, I've lost my electron.
HA1: oh, that's awful!  how'd it happen?
HA2: I was going past that new hydrino club the other night, and I'm pretty sure a catalyst stole it from me.
HA1: That stinks.  Are you sure you've lost it?
HA2: I'm positive.

frv (Structural)
9 Jan 09 9:15
Sorry ivymike. In retrospect it is a bit obvious. In my defense, I had had a few beers before I read your post.
imcjoek (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 9:30
Is there a way to give ivymike negative stars for that joke?
SnTMan (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 10:36
On a bit more of a serious note (and I am not rendering any judgement on the Blacklight thing) there are apparently some serious problems with the current understanding of quantum theory, such that the "many worlds" theories are offered in an attempt to resolve them. These theories may prove to be true, but I have a very hard time accepting this (these?) version(s) of reality.

Do not interpret the foregoing as offering any expertise on my part in quantum theory, I just read a book:)


SomptingGuy (Automotive)
9 Jan 09 10:41
I sympathize.

It resembles so well the concept of covering small lies with bigger ones and it all getting out of hand.

- Steve

Unotec (Chemical)
9 Jan 09 11:43
The idea might be correct, but it looks to me like they missed a few things regarding the second law. Now, I am no expert but it seems hard to me that a catalyst can do what they claim.
I have tried to generate more heat out of a system than the one I was putting in (I was a student, naive and the teacher was a jerk!!) then I learned.
There might be new breakthroughs in science, I will not say otherwise. But I think the second law, given the technological development we have reached, it is a pretty safe bet.

<<A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a true friend
will be sitting beside you saying " Damn that was fun!" - Unknown>>

rb1957 (Aerospace)
9 Jan 09 12:50
"in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics ... all of them"

that sage of the modern era, Homer Simpson
ivymike (Mechanical)
9 Jan 09 15:33
oh man, greenpeace says it works.  maybe I shouldn't have made fun of it.  I might get eaten by a whale.
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
9 Jan 09 16:40
Greenpeace would do a swift U-turn if the word "nuclear" were used.

- Steve

jmw (Industrial) (OP)
9 Jan 09 18:52
Or they discover that it produces a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 i.e. dihydrous-oxide (which has featured in another ) - a serious pollutant and causes many many deaths every year - the death toll from a single di-hydrous oxide event in coastal communities can run into the tens of thousands, especially when containing high levels of a range of chloride compounds.


Helpful Member!  b2theory (Electrical)
9 Jan 09 22:35
Mills is a douche bag of the highest order. I love this little piece FTA:

Mills' theory, which he expounds upon in his self-published 2,000 page book, The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Quantum Mechanics, rests on what he describes as his discovery of the hydrino - an altered version of hydrogen that has an energy level lower than its ground state, or the baseline energy level. These modified atoms, he argues, are the stuff that comprises dark matter, the invisible material that many scientists believe composes more than 90% of the universe.

So let me get this straight... a medical doctor claims to have found the grand unified theory, solved the make up of dark matter, and invented a device that will turn one of our most abundant resources by volume into clean energy without replicating or extending any previous experiments.

This guy has to be wondering how long he can keep the game up until he is busted as an incredibly successful scam artist. If he was for real this would have been resolved very very quickly. He has patents on everything. So send your gadget to Los Alamos and when they validate it you can claim the fame and virtually unlimited fortune that would follow.

It never ceases to amaze me that if you sound sciency you can basically get your press released parroted in top tier media outlets. What makes him so much worse is that he doesn't appear to be a "true believer" like the Intelligent Design crowd, climate change deniers, holocaust deniers, and homeopathic medicine nut jobs. It takes a special kind of jerk to knowingly scam your business partners out of tens of millions for almost two decades.  
Tomfh (Structural)
9 Jan 09 23:05
Mills sounds quite clever to me. It takes some smarts to sell people a free energy device that works as a result of the fact that relativity and QM are wrong!
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
10 Jan 09 7:37
Er, actually, I think he has already claimed his fortune... he has allegedly raised $50-60million.

The pot of gold is never the revenue from manufacturing but the investment money they attract.

The next question is, what happens to the investment money and that is where we can come up with a "Scam Index".

This would work on the principle that there are two types of inventors out there:
  • Type A: The eccentric who believes he has discovered the philosohpers stone
  • Type B: The Scam Artist proving the PT Barnum law time and again.
The Scam Index is simply a function of the proportion of investment money spent on tools and machinery to the amount spent on directors salaries.

The Scam artist will want to hang onto as much of the loot as possible while the honest eccentric will probably go without food for self and family if he needs just one more machine tools or a couple of tones of rare earth elements for some reason or other. He may actually be pretty inept at gathering in money as his focus is on his work.

Probably we should also include a further parameter which is based on website analysis; the more "scammy" the proposal, the more animations, flash players, cross linking etc. and the fewer actual drawings, photos and truly independent evaluations.

One of the links provided above gave some nice updates on Steorn which seems to have a very high Scam index based on the ratio of directors salaries to investments received.

Of course, sorting the scam artists from the honest eccentrics is one thing, sorting out which of the hair-brained schemes is actually genuine is something else again.

I guess between us we ought to be able to work out a pretty useful scam index.

So, what factors to assess and how to weight them?



mauricestoker (Mechanical)
10 Jan 09 16:33
Only two things produce more energy than what you put into it: a porn movie and a divorce. Sometimes they have a synergistic relationship.
owg (Chemical)
11 Jan 09 11:19
There was so much dihydrous oxide in the air this morning, our windows fogged up.


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