On Friday, an Irish company, Steorn Ltd., issued a challenge in an ad in The Economist:
"All great truths begin as blasphemies--George Bernard Shaw
A world with an infinite supply of pure energy.
Never having to recharge your phone.
Never having to refuel your car.
Welcome to our world
At Steorn we have developed a technology that produces free, clean and
constant energy. Our technology has been independently validated by
engineers and scientists—always behind closed doors, always off the record,
always proven to work.
We are therefore issuing a challenge to the scientific community: test our
technology and report your findings to the world.
We are seeking a jury of twelve—the most qualified and the most cynical.
Get involved. Register at www.steorn.com"
Of course, scientists are full of skepticism about this claim. After all, there's ol' Newton's Third Law of Thermodynamics, which says that there is never new energy, just energy released by changing form. Steorn claims that this "groundbreaking new technology" creates energy by "interaction of spinning magnetic fields".
Apparently, Steorn was a company that was doing wildly well during the Dot.Com boom, then went bust when everything else went bust. So there's some question out there that this is some kind of brilliant marketing ploy, a way for Steorn to show potential advertisers that they can generate noise in the technology realm. The jury-by-scientists is a brilliant idea.
And, of course, there are those who say--immediately, swallowing whole the claim--that Big Oil and the Bush Administration will kill the technology.
The naif in me, the daydreamer, the science fiction reader, the one yearning for a cleaner environment--would like to believe. The cynic in me says, "HAH!" Read what the blogosphere is saying.