Speaking of laughing…

A company based in Ireland going by the name of Steorn claims to have invented a method for generating free energy. Oh dear. The old Something-For-Nothing perpetual motion delusion comes up for another breath.

You can see a comprehensively information-free piece of hype from the company here in which various Steorn personnel demonstrate the benefits of regular visits to Blarney Castle. Here’s CEO Sean McCarthy explaining why existing energy sources are problematic:

“Most of the hydrocarbons in the world, oil gas and so on, happen to be in dangerous places, they happen to be in places that are politically and economically unstable…”

Er, duh Sean. They happen to be in those places? Like there’s some kind of coincidence at work there buddy?

He goes on to divulge the secret of Steorn’s incredible new accomplishment:

“The technology is the ability to construct certain magnetic fields, that when you travel around the magnetic fields starting and stopping at the same position, you’ve suffered a net gain of energy. Quite simply the analogy would be, you walk to the top of the hill and then you walk back down to the bottom of the hill, but in doing that you’ve gained energy.”

Wow, cool analogy. Like, I’m convinced. So, if I’m understanding it correctly (bear with me, I’m not really good with all this scientific stuff) putting it another way it’s like opening doors in a hallway, and then shutting them again, and in doing so you’ve gained energy! Or, maybe, like sticking a pipe-cleaner through one ear, pulling it right through your head and out the other ear, and in doing so you’ve gained energy!

If you’re falling behind with all this technical stuff, don’t worry – the Steorn movie includes a little piece of animation that clarifies the principles at work. In it, a little green whirlpool goes round and round between some magnets:

Steorn Magnets

See? Could the science behind this astonishing discovery possibly be any more persuasive?

This from Richard Walshe, Steorn’s Marketing Manager:

“There’s an ecological advantage to it, absolutely. There’s a cost saving to it, but ultimately for me, the advantage is convenience. The advantage is never having to plug your mobile phone in.”

OK. So Steorn has invented a revolutionary way of creating entirely free energy thus instantly solving all the world’s industrial, travel, pollution and communications problems as well as knocking global warming on the head (not to mention rewriting the tenets of physics in the process) and Richard is most excited about the fact that he won’t have to remember to stick his phone on charge?

I guess it’s not that unusual for the marketing arm to completely miss the point. One does wonder, though, how Steorn, with the best product EVER (forget sliced bread, forget the mousetrap, forget the wheel), has managed end up with a nitwit like Richard as their strategist.

Then again, maybe the members of Steorn are crazy like foxes. The company has taken out an ad in The Economist challenging scientists to prove them wrong. You’ve gotta give them points for chutzpah. With some major scientific hoo-hah and a few serious-sounding names in the fray they could spin this hogwash out for, hey, maybe a couple of years and bring all kinds of investment money on board.

And they’re no strangers to that game.

My advice? Before you throw your hard-earned cash into Steorn’s Magical Magnetic Moolah Magnifier, take a trip to The Museum of Unworkable Devices and ponder the old saw ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’.

It holds just as true for the Laws of Physics and investment strategies as it does for interpersonal relationships.