I get mail: strange sciency spam

People send me stuff. I get about 1000 emails a day now, between all my different accounts. A lot of it is spam. Today I got an email from “Tesla Generator” advertising the usual “free energy” scam, and I figured I’d see something like this collection of Telsa Coils, Van de Graff generators, and Wimshurst static machines:

Tesla Coils
Tesla Coils (Photo credit: TJCoffey)

Boy was I surprised when I opened the email. 

This isn’t even passable spam, as you expect some relevancy to the subject matter advertised. It’s like sending a picture of a Buick with a cake recipe. I thought you might get a chuckle out of it since it was so strange. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anything so odd in email.

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July 3, 2012 4:45 pm

Would it count as free energy if someone else made the meal for you?

July 3, 2012 4:48 pm

Who says free energy can’t be delicious?

July 3, 2012 4:48 pm

This isn’t even passable spam,…….

I hate to disagree with you but I think it just passed. 😉

David Falkner
July 3, 2012 4:54 pm

Spam? Spam eggs bacon and spam. Spam sausage and spam. Spam sausage and strawberries and spam?

John Blake
July 3, 2012 4:54 pm

We ordered a super-conducting, cold fusion, anti-gravity belt from Mr. Neutron some time ago, and received only a clothespin and two yards of twine. Does Mr. Neutron eat strawberries?

Matt in Houston
July 3, 2012 4:57 pm

After the reaming the Supreme Court gave us this last week and the continued obstinence of the greenies this is funny.

July 3, 2012 4:58 pm

Isn’t that just what you’d expect from fruitcake?

Gary Hladik
July 3, 2012 4:59 pm

If you pick the fruit from others’ gardens, you do indeed get “free” food energy. Perhaps the “Tesla Generator” is a foolproof way to steal food?

July 3, 2012 5:09 pm

Damn, I even visited their site and get no clue. I surely could use free (first and/or second law violating) power…

July 3, 2012 5:10 pm

If some kind person serves it to me, I suppose it is free energy.

July 3, 2012 5:13 pm

This is one of Andy’s images. One of his galleries is devoted to food. He does good work too. Andy is one of my indirect competitors on the non science, artistic photography side of life. (we do not photograph the same things) It looks like someone is having fun and taking physics with the seriousness a life of inquiry and discovery deserves.

July 3, 2012 5:15 pm

Well, strictly on a field-strength basis (volts/meter) there’s a WHOLE LOT more electricity in a strawberry vine, or any old plant, than in a Van de Graaff generator. If you could hook the membrane potentials of all the cells in the proper series/parallel arrangement, you’d have a fine wet cell.

Ian H
July 3, 2012 5:18 pm

Food for thought !

July 3, 2012 5:21 pm

Looks like a take on the lemon battery trick. Instead of Lemons use Strawberries.
How to turn your dessert into free energy. The secrets finally out 🙂

July 3, 2012 5:34 pm

You can have your cake and eat it, too?

July 3, 2012 5:40 pm

You need an Orgone Generator or even better an Orgone Accumulator!
Now breath in the sound

July 3, 2012 5:51 pm

Of course, by opening it and allowing the linked photo (I presume it was linked…) to be shown, you have just confirmed to whatever bot it is that 1.) you have a valid email address, and 2.) that you are the sort of person who opens spam emails!

Mike Doner
July 3, 2012 6:00 pm

Like feeding strawberries to a jackass. They just don’t appreciate it 🙂

July 3, 2012 6:02 pm
kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 3, 2012 6:09 pm

That looks like it’d make me produce copious amounts of methane, which could be used to generate usable energy. But as is the normal case for “renewables”, collecting the “free energy” is a pain in the butt.

July 3, 2012 6:23 pm

It was probably an attempt to evade or poison the spam filters by including an off topic and seemingly legitimate image.

July 3, 2012 6:25 pm

RE: “Mike Doner says:
July 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm
Like feeding strawberries to a jackass. They just don’t appreciate it :-)”
Depends on the jackass.
For example, if the strawberry is a grant, and the recipient is a Climate Scientist….
Oh, I had better not go there….

Eugene WR Gallun
July 3, 2012 6:41 pm

Somebody took psych 101. The food pictures create a “good feeling”. This “good feeling” becomes associated with their crazy product. This is why lobbyists always feed congressmen lunch while they plug their agenda.
Eugene WR Gallun

July 3, 2012 6:55 pm

Alright, Andy Ryan’s got his 15 minutes. Check him off the list. How many to go?

July 3, 2012 7:03 pm

I’ll bet that’s “leaked from the government’s top secret folders.”
When we get our 20% renewables by 2020, that is the cake they are going to let us eat.

Ed Barbar
July 3, 2012 7:32 pm

Well, the van-digraph generators and such look really cool. They could not have been made cheaply, and represent a lot of human innovation. If I were to be fooled, I would rather it be by something like that than strawberries.

Ally E.
July 3, 2012 9:39 pm

At least it wasn’t a raspberry. 🙂

July 3, 2012 10:44 pm

Gary Hladik says:
July 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm
If you pick the fruit from others’ gardens, you do indeed get “free” food energy.


July 3, 2012 11:29 pm

Buy the rights and sell it to progressives as the new Tesla battery for the Tesla sports car. Should be worth 500 million before you transfer most of the government cash to another shell company where you can then live it up as a tax exile on an island in the Pacific bought cheap because it’;s apparently going to disappear beneath the waves.

July 4, 2012 12:37 am

Strawberry field theory states that berryons must be kept in a meson jar.

July 4, 2012 1:01 am

Details of this spam:
Purely coincidentally there is an Andrew Ryan who works for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. Prior to working for the government he used to work for a company named Tesla (Europe). Not a professional photographer though.

Keith Pearson, Formerly bikermailman, Anon No Longer
July 4, 2012 1:05 am

Spam, good. Strawberries, yum! Spam N Berries? I think that’s where you get your pass(able).

James Bull
July 4, 2012 1:30 am

When you start talking about Spam all I can think of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8huXkSaL7o and no strawberries or flowers in sight.
James Bull

Steve C
July 4, 2012 1:40 am

Should be signed “Tesla Surrealist”. Looks delicious though!

John Marshall
July 4, 2012 2:24 am

RGB, well I wouldn’t open it as it was likely a serving of a free virus.
I thought spam was off.

Ed Moran.
July 4, 2012 3:20 am

@James Bull.
Many years since I’ve seen the Spam song.
Thanks for the laugh!

July 4, 2012 6:42 am

Mark and two Cats says: “Strawberry field theory states that berryons must be kept in a meson jar.”
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.

July 4, 2012 6:56 am

My sister is allergic to free energy, apparently. Wow, sucks to be her.

July 4, 2012 9:16 am

Tesla coils, generators, strawberries, solar energy? Bunk! Bunk, I say.
The greatest source of energy is still 3 pints of Guinness and a bowl of chili.
With that I can light San Francisco for a week./

July 4, 2012 11:55 am

Say, what’s Rossi up to lately? Any newsworthy news?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 4, 2012 4:44 pm

rogerknights said on July 4, 2012 at 11:55 am:

Say, what’s Rossi up to lately? Any newsworthy news?

Pick one, either still a scam or Rossi is still extremely self-deluded.
Yesterday New Energy Times reported that Andrea Rossi never shipped his one-megawatt “Energy Catalyzer” to his unidentified customer because of a gasket problem.
But today we learned from readers that Rossi had, in fact, told his fans that he had shipped the 1 MW E-Cat. According Rossi, the discrepancy is the result of a “translation error.”

A week after Rossi’s video showed that the big blue box was still in the back of the Rossi brother’s tire shop, E-Cat fans were concerned.

Rossi explained that a translation problem made him think that the big blue box had already been delivered to the customer.

And that’s just a string in chronological order.
Still on the New Energy Times home page (slow site) is this story posted March 29:

Mats Lewan, the technology journalist with Ny Teknik who was by far the biggest promoter of Andrea Rossi and his Energy Catalyzer, knew that the water Rossi fed into the E-Cat didn’t produce the extraordinary amount of steam it should have if Rossi’s claim was valid. Lewan also had a good idea about where the rest of the water went. He reported neither of these concerns to his readers.
According to Rossi’s claim, the E-Cat should have produced 11,200 liters of steam per hour. Steam should have blasted out through the black hose at 60 to 100 miles per hour. It didn’t even come close. Lewan has a master’s degree in engineering physics; he should have known how much steam to expect.
Article continues here

And from there I found an important link:
Andrea Rossi Energy Catalyzer Investigation Index
Investigation and Compilation by Steven B. Krivit (2011-2012)

The LENR movement, such as it is, is abandoning Rossi in favor of “promising” other work. I guess there are still some true believers around who have yet to accept the truth (RockyRoad, you still here?).
Offhand I think some of the disillusioned are among those currently pushing the liquid thorium fluoride reactors as a “conventional” energy source having the “cheap energy”, fail-safe, and potential boxcar-sized portability attributes they were expecting from Rossi’s e-Catastrophe.

July 4, 2012 7:38 pm

Rossi has anounced a stable 600C reaction which is now being tested in a one month trial by over a dozen reactors.
The improved output from his previous design, which operated at 200C, was the result of feedback from a customer who purchased the 1MW plant.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 5, 2012 1:58 am

@ Zeke on July 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm:
See, that’s what I mean. Hope, belief, faith in the wizard who does his magic hiding behind a curtain.
Google finds very few mentions for “rossi 600°C”. On the first page of results, only the first 9 were valid. There is repeating and reposting and it’s based off something at his self-published “Journal of Nuclear Physics” web site. Some are at “e-catworld-dot-com”, a domain with hidden registration, yet the “About” page says it’s owned and edited by Frank Acland, a “professional educator”.
June 4, 2012
Rossi: 600C E-Cat Test Continues for Over 30 Days
(one unit)
June 24, 2012
Rossi: Approx 20 E-Cat Reactors Running Above 600C
This was in “Recent Posts”:
July 3, 2012
Rossi: High Temperature Report Will be Validated by Customer
Said report to be published on Rossi’s site, of course. Wonder if this customer will also be anonymous.
Such posts get linked to at ecatnow.com, owned by “Craig Brown” who has 397 other domains. Smells like an aggregator site, probably automated.
For unabashed gushing Rossi-worshiping, nothing beats pesn-dot-com (Pure Energy Systems Network). Like this June 15 2012 piece:
600 Celsius – The Accelerating Evolution of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat
By the specs presented, the new version has a smaller core, amazing as previous units rated at 2.5 kW output were only 50 cubic centimeters, size of a D cell, and these are rated at 10kW. While going from 50 grams of the “specially processed and enriched (in isotopes Ni-62 and Ni-64) nickel powder” down to 1.5 grams. With which the new version is supposed to run for six months, generating 600°C steam.
Oh, and they also have the magic pellet that absorbs and releases hydrogen making all this possible. This piece has the closest to a workable description of the e-Cat I’ve read, in the sense that a description of 4-cycle internal combustion tells me how a fuel-injected Ferrari engine works.
But to top it all is this June 30 (last updated July 2) article, The New Solid State E-Cat . NO COOLANT NEEDED, the new units being tested are achieving temperatures above 600°C without any water inputed, they just make heat, with total thermal stability and precise control. No moving parts, just a unit you feed in hydrogen to make those 10kW of heat that can be used for 600°C steam.
AND, the apparent goal is stable production of 1000°C steam!
Which leads to this bit showing the science literacy of the author, bold added:

The fact is that 600C temperatures would be enough to produce high temperature steam that could be used in cutting edge turbines, but 1,000C temperatures would open up even more possibilities. It makes the use of a Stirling Engine or thermal photovoltaic panel that much easier!

BTW, I find the following from the bottom of the PESN pages to be very encouraging:

ADVISORY: With any technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of the endeavor.

This is a news site with a disclaimer suitable for a dispenser of financial investment advice?
Yup, just pump in the hydrogen, heat’s produced, the magic happens.
10 to 1 it’s just a hydrogen fuel cell, that will give off invisible dry steam. Use it to heat a boiler vessel, and who’s going to notice some extra condensation in the room? That’s assuming that these units aren’t hooked up to an electricity supply that could possibly supply all the energy that was “produced” as with the “shipping container” test.
Same question still remains. This is supposed to be a nuclear device, using nuclear fusion to combine nickel and hydrogen into copper. Where are the authorities? Yes, they claim it releases no radiation. Which the relevant authorities would still like to confirm. Rossi is now in the US. We’re post-9/11, so the NRC, EPA, and Homeland Security should all be looking into his operation, and that’s just on the federal level. Before he could ever sell them here, he’d have over a decade’s worth of safety studies to conduct. And make them in the US but sell abroad? Twist it all you want, it’s still a nuclear device, specifically a nuclear reactor, and there are strong controls in place for that with US government permissions to obtain.
The only logical answer remains the same: The authorities know there is absolutely nothing nuclear going on. It’s a heating device, making the heat by hydrogen and/or electricity. Nothing more, nothing less. It needs about as much regulation as a kitchen stove, especially now that the new version doesn’t make the steam itself thus ducks the pressure vessel testing and licensing requirements. It needs less regulation than a home boiler furnace.
And the EPA might still want an emissions study.

July 5, 2012 10:03 am

The 1MW plant has been sold to a military concern. Andrea Rossi is now in the process of obtaining UL permits and setting up a fully mechanized plant for the production of the ecat. The capital risked in research, development, production, and purchasing this new source of energy is an individual judgment and entirely voluntary. Don’t buy one if you don’t want to. Although, the use of loaded language, name calling, and hostility towards this free market scientific innovation in the above posts can’t have gone unnoticed, I will still point out that the patent office is highly politicised, as all science is now.
But the subject here is “strange sciency spam,” remember? So may I suggest a more on-topic subject would be so-called Renewable Energy, which the government much prefers, and which require huge subsidies, economic and political coercion, and involuntary participation by the citizens to finance the mandates to use these sources.
People ought to recognize “strange sciency spam” when they see it, because Renewable Energy has an extremely low capacity factors, intermittent supply, no actual storage system in place when the sunsine and seabreezes don’t come, and an enormous amount of land is required for the panels and windfleets.
So for “strange sciency spam” may I suggest “An example is the 2008 plan promoted by former vice president Al Gore, which called for replacing all fossil-fueled generation in the United States in just a decade. Another is Google’s plan, announced in 2008 and abandoned in 2011, which envisaged cutting out coal generation by 2030. Trumping them all was a 2009 article in Scientific American by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil engineering at Stanford University, and Mark Delucchi, a researcher in transportation studies at the University of California, Davis. They proposed converting the energy economy of the entire world to renewable sources by 2030.” There’s plenty of extrmely bad, fraudulent science out there to worry about; as you can see the strange sciency spam is coming from our own government – who also happens to have control over the patent process.
Meanwhile, all Andrea Rossi requests is a mere patent and UL paperwork to sell his valid product to customers who wish to risk their own capital on innovation.

July 5, 2012 11:17 am

Where are all the gratuitous calories?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 5, 2012 12:48 pm

From Zeke on July 5, 2012 at 10:03 am:

Meanwhile, all Andrea Rossi requests is a mere patent and UL paperwork to sell his valid product to customers who wish to risk their own capital on innovation.

If the hydrogen gas was used in any meaningful way then it needs certification, CSA is commonly used. That includes using gas as a working fluid as with refrigeration. Since hydrogen burns and is potentially explosive, it can’t duck that. Intertek is also used, being one of the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories that check compliance to applicable standards.
Underwriters Laboratories primarily deals with electrical and fire safety.
If the NRC is not involved, then the e-Catastrophe cannot possibly be nuclear.
Further, the specs mention a radio frequency generator. There are control electronics. Thus the FCC needs to check it for possible radio interference. They check everything using higher frequencies, including electronic dimmer switches and my little USB modem dongle. Heck, even my digital camera was FCC certified.
You don’t need FCC certification for switches and rheostats.
What should all that tell you about this innovative device?
If all they need is patents and UL approval, then it’s a glorified electric hotplate.

July 5, 2012 2:18 pm

True, the ecat uses a radio frequency and mini hydrogen tanks. Of the less than 2 grams of hydrogen, the ecat consumes a very small amount.
Should the FCC have a problem with radio frequencies?
I don’t think there will be a problem with that since Compact Flourescent Lights, now mandated by Congress, are copious sources of radio frequencies and disrupt many things from AM radios to medical devices and equipment. That, along with operating on a volatilized form of Mercury in amounts that exceed state safe-levels by as much as a factor of 100.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 5, 2012 7:31 pm

@ Zeke on July 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm:
You’re still ducking that it can’t possibly be nuclear.

Should the FCC have a problem with radio frequencies?

They often do, that’s what they check for.
Will the FCC have a problem with the e-Cat? After Rossi submits a working unit to an independent certified testing laboratory, maybe we’ll find out.

July 6, 2012 11:11 am

Rossi already has a European patent. He is now finishing all the other permits in order to begin production. Those who have read the paper, examined the demonstrations, done the research, and are convinced of the value, usefulness, and validity of his discovery are preordering home units. Those who have looked at the same evidence and are not convinced, are not required to participate in any way.
He will never get a US patent because the US Patent office does not issue patents for stable nuclear fusion process at low temperatures. However, and this is what I was trying to emphasize, w/apologies for grammar mistakes, the US government simultaneously insists that the energy sector can be forced onto renewables without back up battery technology and despite the unreliability of the supply of wind and sun as a resource.
What kind of engineer would build a building with intermittent power and no back up technology? No engineer would ever do a thing like that. He would be censured and removed from practice, or have his license suspended. And this is the broader context of the refusal to give Rossi a US patent. It is desperately politicized, as we also spend billions upon physics experiments and models which say these reactions cannot occur.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 6, 2012 8:04 pm

From Zeke July 6, 2012 at 11:11 am:

He will never get a US patent because the US Patent office does not issue patents for stable nuclear fusion process at low temperatures.

For the same reasons they don’t issue them for perpetual motion machines. It’s not proven science. Rossi can always submit his work and a working unit for independent testing and verification, then when it’s shown to work as described he can have the results sent along with his patent application. His work will be protected by appropriate non-disclosure etc agreements. Companies and individuals have been filing their “secret” work for patent protections for many decades.
The way you’re going on, you’d shout “Politics!” for why they won’t issue patents for 100mpg add-on carburetors.
The 2008 international patent application to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) is here. The US is listed. This application has received an unfavorable preliminary report on patentability.
E-Cat World reported the issuing of the Italian patent (link to English version is dead), and assumed it’s an EU-wide patent. But as is commonly reported, the patent is valid only in Italy. (Ref one, two.)
So there is no “European patent” for the EU, just one from a single European country valid only in that country.
Which may have something to do with Rossi’s problems in Italy. He has a patent describing his device as producing radiation and requiring boron and lead shielding. It’s a nuclear device. That takes it to a whole ‘nother level of regulation, making it difficult to manufacture and sell in Italy without several more years of permitting.
So Rossi cited politics as the reason for canceling manufacture in Italy and moving it to the US, of course.
The circle keeps tightening, or should I say noose. He keeps saying it’s a nuclear device, then he has many years of studies and reports ahead and many regulations to comply with. And don’t you dare to pretend they’ll ever be a home-use nuclear reactor in the US, or virtually anywhere else. The Consumer Product Safety Commission would be out for Rossi’s blood, and fighting with a dozen other agencies for every last drop, including the FBI.
He reports he’s completing his fully-automated assembly plant. He couldn’t get authority to run it without far more authorizations then he could obtain anytime soon. “Fully automated” aside, he’ll still need people present. Tooling to change, machine setup and maintenance, troubleshooting and fixing the inevitable hangups. That involves assorted Labor departments, OSHA, many others will have to check off on the plant and worker safety.
If he tests them before shipping, that’s another level of safety regs for those working around radiation. And shipping them at all, especially after testing with them containing irradiated materials? Not happening. Shipping them “dry” and untested won’t work. If people could build and ship DIY nuclear reactors, add your own water and nuclear materials, they’d have done it years ago.
So where does that leave Rossi, who refuses to get the e-Catastrophe inspected and certified as a nuclear device? With a fully-automated plant at an undisclosed location using undocumented workers he’d have to illegally hire and secretly pay in cash, covertly obtaining supplies, shipping with fraudulent Bills of Lading.
Might as well go straight to shady distributors in alleyways, “Hey buddy, I got an e-Cat in the truck. $1500 and I’ll toss in two refill packs.”
Or, he admits there’s nothing nuclear. You will never see them manufactured legally in the US otherwise.

Brian H
July 7, 2012 5:53 am

Rossi’s shell game. The old cons are still the best.

July 7, 2012 2:55 pm

It is an innovative product, which people voluntarily elect to risk capital on producing and purchasing.
And the con is coming from the US government. The con is trying to force the energy sector into Renewable Energy, without the necessary technology for back-ups or grid delivery, and which is intermittent and extremely expensive to taxpayers. The con is that everyone has to be forced to involuntarily participate. Rossi’s discovery meets and exceeds the Feds standards for energy production, even if it was a coal stove in disguise!

July 7, 2012 7:10 pm

The energetic reactions do require a lead shielding.
But since when does the American public have to be protected from nickel, hydrogen, and miniscule copper products, or 600C temps?
Is the government going to protect us from pennies and nickles now too, along with carbon dioxide from fire? and nitrous oxide from crops? or methane from cows?

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