Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The next frontier in spam: pseudo-science

Well, it had to happen sometime -- after various entreaties for me to "get in t0uch w1th h0t wet teens waiting for U !", "l0w3r ur mortgage !", "get BIGGER !" and supply my bank account so an ex-minister in the Nigerian government can transfer $18.5 million into it, the spammers have discovered my vice -- science. How else can you explain this email, which landed in my inbox, and that of a few hundred other MIT folks [judging from the To: list]:

Subject: Perpetual Motion Machine

My name is [omitted] and I was wondering, if Gravity is a constant and pulls things down, and Capillary Action is also a constant and pulls things up...can we create a machine that would harness these forces? If so, then the machine would by default be a perpetual machine.
In an enclosed, vacuumed Plexiglas container...a liquid would be used to rotate a generator as it falls. And either capillary tubes or fibers would carry the liquid back up to a retainer pool that would discharge the liquid and repeat the cycle. I realize that one drop of water does not make an ocean, but enough drops over time would. If we use nanotechnology to miniaturize these machines, the compounded effect would have potential.
The United States Patent Office forbids granting a patent to a Perpetual Motion Machine, because you can not get something out of nothing. But since the two forces already exist, all we would be doing is harnessing them. I would then call it the GRAVITY HARNESSING MACHINE.
If you could cut all the trees of the world and put the sap in a pool, it would be a big pool. And if all that sap traveled up the trees against gravity, then the trees are already gravity harnessing machines.I just want to generate electricity using the scheme that nature already uses.Please let me know what you think about this

Thank You

I guess, strictly speaking, this fellow isn't a spammer, since he actually used a real email address, which links him to the Helene Fuld College of Nursing. They might want to reconsider their admission policy -- anybody who thinks that you can get around the laws of nature by simply saying "No, it's not a perpetual motion machine, it's a GRAVITY HARNESSING MACHINE, so it'll work" probably has a pretty cavalier relationship to science and is not somebody who should be let loose in a hospital. Scenarios along the lines of "No, it's not an infectious bacterium that can kill you, it's a NANOTECHNOLOGICAL GLUCOSE-CONSUMING MACHINE that will make you as strong as the Hulk!" come to mind.

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