May 27, 2014
In my prior post I described a small company that claims it can harvest useful amounts of electricity directly from the atmosphere. Is this a case of a bold scam or is it simply an inventor who is more optimistic than qualified? Or – and this is the least likely possibility by far – could it be a legitimate breakthrough?
Whatever it is, I think we all agree on the following fact: Almost every part of the company’s pitch fits the pattern of a classic scam.
If you knew nothing except what has been presented to you so far, including the information and calculations provided by the sleuths who left comments, you would be generous to assume a 1% chance that this is a legitimate scientific breakthrough in green energy. On the face of it, you’d have to give it a 99% or better odds of being bullshit. If you tell me the odds are more like 99.9999% bullshit I’ll be happy to agree because I’m not that good at calculating the odds of things.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
Do you know what else can sometimes look exactly like a scam? Answer: A legitimate breakthrough.
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it must be a duck, right? Unless it’s a hunter with a remote-controlled duck. There’s always the thing you didn’t consider.
What interests me most about this situation is that the company has been consistent from the start in asking for both public attention and qualified scientific scrutiny. They even offered to ship me a desktop prototype that I can witness lighting a bulb.
Are they bluffing?
That’s an interesting question. Let’s take a journey to find out. I hope you’d agree that unmasking scammers (if that’s what happens) would be interesting.
Based on your comments, I asked the company this question yesterday: “How much useful wattage does the prototype produce?”
If the wattage estimate is trivial, or for some reason unavailable, or delayed for a variety of excuses, I think we’re done. Would you agree?
The company claims that its technology is different from the devices you can see on YouTube that are harvesting too-trivial-to-matter electricity from the air. That technology is decades old. And they say their technology doesn’t use the EM from radio stations. There’s no way for me to verify that from a distance.
If the wattage estimate that they come back to me with is in the useful range, I would next ask for a video that tracks end-to-end from the antenna to the intermediate equipment to the working household device (light bulb, fan, etc.).
And I would also ask for their location relative to the nearest radio station.
If the video and the wattage estimate are still intriguing, and they aren’t too near a radio tower, I say we put a qualified expert in the same room as the prototype and have some more fun.
Would that plan entertain you?
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of a book with a name that doesn’t sell books.