Does anybody actually edit El Universal’s opinion pages? UPDATED

115
deep deep sigh…

According to this opinion piece in El Universal, a couple of Venezuelan guys in Miami have just invented a perpetual motion machine of the second kind. Really.

Amazingly, although they are smart enough to invent a machine that overturns the fundamental tenets of modern physics, they weren’t quite smart enough to realize the logical next step was to raise venture capital, go commercial, and cash in on the literally trillions or dollars you could make with an invention that instantly renders all of the world’s oil, coal, nuclear, hydro-electric, wind, solar, and wave infrastructure obsolete. Instead, they thought the correct and logical next step was to publish their findings in a third rate South American newspaper.

Folks, here’s a modest hypothesis: when the second law of thermodynamics is falsified you will not learn about it from an opinion piece in El Universal; you will find out about it when your electric company sends you a check in the mail instead of a bill.

Seriously, does anybody actually edit the opinion pages in El Universal? I mean, literally, does anybody actually read what goes into them before they’re printed?

Because I don’t know which would be worse: that they did read this and didn’t spot how gallopingly scientifically illiterate it was, or that nobody bothered in the first place…

[Hat tip: JAPM…que bolas, chamo…]

UPDATE: Now I get it. It’s just a garden variety scam. 

115 COMMENTS

  1. The article basically says that some unknown guy, with exactly zero published articles in physics, somehow managed, all by himself to create a “free energy” generator in some shed in Miami and behold, he is Venezuelan! Orgullo de mi patria!

    Such free energy is strictly verboten by thermodynamics so such a creation would, well, bring down quite a chunk of the physics we all know, love and seldom understand. Nobel prizes would be handed out and there would be formerly coy professors crapping their pants left and right (pardon my french). If what they say there were possible you could do that then you’d be able to, in principle, do some pretty nutty stuff like un-crack eggs (while keeping your omelette), heat up something and have it end up cold or well, spend energy while getting *more* out than you put in… kind of like chavista economics and about as sound.

    In any half decent newspaper, they would have had some boffin on call to at least ask if this made any sense whatsoever, but clearly El Universal ran out of them after all they got Emeterio Gómez to perform amazing feats of mental onanism every Sunday in their pages.

    • I just had to write to the guy… he actually put his email at the end of his article!

      ———- Forwarded message ———-
      From: Francisco Toro
      Date: 2012/9/23
      Subject: Pa qué pierden tiempo publicando en El Universal?
      To: eudesvera3@gmail.com

      No y que tienen una maquina de energia libre? Dediquense a hacerle la competencia a la compañía eléctrica en Miami! Vendan los kilovatios a mitad de precio, total, si a Uds. les salen gratis!!!

      http://caracaschronicles.com/2012/09/23/does-anybody-actually-edit-el-universals-opinion-pages/

      ft

      • Miami doesn’t need it–we need it in Venezuela! Anyway, it’s probably another Chavista invention, to be talked about at length during the next Cadena….

    • Brilliant summary!! Using the opinion pages of El Universal is about as nutty as using the comments mechanism on this blog as a peer-review journal for stating and defending novel economic theories for the Venezuelan public.

    • I heard about this guy a few months ago. Worst stuff was people studying engineering commenting about it in a bit of astonishment (luckily it was quickly dissipated). But what a load of bullshit. I totally agree with Mr. Jesus with the fact that publishing this stuff is on the line of “if a Venezuelan comes up with something rimbombant, even though it has no credibility, well lets publish him and give him credit! and wohoooo it was a venezuelan! orgullo de mi patria!”
      its disgusting that a newspaper that has published articles on Dr. Jacinto Convit or a well known marine fireman who is one of the persons that makes possible that we have acces to snake venom antidote, then publishes an article on some random clown.

      • I read one of the links the guy threw in there, that redirects to an older article by the same author:
        http://www.eluniversal.com/opinion/110525/la-oficina-de-patentes-estadounidense-reconoce-invento-venezolano
        This part got my attention:
        “La turbina térmica de perfiles, componente principal del motor de aire, utiliza perfiles aeronáuticos como elementos activos para convertir la energía térmica del aire ambiental en energía mecánica rotatoria, generando una potencia útil que puede ser 10 o más veces mayor que la potencia aplicada al flujo de aire que incide sobre ella.”

        Apparently the machines is not creating energy ex-nihilo, but using the energy of the environment. It’s not something to be dismissed, but not worth rewriting the laws of physics.

        As for Mr Veras, well. It’s probably about making some money out of this, or his PhD degree is in some field not related with science or technology… paranormal sciences, perhaps?

        • Well, air coming out of this turbine should come out cold and its not the case. I havent heard any further developments on this issue either except this one. I mean, he should be having a nobel right now if this thing was true, and I dont want to hear he phrase “he was venezuelan so they didnt gave it to him”

        • That could be the case. There isn’t any technical data to make a real assessment. They only mention air speed and that’s it.
          Well, he also mentions some input-output values: “potencia de entrada de 3 W se obtiene una potencia generada útil de 130 W” and ” potencia de entrada: 16,65 W; potencia de salida: 16,67 W”.
          The first one looks ludicrous. The second one may be an error of measurement.

          In short, Mr. Vera is not the first guy to make such a grand claim to later be proven wrong. Just let him face some peer review evaluation and we’ll soon discover who’s right and who’s wrong…

          • Yeah I noticed that one too. First one is ludicrous and second one measurement error. Second one was someone claiming to have checked on the experiment.

          • No, it’s precisely a perpetual motion machine, that violates the second law of thermodynamics. It’s just as impossible as those that violate the first law. Google “perpetual motion machine” “second kind”.

    • OK, first off, the laws of thermodynamics are “laws” because they’re mathematical, not because they are “unbreakable laws of nature”.

      In case you missed your high-school physics class, the part where “energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed” has the tiny, itsy bitsy detail that a couple of the energies that it can be transformed from and into are potential and kinetic energies, neither of which has actual objective physical existence and they only exist as numbers in a piece of paper. (BTW, if you manage to effectively and objectively measure kinetic energy, you’d disprove relativity.)

      Add to that the fact that to find a “perpetual motion machine” all you have to do is to point to the moon. It moves. It has moved for longer than any human has ever lived and it will move for longer than humanity will exist. It might not be perpetual in the strict metaphysical sense, but its motion is as perpetual as it’s relevant in this context.

      In regard to the machine described in the article’s linked papers. The principle is simple: one part of it generates air, the other part turns air into electricity. The kick is that the part that generates air, though it takes quite a bit of energy to get it to a high RPM count, it takes minimal amounts of energy to keep it at that speed (because of momentum and such). While the part that generates electricity only depends on the amount of air it can get. So the energy “created” comes from the difference between the amount of energy needed to keep the machine pushing air at high speed and the energy produced by that moving air. Just like with the moon, it’s all about using (and abusing) momentum to keep things moving.

      • Sigh. You just found the 7th, 8th and 9th legs on the cat.

        Listen, either the machine outputs more energy than it takes in as inputs or it doesn’t. His contention is that it unambiguously does.

        If that was true, the guy would be too busy selling the energy that he generates for free in return for money to be writing stupid newspaper articles about it.

        • Not quite, Quico, on all counts.

          He’s not claiming more energy out than in, he’s claiming converting thermal energy from the air into mechanical energy by way of cooling the air. This does not break any laws of physics. In his own words in the patent application process:

          “These calculations show the basis of how my TAT works, THERE IS NO TRANSGRESSION TO THE FIRST LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS, as suggested by the examiner, in other words my device doesn’t create energy only takes the energy from the environment by the thermal energy lost above the airfoil.”

          By the way, Celestially orbiting objects are considered perpetual motion machines. At a smaller scale the vibrations of molecules, which also depend on their temperature, are also considered perpetual motion machines. You can see these little machines in action through Brownian motion.

          Besides, there are different forms of “perpetual motion machines”. The patent office recognized this when at one time it eliminated the category, only to reestablish it. Current definitions of “perpetual” motion machines do not require greater amounts of energy out than goes in, only that they are close to unity ratio. It follows that they are not even required to be perpetual, as in forever, just as in “this is taking to long to die out so I’ll go take a nap”. Aside from that, however, this invention is not even claiming to be in the category. If it in fact converts air temperature into motion, I see three important uses for it:

          1) wind energy production,
          2) military stealth of flying machines by cooling the air behind them,
          3) countering global warming

          • extorres: yes, on the human time scale, the movement of objects in space looks perpetual. Just two problems: One, they don’t yield any useful energy, at least not here on earth. Two, orbits decay, wobble, and otherwise change as the energy dissipates in other ways.

      • OK, this isn’t the place for a physics class but I’ll try to keep it simple.

        NNM, Thermodynamics isn’t a “law” just because it’s written in equations, it’s because it is a massive interconnected set of hypotheses, observations and theoretical frameworks consistently working together to explain an amazing number of phenomena: from the freezing of water to the behaviour of information in a computer’s hard drive.

        I didn’t miss my physics class in high school, or in college, or in grad school and I’m currently going after my Ph.D. on the subject so I’m pretty confident when I tell you that your claim that kinetic energy / potential energy lack objective existence wouldn’t pass the smell test in any college class. BTW, the “disproving relativity” bit makes no sense whatsoever and would be quite astonishing to my colleagues working with particle accelerators who measure those quantities regularly.

        The Moon is most emphatically NOT a perpetually moving object. As it orbits the planet it slowly but surely loses energy and falls a tiny bit towards Earth. Just because the scales involved are beyond human day to day experience doesn’t mean it is not true.

        Finally, if what you are saying about the machine is accurate (and given what I’ve seen in the links provided in the article I’m inclined to agree more or less with your assessment) then what this guy did is little more than a turbine, nothing revolutionary, nothing amazing and, most importantly, nothing to rewrite thermodynamics for.

        • “The Moon is most emphatically NOT a perpetually moving object”, not in the physics sense, but yes in the legal sense of the “perpetual motion machine” category. A mechanical device running on a self contained mini fusion generator would also be considered a perpetual motion machine in the patent office sense, for example, even if according to physics it would die out soon enough, in unversal time.

          But, I repeat, the invention by these guys is not a perpetual motion machine; it’s just claiming to convert heat from the air into motion. What’s the physics complaint, here?

          • If the claim were restricted to a new turbine design, there would be no complaint. The issue is that the guy claims an efficiency of 10, namely that he gets 10 times as much energy output as he puts in.

          • Wouldn’t the ridiculousness of your complaint, however, be contingent on the temperature reductions achieved? For example, what if he were reducing temperature to 10%? I wouldn’t bet on it, but…

            … I see that much of the criticism is as lacking as this invention’s presentation. I doubt the efficiencies are what these guys are claiming, but I don’t see a problem with the concept.

          • The “ridiculousness of [my] complaint” as you so glibly call it does not come from the reductions “achieved” (which in itself is debatable) but comes from the fact that it is not scientifically plausible. Like I said above, if the claim were just of a turbine it would be OK, but the claim of an energy conversion efficiency of 1000% goes against all the evidence we have today (just to give some perspective, the most efficient petrol engines can go up to 50%, wind turbines between 20 and 60% and solar cells can theoretically get to the high eighties).

            All things said this guy can shut me up easily… just plug his turbine to Guri and power the country with it, if I can still read this blog then I’ll get him to Stockholm myself.

          • I am not a physicist, I just took some courses and read some books. But it is absurd for you to label Jesús claims as ridiculous, when the explanation is that they extract energy from the air. If they’d be doing that with such an efficiency, they could cool down train tracks very cheaply for superconductor based trains. We could install massive installations of these and solve the energy crisis AND beat Global warming. Take that!

          • Jesús, I apologize; what I wrote is not what I meant. I did not mean that your complaint was ridiculous, though that is what I wrote. What I did mean, and failed to express, was the ridiculousness of their claim, butt of your complaint, is contingent on the temperature reductions. In other words, you’d have no complaint if they proved the seemingly impossible temperature reductions. My point was that you did not allow for that in your complaint. I clearly did not mean that your complaint was ridiculous since I even mentioned that I would not bet on their being able to prove what is seemingly impossible. So, I apologize again.

            Guido, see above.

          • extorres, you are right. It’s not a perpetual motion machine. But the problem is that the headline says otherwise “Derrumban Segunda Ley de la Termodinámica”.

            The guys are misguided, probably by the fact that they are electrical engineers. They have zero background on thermodynamics and therefore are unable to understand that they are not breaking the 2nd law.

          • Well, we know that the author had some sort of shor circuit when the opinion piece incorrectly describes machines that break the 2nd law of thermodynamics: “Éste se define como una máquina capaz de transformar en trabajo mecánico el calor tomado del ambiente, mediante el enfriamiento de los cuerpos que la rodean. ” then went on to claim that they broke the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Clearly, the opinion piece is much less well thought out than patent application, thankfully. I take it that in their excitement they’ve stopped thinking straight, so I’m limiting myself to judging them by their work.

          • Some, it seems, have lost track of the principal complaint: that of using the opinion pages of El Universal to promote a scientific concept.

            If you have a novel concept in any of the sciences, or social sciences, you write it up, you provide all back up as evidence, and you submit the report to the relevant peer-related journal. PERIOD. That’s the way you gain credibility as an engineer, a scientist, or a social scientist. You don’t fart around by using the opinion pages of, as Quico put it, a third-rate Latam newspaper that (like its northern counterparts) doesn’t do fact-checking. Nor do you propose your idea on the comments section of a political blog.

            If you choose to bypass the appropriate target for your ideas, then you will be justifiably labelled, not only as a kook, but also one with ‘una falta de seriedad’.

            Interestingly, Solórzano’s fellow electrical engr, or marketer, or both, Eudes Vera, is the press-release cheerleader. He makes things appear far more important than what is the norm. For instance, he says the US Patent office has just published the application for a patent. Well sure! Once you pay your fee and submit all the documentation pertinent to your invention, the US Patent Office grants you a number and publishes that number and information related to that invention. But those actions by no means signify that there is validity to that invention. I mean, I would invent an automatic panty-wringer (for lack of any other ideas that come to mind), create the prototype, draw, measure and label the drawings, write it up and submit to the US Patent and TM office — with my fee. Voilà, the USPTM will grant me a number and letters patent, while also publishing the findings. The patent is now an asset to be sold to interested parties — if it makes any sense. Or, like thousands and thousands of patents before it, it will be simply forgotten as in the sands of time.

            What I find particularly galling is Eudes Vera’s claim:
            “Ante tal hecho, como venezolano me honro en solicitar al Gobierno nacional, a las universidades nacionales, al Colegio de Ingenieros de Venezuela y a la Academia Venezolana de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Naturales que inicien las gestiones pertinentes ante la Real Academia Sueca de Ciencias para que le sea conferido el Premio Nobel de Física a este ilustre venezolano.”

            BOLAS, indeed.

  2. I do think there’s a broader point to be made here about a failure of gatekeeping to our public sphere.

    Newspapers like El Universal are key institutions in ensuring a real conversation between citizens can take place. They are supposed to be the entry points for reasoned interaction about our collective well-being in society. What this article shows is the total neglect of that role, the way El Universal’s editors just don’t give a shit about the quality of what the print, or about that conversation that follows.

    It’s not just about one clueless guy writing bullshit, it’s about our collective capacity to talk among ourselves rationally and govern ourselves reasonably. The institutions that are meant to ensure that proper dialogue can take place are failing. And that’s not something the president is responsible for.

  3. Ooooh, a response!

    Gracias por sus sarcásticos e irónicos comentarios que tratan de burlarse de nuestros hallazgos dese su punto de vista absolutamente petulante y engreído. Nosotros dejaremos que los necios chillen, pero que los hechos los silencien. Publicamos en El Universal en primer lugar porque somos venezolanos y nuestra aspiración es iniciar la producción de las nuevas máquinas en nuestro país, siempre y cuando haya acogida por los sectores financieros venezolanos, sean públicos o privados. Mientras tanto, lo invito a expresar sus burlones comentarios ante la Oficina Federal de Patentes,estadounidense que ya ha publicado nuestra solicitud de patente en su portal Web.

    Quien ríe de último ríe mejor, mi estimado detractor,

    Eudes Vera

    • And my response –

      “Quien ríe de último ríe mejor, mi estimado detractor,”

      Absolutamente cierto! Si Uds. tienen un Móvil Perpetuo, tienen la capacidad de generar algo con valor económico (electricidad) sin costo alguno. Los invito a que usen una ínfima fracción de la riqueza practicamente ilimitada que eso generará (digamos, unos $10 millardos – a la escala del valor de su invención es nada) en callarme y humillarme. Se lo merecen!

      Hasta que eso pase, entenderé que lo que estamos presenciando es un Tsunami de paja.

    • And my (Patent Pending) Con Man Detector is giving me a very strong reading 8.5 or so. He sounds *exactly* like the guys from Adaptógenos Internacionales. Which El Universal also gave free space to promote their junk and who used that to lie and slander me and my friends.

      Also, quite ironic that he is complaining about “petulante” and “engreído” when sending such an e-mail full of “necios” and “chillar”.

    • Eudes Vera, La publicación de la solicitud no implica ningún tipo de aprobación por parte de la oficina de patentes. Por ahora. Les sugiero que dejen de insinuar que el proceso de aplicación de alguna forma valida el concepto del invento hasta tanto no reciban el número final de patente.

  4. I know diddly squat about physics, but if a serious researcher had proven wrong one of its cardinal principles, it would be firstly published in all major newspapers and scientific publications around the world. This proves that things like fact checking are alien to Venezuelan newspapers, that there are number of hacks and functional illiterates writing for major newspapers publishing without anyone checking the veracity of their claims. Many people actually believes this stuff because they think that a major newspaper would not publish it without checking it first. At this rate, next week we’ll have someone denying gravity or curing aids with a plant in Amazonas.

    • See, this is why I like the Economic objection. You don’t have to know anything at all about science to know this guy is full of shit. In fact, you don’t even have to have any faith in the ability of other editors to distinguish fact from fiction to know he is. All you have to do is watch the bottom line.

      Even if EVERY major newspaper and scientific journal was wrong or too blinded by dogmatic reverence to an outdated theory to see the light, this guy is making a claim that has specific (and ABSOLUTELY HUMONGOUS) economic implications: that he can make something valuable (electricity) for free.

      If that was the case, it wouldn’t matter if every smarty-pants in the world was too thick to grasp his genius. He could just calmly go about the business of selling electricity on the wholesale market for half the price of all their competitors in every market. Since his variable costs = 0, the operation is pure profit at any price. Soon enough, Eudes Vera would amass a fortune to make any Saudi prince look like a pelele in comparison, and it wouldn’t matter in the slightest to him that nobody believed him at first.

      • You are right, thats better to prove the point. But the article does not even make reference to the fact that why such an amazing finding its being published first in an op-ed piece in a Venezuelan newspaper and not in a peer reviewed journal, as if this was something usual and normal. Es un insulto al lector pretender que es tan estúpido que se va a leer eso y no darse cuenta de lo descabellado del asunto porque le va a dar orgullo que el científico sea venezolano.

        • cacr210, you say: “Es un insulto al lector pretender que es tan estúpido que se va a leer eso y no darse cuenta de lo descabellado del asunto porque le va a dar orgullo que el científico sea venezolano.” Actually, it’s not an insult, it’s an accurate description of most readers, precisely because of the stupid nationalist pride we take on any Venezuelan’s supposed achievements. An example: most Venezuelans firmy believe that Jacinto Convit invented “the” vaccine against leprosy (there is no such thing as “a” vaccine, no matter what someone planted in Wikipedia), and think they can go to the Swedish Academy to ask for a Nobel Prize for him (this doesn’t intend to deny Convit may have many other scientific merits).

  5. Quico, there is somebody reading the opinion pages. Just try to write something critical about the prophets/astrologers that they promote, or even better, just try to publish a balance of how many predictions they actually score. No answer and no publication.

    What pisses me off is that many Venezuelan scientists are doing interesting things that will help others eventually, but these pèople never features them.

  6. I’ll go out on a limb and say don’t be so hard on El Universal. It’s generally a good read. My take is, people are starting to imagine a future without Hugo Chavez Frias, where anything is possible!

        • We’re not likely to agree here, which is ok.

          I think upholding basic standards of factual accuracy and intellectual seriousness is the entire point of a newspaper. I don’t see how flouting that can be seen as harmless…

          • Thinking El Universal is generally a pretty good read = soft bigotry. We disagree on that. Your better, and more sporting, position is not that I am a soft bigot, but that I am wrong to think El Universal is a pretty good read. 😉

          • If the Universal publishes this as scientifically true, then what its wrong with Chavismo claiming that inflation and food shortages are caused by speculators, that crime is just a sensation created by the CIA,that indigenous animals are causing the blackouts? It all comes from the same place, a disregard for plain evidence and facts.

    • What’s worrisome is that they run an article on a mythical object that’s already been proven false over centuries. Perpetual motion is one of those things that are in the same league as Shangri-La, cold fusion and turning lead into gold. Everyone knows it’s fake but in a sphere where journalists don’t fact check or even seem to have a basic grasp of history these myths gain new legs.

  7. 1) I do not know how the op-ed pages of El Universal are given away. I believe that, beyond a short list of pundits (Blanco, Bocaranda, Ibsen, Colomina, etc.), these collaborations are unpaid and, even when they are paid, almost free. Most op-ed articles come from regular columnists, who are all too happy for the chance of getting their views published: Emeterio Gómez has been writing for El Universal for almost 25 years now, for instance. In other instances, the newspaper tries to fit a number of politicians of all the main parties into its pages, some of which lasted more than others. The older regulars, from the 60s or 70s, have died or become irrelevant for the current political system, eventually being dropped off. And, again, there are some savvy political and social commentators; as well as people from economic and industrial lineage. El Nacional does a bit of this, with more people from the arts, universities and culture thrown in. El Universal has a looser political agenda than El Nacional, and lets its writers go ahead: “El Universal no se hace solidario de las opiniones emitidas por sus columnistas (articulistas permanentes o colaboradores ocasionales) y se reserva el derecho a su publicación.”

    2) The opinion piece you critiqued -fairly- is a “note”, not a regular article. That could mean is not a requested piece of opinion by the paper, but a free submission. However, the paper has published a number of “notes” from this author before (21.09.2012, “Derrumban Segunda Ley de la Termodinámica”; 27.04.2012, “Nuestra moneda desamparada”; 25.05.2011, “La Oficina de Patentes estadounidense reconoce invento venezolano”; 30.10.2008, “El motor de aire, la gran solución energética del siglo”; 21.10.2008, “¿Por qué no vender bolívares, además de petróleo?”; 11.10.2008, “Se acaba el tiempo para el gran viraje económico”; 01.10.2008, “¿Está Venezuela sembrando el petróleo?”), so he seems like an occasional writer. But this was acccepted and given credence by the paper; there use to be a reader’s mail section for this (either El Correo del Pueblo or the “Letters to the Editor”). I’ll check the print edition later…

    3) Who is Eudes Vera? Oh, how could we forget? Eudes Vera (San Fernando de Apure, 1946) was a 2006 presidential candidate (own initiative, cam in 7th; http://www.cne.gob.ve/divulgacionPresidencial/resultado_nacional.php), and according to his twitter bio is “Ingeniero Electricista, UDO, 1969. Jubilado UDO como Profesor Titular en 1994..Maestrías y Ph.D.en Ing. Eléctrica, Penn. (USA), Aston y Hatfield, UK”. Perhaps a gifted class member of Fundayacucho? Said page links to a “Free Energy Worldwide” project, (http://www.freeenergyworldwide.com), where he serves as a Scientific Associate. Could he be the real deal? Part of me says: let him be judged by the scientific community. Part of me says: oh, come on!

    BTW, there are additional items from his CV at the Free Energy website, under the “about us” tab.

    Disclaimer: I wrote for El Nacional as a “nueva firma” between 1999 and 2000. It was fun, but I was and undergraduate then; I couldn’t write like that now. My father, as a politician, has been an op-ed writer most of his life (he even had a place at El Universal until 2000, when he was removed to give way to Aristobulo Isturiz), and he takes his article writing seriously, as many others do.

    • Good find. This is just about the most depressing thing I’ve read all day:

      Eudes Vera
      Scientific Associate
      Eudes Vera was born in San Fernando de Apure, Venezuela, on August 20, 1946. In 1969 he obtained his B.S. in Electrical Engineer from the Universidad de Oriente, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. He was granted M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA (1972), and from the University of Aston, Birmingham, U.K. (1978). In 1982, he obtained a Ph. D. degree from The Hatfield Polytechnic, Hatfield, U.K.
      During 25 years, he taught several subjects in the Electrical Engineering Department of the Universidad de Oriente and retired from this institution as a Full Professor in 1994. In 1998 he was a Visiting Professor at Northeastern University, Boston, USA. He has carried out research in the area of Digital Magnetic Recording and published several papers in IEEE and other scientific publications. From 1994 until 2001, Dr Vera worked as a data network engineer in CANTV, the main Venezuelan telecommunications company.
      At the Universidad de Oriente, he was Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering for six years and Coordinator of Graduate Studies for three years. His current areas of interest are computer networks and clean energy sources.

      • There’s a reason why electrical engineers don’t build bridges, run steel mills or build motors. The expertise of an engineer is limited to a very narrow field. In Mr. Vera and Mr. Solorzano’s case, it’s electrical engineering, which does not include any training in thermodynamics or energy conversion.

        So, Mr. Vera using his degree in electrical engineering to dabble in an entirely different subject of engineering Is not very different to finding out that he’s considering working as a physician because, after all, he is called a doctor.

        Como dicen en Venezuela: zapatero a su zapato.

        • Quico: this does not mean that he was a bad Engineering professor, or anything. Just that he might be reaching beyond his expertise.

          • When you have such a tenuous grasp of the basic concepts of your discipline, by definition you cannot be a good professor.

          • That’s exactly my point. Thermodynamics is not Mr. Vera’s field of expertise. He probably never took a thermodynamics course at the university, because that’s hardly related to electrical engineering. That’s probably the reason why he’s making such a ludicrous statement.
            He might as well be an incredible professional and professor of electrical engineer, but I’m sure he’d be a lousy mechanical engineer. And I wouldn’t trust him to teach a thermodynamics course. That’s for sure.

          • But he could be a good engineer, for all we know. Maybe he’s just a bit batty.

            The shame should go to El Universal’s op-ed editor, not Mr. Vera.

          • Being involved myself in a project taking forever, I have gotten some nasty snark. I just shrug. It is fair being called on this kind of thing. Big claims, big proof.

          • Maybe he took a course in Thermo. Back in the early 80’s, Electrical Engineers from Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, needed to pass a course in Thermodynamics. Maybe UDO EEngineers in 1969 needed that too.

            If so, shame on him.

  8. Just a note, this invention would not counter the second law of thermodynamics because it would not derive its energy for motion from a source that is at a *lower* temperature.

  9. Quico,

    When it comes to science, depending on the depth of the subject, between 50% and 98% (or more) of the population just doesn’t “get it”. Journalists, because they lean more towards verbal and written skills, and not numbers tend overwhelmingly to come from the majority of the population that is scientifically and mathematically challenged.

    I would guess that less than two percent of the population in the entire world have even a clue as to what the Second Law of Thermodynamics is. Of the few people out there who do, it is rare that they become journalists. It is probably even rarer amongst Venezuelans, since Venezuelans seem to score poorly in math and science compared to most other nations in the Americas.

    In fairness to the majority, Entropy IS a hard concept to grasp. I am pretty sure that about half of the students in my university class on Thermodynamics, while they learned the equations, didn’t really grasp the concept fully.

    • Why did these electrical engrs choose the opinion pages of El Universal and not the appropriate peer-review journal?
      Here’s one answer: to con the unsuspecting who decide to invest in the idea.

    • Yes, but that’s just the patent *application*. The examiner rejected the patent application on the grounds that the invention went against the first law of thermodynamics. The applicants countered, but have not received a response.

    • Having read it I’d have to say just 2 things:
      First it seems to be little more than a new design for a wind turbine, nothing magical or transcendental… except that the guy claims that it has an efficiency >1 and even claims it is closer to 10, that alone should give pause to anyone. Second, if the claims in the guy’s patent are to be believed then Quico’s rebuke still stands: if you can get 10 times more energy output than input you have just completely solved mankind’s energy problems… get on a plane to Sweden to get all the Nobel Prizes of the year and start thinking of funny things to say to Warren Buffett and Bill Gates when you meet them.

      All I can say is get this guy away from Chavez as we don’t need our own Lisenko… we barely managed to rid ourselves of Olalde and his Sistemica posse.

      • This wouldn’t be the first thing to give 10 times the energy than what’s put in. After all, burning would achieves much more than 10 times. If we don’t count the solar energy that is stored in the wood. In this invention’s case, you don’t seem to be counting the solar energy stored in air. The question here boils down to whether the invention is as efficient as it claims, not whether it breaks any laws of physics, nor whether the inventors are business savvy.

        • “If we don’t count the solar energy that is stored in the wood” But you HAVE to take that into account, otherwise you are not doing anything related to science or engineering and you’re just talking nonsense. When you calculate efficiency you must take into account the energy of everything you are putting in (any fuel and whatnot) and the energy of everything you are putting out (as work and waste products). You can’t just count what you like and call it a day.

          His is not the first invention to claim to take energy from air and will not be the last one. And his is not the first or last to be thwarted by friction.

          • I know. We’re not disagreeing. I’m just pointing out that the measure of 10 times the energy out over energy in is not their claim. They acknowledge that they are taking the energy from the air, which is simply storing solar power. Heck, a hot air balloon does that!

          • I acknowledge another error, the use of something meeting these guys’ claims would not work to counter global warming since the heat from the air would have to be transferred to at least some part of the machine, so there could be no net cooling.

  10. Looking at the link posted by GTAveledo (http://www.freeenergyworldwide.com), there’s one think that I don’t like a single bit. With all due respect to Mr. Vera and Mr. Solorzano, they are electrical engineers. Can they build an electrical motor? Probably. But I wouldn’t ask an electrical engineer to build a bridge or a building, or for that matter I wouldn’t ask them to build a motor or a turbine, much less understand the thermodynamics behind that.

    Like I said above, these guys are not the first to claim the invention of a perpetual motion machine, and they are not gonna be the last. Let them have their fun, that we’ll have our fun too.

    Putting the grandilocuent statement aside, the machine might as well be very effective, but it doesn’t mean that it will work. I can mention the Stirling motor (another air based machine) as an example of an efficient, thermodynamics-compliant machine that never made it to the production line.

    • Like I said above, these guys are not the first to claim the invention of a perpetual motion machine, and they are not gonna be the last. Let them have their fun, that we’ll have our fun too.

      Quite right. My problem isn’t with Mr. Vera, exactly. Every society is entitled to have its share of cranks and obsessives, and there’s no harm in that.

      My problem is with El Universal. They’re meant to play a gatekeeping role, to keep totally insane ideas off of my breakfast table. In the age of the internet, that gatekeeping function is more crucial than ever – if they can’t play that role, what imaginable value added are they bringing to the table?

      I can read tons of lunatics spout out any number of insane theories out on the Internet Wilds. I go to a newspaper website for the promise that they’ll have weeded out the crazier ones. El Universal badly fails at that in giving this guy a platform.

      • They probably fell for that PhD in Engineering and ” Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering for six years and Coordinator of Graduate Studies for three years” stuff…
        Yes, it’s awful. I’m gonna put the blame this time on the brain drain. After all, shouldn’t smart, qualified guys like yourself be working on the improvement of our lousy newspapers like El Universal / El Nacional? After the brain drain, esto es lo que hay!

        • I agree. He’s not a regular contributor. He’s not a person of interest. Why let him into the op-ed pages? Probably because they really don’t matter much anymore (with all due respect to the careful writers there).

    • Actually Stirling engines are used in diverse applications.
      – Commercially they’re used for in-house electricity generation (using natural gas): http://www.whispergen-europe.com/
      – In large scale electricity generation from solar energy.
      – In cryogenics working as heat pumps as super-coolers.

      They’re not really air based. They use a gas that expands and contracts in a closed system as heat moves from a hot source to a cooler sink.

  11. For those who do not know what Second Law of Thermodynamics is, it is a scientific way of stating that “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” when it comes to energy in a closed system. You can’t get more energy out than you put in.

      • Right, which has nothing to do with this invention because it claims to take energy from turbulent air, leaving it calmer, so it is tantamount to warming a cold thing by cooling a hot thing.

      • Now you are pulling my leg… I think.

        It is the Second Law that states (or rather implies) that within any closed system, entropy can only increase, never decrease.

  12. When asked ‘Dr. Einstein, why is it that when the mind of man has stretched so far as to discover the structure of the atom we have been unable to devise the political means to keep the atom from destroying us?] That is simple, my friend. It is because politics is more difficult than physics.

  13. Oh, damn!

    You bastard escuálidos! Now it makes sense! They had hail in Maracaibo last week. The gringos got their paws in the invention of this vendepatria, who lives in Miami, and they are now testing their new weapon in Maracaibo. They reduced the temperature so much that they created hail! And they are storing the energy to make another earthquake soon!

    I knew it! Now it all makes Sense!!!1

  14. Ah, I come late to the frey….but the piece in question was published earlier in Aporrea.org. Here is my post on the matter on my FB page on Sept. 17:

    “Por eso estamos como estamos. Aqui esta’ una joyita pubkicada en Aporrea. No se’ quien es este Eudes Veras, pero aparentemente tiene un doctorado en ingenieria electrica. Lo que si es claro es que el amigo no entiende ni papa de lo que es la 2nda ley de termodinamica. Y asi nos vamos a convertir en potencia. PLOP!
    http://www.aporrea.org/tecno/a150347.html

    Investigador venezolano derrumba la Segunda Ley de la Termodinámica – Por: Eudes Vera (*)
    http://www.aporrea.org

      • yep!
        And here the next scientific breakthrough
        http://www.rnv.gov.ve/noticias/?act=ST&f=14&t=195686
        “Hoy día se ha podido establecer que la teoría sísmica basada en el choque de placas es una falacia, es una mentira. Finalmente los sismos que ocurren en la tierra son producto de la actividad de ondas de 4 dimensiones que interrelacionan con la tierra. Comprobado científicamente”
        “Para ilustrar el tema comentó que a través de un modelo loxodromo, una onda en línea recta de 4 dimensiones sobre una superficie de 3 dimensiones se mueve en forma de espiral. Este SPIN, a través de un procedimiento muy sencillo, permite ubicar 2 sismos cada 12 horas que tienen una diferencia meridiana pero que son cronológicamente hermanos.”
        “Señaló que HAARP encontró esta fuente infinita de energía y a que a través de una especie de puente saben exactamente en que parte del mundo esta onda va a estar acoplada al campo escalar terrestre.”
        count the days until that is in El Universal too…

  15. El Universal provides a version of their newspaper in English which is great for me because my Spanish is intermediate level at best, however the translations are often so bad that I cant understand the article. Anyway, I appreciate that they make the effort but they definitely could use
    someone fluent in both languages to edit the English version.

  16. I am amazed to see that some people in this forum think this is plausible.

    Extracting heat from the air??? Really?? One can’t extract work unless your inlet temp is higher than your outlet temp. Period. If it is ambient air in and out, then you must increase the temperature. Then you need to use work to do it. Then you get entropy. Then it can’t be 100% efficient.

    But wait, how about if you use fuel to heat up the air? You first compress the air at high RPMs with a set of impellers, then heat it, in some kind of burner, then pass it through a turbine! Boom! Power… Oh, wait, that’s a gas turbine which powers planes and it is already used to produce electricity.

    On US Patents, there is a lot to be said on how ineffective the US patent office is. But the only thing they check is if the idea is original and new. Not if it is viable.

Leave a Reply