Capacitive voltage dividers and free energy

Recently on a circuit simulation mail list someone asked about simulating capacitive voltage dividers for a DC circuit. I couldn’t for the life of me think of why anyone would be attempting this. A number of list members responded and straightened the questioner out about capacitors and why not to use them for DC voltage division. After he was helped he thanked everyone and then pointed out what he was working on.

It would be hard to explain the circuit without a 20 page volume of concepts and math. But I will show it to you at Front Page (overunityenergy – Advanced Energy Technologies).

Now it makes sense, he was asking about a nonsense circuit. With a circuit this simple I can’t imagine it would take me 20 pages of concepts and math to fully describe its operation. I guess you would need 20 pages to make sure you have enough pseudoscience in there to fool people. Just check out this schematic from the home page:

[Update June, 2 2007] has been deleted but you can still see a version of the circuit here.

Ooh, they’ve been working on this for 12 22 years (1985-2007) thats determination. I love the Q=CV C=Q/V informational label, I guess if you work this long on these types of circuits you need a reminder of basic algebraic equation solving. Maybe the next revision will expand this to include the other form, V=Q/C, it should be a breakthrough for them. 😉 If you understand DC circuit theory you have to check out the “SFG 101 Course Of Study” for some good laughs. I’m not sure if the maintainers of the site are con-men or just pseudo-scientists with no real knowledge of physics (since they ask for money I’m leaning towards con-men).

A final note, while I was typing this up I suddenly heard a cuckoo clock sound from my PC. I hadn’t noticed the cuckoo clock on their website before, hmm, is this site a joke or are they [are] just too dense to notice the humor in having their page say cuckoo to visitors every hour.

[Update May 30, 2007] A couple of updates to this post. The person who posted to the LTSpice mail list is the owner and maintainer of the site, Dannie Ray Jackson. I misread the copyright dates on the picture of the schematic and noticed my error when Dan posted his Spice circuit to the LTSpice list. I think I just couldn’t comprehend how anyone could work on one simple circuit for 22 years without understanding what they are doing wrong. I had thought this was a young person who had started working on this at age eight and now at age twenty still hadn’t learned enough about electronic circuit design and basic physics to understand what he’s seeing, I was wrong.

Dan thinks he has some success because of the rigged spice schematic (it has multiple power sources). Other posters on the mail list have attempted to get him to see the error of his ways but alas I suspect he will just ignore them. In case Dan or anyone else reading this wants to understand what is really happening in this circuit I’ll give some hints. Although I haven’t seen Dan’s gathered data I suspect he has data showing that there is almost always an output voltage greater than the supplied voltage. However the amount of increase varies depending on many factors which he has not controlled for so he doesn’t have a clear indication of what is causing the phenomenon. I remember having similar results with circuits I played with 40 years ago when I was an 8 year old just starting to learn circuit design and analysis.

One key to understanding the potential sources of the extra power are in the common uses of diodes and capacitors in normal circuit designs. Diodes are very often, I hazard to say most often, used for rectification and demodulation, large value capacitors most often are used to store charge and filter AC signals to nearly a pure DC. The other thing to understand is that since the 20th century most places on earth have measurable electromagnetic fields originating from radio transmitters (intentional and unintentional) and AC power wires. This EMF is considered signs of ghosts by many ghost hunters and mysterious power sources by free energy seekers. The reality is that if you look at the spectrum with better instruments (e.g. oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer) instead of using simple detector circuits (e.g. EMF meter, home brew circuit) you’ll be able to actually identify the source.

All that is happening with the circuit from SFG Research is that the ambient EMF is being rectified by the diodes and stored in the capacitors. A simple way to prove this without expensive equipment is to mount the circuit in a well shielded enclosure. As long as you fully discharge the capacitors between tests, you’ll see that when the circuit is adequately shielded there is no increase in output over that provided by the battery. Keep in mind the increase in power when not shielded is very real it is just not all that useful as a power source. The power is useful in its RF form as it will allow you to hear a radio station without the need of external power (crystal radio set) and the low frequency form can be used to show the presence of live wires without actually contacting the circuit.

CAM, DCA and double standards.

There are an excellent set of blog posts by Orac and Dr. Novella today.

Dr. Novella’s post, The CAM Double Standard, causes me to fear for the future of health care in the U.S. I really hate that we taxpayers are shelling out money to anti-scientific research through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It sure seems to me that a lot of people want to take us back to the 19th century for our health care model. Read his article for the worrying details.

Orac posted “Clinical research” on dichloroacetate by A travesty of science, it is his latest update on the, too long running, DCA is a miracle cure crap. I feel so badly for the patients and their loved ones who are grasping at straws with DCA sold through the BuyDCA website.

Reading through these posts and the linked pages I spotted a quote that can be an example for those trying to determine if something is bogus. A good way to spot bogus claims is to simply use a dictionary. The term I encountered is “aerobic oxygen”, without even looking in a dictionary I was pretty sure that adjective doesn’t go with that noun. Looking up aerobic on Webster’s site gives:

Main Entry: aer·o·bic
Pronunciation: “er-‘O-bik
Function: adjective
1 : living, active, or occurring only in the presence of oxygen

So the definition for the phrase “aerobic oxygen” is, oxygen that is active, or occurring only in the presence of oxygen. Clearly any thinking person will see that is ridiculous.

Over at Wikipedia they say:

Aerobic is an adjective that means “requiring air” (where “air” usually means oxygen).

This gives the phrase a definition of, oxygen requiring oxygen, or, oxygen requiring air. This is equally silly, perhaps the purveyors of “aerobic oxygen” mean something else but if they do they should really look up the correct adjective in a dictionary.

Nope, I just did a Google search for “aerobic oxygen” and the second two sites are clearly frauds looking to confuse prospective targets by mis-using the English language. The third result is an FDA notice from 2003 entitled “Cyber Warning Letter to Aerobic Oxygen USA”. Sadly, this FDA letter seems to be just a notice for them to change their site a little so that the fall under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act becoming exempt from FDA regulation.

BTW – the first site in the Google search gives a malware warning, thank you Google.

And the winner is?

The Alliance For Science 2007 National High School Essay Contest has announced the winners, first place goes to Gregory Simonian. I have just read his essay and found it to be excellent, give it a read then head over to his blog to congratulate Gregory.

I haven’t read the other essay’s yet but I plan on reading as many as I can because it makes me feel hopeful for humanities future to read works by rational critical thinking young people.

I attended a fashion premier today

For the first time in my life I attended an exclusive, by invitation, fashion premier. OK, well everyone who buys from Despair Inc. got invited and, anyone who typed in today after 9:00AM CST got to see the premier so, I guess I’m not too special.

I’ve been a big fan of the Demotivators series of products from Despair for the past few years, how could you not love a company that has this, :-(, for a logo. Their customer disservice motto of “We’re not satisfied until you’re not satisfied” clearly shows how they care for you.

Now that they’ve introduced the DespairWear clothing line you can share their hilarious messages where ever you go. I like everything in this first round of introductions and as they promised in my invitation,

With new clothing items added EVERY WEDNESDAY until the Apocalypse*.

*After that, well, you’ll just have to shop elsewhere, ‘cuz we ain’t down for that mandatory Mark of the Beast thingie… It’s not gonna be retailer-friendly… Not in the slightest.

Wednesdays have just gotten a lot more fun!

After you check out the latest fashions try your hand at creating a personal Demotivator in the D.I.Y. section. Here’s my attempt:demotivator1

Image is from CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS with me adding the arrow and text. The original image was chosen as Number One Astronomy Picture of 2006 by BadAstronomer Phil Plait.


A new exclusive mailing I received, OK, OK, it’s just marketing info that goes to anyone who wants it, has expanded on the Apocalypse comment:

*Yes, we’re serious… Offer not valid if:

the economy completely collapses under the weight of its sheer unsustainability… (Don’t think it can’t happen- the US Government is spending money every bit as irresponsibly as YOU are, and on a whole lot of stupid junk every bit as non-substantive as the products that are our lifeblood…)

Despair goes bankrupt… Which won’t happen AS LONG AS YOU KEEP BUYING OUR VALUABLE WARES! We’re a team, remember?

The Apocalypse starts…**.

** What, didn’t you ever go to Church? You don’t even know what to look for? Well, if you see a prophet bringing fire down out of the skies in the full view of men who encourages you to worship a messianic figure from whom he derives power… THAT’s a good sign that we’re not going to be selling any more DespairWear. If that messianic figure tries to enforce a cashless society where no person can buy or sell stuff who doesn’t take a mark on their right hand or forehead- you better start shopping at Hot Topic for your novelty t-shirt needs. ‘Cuz for real, we’re heading to a non-disclosed and heavily fortified location at that point. Yes there are other signs but jeez, I’m just a marketing lackey trying to finish an email newsletter… Can’t you crack a Bible or something?

Nick Gillespie talks about Roger Williams

On this weeks Bill Moyers Journal there was an interview with Reason Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie.

BILL MOYERS: You know, there’s an anomaly. I have to come back to this. You you– have strong opinions about politics, parties, elections. You’re registered to vote but you don’t vote. You feel stateless? You feel lost in America?

NICK GILLESPIE: You know, it’s been so long since I’ve had political heroes that I don’t worry. I was thinking about watching the piece about Regent University and the discussion about the role of religion and the state. One of my great heroes is Roger Williams, who is, like Pat Robertson, was a Baptist.
This was– the guy who– he was kicked– he was a– trained at Cambridge during the great Puritan years in the 17th century. He was a classmate of John Milton. He came to America to preach. Got kicked out of Massachusetts Bay Colony because he said, “You guys are mixing– the Lord’s work with secular government.”
And he ended up founding– he got kicked out, founded Providence, bought land from the Indians– you know, which is almost unheard of then. Created the– — colony of Rhode Island. Got a royal charter for that as a place for religious tolerance.
He came up– and this is a Baptist, who, like Pat Robertson, in his heart of hearts, thought that the pope was the antichrist– or a werewolf. You know, in the popular prejudices of the days. But articulated the absolute need to have a secular government where your religious faith was a private concern that the state could not control but it also couldn’t compel any individual to worship in a particular way. And it seems to me, you know, Roger Williams may be my last political hero.

I’m so pleased to see this on a nationally distributed TV show. Since my posts for the Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm, here and here , I’ve wondered why there isn’t more mention of Roger Williams‘s influence in the anti-theocracy movement. Williams used the Bible to show that government with absolute freedom of religion, including non-belief, is the the only just form of government.

New version of Joost

I’ve installed and am trying out the new Joost beta version “Friends Edition 0.10.2”. The new designation “Joost beta – Now For Friends” marks the unlimited availability of invites to hand out.

I had gotten some invites a couple weeks ago and gave them out to readers who asked for them. So, if any reader wants a Joost invite leave a comment and I’ll send you an invite. To send an invite Joost requires your first and last names plus an e-mail address. To make sure the whole internet doesn’t see your e-mail address, simply put it in the e-mail address field of the comment submission form, that way only I will see it.

Launching version 0.10.2 for the first time I found it to be about the same as the previous version. The UI is changed slightly and I did get to watch a few minutes of video (previous record for length was about 15 seconds). My guess is that the only play for a short time problems are simply server overloads that will be corrected soon. It still has some quirks when on my secondary monitor, tray icon menu disappears, choppy playback in full screen mode but, other non-beta applications I use (e.g. MS Media Center, Adobe Reader) have annoying quirks on my secondary display too.

Overall Joost shows much promise and I intend to keep playing with it for a least a few months. In the meantime I can still get my fix of IP TV like DL.TV and Cranky Geeks automatically via Instant Media.


May 15th No Gas foolishness

This e-mail is going around:

Don’t pump gas on May 15th, in April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight. On May 15th 2007, all internet users are to not go to a gas station inprotest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most places. There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up. If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take$2,292,000,000.00 (that’s almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companyspockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May15th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry forat least one day. If you agree (which I cant see why you wouldnt) resend this to all yourcontact list. With it saying, ”Don’t pump gas on May 15th”

In the words of Penn & Teller this is Bulls hit! (FCC friendly version 🙂 ).

Simply changing when or where something is purchased has very little impact on the base economics. Whether you buy gas on the 15th or, 14th or, 16th doesn’t significantly affect any oil company. What has an effect is reducing actual consumption so, if the originators of this chain mail really wanted to have an impact on oil prices they’d ask to make 5/15 a don’t use any gas day.

In addition to this not passing the business common sense test, there is also this outright misinformation:

in April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

The US DOE keeps track of gasoline prices and provides the data in an excel spreadsheet. Examining the US Regular All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices excerpt for 1997 shows:

Date Cents per Gallon
Mar 03 121.5
Mar 10 120.6
Mar 17 120.0
Mar 24 120.4
Mar 31 120.0
Apr 07 120.3
Apr 14 119.9
Apr 21 119.9
Apr 28 119.5
May 05 119.3
May 12 119.3
May 19 120.3
May 26 121.2
Jun 02 121.5

So where is that 30 cents/gal drop? There is a slight dip of 2.2 cents/gal centerd in May but that’s a far cry from 30 cents/gal.

See Also:
Snopes Article

U.S. Retail Gasoline Historical Prices

Independent Gasoline Price History adjusted for inflation

Crude oil price 1947 – 2006 in 2006 dollars


Happy Birthday Rolf Sievert

On May 6th 1896 Rolf Maximilian Sievert was born in Stockholm Sweden. Sievert devoted his life to the measurement and medical usage of ionizing radiation. His invention of the Sievert chamber for consistent measurement of radiation dosage helped pave the way for the safe control of ionizing radiation in medical applications. In recognition of his achievements, the SI unit for equivalent dose and efficient dose was designated the sievert, Sv, in 1979.

Professor Rolf Sievert worked with many organizations on radiation protection issues including the Swedish Radiation Protection Institute (SSI), the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) and, the International Commission for Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU, Chairman 1956 to 1962).

For further reading:
Biography – Wikipedia
SI Unit the Sievert – Wikipedia
Rolf Sievert, the man and the unit – Karolinska Institutet
BBC – h2g2 – The Measurement of Radioactivity