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Physical Attraction

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We are a physics podcast. But not just a physics podcast - interviews with scientists, scholars, authors and reflections on the history and future of science and technology are all in the wheelhouse.

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Nov 22, 2018

"The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."


And yet, throughout the years and decades and centuries, countless people have tried to convince others that they hold the key to violating the laws of thermodynamics and generating limitless amounts of free energy. Here, in the spirit of narrative fun, we explore the vast array of free energy scams that have been perpetrated over the years - from the age of PT Barnum style "inventors" to the age of GoFundMe and the tragic tale of the self-recharging battery. It didn't work. None of them work. Not the nuclear reactor that was secretly powered by wires. Not the magic liquid that could turn water into gasoline. Free energy is a scam as old as time, and yet people still seem to be taken in by it - often to the tune of millions of dollars.

If you take only one thing from Physical Attraction, let it be this: 

It's much easier and infinitely likely that the laws being broken are laws that prohibit fraud, and not the Laws of Thermodynamics.

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