A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Archive for the ‘Fluid Mechanics’ Category

Fantasy physics and energy medicine

Posted by apgaylard on May 6, 2011

I’ve heard it said that, unlike the medical world, there is no such beast as alternative physics.  Whilst it’s true that made up* nonsense hasn’t penetrated physics education and practice in the same way as it has medicine, there is no shortage of people indulging in fantasy physics.  Perpetual-motion dreamers are prone to do this, as are advocates of so-called ‘energy medicine’.  In the case of the former, they are looking for excuses to support their claims for so-called ‘over-unity’ devices that are claimed to produce more energy than they consume.  The latter are looking for ‘explanations’ for how homeopathy, reiki etc. ‘work’.  Of course, neither of these communities actually have meaningful effects that require explanation.  This is about having some superficially ‘sciency’ prose to sell their wares, or reassure their devotees.

I’ve recently been pointed** at a cracking example of ‘energy medicine’ advocates indulging in some fantasy physics.  It’s hosted on the PositiveHealthOnline website and is called, Spirals and Energy in Nature, attributed to Robert McCoy.   It’s worth a look as an exemplar of the desperate nonsense that elements of the ‘energy medicine’ community dabble in.  It’s so rich a vein of fantasy physics that I’m sure that I’ll end up overlooking some howlers.  If I do, please feel free to point them out in the comments.

From Academic to Quackademic

First, I’d like to start by looking at one of the key authorities cited in the article, one Dr Valerie Hunt.  She retired as Professor of Physiology at UCLA in 1980; to quote her web biography:

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Posted in bad physics, Fluid Mechanics, Impossibe Machines, physics | Tagged: , , , , | 32 Comments »

What a plane fishy old bird

Posted by apgaylard on May 30, 2008

Viktor Schauberger - CrankViktor Schauberger had some peculiar ideas.  One of them was that aeronautical and marine engineers had got it all wrong with the propeller, or airscrew. 

“As best demonstrated by Nature in the case of the aerofoil maple-seed, today’s propeller is a pressure-screw and therefore a braking screw, whose purpose is to allow the heavy maple-seed to fall parachute-like slowly towards the ground and to be carried away sideways by the wind in the process. No bird has such a whirling thing on its head, nor a fish on its tail. Only man made use of this natural brake-screw for forward propulsion. As the propeller rotates, so does the resistance rise by the square of the rotational velocity. This is also a sign that this supposed propulsive device is unnaturally constructed and therefore out of place.”

 (Viktor Schauberger, Implosion Magazine, No. 112, p. 52) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bad Aerodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Pseudoscience | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Power of the Vortex

Posted by apgaylard on March 17, 2008

NASAIn my professional life I spend a lot of time thinking about vortices in fluids; the drag they induce and the noise they create.  They are common in every-day fluid flows and yet can be quite beautiful.

In their beauty and the compelling way they seem to represent order springing from chaos, there is a trap: the unschooled or unwary can see them as either mystical or unexplained by science. 

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Posted in Fluid Mechanics, Pseudoscience | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »