Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Genepax Hoax? Rush to Judgement?

June 15, 2008

Genepax Doubts?

Genepax’s announcement of a fuel system powered by water has been generating some buzz (see my previous post on the announcement).

To over simplify things for the layman (and I am one of them, so if there are errors, please educate me) the use of water as an energy source requires another source to force the separation of water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.  Genepax claims that their system uses a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material that allows the necessary chemical reaction to convert water into an energy source.

Some people have slammed Genepax’s invention as impossible since it defies the principles of physics, or as Mark Chu-Carroll calls it, “Perpetual Motion via Fuel Cell.”  They say that there must be a hidden energy source operating Genepax’s system, such as batteries, and Genepax is orchestrating a complete fraud to lure gullible, science-illiterate venture capitalists to invest.

But should we be so quick to dismiss whatever Genepax has to say?  Science has long had a history of disagreeing what is possible or not.  It was only fifty years ago did most physicists dismiss Hugh Everett’s PhD dissertation on parallel worlds.  Today, many physicists have come to reexamine Everett’s work and the idea of parallel worlds is now part of modern astrophysics.

Does it cost us anything to keep an open mind?  Genepax is schedule to hold an English press conference soon where they will demonstrate their system to foreign media.  During that demonstration, I think it would be fair for Genepax to allow someone to closely securitize and examine their prototype car and system to make sure there is not a hidden power source.  If Genepax allows that, would this cause the naysayers to reexamine things?

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Inaugural World Science Festival wraps up

June 2, 2008

It was an exciting weekend for me as I was privileged enough to be able to attend three wonderful events at the inaugural World Science Festival in New York City.  The World Science Festival, a melody of all-star speaker workshops, is trying to do for the curious minded public, what Coachella tries to do for music goers.

The festival was especially appealing to me because it dealt with two areas that I am interested in; finding the reality that surrounds us from a physics perspective and being able to live long enough to see the solution.

The first workshop, “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives: With Mark Oliver Everett,” played a BBC documentary of the same title.  Mark Everett is the mathematically-challenged lead musician of the Eels, while his late father, Hugh Everett, was a world renowned physicist credited with the theory of parallel worlds.  The documentary, both emotional and entertaining, trails Mark’s journey as he tries to make layman sense of parallel worlds and understand his father on a personal level.  “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives” is set to premiere on PBS’ Nova in October.

But I felt the best event was “90 is the New 50: The Science of Longevity.”  It had more of a late-night talk show feel than a bunch of academics at science conference.  I thought the moderator, Faith Salie, did an especially good job.  The general consensus from the panelists was that in the near future (<20 years), scientific technology will advance to the point where quality life extension will happen.  Harvard Medical School professor, David Sinclair, believes resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, is the key to unlocking the fountain of youth and a commerical version in the form of a pill will be available in the coming years.  Sounds like good news to me!

I really hope the people behind the World Science Festival would consider bring it to different cities.  Most of the events were sold out and the standby lines were incredibly long.  I think this was a great way to get the general public more engaged in interesting scientific issues.