I received one of the many emails I get daily for a “free energy machine” that will eliminate my power bills forever. I just need to send $X and the book will be on its way.
I realized that the most terrifying thing about these ads is the United States Congress and President fully endorse this type of thinking. Wind is free energy. Solar is free energy. It was only after being called on the carpet repeatedly that the term is now “free fuel” rather than “free energy”.
Are wind and solar any less a product of magical thinking than the Tesla machines? Not really. To believe that a variable fuel supply coupled with a massive money outlay for materials, labor and huge land usage is going to save the planet, or even qualifies as an “energy source”, pretty much requires the same gullibility that the Tesla machine does. The difference is wind and solar had super salesmen (Al Gore at the forefront) telling the US we could fix our problems with intermittent power and billions of dollars, after which all the power generated would be free. After the billions of dollars spent to build the Tesla machines—oops, wind turbines and solar panels—less than 10% of the total US energy comes from these two sources, and only when the “free fuel” is available. Since you can’t mine or drill for wind and solar, fuel is only available part-time. Therefore, so is the electricity.
Wait, you say! Wind turbines really do make energy. Yes, when the wind blows. And after the billions of dollars for installation and maintenance, they do use free fuel. However, the reality of the failure of these methods is hidden by the use of a power grid with real fuel—you know, natural gas and coal. If we were cut off the fossil fuels, the wind and solar would very much look like that Tesla machine. One can live using solar and wind, though as far as I can verify, even individuals living off-grid have fossil fuel generators for backup. Even so called “green” islands have resorted to diesel generators when wind destroyed their turbine and the sun failed to shine enough to charge the solar panels. Virtually all “green islands” also rely on subsistence farming and have very small populations.
One supposes that some of the internet offers for how to build your own wind turbine or build solar panels and “stick it to the power company” do create some energy. They do not, however, make the power company hate you, save you all your fuel costs and then sell energy back to the power company, etc. They do make the sellers rich, another feature these items have in common with the internet free energy scams.
I suppose there will always be a lot of money to be made on these internet scams. After all, the US government fell for the scam and spent a pile of people’s hard-earned tax dollars on the scams, harming the environment and increasing mining, construction and land destruction all along the way. At least the individuals buying the internet scam hopefully pay for book or device themselves. The damage is pretty much limited to the person who volunteered to part with their money rather than massive damage only the government can inflict.
Seems where money can be made, magical thinking will always be available to exploit, on a massive scale at times. If only it didn’t do so much damage to society in the process.