Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Czech Dream Theory

Rhaomi, a recently registered forum member, had this to say today in the forums:

Steorn interests me for much the same reason Lost does -- interesting people, a cryptic premise, and the fact that the "plot" is painting itself into a corner. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's just that, as the more mundane and cynical explanations for Steorn's actions become untenable (too expensive for a hoax, losing money = no fraud, pledging aid to poor nations, etc.), the few remaining answers become more and more fantastic. Sure, inventing a miraculous energy system that violates centuries of physical law is a pretty tall order, but Steorn's behavior thus far is steadily eliminating all other possibilities.

In light of this, I find it interesting to try to find ways to explain what Steorn might be up to if it's lying. A sort of thought experiment, if you will. Assuming that Orbo is not real, what plausible scenario can you devise that explains their actions?

I'll go first (duh, I'm the OP :wink:): One thing that struck me while reading the company's Wikipedia article was the fact that they're using a film crew to document the trial process. This could just be for posterity, but consider this: what if the documentary is the whole point? Let's say that some cutting-edge filmmaker decides to explore human reactions to the idealistic and the impossible. So, they work with a company to create a fake OU device, pay for the Economist advert, and fill the website with enough pseudo-science to convince laymen and keep the scientific types busy. Everything from then on is recorded: the reactions of forum members at the party, the visits from skeptics, perhaps even how the world reacts when Steorn unveils its machine.

Why would they do this? I can think of a few reasons, offhand. Perhaps the director wants to explore the idealism and gullibility of the average person. Or how communities can form around simple and powerful ideas. Or how science can be as recalcitrant as religion when it comes to challenging established beliefs.

This is my first post here, and I'm pretty new to the world of Steorn, so forgive me if I've overlooked details that nullify this theory. All I ask is: is it possible? Could this be Steorn's true objective? If not, what other explanations can you dream up? Go on -- exercise your think-bone! :bigsmile:

PS: I'm not saying any of this is true. It's just idle speculation -- all in good fun!
I think Rhaomi has a good point. Others have discussed this theory in the forums, and it's known as the Czech Dream theory. The Czech Dream is a movie that was made back in 2004. Here is what Crank had to say back in November about this hypothesis:
The difference with the Czech Dream thing, to my mind, is that they were students. They didn't have lives that could be ruined, didn't have careers and reputations already in place. I've researched the Steorn documentary-makers (wasn't about to make a prat of myself by being interviewed if they seemed iffy). They're well-known, and would never be able to interview anyone ever again for a documentary if they were involved in a spoof. Who would trust them again?


Icky Chris said...

They're well-known, and would never be able to interview anyone ever again for a documentary if they were involved in a spoof. Who would trust them again?

Not to mention that nobody would ever want to work with Steorn's people again if they were part of such a thing.
And really, who would want to watch it? Would such a documentary make any money?

IMO, they've either got something truly amazing, or they have fooled themselves into thinking that they have.

Anonymous said...

Rhaomi asks-"Is it possible?"

You are darn right it is possible. Far more possible than Steorn having found OU, or invalidated COE. (Which would invalidate COM, which would invalidate symmetry etc,etc)

I have a friend in the "reality TV" biz, he says Steorn has all the hallmarks of that type of thing. Also, he says people pull their hair out in that biz trying to come up with new show ideas, and Discovery channel was really turning over every rock looking for a new idea about the time Steorn popped up. They already had "Mythbusters", then came "Deadliest Catch" and "Dirty Jobs", these were real ratings smashers-and big money makers, especially in rerun.

If you look at the Steorn "investor relations" page it is a bankers nightmare, yet there is over 6 million euros floating about. Who be crazy enough to still be pumping big money into Steorn's 2006 3+million euro loss,(which is actually just an accounting of accumulated expense)with absolutely no income showing, (based on their own financials and that can be gleaned from their tax records)?

No one! Except:

Cable TV, thats who. Beyond productions, the Australian firm that produces "Mythbusters" among other Reality TV shows recently formed a relationship with a UK media firm (unnamed),I find that fascinating under the circumstances.

BTW, production costs for "Top Models" ran $800,000 per segment, "The Apprentice" ran $2 million per segment. Thats between 8 million to 20 million per 10 episode season, average is about 7 million for reality TV shows. In contrast, a typical 1 hour TV drama that runs 22 episodes costs about 50 million.

So, the "Steorn is a Reality TV show Theory" is in the budget ballpark, based on what is known about all cash flow into Steorn, and their projected so called "losses"?

Cranks comment about "boring" seemed a bit off the mark, would a reality TV series about a faux quest for perpetual motion and peoples reactions to that be more boring than a show about catching crab??? I think not! LOL!

So, I think Steorn is "Mythbusters" on steroids.

As for how it would affect Steorn's reputation, remember their main field was E commerce and IT security. It will be seen as an educational fringe science "sting" and psychological exploration of "Its too good to be true".

"Who would trust them again?"

Hell, who would ever go on "America Idol" again! lol!

As for who would watch such a show.. I would! So would you!

Icky Chris said...

.....As for who would watch such a show.. I would! So would you!

I didn't watch that crab thing, whatever that was. So no, I wouldn't.

And if Steorn was knowingly taking investment money under false pretenses, reality show or no,...isn't that fraud? On tape?

Anonymous said...

"I didn't watch that crab thing, whatever that was. So no, I wouldn't."

" 'Too Good to be True.' Steorn, Orbo, and Hope. The Yellowbrick Road and Free Energy. Premieres Wensday, 8 PM Eastern/9PM Central"

Are you saying that if there was a Reality TV series about Steorn's little experiment with pseudo-science, you would not watch it? Give me a break!

"And if Stern was knowingly taking investment money under false pretenses, reality show or no,...isn't that fraud? On tape?"

What fraud? Stern has not solicited or taken money from anyone to fund it's "free energy" as far as I can tell, and they insist they have not and will not, indeed this is a marked feature of their ruse. And it is the one thing they say I actually believe!

They admit to having pre-existing investors, but have never disclosed the details of those investments or on what basis those investments were formed, and they refuse to answer questions about that when pressed.

If Steorn was approached by a TV production company-or vice versa- and have an agreement to produce a Reality TV show about a bogus energy claim together, that is not fraud. To claim they have some free energy widget-when they know they do not -is not fraud either, IF they have not taken money from others based on that claim. As far as I can tell, they are actually PAYING OUT to (hand picked) parties interested in perusing their "free energy"! That is also not fraud. All their selection processes are not about their claimed device, it is about who they think they will be able to get to sign a release to appear on their show.

That is important because they WILL, in post production, have to disclose, and get anyone they want appearing on screen to sign a release. If the history of shows like "Candid Camera", "Girls Behaving Badly", or "The Tom Green Show" (all shows in which participant were lured into false/contrived contexts/setups) is any indication, that will not be a problem.

Human nature being what it is, offering enough money, a pinch of fame, a host of perc's and a proper sales pitch and spin has proven sufficient to get people who were "taken in" under even the most embarrassing and foolish appearing circumstances to go with the program.

I can hear it all now:
Sean: "All of you have performed a valuable and valiant public service and considering we offered no evidence at all, it took tremendous courage, hope and spirit to put your faith in our claims. Just as now you are showing tremendous courage and spirit helping us expose not only this, the seduction of scams based on the "holy grail" of free energy, but perhaps also the false allure of the other junk science scams that, unfortunately, have been wrought upon the public via the slick advertising, the internet and E commerce."

Then will come the stories about grannies that lost their life savings, couples that lost their houses, ...etc.

A few, out of pride, will throw a fit and not sign a release. But there is over 10 times more footage shot than will make it to air, so attrition is easily accounted for, is actually a known and predictable percentage, and is easily dealt with in editing.

Could they get sued? Yes, they possibly could, as the film "Borat" so well demonstrates. But that is rare, and even if the Production company/Steorn were to lose such a suit, (a BIG if!-grounds for such suits are difficult to formulate and demonstrate) and since damage awards are confined to proved "harm done"-that is not an issue considering the money making power ever the lamest shows have. Besides, these cases never make it to trial, and are settled out of court. Just like the "Borat" cases will be, assuming they are not thrown out of court.

Anonymous said...

Forgotten Silver

Forgotten Silver was a famous (or infamous) mock-documentary hoax by Costa Botes and Peter Jackson
which screened on primetime New Zealand television.

Forgotten Silver is a 50 min mock-documentary which heralds the discovery of a long-lost New Zealand pioneer in film-making.
This film presents a biography of McKenzie's life through interviews with celebrities, McKenzie's 'widow', and film experts - including Leonard Maltin. This is intercut with
footage of an expedition into the New Zealand bush to re-discover the site of McKenzie's greatest silent epic, Salome.

What is Peter Jackson working on for the moment ?