Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Great Debate

We had some interesting Steorn activity today. Sean McCarthy, CEO of Steorn, went to University College Dublin to debate with Jerry O'Dwyer and Dr. David Timoney on Steorn's position on the Conservation of Energy. Here's a link to the event description. crank's daughter was able to film Sean's part of the debate but was asked to turn off the camera at that point. Also another student in the classroom filmed the whole event, but at this point we don't know if we'll ever see either of these tapes.

Here are some of the more interesting parts from the Long Weekend thread:

crank: It was one of the saddest things I ever saw. I expected that Sean would be slaughtered by the two academics, instead it was just a song and dance routine for the amusement of the students.
Steorn: to be clear we presented an overview of why certain magnetic transactions violate CoE. There was no rebuttal at all on the point, the "leading magnetics expert" who was part of the rebuttal did not know anything at all about magnetic viscosity (in fact he stated that it was to do with Eddy Currents). Other than insults the actual rebuttal consisted of asking engineering students to accept CoE on faith.

drmike: Real science requires real data. And it has to be repeatable by anyone. So far, there's no data. From the scientific perspective, there's no science either.
An engineering student who attended the debate logged in as "." and provided us with some details about the debate:
... Frankly the talk didn't convince me of the truth of pm and orbo,but maybe that wasn't the purpose. ...

... Firstly the major major failing was the lack of a demonstration,or even photos or videos ...

... Secondly, Sean argued that journals would not accept any white papers from Steorn. Yet he didn't provide a satisfactory explanation as to why he wouldn't publish these same documents on this website, claiming something like he didn't want people stealing the idea. But if it had gone ahead published in a journal? Contradiction there I'm afraid. ...

... Thirdly, most of his answers in the q&a at the end were evasive and inconclusive. In fairness he was under pressure as almost all questions were directed at him, perhaps in future some of the steorn guys muttering angrily down the back could have gone up with Sean and helped him out? ....

... In summary, the talk was not very constructive, although quite entertaining for students present. Steorns stance was of vague magnetic forces with dubiously simple analogies, while the UCD professors disclaimed him, with sarcasm yes, but they were consistant.
I'm surprised Steorn even attempted to submit whitepapers to journals about their technology. I'm sure we'd all love to see those documents! One interesting part of the debate included details of Jerry O'Dwyer visiting Steorn in their early days of the discovery:
Steorn: As for Mr. Dywers visit, he came in at the anomoly phase, long before any 'machine' so there was no machine to not work. The guys recolection was that we were a 'jigs and fixtures' company so maybe he just cant remember stuff at all. Dot, any 'scientist' who tells you to take CoE on faith is a joker. They had no rebuttal to the actual technical points in my presentation, they just do not know the subject matter.

Steorn: Btw we were explicitly denied a request to film the event for 'insurance' reasons - I hope the video shot by one of the students gets out, lets see.

Steorn: @ RB, as you know we are preparing a product for validation, it is not yet completed so there is no product at this stage. However do not confuse this with the fact that prototypes exisit, but prototypes fail more often than products and we are always developing around them, that is why they exist.
Also today, Sean announced that they'll be accepting new members into the SPDC shortly:
We continue to get a lot of people asking if they can join the SPDC. We will be inviting a second group of trial users into the SPDC the not too distant future. Note that a mutual NDA is required. If you are interested in joining please e-mail Seamus (dot) Flanagan (at)
He used the SPDC signup mulitple times against skeptics in the discussion:

Steorn to Big Oil Rep: "If you want to see a machine come along in July, if you want the opinion of experts wait for the Jury, if you want to get hands on, join the SPDC. If you want to talk rubbish, then keep going. You have all the options."

Steorn to RunningBare: "you want to know more, join the SPDC."

Definitely an interesting day today.


Chili Fries said...

They are less than two months away from the public demonstration and they don't have a reliable device? This same demo device is supposed to run for 10 days.

terminalraptor said...

This whole thing is just really weird. If it's a scam I don't get it. If it's legit, I don't get it either, because they seem to be intentionally making themselves look like a scam.

15-India-Street said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Father Luke Duke said...

Sean has really got himself in a right mess here. God only knows why chose to go into the lion's den and get himself humiliated. Could be 2 choices as I see it:

a) investors are putting him under presure to fight back with the "truth" against his critics.

b) he believes is own bullshit and really thinks he can take on these university lecturers with this viscosity nonsense.

I think it's the latter - Sean is a fantasist. When challenged on the incident he threw his toys out of the pram and told me I was talking rubbish.

He also got himself in a mess later in the thread concerning the availability of reliable working models. You would have thought he would have needed at least 22 ready to go (for the jury members), or could make them quickly. It seems they only have "prototypes" which may break down at any time. Sounds like the excuses have already started:

"as you know we are preparing a product for validation, it is not yet completed so there is no product at this stage. However do not confuse this with the fact that prototypes exisit, but prototypes fail more often than products and we are always developing around them, that is why they exist" (Sean)

Hmmmm, strangely mangled answer - not entirely clear, as usual, what he means.

Anonymous said...

What’s the motive for this kind of self-abuse, Sean had to know giving a lecture without data on a technical device that violates the laws of nature to a bunch academics would not end well. Why do it?

This whole thing is very odd. I guess the only motive is that Sean and his handful of engineers really believe they are on to something. Perhaps they’ve already sheared the sheep, gathered some money from private investors, and now they are just putting on the show. It certainly the strangest progression of claims, events, and actions I’ve ever taken the time to follow. Steorn at this point is like a slow motion car wreck, you to look away but you can’t.

Thicket, bottomline it for me, from Steorn’s accounting can you estimate how much money they’ve brought in for investment.

ben said...


Thing is, it just reinforces to the believers (and the investors?) that the ‘closed minded men of science’ won’t take Steorn seriously.
He turns up, waffles pseudo-scientific crap in his normal way and rightly gets the piss taken out of him by some people who actually know what they’re talking about. This is seen as totally unreasonable by anyone who thinks of Sean as the crusading hero of ‘free energy’.

You don’t have to be a free energy nut to get torn to pieces at a university open lecture. My own university (Birmingham) has something of a reputation as a ‘trial by fire’ for people presenting new physics research. I have personally seen people who present results/conclusions based on shaky experimental results get a no-holds barred (some would say vicious) grilling. There is, rightly I think, no respect given to people who cannot justify their assertions. I’m guessing that’s what happened here with Sean.

I’d love to see the video.

Anonymous said...

Not one person with any verifyable credability has ever seen an Orbo working?

It's always "not functioning at the moment" or "down for maintanance and lubing" or a "installation of those frictionless pixie bearings"?

Am I wrong here? Has anyone outside of Steorn claimed to have seen this thing working? Why is there a steady pattern of offering a demo, then cancelling?

Anyone starting to think that the sky in Seans world may be a different color?

JTerry said...

WHOA! What does this mean?

Steorn: @ RB, as you know we are preparing a product for validation, it is not yet completed so there is no product at this stage. However do not confuse this with the fact that prototypes exisit, but prototypes fail more often than products and we are always developing around them, that is why they exist.

HOLD ON A MINUTE SEAN! You have claimed over and over and over again that you have a WORKING model. You have scoffed at, insulted, and vilified any who dared to challange the existance of a working model. Yet you now seem to be saying your "prototypes" fail and you have to "develop around them". And why would you need more than one "prototype" anyway?

This little paragraph is a real puzzle. To me, it indicates that Steorn doesn't have what it claims to have, which would come as no shock as the universe was not designed to allow for the Steorn device in the first place.

The more BS that comes out of the mouth of Sauron Sean M., the deeper and wider the hole he digs for his silly company and himself.

JTerry said...

Using the reasoning of the free energy gurus, we know for CERTAIN that Steorn doesn't have a PPM or other free energy producing device. How do we know this?

1) Free energy nuts claim that the "government" (never further defined) suppresses all real free energy, PPM, or "over unity" machines. The "government" does this in conjunction with "big oil" (never further defined; do they mean opec, gas companies, what?) because capitalist society is corrupt and evil.

2) Free energy proponents also claim that "mainstream" science also suppresses free energy technology and prevents its use in the market. Often times, we are told by the free energy lunatics, the "scientific elite" will go to great lengths to prevent the technology including but not limited to sabotage, murder, theft, etc. The scientific elite do this to satisfy their own ego and because they are also in the pay of "big oil", although a satisfying motive has never really been offered by the free energy nutters.

3) In the case of Steorn, however, the "government" has not shut them down or imprisoned their members. The "government" has not seized their equipment or forced a confrontation. In fact, the government has done nothing at all to them. Finally, the "scientific elite", aside from disbelieving and having the gall to call for proof, has also had no apparent impact on Steorn.

4) How can this be? Surely the government and scientific elite must do something to stop Steorn; a company who has claimed to have a real, tangible working PPM/Over-unity device for several years now? The answer is simple using the reasoning of the free energy mystics:

STEORN HAS NO SUCH DEVICE. As a consequence, the "government" and "scientific elite" has nothing to suppress.

So it appears that even the most fringe looneys (Gaby) on the Steorn board should be demanding proof and calling Steorn out!

Anonymous said...

Another student Sean had mentioned this in his presentation: Magnetic viscosity causes the shape of the BH curve to change. This can cause "time invariant" transactions.

Previously, Sean was mentioning walking the BH curve. So perhaps the solution lies in walking the BH curve before and after the shape shifts.

I am bringing this up because no one seems to mention it.

Thicket said...

Bottom line financials for Steorn, assuming the documents they filed with the government are correct, is that they had 5.9 million Euros of investment by September 30, 2006. The invesment started in July, 2000.

Sean says that Steorn has collected 14 million Euros in a recent newspaper interview.

Sean is backpedalling mightily on the July device they plan on showing.

Sean loves attention and was likely flattered to be invited to the college, even if it was negative attention.

drmike said...

I think part of the problem with that "debate" was that it was called by the mechanical engineering department. That's a hugely different world than physics (although if it was engineering mechanics that's pretty close to what we call engineering physics, but it's still _engineering_). The terms used by Steorn have totally different meanings in the different worlds of engineering and physics. "Magnetic viscosity" in engineering is eddy currents and BH timing response. Magnetic viscosity in physics is energy anisotropy and spin alignment timing.

Kinda the same thing, but without a clear grasp of the scale (physics is quantum effects, engineering is macroscopic "fist sized" effects) it's hard to describe what you think is happening using the same words to mean different things.

If we give Steorn the benifit of the doubt and assume they have found _something_ interesting, then we first need to find out how to describe it. Steorn claims there is a macroscopic effect. It is possible that there's a quantum effect that does have some macroscopic consequences, and it might be interesting to know about.

The problem is, details matter. In business, the important details are not physics and engineering. But Steorn is trying to make a scientific statement - using a normal buisness method.

It's clear what the problem is in terms of culture. If Steorn has something interesting, the cultural barriers will be broken down eventually. Then the real fun begins!

Patience, persistence, truth,
Dr. mike

Father Luke Duke said...

"Sean loves attention and was likely flattered to be invited to the college, even if it was negative attention."
Does anyone know what Sean's educational background is?

Did he get a degree, or is he your classic free energy autodidact? These guys always love standing up to the establishment, even if they end up looking silly. Where did he work before Steorn?

Anonymous said...

The closer we get to the July demo dates the less information we get from Sean and Steorn. Now they will not announce the Demos before the demo day. Very very weird!

Anonymous said...

"Previously, Sean was mentioning walking the BH curve. So perhaps the solution lies in walking the BH curve before and after the shape shifts."

How do you change the BH-curve ?
You have to use energy to make changes in your system to modify the BH-curve. While you perform this high speed modification you will have a lot of different types of energy losses......

ben said...

I think Sean has an engineering degree. Or, at least, claims to have an engineering degree. From a Dublin based university I think?