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The "linguistics" of Steorn...

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Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:31 pm PostPost subject: The "linguistics" of Steorn...
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Hi all,
I'm interested in Steorn (and related companies and enthusiasts) from a linguistics point of view. Before I say what I have to say, two caveats:

- I don't know what Steorn actually have, I am not qualified to comment on anything to do with physics/magnetism, and my interests are linguistic/anthropological in any case
- I'm new here, and I did read the Stickies, but if any of this is repeating existing posts, I apologise in advance

Anyway. Classically, anyone pushing any kind of snake oil, be it perpetual motion or a cult or a memory improvement technique or anything else, usually has a definite linguistic profile. For example, their press materials are usually pitched at an audience that "already believes", by positioning grammatical clauses to assume that certain assertions are true (e.g. the statement, "THIS BOOK REVEALS THE SECRETS OF THE FACE ON MARS!" takes it for granted that there IS a face on Mars; compare its "conviction" effect to "THIS BOOK CONTAINS PROOF THAT THERE IS A FACE ON MARS!")

Anyway, I've been following Steorn in the press and on their website for a while, and the thing that strikes me about it is that none of the language 'tics' that I'd expect from a snake oil job are present. Now, I admit that I haven't done a complete and exhaustive grammatical analysis of the language they've produced, but the cohesion of their belief system goes way beyond the effect that would be produced simply by hiring a decent PR firm. So, for years now - literally - Steorn have got the language right. Has anyone else noticed this and if so, what are your thoughts?

Yrs
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Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:28 pm PostPost subject:
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My thought is they believe what they are saying because what they are trying to do is, in my personal opinion, eminently reasonable, albeit more difficult than they thought when they published their Economist advert in 2006.
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Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:43 pm PostPost subject:
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Steorn has never shown anything of any significance to anyone credible. The best evidence now available is that all they have is words. And they are not very believable words.

@Frank
If you believe Steorn, after the Kinetica fiasco and the aftersession bonus farce, you'd believe just about anything. What exactly have they done except make ridiculous claims?
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Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:15 pm PostPost subject:
Ping1400
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@linguist

Exactly the same thing I noticed when looking upon their business model, legal structuring and financial base. It is consistent with a company that would be doing what they claim they do. In fact, their business model and go-to-market strategy is very well thought out. It shows they are at least advised by experienced professionals. If they were really into doing what they claim, the chosen strategy is a possible winning one, maximising the share-holders profits. Professionals.

On the other hand, if they would have acted it in a more amateur manner, would the investors (who are also experienced business people) bought the 15 million Euro of shares? Maybe the fact that they consistently did not act like the typical scam artists (at least for the period 2005-2006), was the base of their success. They followed a very consistent communication plan. Look at it like a dedicated team of social hackers. It made them a lot of money!

So, maybe this time it was just done by people that are really smart. Interesting enough to keep track of.
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Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:35 pm PostPost subject:
Frank
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maryyugo wrote:


@Frank
If you believe Steorn, after the Kinetica fiasco and the aftersession bonus farce, you'd believe just about anything. What exactly have they done except make ridiculous claims?


I have no idea what your professional qualifications in science are, Mary, but I have had a long career in the top grade (the Scientific Officer grade) of the British Scientific Civil Service. And all that time from the age of 22 to 60 I have headed a productive research team. I managed to avoid promotion to administration.

In my opinion what Steorn were attempting was based on sound scientific principles which I have explained in the various threads I have started. I don't think the demo was what it seemed. I believe they threw it, though I don't know why.
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Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:56 pm PostPost subject:
Harvey
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Steorn's initial problem was they were not sure of what they had. They felt they had crossed a boundry that had not been crossed before and they sought verification of it. After having enough doors slammed in their faces they decided to invest into two things. 1. The possibility that the device was what they thought it was. 2. The expose of the scientific communities propensity to perpetuate the NIH principle.

By this approach they had a win-win.
If the device was real and Science responded then Steorn changed the way the world deals with new technology ideas. Big Win.

If the device was real and Science failed to respond then science was exposed as ignorant of valid technology. Win.

If the device was not real and science did not respond then there was no way to disprove its reality. Win

If the device was not real, and Science responded, then Steorn received that which the sought to begin with. Small Win
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Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:49 am PostPost subject:
Scott in Chicago
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I'm not trying to flame you Linguist. So please don't take offense. But, what I think you might be missing is that at this point their should be no reason for anyone to have to examine Steorn (Sean’s) words (other than for fun as you did). The device should be in full disclosure long before now (if it were to exist). You’re resorting to having to examine only their words because they have shown nothing. There are thousands of companies coming up with new products and innovations all the time. Notice how you don't have to study their language to decipher if they really have a product. You know if they have a product because they release it to the public and tell you how it works. When the DVD was invented did you have to study the words of the maker to guess if it really existed? No, because it was presented to the public. When the microwave was developed did you have to study the words of the maker to guess if it really existed? No. When the air plane was invented did you have to study the words of the maker to know it worked? No because you could see it flying.

Steorn either has a magic spinney thing and are HORDING it to the detriment of humanity. Or they do NOT have a magic spinney thing and are liying...to the detriment of humanity.

It IS that god damn simple.

IMO
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Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:00 am PostPost subject:
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Hello linguist,

Welcome aboard. Though I'm not qualified to comment on the linguistics side of things, I'm very interested in what you have to say on the subject. Keep us posted on your thoughts and findings. I'm sure the readership here will be more than happy to give you any assistance you need.
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Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:48 pm PostPost subject:
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Ah, I seem to have stirred up a few responses, there.

@Scott in Chicago
Good point, fundamental in fact!! My interests are purely sociological, if/when Steorn shows us their project (or not), I'll review what I've said in the light of that.

@Ping1400
Thanks for that input, about the professional setup of the company et cetera. Hadn't thought of that, but it does seem to leave a similar "signature" to the linguistic one.

To others: thanks for the warm welcome!
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Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:07 pm PostPost subject:
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Quote:
I have no idea what your professional qualifications in science are, Mary, but I have had a long career in the top grade (the Scientific Officer grade) of the British Scientific Civil Service. And all that time from the age of 22 to 60 I have headed a productive research team. I managed to avoid promotion to administration. In my opinion what Steorn were attempting was based on sound scientific principles which I have explained in the various threads I have started. I don't think the demo was what it seemed. I believe they threw it, though I don't know why.
Frank, with due respect to your real accomplishments, you propose a bunch of theories in conflict with well established and clearly demonstrated and developed principles of physics and use those to support the weird idea that Steorn "has something." That doesn't make sense. Try using the "Occam's Razor" principle on the Kinetica "Demo". If you do, Steorn didn't show anything because they didn't have anything. What conceivable valid purpose could there be in bringing together distinguished scientists, assembling them in London at their (and Steorn's investors') expense, and then showing them one useless piece of plastic junk? If it was incompetence on that grand a scale, why is it not reasonable to assume that **ALL* of Steorn's claims about "free energy" and "overunity" were arrived at with similar incompetence, neligence, or deception?

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The man actually had been drinking and what he said was,
"Oh, the Huge Manatee!"
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Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:48 am PostPost subject:
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I'm back at last, after making my promise to explore the linguistics aspect, erm, 2 months ago (sorreeeee!)

I see today that over on dispatchesfromthefuture, Steorn's legal people have sent him a stiff letter ordering him to hand over a domain name. Again, this isn't really something I'd expect from a snake oil salesman, who normally would be in the snake oil business to make a fast buck and then disappear. Once again, the body language that Steorn is emanating looks like they've got something.

I think I'm not alone here in admitting that it's driving me nuts. I am not a scientist, nor am I an engineer, but the language that most snake oil people use is so transparently manipulative that I derive much pleasure from reading it. (On that topic, I think the blogger on FreeEnergyTruth is kind of setting himself up for a fall with that gravity-drive-in-60-days thing... the language errors are so elementary, you don't need to be a linguist to spot the gaping holes. Sorry, FreeTruth, if this offends, that's not my intention.)

But Steorn's language and behaviour is all spot-on (except for the non-production of an Orbo, of course). I am going mad. On the one hand, I'm rooting for the laws of thermodynamics. On the other, it doesn't look like vapourware to me.

Well, there is ONE linguistic error that Steorn have made, which is that they did not quote Shaw fully in their Economist ad. The full quote is this (I'm sure it's been noticed before now):

All great truths begin as blasphemies, but all blasphemies do not become great truths.

(Which should, incidentally, read "...but not all blasphemies become great truths.")
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Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:29 pm PostPost subject:
maryyugo
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@linguist
I'm a scientist and I can tell you Steorn has nothing, never had anything, and is not likely ever to have anything. In science, you can't go by people's choice of words-- some are scholarly, some are ignorant of language and either way, it says little if anything about their science except in the extremes. It's true that Carl Tilley, the free energy scammer, was so illiterate, it was somewhat of a tipoff. But in general, you have to look at peer reviewed papers and public *hands on* demos for real information about new concepts and inventions.

Maybe there was a time when Steorn thought there was something or perhaps it was a scam to start with. Dr. Mike thought Sean is delusional. I think Dr. Mike's generosity is unwarranted.
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Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:41 am PostPost subject:
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@maryyugo
Yeah... good point.

I'll put my case another way: if Steorn have nothing (and I tend to agree with you there), and if it's not a case of mass delusion, then what KIND of scam are they setting up, exactly? I mean, it'll be pretty easy to find the Steorn staff after they've done a runner with the cash, with the kind of paper trails they're leaving.
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Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:41 pm PostPost subject:
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Good version:
1) Some smart guys notice funny magnetic effect and after some tests believe it is possible to exploit this effect for free energy
2) They think out a business model to maximise the possible financial results
3) They find the investors and start working on creating a real OU machine (of course with a nice salary and bonus plan)
4) Things don't work out as expected, and the money runs out
5) Shop closes, everybody is sorry, it was a misunderstood but explainable phenomena after all

Bad version:
1) Some smart guys realise the failure of their current business
2) They think out a new business model to exploit ingnorant investors
3) By hiring expensive professionals they make everybody believe this must be for real
4) They take out as much money as possible, barely legal (fake bills, high salaries, 'bonuses')
5) Things work out exactly as planned, and the money runs out
6) Shop closes, everybody is sorry, it was a misunderstood but explainable phenomena after all

Ugly version:
1) Some smart guys won't accept the failure of their current business
2) They notice some funny magnetic effect and fantasice about the possibilities if it would be free energy
3) They start to ignore reality and become very confident in the truth of their knowledge
4) Their confidence in the technology together with a solid businessplan turns some investors into making a gamble
5) The delusion grows as the real world and the fantasy world merge more and more, they are 100% confident
6) Things don't work out as expected, and the money runs out, investors lost faith
7) Shop is closed, the smart guys still don't get it, drama for all the believers (years of rumours to follow)

Evil version:
Mix between Bad and Ugly version, but now the smart guys are just acting like they are delusioned, while milking the company.
(lowest risk for civil legal action)
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Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:52 pm PostPost subject:
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@linguist
Figuring out why people do things is always a challenge. In this instance, I don't have a clue. If it's a scam, it's a pretty transparent one. Maybe part of their self-delusion was an exit strategy to escape legal (or other) retribution. They'd better hope their investors have no "underworld" connections of they may be "waking up with fishes" someday.

The main reason for attending occationally to this and Steorn's forum is to find out what the heck those turkeys possibly could have had in mind. Until the Kinetica fiasco last summer, it seemed like an ordinary scam and/or delusion. Since then, it's a puzzlement!
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Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:31 pm PostPost subject:
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maryyugo wrote:

I'm a scientist and I can tell you Steorn has nothing, never had anything, and is not likely ever to have anything.


Just out of curiosity, what type of scientist are you? Physicist?
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Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:28 pm PostPost subject:
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Hi O.C. -- sorry but I know better than to reveal *any* personal details on the internet. You'll just have to evaluate what I post on its merits!
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Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:42 pm PostPost subject:
overconfident
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maryyugo wrote:
Hi O.C. -- sorry but I know better than to reveal *any* personal details on the internet. You'll just have to evaluate what I post on its merits!


And all this time I thought I was paranoid. Rolling Eyes
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Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:26 am PostPost subject:
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overconfident wrote:
maryyugo wrote:
Hi O.C. -- sorry but I know better than to reveal *any* personal details on the internet. You'll just have to evaluate what I post on its merits!


And all this time I thought I was paranoid. Rolling Eyes
I think you both are. I have revealed everything about myself except the sins I tell my confessor and I have had absolute no comeback at all. Not even a single heavy breather. What am I doing wrong? Rolling Eyes

The trouble with Mary claiming she is a scientist is that she offers even less proof than Steorn.
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Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:07 am PostPost subject:
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I should pay a bit more attention to this thread! A bit of bug from linguist. The Shaw quote in question does not end in such a wonderful way. The CORRECT quote:

George Bernard Shaw wrote:
THE GRAND DUCHESS. All great truths begin as blasphemies. All the
king's horses and all the king's men cannot set up my father's
throne again. If they could, you would have done it, would you
not?


From his one-act play Annajanska. <--Read it here

I'm fairly certain James Randi made up the new ending. I'd need to check, but I believe he corrected himself in the subsequent issue of SWIFT.


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Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:39 am PostPost subject:
Thicket
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Legal warnings about use of the Steorn name is 'body language' that Steorn has something?? LOL.

There's a more plausible answer. When people Google Steorn, Sean and his pack of scam artists don't want sites coming up that expose their scam.
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Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:44 pm PostPost subject:
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maryyugo wrote:
@linguist
Until the Kinetica fiasco last summer, it seemed like an ordinary scam and/or delusion. Since then, it's a puzzlement!


it better than that

steorn / sean aren't stupid they are practical engineers and problem solvers they know the risks in this area and that tempting fate is very dangerous if they do think have something they will have tested and tested and tested before thinking about publishing it so I think they are right and it works but...I havn't seen it and I am an empiricist

I would have made a production device by the thousand very very quietly and then by sheer weight of evidence won the day, dress up anything less than a practical device you can touch as evidence in this area and you are done for.

and then there is the conspiracy theories I am waiting for the car accident al watch your back please don't become a footnote in history.

cheers keith
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Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:39 am PostPost subject:
Thicket
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keiththeengineer wrote:

steorn / sean aren't stupid they are practical engineers and problem solvers they know the risks in this area and that tempting fate is very dangerous if they do think have something they will have tested and tested and tested before thinking about publishing it so I think they are right and it works but...I havn't seen it and I am an empiricist


Where in the world did you get the idea that Steorn/Sean are practical engineers? Adept at scamming money from people, yes. When it comes to science and technology, they've shown themselves to be complete buffoons. Sean's physics garble can be entertaining and is a great example of 'BS baffles brains'. Mix two parts magnetic viscosity, three parts 'slow in-fast out' (or is it fast in-slow out?), 7 parts gullible investors, 8 parts sycophant adoration and 0 parts functioning OU device and you get just another perpetual motion scam.

Thanks for clarifying that you aren't an engineer, despite the handle. An engineer would never solely be an empiricist, but would rely on science, theory and practical experience.
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Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:50 pm PostPost subject:
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@Linguist

I found another analysis of the behaviour of Sean, but now from a person who claims to be a professional psychoanalyst. It was posted by 'Morgenster' on the Steorn forum:

Sean's case is pretty hard to point a finger at.
For one, he doesn't exhibit any strange behaviour outside the whole orbo thing. No evangelical rants about conspiracies, no black or white moral views, no weird tics and good taste in cars (although maybe his motor skills may have been lacking recently). This makes Sean either a liar or a truthful person. Bit of a people-pleaser type, but that's no crime. Besides, he engaged in pretty normal conversational activities on this forum, which he erected BTW.
He seems to be a 'normal Irish CEO' who may or may not have OU if that's what you can call a diagnosis. The guy's keeping his cards close to his chest.
He may be delusional or may have been but we'll only know as soon as Steorn comes clean and tells the whole story.


Again the same result. Not the typical free energy scam. It can be delusion or real professional con-man.
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Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:19 pm PostPost subject:
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Take another look at the famous presidential photo-op. Would you buy a used car from that man?
Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, as Mom used to say. Bearings, now, that's another story.



But seriously, if the Minato motor that he tried to foist off at the London SOD event is what they really were playing with, it's easy to see how he could have fooled himself, or been fooled. Anyone who has played with one of those things goes through the phase of holding the stator magnet(s) by hand, near the mounted rotor (just to determine the correct angle, of course...) and lo and behold, the rotor will spin merrily around, try as you might to hold the stator still. You will be pumping it with miniscule hand motions, and it will spin as long as you are willing to stand there drooling at it.
"Right, then all we've got to do is mount up the stators, and we'll have that done by Demo Day, don't worry. See you at Kinetica!"
But as everybody (except apparently Steorn) knows, once the stator is rigidly mounted, the unit no longer "works", and Sean gets to "take it on the chin", and only later figures things out.
Now, that's my most charitable take on the matter. I'm trying to find some way to construe events that doesn't quickly converge on the "F" word.
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Thu May 01, 2008 9:20 am PostPost subject:
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Al,

I can't say much, but I will say this.

You don't know what you are talking about.
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Thu May 01, 2008 10:45 am PostPost subject:
Ping1400
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Bab,

As you have all the 'insiders' data, your feedback gives very important information to us, the unbelievers (or 'outsiders' or 'enemies'). This information can and will be used.

From your words "I can't say much, " could be concluded that you are under heavy (psychological) pressure to keep something secret. In your mind it has become a huge thing. At the same time your enthusiasm shows you would really like to share these secrets. Because you think it is the truth and it is a good thing. You are a good soldier.

From your words "You don't know what you are talking about." could be concluded that you do know the real background of the intentional failure of the London 'demo'. It must have been a very convincing story. Because since last August nobody publicly jumped ship (there was even an additional financial injection). Of course it can also be that the more known people behind Steorn (not only the investors, but also the named legal and science consultants) just want to avoid public humiliation and are silently backing off.

By denying the theory of Al, which handles a wide range of scenario's, from delusional amateurs to hardcore fraudsters, you tell us you have been told a complete different, much more exotic story. My fantasy runs short here, but you have my attention. By the way, if they still try to make you believe the 'failed demo' was due to overheated bearings, and you do believe that, the whole world just becomes a little more stupid and boring.

I enjoy a good story with exotic twisting story-lines, and even with the dull last few months I had quite some fun with Steorn until now. It's just that in the real world the simplest explanation is most times the correct one.

I know you are not allowed to react on this (because it's me writing and because of the 'secret' content), but please continue publishing your very useful feedback.

Thanks,

Ping1400
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Thu May 01, 2008 11:34 am PostPost subject:
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1) That post did not give any significant information. It just told Al that he does not know what he is talking about.

2) His explanation was simply pathetic. Anyone who thinks that Steorn's engineers would be fooled by someone holding a magnet in their hand so the vibrations can power a rotor has not even done any research on the public forum. Only an amateur would be fooled by that and not an engineer.

3) The London failure was not intentional. The bearings screwed up just like Steorn said.
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Thu May 01, 2008 12:01 pm PostPost subject:
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Bab, thanks for the reaction, it was again very informational.
Pity that it resulted in the world to become a little more stupid and boring.

babcat wrote:
The London failure was not intentional. The bearings screwed up just like Steorn said.

In your own words: "Only an amateur would be fooled by that and not an engineer."
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Thu May 01, 2008 3:40 pm PostPost subject:
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babcat wrote:
The London failure was not intentional. The bearings screwed up just like Steorn said.

I will agree with you if you can explain one thing: what kind of bearing malfunction would push a demonstration back for 9 months? (actually longer unless they are going to demostrate in May)

Apparently catastrophic.

Ultra rare/special bearings, meltdown of the entire Orbo?

I'm not saying you (or they) are lying but things aren't exactly adding up over there, especially coming from a company that seemed to have all the answers (replicable, how it could be used, etc.).
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