Perpetual motion machine

This is the first one that, I think, will actually work:

h/t: Jim B.

62 Comments

  1. Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    My gosh! Apostasy! :-)

    Although there seems to be a lot of that going around these days ….

    • Friakel Wippans
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Apostasy?

      Worse!

      Taking Carnot’s name in vain is a deadly sin and heathens unto the Laws of Thermodynamics shall not be suffered!

      By Lord Kelvin, I say we burn Jerry at the stake.

      (How many cords of wood will be necessary to maximize the entropy of the miscreant is left as an exercise to the reader)

      • Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        :-)

        That too, although I was referring to Jerry’s somewhat incongruous manifestation of some “Far Side”-ish humor about cats. And Joseph Hoffmann’s condemnation or at least rather pointed criticism of the Catholic Church ….

  2. steve
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I wonder at what speed this thing will turn?

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      The speed of spite?

      • Posted January 25, 2012 at 1:51 am | Permalink

        Not quite as fast as the spread of rumours which seem to be powered by FTL neutrinos from the future(s) ….

  3. Scote
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Nah, won’t work. Both the bread and the cat have to be falling to initiate the spin. So, you’d have to hoist the contraption up over and over again. You get some spin, but that is offset by the energy needed to hoist the contraption up all the time… :-p

    • James
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Put it in a geostationary orbit, which is effectively constant freefall…

      • Scote
        Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Hmm…but which way is down in microgravity?

        I’d hypothesize that the lack of a specific reference plane as “down” nullifies the spinning effect.

        • Kharamatha
          Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

          The table they fell off is the reference. Get a table up there.

          • birds into dinosaurs
            Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            You have all forgotten to factor in Zeno’s paradox and Deeppacked Chopra. The CatBread will begin to spin while falling to the floor. However, as Zeno shows, it will never actually reach the floor so it’s spin will continue to accelerate as it falls and falls. Now, as Chopra shows, both the Bread and the Cat (Schrodinger’s we will assume) will attempt to dominate quantum reality causing the CatBread to spin so fast it will reach lightspeed, converting itself into energy.
            this is how we will achieve cold fusion.

    • John D
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      This problem can be solved by adding a simple universal joint to the shaft which will allow the catbread to drop. The device will then operate with the catbread moving in a rotating and bobbing fashion. I say that this should be patented right away!

      • Scote
        Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        You might have to add a fly wheel to keep the rotation going since the effect will only be engaged on the down cycle…

    • Kevin Anthoney
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      What you’d need to do is strap strong magnets to the cat and then insert it into a coil of wire. That’d work.

  4. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I expect Ben to now show us how to build a hypercomputer from this.

    • Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      I’m not entirely sure, but I think you need to start with a piping hot extra-strong pot of tea, and I’m afraid I’m almost all out of the good stuff….

      b&

      • Dean Buchanan
        Posted January 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Paradox

        If you wish to make a piping hot extra-strong pot of tea from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

        and a hypercomputer is essential.

  5. FredBloggs
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, the cat will age and die, the butter will curdle and the bread will go mouldy, requiring input cats, bread and butter.

    Thus preserving the laws of thermodynamics.

    Have you any idea how close you fools came to supporting one of the basic falsehoods of creationism?

    Are you all mad???

    • Scote
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      No, no. If the energy from the spin exceeds the amount you have to feed the cat you still get a perpetual motion machine. The term doesn’t just mean “runs forever” but more broadly, gives off more energy than it uses.

      But if one just wanted a cat related engine, as opposed to a perpetual motion machine, one need look no further than the door generator, in which cats train their human owners to open the door for the cat no matter what side of it they are on, and regardless of whether the cat actually wants to traverse through the door when opened.

      • FredBloggs
        Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        I know, but the question is, how long can the cat-bread motor spin, and how much energy can it generate before it requires replacement parts? Will the energy involved in their production be greater than that which is generated by the motor?

        Has no-one given this any thought?

        Also, there are waste products to consider.

        • Adey
          Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          I thought that the positioning of the spindle solved this problem.

        • PB
          Posted January 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

          Maybe we can recycle the cat scat into margarine ? and the margarine as cat’s food. NOM nom .. nom own scat ..

          very funny indeed!

  6. Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Goldberg,

    Great work! I think you’re on to somthin’ here.

  7. Llwddythlw
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Have you thought of publishing this in the
    Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings?

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      HA HA!

    • JBlilie
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      +1

  8. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    No. No. No.

    The cat will wriggle out of the harness, lick the butter off of the bread, whap the bread under the table where it will collect dust woofies and rot, and walk off laughing at you. L

  9. Sili
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    How does a cat fall, when it’s stuck to an axle?

    • Marcus
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      See “universal joint” in comments above.

  10. Lambert
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. Neil Degrass Tyson mentioned the cat and the toast problem on the radio a few weeks ago.

    His take was that the cat would never hit the ground, IIRC.

    • Aidan Karley
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:54 am | Permalink

      This one is old enough that I *think* that Douglas Adams could have seen it in time to put it in H2G2 as “the way to fly is to throw yourself at the ground, and miss”. It was certainly around in the New Scientist in the early 1980s. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone pointed out a scratchy recording of William Thompson explaining the system into Edison’s new-fangled speech-recording-contraption, along with his proof of why it doesn’t violate an laws of his. (Unfortunately, the cylinder was too short to get the whole presentation.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        I have a very specific memory of reading about the cat/bread in Omni Magazine in the early 1980s.

  11. Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I dunno. I think there may be some Photoshop trickery at work here.

  12. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    As a true perpetual motion machine, this old proposal comes back again and again.

  13. kevin
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Sorry. Logic fail…

    Premises:
    1. Cat will fall feet-side-down
    2. Bread will fall butter-side-down

    From these we can’t conclude that the cat-bread will rotate.

    However, we can conclude that the cat-bread will not fall. I think you’ve just invented an anti-gravity device.

    • Bacopa
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      I think it would both rotate and not fall. so we’ve just developed perpetual motion and anti-gravity.

      This means we do not need a shaft. We simply attach a ring of permanent magnets to the cat and let the cat/butter system spin inside a wire coil, thus generating an electric current.

      I even have a name for the device. PURR-petual motion. Somehow I don’t think the cat will be purring though.

    • Kevin Anthoney
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      Of course they’d rotate, as long as you carefully match cat and bread. If you attach a right-hand-screw bit of bread to a left-hand-screw cat, they’d cancel each other out, of course.

  14. Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Do I need to refer you to my patent application? You’ve violated my patent, and you’ll be receiving a letter from my lawyer.

  15. Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    That looks like one crappy sandwich.

  16. Robert
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    From the late Douglas Adams, of course.

  17. Posted January 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    If the entire device was placed in a sealed box with a radioactive element triggered poison vial, we would have a four-state Schrödinger’s Cat: It would simultaneously be Up, Down, Alive and Dead.

    Think of the quantum computing possibilities! Not only would it have vastly superior computational capabilities, it would have unlimited power to run too.

    • James
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      And it would be spinning like a Top with a stick up its Bottom, and even though all cats have Charm, this would be very Strange.

      All in all, Ladies and Gentledudes, I think we have a Quark Cat…

    • Kharamatha
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Ah, the real secret behind Legion’s bluebox.

  18. Posted January 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    The flaw in the design is obvious. The inventor has clearly never tried to get a collar on a cat. The two collars necessary to affix the bread? I think not.

  19. chance
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    this one is hilarious

  20. Dave
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I know of that comes close to a PMM is the atom. Of course, you don’t get any useful work out of it.

    • Steve
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      You could if you removed unfair union monopolies and handed it a mop. Then those lazy atoms would learn a good work ethic.

      *****Help me, I’m possessed by Newt Gingrich*********

      • Dave
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Well, as I’m sure Santorum would say, “That’s fine for the “blah” atoms but what about …?”

  21. Kevin
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t want to be the sucker that has to strap the cat in that thing. I still have scars from trying to give medications …

  22. Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Wouldn’t this violate Tabby’s Law, that cats can produce no useful work? I think a singularity would be produced, thus causing the end of the world (as we know it).

    • JBlilie
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      SEO: You have put your finger on the real principle this machine violates (forget thermodynamics!)

  23. TrineBM
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Something about this makes me want to say “don’t quit your day-job”.

  24. SALAHHE
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    There is a logic in this but it lacks the mathematics. You first have to calculate the force involved by the buttery bread to spin face-down and the cat’s force to spin feet down. Then you have to calculate the quantities of both that you need so the forces match perfectly. Then you have a spinning device, possibly anti-gravitational too, especially if the device is also sited with a magnet that matches the exact magnetic field of the earth, only opposite polarity. Also, you would need a stabilizer for all these forces involved as the device looks fairly unstable. I can go on…

  25. eric
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    You can also invert the device to create an anti-gravity levitation machine. Affix buttered side of bread to cat’s feet, so that that the combo can only land on either the cat’s back or the unbuttered side. Since we know neither is possible (heh), the device must remain floating in mid-air.

  26. Karen
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    These comments just made my day ;) I *heart* you guys!

  27. Kirth Gersen
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    This is like a Stephen Wright routine: “I once put instant coffee in the Microwave. I almost went back in time.”

  28. Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    You can actually get a T-shirt with the cat/toast combination pictured.

  29. Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Searching Traveler and commented:
    Wow, the Perpetual Motion Machine. Weird but funny. Made me laugh out loud! Ahhhh. Silliness.

  30. Dave
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I’m off to patent a rotating cat food dispenser…

  31. Keri Ivy
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    or…..just two pieces of toast?


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] [...]

  2. [...] is a really old idea – but it’s the first time I’ve seen it [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29,483 other followers

%d bloggers like this: