We know that the the mainstream media's pursuit of 'objectivity' lends credibility to incredible political positions. CBS's write-up of the Bloom Box, a 'power plant-in-a-box,' shows the flip side of the same coin: seemingly incredible claims reported as fact without any serious discussion of the science involved. The fact that it's just one of many seemingly similar technologies, oft-used to part investors from their money, is hardly mentioned in 60 Minutes' breathless story.
The Bloom Box is a fuel cell, and the concepts behind it are well-understood. But it's hard to see if it's marketing it like woo because that's what turns on venture captialists, or if CBS is simply so stupid that this is the only terminology it can muster to describe complex green energy tech.
Informing the public of potentially revolutionary technologies is a wonderful thing. And the Bloom Box, claimed to be a fuel cell, isn't subject to the same easy dismissals as amusements like Steorn's Orbo (Scientists make a sport of mocking how "free energy" machines seek to overrule the laws of thermodymics). But the Box hasn't been thoroughly tested and its hype adopts the same template as countless failed entries in the 'free energy' stakes. And this story offers only a single quote from a token scientific skeptic as it cheerleads onward through four pages' worth of promotional copy.
Here's how the machine works:
Given the stealthiness, we were surprised when Sridhar showed us - for the very first time - how he makes the "secret sauce" of his fuel cell on the cheap.
He said he bakes sand and cuts it into little squares that are turned into a ceramic. Then he coats it with green and black "inks" that he developed.
Sridhar told Stahl there is a secret formula. "And you take that and you apply that. You paint that on either side of this white ceramic to get a green layer and a black layer. And...that's it."
The Bloom Box's inventor adds that solar energy can also be used with the machines. Google's running an office on a Bloom Box, but that one, CBS reports, somehow involves natural gas.
I wonder how a highly combustible fossil fuel might help an unexplained
free "magic" energy machine produce a net positive output.