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23. Perpetual Motion

The hydrostatic weight or differential volume problem

     A too prevalent belief at the present time that a large area or body of water has a greater hydrostatic pressure than a connected tube rising from its base. A projector thought that the vessel of his contrivance, represented here, was to solve the renowned problem of the perpetual motion. It was goblet-shaped, lessening gradually toward the bottom until it became a tube, bent upward at c, and pointing with an open extremity into the goblet again.

Perpetual Motion Machine: 960-HydrostaticWeight

     He reasoned thus: A pint of water in the goblet, a, must more than counterbalance an ounce which the tube, b, will contain, and must therefore be constantly pushing the ounce forward into the vessel again at a, and keeping up a stream or circulation which will cease only when the water dries up. He was confounded when a trial showed him the same level in a and in b.

(Subsection 960, from p.385)

From: Gardner D. Hiscox, M.E., Mechanical Appliances and Novelties of Construction (1927), Norman W. Henley Publ. Co.


Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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