20% better MPG from an electro-magnet? Must be a joke, right?

In the "are you kidding me" department, we find this report of a simple device consisting of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car’s engine near the fuel injector. Using power from the vehicle’s battery, the device creates an electric field that thins the fuel, reducing its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion.

And who says so? Has to be a quack, a jerk, some backyard mechanic? Errr. no, actually, it's Temple University.


"Six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz automobile showed that the device increased highway fuel from 32 miles per gallon to 38 mpg, a 20 percent boost"

"Temple has applied for a patent on this technology, which has been licensed to California-based Save The World Air Inc., an environmentally conscientious enterprise focused on the design, development, and commercialization of revolutionary technologies targeted at reducing emissions from internal combustion engines."

I believe the patent application is for number 20080190771 It seems to be for a device that uses the electric power from the battery to create a magnetic field around the fuel.

So do those con artists who sell the perminant magnet thing you put on the fuel line actually have something going on? Mythbusters, and many others, proved that they don't. So what gives?

The patent application says: "It has been surprisingly found that if the applied magnetic field is a short pulse, the induced dipolar interaction does not have enough time to affect particles at macroscopic distances apart, but forces nearby ones into small clusters. The assembled clusters are thus of limited size, for example of micrometer size. While the particle volume fraction remains the same, the average size of the "new particles" is increased. This may lead to the reduction in apparent viscosity because the value of the crowding factor k, is reduced. "

So it's a pulse, not a continuous application, that makes the difference.

Pulsing a magnetic coil with a specific, adjustable, duty cycle and pulse width is taylor made for microcontrollers like the PIC or MSP430, and pretty easy to do.


A REALLY Different Christmas Poem.

A friend sent the "Different Christmas Poem" email that has been circulating the internet. You can read it in the snopes link below if you are an idiot. This was my response to it.

Nice poem. It would mean more to me if the war we are currently fighting had any actual basis in protecting our country from a threat. However… LCDR Jeff Giles didn’t write it
http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/glurge/different.asp and the soldiers in Iraq are NOT protecting us from any real threat. No WMD’s, no Iraqi’s involved in 9/11, Osama bin Laden is not now, and never was, in Iraq… Not to mention the fact that we don’t seem to be actively looking for him anymore.

And from a purely humanitarian standpoint, while Saddam did apparently kill a lot of people (~600,000), we have now killed quite a few ourselves.
www.iraqbodycount.org/ says it’s around 90,000 at last count. And we have to wonder if we will leave the area (assuming we ever actual leave…) in a more or less stable state. It may just be that when working with a people who are insanely violent due to religious differences, an insane leader is the best possible match.

In fact, when you look at the deaths per day and compare days under Saddam’s rule with deaths during our occupation, the difference is less obvious. Saddam killed about 100 people per day (70-125), since we took over, it’s been about 40 or so per day (16-72). Just for comparison, on the average day in the USA, 119 people die in automobile accidents.

And even if (I say IF) our troops were protecting us from terrorists, the total death toll in the USA from terrorist action is less than 5,000… over ALL time. Less than 3000 in 9/11. Yet 9/11 was used to remove freedoms, change laws, justify torture, and send millions of our boys and girls into harms way.

In the USA, every single year, MORE than 60,000 people die in automobile accidents. Who at Firestone or Ford went to jail for knowingly putting inferior tires on a car with too high a center of gravity? Where was the service man protecting me from them? Where is the light rail line (Trains are THE safest way to travel, although airlines are safer than cars) for me to use going to work?

The point I’m trying to make here is that humans, and especially Americans, use emotion, rather than logic and statistics, to make decisions and justify actions. This poem, although lovely, plays to that fatal flaw. My logic and numbers may strike most as cold, and will never be repeated ad nauseam over the internet the way this poem WILL be, but they have a truth, clarity, and beauty that would better serve the USA.



John Stewart says it all on gay marrage.

John Stewart makes some really good points about gay marrage in this... It's amazing how far people will go to safe the definition of a word. As far as I can tell, not re-defining marrage is the only defendable point left for the 8ers.


Bail out the WORKERS, not the companies.

All I want to ask the people who are crying about the loss of jobs in Detroit is this ONE question: How many mortgate payments, full tuition college educations, free health care insurance policies, and meals could that same bailout money provide to those workers?
Let the crappy car companies FAIL. Do not reward failure. Reward the companies who make good cars by providing them with a better trained, happy work force.


How much are your kids worth?

Thanks to my friend Bill for sending me this in an email. This is a “nice” little wakeup call for civilians who don’t understand the point of Military R&D funding. Yes, it would be better to not go to war at all, but that isn’t the reality of life is it? As longs as we DO go to war (no matter how stupid and wrong the reasons are) I want MY kids and YOUR kids to have the best possible weapons technology on our side. This video shows a man firing mortar’s at our troops. Watch what happens.

I never like to see anyone die, but when it’s a choice between us or them, I pick them. There is no way to know how many Americans his mortars killed, but it’s good to know it won’t be any more. Of all the weapons systems I've seen, this has to be one of my favorites. It's morally ideal in that it is totally harmless except to the guy who starts shooting at you. "...if it shoots, shoot back."

http://www.syrres.com/stc/products_lcmr.htm The technology that stopped him is called the LCMR: Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar-Enhancement and is made by Syracuse Research Corporation, a non-profit whose mission is to “keep America safe and strong by protecting its people, environment, and way of life.” The Lightweight Counter-Mortar Radar (LCMR) detects and locates mortar firing positions automatically by detecting and tracking the mortar shell and then backtracking to the weapon position.

http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=249992 Hillary got them $5M to improve that system for use inside the USA. It is being updated to track not only mortar shells but also small arms fire. So the local police will know in an instant when a gun is fired, and in a few shots, know exactly where.

$5 million of the federal funding will go to the Syracuse Research Corporation for the development of Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar-Enhancement (LCMR). The
funding will create new opportunities to improve and enhance national security. The radar, developed for the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and currently in theater, provides the capability to automatically locate mortar-firing positions by detecting and tracking the mortar shell, then backtracking to the weapon position. Accordingly, this technology will allow soldiers in combat to more effectively take cover from mortar fire, locate its origin, and respond. LCMR systems have already been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funding in this legislation would upgrade these systems. SRC received $2.5 million of federal funding for the LCMR in FY 05.

Support our troops: First, BRING THEM HOME, but failing that, give them the best possible tools to keep them alive while they are in harms way.