tagSci-Fi & FantasyCrackpot Spammer

Crackpot Spammer


Faustus Mortal is a fictional character. So is Sari Stone, for that matter. This is not to say that they were not inspired by living human beings; however, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental and none should be inferred.


The day begins early with Faustus Mortal in the Basilica Cardinale. He is there each and every day as a religious. Today, however, is different from all others. He is greeted outside the Basilica by Sari Stone, a young college coed majoring in physics. She has heard of Faustus's latest discovery and is curious about it. Faustus is not used to having a great deal of social contact.

Sari Stone: Greetings Faustus!

Faustus Mortal: Whatever brings you to cyberspace, Sari?

Faustus Mortal: I thought that you were cured of your Internet addiction!

Sari Stone: Tell me of the formula for the isospin of the proton-neutron.

Sari Stone: You should publish it!

Faustus Mortal: I tried to post it in Physics Forum.

Sari Stone: And? (Mn-Mp)/Me = ln(4pi)

Faustus Mortal: They deleted my post and banned me forever.

Faustus Mortal: They said that I was a "Crackpot spammer."

Faustus Mortal pouts.

Sari Stone: Was the number wrong?

Faustus Mortal: It was 99.9985% correct.

Faustus Mortal: Not to worry. Some tenured professor will use it.

Faustus Mortal: They will take it as their own discovery.

Faustus Mortal: Why should I care? After all...

Faustus Mortal: I am a "Crackpot Spammer."

Sari Stone: You come here every day and beseech the almighty for a solution to the energy dilemma. That is "crackpot"? And you received an answer once. It was a trick from Printz Darkness. But how would anyone know otherwise? The safe thing to do is to follow blindly the tenured teachers and their doings. How did you once express it? "They follow well-worn ways and pluck low-hanging fruit from the much-decayed tree of obsolete technology."

Faustus Mortal: Those were the words of an angry young man.

Faustus Mortal: I have changed. I come here every day.

Sari Stone: I don't go much for all those ancient rituals.

Faustus Mortal: The church is, after all, on my side.

Faustus Mortal: They want clean, cheap, copious energy!

Sari Stone: Doesn't everyone want that?

Faustus Mortal guffaws.

Faustus Mortal: I wish!

Sari Stone: So, you studied energy, what about wind energy?

Sari Stone: It's being hyped so much in the media.

Faustus Mortal: Great theory, but it has problems.

Sari Stone: Do tell.

Faustus Mortal: Conventional energy production has a generating facility. It uses some source, coal, falling water, nuclear fuel, or the like. But wind is spread out and needs to be collected up via transmission lines. This is a problem, both of installation expense and maintenance. Clearly, the best fuel would be hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water. But hydrogen is a light gas, not easily compressed. Consider carbon dioxide. You can get a tiny cylinder to make your sparkling water. Ditto for nitrogen. There are nitrogen cylinders. But helium? That's another story. You get a large metal container. Helium is not easily compressed into a tiny cylinder. Natural gas can be compressed easily. But hydrogen cannot. If it could, then one could compress the gas and collect it for storage and transport. But this won't happen. Perhaps technology someday will come up with a way to encapsulate or incarcerate hydrogen and retrieve it. But that is off in the future. The problem is here and now.

Sari Stone: Why not transmission lines for wind energy turbines?

Faustus Mortal: Great idea, but very expensive. And each wind turbine needs a connecting line. Not only that, wind is unpredictable and intermittent. Doldrums come along from time to time and then there is no power. What then?

Sari Stone: You do have a point. And what about solar power?

Faustus Mortal: Great idea, but expensive. It needs places with lots of sunshine. That eliminates vast regions of the country. Especially during the winter months when electricity demand is greatest. The energy needed to produce the solar cells isn't small either. We are looking at decades for either wind or solar. We can't wait that long.

Sari Stone: It looks so bleak for environmentally safe energy.

Faustus Mortal: Of course there is nuclear energy. But, IMHO, it's about the dumbest way to boil water that is conceivable. And it scares people with all that media hype about melt downs and radioactivity. Chernobyl did a lot to frighten the whole world, even the religious with their mystic interpretation of the star "Wormwood."

Sari Stone: What might you suggest for nuclear fission energy?

Faustus Mortal: Moi? Well, one could burn the Uranium-238 if it didn't have such a long half-life. Of course the Fundamental Law of Radioactive Decay states that no physical process can alter the half-life. But I think it is possible. After all, special relativity can extend, prolong, or dilate it. Maybe on the quantum end there is some way to energize an intrinsic property and shorten the half-life. That would give ninety-nine times the energy that is available now!!

Sari Stone is intrigued. "Have you mentioned this to others?"

Faustus Mortal: No. They would only consider it some crackpot idea.

Faustus Mortal: They called my derivation of the mass ratios of fundamental particles "numerology." But not to fear, they are well-funded by those selling crude oil, natural gas, and coal. I call that trio the Fossil Fuel Fellowship under the titular head of Old King Coal. They own the Congress, btw, lock, (preferred) stock, and (oil) barrel. You can remember the child's poem? "Old King Coal was a dirty old soul and a dirty old soul was he. He called for his pipe(line) and called for his bowl and called for his lobbyists three!

Sari Stone smiles. The isospin equation is the natural logarithm of four times pi. The formula in my TI-30X is ln(4pi). (Check it out.)

Sari Stone: So you want fission? One time you told of "burning" protons directly to energy and powering interstellar travel via a constantly accelerating reference plane. For a while you concept of "cold fission" had a small, albeit elite, following.

Faustus Mortal: The Fossil Fuel Fellowship has won the war. Soon coal powered generators will be the norm. They are already over 51%. It's simple economics. No matter how much capital is pumped into the so-called "green energy" sources, coal is cheap, coal is plentiful, and coal is dirty.

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