Re: My new site

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 22:48:00 -0600

> He did not show that there was not thrust produced, because he used the
> wrong equation. The sticking point is the mechanism for putting energy
> into the sytem that will not act as an opposite reaction to the
> centrifugal force extracted as thrust. I have it, and thats my
> secret....

For the love of Pete, why can't you just bloody well say so on your Web
page, instead of sending us off on a wild goose chase? Just note on
your Web page:
"The key to this mechanism is the method of accelerating and slowing the
circling balls. If this was done by normal means, the total thrust
would cancel out. I refuse to tell you how it works."

Look, Mike, if you can impart forwards momentum to the balls without
disturbing the rest of the system, what the hell's the cylinder for?
Take the damn thing out and apply force to the balls directly, then let
them bounce off a trampoline without this elaborate cylinder thing.
What is all this? Camouflage? If you want to keep your drive a secret,
SAY so, don't put up elaborate misleading Web pages designed to make
every physicist within three light years call you a crackpot. Just
say: "No, I won't tell you how it works." Mike, somewhere in your
system there's got to be a module where you impart forwards momentum to
something without imparting an equal and opposite backwards momentum.
If you've got it, the Lorrey Drive is a success, if not, a failure. As
far as I can tell, your page does not describe such a module. At best
it describes an unnecessarily complex way of using the momentum produced
by another module and falsely implies that this is relevant.

No offense, here, but I've read a work on cranks and you're beginning to
show some symptoms. You publish a device, I say the device has a flaw,
you claim I used the wrong equation, and then when half the mailing list
chimes in you claim that what you published is totally irrelevant and
the secret lies elsewhere. This is NOT proper scientific procedure EVEN
if you know what you're doing.

I had the opportunity to become a mathematical crank, once. I thought
I'd disproved Cantor's Diagonal Theorem by pointing out that the finite
numbers could be placed into one-to-one correspondence with all subsets
of the powers of two, and thought that the Theorem stated it was not
possible. Then on one fateful day I actually applied the Theorem and
realized I hadn't taken the possibility of infinite subsets into
account, just the finite ones.

At this point I realized I had two choices. One, I could decide that
Cantor's Diagonal Theorem wasn't true *anyway*, spend the rest of my
life saying so, plague math professors with poorly typed equations, and
become a general mathematical crank. Two, I could admit I made a
mistake and get on with my life. Guess which one I chose?

Of course, I was, in fact, wrong. This has been known to happen to me.
Perhaps it has happened to you. Perhaps it has not. Certainly I would
not want the billionaire inventor of the famous Lorrey Drive to hold a
personal grudge against me. On the other hand, I don't want to see a
fellow human turn into a crackpot when I could have saved him.

In accordance with the scientific method, I hereby propose that this
debate be suspended until such time as Lorrey produces experimental
evidence or six months have elapsed, whichever comes first. If at this
time Lorrey is the possessor of a Nobel Prize or three, I shall
apologize handsomely. On the other hand, if Lorrey Inc. *fails* to
drive Boeing out of business, Michael Lorrey shall admit he was wrong
and get on with his life.

Is it a deal?

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I know.