The Perpetual Pursuit of Perpetual Motion

We all know that perpetual motion of the 1st or 2nd kind is impossible, but this has not deterred inventors from coming up with new ways to attain this dream. The US Patent Office, for instance, has granted several perpetual motion patents in recent history, against its long-standing policy. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that inventors are getting more sophisticated. Unbalanced wheels and magnets are giving way to holograms, forcing scientists to make connections between fields that would not have been made otherwise. Perpetual motion of the Third Kind, which seeks to produce infinite exergy rather than infinite energy, has made its appearance, and it seems that new laws of Thermodynamics would need to be added in order to forbid it. This paper studies not only the “science” behind perpetual motion, but also the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of a pursuit that would not go away.

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IIT Alma Mater

A few years ago, the school where I work decided to change its Alma Mater because nobody could remember the tune, and much less the words. There was a contests and, what do you know, I won (against very little competition, truth be said). Read on to see the words and hear the music of “IIT, You Mean to Me” (or, “IIT, you’re mean to me,” as most people sing it). Read More

Perpetual motion from light

Perpetual Motion Machines are those that would produce free, endless power, thus ending all of humanity’s energy problems (and maybe some political ones at the same time). I am not going to embarrass myself showing pictures of my early perpetual motion machines on this page, since you can find some very similar ones (guess which ones they are) going to this excellent website. What this article is about is a kind of perpetual motion machine that so far I haven”t been able to prove how it doesn’t work. Maybe you will…

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Modified interlock protocol for authentication

Of the many difficult problems dealing with public key cryptography, there are few so hard to crack as public key authentication. Public keys are easy to obtain (that’s why they are “public”), and because of this, it is hard to be sure that a certain key belongs to a certain person, what is known as authentication. Usually it is recommended that the key be handed out in person or that it be identified (directly or through a one-way hash) by a rich communication medium such as voice or video.

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Lessons from the VIC cipher

abelIn the mid-1950’s, the Soviet spy Reino Hayhanen, codenamed VIC, and his handler Rudolph Abel (in the picture) pulled off an incredible feat: they utilized a paper-and-pencil cipher that not even the FBI (the NSA wasn’t operating within US borders back then) was able to crack until Hayhanen defected and explained its inner workings. Computers already existed, and they were used primarily to crack ciphers like VIC. In this article, I go over some of its features, and how they can be used to enhance other simple ciphers. Read More