Monday, March 17, 2008

The Water Engine

About thirty years ago, David Mamet wrote a play about a man who invents an engine that runs on water. (Dwight Schultz of The A-Team played the inventor on stage at the Public Theater, and William H. Macy played him for a cable production.) I haven't seen it, but I gather that things don't go well for the inventor and his invention when they run up against the forces of capitalism.
Now a researcher from Pennsylvania named John Kanzius has found a way to burn salt water by exposing it to radio waves of a certain frequency. (Kanzius had been investigating the use of radio waves to treat cancer.) It's not clear whether this method will ever produce more energy than it uses, but it's surprising and encouraging that seemingly simple discoveries like this are still being made. Let's keep our fingers crossed for the continuing health and safety of Mr. Kanzius.

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