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If all goes as planned, sometime in February a small mechanical robot armed a with a new drill and a new camera will climb the narrow shafts from the Queens chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. This latest robotic venture is designed to go beyond the barrier which stopped its predecessor in 2002. On that occasion, as a worldwide televi­sion audience watched, the robot camera penetrated one wall only to be thwarted by another.

According to Zahi Hawass, the Egyptian antiquities director, the new probe is intended to discover what lies be­yond the barriers discovered in two passages ascending from both the south and north side of the chamber. In both passageways the first blocking walls contained a pair of copper “handles” at the same height (about 65 yards) above the chamber.

Engineer Christopher Dunn has theorized that the purpose of the passageways and the copper “handles” was to act as a fluid switch. When some electricity-conducting liquid, he argues, rose to sufficient height in the two shafts the copper would be immersed, closing a circuit of some kind. Dunn sees the unconnected copper pairings as obvious electrodes revealing an electrical purpose for the shafts.

Hawass, on the other hand, still thinks the Great Pyramid was a great mausoleum and hopes maybe, the new ro­bot will turn up a mummy, perhaps that of Cheops himself, who, Hawass believes, built the structure in about 2500 B.C. to be his tomb.


About a century ago inventor Nikola Tesla’s downfall, at least as far as his finances were concerned, came about when he told his backer J. P. Morgan of his intention to transmit power wirelessly to the world, apparently directly through the earth itself. Morgan, who couldn’t see how such a project could be profitable, pulled the plug (so to speak). Tesla’s plan, and the huge Wardenclyffe tower transmission station he was building at Shoreham, Long Island, New York was effectively trashed, and nobody has effectively been able to do it since, at least until now.

In December, U.S. physicist Marin Soljacic of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, presented a new system for the wireless transfer of electricity at the American Institute of Physics in San Francisco. The new system could charge a laptop computer in a matter of minutes, and do so safely, says Soljacic.

Previously, the problem with transferring enough energy to be useful was that no one could do it without frying anyone who got in the way. The new method is reported to solve that problem by using the part of the electromagnet­ic spectrum which is ‘non-radiative.’ Devices tuned to the proper frequency could tap into the energy which would not go where it was not intended to go. Soljacic’s technique, though, unlike Tesla’s, is designed to work only over rel­atively short distances and with relatively small power transfers.


Steorn, the Dublin, Ireland-based engineering firm, that startled the world with claims of a successful free energy technology, is sticking by its guns. Despite having earned the wrath of scientists around the world, Steorn president Sean McCarthy and his colleagues are continuing with plans to prove that their “blasphemy” of established science is justified.

The controversy began last summer when the company ran a full page ad in The Economist challenging the world’s scientists to disprove its free-energy technology. The ad offered to pay for a scientifically qualified jury to come and study its creation and to announce its findings, whatever they might be, to the world. Few details of the technology have been announced but it involves the use of magnets in a way that is said to put out more energy than it consumes, thus, apparently violating one of the basic laws of physics.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, McCarthy says his company has produced a prototype that ran independently for four weeks and that another motor using the system could produce enough energy to power a Por­sche car.

Though many in the “free energy” community whose researches are regularly reported in these pages have no dif­ficulty in accepting the possible validity of Steorn’s claims, most in the mainstream engineering community think it is all nothing but a giant publicity stunt. Still, it is difficult to see how the company could benefit from anything oth­er than outright validation of it claims.

At this point the qualified jury has been selected with demonstrations and testing to follow. The results, good or bad, are scheduled for release this fall.

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