Every so often someone says they've invented a perpetual motion machine. A clever arrangement of cogs. A jam-jar full of palladium and heavy water. Whatever the gadget, the claim is the same. They believe they have solved all mankind's problems with a simple gadget that produces free energy.
The latest in this proud succession of nonsense is an arrangement of magnets which puts out three times as much energy as you put into it.
The makers claim it would be a way of making mobile phones that never need charging. If it works, though, that will be the smallest of its applications. It will solve the energy crisis at a stroke. Global warming will become a distant memory.
It won't quite bring peace to the Middle East, but it will mean we no longer need their oil. So the West won't have to worry what about happens there - which could be the first step to sorting the whole mess out.
Only problem - it's utter rubbish. Guaranteed.
How do I know this? Well, it's the first law of thermodynamics. You can't get more energy out of a system than you put into it. In other words, 'free energy' is impossible. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed - not by black holes, not by subatomic particles, not by Irishmen with magnets.
At least the cold fusion people have an idea about where their 'free' energy comes from - fusing atomic nuclei together. But a series of magnets just 'generating' energy out of nowhere? Sorry, it's just voodoo.
But two Dublin based scientist/businessmen reckon they have done this, and placed adverts in major magazines challenging people to verify their claim.
They claim their work has been independently verified, but 'off the record'. This isn't science, of course - unless it's published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, it's not really science.
But a journalist, most things I predict with total confidence turn out to be wrong. So if I rubbish this with total confidence, maybe, just possibly, this could be the one that solves all man's troubles... Has to be worth a try, surely?
Check out the 'Scientists' website here.