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The 10 Greatest Hoaxes in the History of Engineering

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William K.
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Platinum
Re: Not done yet
William K.   4/1/2015 4:09:42 PM
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In reality, fuzzy logic is what you have when you try to use digital where analog is the best choice. But trying to emulate analog with digital is seldom a best choice. A bit more thinking can result in a digital algorithm that produces better results, or, a decision that some areas should indeed remain in the analog realm. Even Bob Pease would agree with that.

William K.
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Re: Not done yet
William K.   4/1/2015 4:04:55 PM
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I never regarded "popular science" magazine as any more serious than a comic book, for exactly the reason that you mention. A lot of the articles were just as unbelieveable.

GSKrasle
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Iron
That car that runs off the current through a 9-V battery....
GSKrasle   4/1/2015 3:48:04 PM
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We don't talk about the 1500-more in the boot....

Look for video of 'joseph newman's NO GAS FORD RUNNING ON FREE ENERGY' (at about 5kph.)

Also, look for the article 'Scientists create water splitter that runs on a single AAA battery'; it's all-over, and nobody seems to remember their chemistry or physics, making me despair for the race. Yeah, you can run your car off hydrogen, but....


Shermer's book is a compendium of sorts:
'Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time' He has a TED talk too.
Carl Sagan's 'The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark' is a recommended companion.


But all those are pretty current, not yet distant enough to lose their distasteful flavour.
Today is less about hoaxes than about PRANKS.

lmcelhiney
User Rank
Iron
Signetics WOM and DEAD
lmcelhiney   4/1/2015 3:33:52 PM
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A few might remember the April 1972 Signetics Datasheet for the 25120 Write Only Memory (WOM) (Details on WikiPedia).  Shortly thereafter, they released the Darkness Emitting Arsenide Diode (DEAD) which, possibly in defiance of Moore's Law, caused 100% yield from every wafer!  (After testing, you either placed the device in the LED bin or the DEAD bin.)

The DEAD was later recommended as the Data Output indicator for use with the WOM.

shrimper53
User Rank
Gold
Some has to say it
shrimper53   4/1/2015 3:12:48 PM
I suppose this is pushing the envelope a bit, in that it is not so much an engineering hoax, as a scientific hoax, however......dare I say it...?

Anthropogenic Global Warming!..... er... Climate Change.

 

 

rhayashi
User Rank
Silver
Re: Great Start-of-the-Day Read
rhayashi   4/1/2015 1:01:26 PM
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Any one remember the free "digital calculator" from a semiconductor company in a trade mag?  A ovoid piece of card stock with 5 finger holes!

GSKrasle
User Rank
Iron
Re: Super Carb
GSKrasle   4/1/2015 12:19:21 PM
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'Omni' Magazine.

As much as I admire their staple contributors H. R. Giger and William Gibson, that magazine's mix of fiction, fantasy, hoax and breathless speculation pretending to be fact poisoned a generation of potential scientists into distrusting and eschewing mainstream education, government, and industry and into believing a plethora of conspiracy theories. The '100mpg carbeurator' and 'water engine' were supposedly suppressed by the same people who hid the truth of 'chariots of the gods', 'crystal healing', 'UFOs', 'that place in Mexico where cars roll uphill', etc.

If it hadn't had such a long run, I would have thought that whole publication just a prank. 

Larry M
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Platinum
Super Carb = Pogue Carburetor
Larry M   4/1/2015 12:06:28 PM
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Ummm, yeah. It was the Pogue Carburetor.

See the Wikipedia article on Charles Nelson Pogue.

Mr. Wirtel
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Gold
Super Carb
Mr. Wirtel   4/1/2015 11:38:56 AM
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  No list of engineering hoaxes can possibly be complete without mentioning the Super Carburetor of the 60s & 70s. They allowed cars to get over 100 mpg and were quickly bought up and held off the market by big oil. They worked best when accompanied by the Everlasting Sparkplug that never wore out and doubled you gas milage. AC Delco bought the patent rights for the plugs before big oil could react.

  What is even goofier is I am sure there are still people today who believe those stories.

armorris
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Platinum
Turning an audio recorder into a video recorder
armorris   4/1/2015 11:06:04 AM
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During my service in the US Army in the early 70's, I was stationed at a NATO facility in Holland. While there, my Dutch friend and I saw an article in "Elektuur" magazine (known to the rest of the world as "Elektor") about how to turn an audio tape recorder into a video recorder. We never suspected it was an April-fools joke. It required the construction of a chopper circuit to chop the video up, supposedly lowering it's bandwidth, and mounting the recording head at a 45 degree angle relative to the tape. We built the chopper circuit and modified a tape recorder. Of course, it didn't work.

I also remember in high school, reading an article in a magazine like "Popular Electronics" or "Popular Science" about special transistors with atomic batteries built into them. It showed a transistor radio built with them that would run forever without batteries.

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