MadSci Network: Physics
Query:

Re: Are �Earth Batteries� Telluric current Transformers/Accumulators ?

Date: Fri Dec 10 10:38:53 2004
Posted By: Lawrence Skarin, Rochester Museum and Science Center Technical Assistance Group
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1102132099.Ph
Message:

Hello, Birol,

I don't find Gerry Vassilatos credible.  Here's a site where he talks 
about Stubblefield -- too reverently, for my taste.
 http://www.hbci.com/~wenonah/history/nathan-s.htm

Check the opening paragraph:

"The scientific historian methodically searches out catalogues of 
forgotten phenomena by thorough examination of old periodicals, texts, and 
patent files. The retrieval of old and forgotten observations, 
discoveries, scientific anecdotal records, and rare natural phenomena 
provide the intellectual dimension desperately needed by modern 
researchers who work in a vacuum of dogma."

He loses me right there.  Forgotten observations are usually that because 
they are no bloody good.  Others have been unable to duplicate the 
results.  And the tone of victimization by "...researchers who work in a 
vacuum of dogma." -- well, this is a stance often taken by those pushing 
pseudoscience.

Here are the definitions of Telluric Current and Earth Battery:
 http://www.free-definition.com/Telluric-current.html
 http://www.free-definition.com/Earth-battery.html

That conductive soil in a changing magnetic field can generate voltage is 
well known.  But getting enough energy from this phenomenon to run a motor 
is doubtful.  (The pith ball motor Vassilatos mentions is just a toy.)  In 
fact, telluric currents are generally a pain to engineers.  They can cause 
corrosion and create the need for electric isolation on underground wire 
runs for communication (Thank goodness fiber optics is available!)  You 
will note a discrepency between Vassilatos' definition of "earth battery" 
and the free-definition one -- The latter uses dissimilar metals as 
electrodes, so the moist ground is being used as an electrolyte.

Can you do telegraphy or telephony using the earth as a conductor?  Sure.  
But it's doubtful it would work better than the copper wires going from 
your house to the central switching office.

I hope you are not terribly disappointed in my reply.  Just judge whether 
it makes sense.  And please keep a healthy skepticism of whatever you 
read.  If a writer claims to have discovered a phenomenon, without an 
independent verification, it is just a claim.

Cheers,

Larry Skarin



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