Monday, August 6, 2012

Magical Thinking

Note to Kunstler: not unnique to America, apparently:
In a nation thirsting for energy, he loomed like a messiah: a small-town engineer who claimed he could run a car on water.

The assertion -- based on the premise that he had discovered a way to easily split the oxygen and hydrogen atoms in water molecules with almost no energy -- would, if proven, represent a stunning breakthrough for physics and a near-magical solution to Pakistan's desperate power crisis.

"By the grace of Allah, I have managed to make a formula that converts less voltage into more energy," the professed inventor, Agha Waqar Ahmad, said in a telephone interview. "This invention will solve our country's energy crisis and provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of people."

Established scientists have debunked his spectacular claims, first made one month ago, saying they violate ironclad laws of physics. But across Pakistan, where crippling electricity cuts have left millions drenched in the sweat of a powerless summer, and where there is hunger for tales of homegrown glory, the shimmering mirage of a "water car" received a broad and serious embrace.

Federal ministers lauded Mr. Ahmad and his vehicle, sometimes at cabinet meetings. The stand-in minister for religious affairs, Khursheed Shah, appeared on television with him and took a ride in his small Suzuki rental, which was hooked up to a contraption that Mr. Ahmad described as a "water kit." Respected talk show hosts suggested he should get state financing and protection.
 Craving Energy and Glory, Pakistan Revels in Boast of Water-Run Car

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