More green ink by e-mail

A reader writes:

Dear Dan
I purchased some modulators from Mr Orchard and had one of the units tested using a machine called a PowerMate that is made in Adelaide.

The result was a 30% reduction in power consumption. The test was done over a 3 month period.

Mr Orchard is way ahead of his time. People just on get it!



The contents of this e-mail is highly confidential and for the intended recipient only and to the e-mail address to which it has been addressed to. It's contents may not be disclosed to or used by any other 3rd party other than this addressee, nor may it be duplicated in any way or format without prior consent by the sender. If received in error, please contact the sender by email quoting the name of the sender and the addressee and delete it from your email server and email client software. The sender does not accept any responsibility for any forms of viruses, spyware or malware. It is the responsibility of the receiver to scan all their incoming e-mails and all attachments that have been sent to them.

First, no, e-mail sent to a stranger is not confidential, and no disclaimer boilerplate at the end can make it so. (I'm not sure what the "commercial" part is supposed to mean, either.)

EMPower Modulator

That aside, I presume you're sincere about your statement about seeing the magical EMPower Modulator doing at least one of the numerous extraordinary things it's meant to, and I will also grant for the sake of argument that the test you saw was not rigged, or performed with a defective power meter. (The "Power Mate" is I think meant to be able to take reactive loads into account; cheap power meters like the ones I write about here cannot fully do this.)

In that case, all I can say to you is the same thing I say to everybody who says they know of some gadget that reduces electricity consumption, or improves fuel economy, or in some other way could save a lot of people a lot of money:

Why is the person who has been selling this thing for so many years or, in many cases including that of Harmonic Products, DECADES, not a billionaire Nobel-Prize winner?

You demonstrate your device informally. You talk journalists and a technical college or two into testing it. With that evidence, you talk serious test labs and/or universities into testing it. And then there you are with your proven invention that, because most of the world's population will want it, is not worth millions of dollars; it's worth billions. Hell, even if an evil corporate conspiracy steals your invention, rips up your patent and robs you of your rightful reward, you will still have greatly bettered the lot of humankind. Provided, of course, that the evil conspiracy doesn't tuck your gadget away in the same vast warehouse where they keep the Ark of the Covenant and the hundred-mile-per-gallon carburettor.

There are hundreds of these things. Fuel savers, power savers, perpetual-motion machines, things that allegedly enhance health or cure deadly diseases by means unknown to science, and of course persons distributing the wisdom of super-advanced aliens via channelling.

All could revolutionise the world, if true. None have ever managed it. They always just sell the gadgets, or tickets to their performances, one at a time to punters like you.

(And, notably, they do not mysteriously vanish when the abovementioned giant corporate Illuminati Freemason conspiracy catches up with them. A lot of these people have been selling the same scam pretty much all their lives, without any repercussions beyond getting serially busted by the government because they keep taking people's money and running.)

The closest these miracle devices and potions get to actual success is when they manage to be bought in quantity by someone who hasn't applied any proper tests to see if they work, or who are just hoping to turn a buck on resale or shares in the company. See the ADE 651 "bomb detector" and its various relatives, for instance, and the whole miserable Firepower saga.

If the EMPower Modulator works, it is a miraculous device, and I use that word advisedly. (The same goes for the pieces of purple aluminium jewellery that Harmonic Products told me protect the wearer from radiation, make beverages take better, make metal on your person invisible to metal detectors unless you intend to do something bad with that metal, et cetera et cetera.)

But apparently Harmonic Products are perfectly happy to frame a lottery ticket and hang it on the wall for visitors to admire.

They say it'd win a billion dollars, if they only cashed it in.

Why haven't they?

UPDATE: Peter replied to me, with the following cogent rebuttal:

Yes the world is flat and the Sun revolves around the earth.
Happy sleepwalking.

Sent from my iPhone

I'm not sure whether he's agreeing with me or not.

(There was no boilerplate confidentiality disclaimer this time. Presumably he's cool with his e-mail being published, provided he sent it from his phone.)

13 Responses to “More green ink by e-mail”

  1. iworm Says:

    Dear Sir

    I write to you to protest in the strongest possible terms your
    pejorative use of the words "green ink" to denote some sort of
    general raging lunacy. I often write in green ink and only some of my
    letters are legally contentious.

    Yours etc.
    Colonel Bonkers

    PS With all due respect to Monty Python
    PPS And, quite genuinely, I have a number of beautiful ink pens, one of which IS indeed filled with green ink..... Oh dear.

    • MikeLip Says:

      Green ink in a nice italic nib (or even music nib) in the hands of someone who can actually WRITE is a thing of style and grace. In my hands, it's more like something you'd post on your fridge when your 3 year old came home from daycare.

      • Chazzozz Says:

        Sigh I, too, am an aficionado of green ink since it's my favourite colour. The Sailor Pen Co's Jentle Ink used to come in green, but the web page doesn't list it any more. I've got a bottle of it that came with my Prefessional Gear Standard sporting the Zoom nib, and it sure does look nice. If you want a truly stunning green then the Caran d'Ache Amazon is exceptionally good (and exceptionally expensive, too, which makes it slightly less attractive).

        Of course, for those who want a literal rainbow of greens then you cannot go past Noodler's ink. Their web site only shows the most common commercial ones, they have quite a few other colours that are special releases and aren't on the palette page. I have several...greens, that is, plus many others. In fact, I find it very hard to visit my local pen shop and NOT walk out with yet another bottle in my hand.

        Of course, none of these will improve your mains electricity efficiency or reduce power consumption in any way. Sad, really.

  2. dan Says:

    I think green ink is actually perfectly lovely. And fortunately, its connotations of great independence of mind are already fading (I apologise for my small part in perpetuating those connotations), now that even nutters usually use the Web and e-mail instead of paper and ink.

    Some time soon green ink's beauty will again be appreciable, without the still-surviving undertones of flat-earthism, Einstein Was Wrong and, of course, unmedicated paranoid schizophrenia.

    (None of which characteristics, I hasten to add, I am suggesting apply to the above-quoted-against-his-will Peter. In his case, I'm merely questioning the claim that All Physics Is Very Badly Wrong Because I Saw A Number On A Power Meter.)

  3. MikeLip Says:

    I made this offer some time ago, but will repeat it. Dan, you have one of these laying around. I've seen the review you did and agree - it's nothing more than a stupidly expensive extension cord. Now, unless you have taken the magical aluminum square out of it or spilled the pixie dust or something, it should still be functional. I have at my disposal a Magtrol motor test system consisting of a REAL power analyzer and a eddy current brake/dyno controller, with control/recording software. Doing a motor test with and without the modulator thing would be a matter of 15 minutes work, and will generate complete data on motor performance. If I can get my hands on that gadget I'd be perfectly happy to perform this test. I propose running a torque curve on the motor from no-load to stall, in whatever torque increments you like, running the same program on both EM and non-EM connected machines. It's a lot more fun when you have hard data to argue with. But of course it probably depends on quantum something which doesn't work when you are looking at it.

  4. Harrkev Says:

    I *KNOW* that these things work. I purchased a dozen. Now, my electric company pays me, my dog has stopped pooping in the house, and my children are a lot nicer to each other. Coincidence? I think not...

  5. wumpus Says:

    >First, no, e-mail sent to a stranger is not confidential, and no
    >disclaimer boilerplate at the end can make it so. (I'm not sure
    >what the "commercial" part is supposed to mean, either.)

    Under the Berne Convention, all works are automatically copyrighted. This gives the sender vast powers to prohibit direct cutting and pasting, but does nothing to prevent claims that "some shill claiming to be named Peter insists that magic fraud gadget reduces power consumption by 30%".

    In the US, charging such thoughtcrimes requires registering the media you plan on enforcing copyright. I have no idea what the Aussie law says.

    • dan Says:

      Reprinting non-confidential correspondence sent to you (which includes non-confidential correspondence that has a silly unilateral confidentiality disclaimer on the end of it) is not copyright infringement. (Similarly, it's not copyright infringement if mail servers keep a copy of your message copied your message, the person you send it to backs it up somewhere, et cetera.)

      Except in some peculiar cases, publishing e-mails is a clear-cut case of fair use, and I think also clearly allowed by "fair dealing", the more restrictive version of fair use in law here in Australia.

      The "unpublished" nature of a letter or e-mail sent to a stranger has legal significance, but only in special cases, like if someone for some reason e-mails you the manuscript of their unpublished book and you stick it on your Web site. Ordinary correspondence, in all countries with anything remotely resembling a sane legal system, may freely be displayed to the world.

      This particularly applies to legal letters, or documents resembling them. Many twits have sent a patently ludicrous nastygram to someone, then gotten all bent out of shape when the target gleefully showed said nastygram to the world. The sender usually claims copyright in the cease-and-desist-saying-my-haircut-is-silly letter, and goes on to rant and rave and further embarrass themselves, becoming only more hilariously demented when all of THAT correspondence is published, too.

      As a general rule, if you didn't want someone with whom you have no contractual relationship to show your correspondence to other people, then you shouldn't have sent it to them.

  6. Red_October Says:

    My guess is that the e-mail boilerplate is simply a result of it being sent from the nutter in question's work computer. My father works on rather sensitive government contracts and e-mails from his work account all carry a much more unsettling disclaimer no matter the contents of the message. Of course this is under the assumption that "Commercial in confidence" holds some sort of meaning in Australia, since it doesn't mean much to me here in the states, but it does sound like the sort of thing that's said with different peculiar language in different lands.

    It's a bit startling, though, to think that a person who believes that a fancy extension cord with metal bits in it can work minor miracles is in a position to require such a disclaimer on his e-mail messages, though. Let's hope he doesn't make purchasing decisions for his firm!

    • dan Says:

      "Commercial in confidence" is, to my knowledge, just a term used in contracts and other such legal relationships to prevent parties to an agreement from disclosing information.

      Attaching such verbiage to e-mails to strangers is, I think, a bit like sending people invoices for things they didn't buy. Unless there is some sort of contract-for-consideration or other such legal relationship between the parties, it is pointless to try to employ the legal machinery to which those documents connect.

      (For an extreme example of this, check out the sovereign citizen movement and the various other tax-deniers and such who orbit at similar altitudes. They are strong believers in legal terms as magical incantations that will cause a judge to say "oh, wait, clearly you're right and we're an Admiralty court which only has jurisdiction over the secret corporation created in your name at your birth by the Great Fiat-Currency Conspiracy, so you're quite right in neutralising the tax you owe by just writing "ACCEPTED FOR VALUE" on the forms and sending them back, and no document that has your name in capital letters has anything to do with you. Allow me to present you with some noble titles and the wheelbarrow of gold the Jew-Masons tried to steal from you, and then the bailiffs will escort you from this faux-legal affront to human freedom, to the Playboy Mansion".)

  7. alan_cam Says:

    When you have a closed, classified system, "commercial in confidence" etc are used to determine how to treat the contained information (eg. if you print it, you need to track the printed copy & store appropriately).
    As for green ink, I would suggest to Chazzozz that writing on a piece of paper uses less electricity than firing up a PC.
    Now, all I need is to work out how to make my post green. [Sigh] HTML is not my forte.

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