Sunday, February 04, 2007

Do (Reuters) reporters know absolutely nothing about everything?

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me by a post on Nanotechnology Today that the Professor who heads up the research group that built the "demon" said (speaking about J. C. Maxwell):
"As he predicted, the machine does need energy and in our experiment it is powered by light. While light has previously been used to energise tiny particles directly, this is the first time that a system has been devised to trap molecules as they move in a certain direction under their natural motion. Once the molecules are trapped they cannot escape."
Again, what's going on at Reuters?! This quote is EXACTLY the opposite of their summary (quoted below).

It's just silly that the article "1867 nanomachine now reality" has gone the extra mile to be completely worthless. It's also silly that CNN has decided to put this in their "Offbeat news."

The experiment described in the article involves Maxwell's Demon, which is a thought experiment involving a "paradox" of statistical thermodynamics. However, nowhere in the article is this paradox ever mentioned. In fact, they go so far as to say this:
His mechanism traps molecular-sized particles as they move. As Maxwell had predicted long ago, it does not need energy because it is powered by light.

Now, I'm guessing that the scientists involved said that Maxwell's paradox was a paradox because his little demon did not require additional energy. However, this device doesn't cause any paradox because their demon DOES require additional energy IN THE FORM OF LIGHT. As I explain to my fourth graders, light is energy. Nearly all of the things that end in "cycle" in the study of earth and life science are driven by the energy brought from the sun in the form of light.

Anyway, the article completely misses the point and is filled with lots of misunderstandings and statements which could generously be called wrong.

Do they have editors at Reuters? To cut costs did they just fire them all and hire the cast of Who's the Boss? instead?

2 comments:

sookietex said...

hi Theo you are exactly correct

"I'm guessing that the scientists involved said that Maxwell's paradox was a paradox because his little demon did not require additional energy. However, this device doesn't cause any paradox because their demon DOES require additional energy IN THE FORM OF LIGHT."

here is our blog coverage of the same release

http://nanotechnologytoday.blogspot.com/2007/02/nanomachine-of-future-james-clerk.html

my wife is my editor.

your friend sookietex,

PS. feel free to point out any and all errors. :-)

Theo said...

Thanks for yoru comment! Your blog had a very helpful quote on it. I've copied into an update to this post and given your blog credit.