Thursday, April 18, 2002

Random noise can be converted to one-way rotational energy with this clever device. It doesn't violate any of the laws of thermodynamics, but it is somewhat counterintuitive. These sorts of "Browning ratchets" are also the basis of Parrondo's Paradox, in which it is possible for someone to switch back and forth at random between two games which are mathematically losers, and generate a net win.