Perpetual motion machine on eBay

How long do you think this guy will get away with this?

The seller has apparently gotten the boot since it shows him as a non-registered user. The only buyer has met the same fate. Sounds like they had a scam going.

On Ebay they respect the laws of Thermodynamics!

I have to say:
Yes, this is OBVIOUSLY a hoax, or a joke, or what-have-you. But about 10 years ago or so, there was a push in Canada for small, 2.5-5kW self-contained generators that were about the size of a waste can. I’m fuzzy on the details, but I believe they were using the heat from depleted uranium, combined with a thermopile, to generate the electricity. It was supposed to be for extremely remote areas and the like. The company making these things was also supposed to be seeking approval in the U.S., but I don’t think it got very far. (And it never would…who would approve such a thing? It would pretty much put the power companies out of biz…no, the item wasn’t cheap, and life expectancy was only about 5 years, but I think it still worked out, dollars-wise, to just buy one every 5 years instead of paying for power.)
I read about this in either Popular Science or Popular Mechanics, but can’t find a cite…anyone else ever heard of it?

If this doesn’t generate any responses here, I may post a similar query in GQ.

But selling such a device is just civil disobedience in protest of the unjust Laws of Thermodynamics. Are you suggesting that eBay should take a political stance on an issue as charged as this?

I guess it’s moot at this point since the auction has ended, but this raises some interesting questions. We all know that eBay can’t possibly police every item that is posted, but (if I’m not mistaken) if they do become aware of something that is obviously illegal/fraudulent/etc. they will remove it. Suppose someone had complained about this auction while it was still open. What is their responsibility here (legally AND moraly)? One could argue that it obviously violates the laws of physics and is therefore obviously fraudulent. On the other hand it could be argued that eBay, which presumably has no physicists on staff or on call, is not competent to judge such things and should only act if a customer can show that the device doesn’t work as advertised. So, hypothetically what is their responsibility in a case like this and how would they respond if they received a complaint?

If you read the description you might get some laughs. First, it’s a “black box” which I found amusing beause that term is often used in the sense of “this is a device where the miracle I can’t explain occurs” in blueprints for warp drives and such. And then later on it says “It has it’s own internal battery”!!!

The thing has a 6 month warrantee. Maybe the guy just put some car batteries in series and hoped it would last beyong the warrantee!