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Magic water

Published Aug 05, 2012 12:00am


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TALK-SHOW hosts feted it. Politicians rode in it. Cabinet ministers discussed it. Well-known scientists backed it. Those of a particularly conspiratorial bent called for him to be provided security against a threatened oil industry. While a lone voice calling foul was barely given a chance to be heard, Agha Waqar Ahmad and his ‘water car’ were being hailed as the invention that would free the world from the tyranny of fossil-fuel dependence and transform Pakistan’s image around the globe. As was bound to happen eventually, his scientifically impossible claim, which defies the basic laws of physics, is now being exposed as gobsmacked scientists begin to write and speak about it. A technical examination of the water kit, planned at the highest levels of government, has been delayed indefinitely. Perhaps the best proof has come from the man’s own bumbling attempts to defend his device.

What won’t change as quickly are the unfortunate truths this episode has exposed about Pakistani society. For one, it highlighted again how easily the media here buys into seemingly exciting, but always improbable, news stories without any background research or inquiries. Also left looking more ridiculous than Mr Ahmad are the politicians, ministers and especially scientists who jumped on the bandwagon and hailed the car as a giant leap for Pakistan, showcasing in the process the national love of shortcuts and easy glory and the lack of quality education that makes even our leading public figures susceptible to such bogus claims. Meanwhile, no real work, scientific, managerial, technical or otherwise, is being done to actually address the energy crisis. And the fact that at the same time the breakthrough science of an actual national hero — the Nobel-prize-winning Dr Abdus Salam — is being erased from our official history is a telling comment on Pakistan’s commitment to knowledge.

Comments (23) Closed

Jaspreet Aug 05, 2012 03:18pm
I read it in nytimes today and came to Dawn to get different perceptive. There are people who say no to everything and can't think outside the box, can't stand them. However, the thing I don't understand is that a claim like this should be very simple to check out ...right? Why have a huge discussion, just do the due diligence (i'd think it would take few hours). I mean we need to be open minded but driven but current reality.
M.jaleel Aug 05, 2012 10:00am
The writer has expressed his concerns over a car which is driven by water. Though the writer has mentioned that conversion of Water into fuel, specially in car, is against the laws of science but he did not mentioned the laws. After reading the article it looks that writer has attacked personally and has tried to defame someone. writer should explain the laws of science in a little bit detail and then should show that this car or invention is not possible.
I Ahmed Aug 05, 2012 11:55am
I think rather than criticizing the 'inventor' the media (including Dawn News Channel) and politicians should be in the limelight. In fact, I would go to the extend to commend Agha Waqar for at least showing an inclination towards doing something different - in the land of pure he is thinking - this is more than what most others are doing! This case proves the point how little our media, politicians and quack scientists know about he basic laws - thermodynamics in this case - which has been taught to all of us in grade 7 or 8. If media, politicians and quack scientists did not had the span of attention to understand these when they were studying then one can argue the point as to why blame them for creating excitement. If anyone want to know why we should believe in Allah and the Prophet - such 'illiterate' people are the result why messengers came to this world. Please pray to Allah and read Quran - with understanding to avoid another 'discovery' in future.
M. Asghar Aug 05, 2012 08:28am
Thr Editoral is right that when a country beomes a rumour land, anything is possible including water cars that run around and the professional declarations that replace any action to solve the problems on the ground
Shakeel Ghouri Aug 05, 2012 11:02am
This is really a sorry state of affairs and a pathetic story of our nation that speculations, not pragmatic strategies, are welcomed here. Without any justification it was so joyfully communicated to the world that we have invented impossible invention, that the media and other nobles completely ignored the scientific laws. If any such invention had been possible, the world would have invented it centuries ago. Why those who are at the helm of affairs do not understand that they are further tarnishing the already marred image of country abroad. They should realize their responsibilities, and the leaders of nation instead of further hoodwinking the masses should try to find out pragmatic solutions of the problems.
M.jaleel Aug 05, 2012 10:23am
The writer has expressed his concerns over a car which is driven by water. Though the writer has mentioned that conversion of Water into fuel, specially in car, is against the laws of science but he did not mentioned the laws. After reading the article it looks that writer has attacked personally and has tried to defame someone.
Shahid Hashmi Aug 05, 2012 10:14am
We are living in a fools paradise always looking for some handout from "God" without working. The sad part is our mainstream journalist promotes this kind of non-sense on national TV. So much for these self-styled journalists
M.jaleel Aug 05, 2012 01:29pm
very good observation
Anwar Aug 05, 2012 01:14pm
A lot of thanks to Agha Waqas whoin fact invented a machine which helped in exposing the real calibre of our politicians, media icons and particularly the so called scientsts..whoe should be ashamed of themselves and resigh at the first instance...Atomic energy is the field of Physicstss...How can a metallurgist call himeslf a scinentist in this field..similair is the case of his adversary claiming to take the credit of blasting an atom bomb...Both of them have been busy in mudslunging on each other now for quite some the real scienists ever stoop so low...and look at the so called chairman of PCSIR from Rajan pur ...he became the chairman by a court order by virtue of his seniority and not by virtue of his ability...unfortunaetely the nations knows a little about real sceintist who are at work at differemt places of resaarcj in the counnty one of them being Governent Collgede University Lahore..It is time that sane elements in media find them and introduces them to the nation to be really proud of ..
Farah Aug 05, 2012 02:48am
'...national love of shortcuts and easy glory.' Thank you for summarizing it so well.
Waseem Aug 05, 2012 03:14am
Dear Editor, Your esteemed channel itself was among those who aired program in its favor.
Scribe Aug 05, 2012 05:07am
Use of a slang term like "Gobsmacked" in an edotorial is inexcusable.The editorial is written by Editors and the language of the editorial must be impeccable English .Use of slang in the editoral lowers the standard of your paper which has a reputation to maintain as a leading English Newspaper of Pakistan.
ASHRAF JAFRANY Aug 05, 2012 10:04am
No doubt the Aga Waqar claimed the so called water kit a big break through in the energy crisis country. It is the media which makes a person hero or zero . It was a very technical and scientific issue should have been discussed in meetings of concerned departments not in the talk shows like other political debates. Now media does realize their loophole once prominent scientists has out spoken the credibility and authenticity of so called water kit . We being a nation just look into matter very superficially . Keeping in view this whole episode , we must do research on any topic before giving it the media hype.
Sunny Aug 05, 2012 05:36am
It's not just with Pakistanis but a general mentality of people in the Indian sub continent. People like sensationalism be it tragic deaths or political scams or anything else. People don't want to work hard for long years to get one fruitful result. “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb”-Thomas Alva Edison Hope one day the water car becomes a reality
realist Aug 05, 2012 05:40pm
Problem is not the running the car from hydrogen/water, the problem is the energy needed to convert water to hydrogen and oxygen and than extract energy back from hydrogen is equal or more. So it means, in that process there is no net energy gain. Hence water is not helping in running the car rather it is source fuel which is used to convert water to hydrogen and oxygen. Please see the following link to see such fraudulent claims as early as 1935.
@pkrevolt Aug 05, 2012 09:04pm
Pakistan's issues are increasing day by day & you are worried about grammatical issues in an editorial.. Get a life!
sajad Aug 05, 2012 10:34pm
well being an engineer i knew it was a fraud or the lack of understanding of that so called engineer who claimed it an invention and went an extra mile by saying that it consumes no energy of battery. well what i want to know is if it has been declared fraud/rumour on the tv ? or is it just personal idea of you people ?
Salim Aug 05, 2012 11:26pm
There is no such thing as perpetual machine! Hydrogen when burnt produces Energy and a good portion of it is wasted in making the wheels turn. It takes more energy to separate the hydrogen from oxygen, with water as your start point. If you can do the above two steps in a loop without providing yet more energy then you have a perpetual machine. The energy we extract from fossil fuel is derived because many years ago yet more energy was used in forming (heat and pressure) these fossil fuels. I can understand the reaction of the nation as they are grasping at straws, but the TV host should have done more research and asked more probing questions. The worst was how the scientists got taken for a ride and displayed their ignorance. The folks who deal with atomic energy know that mass has to be transformed to produce energy and here we are simply breaking and recreating the same bond. No wonder their contribution to the sciences is so pitiful.
dr ghulam Aug 06, 2012 02:31am
why was not the technical exam of car done. let us explore the truth.
Faraz Aug 06, 2012 06:53am
Read laws of thermodynamics..
Abdullah Warsi P.E Aug 11, 2012 07:52pm
That invention is 100% Truth but these Theoretical Ph.D's have yet no ability to understand that mother of all invention
Abdullah Warsi Aug 12, 2012 09:00am
Any wise person can understand at the spot that it is despicable crime to declare Agha Waqar a fraud with out finding physically any fraud in car that he has already demonstrated in front of top journalists politicians and many Ph.D's. Some theoretical Ph.D's has launched hate campaign against the greatest inventor of mankind history Agha Waqar. All objections of these some IRRESPONSIBLE Ph.D's do not carry any weight and sense. They WRONGLY claim, this invention violates laws of science; in fact it does not. The reason of their totally absurd claims is their jealousy against inventor & their inability to understand that new invention. Sometime they say, Agha is not engineer, so he cannot invent. But Edison the biggest inventor of history was too neither Ph.D nor even B.Engg. Ata Rehman & Hoodbhoy are driving in wrong direction on one way road. Their all hue & cry is, that car cannot be run on electrolysis with battery but they do not know that method of Agha is ABSOLUTELY not conventional Electrolysis. When they will know his method, they will not sleep for many nights
ASAD BHATTI Aug 15, 2012 10:45am
The media of this country is just into "Breaking News", right or wrong seems not to matter at all.