Syl passes out on Buck’s lemonade as Mort and Walt plot to steal engine.

Actually the machine pictured is not a perpetual motion machine it’s Syl himself who is the perpetual motion machine. In fact, he, and the characters with him represent a significant percentage of our local engineering brilliance. But first, what is that little beast on the table? It is a Sterling Engine , of course, which Syl built from a design which is nearly 200 years old. It utilizes heat to run a series of alternately heated and cooled chambers, which drives a small flywheel. Go straight to for the scoop on the Sterling and several other engines, which Syl has built. Syl builds magnificent machines while I’m just busy burning toast.

Dr. Morton Grosser is well known for his envolvement in The Gossamer projects. This is the team, which built the pedal-powered airplane that successfully made its way across the English Channel and into aviation history. Mort invents stuff, a lot of stuff, from mechanical devices to esoteric chemical processes. He is called upon on a daily basis to consult with the VC’s on Sand Hill to evaluate the potential of all kinds of start-ups and to review whether there is anything under the hood. Mort is the last man in America with no web page. Hey, Mort, what’s up with that?

Walt Wilson is an irony smelter. Every damn thing is a joke to this man. The funny thing is that he gets paid to go behind the high security doors in his fabrication plant in San Carlos and build things for the US government so secretive that even he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’ve known Walt for years and every time I ask he what he’s doing his eyes go glassy. He could just be drunk. Walt is, like the other two reprobates in the picture, an inveterate inventor. His most recent invention is the Porta Pooch. Your pet dog can now go in the overhead compartment. Walt has a web page but due to the secretive nature of his work it has no URL.