Originally Posted by FallaciesAbound
Wow, I havent seen misunderstanding of physics like that since my parents made me go to a Baptist elementary school.
Capillary action, though on the surface appearing to be spooky, is really quite simple. Water has very strong intermolecular attractions that come into play. This is why you have surface tension, and is the reason that water forms a meniscus. It is this intermolecular attraction that draws the liquid up the tube until it achieves equilibrium with the gravity pulling the liquid down. There may be a way to harness the energy of the molecular attraction, but it is a pretty tiny force all things considered. I doubt you will be driving a car on it anytime soon.
The meteorite problem is a bit thornier, give how it was presented. So maybe for the sake of clarity I should simply re-write the narrative the correct way. A meteorite that is caught in the Earth's gravity well certainly does receive quite a bit of a boost to its kinetic energy, but so does the Earth. Just to a lesser extent. Remember that the force exerted is the product of the two masses divided by the square of the distance between them. So while the meteorite gains energy due to gravitational acceleration, so too does the Earth, but to a far smaller degree owing to the far larger mass of the Earth. The energy isnt drained out of some reservoir like draining a battery, because gravitational attraction is a fundamental property of all matter. In fact, the Earth's gravity well becomes a tiny bit stronger after impact because the meteorite's mass is added to that of the Earth's.
Now we already do take advantage of gravity to provide huge amounts of power. In fact, most of Las Vegas is powered in such a manner. Its called hydro-electric. Dams make use of gravity to generate their power, and do it quite efficiently. Of course you have to get the water up there first, and nature provides this part. So really, even hydro-electric is actually solar powered.
Gravity can also be used in storing energy. The excess energy from solar cells can be used to pump water uphill behind a dam to be released later for power generation. Renewable energy companies have been doing this for years
I think FallaciesAbound its a simple case of your not being able to see the wood for the trees.
Trying to blind us with pointless scientific detail isn't much use at all.
In the case of the capillary tube you still didn't explain where the energy reservoir came from or whether it could be depleted. In fact you didn't even DENY that free energy was possible in the example since you claimed it wasn't powerful enough to run a car on.
As for the gravity example, having the Earth accelerate as well just makes the situation worse. You now have twice as much energy to explain away. Presumably the Earth itself had 'potential energy' when it accelerated towards the meteorite?