I was kicked out from TEDx event for saying water-fuelled car is a scam

I got a lifetime ban from biggest TEDx in my Country. Why?

Because I publicly said this “inventor” is a scammer:

241510Ivan Jakobović with his “water-powered car”.
Because gas is so expensive, he modified his car to run on water.

energetski-lanser-slavonski-brodIvan Jakobović and his “orgonic launcher”.
It fires “orgon” into air and cleans the air above the city.

Amusing? I was also laughing until this one:

4527869645_a68eccaa96_b4528502284_6291b18863_bIvan Jakobović demonstrating his “ozonic exhaust” on TEDxZagreb stage.
Mounted on a normal car, “ozonic exhaust” converts 45% of CO2 to oxygen (ozone).

You see, I don’t like TED. I absolutely adore TED. TEDx are independently organized but follow the same rules as big TED. No pseudoscience.

Before I saw speaker list I was really happy to go. I purchased my ticket ($20) right from the invite e-mail. Only later when I checked speakers bios on the event page I noticed: “Ivan Jakobović – inventor of the water engine”. I got absolutely furious.

On Facebook event page I commented on announcement:

Great, I purchased the ticket. But I don’t like this one:
Ivan Jakobović – inventor of the water engine
He is a charlatan who uses TEDx for own promotion, here is the list of similar ‘inventors’:
Wikipedia: water-fuelled cars
Wikipedia: List of water fuel inventions (C.Frazer patented one in 1918!)
Mythbusters Free Energy “Busted”

Enough said. Why would I list arguments when Wikipedia and Mythbusters had done such a great job?

Some guy commented that it is not against TED spirit or TEDx rules. I researched some more and replied with this:

TEDx rules explicitly forbid such themes, this is from TEDx blog (search for “Free energy” section). Because of pseudoscience TEDxWestHollywood lost its license.

Black on white, Chris Anderson and his team were smart enough to anticipate this situation and provide detailed guidelines. Before going to sleep, I also sent above links to Karlo (event organizer), as I was not sure if he was reading FB comments.

Next morning I received Karlo’s reply:

Ivan Jakobović will not talk about water engine, but about his inventions. There are many water engines but Ivan’s water engine is patented and that means something. He is a serious inventor with more than 70 patents, too serious to brag about something he didn’t do.

Notice that second link I sent to Karlo listed bogus patents on water engines. But at least we were having a normal discussion over e-mail, so I decided to research the patents.

Google Patents (USA and EU): 0 patents
Croatian patent office: 1 patent
PATENTSCOPE: 0 patents

So, I was wrong, Ivan Jakobović is an inventor. He has one patent in Croatia, for moonshine distiller. That explains some things. Notice that patent application is hand drawn.

Before writing back to Karlo, I decided to check FB. It was mayhem. On two separate threads, people were either liking my post or calling me a Nazi. More than 50 replies, and one of them was directly from Ivan Jakobović! And then I got a call from Karlo.

“How could you write that? You are ruining our event!”, he shouted.

“I gave arguments why I think he is a scammer. Event is in two weeks, you can just remove him from speaker list.”, I replied.

But I had a feeling that will not happen. Nobody was reading Wikipedia links, organizers were only seeing that I am calling “their” speaker a scammer. My explanations that I don’t have anything against Karlo or against TEDx content team were vain – they already took it as ad hominem. I asked Karlo if he ever checked speakers for TEDx event, I vividly remember his voice:

Ivan Jakobović achieved more in his life than you ever will.
I was at his place and I saw water engine working with my own eyes!
And because of publicly criticising him, I have no option that to remove YOU from the event!

Exactly what happened next:

  1. TEDxMaksimir team deleted negative comments from their FB page.
  2. They removed speaker bios from event page, and posted names of the talks instead (no mention of “water engine”).
  3. They refunded $20 back to my credit card and posted the following announcement:

Mr Zeljko just got a phone call he will be refunded entrance fee.. ..We need to protect speaker reputation.. ..Ivan Jakobović will speak about his rich experience as an inventor.. ..one of the inventions Mr Zeljko is criticizing (ozonic exhaust) was already presented by Ivan on our first TEDx event in 2010.. ..that invention was sold and is successfully produced in Canada.. ..Thank you Mr Ivan Jakobović for sharing your rich experience with us and for honoring us again.. Karlo Matić, TEDxMaksimir license holder

There it is, public support from TEDx for Ivan. Mentioning Canada success of ozonic exhaust is funny, because Ivan Jakobović with all his profitable international inventions was working as technician at high school for agriculture. Don’t worry, he is not teaching, because he never finished college. Don’t get me wrong, many great inventors didn’t have formal education. But I am surprised a man with such credentials wasn’t checked before speaking engagement.

And exactly tomorrow, on Sep 20th 2013, Ivan Jakobović will deliver his second TEDx talk titled “Innovations. Motivations. Complications”.

If you think that is kind of unfair, please share this.


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50 thoughts on “I was kicked out from TEDx event for saying water-fuelled car is a scam

  1. It’s crap like this that’s made me turn from a TED addict who loved checking for new videos to somebody who, literally, didn’t walk across the street to attend a TEDx event. The speaker quality is nil. The brand means absolutely nothing.

  2. Sometimes you need to let things play out. By trying too hard to force things, no matter how right you might be, you only end up acheiving the opposite effect. It is better just to let Jakobović have his podium for the designated time slot, and let the slow process of peer review take it’s course.

    Also, I am reminded of a quote by Galileo, “I have never met a man so ignorant that I could not learn something from him”.

  3. Dravo Željko,

    Phew! What a load of garbage. TEDx is really developing a reputation for being a mouthpiece for purveyors of every kind of credulous (and dishonest?) foolishness that TED was always meant to oppose.
    TEDx events should be disowned by TED and if possible the TED brand should no longer be used for satellite events.
    Get some local activism going to stop Jokobović and others like him taking others for a ride. Pun intended.
    Is there a local sceptical/free thinking organisation in or around Zagreb? FYI: not sure if you brought this to Tim Farley’s attention but it looks like it will get a good airing on Twitter.
    I to am unimportant but let me know if I can help. Based in South Australia and a member of the local SiTP.


  4. At TEDx Brisbane (Australia) there was an Aboriginal gentleman who was speaking about his miraculous natural remedies that could cure anything including cancer. He was even selling them in the courtyard after the talk. It was a disgrace.

  5. Orgon or orgone tech is just so way ouuuuttt there, beyond “left field…” talking of ‘intergalactic’ wayyy out there. If he talked about a better way to get moonshine (his patent from Croatia) and the alcohol from that were to power my gasoline-powered car that would be wow!

    But hell no would imbibe moonshine from a person who touts orgone tech. You go bro, and to the organizer that banned you, you had way too much moonshine dude or exposed yourself to way too much orgone in that guy’s “lab”.

  6. Pingback: Kicked out from TEDx event for saying water-fuelled car is a scam « The Skeptical Bear

  7. Pingback: NeuroLogica Blog » Holding the Line Against Pseudoscience

  8. It say on the sticker that is on the car that it’s a hybrid car? Wouldn’t that imply that it’s not entirely powered by water. Learn to read dude.

  9. dude, ted is not that great. We always giggle at the applause section. listen to it. People get really excited. a bit sect like of you ask me. They need good talks even if it is about mythical energy… to keep the good spirits advice you know.

  10. For your information I saw that engine run with my own eyes. I even had a privilege to be there while the engine was turn to parts and back together. engine works. Not on pure water of course but on mix where only 20% is fuel if I am not mistaking data. So don’t be jealous id you didn’t build it. You will have you chance with something different.

    • Are there really that many people out there who lack even a cursory knowledge of physics and chemistry?

      Did you consider also the fact that if it has actual fuel put in it… it’s probably running on that?

  11. We are sorry to hear that you were disinvited to this event and are looking into the issue. With less than 24 hours to this event it is very hard to assess and make a judgment on this technology and speaker.

    While TED offers specific guidelines for organizing TEDx events, TEDx organizers independently curate both their speakers and attendees. We will consider this incident when we look at renewing this license.

  12. Electrolysis is a well known process for splitting water molecules with electricity (AC or more common DC) what you get is 2 molecule of Helium (Rocket Fuel which is used to power NASA’s chemical rockets into space) and 1 molecule of oxygen.

    There is a guy with Croatian roots who lived in US by a name Andrija Puharić, Ph.D, he drove a hand made custom built water-fueled car all over the U.S. There’s also one Bolivian guy inventor, Francisco Pacheco. He created a device that turns sea water into clean, combustible hydrogen on demand. There’s also a lot more of people like this who achieved extraordinary results, but were either; ignored by the big-oil billionaire companies, bullied into silence, bribed, or their patents were bought and simply NEVER used. Most died penniless. Check the example of N.T.

    Also, check out other interesting names now that you’re at it,like; John SEARL generator, Victor Schauberger, John Ernst Keely, R.R. Rife and etc. I bet there are thousands of them, but “we” don’t know. Why? The answer is human Greed.

    Take Care

    • Electrolysis is well known. We understand that to break those molecules apart requires energy, the same amount of energy that you get when it burns, minus efficiency losses. Using any kind of existing power source to split the water to burn it again will always net you less useful energy than you started with. The only way this can be useful if it is simply used as a storage battery, using solar power perhaps, to charge a battery with this technique. But it’s not going to get you very far in a car.

    • Electrolysis is a well known process for splitting water molecules with electricity (AC or more common DC) what you get is 2 molecule of Helium (Rocket Fuel which is used to power NASA’s chemical rockets into space) and 1 molecule of oxygen.

      In addition to svedic’s corrections of your slip-ups (everyone makes those every now and then), I would like to point out that if you are using electrolysis what you have is not a water powered car. What you have is an electrically powered car using hydrogen as an energy storage medium.

    • just to add to the last comment: the electricity in the hydrogen car: the electricity used to drive the car almost certainly came from a coal or oil plant. theoretically, it could be a good thing if the electricity comes from a sustainable source, but that’s just not the case today. (hydrogen battery cars aren’t exactly a new thing either, nor does it take a genius to invent it.)

  13. Hey! Found the link to here on NeuroLogica blog. Great job man!

    Initially I thought that it must have been some kind of misunderstanding, but after reading the original email from Karlo I can only say: what a massive arrogant dumbass he is. Well it’s only going to blow up in his face later – although some people are capable of amazing feats of denial even when presented with clear evidence so I don’t count on it.

    What’s sad is that, before it becomes obvious that there’s no working “water engine” (and it can take a while, like with Andrea Rossi’s “Energy Catalyzer” from the neighbouring country), the focus will be on the next silly thing and few people will realise that they’ve been tricked and will be open to fall for the next magic trick.

    The only thing I wanted to comment on, besides thanking you for your skeptical activism and wishing you good luck, is that “scammed” might be a strong word: I don’t know if Ivan is intentionally scamming people (is he trying to sell it in any way?) or he’s “just” deluded?

    For example, it’s fair to say, looking at his previous (criminal) fraud history, the way he is attempting to monetize his “invention” and the way he’s avoiding any real tests, that Andrea Rossi is a con artist. Is that really the case with Ivan Jakobović?

    What’s funny is that I remember, growing up in Belgrade in 90ies, seeing very similar claims of a water engine by someone local – it got into the news, was talked about for a while and then disappeared. Can’t remember anything more about it except the story on the main TV station, showing a bit of clear liquid coming out of the car/van exhaust – that was all the proof they needed apparently. Oh well…

    • Filip, thanks for feedback, interesting points!

      Regarding scamming, my opinion is that one is a scammer no matter if they are currently making money or not. Some people make free energy claims just to get famous, that doesn’t change the fast they are publicly and intentionally deceiving other people.

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  16. Do you think the problem could be that the organizers mean well but are simply too scientifically illiterate themselves to be able to distinguish pseudo-science from something which at least has a chance of making sense?

    • Yes, I think that is exactly the problem. When Karlo phoned me, I said to him: “This guy fooled you and your content team.” Separate problem is that they don’t want to hear that.

  17. Pisati nešto što nije utemeljeno, tvrditi nešto što nije vidio, “blatiti” nekoga koga ne poznaje je doista strašno.Vezati se na necenzurirane i neautorizirane novinske članke dovoljno govori o podlozi i namjerama Švedića.Isticati svoje neznanje kao Švedić je doista sramotno.Ne želim se s njime na bilo koji način susretati osim nadam se uskoro na zato određenom mjestu.Predao sam odvjetniku sve njegove “tvrdnje”.Budala uvijek želi “pritivnika” spustiti na svoju razinu i pobijediti ga jer on je tu najjaći.E, Švediću mlad si za mene i ovo će ti biti jedna životna škola.O tvojem radu neželim komentirati iako sam te naravno “pregledao”.Osobnost i komplekse moraš staviti pod kontrolu-moj savjet.

    • Wow, Ivan Jakobović himself! I don’t usually publish non-English comments but I will make and exception in this case 🙂 Google translation: http://goo.gl/iqrBU9

      And quick tip for you Ivan, putting a space after a period will greatly improve your credibility.

  18. Personally, I think TED(x) should loosen up a little bit when it comes to whom they allow to speak. We need to hear from people who push the boundaries and open up possibilities, who are in a sense more philosophical or hypothetical, in order to enthuse us to take nothing for granted. A famous example is Eric Laithwaite’s gyroscopes lecture to the Royal Institution. http://www.rense.com/general42/genius.htm TED(x) could categorise such talks so that we can identify them in the programme.

    At the same time, I agree that no-one wants a speaker to be allowed to trot out delusions, falsehoods and ideas that have already been clearly refuted, in other words to wilfully mislead an audience.

  19. Will think twice about anything “ted” from this point forward, and for sure “tedx”

  20. I want the truth, not something that will make me click the next video, not something that will make me grab my pop corn. I am not someone who want to be entertained with a lie, I want to be entertained with the truth. Thank you for your efforts and exposing the truth.

    Its not only their fault , this is how humans work, they don’t want to listen to the truth. Truth bores them. And it bores because they don’t really understand it. I am always skeptical with anything I see online, on TV, or hear from a friend. And in the corner of my mind I always know that the possibility of a lie is always there. Its sad , but thats how the world works and thats how it fails.

  21. actually, i think thats what TEDx is about.
    let him talk and if his stuff is bunk, it will soon be noticed/reviewed and he will have no cred.
    i would hate to see the rules tightened so much that someone with real invention gets axed cause of restrictions being too tight.

    that said, yes there should be some checks, and i dont know enough about Ivan to comment about him or his machine.
    i am just saying dont over-do it.

  22. …”no-one wants a speaker to be allowed to trot out delusions, falsehoods and ideas that have already been clearly refuted, in other words to wilfully (sic) mislead an audience.”

    This just about sums it up.

    You, sir, are a valiant warrior. The TEDx organizer is a buffoon. I hope the old adage is true, “Time wounds all heels.” 🙂

  23. Pingback: Disappointing TEDx in Croatia | MortenCB's blog

  24. Pingback: We “orgone” to die. No matter what the quacks say. | Skeptic Ink

  25. Wow i cant believe ppl still dont know its a scam! Some guy in my country (pakistan) also ‘invented’ a water fueled car a few years ago, it was on the news and all until a proffessor from a university discredited him and made him confess that he was using carbide to split up the water into hydrogen for burning, but the cost of carbide is more than petrol and even though your car would run on water for a while, once the carbide is used up you’ll have to buy more which will end up costing more than if you ran it on petrol.

  26. First let me point out that i completely support Mr. Svedic!
    Why? Because he is correct!
    Water for fuel is a major movement that lasts for over half a century now.
    There are so many ideas and even patents behind this that it is impossible to track them all for last 50+ years.
    However, not single one of those worked successfully! Even though it may produce some benefits in saving gas expenses it also may degrade IC engines via corrosion and it produces poisonos (i.e chlorine) gases depending on electrolyte type ang gas feed system. I am certain that Mr. Jakobovic simply hooked up just a simple electrolytic HHO generator cell in his car,without any serious scientific approach and research, same cells that anyone can replicate just by watching numerous Youtube videos! Thus making himself just a copycat!
    Regarding his other inventions…Orgon launcher! Orgone?? Hypothetical universal life force! Well, i will rest on this one but i have to point out that speaking of orgone is pseudoscience! Even if Vilhelm Reich (who propsed this idea in 1930’s) was still alive i would skip even considering it.

    Oh, BTW, regarding Mr. Jakobovic Orgon (orgone) launcher, please check Wikipedia and check for “Orgone”, in the “Hystory” section. There, you will se a photograph where you can see Mr.Vilhelm Reich with his “cloud buster” during 1930’s. See any resemblance with Mr. Jakobovic Orgon Launcher?

    So, i think that it is a disgrace for TEDx for inviting uneducated charlatans and fraudsters and not only that but for revoking Mr. Svedic licence just for warning them of Mr. Jakobovic nature!

    • You guess correctly 🙂 But I would love if he had taken this to the court, that would be another round of fun.

  27. Are so stupid. Of course they will kick you out. Is it the first time you hear about hydrogen being fuel? Separation of oxygen and hydrogen from water is very easy process and done correctly can fuel a car rocket or anything

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