A few months ago, Derek Muller, creator of the Veritasium YouTube channel, posted a video of a wind-powered vehicle. Nothing special about that, ancient sailors knew the wind could make you go faster.

But he showed it went faster than the wind that powered it. Ancient sailors gamed nature to accomplish that also, it is the essence of tacking, but this was a straight course. 

UCLA theoretical physics professor Alexander Kusenko said that would break the laws of physics and Muller made a bet that applied physics would triumph. Professor Kusenko said he couldn't lose because he believed in science. A video of it going 27.7 mph in a 10-mph tailwind must be fake.

Google and Joby Energy and San Jose State University and the inventor and everyone else who worked on this Blackbird since 2010 were probably mystified that a physics professor was claiming that the scrappy land yacht couldn't do what everyone knew it to do multiple times. Professor Kusenko eventually conceded on a technicality and said it was only due to a wind gust so the inventor offered another $10,000 bet...which the academic did not take.

Kusenko is a theoretical physicist and may not understand practical stuff the way engineers do. If so, he is in good company. Werner Heisenberg, the uncertainty principle guy, nearly flunked his PhD defense because he couldn't answer any easy physics question. Even how a battery works.