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December 9, 2006 7:43 PM   Subscribe

How did we miss the 150th anniversary of Nikola Tesla's birth?
posted by unknowncommand (43 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm electrocuting an elephant to celebrate.
posted by mullingitover at 7:49 PM on December 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


I just had so much on, y'know? I mean, god, I make a point to remember each year but life's just so busy you know? I'll get you something better next year I promise. And we'll take that trip to Hawaii too, I swear. I'm sorry baby.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:51 PM on December 9, 2006


Don't miss the second link. You can buy an awesome shirt.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:53 PM on December 9, 2006


What a random collection of Tesla links. Is there anything new here, or did you just want to remind us it's the anniversary of his death?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:05 PM on December 9, 2006


Birth, actually. He's rad, and I was shocked that there weren't any other posts on him.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:08 PM on December 9, 2006


Speaking of which, did anyone catch David Bowie's performance as Tesla in the (otherwise mediocre) The Prestige? I thought it was a real hoot - he played it like Dr. Strangelove's drier, wittier cousin
posted by Sullenshady at 8:08 PM on December 9, 2006


I once had dinner with an associate of Tesla's, who told me about attending these crazy parties at Tesla's place. Apparently, the highlight of the evening was when everyone would sit in a circle and let an electric current run through them. Tesla thought it was a blast and also that it had some sort of spiritual connection or something.
posted by Strawman at 8:09 PM on December 9, 2006


I don't know what the correct term for my relationship with Tesla, but he was my great-grandmother's uncle. Cool Post.
posted by pwb503 at 8:15 PM on December 9, 2006


Hey, Sullenshady, lurking under the word "the" in this post is a link to The Prestige! Just so's you know...

And thanks for the post, unknowncommand. If there's any justice, Tesla is kicking Thomas Edison's ass right now in the afterworld.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:25 PM on December 9, 2006


\m/
posted by bondcliff at 8:29 PM on December 9, 2006


In no way was The Prestige mediocre. Best film I saw this past year.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 PM on December 9, 2006


Tesla, Gurdjieff, Steiner, Reich....so many interesting early 20th century innovators that most people say "huh?" and have no clue about their importance....

amen to Tesla whipping Edison, Flapjax at midnite.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 PM on December 9, 2006


Man outta time!
posted by dhammond at 10:17 PM on December 9, 2006


Does anybody know where I can get a poster of the famous image with him sitting in his Colorado laboratory with the massive tesla coil in the background shooting enormous sparks?

The picture is famous, but I've never been able to find a poster of it.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:27 PM on December 9, 2006


At least they didn't throw Tesla in jail (as they did Reich).

Renegade scientists are just quietly shuffled out of the deck, now.

Oh, no extensive "peer review?" Well, OK, then.

I'm not a big conspiracy nut, but you have to wonder if there may be a few more Teslas around...it would be useful for today's alternative energy research if traditional protocol could be loosened up a bit, considering the stakes...

Not that I've got a perpetual motion machine out in the garage...
posted by kozad at 10:37 PM on December 9, 2006


This kind of post irritates me. I don't have time to click through 12 -- count em, 12 -- links just to figure out which if any I'm going to be interested in. I mean, I'll read about Tesla, sure, but give me just one good link.
posted by Tuffy at 11:00 PM on December 9, 2006


There are a number of Tesla documentaries on Google Video, none of which I've watched yet (partly because they all look a little kooky, though I'd like to hear if any turn out good):

Nikola Tesla: The Life and Times of a Forgotten Genius
Tesla - the missing secrets of Nikola Tesla (with Dean Stockwell)
Tesla, The Genius Who Lit The World
posted by MetaMonkey at 11:31 PM on December 9, 2006


Little Suzi's on the up!
posted by jonson at 11:37 PM on December 9, 2006


(add some tags)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:07 AM on December 10, 2006


I was gonna give dhammond props for the reference, but it seems that several others are conducting a similar current, as it were.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:08 AM on December 10, 2006


If you are interested in Tesla and the romance of the period in which he lived you will love the Handsome Family's song Tesla's Hotel Room.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:13 AM on December 10, 2006


I liked him better in his Ziggy Stardust period
posted by jouke at 1:04 AM on December 10, 2006


Does anyone know the location of Tesla's New York lab that burned down? My best guess is the west side of West Broadway just south of Murray St. in TriBeCa.

His address listed South Fifth Ave, I think, which of course must have been renamed.

I've asked this of several "president of the Tesla Society" types and always get the same "um. good question" answer.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:21 AM on December 10, 2006


Last I checked, the building Stanford White designed as the lab underneath the doomed tower in Long Island was a paint storage shed as part of an Agfa industrial facility.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:31 AM on December 10, 2006


This caption says that it was at 46-48 E. Houston. Field trip!
posted by unknowncommand at 5:34 AM on December 10, 2006


Looks like it's now an apartment block, on the north side between Mulberry and Mott.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:54 AM on December 10, 2006


Much as you gotta love the guy, we was not without problematic attributes.

As a toddler, he caused the death of his older, "more gifted," brother.

When Westinghouse first introduced him to what was to be his engineering staff in Pittsburgh, he pointed at a couple of people and said "Not them. They are too ugly."

When commisioning presicion components to be machined, he would meet with the machinist and detail the required dimensions using postage stamp sized sketches and insist that the machinist memorize the design in all its details and leave the office with no tangible documentation. Apparently he considered this a character building excersize.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:04 AM on December 10, 2006


stickycarpet, he was also afraid of earrings.
so what? and the death of a sibling could be the fire within more than just this genius (not advocating anything, just saying...)
posted by Busithoth at 6:14 AM on December 10, 2006


Not just earings, pearl earings. Speculation as to why this might be was, according to off the record information given me, born out upon examination of his body. His body was wisked away to keep these messy details from tarnishing the image of a SerboCroation hero.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:19 AM on December 10, 2006


Ahh.. Beautiful people they've got two hundred dollar push bikes in the park.
posted by MapGuy at 6:26 AM on December 10, 2006


Thanks for this. I knew nothing about him, and was interested.

(I liked the spiritual white pigeon [final link], particularly given the discussion a couple of days ago about pigeons in Surrey).
posted by paduasoy at 6:27 AM on December 10, 2006


Here's a midi file of Schumann's Prophet Bird, Tesla's favorite piece.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:33 AM on December 10, 2006


There is a wonderful episode of Jimmy Neutron where a surprised Thomas Edison exclaims: “Well knock 50 points off my IQ and call me Tesla!”
posted by LarryC at 6:39 AM on December 10, 2006


I share the same birthday with Mr. Tesla!
posted by tarantula at 7:09 AM on December 10, 2006


Much as you gotta love the guy, we was not without problematic attributes.

Know somebody without defects, other then me ?
posted by elpapacito at 7:52 AM on December 10, 2006


Let us not forget that Tesla had what would, by today's standards, be considered an absolutely scorching case of OCD.

I can't help but think that if they had Paxil back in the 19th century, Tesla would have never invented anything, and that we'd all be using DC power for everything.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:35 AM on December 10, 2006


How did we miss the 150th anniversary of Nikola Tesla's birth?

Home power failure: my DSL went down. Clearly a conspiracy...
posted by cenoxo at 12:17 PM on December 10, 2006


Aw, beat me to it, fleetmouse!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Tesla!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:53 PM on December 10, 2006


Seriously though, perhaps none of us would be having this conversation without Tesla and Westinghouse:
An adventurous Pittsburgh industrialist named George Westinghouse, inventor of railroad air brakes, heard about Tesla's invention and thought it could be the missing link in long-distance power transmission. He came to Tesla's lab and made an offer, purchasing the patents for $60,000, which included $5,000 in cash and 150 shares of stock in the Westinghouse Corporation. He also agreed to pay royalties of $2.50 per horsepower of electrical capacity sold. With more inventions in mind, Tesla quickly spent half of his newfound wealth on a new laboratory.
Tesla could have been rich beyond the dreams of avarice, but he saw things differently:
My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in my thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance.... Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it. In twenty years there has not been a single exception.
A little hyperbole never hurts, either. More in My Inventions: the Autobiography of Nikola TeslaPDF.

Visionaries — whaddya gonna do?
posted by cenoxo at 1:28 PM on December 10, 2006


The only Tesla for me anymore is David Bowie.



ps: The Prestige was awesome.
posted by voltairemodern at 4:51 PM on December 10, 2006


Tuffy: This kind of post irritates me. I don't have time to click through 12 -- count em, 12 -- links...

Are you joking? I mean coming from someone whose only post had 21 links to TV show?
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2006



.

Don't miss the NEW TESLA STATUE erected June 2006 at Niagra falls by the Canadians. More photos...
posted by billb at 7:07 PM on December 10, 2006


Metafilter: give me just one good link
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:19 AM on December 11, 2006


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