The big day – 150th anniversary of the birth of Nikola Tesla – is approaching fast – July 10th.
I am sure that I will remind you of this a couple of more times until then – I have a couple of posts about him in the making – but first look at the older posts in which I have mentioned him so far….[more under the fold]
Just the other day, I wrote about the significance of Bryant Park in NYC – you’ll have to click to see what it has to do with Tesla.
Then, I wrote how much I am eagerly anticipating the new movie in which David Bowie will play Tesla. It was based on the book “Prestige” which (along with a couple of recent Tesla biographies) I placed on my Amazon wish list.
Finally, I mentioned the comic book Five Fists of Science in which Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain save the world against the villains – Thomas Alva Edison and J.P.Morgan. I have read it yesterday. Interesting. This is not a kind of comic strip that I like very much – visual artistic bursts interrupt the flow of the narrative. I like my comics the old slogging style, like Asterix. The artist should, for my tastes at least, insert little notes (e.g., “In the meantime…” or “Later…”) whenever the narrative needs to jump. This way, I keep getting surprised: w-w-w-hat? Where are they now? How much time has elapsed since the last panel? Who are these people (all four major protagonists sport big black moustaches, so it is sometimes difficult to figure out, especially in such copped-up narrative line, if it is Twain or Edison or whoevere, uttering the words…)?
Of course, the artists took a lot of liberties with facts, which they readily acknowledge and that is fine. These historical figures are really just characters in a cool comic strip, battle between good and evil, betweed otherworldly and science, with great visual effects. It is not meant to be a biography! Just kick back and enjoy – don’t worry about the yeti, the impossibilities of some technical gadgets, or the supernatural stuff – it is just meant to be fun!
On the other hand, it is nice that some historical facts did make it into the strip. For instance, the fact that Tesla invented the radio, not Marconi (the patent was removed from Marconi and given to Tesla posthumously by the Supreme Court).
Or, that Tesla and Twain were friends. Or that Tesla and Edison were bitter enemies – Tesla won, because his alternating power, as opposed to Edison’s direct power, proved to be much safer and more useful for mass production and delivery. So, do you have electricity at home? If so, thank Tesla.
Or, the fact that Tesla was one of the first (or the first?) to come up with the concept of the Cold War (that was before the FIRST World War!!!), i.e., how, if superpowers had weapons of immense destructive power they would be too scared to use them, thus the permanent stalemate would ensure permanent peace. Tesla was working on building just such a weapon and offering it to heads of several superpowers of the time (England, Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia, USA), but emperors, kings, presidents, prime ministers and the military brass were never renowned for being visionaries, so they refused to fund that work of his. In a way, although he could not know – considering the state of physics at the time – that nuclear weapons would serve such a role, he effectively predicted the strategy of the Cold War.