Wednesday, January 05, 2005

In Praise of the Mad Scientist

Here's an excellent essay from the Village Voice's Samantha Hunt about Nikola Tesla and the absence of lofty scientific idealists questing for knowledge. Today we have yet to contact aliens, but we do have 100 remedies for erectile dysfunction instead.

Tesla, beside inventing the radio (check with the Supreme Court, Marconi fans), the radar, remote control, and alternating current (AC electricity), also tinkered with a series of dreamy though equally ingenious ideas: plans to light the oceans, photograph thoughts, use insects to create a harnessable power supply, communicate with life in outer space, harvest free energy from the Earth's atmosphere, control the weather with electricity, even build a ring about the equator that, by remaining stationary while the planet rotates, would make it possible to travel around the entire world in one day...

Tesla, the cult hero of independent invention, is materializing again, a bright-red streak on the gray background of corporatized science, to remind us that something went awry.

Maybe he's angry that the future he imagined failed to arrive.


http://villagevoice.com/news/0501,essay,59733,2.html

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