(Roughly) Daily

All call…

 

From All Staff, All Day— a Tumblr devoted to “genuine emails that people feel the need to send to all staff at my company.”

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As we carefully avoid hitting “reply all,” we might send electrifying birthday greetings to Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla; he was born on this date in 1856.  (Tesla’s birth certificate says “June 28″ in the Orthodox system– most scholars convert this to July 9; some, to July 10.)  Tesla is probably best remembered for his rivalry with Thomas Edison:  Tesla invented and patented the first AC motor and generator (c.f.: Niagara Falls); Edison promoted DC power… and went to great lengths to discredit Tesla and his approach.  In the end, of course, Tesla was right.

Tesla patented over 300 inventions worldwide, though he kept many of his creations out of the patent system to protect their confidentiality.  His work ranged widely, from technology critical to the development of radio to the first remote control.  At the turn of the century, Tesla designed and began planning a “worldwide wireless communications system” that was backed by J.P. Morgan…  until Morgan lost confidence and pulled out.  “Cyberspace,” as described by the likes of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, is largely prefigured in Tesla’s plan.  On Tesla’s 75th birthday in 1931, Time put him on its cover, captioned “All the world’s his power house.”  He received congratulatory letters from Albert Einstein and more than 70 other pioneers in science and engineering.  But Tesla’s talent ran far, far ahead of his luck.  He died penniless in 1943.

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Written by LW

July 9, 2013 at 1:01 am

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