Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tesla Motors Revisited

Back in June for faithful readers, I mentioned giving subsidies to foreign car makers including Nissan and Tesla. One person called me a retard because Tesla is an American car company of which I was unaware and would wager most of the public shared my ignorance. Be that as it may, I ran across an article this past week about Mr. Nikola Tesla. A few facts:

Nick was a scientist and inventor in the 1880s "figuring out how to make alternating current work on a grand scale, electrifying the world." He created the first big hydroelectric dam at Niagara Falls. He used to put on shows using electricity to prove points such as sending electricity through his body to illuminate a fluorescent tube. He helped Marconi develop the radio.

Although he at one time worked for Thomas Edison, leaving over a disagreement on pay, it is no stretch to say that they were rivals. (Edison bet on DC-direct current while Tesla went with AC.) Now the "nerdy snobs" at Tesla Motors delight in using an AC motor he developed in 1882 in the Tesla Roadster. Tesla is also the name video game writers at Capcom Entertainment chose for a character who could understand alien spaceships for their new Dark Void saga. Nvidia Corp. launched a new line of advanced microchip processors in 2007 and called them Tesla. He is considered a "geek god" by many.

He emigrated from Serbia to the U. S. and died at age 86 penniless, with no family or friends, but there appears to be a cadre of fans, including Larry Page, co-founder of Google who have become enamored of his work and reputation. He sold his AC patents to Westinghouse for a mint, palled around with Mark Twain, J.P. Morgan and Sarah Bernhardt, but subsequently had bad luck in baskets.

Years of work and notes were destroyed by fire, used much of his fortune testing radio transmissions in Colorado and demonstrated a pair of radio-controlled boats but was rebuffed by the U. S. military. His name wasn't mentioned when Marconi "changed the world" with trans-Atlantic radio transmissions in 1901.

He was far ahead in other areas such as lasers and x-rays and others such as robots and an outer space goal. He was a little far out saying he could use electricity to cause earthquakes and control weather and said he had detected signals from Mars.

Now here's the capper: the automotive start-up, to help boost the Tesla name, is launching a promotional sweepstakes with Capcom around the release of Dark Void. The prize--a Tesla Roadster. (Don't forget that the car carries a $300,000 price tag.)

Tesla's spokesperson says "You know you've gone into mainstream pop glory when you're in a video game aimed at 18-year-old boys." They consider this prize as overdue recognition of Tesla. Along with the movies, I guess you'd say he has really made it to the top.

And there you have just a few tidbits that most folks don't know and probably don't care about, but human interest stories are sometimes just that: interesting.

Have a good weekend--
God bless.........

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