Newspaper and magazine articles related to Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla Articles

Newspaper and magazine articles related to Nikola Tesla

Sensational Announcements from Nikola Tesla

June 15th, 1900
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The sensational announcements in the American press with regard to Mr. Nikola Tesla’s wonderful doings and still more wonderful prophecies, have been attributed in a large measure to the highly developed power of imaginative embroidery possessed by some Western newspaper reporters. An article by Mr. Tesla himself, in the current number of the Century Magazine, shows that an injustice has been done to that class of individuals, for this contribution equals in wild speculation anything hitherto attributed to the eminent inventor. The article is headed “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, with Special Reference to the Harnessing of the Sun’s Energy.” The writer begins by postulating that human life is a movement. The existence of a body in motion unavoidably implies a force which is moving it. Consequently Mr. Tesla chooses to consider human energy as denotable by the expression MV2/2, and proceeds to consider how it may be increased. M he takes as the “total mass of man in the ordinary interpretation of the term ‘mass,’ ” and V is “a certain hypothetical velocity.” He warns his readers against reducing their mass by intemperance, impure drinking water, or laxity of morals-digressing on the subject of food supply, and the production of artificial fertilisers by causing the nitrogen of the air to combine chemically with the oxygen in a high-pressure electric discharge.

Organised warfare, Mr. Tesla thinks, is what tends mostly to the reduction of the hypothetical velocity V, and he proceeds to describe a means, he has not yet perfected, of rendering warfare less harmful in this direction. This simple means is the substitution of “telautomatics” for men. So far he has only succeeded in constructing one such apparatus - a boat controlled by electrical oscillations with a “borrowed mind”; but, he says “I purpose to show that, however impossible it may now seem, an automaton may be contrived which will have its ‘own mind’ and ... be capable of distinguishing between what it ought to do and what it ought not to do..... In fact, I have already conceived such a plan.” On the other hand, to deal fully with the methods of increasing the force “accelerating the human mass” would lead Mr. Tesla too far. “Suffice it to state that the resultant of all these forces is always in the direction of reason...” A “telautomatic” is then presumably not one of the components.

Lack of space precludes us also from dealing more fully with Mr. Tesla’s dreams - or are they nightmares? - with their bright pictures of high-pressure phenomena. We can only mention briefly some of his schemes for the advantage of mankind. He intends to smelt iron by first electrolysing water, burning the hydrogen in air to produce the heat for smelting, and selling the pure oxygen as a by-product. He suggests other methods than windmills of obtaining energy from “the ambient medium,” some of which he no longer considers likely to be commercially profitable, and others with regard to which he is more hopeful. He next deals with the transmission of energy through space without wires. The proposal to transmit electricity at high pressure through the upper strata of the atmosphere we have alluded to on a former occasion, but the following bears repetition. Mr. Tesla has discovered causes of error in Hertz’s researches, with the result that he has “long ago ceased to look upon his [Hertz’s] results as being an experimental verification of the poetical conceptions of Maxwell.”


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