Today's the anniversary of Thomas Edison's vicious electrocution of a live elephant in order to prove the dangers of Nikola Tesla's alternating current and the safety of his competing direct current.
When the day came, Topsy was restrained using a ship's hawser fastened on one end to a donkey engine and on the other to a post. Wooden sandals with copper electrodes were attached to her feet and a copper wire run to Edison's electric light plant, where his technicians awaited the go-ahead.
In order to make sure that Topsy emerged from this spectacle more than just singed and angry, she was fed cyanide-laced carrots moments before a 6,600-volt AC charge slammed through her body. Officials needn't have worried. Topsy was killed instantly and Edison, in his mind anyway, had proved his point.
A crowd put at 1,500 witnessed Topsy's execution, which was filmed by Edison and released later that year as Electrocuting an Elephant.
A lot of websites including Amazon and eBay are selling dark lensed glasses designed to directly observe the solar eclipse that will pass over parts of the US on August 21.
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Retiree Adi Astl just wanted some stairs down a well-trod embankment in his local park. The city told him it would cost between $65,000 and $150,000, so he and a homeless guy built a nice set of stairs for about $550. Astl was then informed he violated municipal code section 608, and the stairs were […]
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