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Caturday [Nightmare Edition]

Hey, found this on my computer. No idea what I made it for, but it appears to feature an evil cat god summoned to our plane by the power of Wardenclyffe Tower. You can have it now! [Warning: autoplaying audio] Rob 18

Weird Tales seeking Tesla fiction!

Wt361 cover Starting tomorrow, the current incarnation of Weird Tales magazine is opening up to fiction submissions. They're looking specifically for stories that fit the theme of two upcoming issues: "Ice" and Nikola Tesla, "devoted to strange takes on the inventor who loved pigeons and intercontinental wireless transmission. These stories should have Nicola Tesla as a character, or at least a presence." Weird Tales: Opening to Fiction Subs! And New Submissions Editor! (Thanks, Dave Gill!)

Laser-etched Tesla "Souvenir of Wardenclyffe" vase


Rachel writes, "My chap and I are dedicated steampunks and geeks. My chap Andy also happens to be the owner of a very tidy laser cutter! Put the two together and you end up with our fabulous tribute to Nikola Tesla in the form of a beautiful laser etched vase entitled Souvenir of Wardenclyffe featuring a super illustration via Leo Blanchette. The back of the vase is also etched using a sample of Tesla's own handwriting!"

Nikola Tesla Souvenir of Wardenclyffe Laser etched Vase Steampunk (Thanks, Rachel)

Nikola Tesla pitches VCs

Nikola Tesla pitches some Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Perfect. (Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)

Tesla vs. Edison vs. The Great Men of History

Whether you think Tesla > Edison or Edison > Tesla, perhaps you’re missing something important. In reality, technology isn’t shaped by one guy who had one great idea and changed the world. Instead, it’s a messy process, full of flat-out failures and not-quite-successes, and populated by many great minds who build off of and are inspired by each other’s work.

Read the rest

Tesla vs. Edison vs. The Myth of the Lone Inventor

We're going about this feud all wrong says Matt Novak, who blogs about techno-history at Paleofuture. "The question is not: Who was a better inventor, Edison or Tesla? The question is: Why do we still frame the debate in this way?" Novak asked in a talk yesterday at SXSW. He's got a damn fine point. The myth of one guy who has one great idea and changes the world drastically distorts the process of innovation. Neither Tesla nor Edison invented the light bulb. Instead, the light bulb was the result of 80 years of tinkering and failure by many different people. Novak's point (and one I tend to agree with): When we buy into the myth, it gets in the way of innovation today. I've only been able to find a couple of small bits from this talk — a write-up by Matthew Van Dusen at Txchnologist and a short video from the Q&A portion where Novak talks about Tesla, Edison, and the Great Man Myth with The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman. But, rest assured, this is something you'll see more of at BoingBoing soon. Maggie

Two tesla coils in concert

Photo: Tesla Concert 3, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from Tau Zero's photostream, shared in the BB Flickr Pool.

"A concert on the engineering quad, University of Illinois," explains Tau Zero. "The arcs reproduced the fundamental tones of music played back through a PA system. Part of the Engineering Open House."

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": Tesla's death mask

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. I'll be featuring posts in this series all week. Want to see them all? Check out the archive post. I'll update the full list there every morning.

Spend enough time in a museum and the space starts to take on a personality. From knowing the exhibits—and thinking about what is included and what isn't—you start to feel like you have some insight into "who" the museum is supposed to be, and, perhaps, a peek into the minds that shaped the place.

And sometimes, what you learn is kind of funny.

Andy Tanguay lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, not far from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Here's his take on what you'll learn about Henry Ford if you visit the museum often enough.

When you go through The Henry Ford as many times as I have, you start to assemble a portrait of a borderline-creepy affection for Thomas Edison by Henry Ford. There's industrialist BFFs ... and then there's Ford and Edison. I've never seen any notebooks with Edison's name and little hearts around it, but whole thing feels rather odd.

So I think it's very telling that there's just one tiny case related to Tesla — arguably Edison's 'Apollo Creed' to Tesla's 'Rocky' — and it mainly houses his death mask almost like a trophy.

Behold: The world's largest Tesla coil

Electrical engineer Greg Leyh built the giant Tesla coil in this video, and wants to construct an even larger version: Two 10-story-high towers that would send lightning zinging across an area the length of a football field. New Scientist interviewed Leyh, to find out what the point of this is (besides the obvious inherent awesomeness):

Lightning can break down air up to five times more easily than normal electric arcs [between two oppositely charged rods in the lab], using tricks we don't yet understand. However, recent theories and a few tantalising experimental results suggest that normal arcs start to gain lightning-like abilities once they grow past about 60 metres in length. If we can build a machine this large, we'll very quickly arrive at a better understanding of what's going on.

A couple of weeks ago, Pesco pointed out that you can actually donate money towards making this project happen. Double awesome!

Tesla's death-mask


This death mask of Nikola Tesla is on display at a museum in Belgrade, Serbia. Does anyone know if you can have a death mask cast if you're also an organ donor? Does cornea, etc, harvesting interfere with the mask-making? Because I'm an organ donor, but man, I'd love to leave behind one of these babies.

Check out Nikola Tesla's super creepy death mask (via JWZ)

Nikola Tesla's letterhead, slathered in awesome lightningsauce

(Thanks, Marilyn!)