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General bio: Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia in 1856 and right away it was clear that there was something different about him. In 1857 he entered the polytechnic in Graz where he studied with an almost unhealthy ferocity, but unfortunately didn't have the funds to finish his education. He did however discover electricity, which he immediately knew would be his life's' fascination, the perfect subject for his temperament- it was the frontier, the line between mystery and science. During this time he suffered a great depression and lack of inventiveness coupled with stress related illness. One day deep in his funk, he was walking by the beach with a friend reciting a poem by geothe and watching the sun set, wen all of a sudden, he paused in mid sentence and ran down to the beach. On his knees, with a stick in hand Nikola Tesla drew his design for the first alternating current generator in the sand in its final and finished state. Alternate current electricity however, despite its vast benefits over direct, would not be put into use for many, many years in the future, due in large part to one man. Thomas Alva Edison. Tesla's Relationship with Edison was bad from the very start. The two were very different people, both in methods and personality. Tesla once said when asked about Edison: "" 1881 he began work at the Edison Tel. Co in Budapest, and made such a name for himself that he was recommended in a short time to be moved to America and work with Edison himself at the legendary Menlo park laboratories. Tesla arrived in America in 1884 with nothing but a book of poems, three cents and drawings of a flying machine. His stay with Edison was to be cut short when Tesla demanded a payment Edison says he had promised in jest. After a year in limbo, doing any work he could to stay fed, including digging ditches at one point. He soon found independent investors though to fund his research and popularize alternate current electricity. The most important of which was George Westinghouse. George Westinghouse bought Tesla's patents on AC power (with an additional charge of .5cents per horsepower generated, that Tesla would later voluntarily discontinued when Westinghouse was in financial trouble) Which the help of Westinghouse and other investors AC electricity became the standard it is today in power transportation, despite a massive smear campaign on the part of Edison (inventor of DC power) to prove it dangerous (during which he invented and used the AC powered electric chair to agonizingly kill a man and 100s of stray cats and dogs). This was the late 1800s and Tesla was at the peak of his fame. He lived in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, eating the best of food with the best of company. His friends included the Astors, poet Robert Underwood Johnson and Mark Twain. Tesla gave dramatic shows at his laboratory, juggling rings of light, running hundreds of thousands of volts of power through his body and shooting flaming bolts of electricity from his fingertips. The tall dark and handsome, Tesla became a media darling, gaining much praise in the press and fame throughout America. Inventions continued to pour out of his studio at an amazing pace, many (as was Tesla's custom, totally without precedent) Tesla's Studio soon burned down and he moved to Colorado Springs to begin again. Here he did his most independent and in many cases strangest research; a box that he claimed could split the earth in two, the VTOL- a hovercraft, numerous attempts to contact mars, attempts at artificial intelligence, massive artificial lightning showers that to this day has not been understood and a burst of inventions that seemed to follow no linear progression from one to the other. The town of Colorado Springs was constantly having blackouts due to the vast amounts of electricity Tesla's lab took in. It was a period of great creativity for Tesla that reached an earth shaking climax one day, when to the shock of onlookers he placed a light bulb directly on to the earth near his laboratory and with no plug or battery, it lit up. Thus began the next chapter in the story of Nikola Tesla. What he had discovered was a way to use the earth itself as a electromagnetic conductor and immediately he understood what this could mean if escalated. The area around his lab was electrified with a small tower inside, Tesla understood that if the size of the tower was greatly increased, so would be its area of influence, and if taken to an enormous scale, the ENTIRE EARTH could be provided with free and limitless power from one central point! Anyone anywhere could simply touch their plug unto the earth and not only get free electrical power, but information (i.e.: the internet could travel in this way). Tesla immediately hired an artist to assist him in creating a plan to send out to all the richest investors in the world, siting the limitless profit potential of such a venture (which he admitted privately might not have been the fact). Scores of investors responded, the most important was the great commodore J.P. Morgan. Morgan was Tesla's biggest funder and the tower was beginning to rise. Well there isn't much suspense as to what happened. Today we of course pay for our electricity, and are fast running out of fuel sources. JP Morgan realized, almost halfway into construction, that the completion of such a project would cost him and his colleagues millions. He pulled out. Tesla was ruined. Tesla career weakened and weakened, until one day, an aging Tesla, evicted from the Waldorf Astoria, couldn't even afford to feed his many pigeons.

 

 

 

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