Dirt Nap City

Who Was Nikola Tesla?

March 28, 2024 Dirt Nap City Season 3 Episode 46
Dirt Nap City
Who Was Nikola Tesla?
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Show Notes Transcript

In today's world, Tesla is often associated with Elon Musk's electric car company. But the original Tesla was a brilliant man born in 1856 in Croatia. Nikola Tesla lived at the dawn of electricity and sometimes butted heads with other great minds of his time like Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. But did you know that this brilliant scientist had a strange obsession with a pigeon in New York City? Or that he was obsessed with numbers that were a multiple of 3? 
In this episode, Alex and Kelly explore the world, ideas and mind of a truly strange genius, Nikola Tesla.

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Alex:

Hello, everybody welcome to another episode of dirt nap city, the podcast about interesting dead people. Hello, Kelly, what's up?

Kelly:

Hey, man, happy to be an interesting live person today.

Alex:

Yeah, I think you know, there's only really two rules on the show to be a subject of the show, you have to be dead. And you have to have been interesting. But you don't have to have been interesting when you were alive. We've had some people that didn't become interesting to anybody until until after they were dead. I don't think that applies to the person we're talking about today. But I'm just getting the rules out there. And I think we've decided the kind of the the nice wheelhouse is somebody whose name is maybe known to most, but their accomplishments are not known. By very many, if they were that famous, they'd make a movie about them. Sometimes they have made movies about them, but sometimes they've only recently made a movies about him like Bob Marley or Napoleon. I mean, they beat us to the punch just by a little bit on those.

Kelly:

Yeah, well, and I'm kind of wondering about this guy who's in the docentes commercials. So he is the most interesting man in the world. But what happens when he dies? I mean, I think they have to do him like he dies, right? Yeah.

Alex:

Emergency podcast we have. Right,

Kelly:

right. We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this.

Alex:

Yeah. Good. Good point. So well, we'll keep an eye on that.

Kelly:

We don't even know his name. But no, actually,

Alex:

I've heard he's an actor who's not even Mexican. Actually. He's just an actor. Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah. I think that's his voice. And he has a good like, Spanish accent voice. But he's not even Mexican guy. I don't even think he's Hispanic. Wow. Yeah. Anyway, that's not

Kelly:

who we're kinda interesting. Okay, okay, well, I've eliminated one, right.

Alex:

I'm going to break a little form today in way of a clue and instead of giving you my typical riddles that sometimes work and sometimes don't, I'm going to give you an audio audio clip, I'm gonna play three sound clips for you to be able to guess who the subject of today's episode is. And I won't give you any background other than these three sound clips. And if you still need help after that, I'll tell you where this person was, when they were born. And, and all the usual stuff. But let's see if you can guess in these three sound clips. So PLAY CLIP a.

Kelly:

Wow.

Alex:

All right. Any guesses? No.

Kelly:

I mean, we did. I was thinking of Randy Rhoads.

Alex:

I think we've gassed Randy Rhoads three or four times. Yeah, yeah.

Kelly:

And it's always been wrong. He's

Alex:

in one of these days. I don't think he's dead yet. Okay. I hate to say that.

Kelly:

But that was some repin. Whoa, that's okay. You can apply that to anyone. I guess it's true. That was some ripping guitar though.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah,

Kelly:

I need more.

Alex:

Yeah, and I don't want you to use Shazam on these either. Is that still a thing? Shazam.

Kelly:

It is but I'm not using it. Yeah. That was

Alex:

from well, I won't tell you until we're done. All right now PLAY CLIP be.

Kelly:

Very tech No. Knock craft doesn't really jive with the first clip does.

Alex:

Alright, for your final clip. You're probably not at all getting this right now but play clip clip clip. See? See if this helps. See

Unknown:

because it's really great. Because Because if I find if I don't get enough sleep then I'm I'm quite grumpy. Right obviously having motion Go that way. This Elon Musk. And also, I tried to sort of figure out what's the right amount of sleep? Because I thought I could have I could drop below a certain threshold asleep and although I'd be awake more hours, and I could sustain it, that would get less done because my mental acuity will be affected. So I found generally the right number for me is around six to six and a half hours on average per night.

Kelly:

Wow, six to six and a half hours of sleep a night from Elon Musk, techno music, and Wawa Ripon guitar solo. Yeah,

Alex:

the subject today. Do you think there's anybody that just listens to this part of the show that only listens to our guesses and then shut it off? Shut it off?

Kelly:

I'm sure I'm sure most of the people I guess it depends on how good the show is that day, right? I'd say with a lot of shows that happens. Yes.

Alex:

I'll give you something that might throw you off even more or might help you. This person was born in 1856. In what is now Croatia, at the time was the Austrian Empire during an electrical storm Amadeus and died in 1943 in New York City.

Kelly:

Wow. 1856 To 1943 has something to do asleep.

Alex:

No, I didn't say that. I never said that. Okay, who did you say that was? Who did you say that was last? Yeah. So it's something to do. Oh, is this Nikolai Tesla. Yeah. Nikola Tesla. Ah,

Kelly:

wow. Okay. Okay. Tesla. The car is the first was the first one. Tesla the band.

Alex:

There was a band called Tesla. That was from the math. That was a song called great

Kelly:

radio controversy. Right? Wasn't sure there. Well,

Alex:

this song that I played was called Edison's medicine. Great, great name for a tune right? From the 1991 album psychotic supper. Okay, this is the band Tesla hairband from the late 80s, early 90s. The second clip was a song by a ymD orchestral maneuvers in the dark. Yeah. that I used to, like and from 1986 album called Junk culture. The song is called Tesla girls.

Kelly:

Okay, so yeah, if I had known either the titles of those songs that would have helped me,

Alex:

you think Edison's medicine would have helped you?

Kelly:

I'm sorry, if I had known the name of the artist on the first title of the song on the second one. And, and then yeah, the third one should have made it obvious but

Alex:

no audio radio. So do you know anything about Tesla? The guy?

Kelly:

I knew a bit Yeah, cuz I did read I think I told you about this book called The Last Days of Night. And it was about the battle between Westinghouse Tesla and Thomas Edison, you know, over over the, you know, AC versus DC power and light bulbs and all that stuff.

Alex:

Yeah. So we'll get into a little bit of that today. But I'll say this right out of the front. I am not an engineer. I am not

Kelly:

a, but he plays one of this podcast, right?

Alex:

I am a social scientist, but I am not a natural scientist. And I'm not going to try to describe the science behind a lot of this stuff. Quite frankly, it's over my head. It's a little boring to me. And I don't think most of our listeners care about this. Have you ever heard of Have you ever heard you know Arthur C? Clarke is right, the science fiction writer?

Kelly:

Yep.

Alex:

Have you ever heard this thing? I think this is like a I certainly didn't hear about this before the internet but Clark's laws. Have you heard about Arthur Clark's laws? I've

Kelly:

heard of Moore's laws, but no, not Clark. Oh, is that about where like a robot can't kill? No. Can't kill a person?

Alex:

No, he might have said that. But there was a couple of like three basic truths about science and the first two or whatever. But the third one is the one that I seem to cite a lot. And that is any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And I live my life that way. Like, my job said that not Well, if he did, he was he was talking about Arthur C. Clarke. Exactly. But here's here's the thing is, I'm married to an engineer. She is interested in how things work. I am not and if you're not interested in how things work. The whole world is magic. Like I do not know how micro oven works, but I enjoy microwave, throwing something in that door A minute later taking it out and it's fully cooked to me. It's kind of cool. That's just magic. My whole world is Magic Man, because I don't understand how most things were. We all we all just do stuff on our phones all the time. Not many of us know why or how, what we're doing right now talking to each other, from different cities looking at each other. Then we're going to push a couple of buttons. And now anybody in the world can hear this. That stuff is magic to me. I really don't know or care how it works. But in my world, it's all magic. So keep thinking about that. If you ever want if you're, if you're tempted to ask me a question about any of the science stuff on here, my answer is probably going to be I don't know, man, it's just magic. Okay, and the words

Kelly:

of Rick Okay, thank you. Exact magic

Alex:

was how he said it. Oh, like, it's magic.

Kelly:

When I'm with you,

Alex:

I'm interested more in the essence TriCities of this really unusual person who we all seem to know. And even before the cars Tesla's, I think Tesla was a name that a lot of people that heard that we didn't know that we don't know a whole lot about. Yeah, he's definitely

Kelly:

like, like Marie Curie, you know, like, I know, there's a scientist but and

Alex:

that's what we're doing. Right? We shed a little light on this stuff. And the thing that fascinates me about this guy, and as you'll, as you'll see, is that he had a little bit, Thomas Edison in him. He had a little bit of Rockefeller in him because he was a rich guy. But he also had a little bit of PT, PT Barnum, and Houdini in him. These are all people we've talked about in the past, but kind of a mystical, but also very scientific person just kind of has a lot of those have a lot of 18th or 19th century people that we talked about, that was a weird time when, when technology was just going through the roof, right, the industrial revolution, everyone was in new things. And it was just a pretty crazy time. And a lot of these figures that came out of here were pretty unusual people.

Kelly:

I mean, I think that's going on today, technology is advancing very rapidly, but it's a lot less. It's a lot smaller physically today, like stuff that happens like artificial intelligence, you see it, but you don't really see it. It's not like the invention of a steam engine, or an electric light, or right, a rocket, you know, these things that were big and massive and mechanical and made a lot of noise. That's what they were inventing back then they're kind of

Alex:

more incremental today. Right? That one thing leads to another, but back then it was like, yeah, so much of

Kelly:

it today is is like is, is based on electricity, right? It's actually based on, you know, we couldn't you it's computer code that can do things. And it's technology that can sequence genomes, and all this kind of stuff. But back then it was big stuff. They were doing really big stuff. And funny. Funny enough, you said we were going to shed some light on it. We couldn't do that without Tesla.

Alex:

Well, we could do it probably with Einstein, because he invented the light. I mean, Edison because he invented the light bulb.

Kelly:

He actually didn't but yeah, yeah,

Alex:

the thing about Tesla was this alternating current or AC, the AC part is how electricity is delivered to all of our houses and businesses today, which has kind of a more long lasting effect and the things that he would have probably said than Edison did. But that was a whole beef. And this might be introducing our first or nap city beef that these guys are up. They're still beef, and probably because they did not like each other. Well, I should say Tesla didn't like Edison. But But I don't know if it was reciprocated or not. Edison seemed to be okay with Tesla, but it was definitely one sided.

Kelly:

If you really do I mean, if you are interested in this story, like from a personal personalities, and like who poof who screwed over who or who set whose lab on fire, that book The Last Days of Night really goes into a lot of that stuff. Yeah,

Alex:

well, maybe when we get to those parts, you can tell me if there was a fire or a fistfight or something. But let me go back to the beginning and tell you that he was ethnically this guy was Serbian. But like I said, he grew up in what is now considered Croatia. And his mother used to tell him these big, long Serbian poems, these epic poems, all from memory, she had a photographic memory. And it turns out he also had a photographic memory which would really come into play later on in his life because he didn't write down he wouldn't make mechanical drawings of things when he had ideas he would just remember them and he had like these, these flash She was of inspiration and you would see something and they would try to recreate that. And high school. He was interested in physics and in particular electricity, which was, you know, just becoming very popular back then. But he could do like he could do calculus in his head. And so all the teachers thought he was cheating because he was just doing this stuff in his head. He finished high school, it

Kelly:

wasn't like he was using a calculator. No, no, no, right, exactly.

Alex:

He finished high school in three years, he was a really smart guy. Unlike a lot of the geniuses that we talked about on this show. He was actually a smart guy, and everybody knew it. But right after high school, he got cholera, which, you know, if you've listened to any of our 19 sensory episodes, kind of a common thing that was cholera was going around. And cholera was pretty nasty. And this guy was bedridden for nine months. And his father, who was a priest, promised when he was on his, basically, on his deathbed. Tesla, his father promised that if he got better, he would send them to the best engineering school when he got better. So he got better. He went to college, but he failed out. Now, some at the time said that it was too much gambling and women. But that wouldn't go with any of the way he lived the rest of his life. So I don't know if that was true. He wasn't very interested in women the rest of his life. So I don't know. I don't know if that was why he was gangly guy who was about 631 40.

Kelly:

And can you imagine how the women would love him today, though, you know, when you've got when you've got a rock band named after you, and you've got a car that's named after you? I mean, yeah,

Alex:

rich guy. And here's the here's the real clincher. People say he had remarkably BIG thumbs. Oh, yeah. No, I think it's kind of remarkable that this person that did so much and like you said, had bands named after him and cars named after him that, you know, 150 years after he's around. That's one thing that's your thumbs are so big that Wikipedia needs to point.

Kelly:

Yeah, that's, that's the thing you don't want to be known for, like, you know, like, like George Brett. Well,

Alex:

yeah. If you I would think that if you were a watchmaker or something that were a surgeon, you wouldn't want remarkably big remarkably big seems like cartoonishly big. Like they're

Kelly:

just sort of, if you were like a professional gamer, you know, if you played video games, I think Big thumbs could be a help. If you're a hitchhiker. That would be a really good asset for you. I mean, there's a lot of careers you could pursue with big, but I feel

Alex:

like if I had big thumbs, I would constantly be giving people the thumbs up or thumbs down. Yeah,

Kelly:

it would have a lot more impact. This Ebert?

Alex:

Oh, yeah, another call back. I think we've already called back like a different episode 20 minutes of the show. He spoke eight languages. And like I said, he had a photographic memory. And like I alluded to, before, he would get these blinding flashes of light. With visions of like a word, or an idea or an invention, a lot of people call that picture thinking where all of a sudden an idea would come up. And he would be able to see the whole thing and then be able to recall that. So any kind of inspiration he had for an invention, and he had, you know, tons of patents throughout his life. But these things would always start with just this flash of light. So this is a very unusual brain, compared to some of the people that we've we've talked about before that were inventors or other smart people. So he failed out of college. No one heard from him. He didn't go back home. None of his family heard about him. Some say there was a rumor that he drowned in the river, where it was us back in what's now Croatia. But he was actually down by the river working as a draftsman. He had just kind of been too embarrassed to go back home, I guess and just was put his head down and started working. Eventually, he moved to Hungary. And he worked with the guy pushing us who was the this Hungarian telephone, who was like the Alexander Graham Bell of, of Hungary. He actually invented the telephone exchange, the idea that, you know, that certain groups of people would all talk to each other like area codes or Yeah, things like that. So. So he worked with Bush Gus at this at the telephone company in Hungary. And eventually Tesla became the chief electrician there. He kind of outgrew that job and then pushes got him a job in Paris with a company called continental Edison, which was the European Edison's Europe In a company, where they were, at the time installing indoor lighting for big buildings in Paris, if you like Kelly said, if you want to know more about this, this time in the world, listen back to our Thomas Edison episode and by season one, right? Yep, he actually met Edison a few times while he was working for him. But eventually he quit. In his autobiography, Tesla said, I don't understand this story. But let's see what you think about this. He said that the manager, his manager at Edison, offered a $50,000 bonus of $50,000 back then is like a million and a half dollars today. So it's a lot. A lot of money. Yeah, offered a $50,000 bonus to design 24 different types of standard machines. But it turned out to be a practical joke.

Kelly:

Hey, I know you've spent six months of your life and didn't get any sleep. Thanks. But I was only joking.

Alex:

Tesla did not like this, he was not much of a practical joker, he thought that this was

Kelly:

pretty clearly a practical joke. That just sounds like a lie.

Alex:

It does sound like a lie. But he hated Edison so much that that neither one of those guys ever won the Nobel Prize, believe it or not. And they say it might have been because of their hatred towards each other that they both said. This is again, I don't know how much of this is true. But the rumor is that they both said they wouldn't ever accept it if the other one got it first. And they were both rejected if they ever had to share it. So the Nobel Prize just kept skipping them over. And they neither one of them, you'd think that one of these guys would have won the Nobel Prize at some point in their lives, but they didn't. And a lot of people said because it was because they hated each other so much. They just didn't want the other guy to win it. So now we're up to he, he, I guess when he when he worked for Edison, then he got transferred to the US. Now in 1884, he moved to the US New York. And he, after he quit Edison, he went on his own, formed his own company, he invented the induction motor in 1886. This is a motor that ran on a magnetic field. And the benefit of that it was didn't have sparks in it. You know? Again, it's all magic to me, Kelly. So he had this his own company. And he primarily focused on motors that ran on this alternate current AC, which was more efficient and better for long distance transmission of electricity. He worked with Westinghouse that you mentioned. And later, Westinghouse bought his patent in a three way deal with GE, which was owned by Edison. So the the three of them kind of collaborated on that, that made Tesla very rich man, which made him able to go out on his own and do his own thing. gave him time to develop what you might have heard of as the tesla coil? Yes, you've heard of the tesla coil. I have you seen a tesla coil?

Kelly:

Yeah, not in person. But on video. I've seen it. It's pretty, it's pretty amazing looking.

Alex:

Yeah, it's pretty cool. And today, I think the only thing they use Tesla coils for is like the entertainment industry. And it's you can you can make like lightning, you know,

Kelly:

it's a visualization of something that you normally don't see. Right? It's like It's like electricity for your eyes. Yeah,

Alex:

yeah, yeah, it's a very cool effect. They use a lot like in Marvel movies, to kind of give the illusion of lightning striking, or whatever. And his dream, Tesla's dream that still never I don't think it's possible. Now. We know it's possible. But his dream was to be able to wirelessly transmit electricity. So cities, that electricity was just this natural resource in his mind that was out there. And every city electricity ought to just be in the air kind of like Wi Fi is today, right? That you want to be able to have this invisible thing that we can all tap into, and that he would invent. The his dream was that he would invent devices that would tap into this electricity, and you wouldn't need wires or cords or anything to power this stuff. Well, that didn't work. It wasn't efficient electricity. None of the way it works is it wouldn't be efficient that way, and it would lose its power plus health hazards. I mean, I think it would cause I think what we know now is that people would be having heart attacks all over the place that electricity just isn't good to have just it

Kelly:

has to it has to travel through something right? It can travel through water. Air is not a very good conductor of electricity, and so right but

Alex:

he thought that it could just travel through the air. Now we also know since then, is that the Hindenburg? probably blew up because of static electricity. So if his dream had come true, there would be all kinds of those Hindenburg types of, you know, well,

Kelly:

the Hindenburg was filled with hydrogen, which was a big mistake. They don't feel they don't fill dirt bubbles or Zeppelin's or blimps with hydrogen anymore. Even though hydrogen is the most abundant, it's so highly flammable. And I had actually heard that it could have been, it could have been static electricity, or it could have been the fact that they had a smoking lounge in the the compartment of the Hindenburg, you were allowed to smoke aboard it with all this hydrogen above you. So

Alex:

yeah, it sounds like a terrible idea. So in 1891, he was 35 years old, he became a US citizen, right? So pretty young guy still. And then, you know, he started in, like I said, he was a rich guy, because of the sale bid with Westinghouse and Edison. So he was just tinkering around, just having all these visions of light. And then you go, Oh, that's a good idea. Let me try this. And so he was really kind of like the mad scientist, right, the inventor that's just putzing around as all the disposable income to be able to do this, this, this kind of stuff. And

Kelly:

he's passionate about it, right? He enjoys doing it. So it's something that he he wants to, you know, it's like money isn't the objective anymore. Now, the objective is just to discover for discovery sake.

Alex:

Yeah. And I think you see a little bit of that in Elon Musk with the neuro link that he plays with and then that, you know, that kind of worrying towering exactly, which is a terrible name for a company. Let's just get that out there. Because Oh, I

Kelly:

think it's fantastic, actually. Yeah,

Alex:

I think. I think he likes to have like inside jokes, you know, which I guess it's not that inside. I'm talking about Musk now.

Kelly:

Yeah, well, well, I mean, what do you think about Twitter being called x?

Alex:

I hate it.

Kelly:

I hate it. Yeah. Because you don't see anything. It hasn't been that long, right? It's been a year maybe or six

Alex:

months. Nobody calls? And still no,

Kelly:

no, it's always x. And then it's in parentheses. Formerly Twitter.

Alex:

Right, exactly. And you're still calling them tweets. And you're still say tweeting that there's no verb that goes with x. It's just a terrible idea. Yeah.

Kelly:

I wasn't a big fan of Twitter, so I'm kind of glad it's dead. Oh,

Alex:

it's not really dead. Scott axe. Okay, well, if it's dead, then you know what it can be. It can be part of our our new series called dead ends. Yeah,

Kelly:

remember Twitter? I remember when people used to tweet instead of axing. I mean, it was a totally different meaning that I'm exiting right now. Right.

Alex:

Exactly. Speaking of x, though, good segue here. Tesla started experimenting with X rays in 1894 rule. Yes. So X rays. We've talked about before we'll talk about in the future in some deadens episodes, but X rays were kind of controversial. They cause long term damage. They cause a lot of health problems. But people didn't know that back then. And he started experimenting with X rays. One of the very first X rays ever known was a picture of Tesla's hands with his freakishly long thumbs.

Kelly:

Right? They're like, why does he have six fingers and no thumb?

Alex:

Exactly, no, that

Kelly:

one is his thumb. Oh, dear God,

Alex:

if you've ever seen an x ray of like, it's kind of brown looking. And there's two big hands. And the thumbs are big guys. Those are Tesla's hands. Just Just to let you know, those aren't that's not moralized

Kelly:

and X ray. You know, I feel like it met might have caught on if people had not discovered the radiation and the, you know, the bad things it does to you might have caught on to do like family portraits that way, you know, imagine your whole family sitting there with a dog in your lap, and you're all in extra. It's just your bones.

Alex:

Oh, that's 100% Something that people would be doing these days.

Kelly:

Yeah, I would do that. If it didn't if it didn't cause cancer. That'd be kind of cool. Yeah, yeah.

Alex:

So you mentioned that they're kind of the reason or you asked about the reason that he did this stuff. Like he, he wasn't just, he was trying to change the world. He was trying to save things. But I think he also considered himself a futurist. You know, I think he saw himself as trying to predict and see what things would be like in the future and he would always have much, much like musk. Yeah, sometimes they were half baked ideas, but I'm guessing that if you go back to DaVinci, and Thomas Jefferson and and some of these people that were inventors I didn't a lot of them have some kind of dumb ideas or that don't pan out. But this guy was such an eccentric that he thought all of his ideas were pretty good ideas and doable. If somebody would just fund him, you know? Yeah,

Kelly:

yeah. I knew the same way, by the way. Yeah, sure.

Alex:

Sure. Sure. That's why this podcast exists. podcast.

Kelly:

Thanks for funding me, Alex. I'm glad you wrote that.$10,000 Check. By the way, we need more money. Offers are dry.

Alex:

You know, he dabbled in radio remote control. Yeah, he started he was kind of at the time when that started. He was also inventing that stuff. He even tried to sell the military remote controlled torpedo

Kelly:

called the Romito. They

Alex:

weren't interested. They weren't interested. He was only going to charge him like 1000 bucks or something to invent a radio controlled torpedo but they weren't interested. I think the way this guy maybe pitch this stuff. He didn't know if he was serious or crazy. You know, when he would, we needed a

Kelly:

brand new team. He needed a I needed like, he needed like sort of a Don't Mess With Texas kind of phrase. They're kind of like drive the point home in a simple way. Sure.

Alex:

He was another shout out. Yeah. To a future episode of dead ends. Yeah. Where are we up to like 13. Now call outs callbacks. This is the first episode. Welcome. If you this is the first time you're listening. Welcome. But you've got a George shores. Now you've got a bunch of episodes you have to listen to.

Kelly:

Yeah, hopefully, hopefully, you are a frequent flyer with lots of time on the plane or in a car or something. Yeah, because a lot of listening to do.

Alex:

I think the one thing that that Tesla was really interested in, though that that hadn't come was he's obsessed with wireless power, just hated wires, and thought that there could kind of be a wireless version of everything. He actually proposed a system of balloons that would hang 30,000 feet above the earth that would send electricity all over the earth that would be strategically placed almost like satellites are today, but then would just deliver electricity over cities. Isn't

Kelly:

Facebook trying to do that with the internet right now? I think I think there's a There are balloons that are delivering internet. And Facebook is back.

Alex:

That's cool. Like I said he saw this stuff as natural resources. Now, immediately when he would pitch this, even though it's not technically possible. Just the idea. People would say, Well, how would we charge people if it's free? And that was the that was the thing that was a non starter? Not is this technically possible? But well, if we just made it available, then how would we ever charge anybody for it? So it wasn't a very American thing to just have free? Like he

Kelly:

needed a freemium model. So if you want electricity, it's free. But if you want electricity, that doesn't give you a heart attack or kill you exam, you got to pay?

Alex:

Yeah. Well, he built his station in Colorado Springs, this electricity station to try to experiment with some of the stuff. And he would he got signals one day, he got signals. And he thought they were from another planet. Imagine, you know, your, your, your, your, you've got you're listening to things and you're I don't know what the hell the the technical part of this but he started getting signals from what he thought was another planet. What else would it be? Right? Yeah, it was probably Marconi in Italy who was experimenting with radio at the time. And actually, Tesla was also kind of on that kick to that he was also experimenting with radio, but it never occurred to him that it might be Marconi on the other side, because he's in Colorado Springs. He's getting the signals from Marconi. He didn't he didn't realize he's

Kelly:

hearing Oh, journo Bon journo. Yeah.

Alex:

He came up with the concept of radar way before radar was a thing. He had no idea how it would work. But But But conceptually, he said, Wouldn't it be great if,

Kelly:

you know, yeah, we could bounce waves off of objects. And they tell us where they are.

Alex:

I mean, this was these waves were really interesting to him and he saw this unlimited potential for things. In 1928 he patented a biplane that would take off and land vertically and sell for less than $1,000 and he was going to mass market this this plane that would just take off and land vertically. Never nobody ever. Nobody ever gave him funding for this and it was just kind of dropped it you know, he he never

Kelly:

did. He just he just had the idea. He was

Alex:

this great mix of a creative mind with the engineering know how, but he had so many ideas that when people would turn them down, he would just move on to the next idea, you know, so yeah, well didn't run dry. No some of these ideas and might not be feasible. Some would be but nobody gave it any mind. And some would be invented later on by somebody else, you know, so technology kind of caught up. But he was also a really, I mean, I say also I've probably established so far these a little bit eccentric, but he was really eccentric. He lived at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. But then the St. Regis Hotel, these are, you know, big time, probably today like $1,000 a night kind of hotels. But he never really paid his bills. He always move on to like one another hotel. Maybe he paid his monthly bills, but he'd never paid like his incidentals,

Kelly:

you know? That kind of sounds like Howard Hughes.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. No, no, yeah, that's true. He was really into feeding the pigeons in New York every day, he'd go, he'd go every day. Walk over to I don't think it was Central Park, probably back then. But he would go and feed the pigeons. In fact, one of them. He. He was really, really, really involved with this pigeon. Way. He nursed it back, he was sick, and He nursed it back to health for cost him $2,000 which is about 35 grand in today's money that he spent to nurse this pigeon back to health. This is what he said about this pigeon. I have been feeding feeding pigeons 1000s of them for years. But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light gray tips on its wings. That one was different. It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. I love that pigeon as a man loves a woman and she loved me. As long as I had her there was a purpose to my life. Now, I'll remind you, we're talking about a pigeon. Yes, rats with wings, right? People in New York don't really romanticize about pigeons, but he was like he was like really, really into this pitch. Well, the St. Regis Hotel evicted him in 1923 because of his unpaid bills, but also the complaints about the mess made by pigeons in his room.

Kelly:

He would let them in the room. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Alex:

He was like the lady in home alone too, with a picture use

Kelly:

that with grackles in Jester. You would open the window and put the seeds out.

Alex:

There was a finish in Austin. Anybody

Kelly:

spent any time at the University of Texas campus in the evenings in the warmer months? grackles there

Alex:

was a special special smell around 530 In the afternoon in Austin. Alright, specifically at UT. That were the grackles just taking over. It was like that Hitchcock movie the birds it was you never

Kelly:

they never found a special grackle that you had a special relationship with? Not once? No.

Alex:

The cool part about Tesla when he got older, was he used starting with the 75th birthday. And so this was 1931. He had a press conference, he had a press conference on his 75th birthday. And people liked it so much. It may they made it like this annual occasion. And it might have been dementia. But he would just go off on talking about things that he did invent things that he might invent. I think he was just a interesting little fellow. So he would hold these press conferences on his birthday every year. So like the first one was a little bit of fun 93 then 9032 He said at this press conference that he invented a motor that runs on cosmic rays. Wow, like really is fuller. Yeah, like no raise like that were exist out in the in the Oh,

Kelly:

so not sunrays, not no cause,

Alex:

like raise that we can't see right now that, but he said he he had already invented that motor. And the next year 1933. He said that he had discovered a new form of energy that was violently opposed to Einsteinian physics, and was cheap, it could last 500 years. And that he was also almost done with a device that could photograph the retina to record people's thoughts. Wow. Like I said, the press we're eating this up because we don't know if this guy has dementia or if he's on the verge of some new breakthrough. Imagine like a character like Elon Musk. It's just saying, I already invented this. I'm about to invent this. And people were really into this stuff. I think people

Kelly:

were murdered gullible back then, though, you know what I mean? I think today people are more skeptical. Like

Alex:

you already mentioned, think of all the inventions just every year these new things that were coming on board and everything was so exciting. I mean, why not think that this stuff was yes possible? In 1934 So this was the fourth year of the press conferences, he told everyone that he invented the death rate. And the death rate was going to end all wars

Kelly:

in the planet Alderaan you know what the Death Ray was

Alex:

it was this like, like a border fence, basically, like the kind you have with that they have like for dogs like those fenceless.

Kelly:

perimeters, yeah, where they wear a collar. And it shocks them.

Alex:

I guess it was like he would have millions of volts at the border of every country, and with a range of like, 250 miles and that people couldn't go invade any other countries. Because it would have these, you know,

Kelly:

okay, well, what do you do about your citizens? Or, or animals? They can't leave? Yeah. Wow. And he said Mexico was gonna pay

Alex:

for exactly. I was waiting for you to say something about that. That he had invented this oscillator, which is like a generator that he said would earn him $100 million in two years. And it could destroy the Empire State Building with five pounds of air pressure. And that in his lab, it actually caused an earthquake, I think they have determined that, that it caused an earthquake, and he was actually friends with Mark Twain, like when he was this age, like those two guys used to hang hang out together. Yeah. And I think Mark Twain and actually experience one of these experiments gone awry, and experienced one of these earthquakes, Mark Twain loved them. He thought he was a funny old guy. In 1935, he talked about the death ray again. And he said, it's not an experiment, I have built, demonstrated and used it, only a little time will pass before I can give it to the world. Well, while I'm not too long after he said that, he was hit by a taxi on his way to feed pigeons. And he never really recovered. Now, he lived for six years after that, but he never really recovered, didn't really go out in public anymore. And when press conferences died in a hotel, when he died, they brought somebody out from MIT to go and look at all of his stuff to see like, Was any of this real? Was this stuff true? Because all this stuff was kind of secret, right? And so MIT brought out one of their best scientists. Either it was even a box marked death ray. And he opened the box. And it was like,

Kelly:

one of those sitting right right over there. Well, they opened the box,

Alex:

and it was just some old machine like some 45 year old machine that it hadn't, it was pretty innocent. But you know who the scientist was that came out from MIT to look at this stuff. It was John Trump, Donald Trump's uncle that he always brags about the MIT scientists only. Oh, wow. You remember, like during COVID, he was bragging that one of his uncle's was a scientist. That was the guy who came out and analyze the items. And he really didn't find any any big deal with that. Wow. He, he used to walk between he was he was obsessed with his health. He walked between eight and 10 miles a day. And I don't know if you've ever done this exercise, but He curled his toes 100 times on each foot every night. And he said it would stimulate his brain cells.

Kelly:

No. I'm going to try that tonight. 100 times

Alex:

on each foot, curl your toes and see if you start seeing those flashes of light. And maybe

Kelly:

was he was he ever married?

Alex:

No, no. In fact, he thought that women were superior to men one time, he would think that men don't deserve women. But then later in life. Well, he also said, I don't think you can name any great inventions that have ever been invented by a married man. So but he also didn't like he was like intimidated by women. But he also did not like what he called new women. The kind that like dress like man, and you probably would have not like babe teacher sends a hilarious.

Kelly:

Yeah, yeah, he wouldn't have done well in today's world. No,

Alex:

he said he didn't need women that he found all the stimulation he needed in his work. And his pigeons and his pitches. Yeah, the way he talked about his pigeons who needs women, right? He just

Kelly:

in England, they call him blades and look at the boys.

Alex:

He only we're talking about Elon Musk sleeping six hours a day. Tesla only slept two hours a day. But he would doze to recharge which is what I tell my wife like when I'm ever I'm she catches me napping. I'm just recharging resting my eyes. Yeah, one time he worked for 84 hours straight without a ride. Test just didn't was he was like really obsessed with his work. He some say he had obsessive compulsive disorder. He could only do things in threes. Like he could only stay in hotel rooms that were divisible. The number was divisible by three. He washed his hands three times always and then he had to walk around the building three times before entering it. He he had dinner at the New York restaurant Delmonico's every day

at 8:

10pm. And he had to have the same waiter every day, serving the same thing every day. Creature of habit. Have you heard of Delmonico's? It's like this famous it's still there? I think it is. Yeah, there's actually a chain of demonic was two that aren't related to that original one but demodicosis were like these big like the wedge salad was invented at Dell Monaco's Oh, yeah. Salad. I love wedge. So Eggs Benedict was invented at DOE Monaco's Baked Alaska Chicken ala King, which I guess when

Kelly:

you've got when you've got people of that brilliance eating at your restaurant, then you you got to you got to keep with the times and keep ahead of the curve. Yeah,

Alex:

I mean, this is a swanky place right? Later in life, though. He was much he had become a vegetarian. They said he only lived on milk bread, honey and vegetable juice. Is that a diet you could endorse? Could you live on that?

Kelly:

milk bread, honey and vegetable juice? No, no, I couldn't do that. I

Alex:

think I decided that I could. But I would probably eat two loaves of bread a day.

Kelly:

Yeah, and I mean, the honey, you gotta get your like, you're like using it as nectar like a bee to keep your wings going.

Alex:

Right? I like all those things. But I would eat a lot of bread if that's all I was allowed to eat. Yeah, a lot of spraying. It's

Kelly:

also just not very good variety. You know? I mean, I get sick of the same. Yeah. I feel like you have to have variety, spice of life. Right.

Alex:

And he was probably sharing the bread with the pigeons too. So that

Kelly:

wow, what an oddball.

Alex:

Yeah, weird. Some people spoke really highly of him though, and called him modest, sweet and said he appreciated the finer things in life. Like I said, he was really good friends with Mark Twain. On the other hand, you know, he some people, he really rubbed the wrong way. He didn't like overweight people. He fired a secretary one time for being overweight. He, he would be obsessed with what other people were wearing. So he would send people home and tell him to change their clothes. He didn't like earrings. He couldn't stand out and women were pearls or he refused to talk to any woman that were pearls. And he hated Edison. Again, he hated Edison so much that when Edison died, he wrote in the New York Times, he wrote like a negative review of Edison, like, basically like a counterpoint to the obituary, like saying, Well, isn't that great?

Kelly:

I hope. I hope you don't do that to me.

Alex:

He basically said like, he was only booksmart. Wow, you guys, thank you. So great. Well, let me tell you, I work with this guy. And he wasn't much and couldn't

Kelly:

do calculus in his head. Exactly. Didn't understand the depth of pigeons, like I do. You know, he invented

Alex:

the fluorescent bulb. He invented the neon light. He invented the sparkplug he thought up the ideas, like I said, of the radar, he even came up with like the concept of how a microwave oven might work, even though it was invented decades after he died. Some people today kind of like Nostradamus, they go back, and they look at things that he had written and go, Oh my gosh, this guy predicted this. Let me read you this from what he wrote in the New York Times in 1909 1909. Okay.

Kelly:

1909, the practical applications

Alex:

of the revolutionary principles of the wireless art have only begun, what will be accomplished in the future baffles woman's comprehension. It will soon be possible. For instance, for a businessman in New York, to dictate instructions and have them appear in type in London or elsewhere, you will be able to call from his desk and talk with any telephone subscriber in the world. It will only be necessary to carry an inexpensive instrument no bigger than a watch, which will enable its bearer to hear anywhere on sea or land for distances of 1000s of miles. 1909 He's talking about this.

Kelly:

Wow. Yeah, yeah, that that is very visionary in 1926.

Alex:

In Colliers magazine, he gets even more precise, he says when wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will convert be converted into a huge brain, which in fact, is all things being part circles have a real and rhythmic hole, we shall be able to communicate with one another instantly irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television, and telephony, we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of 1000s of miles. And the instruments through which we will be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone, a man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket 1926, he basically is telling us about not just not yet, not just cell phones, but smartphones, which probably in 1986, I don't think you and I could have predicted know what smartphones would be. And here he is 1926 100 years ago, basically telling us what wireless could do he was really thought that this this promise of wireless communication was the future. And he was pretty dead on when you say, yeah,

Kelly:

yeah. 100%. And you know, you said earlier, you didn't think or, you know, he predicted or wanted to invent wireless electricity. I don't think that's going to, I think that's possible. I don't think that's impossible. And I don't think it's going to be too long. Because, you know, there is now induction where you can set your phone or your watch or anything that needs to charge on top of something. And it'll, I mean, that is sort of wireless electricity, it's coming through without a wire It's touching. But you know, all the things we if someone had told us in high school, what we'd be doing today, we wouldn't have been able to fathom it right. And now, now, we need to have the open mind to say 20 years from now, 40 years from now, what is what's going to be possible? And I think Wireless Electricity will be Yeah,

Alex:

well, good for you. Because and we'll and we'll mark this Mark, Mark, this timestamp this? Yeah, man in 2024. There was this guy doing a thing called podcasting. And he actually predicted, you know, something that Tesla predicted 100 years earlier.

Kelly:

He relayed the message.

Alex:

Yeah, he, yeah, he re re upped it.

Kelly:

Read it. Yeah, gave it a big thumbs up. Big thumbs. He invented the big thumbs up.

Alex:

Give me a big thumbs up emphasis on Big thumbs in the thumbnail. I started this by talking about how to me all technologies magic. I think I think that is something that did. I don't know, you might reject that you might be more interested in how technology works. And I do. But I think there's something with this guy that really played into that. Right? He was, he's kind of mystical creature kind of has had a lot of the, like

Kelly:

the Wizard and Wizard of Oz. Maybe the trick is to say some brilliant things, and then pepper those with a bunch of BS, right? And so that people never sure they're never sure they're guessing.

Alex:

Now we're back to Elon Musk, right? Yeah,

Kelly:

that's what I mean. That's what I mean. So this

Alex:

guy sometimes comes up with these things like the boring thing, the idea of boring, if I have this correct is basically like those pneumatic tubes that you have at the bank, right? That people would climb in these things. And it would be able to take you hundreds of miles,

Kelly:

you don't climb in it, you drive in it, you take your car in it well, but

Alex:

you're not, you're not driving it though, it just shoots you to another place like a pneumatic tube,

Kelly:

I think there's a couple of instances of it. Number one, it's your you drive into a tunnel, let's say you're in a really busy part of LA, you drive into a tunnel, that's it's underground. And it basically, instead of having all these lanes of traffic, where people are waving and weaving in and out, it forces you to go the same speed as all the other cars. So it connects you to a track, you know, to your car, and it pulls your car along, and the next car and the next car and the next car, and there's no accidents because they're all perfectly being pulled at same speed. And then when you're ready to exit, you get out. So it gets you from point A to point B, much quicker than a surface road would because you don't have to stop anywhere. You don't have other people driving and getting in your way. That's number one. And then number two, I think is what you're talking about with the tube where it shoots you via air.

Alex:

Very, very fast.

Kelly:

Yes.

Alex:

Yeah.

Kelly:

Have you seen this thing? Just you know, while we're on crazy inventions, I saw this thing where it is. It's in Texas, actually, I think it's out in West Texas. And it's a it's a centrifuge that spins and it spins and spins and spins and spins faster and faster. And it gets up to spinning. It's big, you know, it's it's the size of several vehicles, you know, maybe 50 feet across or whatever. And it gets up to such a high speed and then opens a thing and shoots a Rocket out, and they can launch a rocket into space without fuel with this thing Oh,

Alex:

really? Yeah, like a spinning top, almost just like

Kelly:

except on its side. Yeah. And then and then the upward direction part is where the door opens. And it's it's timed precisely so that the rocket you know that's inside it is going around around around. And then and then when it it times it blasts it out. Maybe it uses air or whatever to blast it out. But it clears it and, and the momentum carries it into space.

Alex:

Yeah, I'm kind of fascinated with inventions that never happened that never take off or whatever. This exists. GTs. Man, this is a thing that happens. Yeah, yeah,

Kelly:

they're they're doing it.

Alex:

Oh, wow. You know, at the beginning, I said that, I think that Tesla was kind of a mix of Edison Rockefeller or PT Barnum and Houdini. Can you see how those kind of Oh, yeah, Graham between those four guys? 100% that we've talked about before. And like I said, we've introduced a little bit of beef in the dirt nap city to now we have people that hate each other up there. I don't think we have any other two people that really have that kind of beef. Yeah, do we? You

Kelly:

know, you know, it'd be interesting because I've, we've been doing this long enough now that I'm starting to forget episodes, you know, forget what we said and forget who it was. We really should make a diagram of all of them, maybe like in time and place, and then figure out who would have disliked each other because I bet there's more than one? Well, we

Alex:

know that he probably wouldn't have liked baby teacher senza Harris or Eleanor Roosevelt. There were two. There were new women. Yeah,

Kelly:

they were new women. I think it should be people who actually met though, like people who actually really had a beef not just wouldn't have Jeff enjoyed each other's ideologies. It needs to be you know, like, like St. Valentine, and St. Nicholas, would they have hung out?

Alex:

So wait, do you? Are you saying you'd like it better? If you know that they really didn't like each other? Or do you? You're imagining that, like, yeah, they wouldn't like each other. Which one was more

Kelly:

fun? We need to do a diagram of the time that each of these people lived. Yeah, and see where they overlapped? And then like, like, I don't, I couldn't tell you right now, because St. Valentine was a year ago, or maybe two years ago. I couldn't tell you did St. Valentine live at the same time as St. Nicholas. But if they did, did they meet?

Alex:

Probably not. No. And I don't think either one of them met satchel page either. No,

Kelly:

but did satchel page meet Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Or

Alex:

we could have Jerry Springer moderate a discussion between Edison and Tesla. And maybe either they fight it out or they'll get out.

Kelly:

I liked that. I liked that. And I think we could have you know, like they could each have a weapon of choice. Like Edison could have a light bulb that he hits Tesla over the head with and Tesla's got a tesla coil that he's apps Edison with. So it's kind of a cage match.

Alex:

But then Andre giant comes in and

Kelly:

body slams, and both Yes. And evil can evil jumping over a mall the whole time. This

Alex:

is all our spin off series would have to be an animated series probably. Yes, it's probably worse done by everybody.

Kelly:

Thanks for charging me up about Tesla.