BBC Horizon 1982: The Mysterious Mr. Tesla Videos for Engineers
New video documentaries about Nikola Tesla pop up on the Internet fairly often. I, for one, welcome the flood of information being made available on all the pioneers of electrical and electronic inventions. For that matter, the media on pioneers of all forms of invention in the physical word are a welcome resource be it on mechanics, chemistry, energy production, space exploration, physics, transportation, or related topics. A lot of the material has been in archives waiting to be digitized. Prior to that, these films were shown in classrooms, museums, seminars, etc., where only a few people were able to see them. Some bumbling, fat-fingered projector operator would eventually tear or burn them, relegating the reels to the trash bins of history, thereby removing the opportunity for others to witness the contents.
If you take the time to watch the videos, some interesting information can be learned that has not been generally known. For instance, were you aware that Mr. Tesla's intelligence was obvious because he had very long thumbs? Apes, it was argued, being distant evolutionary relatives, were not as intelligent as humans and had short thumbs. Ergo, the longer the thumbs, the more intelligence a person possessed. I kid you not.
A narrator who looks like a dieting Santa Claus takes us through a series of experiments and demonstrations thought up by Tesla during his discoveries, and then takes us through equally ingenuous ways to sell his ideas to the public, respectively. Prior even to Marconi, in 1893 Tesla was able to achieve "wireless" transmission of signals via his spark gap apparati using an oscillator, earth wire, and aerial, with a complimentary receiving station erected at a distance. His circuits are documented in records form the Electric Light Association in St. Louis, MO, and even included a forerunner to the "cat's eye" tuning indicator. He designed and built the first remote control model boat. He made x-ray images of human skeletons prior to Roentgen's discovery of radioactivity. Ball lightning experiments consumed Tesla for some time, with ultimately no success.
Also reported by Tesla aficionados in more modern times is an unexplained 10 Hz RF pulsation in the 6-20 MHz band, known as "the woodpecker" because of its audio signature, that was traced to locations inside Russia. It began around 1976. Scientists conjectured that it was likely a Ruskie-built "Tesla magnifying transmitter" being used to interfere with our thinking process because it coincides with typical brain activity electrical pulses. I would conclude that, at least for the guy in this film, the 10 Hz therapy has worked quite well. A more likely explanation is also given.
Speaking of ELF and long distance communication, Tesla's data has been used extensively for use in reaching ship and submarine vessels, as well as for over-the-horizon radar. It has even found use in pipeline inspection systems.
The list goes one and on. Get yourself a fresh cup of java or a power drink and kick back for half an hour watching the video.
BBC Horizon 1982: The Mysterious Mr. Tesla (part 1)
Nikola Tesla Remote Control Boat
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