Notes: Tesla Speculations In "Century Magazine"

Date: 
Friday, June 15, 1900
Volume: 
15
Pages: 
273-274
Archived Page: 
Author: 
Subject: 
Publication: 

THE §I:§QI§l.ClANf ELECTRICAL EN CIN EERING, INDUSTRY, AND SCIENCE. No. 1,152. [,ge-;¢,_] Fmnsv, JUNE »5. woo. _,b§g1g;="E§§x”gg1g,°g;f&o§‘?§” CONTENTS OF THE CURRENT NUMBER. Nuns ..... . ........... . ...,... The Central London Railway. Illustrated, Continued , ..... Contemporary Electrical Science. Compiled by E. E.'Four~nier D'A1be ................. ......... On the Spark Due to the Break of an Electric Circuit. `IIy K. It. Johnson ......... ...,.,__ Currentdtushes into Trans- fomiers. By It. C. Ulinker. Illustrated ..... ,,... .... ,..,..... A Frictionless Motor Meter. Ily S. Everslied. Illus- trated ........,...........,...... Electricity Works Accounts lN\'sN'rloN....,,....... .,.. The Electrolytic Production of Solutions of Hypochlcrite for Bleaching and Disinfecting Purposes. By John B. C. Kershaw, F.I.C. Illustrated Physical Society .................. Some Considerations Concern- ing Electric Driving. By H. A. Mavor ,....................... Correspondence .................. Legal Intelligence ............... Municipal, Foreign and General Notes .........,..,................. Trade Notes and Notices .,.... Companies' Meetings 5 Reports City Notes ........................ Companies' Share List..." ..... .. NOTES. 289 291 295 294 297 298 505 505 306 308 ._._ Tue sensational announcements in the American press with regard to Mr. Nixon Tesr.s‘s wonderful doings and still more wonderful prophecies, have been attributed in a large measure tc tho highly developed power of imaginative embroidery possessed by some Western newspaper reporters. An article by Mr. Tzsns himself, in the cu.rrent number uf the Century ltlagazine, shows that an injustice has been dons to that class of individuals, for this contribution equals in wild speculation anything hitherto attributed to the eminent inventor. The article is headed “ The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, with Special Reference to the Harnessing of the Snn‘s Energy." The writer begins by postulating that human life is a movement. The existence of a body in motion unavoidably implies a force which 'is moving it. Consequently Mr. Tzsm chooses to consider human energy as denotable by _the expression MV’/2, and proceeds to consider how it may be increased. M he takes as the “total mass of man in the ordinary interpretation of the term ‘mass,"’ and V is “a certain hypothetical velocity." He warns his readers against reducing their mass hyintemperance, impure drinking water, or laxity of morals-digressing on the subject :oi food -supply, and the -production of artificial

274 THE ELECTRICIAN JUNE 15, 1900 fertilisers by causing the nitrogen of the air to combine chemi- cally with the oxygen in a high-pressure electric discharge. _,_ Oaasmsan warfare, Mr, Tasha thinks, is what tends mostly to the reduction of the hypothetical velocity V, and he pro- ceeds to describe a means, he has not yet perfected, of rendering warfare loss harmful in this direction. This simple means is the substitution of " telautomatics " for men. So far he has only succeeded in constructing one such apparatus-a boat controlled hy electrical oscillations-with a “borrowed mind "; but, he says “I purpose to show that, however im- possible it may now seem, an automaton may be contrived which will have its‘own mind’ and . _ _ he capable of distinguishing between what it ought to do and what it ought not to do ..... In fact, I have already conceived such a plan.” On the other hand, to deal fully with the methods of increasing the force “ accelerating the human mass " would lead Mr, Tasnu too far. “ Sulhce it to state that the resultant of all these forces is always in the direction of reason. . .” A “telautomatic" is then presumably not one of the com- ponents. _._ Leon of space precludes us also from dealing more fully with Mr. TESLA'S dreams-or are they nightmares ?-with their bright pictures of high-pressure phenomena. We can only mention briefly some of his schemes for the advantage of mankind. He intends to smelt iron hy first electrolysing water, burning the hydrogen in air to produce the heat for smelting, and selling the pure oxygen as a by-product. Ho suggests other methods than windmills of obtaining energy from " the ambient medium,” some of which he no longer considers likely to be commercially profitable, and others with regard to which he is more hopeful. He next deals with the transmission of energy through space without wires. The proposal to transmit electricity at high pressure through the upper strata of the atmosphere we have alluded to on s. former occasion, but the following bears repetition. Mr. TESLA has discovered causes of error in Ham-z's researches, with the result that he has “long ago ceased to look upon his [Ham~z’s] results as being an experimental verification of the poetical conceptions of ltluxwnnn.” _._

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