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Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Plenty-first century

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

When Nikola Tesla came to America to work for Thomas Edison, history took a strange turn. Tesla had some novel ideas about the use of alternating current in his mind, that he wanted to express and realize, but Edison had invested a great deal of his time and money into his own inventions based of DC current, that he wanted to see promoted and implemented. After some disputes this relationship turned sour. As a consequence the two great men became great adversaries and Tesla took off to develop his own AC system. Edison, in an attempt to win over the public interest started some campaign in which he publicly electrocuted innocent animals to demonstrate the dangers of AC power, but  Tesla finally defeated Edison with the support of George Westinghouse, when he electrified and lit the 1893 Chicago World Fair. This was a big success which let to the realisation of the Niagara Falls hydroelectric power project and the rest is history: his alternating current technology became the world standard for energy generation and distribution.

But to be fair, I think we have to credit both men with equal respect: Edison gave us the electric light while Tesla gave us the AC power that enables distribution of Energy over large distance (besides many other remarkable contributions from both men). Tesla and Edison, both, are in fact – from an objective point of view – complementary to each other, despite their seemingly contrary stands. After all, in retrospect it has become a needless dispute who was right and who was wrong or whose technology is superior.

What would have happened, if these two contemporaries had become friends during their lifetime and concentrated on their common interests and shared their findings and cooperated in their efforts, rather than resorting to proud righteousness and petty ego fights? But then… both were humans and ego gratification is believed to be a prime human motivator – everybody craves for recognition and superiority. Unfortunately when it comes to business this craving can easily turn into an ugly addiction for greed, power, domination. That’s where we find ourselves today as far as energy standards are concerned.

We pollute, we fight, we kill thereby destroying our very life foundation for energy dominance, and inspite of growing global awareness and imminent dire consequences of our outdated attitude, we seems to make very meagre progress in quitting such self destructive tendencies. Somehow it appears we deliberately ignore the urgency as well as the fact that we all populate one and the same planet, breathe the same air and before all – that we write century XXIst…

In my opinion it’d be about time to (re-)discover mutualities and the creative aspects of our presence on this globe and make it a fun game to solve the problems of our own making. Finally it is about our future as a race and how we want to spend the time here together. In regard to the Energy question it may help to focus on innovation over conservation, renewable sources over controllable sources, decentralised systems over centralised ones – and until the deployment of fresh and better solutions we can resort to a bit of energy/fuel efficiency by banning Edisons warm glowing bulbs for cold white Tesla light. But really, I believe there is no need for dictated modesty as there is plenty of Energy available in a variety of forms that can be harnessed (a much nicer term than “exploited” anyway, isn’t it?) and who knows, maybe we just have to dig a bit in some dusty drawers to find some existing and readily available technologies and solutions. I know, this might not sound like a great idea to everyone due to reasons of the above mentioned prime human motivator…but hey – haven’t we all clearly hoped and voted for CHANGE?