Thursday, June 16, 2016

Recreational Belief

And while I'm on the subject of  dishonest advertising, I saw an article just now claiming that thousands of scientists have proved Einstein wrong - again.  How's that?  Why, although that German immigrant predicted and provided a mathematical basis for gravity waves, he opined that we wouldn't have the technology to detect them directly, which of course we do and we have.  Einstein's theories aren't wrong, the article's title was wrong.

If only this weren't standard procedure in the media. Take the Tesla ascendancy. He invented radio is the trendy thing to say among millennials although others invented it a long time before. In fact James Clerk Maxwell developed the mathematical basis for electromagnetic waves in the late 19th century and Heinrich Hertz demonstrated broadcasting and receiving them in 1885 and Thomas Edison actually received a patent* for a ship to ship radio system, including a quarter wave vertical antenna in that year. He sold it all to Marconi.
Tesla's claim to radio was that Marconi sent a signal across the Atlantic using a Tesla coil which of course he didn't, he used a Ruhmkorff coil which had been used by others, including Hertz to send radio signals.  The courts were simply confused as was the case many times in the history of radio.

Tesla invented AC power distribution including the transformer and alternator and AC motor but actually he didn't. Most of Tesla's "inventions" were thought experiments that never worked because the science was wrong. His dearly held goal was to send electrical power to customers without wires. Didn't work and would have been deadly if tried.

But recreational belief is our national sport.  It's fun to say Edison didn't invent the light bulb because he knew about other efforts that didn't actually work but it's only shifty rhetoric and it all depends on a shifty description of "invent" It just makes you feel so hip to recite such things.  I suppose the Wright brothers could be stripped of their title because they know about Lilienthal or Langley and NASA gets no credit for the moon landing because of Jules Verne. Anyway, if someone invents a working time machine he won't have invented it either, because of  H. G. Wells.

U.S. Patent 465,971 

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