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Power Science

Tesla's New York Laboratory Up For Sale 183

Posted by kdawson
from the shocking-positively-shocking dept.
Ziest points us to NY Times piece on the battle over the site of Nicola Tesla's last failed experiment. Tesla's laboratory, called Wardenclyffe, located on Long Island, has been put up for sale by its current owner, Agfa Corp. Local residents and Tesla followers were alarmed by a real estate agent's promise that the land, listed at $1.6 million, could "be delivered fully cleared and level." Preservationists want to create a Tesla museum and education center at Wardenclyffe, anchored by the laboratory designed by Tesla's friend, Stanford White, a celebrated architect. "In 1901, Nikola Tesla began work on a global system of giant towers meant to relay through the air not only news, stock reports and even pictures but also, unbeknown to investors such as J. Pierpont Morgan, free electricity for one and all. It was the inventor's biggest project, and his most audacious. The first tower rose on rural Long Island and, by 1903, stood more than 18 stories tall. ... But the system failed for want of money, and at least partly for scientific viability. Tesla never finished his prototype tower and was forced to abandon its adjoining laboratory."
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Tesla's New York Laboratory Up For Sale

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  • by zifr (1467429) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:33PM (#27839711)
    We'll level the place. We still can't figure out how some of his projects worked and much of his work was seized after his death, according to the History channel. Might as well level it and trash any chance at learning his knowledge while we're at it. Brilliant man.
    • Also, a loon.

      Nothing there anymore except the poisoned ground.
      There really isn't anything to learn there anymore.
      It's not like there going to level the building and store rooms full of stuff.
      OTOH, a pool of people that wanted to turn it into a museum could probably be brought together for some fund Raisers.

      Hell, you do it. Contact the real estate agent and find out what kind of time you have. Get some on line organization going and hit all the Tesla Forums.

      You would be the first person to do this type of thing successfully. If you really want to save it, there is no reason you can't give it a good effort. None.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by c6gunner (950153)

      We still can't figure out how some of his projects worked

      Uhuh. I see this kind of claim all the time from creators of perpetual motion machines:

      "Well, of course those 'scientists' can't replicate my results! It's because they don't understand my genius!"

      Uhh ... no. If we're unable to get it to work, chances are it never worked in the first place.

      and much of his work was seized after his death, according to the History channel

      Yeah, seized by the Stonemasons! Just ask Homer ...

      • by MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @10:00PM (#27840927)

        you do realize that many of the technologies mentioned in the article do exist today (like wireless video transmission, stock quotes etc.) but in 1903 few people if any could explain how to make that work. and the other ideas, about providing wireless electricity? those arent so far fetched either

        2008: Intel reproduces Nikola Tesla's 1894 implementation and Prof. John Boys group's 1988's experiments by wirelessly powering a light bulb with 75% efficiency. wikipedia.org (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_power_transmission)

        just because you and 99% of people dont understand something dosent make it a hoax. i mean hell look at how many people dont realise the internet isint some kind of truck.

        • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @10:48PM (#27841187)

          Intel reproduces Nikola Tesla's 1894 implementation and Prof. John Boys group's 1988's experiments by wirelessly powering a light bulb with 75% efficiency

          The problem is 75% of which power?

          Unfortunately, it was 75% of received power, not transmitted power.

          About 99.99% of the transmitted power went to other directions, it heated neighboring rocks and nothing else.

          Unless you have a directional antenna, any sort of wireless power transmission will waste a lot of power. And, to have a directional antenna, you need to know in which direction your receiver will be. Then it starts to look pretty much like a wired power transmission setup...

          • by ae1294 (1547521) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:29PM (#27841471) Journal

            What the heck is your point?
            The guy came up with the idea way back in 1894 so who really cares about its efficacy..

            Everything we plug in today has Nikola Tesla's I.P. in it. AC transmission won the current war over the DC method.

            Anyone who try's to belittle Tesla's work really has no idea what they are talking about. But yeah he had lots of crazy ideas but it was 1894 for god sake! Everyone who has ever invented something useful also probably had at least 100 bad ideas as well..

            ae

            • by c6gunner (950153) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:05AM (#27843379)

              The guy came up with the idea way back in 1894 so who really cares about its efficacy.

              What the heck is YOUR point? It wouldn't matter if he came up with it in 1498 - a crappy idea is a crappy idea, regardless of when it's thought up. If your "invention" requires 50,000 killowatts to power a friggin lightbulb, there's a bit of a problem there, especially when you're making use of a well known effect rather that inventing something new. Induction was discovered in 1831, so it's not like Tesla was discovering a new aspect of the physical world - he simply made use (in an extremely inefficient way) of a principle discovered by Faraday.

              Everything we plug in today has Nikola Tesla's I.P. in it. AC transmission won the current war over the DC method.

              Which is not necessarily a good thing. The only advantage of AC current is that it can be easily modified by transformers. Long-distance power transmission (between grids) is DC because it doesn't require phase synchronization and it's less wasteful, and the difference adds up nicely over longer distances. AC didn't replace DC - the two systems are complimentary.

              Also, while Tesla did invent a three phase AC generator, he didn't exactly come up with the idea of AC current, nor was he the only one working on it.

              Anyone who try's to belittle Tesla's work really has no idea what they are talking about.

              Anyone who tries to deify a mad scientist isn't firing on all cylinders.

              Everyone who has ever invented something useful also probably had at least 100 bad ideas as well.

              Exactly - the problem here is that the Tesla Cult like to pretend that his 100 bad ideas were actually 100 GREAT ideas which we "can't understand yet". Which is, to be blunt, bullshit. You can idolize the man for the great things he did, if you want, as long as you're not trying to prop up his shitty ideas at the same time.

          • by quenda (644621)

            Unless you have a directional antenna, any sort of wireless power transmission will waste a lot of power.

            I see you subscribe to the particle model of electromagnetic radiation.

            See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_power_transmission#Resonant_induction [wikipedia.org]

        • Tesla must have been on some shit. Like mushrooms or some other psychotic food additives. It would help creativity, but gets one a bit loony too. Like, he did not only dream of powering light bulbs from a few meters, but providing free electricity to all the farmers in the whole world from his towers on Long Island. That's kinda loony, don't you agree? It's like microwaving everyone in NY just so you can send a decent power output to Texas from Long Island?
          • It's like microwaving everyone in NY just so you can send a decent power output to Texas from Long Island?

            You say that like it's a bad thing.

            • I think you just have to have the frequency right at about 420khz or mhz or something like that.

              He was talking about long range transmission by bouncing it off the ionosphere. That might create some ozone or destroy. Who knows. You wont know until you build it full size and test it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by hey! (33014)

            Tesla must have been on some shit. Like mushrooms or some other psychotic food additives

            Indeed he was. You've heard of "ecstasy"? Well, Tesla was on "imagination".

          • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:45AM (#27844817) Journal
            Tesla must have been on some shit. Like mushrooms or some other psychotic food additives. It would help creativity, but gets one a bit loony too. Like, he did not only dream of powering light bulbs from a few meters, but providing free electricity to all the farmers in the whole world from his towers on Long Island. That's kinda loony, don't you agree? It's like microwaving everyone in NY just so you can send a decent power output to Texas from Long Island?

            If you had ever read anything about what he was trying to do, you'd realize that he was trying to create electromagnetic waves that would travel across the entire globe, and feed the amplitude of that wave by precise timing of the bursts. The technology he was experimenting with was seized by the US government, and is currently being explored in the HAARP project.

            The wealth of most of the northeastern United States can be traced to the Niagara Falls dam, and the vast amounts of energy it provides without the need for human effort. Which means it can be traced directly to Tesla. He's one of the greatest benefactors of the human race in recorded history. You might want to remember that when you're pissing on his name, and maybe question the way you calculate the measure of a man.
        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          you do realize that many of the technologies mentioned in the article do exist today (like wireless video transmission, stock quotes etc.) but in 1903 few people if any could explain how to make that work. and the other ideas, about providing wireless electricity? those arent so far fetched either

          Jules Verne also published a lot of technology ideas with no practical details on how to make them a reality. Back then these ideas were considered fantastical fictional works. Today they're considered the basis of science fiction. We also have working examples of many of these ideas. But it doesn't mean at any point real science was involved.

          That doesn't mean Nikola Tesla was not a scientist. But it does point out that making predictions that one can later find functional examples of holds little weig

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          you do realize that many of the technologies mentioned in the article do exist today (like wireless video transmission, stock quotes etc.) but in 1903 few people if any could explain how to make that work

          Replace "few people" with "no people, including Tesla", and we'll agree 100%.

          What's your point?

          That such a fact-free comment was modded +5 insightful says horrible things about the credulity of the average slashdotter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      Umm. He was a loon and we do know how his projects worked and didn't.
      They where all interesting but as with many brilliant but crazy people most where not practical and none of them are past our understanding today.
      His lab is still there as are the foundations of the tower. Simple answer declare it a historical site and it becomes just about impossible to destroy no matter who owns it.

      • by RevWaldo (1186281) * on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @09:44PM (#27840829)
        A loon who understood how alternating current works.

        Unlike some other loon inventors back then.

        Lookin' at you, Thomas Alva.

        (Topsy the Elephant, RIP) [youtube.com]
        • If I'd heard this before, I'd forgotten it, but in Telsa's Wikipedia article it says, "Shortly before he died, Edison said that his biggest mistake had been in trying to develop direct current, rather than the vastly superior alternating current system that Tesla had put within his grasp."

          I wonder if Edison honestly believed it was superior, or if he was just sad that he missed out on his share of the metric shit-ton of money that other people made with Tesla's AC ideas.

    • by mazarin5 (309432) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:26PM (#27840249) Journal

      My take on it was:

      REALTOR: We'll sell this historic land for $1.6 million dollars
      CONDO BUILDER: I'll buy that
      REALTOR: Do you want us to demolish this historic site also?
      MUSEUM BUILDER: Oh hell no! $2 million!

    • RIP Nicola Tesla. Towards the end of his life, he seems to have descended into mental illness . Now our portrayals of him are doing the same - for example, the TV series 'Sanctuary' apparently shows him as a vampire.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      We already stole everything we could comprehend, and probably many things we couldn't. Since then we've only been doing bad tesla imitations. HAARP is one such... Read the patent, or for that matter watch the "documentary" HAARP: Holes in Heaven which has an interview with its author. (The film is pretty shlocky but it has some cool interviews.)

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:39PM (#27839775) Homepage
    How would these towers effectively transmit electricity? I'm having trouble seeing how this would work effectively given the inverse square law. Either the towers would only be able to cover a small amount of area or the area directly around the tower would be really unpleasant. Either way, this wouldn't be as efficient as wire transmission. Or am I missing something?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:45PM (#27839865)

      Imagine the upper layer of the atmosphere as a copper shell. Any high voltage alternated current deposited there could be harnessed by a sufficiently high tower that could "touch" the copper shell.

      Square law doesn't apply because its a conductor that captures the wave and prevents it from spreading in 3 dimensions just like it doesn't apply in wires.

      All the viability is in how closely ionized upper atmosphere resembles a copper shell and also in how hard it is to effectively "touch" this layer with lots of air in between you and it.

    • They don't. Or rather, you get to choose between "not transmitting enough power" and "nontrivial risk of setting things on fire".

      This is why we have a cellphone on every hip and wifi in random $100 consumer electronics, while point-to-point transmissions of a couple hundred watts, with lousy efficiency, tuned directional antennas, and an EE to man the thing, are still in the realm of laboratory/trade show curiosity.
    • Magic.

      He did a lot of incredibly smart things, but some of his stuff was just loony.
      That might not be fair, perhaps experimentally ignorant. But with that time period and electricity, everyone was.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well I do believe he was toying with using Earth's resonant frequency to essentially generate electricity using the atmosphere (by putting in a small amount he could receive a lot back and I think there was a story about him blowing up some power plant's generators doing this). Just some of the crazy things he did...

      • by Kagura (843695)

        Well I do believe he was toying with using Earth's resonant frequency to essentially generate electricity using the atmosphere (by putting in a small amount he could receive a lot back and I think there was a story about him blowing up some power plant's generators doing this). Just some of the crazy things he did...

        +4 informative? Let me try... I heard he was tapping into the sub-ether (which normally cancels out the regular ether, see Michelson-Morley experiment) which can start a cascade reaction to generate electricity. I think there was a story about him blowing up some power station's transformers doing this. Just some of the crazy things he did...

    • He was basing this experiment on how radio works. Does the radio station see any difference in power if 10 people listen? How about 100,000 people? The station outputs the same power no matter who is receiving.

      • Re:Radio principle (Score:5, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:21PM (#27840205) Homepage Journal

        What? yes, every person that listens takes power. It's a minute amount of power but it does. In this case it weakens the range of the broadcast.

        Do you even think about what you are saying? If that where true we would all be powering our devices from radio signal. You are saying 50K watts of power can power infinite devices, ir be broad cast to an infinite amount of radios with degrading the signal.

        THINK!

        • by julesh (229690)

          Do you even think about what you are saying? If that where true we would all be powering our devices from radio signal. You are saying 50K watts of power can power infinite devices, ir be broad cast to an infinite amount of radios with degrading the signal.

          Inverse square law prevents that without having to speculate that receivers diminish the signal. The energy density over any area is never greater than the power put into the transmitter multiplied by the length of time over which its transmissions can b

        • by pbhj (607776)

          Back when I was a patent examiner I had an idea about harvesting power from radio waves, we're submerged in a sea of radio broadcasts. Capturing some of this seemed like free power.

          Then I thought, would this work on a large scale - it seems like free energy - but the issue you (geekoid) mentioned popped to mind and I discounted it as a "maybe someday I'll mess with that" idea.

          Then last week on the Gadget show I see wireless power transmission for gadgets ... but also mention of harvesting power from radio w

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:13PM (#27840143) Journal

      How would these towers effectively transmit electricity? I'm having trouble seeing how this would work effectively given the inverse square law.

      I'm not Tesla but I can take a guess.

      I think the idea was to couple to the ionosphere - treating the conductive ground and one of the layers of the conductive ionosphere as the two walls of a resonant cavity and pumping one of its resonances. The energy would not propagate away into space but would stay in the cavity until removed by a load or resistive losses due to the imperfect conduction of the cavity walls and its contents (dirt, buildings, birds, people, ...). It would be an extremely high impedance - enormous voltage (because of a nontrivial voltage gradient - in the ballpark of the atmospheric DC bias - multiplied by an enormous height) combined with minuscule currents through the tiny (though physically large) apacitances.

      At the relatively low (compared to radio) frequencies involved you wouldn't have appreciable currents in anything that wasn't also a resonator and strongly coupled to the cavity (by being tall and broad at the top), i.e. a "raised capacitance" (Tesla's term for that big sphere-ish conductive shape on the top of the structure) and a big coil between it and ground, forming a tank circuit tuned to the carrier frequency and cavity resonance.

      Buildings and metal towers might have nontrivial unintentional currents. But they'd be reactive currents because of the low resistance of the buildings' structural members. So they wouldn't suck out much power - just shift the phase of the power carrier signal in the area near them.

      But a resonant circuit between a big raised conductor and ground would be able to efficiently power out of the cavity and couple it to a secondary coil around the main coil - shifting the voltage/current ratio from the extraordinarily high impedance of the transmission system to a lower impedance more convenient for use (though still at the carrier frequency so probably in need of rectification or other frequency conversion).

      At least I think that may be what he intended. Whether it would work or not is still "up in the air", pun intended.

      One nice thing: At the frequency involved you shouldn't be interfering with any existing information services. If the losses are low enough for it to be practical for power transmission it would be constantly "ringing" from lighting excitation. (Or maybe that's the ELF band where the US is talking to submerged submarines...)

      (Heh. Thinking about this I just recognized the details of the broadcast power that was a throwaway background item in Eric Frank Russel's novel _Wasp_. Cars were "dinos" with the car body for "raised capacitance" and a dynamotor for frequency conversion. Disconnecting the "intake lead" and striking it against an "earth terminal" would produce a thin thread of arc if the distant power transmitter was on. And the energy density necessary to operate an automobile on this was completely ignored, of course. B-) )

      • A thing to remember is that Tesla was working when the concept of an electromagnetic wave was just being developed. He did a lot of stuff with resonance phenomenon, transformers, and low-pressure gas plasmas and so was probably thinking in terms of circuit components even when he invented radio - ahead of Helmholtz/Hertz/Maxwell/etc. who had the theory of transverse electromagnetic waves in free space.

        Then again he was a math whiz and he might have been quite aware of this work and trying to use longitudin

      • Thanks for the interesting summary. My question is, doesn't the charge that defines the ionosphere help protect us from solar radiation and who-knows-what-else? Even if this did work, I shudder to think what would happen if we started removing gigawatts from the ionosphere to power our doo-dads.
        • My question is, doesn't the charge that defines the ionosphere help protect us from solar radiation and who-knows-what-else?

          I don't think so. It's more a byproduct of the processes that DO protect us (mainly the magnetic field deflecting and/or trapping the charged particles of the solar wind.)

          Even if this did work, I shudder to think what would happen if we started removing gigawatts from the ionosphere to power our doo-dads.

          Why not if we put the gigawatts up there first?

          We're not talking about removing a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      It couldn't and your not missing a thing.

    • by darkstar949 (697933) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:39PM (#27840353)
      I am not an electrical engineer (IANAEE) but I have a read a couple of books on Tesla and struggled through some of the papers he wrote and one thing that seems to be constant is that he was way ahead of his time. However, reading through some of the annotated papers something that stands out is that he was actually working with some stuff that we didn't even have the correct terminology for and that Tesla seems to be a lot more of an intuitive experimentalist than someone that worked with electrical theory. Thus, this tends to mean two things, to me at least, in regards to Wardenclyffe, namely that the only person that would likely know what Tesla was planning on doing is Tesla and there is a pretty good chance that people might also be assuming that Wardenclyffe was intended to do more than it was meant for.

      I would have to get the books out, but I seem to recall that Wardenclyffe was partly a proof-of-concept demonstration based upon his Colorado Springs, CO experiments so I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't work like he intended. Also, one of his papers on the wireless transmission of electricity explained that a series of towers similar to Wardenclyffe would be needed throughout the world in order to achieve his goals.

      However, I am willing to concede that the plans might not have worked out as Tesla had hoped for even if he did not encounter the financial issues due to a lack of full understanding of electrical theory. All told though, it would be a shame to have museums dedicated to Edison here in the US, but you have to the Tesla Museum [tesla-museum.org] in Serbia if you want to learn about him outside of books.
      • by iron-kurton (891451) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @03:05AM (#27842661)

        even if he did not encounter the financial issues due to a lack of full understanding of electrical theory

        His financial troubles were caused by a much more wealthy and sinister Edison whose inferior design did not match up to Tesla's. Edison constantly and consistently tried to undermine Tesla evidenced with the famous plug-a-cat-into-ac-adapter demonstration. There is also speculation that Edison has something to do with Tesla's lab mysteriously bursting into flames.

        In the early days when Tesla first moved to the US, He partnered with Edison only to have his plans stolen and the promised research money never delivered.

        Where Tesla was an inventor, Edison was a businessman. To me, Edison having a museum is like Warren Buffet or Donald Trump having one, a waste of good museum real estate.

  • Article text (Score:5, Informative)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:40PM (#27839811)

    Subscription-free, minus the pictures and maps.

    A Battle to Preserve a Visionary's Bold Failure

    By WILLIAM J. BROAD
    Published: May 4, 2009

    In 1901, Nikola Tesla began work on a global system of giant towers meant to relay through the air not only news, stock reports and even pictures but also, unbeknown to investors such as J. Pierpont Morgan, free electricity for one and all.

    It was the inventor's biggest project, and his most audacious.

    The first tower rose on rural Long Island and, by 1903, stood more than 18 stories tall. One midsummer night, it emitted a dull rumble and proceeded to hurl bolts of electricity into the sky. The blinding flashes, The New York Sun reported, "seemed to shoot off into the darkness on some mysterious errand."

    But the system failed for want of money, and at least partly for scientific viability. Tesla never finished his prototype tower and was forced to abandon its adjoining laboratory.

    Today, a fight is looming over the ghostly remains of that site, called Wardenclyffe - what Tesla authorities call the only surviving workplace of the eccentric genius who dreamed countless big dreams while pioneering wireless communication and alternating current. The disagreement began recently after the property went up for sale in Shoreham, N.Y.

    A science group on Long Island wants to turn the 16-acre site into a Tesla museum and education center, and hopes to get the land donated to that end. But the owner, the Agfa Corporation, says it must sell the property to raise money in hard economic times. The company's real estate broker says the land, listed at $1.6 million, can "be delivered fully cleared and level," a statement that has thrown the preservationists into action.

    The ruins of Wardenclyffe include the tower's foundation and the large brick laboratory, designed by Tesla's friend Stanford White, the celebrated architect.

    "It's hugely important to protect this site," said Marc J. Seifer, author of "Wizard," a Tesla biography. "He's an icon. He stands for what humans are supposed to do - honor nature while using high technology to harness its powers."

    Recently, New York State echoed that judgment. The commissioner of historic preservation wrote Dr. Seifer on behalf of Gov. David A. Paterson to back Wardenclyffe's preservation and listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

    On Long Island, Tesla enthusiasts vow to obtain the land one way or another, saying that saving a symbol of Tesla's accomplishments would help restore the visionary to his rightful place as an architect of the modern age.

    "A lot of his work was way ahead of his time," said Jane Alcorn, president of the Tesla Science Center, a private group in Shoreham that is seeking to acquire Wardenclyffe.

    Dr. Ljubo Vujovic, president of the Tesla Memorial Society of New York, said destroying the old lab "would be a terrible thing for the United States and the world. It's a piece of history."

    Tesla, who lived from 1856 to 1943, made bitter enemies who dismissed some of his claims as exaggerated, helping tarnish his reputation in his lifetime. He was part recluse, part showman. He issued publicity photos (actually double exposures) showing him reading quietly in his laboratory amid deadly flashes.

    Today, his work tends to be poorly known among scientists, though some call him an intuitive genius far ahead of his peers. Socially, his popularity has soared, elevating him to cult status.

    Books and Web sites abound. Wikipedia says the inventor obtained at least 700 patents. YouTube has several Tesla videos, including one of a break-in at Wardenclyffe. A rock band calls itself Tesla. An electric car company backed by Google's founders calls itself Tesla Motors.

    Larry Page, Google's co-founder, sees the creator's life as a cautionary tale. "It's a sad, sad story," Mr. Page told Fortune magazine last year. The inventor "couldn't commercialize anything. He could barely fund his own research."

    Wardenclyffe epitomized that kind o

    • by denzacar (181829) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:15PM (#27840151) Journal

      The building's dark interior was littered with beer cans and broken bottles. Flashlights revealed no trace of the original equipment, except for a surprise on the second floor. There in the darkness loomed four enormous tanks, each the size of a small car. Their sides were made of thick metal and their seams heavily riveted, like those of an old destroyer or battleship. The Agfa consultant leading the tour called them giant batteries.

      "Look up there," said the consultant, Ralph Passantino, signaling with his flashlight. "There's a hatch up there. It was used to get into the tanks to service them."

      Tesla authorities appear to know little of the big tanks, making them potential clues to the inventor's original plans.

      Boy are they going to be surprised when they open them and find hundreds of hats, dead cats and human corpses with huge bone claws on their hands crammed in there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745)

        I had to read that twice before I realized they weren't talking about 'tanks' the vehicles.

    • "He was an absolute genius," Dennis Papadopoulos, a physicist at the University of Maryland, said in an interview. "He conceived of things in 1900 that it took us 50 or 60 years to understand. But he did not appreciate dissipation. You can't start putting a lot of power" into an antenna and expect the energy to travel long distances without great diminution.

      "It is absolute folly to imagine a rocket working in outer space, with no air to push against."(quote inexact)

      But, as more learned folk have said, the energy doesn't really have to travel long distances, so inverse square doesn't apply. Wardenclyff was not a radio transmitter; it was more along the lines of one coil of a rather elaborate transformer that basically used the Earth and its atmosphere as a giant capacitor and drew power from there.

      I dunno, bloody Atlanteans, coming back and expecting us to forg

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Wardenclyff was not a radio transmitter; it was more along the lines of one coil of a rather elaborate transformer that basically used the Earth and its atmosphere as a giant capacitor and drew power from there.

        And one of the things they really ARE doing with HAARP is studying how to charge and discharge the ionosphere, and the author of the patent upon which it is based said that he was inspired by and based on the work of Nikola Tesla. So it seems especially probable that the scheme was possible.

    • Subscription-free, minus the pictures and maps.

      Subscription-free, with the pictures and maps. [nytimes.com]

  • by Pinback (80041)

    I need to dig up a photo online. I keep getting the mental picture of the lab at the beginning of the ATHF episodes.

  • Paging Dean Kamen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Loadmaster (720754) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:50PM (#27839921) Homepage

    Seems like this would be right up his alley. He always said he wants scientists to be appreciated like sports stars. Here's his chance to enshrine one of the most famous and far thinking of them all.

  • Is this it? (Score:4, Informative)

    by slummy (887268) <shawnuthNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:53PM (#27839961) Homepage
    It appears there's a circular spot that had something there...

    Tesla's Laboratory? [google.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833)

      Yeah, those are the grounds. The smaller building with the older-looking roof on the southeast of the building complex is the actual laboratory building (the one with the small tower in the center of the roof), and I presume his 187-ft tower was located in the concrete octagon to the south of the lab.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jon_E (148226)

        yeah - you can see the remnants of the original building from the older looking roof - i believe the windvane is still on top there .. there were train tracks that ran a separate line behind the laboratory, and yes - the octagonal shape i believe is the foundation for the tower that was blown up by the US Army in 1917 (they were worried that the Germans might use it either for a landmark for their submarines or as some sort of communication device) .. it was rumored that it took multiple attempts to actuall

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      My grandfather used to have a farm on the south shore of Long Island, almost due south from Wardenclyffe. He took us there a couple of times when I was a kid. The site was a photo processing plant at the time, but we could peer through the south gate and see the pad where the tower was. The concrete octagon was the site of the tower [physicstoday.org] that was demolished in 1917.
  • by ifeelswine (1546221) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:59PM (#27840019) Journal
    and use it to figure out how to manufacture a pork samich without a bone in it. i will be rich.
  • Seriously... Blowing a couple of million bucks on the site, along with perhaps a reconstructed museum and tower, is honestly a good way to waste Federal money. There's a big war bill coming out of the House, and get the New York delegation to stuff some money in there for a national museum, and while we're at it, have the President declare it as a national heritage site.

    There will be some dopes at the National Review that will bitch about it, but even hard righties like me love national parks and the story of American industrialization and research. It's a lot better than Woodstock. I'd plug it on my right wing site, for sure.

    Come on libs, spend some money and save this place!

  • by earlymon (1116185) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:10PM (#27840115) Homepage Journal

    I'd ride mine down to cash in my winning lottery ticket, buy the land, and endow part of the fund needed to launch a world-class museum. You can visit Edison's lab in Greenfield Villiage (Henry Ford Musuem, etc) in Dearborn, Michigan - which, if you ever get the chance, do it - you won't be disappointed, I guarantee.

    It would be shame if Tesla doesn't become similarly remembered.

  • by lunatick (32698) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:23PM (#27840217) Homepage

    I work across the street from his old lab (on Tesla st no less) The place is in serious disrepair, but it would be nice to see it preserved. His transmission towers are in wreckage all over the DEC property on the south side of 25a in rocky point.

    Last I heard 1 week ago the museum was a go, guess things change.

  • is scraping for 1.6 million, they might as well give it away, becasue there not going to be here in a year anyways.

    • by julesh (229690)

      is scraping for 1.6 million, they might as well give it away, becasue there not going to be here in a year anyways.

      If they're in that kind of financial trouble, they're not legally allowed to give it away. A company that is expecting to be liquidated must not give away assets, because technically from the moment it is considered likely that liquidation will occur those assets effectively belong to the creditors.

  • C'mon, folks! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:42PM (#27840375)

    This perhaps the single greatest opportunity ever to cross paths with Slashdot!

    If we each pitch in a buck a piece...

    Can you imagine the fun a few million /.ers can have with this stuff?

    Projects/experiments can be decided democratically (!) via the moderating system and we can further fund the entire project from the click-throughs generated by poster signatures.

    • by RGRistroph (86936)

      I would be interested in helping. As in, I won't just cheer you on on the internet, I might pitch in real money.

      I am not so interested in a museum, or at least not just a museum -- some sort of museum seems appropriate for the place. I would be more interested in something like a "Hacker Space" with labs and workshops and possibly living arrangements, but on a bigger scale than hacker houses; more like a self-run graduate or research institute. I would like to be able to use the facilities like a Tech Sh

    • by afxgrin (208686)

      That's actually a pretty good idea - short of the project/experiments and democratic voting process.

      It should be a museum - not a research lab. Well - maybe a small one in the back. :-) You'd need trinkets to sell to keep the facility operating, so might as well dedicate part of it to just developing those. heh a mini desktop Tesla coil or something equally useless but cool to have.

      Like, what would you seriously do in a residential neighborhood using century old equipment?

  • How much for the cloning machine from 'The Prestige'?

  • Just this week I went to the Hagley Museum. It was a fascinating trip back in time to the earliest industrialization of America. It was also pretty amazing to see how far DuPont stretched water power in the making of black powder.

    This site is an awesome opportunity to make a National Museum that celebrates the early development of advances we all enjoy today.
  • Such a loss. Has mankind totally lost its mind and cant appreciate the past?

    Or are we just doomed to repeat it, again.

    One of most brilliant men *ever* to exist. At least Davinchi gets credit for his work.

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