Apr 04 2020

Our Current War

At the turn of the 20th Century there was a huge struggle between two Industrial Titans over the fundamental nature of our Electrical Power Grid. There’s a new movie with Benedict Cumberbatch now available on PPV but I think I’ll wait until it gets posted on Netflix or HBO (waiting on Ford vs. Ferrari too).

I used to be a great admirer of Thomas Edison. I’ve visited his re-created Menlo Park Complex at Greenfield Village Michigan. I thought the story of a practically deaf kid growing up to be the inventor of the Phonograph (Voice of the Pharaohs, extremely simple and not too fussy construction, do have to understand how Air Pressure is related to Sound) inspiring and you know, Light Bulbs. Isn’t that the universal symbol of a brilliant idea?

And even the Light Bulb story is inspiring. It was mostly a failure (also not entirely original- but please, call it research).

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

So you can see why Henry Ford, “Inventor” of the Production Line and noted Anti-Semite liked him.

Not that I’m implying Edison was an Anti-Semite, he was an asshole in a whole bunch of other ways which were prominently on display in the struggle between him and General Electric on the one hand and George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla (who he could have been nice to, he started out working for Edison and instead Edison was a dick and stole all his stuff, didn’t give him a dime, and then fired him when he complained about it) over Direct and Alternating Current.

Alternating Current is clearly superior in terms of distance of Transmission but Edison was looking to force the market to buy General Electric Power Plants for practically every Street corner and if you still think this is a good idea consider living next to a building that spouts clouds of toxic fumes 24/7.

Everywhere. Seriously. If you wanted Electricity you would have to live within a mile or two.

Cheap (Free) Electricity was something of an obsession with Tesla and his great unfinished project was to achieve Wireless Transmission which is technically possible but not Economically viable.

This isn’t a review, haven’t seen it, but Clio.