Like most other people I knew little about Nikola Tesla for a long time. Then I discovered The History Channel, and watched it obsessively until it all but stopped running documentaries in favor of the current fascination with pawn shops, alligators, and swamp dwellers, though it does still occasionally obsess on chocolate like the rest of us.

Once I stumbled across a doc about Tesla partway through and kept catching reruns until I’d seen it all. What a fascinating man. He was good looking too. In a wild brained mad scientist kind of way.

Some of his more out there ideas at first made my eyes go round with a sort of skeptical awe, but then I realized he just might have been on to something. More than once.

The prospect of electricity flying through the air instead of wires  back in his day could have been a huge innovation. Just think of all those new fangled mod cons like the radio, refrigerator, and that shining example of fancy show offiness…the light bulb…performing their technological magic (gasp!) wirelessly! It would have been awesome.

I’m not sure what it would have been in the iPod generation. We use so much electricity now, I’m afraid Mr. Tesla’s grand plan would have given us all unwanted Einstein hair, or toasted our bread while it was still in the wrapper. Considering Tesla’s genius, it could have worked flawlessly into the 21st century, for all I know. Unfortunately, we’ll never actually know.

The death ray that would share story with his electricity-shooting towers in a planned awesome sounding movie is a little more worrying. Due to the words DEATH RAY!

This article covers that as well as efforts to save Wardenclyff, the site of much of his work.

I mean, how cool could it be to have electricity, without the pesky wires, if you have to worry that the man responsible for making your life so great could also be responsible for the possibility it could all be taken away? There would always be some kook, or multiples of kooks, out there hearing a gravelly voice sounding suspiciously like Bender, Futurama’s lovable robot with the unlovable desire to “kill all humans”, telling them to do just that.

I can’t think of any situation where even potential access to a death ray wouldn’t turn Mister Spock three shades of greener green. A nightmare of a good of the many vs the few or the one scenario decision, waiting to happen.

But, yeah, all that could make for a great movie in the right hands. Beyond that, though, I hope the old Tesla lair is preserved and used to educate the masses about science and the man whose genius labored in quiet, desperate obscurity to change the world.

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