There are no mad scientists, just mobs with pitchforks.

We’re a society that can genetically strip down viruses down to the point where one could identify genetic material from other strains. To control things on a molecular level is a feat and something that could not have been conceived 100 years ago. There are countless other capabilities of our present society that we pass off as ‘normal’ because they don't shoot lighting or they aren't a rocket that we can strap to our ass in order to fly. We are a society still impressed by big and shocking advancements, and usually we still have to be spoon fed the details. Our cultural view of the future as a visual image is that of 'large' things. However, large things tend to scare people.

Things like Nikola Tesla scare people.

Tesla was about the big, bold and terrifying, and the thing that scared people the most was his constant work with power. In what is historically referred to as the War of Currents, he introduced the world to alternating current after defeating Thomas Edison (a pusher of direct current) by creating the alternating current motor as well as the polyphase system of electrical distribution. This alone revolutionized power and paved the way for commercial electricity – however, Tesla's end-goal was far beyond power sources that we exploit today.
It was in 1899, when the potential of the next century was a mere wet-dream for other inventors, that Tesla set his sights on predicting the future of electricity by setting up shop in Colorado Springs. The experiments conducted by Tesla led to what would later frighten the general public into labeling him insane. It was at this point that he discovered a cavity within the Earth's atmosphere which held a build up of extremely low frequencies just below the Earth's ionosphere (later rediscovered in 1952 as the Schumann resonances). The cavity contains electromagnetic resonances, which are powered by lighting discharges, and spans the entire globe. Tesla's plan was to further charge this cavity and harness the power found within it as a form of wireless energy transmission.
Tesla planned for his greatest invention, the Wardenclyffe Tower - a series of broadcasting towers started in 1901 that were intended to demonstrate the full power of wireless electricity and advance wireless telecommunication. Tesla's plan was to pull energy from the ionosphere and distribute the electromagnetic energy throughout the world without any wires.

Flash forward to our genetic stripping society of today. In 2008, The Wireless Power Consortium, an alliance of 16 different firms, began working on a standard for wireless energy over a hundred years after Tesla. Within the last month, the consortium announced that they have developed an open standard for wireless energy called the Qi. This should have happened sooner. Tesla would've made it happen. With time, he could've made Wardenclyffe Tower project into a more badass form of the Qi.

Tesla’s public image was reaching new levels of crazy when rumors that he intended for the series of towers to be used as a weapon. Tesla publicly mentioned his work on Teleforce, a charged particle beam projector nicknamed “peace ray” by himself. Tesla offered it to the US military as well as Great Britain and even less US-friendly countries such as Yugoslavia. His intent was to give the weapon to all nations in order to keep countries at a stand still with a balance of power and fear of mutual assured destruction, and all before the second world war. Funding for the project was cut before completion on a single tower was made. To the public, this could never be some "peace ray". It was only a mad scientist trying to conquer the world.

Nestled in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, Nikola Tesla was one of the key catalysts for the 20th century and the future beyond it. A hundred years ago, when humans couldn’t fathom a future that could identify (let alone manipulate) the genetics of a virus, the world got a taste of what is still our future.

Sam MacDonald

Sam MacDonald has been writing for the Courier for 3 years and is really a nice guy once you get past the boorish yelling.

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