Apologies in advance - this is way off my usual beaten track but it's been a hard week & I am in need of diversion :-)
Over the last few days there've been a couple of letters to the editor of the Waikato Times, talking about our electricity supply. The first suggested that Nikola Tesla had invented a way of transmitting electricity without wires and without loss of much energy - but that the secret of this was being suppressed by the electricity supply companies (the naughty people!). Tonight we learned that money given to a variety of Marsden fund projects would be much better spent on investigating this lost discovery,due to its enormous significance to our economy (with the implication that much of what scientists & other researchers do is a total waste of time & money).
Now, Tesla is rightly regarded as one of the key players in the development of electricity as an energy source (Marcus could tell you much more!), and he certainly gave more than a little thought to the concept of transmitting energy without wires (the basis of today's induction coils, for example), but the idea of evil Big Business suppressing key discoveries as a way of making money sounds awfully like a conspiracy theory to me :-) After all, no-one's hiding the fact that he investigated the idea (you can find it on wikipedia, after all!), & the eponymous Tesla coil is based on the idea of resonant induction. (Apparently their discharges could be described as 'man-made lightning' - not something to try in your bedroom, then...)
Certainly there are some wild claims out there about Tesla - that he was able to somehow harness the Earth's magnetic field to generate electriciity enough to power an electric car (this is back in 1931). And I suspect that the letter-writer's claims are based on statements such as this: when Tesla was determining the resonant frequencies of the earth to potentially transmit unlimited electric power... (And, regretably, pedlars of all sorts of woo have used Tesla's name & work as a way to add a science-y stamp to their out-there claims.)
But anyway, back to the evil Big Electricity Companies - surely they'd be as interested as anyone in this technology? After all, any mechanism by which they could sell us more energy, rather than lose it via resistance in the power lines, would represent profits for them, wouldn't it? (But perhaps I'm being hopelessly naive!) No, it sounds like a conspiracy theory all right: shadowy powerful players (Illuminati, anyone? - warning: don't read too much of this site or your brain cells may suffer uncontrolled apoptosis!), un-named sources, misunderstood geniuses, lack of credible published sources, huge benefits for mankind if only we knew The Truth...