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conspiracy theories & the electricity supply

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 thiswhen 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...

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6 Comments

Here's a bit on induction coils for home power.

http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/physicsstop/2009/05/look-no-wires.shtml

Hello Alison
I am the writer of the letters to the Editor you refer to.
Thanks for your support on my conspirancy theory. It is a little like the lead acid battery that starts your car. This battery has been the same since the starter motor was invented. Why is that when cell phone batteries have got smaller and more powerful yet no change to what is an inefficient battery.

Can I challenge the University to undertake some research into Tesla's theories, I am sure funding will become avaialble once a good case is put up if not from the Marsden Fund then from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority

Just as importantly challenge the Marsden Funds allocation of millions of dollars of tax payer money on what appear to be wishy washy projects that have far less effect on our lives than cheaper power.

Help make a change, after all that is why you go to University.

Hi Huw, I think you & I are on opposite sides of the fence on this one... Scientists have pretty much picked up on all of Tesla's work that has any application (including the induction coil, which does transmit energy in a wireless way - just not very far). And I can find no evidence that there's been a big cover-up with regard to transmitting energy wirelessly. After all, as I said, if it was possible to transmit - & thus sell - more than is currently the case, I'm fairly sure the energy companies would have taken up that technology with gusto. I do have colleagues working in the energy area (& bringing in a lot of funding for it) but not in the area you suggest as they see no reason to do so.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to Marsden Fund and EECA

Thanks


Greetings to you both

I wrote a couple of letters to the local paper the Waikato Times regarding the low loss no wires transmission system Tesla supposedly invented. There have been a few responses wondering why nothing has been done worldwide to support or rubbish his ideas.

I suggested that instead of the Marsden fund spending money on the study of moth’s genitalia and how to organise a tangi the brains of New Zealand could be redirected with Marsden funding into a study of the work of Tesla.


There is also a blog started at http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/bioblog/2009/10/conspiracy-theories-the-electr.shtml#comments by the University as a result of my letters to the editor. Not in support of course.


It may be better to remember this quotation supposedly by Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. patent office, 1899 (attributed)

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

Perhaps you can post your comments on the blog or reply to my letters to the Waikato Times.

I need to note that this blog represents the personal opinions and understandings of a writer who is also a member of the University's staff. It does not represent the official stance of the University on any of the matters that it covers. Nor was the blog itself started as a result of specific letters to the editor (although I have addressed these on more than one occasion) - the blog post in question is one of more than 500 (& counting) on a wide range of issues.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10610883

The above is an article in this weekends Herald. I hope you can read it otrherwise it is under Technology so you can go there direct

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Recent Comments

  • huw: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10610883 The above is an article in this weekends Herald. read more
  • Alison Campbell: I need to note that this blog represents the personal read more
  • Huw Evans: Here is a copy of the letter sent to Marsden read more
  • Alison Campbell: Hi Huw, I think you & I are on opposite read more
  • Huw Evans: Hello Alison I am the writer of the letters to read more
  • Marcus Wilson: Here's a bit on induction coils for home power. http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/physicsstop/2009/05/look-no-wires.shtml read more