I don't deny that Nikola Tesla was a genius. Even more legendary than Tesla's genius is the mythology surrounding him. I can't say I remember learning much about the inventor Nikola Tesla from high school other than that cool gizmo in the science lab known as the Tesla coil. I graduated from high school two decades before the internet went commercial. My high school science and history books may have made Edison the all American hero, but the modern day internet has promoted the legacy of Nikola Tesla as one of the greatest scientist of the twentieth century.
Having a lifelong interest in science and technology, the name Thomas Edison came up often. When I first started working on ideas for the Geek History website, Edison was one of the first names that came to mind to illustrate the word geek in a world before the age of computers and modern technology. Edison was often portrayed in the stereotype created for him as the Wizard of Menlo Park. I remember the story of when asked by a reporter if Edison had completed a thousand experiments that failed to produce a light bulb, Edison replied, "I have not failed 1000 times. I have successfully found 1000 ways that will not work." The story is supposed to illustrate persistence and perseverance.
Geek History sorts through the Tesla versus Edison myths
If you do a lot of searching for information on the internet on Thomas Edison you can't help but run into all the articles of the great debate of Edison versus Tesla. The Tesla fanatics paint Tesla as the man who invented everything electrical in the modern industrial age, and Edison is the evil businessman who stole all his ideas from Tesla. The online wave of mis-information on the alleged conflicts between Tesla and Edison reminds me of an old expression, there are three sides to every story, your side, my side, and the truth that lies somewhere in the middle. The goal of Geek History to be fanatic at finding the truth.
The internet is a place where a small bit of factual information can be twisted by emotions and exaggerations creating many websites full of misinformation and mythical stories.
I recently asked what do you hate most about technology. I received some great feedback on that question through social media and online forums. I heard many concerns that world of social media is full of cute memes of oversimplified philosophy and famous quotes that can't be referenced. I share the concerns that many people raised in their comments. I will continue to push forward at the Guru42 Universe to cut through all the hype of the various fanboys, and search for the truth.
I have been immersed into my passion of Geek History in recent months, looking for information, and visiting various online forums. Much of what is posted on blogs and forums is often more myth than substance. In a recent post on this blog we discussed our goal at Geek History to expose the myths and misinformation behind urban legends.
Geek History has been an ongoing journey where the more information I find, the more I want to know. The "who invented what" questions get a bit silly at times. People argue over who gets credit for inventing something, who is smarter, who should be called the father of his industry. Very often one or two people get all the glory for the work of many. I look at the evolution of the technology and the inventions and appreciate the many inventors and their accomplishments.