Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Ultimate Deterrent?

Nikola Tesla is one of my heroes; I like him especially for his naïve enthusiasm and the wild impracticality of his more spectacular inventions. One of the more practical — still of course in daily use, though as usual Nikola got and gets little credit — was the radio-controlled vehicle; in the first instance, a boat:


At the time of his invention, America was at war with Spain, and I’m sorry to say — it has come as a disappointment to me; I didn’t know Tesla could be so warlike — he tried to convince the American government that such a device, fitted with torpedoes, would render America’s coastline impregnable. He also rushed to patent his invention in European countries, and to convince them too of its value in time of war. In this he was helped by his friend Mark Twain:


I am not sure if it’s to Tesla’s credit or debit that he believed his invention would be such a powerful deterrent that it would put an end to all wars.

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