But then again, I could be wrong...I never thought I’d have to say this, but I’m pissed off at PBS.

I was watching this great show last night about how Edison invented the first practical electric light bulb and brought electricity to the people, called Great Projects: The Building of America – Electric Nation, and they did a fine job of presenting Edison’s achievments, but they never mentioned Nikola Tesla! I mean, I learned all about the Samuel Insull scandal (kinda like the first Enron) – he was the guy that brought cheap, clean GE power to Chicago. They went into great detail about his trial for mail fraud after selling Edison General Electric stock certificates by mail, causing thousands to lose their life savings in the Black Friday stock market crash. They mentioned that DC wasn’t practical because it couldn’t be transmitted over long distances, and that AC was the answer. Then they flashed a nameplate from a GE generator that said “Alternating Current” on it, and went on to detail the Tennessee Valley Authority, and still never even mentioned Tesla.

That’s just not right.

In case you are unfamiliar with who Tesla was and what he did, he was a Serbo-Croatian immigrant who worked for Edison in the late 19th century, then was shafted by Edison and went to work for George Westinghouse. He invented pretty much every aspect of the power generation and distribution system we use to this day, including the polyphase AC generator, the concept of using step-up and step-down transformers to trade voltage for current, and an efficient, brushless AC motor.More links in the great chain of being. He was an eccentric weirdo who lived alone in a hotel with a bunch of pigeons, but he was also one of the great genius inventors at the turn of the century. If you want to learn more, here are some handy linky-doodles:

These links are the tips of huge icebergs, and there’s so much more, like Edison inventing the electric chair for prisoner executions to prove that AC current wasn’t safe – if you don’t know about this stuff, please check it out.

Moron?OK, I have to admit that Mr. Bush may have accidentally done something almost right – I mean, even a clock that doesn’t run is right twice a day.

Now, I know that his new immigration scheme is designed to garner the Hispanic vote, and that it’s not quite fair to either workers or employers on so many levels, but having read the section in Reefer Madness on the sorry state of migrant workers who pick strawberries in California, I think its a genuine improvement in the plight of illegal workers/immigrants. Having said that, here is an interesting analysis with lots of relevant links: Citizen Smash. (via Critical Section)

I’d like to be excited about the Bush plan to go back to the Moon and onward to Mars, but I just can’t. I’ve been looking at these exciting new pictures from Mars, and I gotta say, I hope that we do discover some trace of life there, because that would be completely revolutionary and totally cool, but I’ve lived several years in Arizona, and Mars looks way, way, way too much like the worst parts of Arizona without any water. Oh, and there’s also that little issue of, oh, you know, like, the money. Manned missions are grandstanding for the benefit of others, and just plain don’t make sense.

So while I’d like to get all inspired by Mr. Bush, I just can’t.

I basically agree with Bruce Sterling, who’s been blogging that we should expect to settle on Mars way after we’ve successfully settled the Gobi desert, since it’s much cheaper, much closer, and much more accomodating. Bottom line? I think Dubya’s just trying to capture a little of the JFK bravado going into the election and more or less failing. (I never met Jack Kennedy, but I’m pretty sure this Bush guy ain’t him neither.)

On a lighter and much cooler note, here’s a link to ‘I.'(via Presurfer)