Nikola Tesla’s amazing predictions for the 21st Century.


In the 1930s journalists from publications like the New York Times and Time magazine would regularly visit Nikola Tesla at his home on the 20th floor of the Hotel Governor Clinton in Manhattan. There the elderly Tesla would regale them with stories of his early days as an inventor and often opined about what was in store for the future.

Photo of Nikola Tesla which appeared in the February 9, 1935 issue of Liberty magazine Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/paleofuture/2013/04/nikola-teslas-amazing-predictions-for-the-21st-century/#ixzz2TGsCrQHl  Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Last year we looked at Tesla’s prediction that eugenics and the forced sterilization of criminals and other supposed undesirables would somehow purify the human race by the year 2100. Today we have more from that particular article which appeared in the February 9, 1935, issue of Liberty magazine. The article is unique because it wasn’t conducted as a simple interview like so many of Tesla’s other media appearances from this time, but rather is credited as “by Nikola Tesla, as told to George Sylvester Viereck.”

It’s not clear where this particular article was written, but Tesla’s friendly relationship with Viereck leads me to believe it may not have been at his Manhattan hotel home. Interviews with Tesla at this time would usually occur at the Hotel, but Tesla would sometimes dine with Viereck and his family at Viereck’s home on Riverside Drive, meaning that it’s possible they could have written it there.

Viereck attached himself to many important people of his time, conducting interviews with such notable figures as Albert Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt and even Adolf Hitler. As a German-American living in New York, Viereck was a rather notorious propagandist for the Nazi regime and was tried and imprisoned in 1942 for failing to register with the U.S. government as such. He was released from prison in 1947, a few years after Tesla’s death in 1943. It’s not clear if they had remained friends after the government started to become concerned about Viereck’s activities in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Tesla had interesting theories on religion, science and the nature of humanity which we’ll look at in a future post, but for the time being I’ve pulled some of the more interesting (and often accurate) predictions Tesla had for the future of the world.

Creation of the EPA

The creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was still 35 years away, but Tesla predicted a similar agency’s creation within a hundred years.

Hygiene, physical culture will be recognized branches of education and government. The Secretary of Hygiene or Physical Culture will be far more important in the cabinet of the President of the United States who holds office in the year 2035 than the Secretary of War. The pollution of our beaches such as exists today around New York City will seem as unthinkable to our children and grandchildren as life without plumbing seems to us. Our water supply will be far more carefully supervised, and only a lunatic will drink unsterilized water.

Education, War and the Newspapers of Tomorrow

Tesla imagined a world where new scientific discoveries, rather than war, would become a priority for humanity.

Today the most civilized countries of the world spend a maximum of their income on war and a minimum on education. The twenty-first century will reverse this order. It will be more glorious to fight against ignorance than to die on the field of battle. The discovery of a new scientific truth will be more important than the squabbles of diplomats. Even the newspapers of our own day are beginning to treat scientific discoveries and the creation of fresh philosophical concepts as news. The newspapers of the twenty-first century will give a mere ” stick ” in the back pages to accounts of crime or political controversies, but will headline on the front pages the proclamation of a new scientific hypothesis.

Health and Diet

Toward the end of Tesla’s life he had developed strange theories about the optimal human diet. He dined on little more than milk and honey in his final days, believing that this was the purest form of food. Tesla lost an enormous amount of weight and was looking quite ghastly by the early 1940s. This meager diet and his gaunt appearance contributed to the common misconception that he was penniless at the end of his life.

More people die or grow sick from polluted water than from coffee, tea, tobacco, and other stimulants. I myself eschew all stimulants. I also practically abstain from meat. I am convinced that within a century coffee, tea, and tobacco will be no longer in vogue. Alcohol, however, will still be used. It is not a stimulant but a veritable elixir of life. The abolition of stimulants will not come about forcibly. It will simply be no longer fashionable to poison the system with harmful ingredients. Bernarr Macfadden has shown how it is possible to provide palatable food based upon natural products such as milk, honey, and wheat. I believe that the food which is served today in his penny restaurants will be the basis of epicurean meals in the smartest banquet halls of the twenty-first century.

There will be enough wheat and wheat products to feed the entire world, including the teeming millions of China and India, now chronically on the verge of starvation. The earth is bountiful, and where her bounty fails, nitrogen drawn from the air will refertilize her womb. I developed a process for this purpose in 1900. It was perfected fourteen years later under the stress of war by German chemists.

Robots

Tesla’s work in robotics began in the late 1890s when he patented his remote-controlled boat, an invention that absolutely stunned onlookers at the 1898 Electrical Exhibition at Madison Square Garden.

At present we suffer from the derangement of our civilization because we have not yet completely adjusted ourselves to the machine age. The solution of our problems does not lie in destroying but in mastering the machine.

Innumerable activities still performed by human hands today will be performed by automatons. At this very moment scientists working in the laboratories of American universities are attempting to create what has been described as a ” thinking machine.” I anticipated this development.

I actually constructed ” robots.” Today the robot is an accepted fact, but the principle has not been pushed far enough. In the twenty-first century the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization. There is no reason at all why most of this should not come to pass in less than a century, freeing mankind to pursue its higher aspirations.

Cheap Energy and the Management of Natural Resources

Long before the next century dawns, systematic reforestation and the scientific management of natural resources will have made an end of all devastating droughts, forest fires, and floods. The universal utilization of water power and its long-distance transmission will supply every household with cheap power and will dispense with the necessity of burning fuel. The struggle for existence being lessened, there should be development along ideal rather than material lines.

Tesla was a visionary whose many contributions to the world are being celebrated today more than ever. And while his idea of the perfect diet may have been a bit strange, he clearly understood many of the things that 21st century Americans would value (like clean air, clean food, and our “thinking machines”) as we stumble into the future.

1,000mph car to use Norwegian rocket


The British Bloodhound supersonic car project will use a Norwegian rocket in its bid to drive beyond 1,000mph (1,610km/h).

Bloodhound artist's impression

The Nammo company, based in Raufoss, will supply “hybrid” motors and technical support to the World Land Speed Record attempt.

Currently under construction, the car should be ready to run in 2015.

Bloodhound will need both a rocket and a jet engine to raise the current record of 763mph (1,228km/h).

Nammo is a world-renowned name in propulsion technology.

Its motors are found in military missiles, and are used also to separate the stages on the European Space Agency’s (Esa) big Ariane 5 rocket.

The Bloodhound team had been developing its own hybrid power unit in collaboration with Manchester-based Falcon Project Ltd, and gave this rocket its first UK test firing in October 2012.

And although this demonstration was deemed a success at the time, it became clear that considerable sums of money and time would be needed to perfect the design.

A decision was therefore made to go with Nammo, which is also developing hybrid technology, but which has the extra resources and dedicated test facilities to bring its concept to fruition much faster.

“It’s a perfect match, a perfect opportunity,” said Bloodhound’s chief engineer, Mark Chapman.

“It was almost uncanny when we started looking at the power requirements, the duration of burn, the scale and size – to find Nammo was already working on something very close to what we wanted.”

Chassis construction
The car’s chassis will have to accommodate a jet engine and a rocket

In rocketry, “hybrid” means a mixture of solid and liquid propellants.

In this case, the Norwegian motors will be burning a combination of a solid, rubber-like fuel (HTPB, or hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene) and a liquid oxidiser (high-test peroxide, HTP).

Nammo’s proposal is for a unit of similar thrust to the Falcon rocket but one that has a quite different configuration.

Instead of one large combustion chamber, Nammo’s design calls for a cluster of perhaps four or five smaller motors.

This is a concept the Raufoss company has been advancing in studies conducted jointly with Esa.

Ariane 5
Nammo technology is used to separate Ariane’s side boosters from the central core stage

The company’s eventual goal is to produce a “sounding rocket” that can put small scientific payloads in space from launch sites in Scandinavia.

To get there, Nammo sees the Bloodhound project as an ideal testbed to mature its technology.

“We feel we have a very robust and simple concept, and this gives us a lot of confidence that we will reach this end goal of providing the thrust Bloodhound needs to break the Land Speed Record,” said Nammo’s Onno Verberne.

Bloodhound will use its Rolls-Royce Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine to raise its speed to about 350mph. It will then ignite the Nammo rocket motor to go supersonic.

The intention is to try to break the existing land speed record in 2015, and then push it beyond 1,000mph in 2016.

All the running will be done on a specially prepared dried-out lake bed in South Africa.

To achieve the ultimate mark of 1,000mph, the Rolls-Royce turbo fan and the Nammo hybrid will need to provide together a thrust of about 47,700lbf (212kN). Just over 27,000lbf (120kN) of this will have to come from the rocket.

For the engineers at Bloodhound, switching rockets will mean having to make some subtle modifications to the car, not just to fit the new hybrid into the available space, but to position its mass in a way that does not upset the balance of the car.

“Nammo will have test firings next year in Raufoss and when we get the data off those we can decide on precisely what the packaging requirements will be,” said Mr Chapman.

“I’m confident though that we can absorb any changes into our design for Bloodhound.”

Dr Verberne added: “I think Bloodhound and Nammo will make an excellent team. We share the same philosophy on technology and want to show the world what we’re capable of doing; and for a company like Nammo, Bloodhound gives us a window to an audience that we normally cannot reach.”

Life expectancy for people with HIV approaching that of general population.


A new study suggests the life expectancy of Canadians and Americans who are HIV positive is closing in on that of the general population.

The study says that a 20-year old diagnosed with HIV today can expect to live into their early 70s.

A couple of decades ago, a diagnosis of HIV was a death sentence for most who received it.

But with the discovery and improvement of antiretroviral drugs, HIV has become a chronic disease for most who have access to and can afford the medication.

A leading HIV researcher, Dr. Julio Montaner, says the findings of the study are excellent news.

Montaner is director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, which led the research collaboration that produced the study, which is published in the journal PLoS One.

He says the longevity gains have been remarkable. In 2000, a 20-year-old newly diagnosed with HIV could expect to live another 36 years. By 2006, that figure had climbed to 51 years.

“I don’t think, in all honesty, that there has been an area of medicine that has undergone a revolutionary evolution over our lifetime as HIV has,” Montaner says.

Dr. Ann Stewart, medical director of Toronto’s Casey House, agrees.

Casey House started 25 years ago as a hospice for dying AIDS patients. As treatment has prolonged the lives of the community it serves, the facility has transitioned into a hospital that offers care for people living with HIV.

Stewart says the findings of the study mirror what Casey House staff see in their patient population. But she warned that the picture is not an “unclouded” one — HIV-positive people often develop the health problems of age faster than those who are not infected.

So heart problems, cancers and the onset of dementia that might be expected in the late 60s, 70s or even 80s in HIV-negative people can show up in the 50s for HIV-positive people, she says.

“It’s much better than it was, for sure. For sure. But it’s not without challenges,” Stewart says.

“You can have HIV and live a wonderful life. But there’s certain complications and challenges associated with it as there are with other chronic diseases that you’re going to struggle with. So it’s not an unclouded sky.”