inFact: The Cult of Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla was one of our greatest pioneering electrical engineers. Unfortunately, pretty much everything else you've heard about him isn't true. http://infactvideo.com
He lived from 1856 to 1943, and is credited with giving us alternating current, the electric induction motor, and a host of other miraculous and unprecedented technologies.
Tesla invented alternating current, the technology that runs the world.
No he didn't. Even before Tesla was born, other European inventors had built experimental generators and AC distribution grids. Tesla was the one who brought it to the United States, refined it, and patented it.
Tesla invented the electric induction motor, the same basic design that's now the standard worldwide.
He may have developed the idea independently, but Galileo Ferraris built a working prototype two years before him. Again, Tesla was the one who patented the design in the United States. When Westinghouse bought it from him, they'd already bought at least two other similar patents from other inventors.
He used to sit in his lab, surrounded by lightning bolts, because he knew how to master them.
No. This photograph is a double exposure, made by Century Magazines for publicity in 1899. Tesla probably knew better than anyone how dangerous it would have been to actually do this.
His greatest invention was free electricity distribution to everyone around the globe, but since his investors couldn't figure out how to charge the customers they stopped funding it.
This is true, but note that his idea was only a distribution system; the electricity would still have to be generated . It was not free energy. And we now know that his system would have never worked efficiently enough to be useful.
The government raided his apartment when he died and confiscated all his notes, for national security reasons.
Yeah, they did. We were at war with Germany, and desperately needed to know whether his dubious claims of a death ray were true. Unfortunately nothing like it was ever found.
Tesla was a true genius, private, eccentric, possessed of extraordinary memory and bizarre habits, and with a headlong descent into mental illness during his later years. It's turned him into one of the cult figures of our day. At least as much fiction as fact have swirled around him, as his name has been hijacked more than any other figure. If you want to truly appreciate how awesome Tesla was, then your very first step should be to know what he did, rather than to wrongly sensationalize him.
inFact: All About Fracking Fracking has been a standard practice in natural gas mining for a long time, but documentary films have caused some laypeople to question its safety. How justified are these fears? http://infactvideo.com
A lot of natural gas mining is easy; you drill a hole, the gas comes right up. But once you get down deep enough, between around 1.5 and 6 kilometers deep, the pressure is so high and the rocks are so tight that the gas can't move to your borehole.
The standard solution to this is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Water is pumped down into the deep shale at really high pressure, just like a hydraulic ram, and splits open the fissures. Then sand is mixed with the water, and gets distributed throughout the cracks to prop them open. The water is pumped back out, and now the gas can freely flow to the borehole.
The controversy comes mainly from the fact that about 1/2 of 1% of the fluid consists of lubricants and surfactants, needed to get the sand through the system and into the fissures. Opponents believe that these agents can poison groundwater supplies, or even worse.
The most dramatic criticism of fracking was this scene from the 2010 shock-doc Gasland, by avant-garde stage director Josh Fox. It showed a family whose tap water was actually flammable, and Fox blamed the fact that fracking was used in the area.
An investigation into this family's well, which was ignored by the movie, discovered that their well had been drilled directly into a shallow natural gas deposit. This is common and not a problem if the well is properly vented. Theirs wasn't, so gas got into their water.
How do we know it had nothing to do with fracking? Water wells range in depth from a few meters to a few hundred at the very deepest, but fracking takes place kilometers deeper, past numerous layers of bedrock. Years of study have proven what geologists have always known: there's just too much distance of solid rock between the two regions for any seepage to take place. Since the fracking fluid is removed right after the sand is inserted, there isn't even any fluid there that might seep.
Instead, it's best to understand the real concerns with fracking. These include surface spills, just like we have with maple syrup trucks or gasoline trucks; and of course the disposal of the fracking fluid, usually done into ultra-deep wells.
Just remember: whenever you hear non-experts claim to have discovered something shocking and sensational unknown to science, you have very good reason to be skeptical.
inFact: Nuclear Energy Some say nuclear energy is ready to make a comback; some say it's still too dangerous. How do you know which to believe? http://infactvideo.com/
Nuclear reactors have gone through 70 years of development. After the prototype Generation 1 reactors, like Chernobyl, the world went to Generation 2, which included a lot of safety improvements. Generation 3 reactors being built now have fundamental improvements: Designs where the reaction can't be sustained if anything goes wrong. Generation 4, now being planned, will be safer and cleaner than anyone could have dreamed 20 years ago.
But some people see only the problems of the past, rather than the promise of the future. Opposition to nukes is one reason we're not all driving around today in electric cars.
At Three Mile Island in 1979, a valve broke, and some coolant leaked into a container designed for that purpose. No one was injured. Within the industry, Three Mile Island was regarded as a shining example of how well the safety systems work. Unfortunately, The China Syndrome, a movie about a nuclear accident, had come out only 12 days before; and the public's perception was that nuclear energy was too dangerous.
In all of history, there's been exactly one civilian nuclear accident in which anyone was hurt: Chernobyl, in 1986. It was the oldest reactor operating, decades obsolete. One faction wanted to try a dangerous test; another faction disabled some safety systems to prevent it; and then the shift ended and everyone went home. The new shift weren't told anything was happening until it was too late. Read about it, it's staggering, you don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Within a few months, 56 people had died from radiation, and it's projected that as many as 4,000 may eventually die. But in the United States alone, 50-60,000 people die every year from lung cancer caused by air pollution from coal and oil burning power plants. We would need a Chernobyl meltdown every three weeks just to match the ongoing US death toll we've chosen by clinging to our current fossil fuel system.
But isn't nuclear waste just as bad? Yes, it's bad, but lobbying against future plants won't make the existing waste go away. Generation 3 and 4 reactors produce almost no high level waste, and what they do create is recyclable. We've already created most of the nuclear waste the world will ever see.
Look to the future. Look to the facts and the science, and make an informed choice.
inFact: Cleansing Diets It seems nearly all your friends are doing special cleansing diets. Should you do one too? http://infactvideo.com
Cleansing diets are a food fad that?s been around for decades, from the Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet, to lemon & maple syrup concoctions, to today?s absurdly overpriced high-sugar fruit smoothie drinks that you buy an in impressively multi-colored, day-specific pack.
Notice that accredited healthcare providers like medical doctors and dietitians never recommend that you buy these cleansing products ? they recommend the most basic (and free) health advice of all: eat right and get some exercise. It?s only the unaccredited, unlicensed tradespeople like nutritionists and yoga teachers who will advise you to buy cleansing products ? and not surprisingly, will often sell them to you themselves.
Why don?t doctors advise cleansing for general health? Because there is no such thing in medical or dietetic science. The idea that toxic substances from a normal diet build up in your body and cause health problems is a fantasy invented by marketers. Proof: Humans and animals all exist fine, and have for millions of years, without these products. We have perfectly functioning systems already built in: kidneys and livers. The technical medical terms for detoxification are ?poop? and ?pee?.
Make no mistake: These are nothing more than trendy snake oil products that use sciencey-sounding language to take advantage of gullible people who have disposable income.
A lot of disposable income. In the United States alone, high-end boutique cleansing juices are a $60 billion industry. The main demographic is healthy, educated, young women ? exactly the same target demographic as high end fashion and cosmetics. Make no mistake. Cleansing is a trendy fashion statement; it?s got nothing to do with your health.
That?s why the marketing claims are medically meaningless: ?ridding the body of toxins? without ever identifying what these alleged toxins might be; or ?boosting the immune system?, which if it were medically possible, would mean giving you an autoimmune disease, where your body?s overactive immune system begins attacking your own normal healthy cells.
This is a change in diet that you?re going to do for a week at most, so it?s not going to affect your overall long-term health in the slightest. But if you really want to do, or if you just want to go on a one-week weight-loss binge, don?t throw your money away. Have yourself a couple pieces of fruit and a multivitamin each day, and you?re getting a virtually identical fast for next to nothing.