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Freedom of Information Release on Nikola Tesla (2011) (fbi.gov)
302 points by huntermeyer on Oct 24, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments

Most of this doesn't appear to be confiscated documents, but rather just letters sent to the FBI and a few scanned (covers of) books.

The 3rd part of the release is somewhat interesting as it's about flying saucers (from a news letter). It has the statement(s):

> This letter will not reach you in time to sight a flying saucer over New York on the night of June 10, from 10pm to 1am

It then goes on to discuss "space people".

Honestly, I'm wondering what exactly they released, as this was just a letter sent to Nikola Tesla... So it's not all that interesting, besides getting insight(s) into some tabloids of the time. Nothing really all that juicy, unless I'm missing something.

Part 1: https://vault.fbi.gov/nikola-tesla/Nikola%20Tesla%20Part%200...

Part 2: https://vault.fbi.gov/nikola tesla/Nikola%20Tesla%20Part%2002%20of%2003/view

Part 3: https://vault.fbi.gov/nikola-tesla/Nikola%20Tesla%20Part%200...

It was interesting that the FBI was taking the last 10 years of Telsa's life as possibly serious. Man people figured he went mad in his early 70s and didn't really do anything for the last 10 years of his life scientifically significant.

It's important to keep in mind that near the end of his days, Tesla sure seemed to be experiencing some mental illness. He made wild claims that were never quite backed up by proof, claims that even now no one seems to believe were actually possible.

It's a sad end to a brilliant mind.

But then, when you're the FBI and WW2 is ongoing, you pay attention when a famous and brilliant inventor claims to have death rays and super weapons.

He made wild claims that were never quite backed up by proof, claims that even now no one seems to believe were actually possible -------

when Leonardo da vinci sketched out a parachute or a helicopter-looking self propelling device prototypes that took 500 years to actually build - what did contemporaries think of him?

who are we to judge a great mind? we simply cant. yes he might have gone mad, but there is a very fine line between madness and brilliance and its often blurred. all we can do is take these ideas and test/iterate/test. id rather bet on a horse that is capable of running than on a just born foal.

when Leonardo da vinci sketched out a parachute or a helicopter-looking self propelling device prototypes that took 500 years to actually build - what did contemporaries think of him?

A lot; he was widely recognized as a genius in his own time. Sadly, his helicopter wouldn't have worked, and he never sketched an ICE.

as well as Tesla was recognized during his lifetime. Plenty of folks thought da vinci was crazy too.

helicopter prototype was off (just needed different shape propeller, additional stabilizing propeller and proper weight distribution), but it was on a correct development path. parachute design was correct as was demonstrated in 2000. (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bgE0_zA9lEU/U29iF1bk9QI/AAAAAAAAEu...)

what if tesla's highly speculated work is even 50% close?

we had thousands of electric cars manufactured and sold in USA 100 years ago (stop and think about it for a second: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/80/34/c5/8034...). wireless transmission of electricity/energy could put us on a completely different path as a humanity (as well as completely change political and business landscape worldwide).

helicopter prototype was off (just needed different shape propeller, additional stabilizing propeller and proper weight distribution)...

And an ENGINE!

Could you expand more on the prospects of wireless transmission of electricity. I've seen some stuff about this but have had a hard time finding sources talking about it, I'm quite intrigued.

If you have a new iPhone or an older Android, you could utilize this technology to charge your phone.

Right, inductive charging. From what I've read it doesn't seem like this was the method Tesla was researching for long range transmission was it?

Tesla was trying to make use of the conductivity present in the ground and ionosphere to transmit power. Not inductive, but more like capacitively coupled.

Jules Verne's novels from 19th century described submarines and flight to the Moon, but there are lots of TODO steps to fill in to create, or even "sketch" actual working submarines and rockets.

Even geniuses can suffer from alzheimers, schizophrenia, personality disorders, delusions, etc. just like the rest of us. Sure there's the stereotypical eccentric genius, but if someone starts making wild unproven claims coupled with increasingly strange behavior, that doesn't seem exactly like something a genius would do. That sounds like a very intelligent person suffering from mental illness. From wikipedia:

>At the 1932 occasion, Tesla claimed he had invented a motor that would run on cosmic rays.[205] In 1933, at age 77, Tesla told reporters that, after thirty-five years of work, he was on the verge of producing proof of a new form of energy. He claimed it was a theory of energy that was “violently opposed” to Einsteinian physics, and could be tapped with an apparatus that would be cheap to run and last 500 years. He also told reporters he was working on a way to transmit individualized private radio wavelengths, working on breakthroughs in metallurgy, and developing a way to photograph the retina to record thought.

We know that cosmic rays aren't prevalent enough to produce energy. It should be obvious that you can't record thought through a retina because the majority of thought in the brain occurs in areas obstructed by the retina. He was just an already-eccentric old man whose brain was breaking down, and in trying to cling onto his success from the past he might have developed delusions that to him seem perfectly logical. I don't see why we can't accept that the death ray idea was just as nonexistent/nonsensical as these other ones. Additionally, also from wikipedia:

>In a box purported to contain a part of Tesla's "death ray", Trump found a 45-year-old multidecade resistance box.

> in trying to cling onto his success from the past he might have developed delusions that to him seem perfectly logical

Scary thing? Delusional behavior can just happen to anyone. It's a mental illness and like any illness there may be no way to see it coming. One day, you suddenly think your 'Real Girl' doll is a real person that you love[0].

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lars_and_the_Real_Girl - Fantastic, true acting by an actor known mostly for his good looks.

there was a lot of interest in his work. we simply dont know if something was taken, stolen or appropriated by someone else.

FBI clearly stated in that FIA disclosed dossier that there was an outside entity trying to get access to his lab prototypes, papers, information. We do not know if and what was taken,

> who are we to judge a great mind? we simply cant.

It's not like these "great minds" are alien superintelligences. How much smarter do you think they were than the average person, in terms of IQ? Maybe 2x maximum? Seems quite possible to judge. Tesla was not a Singularity.

IQ isn't an absolute score of intelligence, it's relative and assumes a normal distribution. Someone with a 200 IQ is not twice as intelligent as someone with a 100 IQ, they are ~7 standard deviations better on the score of a test designed to assess intelligence.

IQ is definitely not the end all-be-all of intelligence because you can train yourself to become better at taking IQ tests by taking IQ tests: that's what all those people with >180 IQ who are "the smartest people in the world" did. And of course intelligence is only part of the equation: people could be much smarter than Tesla but simply never become interested in electricity, and even very smart people can make mistakes and arrive at incorrect conclusions (perhaps due to ego as well - we are all human). There are also different forms of intelligence, as some people are much better than others at verbal/spatial/logical reasoning but perform averagely in other categories.

So in general I'd say IQ is not a good way to look at this. We should look more at the fact that mental illness can affect everyone, and if someone starts suddenly making provably false outlandish claims, that doesn't mean they weren't once a great scientist or very intelligent person.

> It's not like these "great minds" are alien superintelligences.

I disagree, I define a truly great mind as one that thinks very differently from others, and solves problems others can't. Not someone who can just solve problems more quickly.

Why do you think it matters what his IQ is? You can't measure someone's ability to think about new things with a test that asks you to solve relatively simple brainteasers. I am sure his IQ was quite high, but that doesn't mean someone with an equivalently high IQ could do what he did.

Edit: missed a word.

Unusual minds solve problems others can't, but also make mistakes others wouldn't. I don't claim to know which of these two phenomena is exhibited in Tesla's wild ideas.

IQ is an irrelevant metric. Look at his achievements pragmatically.

In terms of understanding of electric phenomena, its difficult to point at another with a similar level of understanding (or at least productive understanding).

With that in mind, it would seem he's quite a bit "smarter" than even very intelligent people, with the same life long pursuit.

> In terms of understanding of electric phenomena, its difficult to point at another with a similar level of understanding (or at least productive understanding).

Maxwell? Faraday? Heaviside? etc. Or are we explicitly talking circuits?

its difficult to point at another contemporary with a similar level of understanding

Im not from the field (speaking as an 'average joe' here), but i dont think genius come from brain mechanical power alone.

When you try to map some trends 'genius' people have that others dont, it comes to have some form of free/ilimited thinking, like kids often do, persistence and even stuborness based on faith that something others dont get it its actually possible, criativity, a good environment and in the end choose that path that im sure can become a big burden, that will require a lot of spirit, persistence and good will.

So i guess IQ tests alone will never be able to frame or to detect real geniuses in a objective automated manner.

Of course that more brainpower give you more chances to become a genius, but there are some traces of the personality that must also be there.

For instance, the majority of the smart people in the world, will not go through this route, giving they can just use their brains to get rich, famous, powerful and use it in a more egotistical and self-fulfilling manner.

But Leonardo, AFAIK, didn't claim that those things were readily doable...

he was genius, but also properly crazy (at least at the end of his life). falling in love with a pigeon, pearl detestion, obsession with nr 3 etc.

this is not about not being appreciated at the given time. unless you think in 500 years it will be fashionable "to love that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life."

obsession with number 3 ... maybe because there was something to it after all?


the theory that we might at some point in time love a pigeon (or any other living creature) as much as we love each other (humans) is not that far off ... if you think about it.

we are all the same, all part of one. if you love yourself and you love "one" you automatically love pigeons and all the other living creatures.

perhaps its our next evolutionary step and he was many years ahead of all of us...

>It's important to keep in mind that near the end of his days, Tesla sure seemed to be experiencing some mental illness.

Not just towards the end of his life, he likely had mental issues throughout his entire life. He himself reported experiencing incidents of hallucinations/strange visions of light, and had a number of very strange and exact habits that sound like some kind of OCD (including an extreme aversion to women wearing pearl jewelry of any kind).

how do you know that "hallucinations/strange visions of light" are not real effects that he did observe?

if one person is more receptive to certain things than the other .. it does not make him or her crazy...

"The mathematics of string theory suggests that the world we know is not complete. In addition to our four familiar dimensions - three-dimensional space and time - string theory predicts the existence of six extra spatial dimensions, "hidden" dimensions curled in tiny geometric shapes at every single point in our universe. "

"Don't worry if you can't picture a 10-dimensional world. Our minds are accustomed to only three spatial dimensions and lack a frame of reference for the other six, says UW-Madison physicist Gary Shiu, who led the new study. Though scientists use computers to visualize what these six-dimensional geometries could look like (see image), no one really knows for sure what shape they take."

"According to string theory mathematics, the extra dimensions could adopt any of tens of thousands of possible shapes, each shape theoretically corresponding to its own universe with its own set of physical laws. "


The new work was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Research Corp.

I'm not sure how to respond to this. You're asking if Tesla had the power to see extra-dimensional structures? I guess I'm fairly secure in assuming that Tesla was experiencing hallucinations, in ways that are common among people experiencing hallucinations (unexplained lights are fairly standard), rather than possessing extra-dimensional superpowers that would, as far as we know, be completely unique to him.

Unless you're positing that anyone experiencing these types of symptoms are in fact viewing extra-dimensional objects. In which case, good luck with that.

He is just obsessed over Tesla and is making wild claims. Has no way to back up with any data except saying that this is coming from Tesla - so, who knows, it may be true.

huh? not sure how you arrived to these conclusions. but good luck.

Not trying to back up his/her argument but the idea isn't entirely obsurd:


"as far as we know". typical westerner body of knowledge is extremely limited.

its easy to throw out a baby with the bathwater..

Ockham's razor, maybe? Mental illness is a thing we have observed; magic 10 dimensional eyeballs aren't.

But is it really that far-fetched?

I mean, I don't think Tesla was some kind of super-wizard or anything; extremely intelligent and precient on certain things, lacking in other areas (it's interesting to compare and contrast Tesla and Edison, for instance - but that's OT).

But how often have we heard of, or read about, people able to come up with solutions to, say, complex mathematical problems, seemingly in their head - where they claim to "see" the patterns or formulae or whatever - and it just "comes together" for them correctly?

A kind of "synesthesia" for mathematics, you might call it?

So would it be any less possible that someone could "see" higher-order dimensional visualization and understand them, without need intermediary constructs or simulations?

Also - at least according to his closest biographer (so some bias there, I grant) - Tesla could supposedly "see" how something was supposed to be constructed; it's dimensions, it's workings, it's weight, etc - exactly. It was described as if he could visualize it existing in front of him, before it actually existed, and see everything about it. He could then build it - without needing engineering drawings or such.

Not sure where the truth lies with that, but it was fascinating to read about, if true.

For anyone interested in a really good biography on Tesla, this [0] is the best one I've read. It's written by John J. O'Neill, a journalist who knew Tesla personally for 30 years or so IIRC. It sticks to the facts, eschewing the various myths about aliens and such that tend to stick to him, and it covers his whole life, from what is known of his childhood all the way through his death. It's a super interesting read.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Prodigal-Genius-Life-Nikola-Tesla-ebo...

That's one of the biographies I've read about Tesla, and which I referenced in an earlier comment I made upthread. It should be noted that others have said it isn't without bias. It was an excellent read, though.

> Exhibit M. Part 03 of 03 pg. 43. The article further discusses the subject of wind, tides, lightning, and water power as a source of commercial energy. The last sentence of this memorandum states: "With my wireless system, it is practicable to transmit electrical energy at a distance of twelve thousand miles with a loss not exceeding 5 per cent. I can conceive of no advances which would be more desirable at this time and more beneficial to the further progress of mankind."

No further details are given, or the exhibit itself, but interesting nonetheless.


i believe this is referencing some of his ideas on global wireless power transfer.

> Early on he seemed to borrow from the ideas of Mahlon Loomis, proposing a system composed of balloons to suspend transmitting and receiving electrodes in the air above 30,000 feet (9,100 m) in altitude, where he thought the pressure would allow him to send high voltages (millions of volts) long distances. [...] Experiments he conducted [at Colorado Springs in 1899] with a large coil operating in the megavolts range, as well as observations he made of the electronic noise of lightning strikes, led him to conclude incorrectly that he could use the entire globe of the Earth to conduct electrical energy.

> His observations also led him to believe a high voltage used in a coil at an elevation of a few hundred feet would "break the air stratum down", eliminating the need for miles of cable hanging on balloons to create his atmospheric return circuit. Tesla would go on the next year to propose a "World Wireless System" that was to broadcast both information and power worldwide. In 1901, at Shoreham, New York he attempted to construct a large high-voltage wireless power station, now called Wardenclyffe Tower, but by 1904 investment dried up and the facility was never completed.


i've heard a claim that the idea described in the latter quote would effectively involve "igniting the ionosphere" which would permanently change the color of the sky, but i can't speak to the accuracy of that.

Another Croatian - Serbian conflict regarding his ancestry in 5,4,3 ...

Kidding aside, what would people like him achieve if they had resources of today, computers and internet...

there's no conflict there (not that it's too relevant, but his ancestry is quite clear)... I guess there will always be people who like creating conflicts :)

Watch Youtube and use Facebook and Twitter. :-P

They'd probably have a really good Instagram story.

Reminds me of a crackpot theory popular in Serbia where it is thought that the Serbs took control of "Tesla's secret weapon based on the formula v^3=0." The weapon is alleged to allow remote mind control [e.g. 1, in Serbian] and is probably inspired by the death rays/particle beam weapons Tesla wrote about. [2]

[1] http://www.intermagazin.rs/teslino-super-oruzje-izum-koji-ko...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleforce

Everytime i read something about Nikola Tesla, i go back reading: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

Please don't get your history from The Oatmeal. If you want to read a real account of what Edison actually did, the opening chapters of this classic are great:


I don't consider it a fact, but a fun read :)

This is also why I usually ignore news I hear about Nikola Tesla. That Oatmeal comic, aside from the fact that it's just immature and nasty, I believe kicked off a weird kind of Tesla fanboy-ism which just seems useless.

I believe The Oatmeal comic was a symptom and not necessarily the cause. It certainly kicked it up another level, but the fanboyism started building a few years earlier with the growing success of the car company followed by the movie The Prestige and the Drunk History episode on Tesla.

Thanks for pointing all of that out. I forgot that those things predated the comic.

I like the oatmeal, but that comic is just a collection of urban myths about Tesla. http://edisontechcenter.org/tesladebunked.html

> Mr. Inman [author of The Oatmeal], like many comedians seems to be fundamentally unhappy and finds an outlet through humor. Oddly enough his behavior is similar to Tesla's in that he reacts in a nasty fashion if someone challenges his ideas

Yikes, got a less biased source? It's 2017, it's sad the emotional feud between Tesla and Edison continues like this.

Wow, the full text of that paragraph is even worse:

> Interestingly enough one of the largest sources of exaggerated Tesla history in the last few years was a cartoonist (Mr. Inman) who runs the website "The Oatmeal". A cartoonist (a guy with no engineering, legal or historian background) born in 1982 on the wrong side of the continent felt the liberty of making passionate statements about New York's electrical history based on crap he read on the internet. After a Forbes article by Alex Knapp about the myths of Tesla inspired by this Edison Tech Center article came out, the cartoonist attacks Knapp in the arrogant and cynical style typically demonstrated by the worst of US-born Millennials. Mr. Inman, like many comedians seems to be fundamentally unhappy and finds an outlet through humor. Oddly enough his behavior is similar to Tesla's in that he reacts in a nasty fashion if someone challenges his ideas, even when they mean well.

You're cherrypicking the part of the document that addresses the comic and I do agree the tone could be more professional, but it a fairly serious rebuke of some pretty terrible claims. Ironically, when Hawkings, Linus, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc use the same tone, the tech community seems to not have any problems with it. The factual aspects of this page are pretty good and I'm hard pressed to find any issue here historically. I'm something of a amateur Edison-era historian, love this period, and feel that if we want to properly honor history and the lives of the people who more or less helped build the modern world, then we should be honest about the facts and park the fanboyism.

I do feel they gloss over the elephant electrocution and even by standards of that time was a bit shocking, even if there were almost no animal welfare laws. To be fair to Edison's group, this PR stunt was tasteless, but the elephant was already sentenced to death. My understanding is the alternative would have been a grisly shooting with an elephant gun which is far less humane than electrocution.

Again, the Oatmeal comic is pretty poor representation of the period. I understand its popular and ties in with Tesla fandom and an over-represented demographic on the web, but I think those honest about knowing what these men did should dismiss it and dig into more academic sources. This period is so exciting and interesting, its a shame a lot of youngsters grow up with a simple minded 'Tesla vs Edison' narrative which is such a stupid oversimplification of an amazing and progressive period in US history.

> A cartoonist (a guy with no engineering, legal or historian background) born in 1982 on the wrong side of the continent

> cynical style typically demonstrated by the worst of US-born Millennials

> Disclaimer: The works below are the opinion of the author and not the official viewpoint of the Edison Tech Center

That's enough for me to forget this whole article. I'm not buying all the "facts" in The Oatmeal's comic either, but wow, when you have to lash out at someone for being a young cartoonist living in Seattle...

Why not? A wide and impressionable audience now understands this part of history as interpreted by an internet celebrity.

The ability to publish misinformation on the internet far outscales the ability of anybody to refute it. At some point you have to filter out the noise by appraising the source. If that means dismissing inflammatory history lessons from young cartoonists in Seattle, or dismissing medical advice from has-been Playboy models on the basis that neither group knows what the hell they're talking about, then so be it.

So we should take the word of a random "author" who didn't even bother to publish his name and credentials over Inman simply because this guy blasted Inman for being a Millennial? That's just as wrong as accepting some dumb comic as the authority on history.

This guy, whoever he is, goes on about "crap on the Internet" then cites a 3rd of his sources from the Internet, four of those being Wikipedia. Even better, half his non-Internet based sources are museums -- no further information provided. His sources are mostly unverifiable crap, then he stoops to an ad hominem. It's garbage.

Its published by the Edison Tech Center which is a non-profit in Schenectady, NY. It doesn't need to publish on a more granular level of authorship. I guess it would be nice, but its own editorial policies are what they are and not outside of norms. I don't complain about the Economist doing the same, for example.

>His sources are mostly unverifiable crap

There is a source list at the end of the article.

Sources: -Electrification in Western Society 1880-1930. by Thomas Parke Hughes.1993 (book)

-Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany

-Historisches Museum, Frankfurt Germany

-The General Electric Story - A Hall of Electrical History Publication.1999 (book)

-Archives of the Schenectady Museum: William Stanley files, E.W. Rice Jr. Files

-Great Barrington Historical Society

-Hawkins Electrical Guides (book series)

-Men and Volts. by John Winthrop Hammond. 1941(book)

-Folsom Powerhouse Museum. Folsom, California

-Biography of Elihu Thomson, prepared by E.W. Rice Jr.

-Archives of the Edison Tech Center: Rice Family Archives

-Almost Edison: How William Sawyer and Others Lost the Race to Electrification. by Donald Scott McPartland. 2006

Internet Sources:

-MIT website: Inventor of the Week" William Stanley

-IEEE Global History Network: Milestones: Alternating Current Electrification 1886


-wikipedia: Nikola Tesla

-wikipedia: Transformers

-wikipedia: Hippolyte Pixii

-wikipedia: Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovsky

> So we should take the word of a random "author" who didn't even bother to publish his name and credentials over Inman simply because this guy blasted Inman for being a Millennial?

No. I'm not saying anyone should "just" believe either party over the other.

For all of Inman's bold assertions, he cites no sources whatsoever-- not even random crap on the internet-- and ends his comic with an appeal to vandalize Wikipedia to support his argument.

Without knowing anything about ETC, from an objective standpoint, I agree with ETC's assertion that Inman isn't qualified to be publishing unsubstantiated claims about anything related to a dead man's character or accomplishments.

> I agree with ETC's assertion that Inman isn't qualified to be publishing unsubstantiated claims about anything related to a dead man's character or accomplishments.

He's an entertainer and comedian, not a bastion for everlasting factual histories of the world...

I seriously feel that a large percentage of commenters on HN need to step back a bit and be less rigid in their assessment of society around them.

I would say the "why not" comes down not to why not dispute it but why dispute it in the way it was done, by insulting Inman for being from the west coast, for being young, for being unhappy, etc. Rather than insult him for perpetuating untruths, the author instead tosses out weird demographic and geographic insults.

It reminds me of the saying attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, "Smart people talk about ideas. Mediocre people talk about things or events. Stupid people talk about people." Speaking about specific people denigrates a conversation. A discussion will always be more interesting and enlightening and overall useful if instead aimed at ideas or even slightly abstracted.

While all of that may be absolutely true, the title of the group of that source doesn't instill confidence as unbiased historians. It makes me wonder if they're promoting team edison. Can anyone recommend a better source?

About the only way you can gather some semblance of "historical truth" or "historical facts" about either Edison or Tesla would be to read as many biographies and books about both men, both contemporary accounts, auto-biographical accounts, and later historical treatises.

In short - read everything you can about both individuals - their life, their history, their accomplishments, and their rivalry thru the years.

At one time, I was more on the "fanboy" side of things with Tesla; for years, from about 1992 or so (long before the Oatmeal piece, and certainly before "The Prestige" was published), I collected many books and anything else I could get my hands on about Tesla. Prior to that, as a teenager, I had heard about him thru histories of Edison - mainly in connection to the "Tesla Coil" as well.

But I had neglected Edison. At some point, many years later I decided that having only a one-sided view of things wasn't right, and started collecting and reading things on and about Edison.

What I discovered was ultimately, neither man could be claimed to be "all that" and both were products of their times. Both had their greatnesses, and both had their lows. I consider both men to have made many contributions, but they also had plenty of faults. I also consider it one of those "historical tragedies" that the two men became bitter rivals, rather than working together. I believe that Edison could have gone so much further with Tesla's guidance and temperament as an engineer and scientist (Tesla being more of a theoretical scientist before an engineer, and Edison being more an experimentalist engineer before a scientist). I often wonder what would have happened if Edison and Tesla had explored the "Edison Effect" - the world would probably not be the same today, certainly.

He accuses Tesla of stealing the three phase AC motor from Ferrari and being a business-minded promoter with absolutely no evidence and contrary to almost everything we know about Tesla

That article is much worse than anything The Oatmeal has ever written or done, and seems mostly fueled by spite

Interestingly, "John G. Trump" (on pages 178-185) is President Trump's uncle. He examined Tesla's papers and reported his findings to the FBI.

> John George Trump (August 21, 1907 – February 21, 1985) was an American electrical engineer, inventor, and physicist. He was a recipient of U.S. President Ronald Reagan's National Medal of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. John Trump was noted for developing rotational radiation therapy. Together with Robert J. Van de Graaff, he developed one of the first million-volt X-ray generators. He was the paternal uncle of future U.S. President Donald Trump.


Not all of the family success was boosted by nepotism, there seems to be some talent in the bloodline, his sister was also a senior US circuit judge and was quite successful on her own.

I think its the fact that his children appear to be more or less in the same mold as himself that has colored people's opinions of the family. But yes, the family as a whole seems pretty well to do.

Very few children of billionaires become notable people themselves, outside of usually philanthropy or keeping the family business in much of it's original state (millionaires kids as well to a much lesser degree). There are some very clear human and biological reasons why. Even in the tech industry with hyper progressive parenting it's rare to hear about the kids outside of capital raising circles.

Regardless I was talking about talent and achievements here not personality, and I don't think there's much use of discussing that here. It's been discussed to death elsewhere.

> "Very few children of billionaires become notable people themselves"

First, billionaires represent an extremely small minority of the human population. And second, notable people also represent a small minority of the human population.

So it seems reasonable that there are few notable children of billionaires, and this alone doesn't imply that billionaire offspring are less likely to be notable than the person. It only suggests that being the offspring of billionaires doesn't radically skew the probability of being notable.

Yes, that's exactly what dmix is implying by "very clear human and biological reasons why" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean.

I smell a conspiracy theory!

This is where the notion that Trump is a time traveler emerged. According to the conspiracy theorists, Tesla had developed a time machine, which was later discovered by John G. Trump and entrusted to his nephew, Donald J. Trump.

No time traveller but he is living in the wrong decade.

Do you even John Titor?

John Titor was a Time Traveler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Titor).

If you like anime, Steins;Gate uses John Titor as a plot device (http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=7729)


Raw FBI FOIA files and articles about them on some other major figures including Richard Feynman:


I don't have high hopes for historical accuracy but i'm excited to see The Current War which puts some of these topics to film:https://youtu.be/wMECv6yLOFM

I'm excited for another Weinstein ensemble, but we'll have wait http://variety.com/2017/film/news/the-current-war-postponed-... :-)

Check out this great 3 minute video to know who this man was and the conflict he got into with Thomas Edison: https://youtu.be/iEJNJ0rFSe8

I cannot speak for the entire video, I only looked up the elephant story, but that seems to be told inaccurately. I might agree with the general sentiment (Edison is a jerk), but wouldn't quote any of the anecdotes told as fact.

Why do I see "We're sorry... The request has been blocked." when I try to open this site? Anyone else see it?

I can see it normally when I access through Tor.

It's the FBI, man :) Your TOR exit point is probably blacklisted ;)

Why does the FBI have all these files on Nikola Tesla?

My paraphrase of page two with a direct quote: He possibly did stuff important to us and "other nations controlled by insane dictators." We should consider watching him and protecting him.

Read the second page.

It's hard to see those documents. Is there a digital version of those papers or has anyone translated it to a readable font?

249 pages! Other comments said that it was released a year ago. Can someone write about the juicy stuff?

The stamp on the papers say it was marked unclassified in 1980-82, which would have been ~40yrs after most of the papers dates (and his death). Was it really only released a year ago?

Well you may believe me or not, but this was in circulation at one of the Serbian BBS around 15 years ago.

Just because it was unclassified doesn't mean it was released...

Im sure there are literally millions of documents that have been "unclassified" due to time, but have never seen the light of day since then. Its not like they broadcast when something is unclassified


Sorry for being picky about it, but I always think that we should respect people enough to spell their names correctly!

Wouldn't expect anything else but exactitude from Mr. Hari Seldon

I get similarly annoyed that Maria Skłodowska-Curie is known only as Maria Curie pretty much everywhere, even though she was very particular about including the Polish portion of her surname on all of her work.

But in France the wives get the husband's last name when they marry, so Maria Curia is not that inaccurate.

Or even "Marie Curie"

From personal experience, the French have little regard for native writing or pronunciation of names.

Thanks. Fixed it. I'm glad you're always thinking about respecting others.

The title is misleading.

The FBI 'released' these documents to the public over a year ago.

Thanks, we've updated the title from the submitted “FBI Releases Nikola Tesla Documents”.

I wanna see time travel research and Tump connections: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4754000/Late-1800-s-...


Definitely incomplete, questionable whether intact.

Distraction from the upcoming JFK dump. half /s

These documents were released a year ago, and were declassified in 1980.

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