[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: Tesla's large pancake coil (and Myth Busters)
Original poster: William Beaty <billb@xxxxxxxxxx>
On Sun, 1 Oct 2006, Tesla list wrote:
> Dave, you're quite right. Experiments to verify something
> seemingly contradictory to the existing body of verified knowledge is
> probably (note I said probably) not the best way for most people to
> spend their resources.
On the contrary, I find that hobbyist science makes more progress if it
goes where no professional would think (or dare) to explore. But then I
have a personal taste for Kuhn's "Revolutionary science", as opposed to
the "Normal science" which fills the day to day world of the research
Of course if one is to pursue oddities, one must expect to experience a
hundred disappointments for each worthwhile discovery. (Or maybe that's a
To narrow the search for worthwhile oddities, it pays to pay extreme
attention to the weirder of weird stuff, and to put great trust in
intuition. It's longshot betting, where there is no sure path, and each
rare win gives large payback; more than enough to cover all the earlier
> The number of possible experiments is
> infinite, the available resources are very finite.
But my question was whether someone here had *already* performed that
experiment. In that situation, if you adopt the opinion that the effect
might be fantasy, or that for some reason it can't work ...that says much
about your habits of mind. Why not instead remain silent and wait to see
if someone has run a similar pancake coil, and can tell us if the
discharge matches that photo?
> When I said earlier that unverifiable illustrations concerning
> an undeniable genius inventor/showman, known to be given to enhanced
> pictures and increasing hyperbole with age were PROBABLY inaccurate
> that was healthy skepticism, not bias.
I notice that your habit is to immediately jump into speculative topics
with "it can't work" comments. During brainstorming sessions such actions
are abhorrant. They're only purpose is to interfere with the process that
creates new ideas. But during the "triage" stage of idea generation, then
brutal skepticism is an absolute requirement.
When does it become time to subject a new idea to brutal attack? NOT in
the instant we first hear about it! New ideas are delicate. They need to
be eventually subjected to culling, but there's a proper time to test
their survival ability by beating them with big wooden clubs. That time
is NOT while they're still like babies in their cribs. And...
"Too much openness and you accept every notion, idea, and hypothesis-
which is tantamount to knowing nothing. Too much skepticism-
especially rejection of new ideas before they have been adequately
tested - and you're not only unpleasantly grumpy, but also closed to
the advance of science. A judicious mix is what we need."
- Carl Sagan
"The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas.
It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than
to be always right by having no ideas at all." - Edward de Bono
I know of an appropriate mental trick which partly solves these problems.
And that is to maintain a "mental sandbox" which is carefully kept
separate from where we keep our certain knowledge. In this "sandbox"
all the untested ideas are constantly seen as untrustworthy... yet they're
all PROVISIONALLY accepted as being real. (If we don't accept them, then
we too easily slip into rejection mode. Then we may experience their
untrustworthyness as revulsion, and find reasons to avoid working with
them at all.)
The ideas in such a "sandbox" cannot be used as normal knowledge is used.
They're like toy versions of real knowlege. Like a desk drawer full of
toys to futz with during off hours. But when real thinking is required,
the serious tools come out, and the toy ideas go back in the drawer.
> Just this evening on "Myth
> busters" (Discovery Channel) they duplicated Tesla's "earthquake
> machine" and tried it on a full size abandoned steel bridge as well
> as an accurate 1/6 scale model of Tesla's lab. Their frequency
> stability and control were a hundred times finer than what Tesla
> could have achieved.
What was their operating frequency?
One little-discussed aspect of Tesla's experiments was that his oscillator
was intended as an early prototype of an AC power plant with a vibrating
magnet and stator coil. Such a small piston cannot put out much mechanical
power if running at a few Hz unless it is driven with extreme pressure
(such as a hydraulic system.) But if driven by steam pressure at much
higher frequency, the piston can put out far higher power. All this
points to an operating frequency which was many tens of hertz, or perhaps
If the story of the earthquake and building experiments was real, then how
the hell could a ?60Hz? piston create an earthquake? One possibility is
underground acoustic waveguide phenomena. Normal earthquake waves have
long wavelength, so underground strata is essentially invisible, and any
waves that Tesla generated would immediately radiate away into the
distance and never grow stronger. On the other hand, higher frequency
underground vibration could be at short enough wavelengths that solid
underground structures could act as resonant chambers. (Tesla would have
to slowly tune the device in order to find frequencies displaying the
strongest absorbtion. That's the signature of a nearby acoustic
resonator.) When driving such resonators, all of the power supply limited
energy doesn't radiate off into the distance until the trapped resonant
signal has grown quite large.
Another possibility is that any vibrating of the earth would trigger
complex patterns of soil liquifaction. And the liquified parts themselves
might form underground acoustic resonator cavities, since the speed of
sound in the liquified soil would be far lower than in solid soil. This
sort of thing wouldn't just make the neighborhood hum loudly. Instead all
the buildings would start shifting, and settling, windows would distort
and shatter, etc. A big rumble, but created by a deep hum trapped in the
A skyscraper's girder network would act far differently under "hum" type
drive than under a slow periodic swaying. The "hum" vibrations would
build up until all the boards and tools would start gliding around on the
buzzing girders and begin raining down from above... which is just what
Tesla described. I don't know if the end result would be very destructive
to the skyscraper. I don't see how it could shear off the rivets, etc.
> While they did get a stronger resonance than
> they expected, it was still several orders of magnitude less than
> what Tesla claimed for his experiments. (YRMV)
> They seem to have the resources AND the inclination to carry out
> experiments on dubious claims. Perhaps they could be interested in an
> "All-Tesla" program.
> A Logical Aside:
> If person A is a Total Skeptic "I give credence only those things
> that have been verified and properly reviewed and duplicated" and
> If person B is a Total Credulist "I accept as plausible everything
> that has not been positively disproved."
> As time --> infinity, A's final conclusions must be the same as B's
> final conclusions.
A third type, Person C, is "Brainstormer" type, and gives provisional and
partial credence to all sorts of new ideas, then plays with them to
explore all their theoretical aspects ...then brutally tests the ones
which are the most interesting or the most likely to lead to something
worthwhile. Of course the Total Skeptic and the Total Credulist both treat
Person C as the hated opponent. The Total Skeptic finds Person C's free
acceptance of new ideas to be loathsome. The Total Credulist sees Person
C as just another nasty skeptic who keeps new ideas at arm's length and
refuses to wholeheartedly accept them without lots of extensive testing.
As for "Floccinaucinihilipilification"... Are those who label others with
the term "Floccinaucinihilipilification" themselves nothing but big fat
Floccinaucinihilipilificators who can be safely ignored? If so, then that
gives free reign to the even most egregious of Floccinaucinihilipilificators,
since anyone who points out the constant misdeeds of habitual
Floccinaucinihilipilificators can be easily defeated by smearing them with
the term "smear-tactic user."
(((((((((((((((((( ( ( ( ( (O) ) ) ) ) )))))))))))))))))))
William J. Beaty SCIENCE HOBBYIST website
billb at amasci com http://amasci.com
EE/programmer/sci-exhibits amateur science, hobby projects, sci fair
Seattle, WA 425-222-5066 unusual phenomena, tesla coils, weird sci