Tag Archives: UVA

Mr. Jefferson, Save Us

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” For What It’s Worth, Stephen Stills

What do you do when you’re a premier public university with a new president who is revered by faculty, students and alumni alike? If you’re the University of Virginia, you summarily fire that president without giving any concrete or credible justification. And then watch as all hell breaks loose. Because that’s what’s happening right now in Charlottesville, at the esteemed institution Thomas Jefferson founded two centuries ago. Apparently, the head of the board of trustees, quaintly called the Board of Visitors at UVa, thought the best way to resolve some philosophical differences with the school’s president of a mere two years was to emulate Donald Trump and simply declare “you’re fired.” Evidently, “Board of Visitors” is an apt name, because no one but a clueless visitor
could have bungled this situation any worse. Tone deaf to everything but the machinations of her narrow mind, the head Visitor engaged in opaque intrigue worthy of HBO’s Game of Thrones to oust President Theresa Sullivan without so much as a formal vote, sparking a firestorm of protest from all quarters. Respected faculty resigned. Students wailed. Even the governor of Virginia disapproved. The whole episode can be summed up in one popular phrase. ” What were they thinking?”
Stay tuned. Battle lines are being drawn. This drama hasn’t reached intermission.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

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Shock and Oz: Nikolai Tesla, The Forgotten Wizard

“He was a master of the art of electricity He lectured on tours and circuitry.  . . He had a room full of switches and dials and lights and a head full of clouds and eyes full of sight.”  Randolph Street by Bruce Springsteen

Thomas Edison is revered as the father of electricity.  Inventor of the light bulb.   But as this fascinating article in UVA Today reveals, a less heralded, more flamboyant,tragic figure, Nikolai Tesla, may have been the true genius, the man ahead of his time. www.innovationnewsdaily.com/1069-tesla-wizardry-inventor-hollywood.html

Tesla pioneered Alternating Current, today’s standard in the U.S.  Working at the turn of the century at the dawn of the electric age, Tesla was a true dreamer of pictures.  He envisioned a world where people communicated over long distances wirelessly.  While perhaps he did not imagine the dominance of iPhones and texting mania, his vision of the future uncannily matches our world today.

Tesla was also a showman–famous in his day for staging elaborate demonstrations of the power–and safety–of his Alternating Current.  In his New York quarters, he would leave guests awestruck as electric current coursed harmlessly through his body, or as he seemingly hurled or cradled lightning bolts in his bare hands.

Tesla was also ahead of his time in making Intellectual Property, patents in his case, the currency of his business ventures.  Tesla battled Edison repeatedly in the courtroom and repeatedly won, taking cases all the way to the Supreme Court.

Sadly, Tesla’s business acumen did not match his mastery of science and law.  He dreamed big, and his biggest ventures failed.  Investors such as JP Morgan abandoned Tesla, and he fell into the shadow of history.

But his story lives on, and as the UVA article suggests, it is high time that Hollywood took note.  Another industry already has–when a maverick auto maker decided to extravagantly launch the world’s first totally electric performance sports car, and then tag it with a sticker price guaranteed to shock, they must have figured that only a brand name that paid homage to a similarly outlandish visionary would do.  So of course, they named their $100,000 plus electric car the TESLA.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Electricity is really just organized lightning.”  George Carlin

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