Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Nikola Tesla's Surprising Connection to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Nikola Tesla, one of history's most celebrated inventors, has an unexpected connection to the current U.S. Elections.

As unpredictable as the current U.S. Presidential elections have been, a striking historical sidenote lies in their connection to the famous Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. 


A few days after Tesla died on January 8th, 1943, his possessions were seized by officials from the amazingly-named government Office of Alien Property. About 3 weeks after that, all of Tesla's things and documents were given a thorough examination by a group of FBI agents that included none other than John G. Trump, the uncle of the current Republican candidate for U.S. President Donald J. Trump

Trump’s uncle was, by all accounts, a very accomplished and intelligent man, an M.I.T. Professor of Engineering, who helped design X-ray machines for cancer patients and did radar research work for the army during World War 2. 

John G. Trump’s analysis of Tesla’s papers concluded that:

Tesla’s “thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character,” but “did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

But such official dismissal of the significance of the papers Tesla left behind understandably did not sit well with many folks throughout the next 73 years. As if the government would be willing to admit that it found plans for, let’s say, the Death Ray that Tesla was working on in the last years of his life. That kind of situation is ground zero for conspiracy theories. 

The papers have partially been released but are still really hard to track down. What became of Tesla’s most secret tech is still potentially a mystery if you are inclined to believe that sort of thing.  Who has the papers? Did Tesla really develop the Death Ray? 

Donald Trump himself often refers to his Uncle, invoking John Trump’s intelligence as a sort of voucher for his own genetic and historical pedigree. 

“My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” Trump said in one interview, according to the New Yorker magazine.

This would likely be referring to hydrogen bombs rather than the first nuclear bombs as Trump was born in 1946, after the Atomic Age was already upon us.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally aboard the USS Iowa on September 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Trump also recalled to the Times how the uncle “would tell me many years ago about the power of weapons someday, that the destructive force of these weapons would be so massive, that it’s going to be a scary world.” Certainly, expected talk from someone entrusted by the government to look into game-changing, doomsday weaponry. 

John G. Trump’s brilliance and his connection to the intellectual history of the country make him, in Trump’s view, a kind of guarantee that he himself is smart. 

As he mentioned to the Boston Globe:

“My father’s brother was a brilliant man . . . We have very good genetics.” 

Similarly, he told to NBC about his uncle to point out that:

“I mean it’s a good gene pool right there” - [Trump pointed to his head] - “I have to do what I have to do.”

Nikola Tesla's other remarkable connection to this election cycle lies in his vision for the future of the women in this country. As many of Tesla’s technological predictions have come true, it’s inevitable that his societal prognostications are of interest, especially as they mirror remarkably the current reality. 

In an interview, published with the dramatic title “When Woman Is Boss”, Tesla talked extensively of a coming future world where women would find equality and, in fact, surpass males in intelligence and power. He somewhat lamented this last part, thinking women would lose their femininity.

It’s unclear, in general, how much of a place women had in the unmarried Tesla’s life. By all accounts he was somewhat of an asexual being, focused solely on the mind work.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledges the crowd at the end on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Here’s what Tesla said about America that sounds very much like ours, with the first-ever nominated female candidate for President in Hillary Clinton:

"This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior.  The modern woman, who anticipates in merely superficial phenomena the advancement of her sex, is but a surface symptom of something deeper and more potent fermenting in the bosom of the race. 

"It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women.

"Through countless generations, from the very beginning, the social subservience of women resulted naturally in the partial atrophy or at least the hereditary suspension of mental qualities which we now know the female sex to be endowed with no less than men.

"BUT the female mind has demonstrated a capacity for all the mental acquirements and achievements of men, and as generations ensue that capacity will be expanded; the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose.  Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.

"The acquisition of new fields of endeavor by women, their gradual usurpation of leadership, will dull and finally dissipate feminine sensibilities, will choke the maternal instinct, so that marriage and motherhood may become abhorrent and human civilization draw closer and closer to the perfect civilization of the bee."

Maybe the last part there about our society turning into a "perfect civilization of the bee" seems far-fetched at this point. But give it a few years.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

CRISPR-edited babies born in China may have enhanced brain functions

The brains of two genetically edited babies born last year in China might have enhanced memory and cognition, but that doesn't mean the scientific community is pleased.

YouTube
Surprising Science
  • In November, Chinese scientist He Jiankui reported that he'd used the CRISPR tool to edit the embryos of two girls.
  • He deleted a gene called CCR5, which allows humans to contract HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.
  • In addition to blocking AIDS, deleting this gene might also have positive effects on memory and cognition. Still, virtually all scientists say we're not ready to use gene-editing technology on babies.
Keep reading Show less

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
Keep reading Show less

What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Could this former river island in the Indus have inspired Tolkien to create Cair Andros, the ship-shaped island in the Anduin river?

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

Giant whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs

The ocean's largest shark relies on vision more than previously believed.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast