3rd Annual Tesla Memorial Conference Comes to the New Yorker Hotel – January 10, 2015

Nikola Tesla died in the New Yorker Hotel. On January 10th, Nikola Tesla lives again in the New Yorker Hotel. Welcome to the 3rd Annual Tesla Memorial Conference and Spirit Awards.

Tesla Memorial Conference

The conference is sponsored by the Tesla Science Foundation, led by Nikola Lonchar and Marina Schwabic. The conference seeks to honor the great Serbian-American inventor and scientist, as well as bring together a range of people interested in learning more about Tesla, carrying on his innovative work, and educating budding scientists of tomorrow. This year’s theme is “Let’s create the Tesla Curriculum,” with a specific focus on introducing “an ‘assembly classes initiative’ as the vehicle for teaching the Nikola Tesla’s historical legacy in school systems, in the U.S., Serbia, and worldwide.”

Signing books 1-11-14

Signing books at the Tesla Memorial Conference

Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity should be making an appearance at this year’s conference even though I’ll be away science traveling and can’t personally attend. I had a great time at the 2014 memorial conference, and spoke at the inaugural conference in 2013 [Click here and scroll for stories about the previous two conferences].

Meanwhile, I shipped two dozen books to the Tesla Science Foundation this morning to be used as gifts to teachers. I’m very proud and happy that Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity has received such a great response from school groups, teachers, principals, and libraries. It’s very satisfying to know that my book has helped tens of thousands of new people learn about Nikola Tesla. Watch for the third printing in Barnes and Noble stores again in February 2015.

But wait, there’s more! The Tesla events on January 15th don’t stop with the conference itself. That evening starts with the revealing of a Nikola Tesla bust donated by the Tesla Science Foundation; the bust will take up permanent residence in the lobby of the New Yorker Hotel, Tesla’s residence for the last ten years of his life. Immediately following are presentation of Tesla Spirit Awards, a Gala featuring artistic performances, and even “a special Tesla Celebrity Tribute by a surprise guest.” You don’t want to miss it.

More information on the 3rd Annual Tesla Memorial Conference can be found at the Tesla Science Foundation website, on the TSF Facebook page, or directly on the conference event page.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years and is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Around the Blogs – Lincoln, Tesla, the Everglades, and More

Christmas is coming, which of course means the Everglades. Yes, Everglades. Final planning is underway for a trip to Florida soon after the holidays. Stops will include Miami’s South Beach, some gator watching in the Everglades, communing with the spirit of Ernest Hemingway on Key West, and a visit with the ghosts of Abraham Lincoln assassination conspirators in the Dry Tortugas. More details to follow shortly.

Abraham LincolnMeanwhile, the writing biz continues to be busy. Two posts here on Science Traveler looked at Abraham Lincoln’s educational pursuits and how his knowledge of science to win an important murder case.

A Twinkle in the IceA daily writing prompt inspired a slightly off-the-path look a twinkling light. Can you follow the transition (and wordplay) in A Twinkle in the Ice?

The Dake Page took on how (and why) professional climate deniers create deceptive graphics to mislead the public about the science behind man-made climate change.

William Tecumseh ShermanI also had an article published on the Smithsonian Civil War Studies page. A Christmas Gift for Abraham Lincoln takes a look at the second of two gifts given by General William Tecumseh Sherman to our 16th President in 1864. The first, in early September, was the driving force behind Lincoln’s reelection win. The second, received on Christmas day, was the driving force behind the Union’s winning of the Civil War.

Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla has been busy too. In just a few weeks is the 3rd Annual Tesla Memorial Conference and Gala at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. I attended the first two conferences but unfortunately will miss it this year because of, well, the Everglades. But rumor has it my book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, will be making an appearance in several important ways. Sign up here to attend!

While you’re thinking about Tesla, check out this amazing music video that uses Tesla’s principles of electricity and vibration.

Much more to come, including a lot more science traveling.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over 30 years, is a lifelong Lincolnophile, and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Book Review – Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial by John Evangelist Walsh

Walsh Almanac TrialMost people only think of Abraham Lincoln as our 16th President, but prior to that Lincoln had a long career as a lawyer. Much of his legal work was mundane, but he did occasionally get involved in some high profile cases that showed his logic and guile.

Author John Evangelist Walsh brings to light one such case in his book Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial. Moonlight is about one of the few murder trials that Abraham Lincoln ever served as defense counsel. Tried in a single day in 1858, just a few months before beginning his campaign for the US Senate in Illinois, Lincoln successfully defended William “Duff” Armstrong on the charge of killing a man in a fight. A co-defendant, James Norris, had been tried separately and had been convicted; he was already serving an eight year sentence. The trial came to be known as the “Almanac” trial because of Lincoln’s adept use of an almanac to demonstrate that the moon was perhaps not so directly overhead as the key witness had suggested. The insinuation, of course, is that the witness could not have been so sure about his description of the incident as he had come across on direct testimony.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the trial was the fact that Lincoln wore a white suit, a far cry from his normal rumpled black suits of fame. There was some rumor that the almanac had somehow been tampered with, a rumor long since shown to be specious. In short, the almanac evidence actually didn’t negate the witness’s testimony, merely created some uncertainty in an otherwise certain insistence of events by the witness. And “reasonable doubt” is all that a defense attorney must elicit from the jury. Lincoln did that and Armstrong, the son of a longtime friend of Lincoln’s, went free.

The book itself is fairly short, and actually not very robust as a work of scholarship. The writing is uneven and the author doesn’t really delve too deeply into events. Overall it seems like Walsh could have put a little more effort into the volume. Still, it gives a lightweight glimpse into a famous trial…a glimpse if not satisfying in its own right, may be just enough to wet the taste for a greater exploration of Lincoln’s casework.

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Three Books about Abraham Lincoln and His Books

Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln grew up reading everything he could get his hands on in the largely illiterate western frontier of 19th century America. So it’s no small irony that estimates of books written about Abraham Lincoln run over 15,000 volumes. Some day I’ll count up the number of books about Lincoln I’ve read (I’m guessing over 200) but for now I’ll give you three quick reviews of books related to Lincoln’s own love of books. All of these and more can be found on my Goodreads page under “read” books.

Abraham Lincoln and His Books: With Selections from the Writings of Lincoln and a Bibliography of Books in Print Relating to Abraham Lincoln – William E. Barton (1920)

Interesting small book from 1920 on books Lincoln read, as well as books about Lincoln, with an early bibliography. Also includes several of his speeches and other writings.

A Shelf of Lincoln Books: A Critical, Selective Bibliography of Lincolniana – Paul M. Angle (1946)

Published in 1946, this volume is necessarily outdated, but should definitely not be overlooked. Paul M. Angle was one of the preeminent Lincoln scholars of his day. He has carefully selected about 80 of the thousands of Lincoln books extant at that time, with an eye for those that offer the greatest contribution to Lincoln scholarship and have stood the test of time. Thus, Angle eliminates those books that “were little better than worthless when they were published,” and focuses on those with lasting value.

Despite selecting the best books, Angle is direct in his critiques for any inadequacies he sees in each volume. He notes that many of his comments may reflect a “magisterial tone,” but it is exactly that tone and his authoritative evaluation of each book’s strengths and weaknesses that make this “Shelf” so valuable in its own right.

There is a need for an updated bibliography of Lincoln books, but such an update should start with this volume by Angle.

100 Essential Lincoln Books – Michael Burkhimer (2003)

Very useful book published in 2003. The essential books are listed chronologically, starting with Carpenter’s “The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months in the White House” (1866) and ending with Miller’s “Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography” (2002). Burkhimer writes in 2-3 pages a combination of summary, highlights, and essay for each of the 100 books he deems “essential.”

His selection is obviously somewhat arbitrary, and the early books sometimes are chosen not because of their staying power but because they were the big (and often, only) books of the day. More culling was necessary for recent decades because the number of books being published about Lincoln has increased rather than drifted off. Given the number of Lincoln books published in the decade since this publication (including, for example, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s stellar “Team of Rivals”), there is a definite need for updating. This book, however, is a wonderful resource for those interested in filling in their Lincoln reading list, as well as for providing insights into the value of each of the books cited.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over 30 years, is a lifelong Lincolnophile, and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Tesla, Lincoln, Climate Denial, and Thanksgiving

A lot can happen in a week, or in this case, two weeks. Here’s a quick rundown of posts covering Nikola Tesla, Abraham Lincoln, Climate Denial, and Thanksgiving.

Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its TimeNikola Tesla had a busy week as Amazon put my e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time onto a “Countdown Deal” clock. The book started at a big discount and then continued at a smaller discount before returning to its normal low price. Thanks to the thousands of people who took a lot. You can read more about it here and still download the e-book on Amazon. Also, check out my Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity book on Amazon, BN.com, and in Barnes and Noble stores.

Abe and MeNot to be outdone, Abraham Lincoln was busy as well. First he was in Washington DC for the Election of 1864 Symposium, then he was in Gettysburg for the annual Lincoln Forum (and something about a speech to dedicate a graveyard), and then he took time away from the Thanksgiving holiday to, well, create the Thanksgiving holiday.

turkeyThanksgiving also featured prominently in Eating Thanksgiving on Hot White Snow. Upon reflection during this time of giving thanks it also struck me that I too often was Blogging the Day Away instead of working on my Lincoln and science book. I’ve corrected that somewhat, which is why there are fewer digressions on Hot White Snow (though admittedly I’m still writing those digressions).

Einstein2Finally, as the weather turned colder and the doorstep of winter approaches, The Dake Page took on two topics related to climate denial. The first offered some advice for how to discuss climate change over Thanksgiving (hint, don’t), while the second looked at the phenomenon known as “fake experts.”

Science Traveling got some attention as well. The plane tickets and rental car are all arranged for an Everglades/Key West/Dry Tortugas adventure in January. More on that soon.

There was also some exciting news this week on the Lincoln book in progress front. Two of the top Lincoln scholars in the world told me that my book topic is a wonderful idea and offered their insights and encouragement. Nothing better than inspirational support from renowned experts, except perhaps a 5- or 6-figure advance from the publisher. In any case, I’m spending the rest of the day on Abraham Lincoln.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over 30 years, is a lifelong Lincolnophile, and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Big Deals on Nikola Tesla Books Now

Nikola Tesla is a fascinating character, both for his scientific achievements and the intrigue in his personal life. Now for a limited time you can download the e-book, Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time, at big discounts on Amazon.

As this goes to press there are a few hours left at $0.99. After that, the price stays discounted at $1.99 until December 4th, when it reverts to its normal price.

Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

To give you a taste, the following is an excerpt from the beginning of the book:

“My paramount desire today, which guides me in everything I do, is an ambition to harness the forces of nature for the service of mankind.” – Nikola Tesla

The active pursuit of renewable energy sources may seem like a new phenomenon. Only in the 1970s, as a result of the oil crisis and OPEC limitation of oil exports, did the modern world begin to seriously consider the widespread use of energy derived not from coal, oil, and natural gas, but from the sun, wind, and water. Unfortunately, this surge in interest was largely abandoned in the 1980s as the country redirected investment into the military as a means of “winning” the cold war. Now, with the 21st century upon us and with an emphatic understanding that fossil fuels are causing man-made global warming, we are seriously revisiting a shift to renewable energy. We lost over thirty years of renewable energy development, but even that delay pales in comparison when considering the first recognized need for renewable energy by a man named Nikola Tesla.

In fact, Tesla was into renewable energy long before it became cool to be into renewable energy. As the header quote indicates, Tesla had sought to harness the forces of nature for the good of mankind. And he was doing this a hundred years ago.

This volume will explore the motivations of Nikola Tesla and some of his contributions that predate our current efforts to harness the power of nature. The book is intended as an overview rather than a comprehensive treatise on renewable energy then or now. The primary goal is to show that Nikola Tesla, and others, were already seeing the need for renewable resources long before the current resurgence in interest. This e-book expands on a concept briefly addressed in my earlier book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, published by Fall River Press (2013).

Click here to download it now on Amazon.

Tesla: The Wizard of ElectricityBut that’s not all. My original book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, is also now available for pre-order directly on Amazon. Previously you could only get it at Barnes and Noble and from resellers. Now you can get it from Amazon, at BN.com, and at Barnes and Noble bookstores all over the country. A third printing of 20,000 is on order and should sell out fast like the first two printings.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years and is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Countdown Discounts – Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and Black Friday sales), Amazon and I are making the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time available with big discounts for a limited time.

This is a countdown deal with Amazon, so the e-book is directly and immediately downloadable on Amazon based on the following price schedule:

Friday (11/28), Saturday (11/29), and Sunday (11/30): Only $0.99

Monday (12/1), Tuesday (12/2), Wednesday (12/3), and Thursday (12/4): Only $1.99

After Thursday the price reverts to its normal low price of $2.99, but obviously the best deals are made by acting fast. [More info below the photo]

Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

This e-book explores the little-known fact that Nikola Tesla was promoting the need for renewable energy 100 years ago. Tesla’s motivations and his contributions predating our current efforts to harness the power of nature are examined. The primary goal of this overview book is to show that Nikola Tesla, and others, were already seeing the need for renewable resources long before the current resurgence in interest. It expands on a concept briefly addressed in my earlier book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, published by Fall River Press (2013).

Don’t wait – the clock is already running on this countdown deal. Get it from November 28th through 30th for only $0.99, or from December 1st through 4th for $1.99.

Feel free to share this deal with anyone you know that might be interested in Nikola Tesla. You can even give the e-book as a gift to anyone with access to the US Amazon site.

And thank you all for spreading the world about Nikola Tesla.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Happy Thanksgiving…Thanks to Abraham Lincoln

ThanksgivingWe can thank none other than Abraham Lincoln for the great turkey-eating, pie-gulping, football-watching holiday of Thanksgiving. Yes, Abraham Lincoln.

Sure, the pilgrims started the first Thanksgiving repasts in early 17th century Plymouth, Massachusetts. Or maybe they didn’t. In any case, while days of thanksgiving were usually held in the fall to offer thanks for the bounty of the harvest, the holiday was held only sporadically and on different dates in different states during our early history as a country. All that was changed by our 16th president in 1863, who in the midst of the Civil War issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Lincoln states:

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

The proclamation, which was hand-written by Secretary of State William Seward and then signed by Abraham Lincoln, established the precedent for the annual day of thanksgiving on the federal level. Lincoln’s Proclamation sought to bring together all Americans – in the north and the south and the east and the west. Whether it had any significant effect in that regard is debatable, as the holiday wasn’t actually celebrated nationally until the late 1870s after reconstruction has more or less reunified the country. Still, he had the right idea.

Today the fourth Thursday each November is set aside for all of us to give thanks for all with which we have been blessed. Abraham Lincoln remembered this during a time of great strife so it should be easy for us to remember all that we have gained since that era. With that spirit in mind I give thanks for all the wonderful people I have, and have had, in my life. Thank you all, and be well always.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

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The Lincoln Forum Comes to Gettysburg

Each year the Lincoln Forum comes to Gettysburg, PA, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech. This year marks the 19th annual symposium, and like all the symposia that preceded it, good times were had by all as over 300 learned people learned even more about our 16th President.

This was my first time in attendance at the Forum as the week had always coincided with the annual SETAC meeting. A shift in SETAC’s schedule put me in Vancouver a week early, which freed me up for the short drive to Gettysburg. Based on my experiences last week, I’ll definitely be at the Lincoln Forum in 2015 as they celebrate their “one-score” anniversary.

Abe and Me

Abraham Lincoln (aka, George Buss) and the author

As luck would have it I was able to meet two Abraham Lincolns (my first presidential photo-op). George Buss, in full regalia, is an active member of the Lincoln Forum. Jim Getty (more on him in a moment) is one of the most revered Lincoln presenters in the country.

Harold Holzer

Harold Holzer at the lectern, watched by Frank Williams

The conference was a cornucopia of Lincoln scholars. I was able to meet such esteemed historians as Harold Holzer, Frank Williams, Edna Greene Medford, Catherine Clinton, William C. “Jack” Davis, Craig L. Symonds, and, just one week after seeing them in Washington at the Lincoln Group of DC symposium, Tom Horrocks and Jonathan W. White. If all that scholarship wasn’t enough, noted Civil War historian and Pulitzer Prize winner James McPherson was there with his new book on another Civil War President – Jefferson Davis.

James McPherson

James McPherson

I also had the chance to speak with Daniel Weinberg, owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, IL. A published author himself, Dan has been instrumental in bringing Lincoln book authors to the public, both through store sales and his Virtual Book Signing events. I also spoke several times with David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, authors of “Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason,” a book that delves into Lincoln’s use of Euclid geometry in his speeches. Given my own work in progress – a book on Lincoln’s “sciencey” side – I felt privileged at the opportunity to get their insights first hand.

Panel discussion

Panel with (l-r) Jack Davis, Craig Symonds, James McPherson, John Marszalek, Richard McMurry

Like most conferences, the annual Lincoln Forum symposium includes stellar speakers, stimulating panel discussions, and significant award presentations. Unlike some conferences, the camaraderie is palpable, as both old and new friends gleefully share their interest in one of our greatest presidents.

Jim Getty

Jim Getty

And then there is Jim Getty. Each year the Lincoln Forum gives the Richard Nelson Current Achievement Award to someone who has contributed to “the spirit of Lincoln in both word and deed.” This year the recipient of the award was kept secret for only the second time, then given to an unsuspecting Jim Getty for his nearly 40-year career as a Lincoln presenter.

Bobby Horton

Bobby Horton

Finally, the conference closed with a performance by instrumentalist and singer Bobby Horton, known for his work with Ken Burns on the original PBS miniseries, The Civil War. The best part is that I will get to see Bobby Horton again soon as he provides musical enlightenment during the Lincoln Group of DC’s “2nd Inaugural Address” festivities in March 2015.

Click on these links to get information about joining the Lincoln Forum and the Lincoln Group of DC.

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

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Shaken, Stirred, Abraham Lincoln, and the Climate Crisis

Two weeks, three conferences, and thousands of social interactions. It’s good to be home.

Shaken, Yet StirredThat’s how I start off my most recent piece on Hot White Snow. It all started with a full-day conference on the Election of 1864 sponsored by the Lincoln Group of DC. The next day I flew to Vancouver for SETAC, and then after only a couple of days back took off for Gettysburg and the annual Lincoln Forum. Shaken, Yet Stirred relates my need for period recharging during these busy social occasions. Plug me in to an energy source for a while, and I’m all ready to go back into the game.

Climate Crisis Tired of scientists being too technical in describing climate science? The Dake Page reviews a book called The Climate Crisis that attempts to give the basics without all the math. They don’t entirely succeed – it’s still technical enough to not be suitable for non-technical folks – but it is full of color graphics, charts, tables, and photographs documenting every aspect of climate science. Think of it as IPCC-lite.

And then there is Lincoln. We had some great speakers at the Lincoln Group of DC symposium, and two of them also participated in another Lincoln event – the Lincoln Forum held in Gettysburg, PA. I’ll write more about this Forum shortly, but I can report already that I plan to attend next year, and the next, and the next. One cool feature of the Forum is that you’re sure to find more than one Abraham Lincoln wandering the halls. This is my first photo-op with a US President!

Abe and Me

Speaking of the Lincoln Group of DC, please plan to join us on December 16th for a great dinner speaker – Gerard Magliocca. Check back soon for much more…including some upcoming overseas science traveling.

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

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