Little Tommy Edison and All the Rest

Young Thomas EdisonTwo weeks have passed since my last recap, and it’s been a busy fortnight. Tops on the list is finding out all about little Tommy Edison. Yes, Thomas Alva Edison. And he wasn’t really called Tommy; in fact he was called Al (not to be confused with the Paul Simon song, “You Can Call Me Al”).

It turns out Little Al was a precocious child. After dismissed as “addled” by a teacher, Edison was home-schooled, ran off to be a news butch, then telegraph operator, and at 22-years-old quit work to become a full-time independent inventor. No wonder he got more than a thousand patents in a life filled with both excitement and disappointment, where his inventions flourished after they were made better by others, and where his loss of hearing left him biting the local piano to enjoy the music.

Intrigued? Good. As my new book develops I’m confident that you’ll discover the many sides of Thomas Edison that most people don’t know…and much of which people do know may actually not be true. Stayed tuned for more updates.

Lincoln Quote BustAlso seen lately here on Science Traveler was a review of a book on Lincoln’s sometimes rocky relationship with the press, and a birthday tribute to the the man himself.

The AwakeningOn Hot White Snow I relived The Trauma of First Grade. Having missed any opportunities for pre-school or kindergarten, there is nothing like having to stand in the hallway half of the first day of first grade to stigmatize a child’s vision of the educational system.

Peer reviewThe Dake Page continued its series on how peer-review of scientific papers works…and sometimes doesn’t work. Part 2 looked at what happens when peer-review goes wrong, while Part 3 looked at the rare, but important, cases of intentional abuse of the peer-review system.

Meanwhile, plans continue for a late May trip to the lands of Vikings (not the Minnesota ones), Fjords (not the Detroit ones), and blondes (yes, those ones). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take advantage of an invite to see two great friends from Brussels get married in Bulgaria as it falls on the same week I already have travel plans. I actually already visited Sofia (the capital) and Plovdiv as part of a rapid response trip several years ago, but it would have been great to see them again. Next trip!

More science travel posts soon (I promise).

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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