The year was 1889. The War of the Currents was well underway. At stake: the future of electrical power distribution on planet Earth. With the financial backing of George Westinghouse, Tesla’s AC polyphase system competed for market dominance with Edison’s established (but less efficient) DC system, in one of the ugliest and most epic tales of technological competition of the modern age.
More than a hundred years after the dust settled, Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders published The Five Fists of Science: a rollicking graphical retelling of what really happened at the turn of the last century. (Get yourself a copy and read it immediately, unless you’re allergic to AWESOME). On the right is the cover to this fantastic tale of electrical fury.
See that dapper fellow in front? That’s a young Mr. Tesla. See what he’s packin’?
Well, I’ll tell you what I paid for them. I traded a shrunken Susan B. Anthony dollar for a 10-byte note, and a shrunken quarter for a 5-byte note. That puts the direct exchange rate at about 10:1 (B:$). We agreed that since they were shrunken coins, it established a fair “proof of work”.
This operation was the culmination of two years of research and development work by the “open high-field MRI” task force specialising in radiology. “We had to develop a new type of foetal surveillance monitor whose measuring technology is not adversely affected by the extremely strong magnetic field of the MRI scanner,” says project manager Felix Güttler in explaining one of the challenges the team faced.