back to article Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

There is a house in old Belgrade that has male and female private parts. If you were tempted to sing that last sentence, I suppose you could call it the House of the Rising Bum. Bum-bum tish. I thank you. You may not consider a building with gender junk to be so unusual. After all, there are Hitler houses and cat cottages, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    country & western singers

    No rappers? Kardashians?

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: country & western singers

      Some rappers are well worth saving some are not. As for the others I'm suggesting the Deadpool option of running them over with a Zamboni

    2. Pascal

      Re: country & western singers

      The list is a good first draft, but you really should bump "influencers" up a bit. Probably above country singers even.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: country & western singers

        @Pascal not that I disagree with you, but if you are successful in your suggestion some might identify you as an "influencer".

        1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

          Re: country & western singers

          You omitted an obvious target: MBAs - especially those who attempt to manage anything technical.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: country & western singers

            In the interests of lengthening the list as well as helping to conserve world resources, I feel futurists and TED talkers ought to be added to the list.

          2. pinkmouse

            Re: country & western singers

            I'd like to add one more to the list; anyone that uses the term "Workshop" not in reference to a light industrial facility.

        2. BillG
          Joke

          Re: country & western singers

          In western Europe and further west to the Americas, we tend to be wary of cleverness. We believe smart people are up to no good, being deliberately and revoltingly smart all the time, trying to catch us out and being undeservedly satisfied when it turns out they were right all along. It's only fair that we beat the shit out of these spotty, bespectacled kids at school.

          Another name for people wary of cleverness: Rednecks. They should be #1 on the list.

          1. Trilkhai
            Thumb Down

            Re: country & western singers

            Wouldn't the British term "chav" be better? It's not like poor uneducated whites in the Deep South are all "wary of cleverness" or anywhere near the only racial sub-group to produce a lot of people that fit that description...

            FWIW, as an olive-skinned Californian geek, I'm not even close to being a redneck; I just don't think it's any cooler to target them than it is to use the offensive terms for poor uneducated non-whites and suggest they should be killed first.

    3. Ogi
      Pint

      Re: country & western singers

      > Clearly the list of those at whom an out-of-control autonomous car should aim are as follows, in order of priority

      To be honest I find the whole question a bit silly. In my opinion, If the autonomous car is out of control, then by definition, even if it can make a decision on who to kill, it can't actually control the vehicle to take aim.

      If the autonomous car still has control over the car, why wouldn't it decide to not kill anyone? It could aim to miss everyone, or just stop. One of the main things autonomous car enthusiasts go on about is how AI self driving cars will be millions of times better than human drivers and their puny animal brains. It will be able to stop faster, it will always drive at a speed fitting the road conditions, predict events better, and be so much safer, etc... i.e. the autonomous car is smart enough to never get into a position to have an accident in the first place.

      Assuming all the above is actually achieved in the future (personally as a non techno-fetishist, I am skeptical), the only time the autonomous car has to make a decision about who to kill is if things have gone badly badly wrong. Basically we are talking about a hypothetical situation where the autonomous car still has enough control of the vehicle to use it to kill someone, but for some reason cannot use that control to avoid killing anyone (I don't know, suddenly a large group of people, all in a line and easily distinguishable, instantly appear just metres away from the car? Even then, either the car can hit the brakes and stop, or it can't, and it will skid straight into the group with no control over who exactly it hits).

      Barring a malfunction (or it being hacked) that renders the AI car homicidal in intent, I can't actually see a use case for where the autonomous car has to make such ethical decisions.

      And on that cheery note. Happy Friday, almost pint o'clock!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Alert

        Youtube Stars

        With under 1900 views in 3 years at the time of writing, I think Mme Dabbs is not in any danger of becoming a widow due to an autonomous car...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGfYHTJitlo

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: country & western singers

        "In my opinion, If the autonomous car is out of control, then by definition, even if it can make a decision on who to kill, it can't actually control the vehicle to take aim."

        My guess would be that an autonomous car gets out of control of it's AI by the latter overloaded with conflicting information and rules so that in order to ditch the lot it needs an emergency routine to follow. I suspect they're all loaded up with a secret "kill the lone pedestrian" function and that eventually it will be triggered where the overload arises in an entirely innocuous situation.

        After all the emissions cheating stuff would you really believe it would be beyond the car manufacturers' inclinations?

        1. cosmogoblin

          Re: country & western singers

          My guess would be that an autonomous car gets out of control of it's AI by the latter overloaded with conflicting information and rules so that in order to ditch the lot it needs an emergency routine to follow.

          Isn't that how humans work? If our cerebral cortex can't handle a tense situation, the decision-making responsibility is handed over to the amygdala, which has a small bank of emergency responses (fight-flight-freeze). The available responses aren't always appropriate, but they're usually better than mulling it over until it's too late.

          If it's worked for animals over a billion years of evolution, it seems a good starting point for devices we design today.

      3. Hopalong
        Joke

        Re: country & western singers

        If it is a Tesla car, very high on the list would be Tesla share shorters, it may even go out of its way to bag one.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: country & western singers

        Autonomous car.. driving 70mph in the middle lane of a motorway. traffic both sides. all of a sudden, the back doors of the lorry in front burst open, and hundreds of logs are flung out...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: country & western singers

          The training data set used during software development unaccountably failed to include pictures of hundreds of logs and so the AI takes no action.

        2. cynic56

          Re: country & western singers

          "the back doors of the lorry in front burst open, and hundreds of logs are flung out..."

          Now it's getting much more complicated. Should it run over Beech before Ash, Horse Chestnut before Sycamore, Elm before Oak, on number 4 - the larch. I didn't even know these AI cars were qualified Dendrologists.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: country & western singers

            Should it run over Beech before Ash, Horse Chestnut before Sycamore, Elm before Oak, on number 4 - the larch

            Less of a problem in the US, where thanks to invasive pests we essentially no longer have many chestnuts or elms, and ash is on the way out too.

            The loss of the American chestnut is particularly unfortunate. Those were huge, attractive trees that once represented maybe a quarter of all the trees in large parts of the Appalachian forests. They still survive in some isolated areas, where the blight hasn't been introduced or has been displaced by less-virulent strains, and various organizations have been working on varieties with better resistance to the blight.

            Oak, on the other hand, we have plenty of. Run those suckers over.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Terminator

              Re: training AI

              I have detailed files ->

    4. Oh Homer

      "Who should an autonomous vehicle kill in an avoidable crash?"

      Well if it's avoidable then obviously the answer is nobody.

      Next!

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: country & western singers

      Where do those using the term "scrum" and wearing rugby boots appear? Hopefully not too far below those wearing football kit. And amongst the latter do those not on a football field appear above or below those who are? I appreciate that in the normal circumstances the car is unlikely to find itself running down those who are on a football field; the manufacturers should make more efforts in this respect.

    6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: country & western singers

      Do the autonomous vehicle AI training image sets contain country & western singers?

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46055595

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Here on the other side of the planet, our banknotes have poetry on them, written in tiny text readable only by kiddies with perfect eyesight.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      our banknotes have poetry on them

      Not poems and rubbish ... SCIENCE!

      Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll capture a fighting machine, learn how it works, then;

      WHOOSH! WITH OUR FIGHTING MACHINES! WHOOSH! WITH OUR HEAT RAY! WHOOSH! AND THEM RUNING AND DYIIIIIIIING!

      1. Geoff May (no relation)

        Re: our banknotes have poetry on them

        Ah! Bollocks, why can I only up vote once? <sigh>

      2. HandleAlreadyTaken

        Re: our banknotes have poetry on them

        >Maybe one day we’ll capture a fighting machine, learn how it works

        The chances of anything coming from that are a million to one, I say...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What have we here, laddie? Mysterious scribblings? A secret code? No! Poems, no less! Poems, everybody!

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Don't blame the Serbs

      British fears of German Naval strength, French desire to reclaim Alsace-Lorainne, Russian angst at the length of time it would take to mobilise their army, Austro-Hungarian dented pride mixed with internal contradictions inherent in a land empire, German expansionism and desire to avoid encirclement might all have a had a slight part to play beyond the single hand weapon that Gavrilo Princip discharged in Sarajevo back in 1914.

      I'm out of breath now ....

      1. james_smith

        Re: Don't blame the Serbs

        Yup, but the assinassation was the final straw, and Princip's group was funded and directed by the Serbian intelligence services. They also helped kick off the series of wars in the Balkans leading up to the big one ...

      2. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

        Re: Don't blame the Serbs

        "British fears of German Naval strength"

        Naval strength built with no other purpose than to rival Britain.

        Some still recall a telegram to Kruger--some realize military old-salts are ignored only to the enemy's advantage.

      3. JPeasmould

        Re: Don't blame the Serbs

        A headline (not the winner) from a headline competition years ago went: -

        "Archduke Ferdinand found alive - 1st World War Fought in Vain"

        It made me laugh but does point out the daftness of blaming his death alone for the mayhem that followed.

  4. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Electricity

    A good choice of tune, their speeded-up version of Kraftwerk's Radioactivity is a fine tribute to Tesla, but there is, of course, a more direct tribute.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Electricity

      is a fine tribute to Tesla

      There's also a very fine album by Australian Prog band Unitopia which is (almost) all about him:

      http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=28241

      I don't know whether they are still a going concern (like most good prog bands they seem to go in and out of existence that the drop of a stage costume) but, if they are, they are well worth seeing.

      One of the few bands better live than on record.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Electricity

        Or you could go for The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing's "Tesla Coil"

    2. juice Silver badge

      Re: Electricity

      TBH, I think this is one of the better tributes, courtesy of steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYc9-OtxNE0

      "A Tesla Coil

      A Tesla Coil

      My wife's been fitted with a Tesla Coil

      If I get frisky in the marital bed

      Sparks shoot down her leg"

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Electricity

        @Juice thanks for finding the youtube vid, being at work it's not something I can really search for just yet.

        The Men also have some rather more IT related songs, notably "Vive La Difference Engine", an ode to Babbage and Lovelace :)

        1. juice Silver badge

          Re: Electricity

          Aye, they're lovely and only occasionally slightly angry chaps, who do an excellent job of highlighting social issues from the Victorian era inbetween their more comedic moments.

          In fact, I'd say that they're one of the very few bands who actually put the punk into steampunk.

          Friday pub, you say? Mine's the hat *without* the cogs on...

          1. james_smith

            Re: Electricity

            Singer Andy is also an alumni of the chaotically brilliant Creaming Jesus and a nice bloke as well.

            1. Spamfast Bronze badge

              Re: Electricity

              alumni

              alumnus (unless female)

        2. HandleAlreadyTaken

          Re: Electricity

          >IT related songs

          I like Bad Religion's "I Love My Computer"; it reminds me of the better, more innocent days before Google and Facebook...

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Electricity

        I just read that to the tune of (in my head) Tesla Girls.

        I feel one of my (infamous) parody songs coming on.......

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Electricity

          I suppose not a one of you heathens has heard of Captain Beefheart, much less His Magic Band. Well, it's time you did. Enjoy.

    3. MiguelC Silver badge
  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

    When you ask someone what a Tesla is unless they are an old skool Electrical Engineer they might say 'oh, that's a funny car that runs on batteries'.

    A child might ask 'are the batteries included'? (joke)

    I wonder what Nikolai would have said about the design cues of a vehicle that bears his name?

    Would he be into minimalism? (like the Model 3 interior)

    nice piece though Dabbsy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And to see the hijackers beating his name to death

      Just google "tesla free energy". If that doesn't give you enough woo for a Friday arvo add terms like "masonic conspiracy" or "flat earth". An ocean of conspiracies awaits, for example:

      "Nikola Tesla appears to have been murdered killed by Prescott Bush and his Family by way of german S.S. Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny. Also, George Bush Senior appears to be directly linked to a hand in the JFK assaination via Richard Nixon (a.k.a. Tricky Dick). For example, did you know Jack Ruby worked for congressman Richard Nixon in 1947?"

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

      When you ask someone what a Tesla is unless they are an old skool Electrical Engineer they might say 'oh, that's a funny car that runs on batteries'.

      I'd go with something you shouldn't go near with your keys in your pocket, unless you want to be stuck to whatever is causing it.

      As a unit of measurement, the scale is a bit off of most practical uses.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

      That's OK. Tesla (as in Nicola) still strikes back.

      "Тесла" in Southern Slavic languages is the name of a carpenter tool. It is the nearly obsolete in Britain adze (most carpenters to use one have retired and I have seen one only in Eastern Europe). By the way - Judging by his family name Tesla quite clearly had a few carpenters in his ancestry.

      In any case, to cut a long story short. Today, "Tesla" (or Тесла) in these languages in addition to carpentry tool meaning is also the colloquial for "botched job", "f***-up", someone not showing up for a meeting/date or something not being on time.

      Good luck to Tesla Motors to sell a Tesla in a Balkan country. They are going to need it. It is after all a Тесла. Colloquial for a Tesla.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

        Today, "Tesla" (or Тесла) in these languages in addition to carpentry tool meaning is also the colloquial for "botched job", "f***-up", someone not showing up for a meeting/date or something not being on time.

        Good luck to Tesla Motors to sell a Tesla in a Balkan country. They are going to need it. It is after all a Тесла. Colloquial for a Tesla.

        Perhaps they could rename the export version a "Nova"...

        https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/chevrolet-nova-name-spanish/

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

          That's why you usually have some local brand management

          Mitsubishi's Pajero was renamed Montero in Spain (wouldn't you proudly drive your Mitsubishi 'Wanker'?)

          And Hyundai Kona was renamed Kauai in Portugal (who knew that driving a 'Kunt' could be embarrassing for some?)

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

            That's why you usually have some local brand management

            It's refreshing to know that as in IT, other industries have to contend with poorly researched and thought-out efforts that someone else has to come along behind and somehow make right.

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

            That's why you usually have some local brand management

            And why Rolls Royce decided not to produce the Silver Mist, since the German market was important for them.

            1. Anonymous C0ward

              Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

              And why Rolls Royce decided not to produce the Silver Mist, since the German market was important for them.

              Did it come with a free gift?

            2. Commswonk Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

              @ Phil O'Sophical: And why Rolls Royce decided not to produce the Silver Mist, since the German market was important for them.

              I doubt if there will ever be a car called Golden Shower, either.

              Mine's waterproof...

          3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

            Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

            Not to mention the Toyota MR2 in France.

          4. Stork Silver badge

            Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

            Whereas RR Silver Mist caused smiles in Germany

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

          worst car name evar was a GM concept car called "Impact" (also another electric car). Later (when in production) it was re-named 'EV-1' [probably because they realized the implications of 'impact'].

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1

          considering its eventual fate, the original name was _SO_ appropriate, foreshadowing, etc..

        3. Dejan

          Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

          Well, if Ford can sell cars with the name "Kuga" which means Plague / Black Death in SerboCroatian, the I guess even Tesla can sell a few cars over there. Its another matter that you hardly can charge it in any public location except along the Slovenian/Croatian coastal line so you will realy need the long range that Tesla provides.

          Just check OpenChargeMap.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

        Hay! I've got an adze. I use it for chopping out tree roots.

        1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

          Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

          "Hay! I've got an adze. I use it for chopping out tree roots."

          Is your adze one half of a mattock?

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

        "It is the nearly obsolete in Britain adze (most carpenters to use one have retired and I have seen one only in Eastern Europe)."

        https://www.robertthompsons.co.uk/

      5. shedied

        Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

        Reminds me of the Chevy Nova having a hard time selling to Spanish speaking countries (where "no va" translated roughly to "no go").

    4. GBE

      Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

      When you ask someone what a Tesla is unless they are an old skool Electrical Engineer they might say 'oh, that's a funny car that runs on batteries'.

      I think you'd be surprised how many people would know what a "Tesla" is (at least vaguely) if you started asking around in a modern hospital's radiology department. My 86 year old mother can tell you how many Teslas her cardiac stents are rated for...

    5. IceC0ld Silver badge

      Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

      something I have got into the habit of, is adding a link to the following site / page for anything Mr Tesla associated :o) - he was a real genius, and should be remembered properly

      http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

  6. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Noted scientists

    Britain, typically, put Isaac Newton on the lowest denomination banknote -- £1. Then they abolished that note and replaced it with a cheap coin: the brass sovereign.

    West Germany put Carl Friedrich Gauss on their smallest banknote, the ten Deutsche Mark note. I would have expected more respect for scientists from them. Then they abolished the DM, replacing it with the Euro.

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Noted scientists

      Go here to vote on the new £50 note.

      https://app.keysurvey.co.uk/f/1348443/10fc/

      Obviously, it should be James Clerk Maxwell. Third greatest physicist of all time, and, as mentioned in the article, people with an enormous bushy beard are used to stymie prospective forgers.

      More here:-

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46063097

      JCM made a much bigger contribution to science than anyone mentioned by the BBC, but he wasn't gay, disabled or a woman, so it seems he has little chance. The irony is, that without Maxwell, there would be no broadcasting anyway. It'd be the BC.

      1. SVV Silver badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        It seems like Stephen Hawking is the current favourite, but Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing are doing strongly too. So go cast your vote for a British IT legend! (Personally I would have Ada AND Babbage together just to stop the inevitable tedious hoo ha about what gender the cash front celebrity should be).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ada Lovelace

          >Personally I would have Ada AND Babbage

          Anyone bigging up Ada could do well to read:

          https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/christmas-trilogy-2012-part-ii-charles-and-ada-a-tale-of-genius-or-of-exploitation/

          1. Kristian Walsh

            Re: Ada Lovelace

            Anyone bigging up Ada could do well to read: ...

            That article perpetuates two myths: the first myth is that strong mathematical ability is necessary for someone to be a programmer (i.e., Ada wasn't a good mathematician, therefore Ada could not have been a programmer), and the second that Ada Lovelace's place in computing history was earned for being "the first programmer"*. Both are mostly untrue.

            Lovelace's insight was much deeper that just writing out code, and was probably one that only a "failed undergraduate mathematician" with a penchant for the arts would have had - the other people connected with Babbage's machine seemed to be too enamoured with numerical methods to have made the leap outside of Mathematics that Lovelace did**. Basically, she is the first person to have stated the idea that the mechanical and mathematical processes, as used by the Babbage machine, might have application to things that were at the time considered to be the domain of Art, not of mathematics.

            Here's the gist of it: If you assign numeric values to things that are not in themselves quantities, they could be manipulated by a machine like Babbage's to produce results that, once decoded from that numeric form back into their real-world equivalents, would have meaning. This is such a fundamental idea in computing that most programmers barely even think about it (and one major operating system family, Unix, conflates the concepts of text and binary data to such an extent that developers often make errors in handling them that only become clear when they have to translate their applications into a different human language)

            __

            * she was definitely the first writer of developer documentation, though; the "programs" published under her name are much clearer than the equivalents in Babbage's own notes, and the written correspondence (and occasional arguments) between Babbage and Lovelace would be familiar to anyone who's ever had to write sample code for a new system.

            ** Even a leap to another area of Mathematics would have been world-changing. George Boole, of "Boolean" fame, narrowly missed collaborating with Babbage - they didn't follow up on what seems to have been a very cordial meeting at the Great Exhibition of 1862, and Boole died (young) just two years later. Babbage adapting his Engine to use Boole's two-state arithmetic rather than decimal calculation remains one of those great "what if's" of history - there's no doubt that it would certainly have simplified the design enough for it to become feasible with the technology of the age. As it was, Boole's ideas on logical computing didn't get realised until 1937..

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ada Lovelace

              >the "programs" published under her name are much clearer than the equivalents in Babbage's own notes, and the written correspondence (and occasional arguments) between Babbage and Lovelace

              This is the received wisdom - Allan Bromley who has made no little study of both the correspondence and Babbage wrote:

              “Not only is there no evidence that Ada ever prepared a program for the Analytical Engine, but her correspondence with Babbage shows that she did not have the knowledge to do so”

              He also sourced all of the examples in Notes to Babbage's previous work, several years earlier too - although they are invariably credited to Ada.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Ada Lovelace

              "Basically, she is the first person to have stated the idea that the mechanical and mathematical processes, as used by the Babbage machine, might have application to things that were at the time considered to be the domain of Art, not of mathematics."

              Was she the first to print an ASCII art Snoopie?

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Noted scientists

          "It seems like Stephen Hawking is the current favourite, but Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing are doing strongly too."

          Interesting. I'd wager that all three would be unknown to the general public had it not been for disability, sex and sexuality. They are known for being "scientists, despite the obstacles that history placed in their path", rather than "scientists". Apparently the science is never enough of a story in itself.

          Conversely, artists seem to get a free pass for their personal lives as long as the art is good enough. Strange.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        Go here to vote on the new £50 note.

        https://app.keysurvey.co.uk/f/1348443/10fc/

        I've gone with Dorothy Hodgkin, the Nobel prize winning developer of x-ray protein crystallography. Both ebcuase she was very smart, and because women are sadly underrepresented on bank notes.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Noted scientists

          "Both ebcuase she was very smart, and because women are sadly underrepresented on bank notes."

          Hodgkin already has a series of grants from the Royal Society named after her. James Maxwell has some crap instant coffee.

        2. WolfFan Silver badge

          "women are sadly underrepresented on bank notes"

          Oh? Really? I haven't been in the UK in <mumble> years, but when I was last there I seemed to see that pretty much every bank note had a pic of a certain person named 'Elizabeth' on them. Is s/he not a woman? And if not, has anyone notified Phil the Greek that he's married to a guy? He is a sailor as well as being a Danish/German Greek, and so might not have noticed.

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: "..... "......women are sadly underrepresented on bank notes."

          I dunno. There seems to be a woman on every bank note I have in me wallet. She's got a sort of shiny metal hat on.

          Bugger me! Looks like she's on all the coins too!

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        "Obviously, it should be James Clerk Maxwell."

        I also nominated Maxwell just now, mentioning that without his unification of electricity and magnetism into the electromagnetic theory of light, most of twentieth-century physics couldn't have happened.

      4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        Maxwell! Go on, then, have an upvote. Einstein himself stated:

        "Since Maxwell's time, physical reality has been thought of as represented by continuous fields, and not capable of any mechanical interpretation. This change in the conception of reality is the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton"

        When I worked in a computational electromagnetics R&D effort the supers were named "Maxwell" "Faraday" "Dirac" "Gauss" "Petunia". Three Brits, one German, and a HHG reference in an American lab...

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Noted scientists

          OK there’s some synchronicity here. My visit to Belgrade was for an IEEE meeting and now you’re all talking about Maxwell... for whom the UK & Ireland Section of IEEE installed a double history milestone plaque nearly 10 years ago. One is at Castle Douglas, the other at King’s College London. If you’re interested, here are the details and location maps: https://ethw.org/Milestones:Maxwell's_Equations,_1860-1871

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Noted scientists

          That sounds highly improbable....

      5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Noted scientists

        No love for Marconi?

        Maxwell provided the theory, Marconi made it work...AND (more importantly) made it pay!

        Difficulty: Italian, so probably not a good candidate for the #50 note (sorry, no "pound" on my KB)

        Rosalind Franklin?

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Noted scientists

          @Anton

          Alt-0163 = £

          (Worked in a financial adviser, and had a US-Dvorak keyboard)

      6. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Noted scientists

        Here's a page listing quite a few scientists whose faces are on bank notes:

        https://www.slideshare.net/sotos1/scientists-on-banknotes

        Amusingly, the very first comment on the page is basically, "Hey! You missed a few!"

      7. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        "Obviously, it should be James Clerk Maxwell".

        Er, no. Obviously it should be his equations. Only then could we have the enjoyment of, to paraphrase the article, "just imagining the average parent explaining a matching set of differential equations to their kids".

      8. David Roberts Silver badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        Didn't Maxwell invent the silver hammer?

      9. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Noted scientists

        @Symon,

        James Clerk Maxwell may not have been "gay, disabled or a woman", but he was a Scot and Scots are a persecuted minority. Might be odd on an English banknote but a Scot founded the Bank of England.

        "It'd be the BC"

        Brian Cox? I would vote for Brian Cox, but we'd have to kill him first. The Queen is the only living person allowed on a British banknote.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Noted scientists

          Why does there have to be *any* person on a banknote?

          I expect Hawking will get it, and he is indeed a deserving candidate. Not to mention preferable to those candidates whose merits - though worthy - are secondary to matters of identity politics.

          I shall make myself a lonely outlier by suggesting G H Hardy. His Mathematician's Apology was a seminal influence in my life[1], both for the way it shows the beauty of maths, and for its setting in the lost world of the academic elite it portrays. Deeply unfashionable of course, and his championing of Ramanujan probably just makes it worse, as that was purely on merit.

          [1] It was one of main things that influenced me to study (pure) maths at Cambridge.

        2. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: Noted scientists

          Since the Bank of England pretty much belongs to the Queen, she could theoretically allow a living person to be portrayed on a banknote just by uttering two words:

          "Who's Queen?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Smallest German banknote before the Teuro was 5DM

      Adorned by a progressive German writer

    3. pakman
      FAIL

      Re: Noted scientists

      "Britain, typically, put Isaac Newton on the lowest denomination banknote -- £1."

      Not only that, they messed up by putting the sun in the wrong place on the diagram of the Earth's orbit (the sun should have been at one of the focal points of the ellipse, not at the centre). Ironic, considering that Newton was also in charge of the Royal Mint at one point in his career.

    4. Reginald Marshall

      Re: Noted scientists

      Heh. I've recently handled Serbian currency, so this column was a serendipitous reminder: the 2000 RSD banknote also has a scientist on the obverse, Milutin Milanković оf the ice age cycles fame. It's a rather strange portrait, from the mid to late 1920's in my estimation, where Mr Milanković faintly resembles the emcee from Cabaret.

    5. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Noted scientists

      As the lower-denomination notes are the most seen, surely placement there is the real honour?

      Three of the eight Deutschmark notes featured scientists (DM 10: Gauss; DM 200: the Nobel laureate Paul Erlich, DM 500: the entomologist Maria Sybilla Merian), a fourth celebrated an architect (50: Balthasar Neumann). Three writers, a poet and one musician rounded out the set.

      ... Yes, that comes to nine people, because (and in case you still labour under the misapprehension that Germans have no sense of humour) the DM 1000 note featured the brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, famed purveyors of fairytales

      The most surprising thing about this DM 1000,- note was that it actually saw real circulation: I received one in a pay-packet once in the mid 1990s, and I was able to spend it in a shop - okay, that took a bit of checking with the manager first, but for what was effectively a £350 note, it was relatively easy to use.

    6. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Noted scientists

      Being old enough to remember the old £1 note I’ve had 1642-1727 permanently ingrained since childhood.

  7. Steve K Silver badge

    OMD

    Surely the OMD reference should also be "Tesla Girls"?

    Or was the answer from the Editor "No! No! No!"?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: OMD

      No, not “Tesla Girls”. Because it was a shit song.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: OMD

        A fair response....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    1. Paul Kinsler

      oh, very good!

      (there should be more of this kind of noise-based amusement)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: oh, very good!

        Oh, there is. Just search for the many tunes played on dot matrix printers, floppy disk drives and hard disks.

        I've sent the link to a friend of mine who is a total audiophile, just because I have an evil sense of humour :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: oh, very good!

          Historically the best tesla coil music videos came from ArcAttack because they were the ones crazy enough to put on chainmail and dance through the electrical discharges.

          The floppotron also deserves an honourable mention for making good use of obsolete scrap.

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: oh, very good!

          Chain printers :-)

          Of course, the canonical tune for this sort of thing is always "Daisy" (aka "Bicycle Built for Two")

          1. AK565

            Re: Chain printers

            I guess this means I’m “of a certain age”. I’m old enough to know the song, but young enough that I’d never, ever think of it when encountering the words “daisy” and “chain” in the same paragraph.

  9. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Not the only scientist on a banknote

    When Germany still had its own currency, the 10 Mark note had Carl Friedrich Gauss together with his eponymous bell-curve distribution, both on a graph and a formula.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Friedrich_Gauss#/media/File:10_DM_Serie4_Vorderseite.jpg

    Which reminds me that when I worked in Germany a Japanese colleague from the same lab asked me if I remember the Gauss distribution formula. I told him to look at the 10 Mark note. He did but went to the library to double check. He was surprised the formula was correct.

    1. naive

      Re: Not the only scientist on a banknote

      Before toilet paper, a.k.a. Euro-Lires from Brussels came into use as currency, the Netherlands had the philosopher Baruch de Spinoza on its highest denomination, the famous green 1000 guilder banknote.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I initially read "male and female private parts" as meaning separate quarters. Only after more sentences and a picture did the anthropomorphic features slant become apparent.

    I will have to stop taking the pills.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      I will have to stop taking the pills.

      Or take more - that usually works for me.. (until the nausea kicks in).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Or take more [...]"

        The beneficial effect of that would possibly be to grow more hair on my bald pate. The pills are anti-androgens to reduce testosterone in order to stop my prostate enlarging again.

        An interesting side effect is that I still know when I see something that is academically pleasing to my sexual aesthetics - but an emotional "kick" is gone. A rather detached feeling that is not actual asexuality.

        Trouble-shooting hardware and software has also become less aggravating. My already well-exercised patience and tenacity have become even more unflappable.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Only after more sentences and a picture did the anthropomorphic features slant become apparent."

      It's by Dabbsy. Isn't that enough to tell you how to read it?

  11. Bernard M. Orwell

    Summation

    " Lacking a clear profit motive, his north American investors evaporated..."

    Could there be a better description of capitalisms failure?

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: Summation

      Further condensed - So long as a-holes exist, so must capitalism

    2. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Re: Summation

      "Could there be a better description of capitalisms failure?"

      Downvoters of this must've been paid.

  12. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    If they really wanted to wow the kids

    they could have added a Tesla coil on bank note or beside the statue as well, but I suppose some people are too easily shocked.

    I'll get me coat. The one with the book on electricity and magnetism in the pocket please.

  13. Franco Silver badge

    Here in God's Country where we have our own banknotes (a cunning ruse designed to spike the blood pressure of London cabbies when they are presented them), we have nice feats of engineering on them (Bank of Scotland) like the Forth Bridge, the Falkirk Wheel or the Glenfinnan Viaduct (the Harry Potter bridge for the under 10s in the audience). RBS favours castles, and the Clydesdale Bank has famous people like Robert Burns or Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

    On a side note, does "influencers" include the toolbags on LinkedIn who quote them constantly? If not, it should do IMO.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Trollface

      I heard you wanted to use the Euro

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Here in God's Country

      Yorkshire has its own currency? Who knew?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >Yorkshire has its own currency?

        Yes but for obvious reasons it doesn't circulate, so nobody has ever seen it

      2. defiler Silver badge

        Yorkshire has its own currency?

        Yep - it's the Muckle. It's worth 100 Mickles.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      "the Glenfinnan Viaduct (the Harry Potter bridge for the under 10s in the audience)."

      :)

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Here in God's Country where we have our own banknotes (a cunning ruse designed to spike the blood pressure of London cabbies"

      When I lived in NI the local banknotes were useful for spiking the blood pressure of any Scottish businesses I had to deal with when in transit along the dreaded A75. In NI local, NoE, Scottish and (while the Punt was at parity) Irish notes were all accepted without comment.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        I remember it, when I was a student I worked in a supermarket and there were a lot of Irish and Northern Irish students there too, so lots of notes. Customers often refused to take the Irish notes, particularly the ones with the plastic window (can't remember which bank it was though).

  14. Bob Starling

    You have my vote

    Dabbsy, I have alway enjoyed your contributions and admired your use of English.

    Today with your comments on country and western singers you have soared in my estimation.

    Dabbsy for PM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You have my vote

      Dabbsy for PM

      And here I thought you actually liked his writing. What did he do to deserve that?

      :)

    2. Avatar of They
      Happy

      Re: You have my vote

      For me it was Agile developers and those that use the word Scrum with out rugby boots.

      Agile and its related evangelical sh*te is far worse than country and western singer in my opinion.

  15. E_Nigma

    Nice to Have almost Seen You

    You have visited my city, Mr Dabbs? I hope that you enjoyed your stay.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Nice to Have almost Seen You

      It was so good, I wished I could have stayed another week or more.

  16. illuminatus

    Tesla related tuneage?

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2zwBRa0YhA

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Well on my way

    To a very nice weekend, Thanks for this Dabsy:

    Apple's vice-president for Port Removal!

    Have a pint on me! Gotta keep those grey cells creating good stuff!

  18. Milton Silver badge

    Anti-intellectual?

    The article is messy and contrived and nowhere near some of Mr Dabbs' better efforts, but he does pick out a stinging point of concern: the appearance of rising anti-intellectualism and dismisal fo expertise in the "educated", "civilised" west. It's one thing for a bunch of religion-stoned goatshaggers to be hostile to science, but it is positively baffling to see the same thing in Britain, a home of the Enlightenment, and the US, the world's pre-eminent nation of scientific achievement.

    What's going on?

    We have cretins like Michael Gove saying "we've had enough of experts" (no, actually, we've had enough of you, Mr Gove, with your incessant lies and staggering incompetence), the vaccine-conspiracy idiots, and Dumb-as-a-stump-Trump bleating ignorant tosh about climate chnage, which he can barely even spell.

    Is it the internet, letting people imagine they understand a complex topic because they've read a Wiki article? Resentment by the less educated, left-behind? Exploitation of ignorance and fostering of bigotry by vile populist politicians? Air pollution giving us new generations with lukewarm IQs?

    We live in a world that exists only because of science, many of whose critics are alive only because of science, and yet this breathtaking ignorance and foolishness abounds.

    I ask again: what the hell is happening??

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      "It's one thing for a bunch of religion-stoned goatshaggers to be hostile to science, but it is positively baffling to see the same thing in Britain"

      It's almost as though people are pretty much the same the world over, and trying to split them up into a nice neat "enlightened us" and "religion-stoned goatshagging them" doesn't do a particularly good job of representing reality.

    2. Justin Case
      Headmaster

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      Oh the irony:

      >>Dumb-as-a-stump-Trump bleating ignorant tosh about climate chnage, which he can barely even spell.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      Now that everyone has a voice, opinion is treated the same as fact, division is treated as news, and weight of numbers decides who's won. Even sockpuppet trolls working for a hostile power half-way round the world count.

      Also there's a religion-shaped hole left behind in the human soul, and that hole has been filled with popularism. Just like religion, it requires no real sacrifice apart from obedience, has easy answers to any problem, and has easily defined external evil things to blame.

      So that's my 2p (value not guaranteed due to plummeting exchange rates).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anti-intellectual?

        "Just like religion, it requires no real sacrifice apart from obedience, has easy answers to any problem, and has easily defined external evil things to blame."

        Hence why those with long memories - or are readers of history - can see the rise of potentially Fascist regimes like the 1930s.

    4. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      It has happened before. Religious nutters destroyed the School of Euclid and the Library of Alexandria. Here's hoping the books of Euclid will still be in use when all the religious books are forgotten.

      I as a single man paying just about the maximum in British taxes feel that the education budget on STEM subjects is achieving nothing and is, unfortunately, a total waste of MY money.

      However, I suspect it is a cunning plan by our invisible galactic overlords to prevent us from reaching a point where we might challenge them.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Anti-intellectual?

        "Religious nutters destroyed the School of Euclid and the Library of Alexandria. Here's hoping the books of Euclid will still be in use when all the religious books are forgotten."

        Can someone remind me of how the surviving books from antiquity were preserved?

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Anti-intellectual?

          Largely by the Islamic empires translating the Greek originals into Arabic (which were then translated into Latin after the fall of Islamic Spain).

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      I ask again: what the hell is happening??

      Appropriate question from someone using the username of Milton..

      Paradise isn't so much lost as misplaced behind the sofa.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Anti-intellectual?

        At the risk of being fair to the slithy gove

        The 'experts' he had enough of were economists working for the world bank and friends who claimed that the financial crisis wasn't the banks fault, that the government always needed to bail banks out and austerity was a good idea to cut deficits.

        A bit different from denying physics

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Anti-intellectual?

          Not quite - watch the first 1 minute 30 seconds at least.

          He then went on to claim 33+ million people in the UK suffer from the UK's membership of the EU, peddled nonsense about his father's fishing business, set up some strawman elite vs. the people bollocks, ignored Faisal saying he's blaming the EU for the UK's austerity politics, said something about Juncker's private jet, and then went on to make unfounded claims about what was on the side of the red bus.

    6. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      >> Michael Gove saying "we've had enough of experts"

      To be fair, he was specifically referring to political pollsters when he said this. For once in his miserable existence, he was right about something.

    7. David Nash Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      Dunning-Kruger.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      ". It's one thing for a bunch of religion-stoned goatshaggers to be hostile to science, but it is positively baffling to see the same thing in Britain, a home of the Enlightenment, and the US, [...]"

      In both countries religion is still touted as a major cultural force - especially by politicians. When people don't have a reasonable understanding of science and technology then the human mind accepts simple "magic" answers.

      The Enlightenment was at least two centuries ago. Yet it was something that my UK 1960s non-denominational 11+ Secondary Technical School never mentioned - while they rigidly enforced religious assemblies. As well as the intended target scientists and engineers - it even produced a smattering of clerics including a bishop.

      Recently a neighbour's son wanted to be an engineer. His devout Catholic mother stopped his transition to a non-denominational secondary school that specialised in science and engineering. Instead she insisted he went to the local RCC school - which only specialises in Arts subjects. Together with Sunday morning mass he is being moulded to have a core identity of that religion. Other Catholic neighbours are making sure their sons are also following that religious path at church and in an RCC primary school.

      Neighbours who are Jehovah's Witnesses are doing the same with their daughters.

      The CofE parish church funds evangelical missions into local non-denominational schools.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Anti-intellectual?

        "In both countries religion is still touted as a major cultural force - especially by politicians."

        Not in my experience. The only part of the UK where politicians can safely espouse particular religious beliefs is Arlene's bit. Trying to defend a policy on religious grounds anywhere else in the UK results in a torrent of derisive abuse about "your sky fairy" followed by losing the argument.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Anti-intellectual?

          "The only part of the UK where politicians can safely espouse particular religious beliefs is Arlene's bit"

          While Arlene's lot as a group are extreme - many at Westminster are saying their religion is a major factor in how they vote.

          As a sample. Jacob Rees-Mogg and my Tory MP both apparently take the Vatican's whip in opposing various civil rights equality issues. Theresa May has made public her Methodist faith in influencing her policies. Tim Farron, ex-leader of the Liberal Party, espoused his Christian Evangelical views that are at odds with LGBTQ+ civil rights. Even David Cameron touted himself as following the Christian faith - even if reception in the Chilterns was a bit variable.

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: Anti-intellectual?

            Anti-intellectualism has a long history. Just look at the story of the Garden of Eden. Or going back further, Prometheus. In a more modern context one could point to Frankenstein as a famous example.

            And real-life scientists through the ages - most famously Galileo - have also suffered persecution for daring to contradict the Establishment in their time.

            Perhaps what's more remarkable in post-war Blighty (as in Stalin's Soviet Union) is that "elite" has become a dirty word - among the very elites who govern and otherwise influence us. Though only when it suits them: somehow we didn't hear them sneering at the festival of the ultra-elite known as the Olympics the way they do about intellectual or artistic excellence.

          2. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

            Re: Anti-intellectual?

            Some of us -- or me, at least -- suspect Mrs May was imposed on us as Conservative leader by the religious mafia. Same for the earlier man, Idiot Duncan Smith.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Anti-intellectual?

          Not in my experience. The only part of the UK where politicians can safely espouse particular religious beliefs is Arlene's bit

          Maybe a decade and a half ago when Blair was reminded that "we don't do God". Not any more.

          The 2010 Academies Act under Cameron also opened the floodgates for religious schools to convert into academies and deviate from the national curriculum and teach mystical woo as a subject.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Vote for goats

      I protest!

      Just because you're an intellectual doesn't mean you can't enjoy a bit of goat-shagging - see Museum of Naples Secret Cabinet, etc etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vote for goats

        "[...] see Museum of Naples Secret Cabinet, [...]"

        The unearthed sculpture was reserved for viewing by the "incorruptible" Victorian elite. No doubt in its original time it had a Pagan religious significance for the plebs as well.

        In the 1970s Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford said that pr0n must be suppressed as it corrupts the lower classes. Implying that their elite can handle it - even if it supposedly disgusts them.

        In 1971 Lord Longford organised a crusadesurvey to go round various pr0n outlets in London and Copenhagen. A young Gyles Brandreth and Cliff Richard were taken along as chosen representatives of the swinging generation. Here is an excerpt from Gyles's diary of the tour.

    10. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Anti-intellectual?

      "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

      - Isaac Asimov

  19. TonyJ Silver badge

    So many tings about Tesla

    Let's not forget without him - no AC (edit for our US'ian cousins, I don't mean Air Con, I mean Alternating Current).

    Westinghouse royally screwed him over as well, taking advantage of his will to ensure the best for others.

    Mr Dabbs...this will surely do your nut in, given it's both Tesla-driven AND C&W?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbLshnfu0wY

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So many tings about Tesla

      No Anonymous Coward?

  20. Ogi

    > You might even understand it what it's for. Children will wonder what the heck it means and eventually ask their parents to explain it to them.

    It was in fact those banknotes that made me ask that question when I was a kid. In addition to Tesla on one side, you would have his Tesla coil printed on the other side, or the schematic of his poly-phase generator.

    I thought it was cool, and asked my dad about it, and in addition to explaining it to me, he took me to the Tesla Museum in Belgrade, where I got to see all his old experiments being demonstrated, including the poly-phase generator, and an absolutely massive Tesla coil (it was a good 3 odd metres tall).

    They would give you fluorescent tubes to hold, and power on the coil. In addition to the sudden tingly feeling and hair standing on end when powered up, you would get lightning bolts out of the machine, and the fluorescent tubes actually lit up in my hand, with no connectors! You could swing it round like a light saber (and of course, I did a bit). I thought it was all amazing, like magic, but with actual understanding behind it (I just had to learn).

    There were other experiments, including an incandescent lamp attached to nothing but a coil wound antenna, which was lit up by a transmitter a metre or so away, wirelessly. Dancing metal eggs, a recreation of his remote controlled boat, a model scale demo of a 3 phase power infrastructure (model power station, generators, step-up/step-down transformers, overhead lines, and model homes being powered at the ends), and many others.

    That was the moment I got hooked into science. It drove me to learn and understand all, and it is still my goal to build myself a tesla coil (and a tesla turbine, which was another cool piece of kit).

    Alas, in the UK there was not much demand for skilled engineers, all the EE stuff was being rapidly offshored to the far east, so for uni my dad recommended I go into computers instead.

    As a result, instead of studying EE at uni, I did CompSci. Rather than sparks flying at the office, I spend my days behind a desk shuffling entropy around (and now it is my turn for the jobs to be offshored), but I still remember and am grateful for what inspired me to go into the hard sciences.

    Alas, the Tesla museum ran out of funds and shut down in the late 90's/early 2000's. It has since been refitted and reopened, but I don't know if they still have the same demonstrations as I saw. I've been told now its more "interactive games" and less actual demos. Plus I don't think modern health and safety would tolerate firing up huge tesla coils with kids next to it grinning and holding tubes, but I am hopeful. Next time I am down there I might pop in, see how things have changed.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      ...he took me to the Tesla Museum in Belgrade...

      Modern version: "What a Tesla is? Erm, fetch me the wireless charger mat would you Son..."

    2. Ogi
      Pint

      The banknote in question

      Also, if anyone is interested, the banknote in question is the Serbian 100 dinar note. Here is a hi-res scan:

      http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jbourj/images/money/tesla12.jpg

    3. Colin Wilson 2

      "Alas, the Tesla museum ran out of funds and shut down in the late 90's/early 2000's. It has since been refitted and reopened, but I don't know if they still have the same demonstrations as I saw"

      I visited it last December. They still had those demonstrations - including the Light Sabre flourescent tubes.

      Well worth a visit

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...]an incandescent lamp attached to nothing but a coil wound antenna, which was lit up by a transmitter [...]"

      A neon bulb held near an HF transmitter will also light without contact. In amateur radio circles it was reckoned that a nice red glow was a good sign. If there were purple tinges then there were possibly parasitic oscillations that needed to be cured.

    5. harmjschoonhoven
      Thumb Up

      @Ogi: No need to build a Tesla coil yourself

      Besides gas lighters that are based on the piezo-electric effect you can also buy gas lighters that work on one 1.5 AA battery. They are in fact Tesla coils with an output of about 6 kV AC.

    6. Richard 126

      I have a Tesla Turbine it is indeed a cool thing and well worth the time it took to build.

      Tesla coils abound in my bedroom in the form of violet wands again great things to play with.

      1. AK565

        I dare say your bedroom must be quite popular.

  21. Wim Ton

    More scientists on banknote.

    A previous generation of Swiss banknotes had Euler and Bernouilly on them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonhard_Euler

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Bernoulli

    who both wear wigs :-)

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Re: More scientists on banknote.

      I don't suffer from migraines, except those times I had to handle banknotes in Switzerland...

      The internet tells me that I'm referring to the pre-2005 Series 8 notes, but photos don't really do them justice: why waste 10chf on LSD when you could just stare at the money itself...

    2. Stork Silver badge

      Re: More scientists on banknote.

      The only scientist on a Danish banknote afaik was Niels Bohr. The current series has bridges and archaeological stuff

  22. Dabooka Silver badge
    FAIL

    I still clearly haven't woken up completely from my slumber

    When I initially read Who should an autonomous vehicle kill in an avoidable crash? I exclaimed to no-one in particular 'It's avoidable, the answer is kill nobody!'.

    Then I read the list and got it

  23. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Nice one Dabsy

    Close, but no cigar.

    When Serbian (or anybody else on the Balkans north of the Greek border) thinks of Tesla, the options are actually in THIS ORDER:

    1. https://sr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A2%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B0_(%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%BA%D0%B0) - carpentry instrument and colloquial for F***up (something that involves a destructive fix +/- percussive maintenance).

    2. Nicola Tesla

    3. Battery driven car selling which on the Balkans beats the NoVa and Pajero for Spanish countries as far as marketing is concerned due to 1. Specifically, the colloquial meaning.

  24. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I know this for a fact because they put portraits of smart people on their banknotes, rather than featuring the usual toffs, millionaires, politicians, blockbuster authors and privileged upper middle class do-gooders.

    Before the euro banknotes, the french banknotes where having portraits of French "celebrities" on them, whose names where used as a nicknames for the banknotes. We had the Berlioz, the Debussy, the Quentin de la Tour, the Delacroix, the Montesquieu and the Pascal.... scientists seem to lack popularity.

    Also, +1 for Mr Dabbs' list!

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Pascal, you should look into his contributions in fields of mathematics and physics.

      There were also the Louis Pasteur, the Marie and Pierre Curie, and the Gustave Eiffel (ok,this one was more an engineer than a pure scientist). All in all, scientists were not that underrepresented on banknotes.

  25. Nick Gisburne
    Mushroom

    Don't forget we had Darwin

    I know we got rid of Darwin with the change to the plastic tenner, but he is certainly one of the most influential figures in science and history. I still remember the reactions of some American evangelicals, who were congratulating themselves on having 'In God We Trust' on their money, when I showed them that one of our notes had that pesky evolution bloke Charles Darwin on it. Minds blown.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget we had Darwin

      That was then.

      Now we get a Brexit 50p

      Since apparently in our Groupthink country we cannot know trust experts, I expect the next notes to be:-

      Nigel Lawson shown pushing back the sea levels with one hand, Canute style

      Nigel Farage, beer in one hand striding to the future in a Mao great leap forward pose

      Boris Johnson with text written totally in Latin, or maybe just one of his speeches, whichever is least intelligable

      and of course Jacob Rees-Mogg on the newly minted 10 shilling note

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget we had Darwin

        Nigel Lawson shown pushing back the sea levels with one hand, Canute style

        ...from his permanent residence in France

        Nigel Farage, beer in one hand striding to the future in a Mao great leap forward pose

        ...while possibly living out his old age with his children in Germany

        and of course Jacob Rees-Mogg on the newly minted 10 shilling note

        ...with his eye on rural Ireland for a post-Brexit comfortable financial and Vatican approved culture.

  26. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Who should an autonomous vehicle kill in an avoidable crash?

    Don't know what kind of poll that was. But clearly the answer would be: anyone it can hit!

  27. Teiwaz Silver badge

    All that's required are small steps that may still lead us towards a brighter, smarter future.

    Small steps?

    Depends on the mind, a small step to some is a step to far for others (especially if they fear they may be financially less well off in that case).

    What we need is true a true social system, and a working technocracy - we currently have a lazy idiocracy and a system that edges on reversing the social reforms of the Victorian age.

  28. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Alien

    Where else but El Reg can we read a comical piece by Dabbsy and end up venting our frustration at human stupidity?

  29. IsJustabloke
    Trollface

    Yes it should...

    "Let's start by programming vehicle AI to more accurately identify country & western singers"

    Then it can change channels

  30. Colonel Mad

    Great article.

  31. mrrrk

    Fifty Pound Note

    James Clerk Maxwell needs to be on the new fifty pound note. He's British (ok, Scottish) and he's up there with Newton and Einstein - but no bugger's heard of him. Put his equations (instead of some simple unit definition attributed to Tesla) on the note and that'll really fox the parents...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fifty Pound Note

      The recent BBC TV documentary is not available - but here is an "In Our Time" Radio 4 programme about Maxwell.

      Not sure if these radio programmes are geographically limited.

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Fifty Pound Note

      What about Joseph Priestley then? Always ignoring Yorkshiremen, those bloody southerners.

      1. Mr Humbug

        James Prescott Joule. The pound needs more energy.

        And he was from Salford, so the BBC should approve.

    3. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Fifty Pound Note

      We put up a statue to James Clerk Maxwell a decade ago and the pigeons just shit on it.

      Which is a lot better than Tesla who wanted to marry a pigeon.

      http://www.cityofliterature.com/a-to-z/james-clerk-maxwell-statue/

  32. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    the English language's infuriating but amusing propensity to conjure ambiguity out of thin air

    Have you ever looked at Chinese? Get someone to walk through a character by character translation of almost anything (i.e. not google translate) and you will see what I mean...

    We do however have a propensity for looking for double meanings...

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: the English language's infuriating but amusing propensity to conjure ambiguity out of thin air

      An amusing example of this is "The Wizard-Masters of Peng-shi Angle", a back-translation of a bootleg Chinese translation of Frederik Pohl's satirical short "The Wizards of Pung's Corners". The translator who brought it back to English had no knowledge of the original story. The plot mostly survived but a lot of American advertising jargon from the original was almost unrecognizable.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Fred Pohl

        Upvoted for a reference to a visionary story written over sixty years ago but oh so relevant in today's world. Who says SF can't predict the future?

  33. Missing Semicolon
    FAIL

    Aggh, it burns!

    Having followed the link to

    http://www.mgb.org.rs/en/visit/the-residence-of-princess-ljubica

    I find that it's the worst kind of "well it works on my 28 inch monitor, what are you complainnig about?".

    Set the window to be normal sized, and the picture is mostly obscured by the text!

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Aggh, it burns!

      All museum websites outside the UK and US are like this.

  34. EveryTime

    Tesla was exception at intuitively understanding near-field effects, and the evolution of coupled 3D rotating fields.

    He didn't understand far-field effects *at all*, and didn't have the mathematical expertise to fake it by working with the equations.

    The former ability allowed him to design rotating electrical machinery that people hadn't even conceived of. Everyone else was thinking in terms of static fields, resulting in awkward, inefficient commutated motors and generators. Tesla's AC generators and motors were compact, symmetrical, efficient, smooth and reliable.

    But his lack of mathematical ability meant that he was often very wrong when his intuition failed. That was evident in his ideas that were, to put it gently, were those of a crackpot.

  35. Daedalus Silver badge

    Shocking facts

    The smartest thing Tesla did was to get out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when it took three layers of over-promoted idiot manglers to figure out where to put a junction box.

    Serbia may have born and educated him, but the USA brought him to his glory.

  36. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Who should an autonomous vehicle kill in an avoidable crash?

    I have a list of ten former colleagues and 'friends', and as soon as I can hack their vehicles then that's my bucket list.

    Autonomous vehicular murder seems such a promising new field that I'm abandoning my research into a knife that can stab people through the internet.

    Talking about vehicular murder, did anyone else notice the bus driver deliberately caused the Chongqing bus plunge? The person attacking him was blamed by the BBC, but the footage clearly shows him pulling the wheel for no sane reason.

  37. Joe Gurman

    It wasn't that long ago

    Michael Faraday was on the £20 note.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: It wasn't that long ago

      Boulton and Watt are on the current British £50 banknote so replacing them with scientists or engineers on the new polymer note which will supercede the existing note isn't that much of a step.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: It wasn't that long ago

      And Charles Darwin used to be on the £10. Way back, Stevenson was on the £5.

      I'd say scientists (and engineers) haven't done so badly on Bank of England currency. (The Scots have their own hangups, as usual.)

  38. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Measure stupidity?

    In megawhats?

  39. Chris Stephens

    The actual building https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5285632,-0.0779571,3a,75y,239.55h,93.84t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1stJi4k469pMeiFN5shLCtDQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 The tattoo parlor referenced.. http://www.shalladoretattoo.com/contact

  40. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    You missed

    Anyone using "Leverage" as a verb

    Anyone using the word "Empowered" and its derivatives

  41. Celeste Reinard

    Menslaugter

    As an environment conscious person I just cycle - and only had one attack on my life today by a car piloted by somebody getting instructions from his gran through his smartphone. Maybe they can program cars with a female sense of humor - not to target women - only just men? For starters? ... Or, and here is an idea, outlaw pedestrianism. Or at least tax it heavily.

    I think the mentioning of country & western singers is gratuituosly rethorical; who would ever miss them?

    Country road, here I go... >Carmageddon ensuies<

  42. Ian Johnston

    Wrong quantity

    The Tesla is a measure of magnetic flux density, symbol B. Magnetic field strength is measured in amps per metre and is written H.

    B = permeability x H

  43. philmck

    I have no objection to Country & Western music performed between consenting adults in private, but I once spent a week driving long distances around California and Nevada when I had a few days off between Christmas and New Year. The rental car had a cassette player but I had no cassettes with me, so the only entertainment I had was the radio, and once clear of the cities all they played was C&W. Being Christmas, it was C&W carols, of which there were only half a dozen and they were repeated endlessly.

    I've never been able to listen to C&W since.

  44. stuartnz

    Rutherford didn't wear a wig

    At least not as depicted on our banknotes. Our highest denomination, too - of which we'd still need a truckload to buy a Tesla. Maybe there's some cosmic significance in that, who knows?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "He could measure electricity but not stupidity" ...

    .....the reason for this was explained later by Albert Einstein:

    - The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "He could measure electricity but not stupidity" ...

      "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." —Albert Einstein (supposedly)

      "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." —Frank Zappa

  46. Social Ambulator

    From the desk of the former Waitrose Food Editor

    Country and Western singers — surely you don't encounter many of them in the metropolis! Are you not aware it is international vegan week?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019