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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Of Predictions and Prophecies: Visions that will boggle your mind

Mark Twain known for 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'The Great American Novel'.

This world has seen oracles come and go. With the likes of Nostradamus who would peek into the future using his water-filled tripod under the moonlight, George Orwell talks about "telescreens [that] received and transmitted simultaneously" and CCTVs in his dystopian sci-fi novel 1984. Mark Twain is known for his writings but he had predicted his own death on the arrival of Halley’s Comet and unfortunately had envisioned the death of his brother. When he arrived at the place his brother lay between two chairs and even the wreath was arranged as he had dreamt.

A Serbian born American scientist, futurist, engineer and inventor, after whom an electric car-company is named is another of the oracles the world heard from. Nikola Tesla worked as an apprentice to Thomas Edison credited for the light bulb, one of many inventions he’s known for.

Nikola Tesla claimed to sleep at most two hours and supposedly possessed an eidetic memory.

Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his dangerous experiments, and made predictions on the possibility of wireless communication. He had registered about 300 patents under his name and the inventions he made still influences modern day life.

Many of his ideas were way ahead of time and technology at that time. It was difficult for the folks to digest his ideas and often invited ridicule from the scientists. Many consider Edison had stolen Tesla’s ideas.

Wireless communication and the internet

"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket."

"We shall be able to witness the inauguration of a president, the playing of a World's Series baseball game, the havoc of an earthquake, or a battle just as though we were present."

"It will soon be possible to transmit wireless messages all over the world so simply that any individual can own and operate his own apparatus."

"…the household's daily newspaper will be printed wirelessly in the home during the night."

When Tesla was working on the trans-Atlantic radio, he proposed to his funder, J.P. Morgan. The idea was to create a plan for a "World Telegraphy System”. He planned to provide instant communications between individuals. Such predictions and ideas would prove to be true decades later.

Dream on

Another scientist by the name of Dmitri Mendeleev had predicted something. But this time it wasn’t about smart phones or CCTVs. Mendeleev had designed a periodic table using his scientific prowess so perfectly that even till date his version of the Periodic Table is used with a few minor changes. Mendeleev predicted future elements and where why would be placed with the properties they exhibited.

Dmitri Mendeleev, chemist and inventor.

At that time, in 1863, only 56 elements were discovered but by the ingenious way of arranging elements based on atomic weight that he had apparently seen in his dream helped him predict positions of elements that would be discovered. [Mendeleev's table and the modern periodic table].

"I saw in a dream a table where all elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper, only in one place did a correction later seem necessary."
—Mendeleev, as quoted by Inostrantzev

Inventing the electricity that we use in our homes, pioneering research about the X-rays and the neon lights in your favorite pub, are a small fraction of the contributions these men made. With such remarkable visions and spot-on predictions, these men contributed to the science and technology, paving way for the luxuries we enjoy today. 

Did you know that Toy Story 2 was almost deleted? Read the whole story here.

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