Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Listened: "AC/DC: the savage tale of the first standards war" by Tom McNichol

Listened: AC/DC: the savage tale of the first standards war by Tom McNichol, 2006, Overdrive audio download.

No, not really. Not so savage at all. Edison had a booster for his DC system who called names, produced fake stats, and sent out press releases but "savage" does not fit. As a book about competing standards this is kinda boring. As a quick book about early the early electrical industry and it's pioneers this is pretty neat.

McNichol covers some electrical history with various pioneers in experimentation. He then does a brief(ish) biography of Edison. Throws in some bio bits on Tesla. Stirs in some George Westinghouse info. Then scours the library for information on the electrical business, news reports, and industry papers regarding the fight to get either alternating or direct current adopted.

Comments:
1. AC won and I still don't know jack crap about electricity, and I am still scared of it.
2. Edison was born to gas lamps and when he died the whole damn country was electrified (mostly). There was a proposal to turn off all lights for a couple of minutes in memoriam to Edison but electricity was so vital the idea was quickly nixed.
3. Tesla died owing money and turning insane.
4. Westinghouse sounded like a good dude.
5. A lot of time is spent on DC Booster's (forgot his name) pseudo-scientific experiments testing the deadliness of AC power by electrocuting stray dogs.

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