Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I used to say that I hated history with a passion. In high school it was by far my least favorite class and there is a mutual feeling amongst my family that "history repeats itself, mankind never learns, so why the hell does it matter what happened?" It's weird though because while some people turn on the History channel to fall asleep to, I actually enjoy turning it on to learn about the many things they talk about. I think I enjoy it as much as I do because first of all, you don't have to read a boring ass history text book, but also because sometimes the depictions of the actual events they film are so funny you can't help from watching.

I read part of a book about Alfred Nobel and the history behind how he invented dynamite and how he started the Nobel Peace Prize (which is just about the most ironic story on the face of the planet) and I found it very fascinating. Similar little stories like this one have occurred, so I came to the conclusion a year or so ago that I actually don't really hate history the subject, I hate they way it was presented to me in every history class - which totally ruined the subject until recently. Then, I found this bamf website http:///www.badassoftheweek.com

The website is written by a middle aged, hilarious man named Ben Thompson who apparently works as a college administrator. The use of his language in all his biographies is flawless, some of it completely made up like "badassitude". The way he writes is super enthusiastic and makes you want to read more because he makes the topic so interesting. So, here's an excerpt from Nikola Tesla:

"First off, Nikola Tesla was brilliant.  And not just like Ken Jennings brilliant, either - I mean like, "holy crap my head just exploded (from all the awesome)" brilliant.  The Croatian-born engineer spoke eight languages, almost single-handedly developed technology that harnessed the power of electricity for household use, and invented things like electrical generators, FM radio, remote control, robots, spark plugs, fluorescent lights, and giant-ass machines that shoot enormous, brain-frying lightning bolts all over the place like crazy.  He had an unyielding, steel-trap photographic memory and an insane ability to visualize even the most complex pieces of machinery – the guy did advanced calculus and physics equations in his damn head, memorized entire books at a time, and successfully pulled off scientific experiments that modern-day technology STILL can't replicate.  For instance, in 2007 a group of lesser geniuses at MIT got all pumped up out of their minds because they wirelessly transmitted energy a distance seven feet through the air. Nikola Tesla once lit 200 lightbulbs from a power source 26 miles away, and he did it in 1899 with a machine he built from spare parts in the middle of the god-forsaken desert.  To this day, nobody can really figure out how the hell he pulled that shit off, because two-thirds of the schematics only existed in the darkest recesses of Tesla's all-powerful brain."