Tuesday, September 2, 2003
Everybody's Happy Now
Death Becomes Her
Church of the Absurdity
Full of Shit
By 1890, Edison had organized his various businesses into the Edison General Electric Company. The Thomson-Houston Company and the various companies that had merged to form it were led by Charles A. Coffin, a former shoe manufacturer from Lynn, Massachusetts. These mergers with competitors and the patent rights owned by each company put them into a dominant position in the electrical industry. As businesses expanded, it had become increasingly difficult for either company to produce complete electrical installations relying solely on their own technology. In 1892, these two major companies combined to form the General Electric Company.
Thomas Edison was not only the inventor of the light bulb and the father of GE, his inventions were also critical in developing industries ranging from power generation to sound recording to the movies. It is impossible to imagine the 20th century without him. GE is proud to help restore and preserve the laboratories where he earned more than half of his 1,093 patents. We hope Edison’s legacy will inspire future generations as much as he’s inspired us at GE.
New York's legislature grew revolted by several inefficient hangings and looked for a new way to execute people. Their solution was inspired by "The Wizard of Menlo Park,” Thomas Edison – although ironically, he publicized electrocution not to promote himself, but to discredit a rival.
Edison, inventor of the light bulb and pioneer of electricity, was marketing an electric transmission system based on direct current. But another inventor, George Westinghouse, cut into Edison's business with a rival invention -- alternating current.
Both AC and DC are safe under household conditions. But Edison claimed – falsely – that Westington’s AC, with its much higher voltage, was too dangerous for anything but an electrocution..
In 1887, Edison began a series of bizarre experiments at his West Orange lab, shocking unwanted dogs, cats and even a circus elephant to death with AC to prove that the current was deadly stuff.
New York soon decided on AC electricity as its substitute for hanging. Edison, delighted, urged authorities to use the term "Westinghousing" instead of electrocuting.
But the first electrocution in history was a disaster. The condemned man, ax murderer William Kemmler, lived through the first round of shocks. His executioners at Auburn prison in upstate New York had to do it all overagain as the stink of Kemmler's burning flesh filled the death house. "They would have done better with an axe," Westinghouse commented.
The message was clear -- passage of the Bush Administration's giant windfall-for-the-wealthy tax cut will reverse the Clinton-caused stock market slide and recession that's wiping out the retirement plans of middle income and working class Americans and turning the oil and energy cartel loose in the United States to extract more oil and gas and build more nuclear plants to produce an increasing "supply" of energy will ease Clinton-caused energy crisis. For a prime time hour Wednesday night the General Electric Corporation, via their subsidiary MSNBC-TV, presented Vice-President Dick Cheney, being "interviewed" by his folksy former Congressional sidekick from Wyoming, retired U.S. Senator Allen Simpson.
In Iran -- "the most active state sponsor of terrorism," according to the State Department -- General Electric is providing four hydroelectric generators to expand a dam on the Kurun River through a Canadian subsidiary called GE Hydro and is also supplying pipeline compressors and gas turbines for Iran's burgeoning oil sector through an Italian unit called Nuovo Pignone. Not far from the Iraqi border, a subsidiary of Halliburton is helping to build a $228 million fertilizer plant, one of the world's largest. Another Halliburton division based in Sweden is providing the Iranian National Oil Co. with a $226 million semi-submersible drilling rig, while other subsidiaries operate in Libya.
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