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Charity donations needed to save rival bidder from knocking down historic laboratory

Matthew Inman, aka "The Oatmeal", knows a thing or two about super-successful charity fundraising with a side of good-nature humor.  Now he's set his sights and site on the task of saving the laboratory of the man who nearly single handedly created the foundation that allows the world of electronics as we know it today -- Nikola Tesla.

A Serbian (at the time Austrian Empire) immigrant, young Tesla invented a host of inventions -- most notably alternating current, radio, radar, x-rays, hydroelectric power, wireless transmission, and inventions that would later be used to build the transistor.  The Oatmeal provides this helpful guide to why Tesla was arguably the most brilliant geek/inventor who ever lived.

So when The Oatmeal discovered that Tesla's famous Wardenclyffe Lab -- located near Shoreham, Long Island -- was for sale, it sprung into action.

It discovered that there was a proposal to bid $1.7M USD on the property (officially priced at $1.6M USD) to preserve the famous lab as a museum.  $850K USD of the funds were to be fundraised by charities, while New York State would offer up a matching $850K grant.

You can pitch in here.

Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla making some artificial lightning [Image Source: unknown] 

Those funds would help the Tesla Museum project beat a rival bidder, who is reportedly considering to buy the land, tear the lab down, and build retail real estate on the property.

The Oatmeal has called out J.P. Morgan Chase & Comp. (JPM) (who supported Tesla's pioneering work), General Electric Comp. (GE) (whose founder Thomas Edison reportedly scammed Tesla), Tesla Motors Comp. (TSLA) (who name is an homage to the inventor), Google Inc. (GOOG) (whose co-founder Larry Page is reportedly a big Tesla buff), and even actor Christian Bale (aka. "The Batman") who is playing Tesla in an upcoming film.

We suggest NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) -- makers of the "Tesla" series of GPUs -- also pitch in.

It writes to potential large donors, "Sponsoring the museum would be the PR equivalent of having your CEO jump into an icey river to save a herd of drowning kittens.  Don't you want to save some kittens?"

But Mr. Inman says small donors are equally important in raising enough funds to beat the rival bidder.  He's using online fund-raising platform IndieGogo to try to raise the $850K.  So far $350K in donations have rolled in.  That leaves $500K in donations needed with 45 days left.

The charity will try to buy the property at the lowest price possible and use any remaining funds to work on the new museum.  There's a lot of work to be done as the property was marred by the destruction of Wardenclyffe Tower -- a wireless power transmission device -- which was seized by the U.S. Marine Corps during World War I and demolished with dynamite, for fear it would be used as a locating landmark by German submarines.

Wardenclyffe demolition
Wardenclyffe Tower was unfortunately demolished, but with a little help Tesla's iconic on-site lab can avoid a similar fate. [Image Source: The Oatmeal]

The Oatmeal writes:

The Indiegogo campaign is linked directly to the bank account of Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, formerly known as Friends of Science East, Inc. It is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization registered with the State of New York. 

We'll keep you updated if the bid succeeds.

Sources: IndieGogo, The Oatmeal

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No brainer
By Obujuwami on 8/16/2012 12:42:15 PM , Rating: 1
Edison's estate should put up some funds for this...after all, he was the biggest douche ever!

This is a very important thing though. We geeks often look to whats next, but sometimes we should turn around and acknowledge where we came from. Tesla is where we come from and this homage to him is something we should all give towards.

RE: No brainer
By Cheesew1z69 on 8/16/2012 12:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
Crazy part is, that I live in Ft Myers, Florida, born in Naples, and never have been to the Edison Estates. I hope one day, when my daughter get a bit older, I will go and take her.

RE: No brainer
By Reclaimer77 on 8/16/2012 3:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla was so cool, he could only be played by the coolest guy on the planet.

RE: No brainer
By nikon133 on 8/16/2012 10:06:15 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, it is a bit of a shame. Tesla did spend productive part of his life in US and US was the first country to have benefits from his work. He was also American citizen.

Consider that in Serbia, there is Nikola Tesla museum, as well as one of main capitol boulevards having his name... and biggest airport in the country is called Nikola Tesla Airport. Tesla was of Serb origins, but never had Serbian citizenship (to my knowledge) - he was born in Croatia (Austrian-Hungarian monarchy at the time) from Serb minority parents.

I mean... US should have more reasons to remember and celebrate such men, right..?

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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