Although it has not been officially adopted as an international holiday, July 10 is Nikola Tesla Day.
Profoundly crazy and profoundly brilliant, Tesla was the mad-scientist genius largely responsible for inventing AC (alternating current) electrical power. Although he became somwewhat reclusive later in life, Tesla loved celebrating his birthday, July 10, by inviting the world into his laboratory to hear about his newest bizzare inventions/theories/ideas/etc. He didn’t actually invite the whole world into his lab, but he did invite the press, which had the same effect. Appropriate, then, that we should continue to celebrate Tesla’s birthday by honoring him in the press, which is what I’m doing here.
I also wanted to honor him at dinner, since July 10, 2013 fell on a Wednesday. So what do you cook for Nikola Tesla day?
Tesla had some strange eating habits, and spent most of his life as a vegetarian. I learned that he liked milk and green beans, and did not like mayonnaise. Not quite enough to build a meal around. After some research, however, I found a connection through an event that I have written about before: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, The Great Columbian Exposition…
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
This age-old question has been at the center of more than a few academic feuds over the years. Its polarizing effect has left a sharp and bitter divide in the world of Higher Rhetoric, much like Einstein and Bohr split the 20th-century physics community.
Last I heard, there was no consensus. Did the first chicken lay the first egg? Or did the first egg hatch the first chicken?
It’s really a question of cause and effect. Cause precedes effect, so we might say that the first chicken was the CAUSE of the first egg (the EFFECT of the first hen a-laying). Similarly, we might say that the first egg was the CAUSE of the first chicken (the EFFECT of the first egg a-hatching).
One day, while diagramming the chicken-and-egg question (something I do from time to time), I made an astonishing discovery. I had used the variables “C” and “E” to represent “CAUSE” and “EFFECT” (respectively). Since “cause” begins with a “C” and “effect” begins with an “E”, this seemed a logical choice.
But wait…what is another word that begins with “C”? CHICKEN. And another word that begins with “E”? EGG.
Coincidence? I think not.
If C = CAUSE and C = CHICKEN, then CHICKEN = CAUSE.
If E = EFFECT and E = EGG, then EGG = EFFECT.
Since cause, by definition, precedes effect, we can safely say that the chicken preceded the egg.