Yesterday, while I was hard at work and paying very little attention to the internets, something amazing happened. Matthew Inman of TheOatmeal fame stumbled across a charity that’s trying to buy Nikola Tesla’s old Wardenclyffe laboratory and convert it into a museum. The fact that we have no museums honoring Tesla in the U.S. is a damn shame and it’s fantastic that someone is finally trying to recognize his contributions – but amazing as that is, that’s not the amazing thing. This non-profit group has an offer from the New Your government to match their funds raised toward the purchase – but that’s not the amazing thing. So what’s the amazing thing?
And that’s in under 24 hours! Each time I refresh this page the amount seems to increase by several thousand dollars. I can only attribute this to the magical effect that TheOatmeal has on charity fundraising. Matter of fact, I propose that in the same way we once said a site was “slashdotted” when their servers buckled under the traffic of having made the front page of SlashDot, we should refer to a charity receiving such a massive influx of funds they don’t know what to do with as having been “Oatmealed.”
At this point, we’re approaching the halfway mark of $425,000 and it seems almost certain that the goal will be met, but don’t let this stymie your urge to donate. I mean Tesla was pretty awesome after all, and the $850,000 is just for the land – they’ll still need funds to build a museum, so any and all donations just make this that much better.
There are some criticisms, primarily that Wardenclyffe is a fairly remote location and a Tesla museum situated nearer a large city center would get more traffic. While it is true that Wardenclyffe is rather remote, so are many of America’s most important historical site – Gettysburg is pretty remote, but it still gets plenty of visitors and no one denies that it’s an important site to preserve.
So that’s the big deal: A social media campaign started by an internet cartoonist has raised nearly $400,000 in under a day. Oh, and in case you managed to read this whole article without knowing who Nikola Tesla is or bothering to Google it, TheOatmeal has you covered there, too.
Update: After only 4 days Operation LBAGDTM has passed the $700,000 mark!