History Hacker: Bre Pettis Explains Tesla

Geek Culture


I heard on Twitter last night that Bre Pettis has a pilot for a freaky nerdy history show that will air on the History Channel later on this month.

Pettis, formerly of MAKE and currently a video maker for Etsy, is known for his ability to explain technical subjects to a non-technical audience, and make them want to learn that subject! His "weekend projects" videos for the MAKE blog fascinated viewers with subjects ranging from potato cannons to t-shirt stencils.

So what’s his show about? History Hacker features Pettis describing technical innovations through history… maybe a little NOVA meets Connections with a splash of Mythbusters?

Over the course of the show I learn about the inventors and inventions of the past and then hack the inventions together out of stuff in my closet.

The first pilot episode is all about Nikola Tesla who is an amazing character. He’s the man responsible for the current that comes out of your wall sockets. He battled Thomas Edison in the war of currents and won.  He had over 300 patents and besides figuring out AC power, he came up with radio control and mucked about with electricity more than anybody.

I’m really excited that my show will be airing, but I’m a bit nervous because the show basically will live or die based on Nielsen ratings. Nielsen is a company that tries to figure out how many people are watching a show and if they like it. They do this by compiling numbers from Tivo, installing Nielsen “go-boxes” in some family homes which document viewing habits, and choosing some households to document their tv views in a little journal. If Nielsen gives a good report, it’s more likely that the show will go to season and I’ll get to make more.

The pilot appears on the History Channel on September 26th at 9pm. Watch it. Enjoy it. And if you like the show, make sure to let the History Channel know!

Also: The History of the Chaos Computer Club

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