Hoaxing, The 12x Spiral, and Tesla

Tesla MapI wrote a hoax article for my friends satire site claiming that another friend (and fantastic artist) Abe Zucca found some Nikola Tesla drawings that showed a map to numbers and multiplication. I’ve had a number of inquiries as to why I would do that and what parts are real. So I wanted to give the whole story…

I have been working on a number spiral project for 3 years now. It is a realization I had about how whole numbers are self organized around 12 positions of compositibility, exactly like the clock, but that there are repeating patterns based around what numbers are divisible by, based on their placement in the 12 positions.

I came up with this system on 12/12/12 (2012) and was reminded recently by fb’s ‘last year today’ posts about the poster I had printed (Number Patterns).  I started thinking that 12/12 isn’t a holiday but it would be fun to make it one somehow… I considered my options and thought that my friends satire sites would be the best way to get it out as fast as possible… and then I just needed a good idea to push it out, some sort of bait for sharing it. I was bouncing the idea of a ‘lost papers’ hoax and a friend of mine from “The Haymarket Squares” said I should say it was Tesla’s… Instantly I knew that was perfect. I hope you do not need to learn who Nikola Tesla is but if you do try this Drunk History of him.
I mean, I’m a big fan, am fascinated with the concepts of free energy, electricity, and his interests, and thought this would be a good way to incorporate all of it… I also know of his ‘3,6,9’ quote and consider the digital roots of the spirals positions to be intriguingly enigmatic of this concept…
grethers spiral
I have had quite a difficult time getting anyone to acknowledge this project or concept. I have sent it out to mathematics institutes, mathematicians, educators, and basically anyone that will listen but have seldom generated any interest. Many people try hard to resist understanding it (it seems) since the basis is that counting by numbers creates shapes, and people involved in higher math refuse to give it any value and say that it is trivial. I put up a site at 12xspiral.com, have created murals in paint and collaboratively with students and chalk, printed up 1000 posters (that I sell for $5 or give them to students), done interactive demonstrations in Phoenix and Portland, and still, it generates very little interest.

I have become a Math teacher because of this project and have started creating worksheets for this and other math lessons. I have become more and more interested in mathematics in general mostly because we are getting worse at it as a country and a culture while we are at a point in history with more access to information than ever before…
Many students get into high school without knowing multiplication. Much of the higher math concepts are based on the basics… if you can not recognize multiples of numbers than factoring quadratic equations  is much more difficult and non-intuitive. Knowing what numbers are divisible by helps as well. Understanding primes, high compositability, and just getting a great sense of number can assist with higher math. I believe this project, the 12x Spiral, could help with all of that while being able to actually “see” how numbers work together, and is easier than just memorizing the multiples.
I looked up some info about Tesla and was pleased to find out that he could have been at Wardenclyffe during 1912 so I could keep the concept of tying it to the date still (It was in forclosure but not vacant). I thought this was a great way to acknowledge his free energy project and maybe even turn more people onto it. Instead of making myself the 1st character, I asked my friend Abe because I wanted to see if more people would check his art out and I know he’s down with shizz like this (go here). He has an incredible talent, pushes himself constantly, critiques others and the culture, and is basically at the forefront of the arts movement in Phoenix.

I figured if I got a few hundred people to look at this image then I would have surpassed the entire last 3 years of trying to get it out there… 12/12 came and went and the following days it passed 5k and then 10k, buy the end of the week it had gotten close to 30k and was finally picked up by other sites like Disclose TV, who retitled the article and called it Genius. So by then, I was super flattered as well as hyped that I was able to get this idea, this image, out to so many people. It got posted to reddit and has almost (correction, over) 700k views on imgur, reddits image hosting site. 700,000 views! My first attempt in this era was an article that said Robots were gonna be running a few fast food restaurant. (check that here.)

By now people were calling it a hoax and saying the image looked fake… I mean, I just found the signature online and did a bad copy of one of Teslas documents, found a neat looking parchment, dropped the color out of my original poster, wrote up 500 words, sent it to the guy responsible for the “Banksy Revealed” hoax as well as a number of other satire pieces… and then the magic of social media transpired.
What was great is that people were considering it regardless of its authenticity. They were discussing number theory, prime, and patterns… Sure, some people were upset, but why? Cause they were duped? The article was kinda silly. You can find the original image if you browsed for my name. I gave the student the name Zapata as a nod to Emiliano Zapata, and his words are the most cliche math cop-out ever. The article ends by suggesting to get a 12 pack of beer and some donuts. I saw a few comments where people wanted to see the “other” documents (I would too!)… It almost makes me want to fabricate them… Though, I hear there are lots of his writings in a museum that have yet to be read…

Another interesting aspect of this hoax is that some people had found my original  poster ‘Grethers Spiral’ and were using it to disprove the hoax. I couldn’t have planned that better. People had tracked down my original poster and were now sharing it showing that the Tesla poster was based off of it. So its been an enchanting experience. Even with people calling Hoax, different sites are still posting up the article.

So yeah, thats about it. I wanted to get this idea out, so I wrapped it up in a hoax and considering how well it worked, it will not be the last time I do it. I even printed up a few and would sell them, though I would prefer to sell my originals rather than the hoax print…


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