Browsing: Science & Technology

A Brief History On November 18, 1963, Bell Telephone introduced a new way to dial a telephone, something referred to as “dual-tone multi-frequency” (DTMF) technology, or Touch-Tone (the trademarked name) dialing.  Also known as push button phones, these would go on to replace the old rotary dial type of telephone (also known as “pulse dialing”) so that today it is rare to even see an old fashioned dial type phone. Digging Deeper Making a lot of calls in the old days was tedious, and tired, sloppy fingers would often slip out of the little round fingertip receptacles causing the caller…

A Brief History On November 14, 1967, physicist Theodore Maiman, an American working for Hughes Research Laboratories, was finally granted a patent for the “optical maser” (maser: microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) device he called the Laser (laser: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), once the stuff of science fiction and now an everyday common electronic device. Digging Deeper Using a synthetic ruby to focus light pumped from a high energy source (the scientific details hurt my liberal arts head), the laser was featured in the James Bond film, Goldfinger (1964) demonstrating the powerful light’s ability to…

A Brief History On November 12, 1970, the people along the Pacific Coast of Oregon found out the answer to the question, “How many State highway Department employees does it take to blow up a whale?”  Unfortunately, no rational people had actually asked that particular question in the first place! Digging Deeper On that memorable November day, a 45 foot long, 8 ton Sperm Whale washed up dead on an Oregon beach.  Stinky and unsightly, locals not surprisingly wanted it gone.  In Oregon, for some reason beaches are considered highways, so the nasty task of removing the whale carcass fell…

A Brief History On November 8, 1895, German physicist Wihelm Roentgen (or Röntgen) discovered what has become known as X-Rays.  In an experiment with electromagnetic radiation for which he won the 1901 Nobel Prize for Physics (the first ever awarded), Roentgen both produced and detected the electromagnetic rays that were originally named Roentgen Rays in his honor. Digging Deeper Only 2 weeks after discovering X-rays, Roentgen devised a method of taking a picture of the skeleton of his wife’s hand on a coated plate, the first “X-ray” picture in history.  The implications for medical use were apparent and almost immediate. …

A Brief History On November 3, 1957, before any chimpanzee, any man, any woman, any Russian, any American went into space, the Soviet dog Laika became the first astronaut (cosmonaut in Soviet terms) in history, an indication of just how important dogs are to people. Digging Deeper Unfortunately, poor Laika was on a one way mission, as the fledgling space programs of the day did not include the technology for a safe return to Earth.  A stray found roaming the streets of Moscow, Laika was an 5 to 6 kilogram mixed breed dog.  (Note: We say mixed breed instead of…

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