Good morning. Today is Thursday, the 20th day of June. It's the 171st day of the year. We're not in a leap year, so there are 194 days remaining in 2019. On the Jewish calendar, today is the 17th day of Sivan in the year 5779. On this day in 1214, the University of Oxford received its Royal charter.
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Today in History: The Birth of eCommunications
It was on this day in 1840 that Samuel F. B. Morris was granted US Patent No. 1647 for his electric telegraph. For many years, instant long distance communications had been handled by a number of means, the most common being signalling mirrors and semaphores, but by 1840, the body of electrical knowledge was growing at an astounding rate. Many early electrical researchers ("electricians" as they were known) had devised innovations that resulted in primitive systems, and many seemed to have much promise. What made the Morse invention a workable approach was his use of the electro-magnet. Earlier inventors had failed to come up with a way to register the receipt of the electrical signal. The closest system to Morse's was Englishman Charles Wheatstone's, which used a series of magnetic needles that changed orientation in response to an electrical field.
Morse's initial invention specified a complex mechanical system that would allow the sending operator to compose a message with a sort of movable type pieces that would pass through contacts, causing them to close to complete the circuit and send the signal. At the receiving end was to be yet another complicated mechanical device that would print a coded message on a moving paper tape, whereby a receiving technician would translate the code into words. Many improvements in the technology were introduced by the time the telegraph went into regular commercial use. By then, operators had realized that the printing apparatus was of little practical use because the trained ear could decode the message on the fly by listening to the clicks. Likewise, skilled sending operators could tap out the code on a simple keying mechanism much faster than they could set up a "composed" telegraph. Although the telegraph's language was known as Morse Code, it was inventor Alfred Vail who simplified the code into the dots and dashes that quickly became the standard. The Vail code used shorter sequences for frequently used letters, thus speeding up the transmission speed. Many years later when wireless telegraphy came into use, a quirk of the early systems that was known as "capacitance holdover" made some of Vail's characters hard to receive accurately. The code was slightly modified, becoming what is still referred to as "wireless" code. Today, the original Vail code remains known as "landline" or "railroad" [Morse] code. Ham radio operators were required to learn wireless code until fairly recently. That's no longer the case, so Morse code is no longer used.
Telegraph innovations and systems expanded quickly after Morse's invention, and the Transatlantic Cable connecting England and the United States was completed in August of 1858. After initial testing, the first telegram using the cable was sent by Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan on August 16th. The royal message began, "To the President of the United States, Washington: The Queen desires to congratulate the President upon the successful completion of this great international work." President Buchanan included in his reply, "May the Atlantic Telegraph, under the blessing of Heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument designed by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty and law throughout the world."
Timeline Footnote: Queen Victoria was celebrating her third anniversary on the thrown on the day Morse received his patent. Serving as the longest reigning English Monarch to date, she died in 1901. At the time of her death, wireless telegraphy was well on its way as the replacement for cable communications.
Today's Birthday Boys and Girls
Today is the birthday of Jacques Offenbach (1819), Errol Flynn (1909), Chet Atkins (1924), Audie Murphy (1924), Olympia Dukakis (1931), Martin Landau (1931), Danny Aiello (1933), Brian Wilson (1942), Anne Murray (1945), Andre Watts (1946), Lionel Richie (1949), John Goodman (1952), Cyndi Lauper (1953), Adam Schiff (1960), Nicole Kidman (1967), Robert Rodriguez (1968), and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (1989).
On Wall Street
About the stock numbers: There's no current stock market reporting at the moment because of a snag in the link that retrieves the data and gets it to the screen. The stock market stuff is on the work bench until it's working again.
The New York Stock Exchange is open and trading. Currently, The S&P500 index is at , up by . The NASDAQ is up by to . The link to the Dow Jones Industrial Average is not working.
Note: During trading hours all data is in real time. The data is preserved at the end of the trading day. It remains until the next opening bell. The process of retrieving stock info involves many links between the sources and what you're reading on the screen. At the moment, there's a technical issue up the line with the DJ average. Occasionally, the data appears as random characters. If there's numerical data on the screen, it's accurate. The other indicies are working and accurate.
Earth and All Spheres
The current weather conditions and forecast usually appear in this section. However, there have been technical issues the last few days with the NOAA system, so the data is not always available. Reloading the page will sometimes bring up the info.
We are under a waning gibbous moon. At the time you accessed this page, its exact age was 17 days, 18 hours, and 18 minutes. We will be under a new moon again on Tuesday, July 2nd at 4:35 AM CDT. The moon will reach full luminescence on Tuesday, July 16th at 10:57 PM. For now, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are visible in the night sky. Mars, seen in the southern sky, is clearly visible and its red glow clearly identifies it. It can be seen beginning at nightfall; it moves slowly in a westerly fashion before disappearing. Mercury can be seen in the eastern sky just before dawn.
in the 180th day of winter, which arrived in the Northern Hemisphere on December 21st at 5:45 PM CDT with the occurrence of the Winter Solstice, marked by the shortest day of the year. Winter will end on March 21st at 6:45 AM CDT with the occurrence of the Spring Equinox. For today, our sunrise and sunset times (at -96.852/32.847) are 6:14 AM and 8:26 PM, giving us 14 hours and 12 minutes of daylight. For now, we're on Standard Time. We will switch to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 10th at 1:00 AM when Santa Claus will magically roll our clocks forward to 2:00 AM, following the NIST standard.
This site is a working demonstration of on-demand PHP scripting. The code tightly integrates computed and imported data with text, spewing forth natural-sounding narrative output with flawless grammar and syntax. The birthdays, history section and the text below--which all change daily--are from an in-house database. Raw data used in the financial and weather sections is imported at page generation time. All the other data, particularly the celestial stuff, is derived and rendered by several hundred lines of code at the time the page request reaches the server. THIS SITE IS SELF-MAINTAINING. The daily content updates at midnight CDT. The weather target is -96.852/32.847.
Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas... It isn't just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple's executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that "Made in the U.S.A." is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradshern
"How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work"
The New York Times January 21, 2012
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