Father of the Cell Phone

“An inventor is one who can see the applicability
of means to supply demand five years before it is
obvious to those skilled in the art.”
Reginald Fessenden

Our cell phones have the capability of a supercomputer. They can perform as a cell phone and instantly they are a computer, television, music playing device, camera, video camera, library, GPS, and a gaming system.

What I find interesting is that I use it less and less as a phone. My monthly cell phone bill shows zero actual phone minutes used and thousands of kilobytes used for data.

For example, at the DMV the other day, the line was hours long. So I pulled out my cell phone, and began reading a book from my OverDrive account.

When I looked around the long line of people, I noticed they too were engaged in cell phone activity. I began to wonder, how did cell phones first get started? So, I pulled up Google on my trusted cell phone.

The cell phone dates back to its early inception of the shore-to-ship radio telephony during the Second World War. The inventor, Reginald Fessenden probably never anticipated the huge impact he would have on society. An inveterate tinkerer, Fessenden eventually became the holder of more than 500 patents. His rendition of ‘O Holy Night‘ from a 1906 broadcast was the first coherent audio transmission to be received.

The telephony developed into mobile phones that were first used for automobiles in the 1940’s. The early mobile phones of the 1970’s to the 1990’s were bulky, consumed high power and the telephone network supported only a few simultaneous conversations. The first cell phone I used in 1993 could only be used in the car and was the size of a man’s size 12 shoe.

I wonder how Reginald Fessenden would react to the huge success of his invention? No doubt he would be proud. But, I bet he would of had no idea how far his inventions would take us and that he would become the father of the cell phone.

Shine On

Persistent Illusion


“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction
between past, present and future is only
a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Albert Einstein

Shine On

Light the Way for Humankind


“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth,
 though they have long been extinct.
There are people whose brilliance
continues to light the world,
though they are no longer among the living.
These lights are particularly bright
when the night is dark.
They light the way for humankind.”
Hannah Senesh

Connected by the Light

As I stare up at the last full moon of 2020, I reflect on this past year and previous happier New Years. The brilliant light of the moon brought back memories of a friend of mine. A friend I worked with, socialized with, and who I respected and admired for well over thirty years.

Though my friend and I didn’t see or talk daily, we always seemed to connect during the holidays. It was 2009 New Year’s Eve in California around 10:00 pm, a few years before this friend passed away. I was on my balcony looking up at the full radiant moon and I wondered if he too was looking up at the moon.

When I left my balcony and returned to my living room, I heard an incoming email notification on my laptop. I was astonished to see the email was from my friend. He was vacationing in Belize, as he always did during the holiday season. The email simply read:

JR, It’s midnight in Belize. I’m looking up at a magnificent moon over the bay here and am thinking of you. It’s still a wonder to me that we all can see the same moon from different places–albeit at different times and longitudes, but with no major physics correction involved. John Muir said, ‘When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.’  Happy New Year 

During the holidays, I find myself reminiscing about this dear friend. I miss him and our long talks about life, history, and whether or not we are alone in the Universe. I miss the special connection we had. A connection, I believe all of us have the ability of obtaining.

All of us have the energy and light within us to light the way for humankind.

Shine On

Some Things Never Change

 
“From my tribe I take nothing,
I am the maker of my own fortune.
A single twig breaks,
but the bundle of twigs is strong.
Show respect to all people,
but grovel to none.”
Tecumseh
 
 

With Thanksgiving behind us, I realized I had not heard one newscaster or for that matter, one government official mention Native Americans. This nation began with the genocide of the Native Indians. I often wonder what North America would look like without its 1492 landing and the fore fathers that confiscated it unlawfully.

I’ve been reading and listening to the news about the Coronavirus impact on Native Americans. There’s one article in particular written by Lizzie Wade in Science Magazine that was eye opening about the COVID-19 data on Native Americans which is a national disgrace. I hope you’ll take the time to read the article.

This country hasn’t respected Indigenous people since the day we set foot on their land. It angers and saddens me that some things never change.

Shine On

Words Cannot Express

“Art is the lie that enables us
to realize the truth.”
Pablo Picasso

Since the death of Sean Connery a few weeks back, I’ve been rewatching all of the James Bond movies in chronological order. I noticed that the majority of the Bond movies were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I’ve been watching MGM movies my entire life but just now noticed the words, “Ars Gratia Artis” used as a motto by MGM and appears in the circle around the roaring head of Leo the Lion in its logo.

Curious lady that I am, I looked up the meaning of this Latin saying, Ars Gratia Artis which translates to, Art for Art’s Sake.  It is a phrase that dates back to poet Théophile Gautier from the 1800s. The phrase was also used by poet Edgar Allan Poe in his 1850 essay, The Poetic Principle.  These men argued that “. . . art for art’s sake affirmed that art was valuable as art in itself; that artistic pursuits were their own justification; and that art did not need moral justification, and was allowed to be morally neutral or subversive.”

With so many forms of art in our society, I dove even deeper into this subject and discovered writer and philosopher, Alain de Botton who is the founder of  The School of Life, where he examines the many purposes of art.

In Alain’s book, Art as Therapy he points out how art can be a form and a source of therapy and self-help. He explains how art has the ability to resolve our psychological shortcomings and ease our anxieties about our imperfections. Art can be used as a great tool that serves a complex important purpose in our existence. The highest achievement of art might be something that reconciles the two: a channel of empathy into our own psychology that lets us both exorcise and better understand our emotions.

There are many areas in our life that art enriches including how art helps us feel less alone in our suffering. de Botton believes art can also save us time as well as save our lives, through opportune and reminders of balance and goodness that we should never presume we know enough about already. He also says that art is our new religion and our museums are our cathedrals. We all have reasons for our tastes in particular works of art and that can reflect how we are feeling emotionally at particular times in our lives.

Art gives us a language for communicating to others. It can explain why we are so particular about the kinds of art we surround ourselves with publicly.  A sort of self-packaging we all practice as much on the walls of our homes as we do on our social media pages. A cynic might interpret this as mere showing off, but de Botton believes that the art we admire peels away this superficial interpretation to reveal the deeper psychological motive.

The art we admire can show our true desire to communicate to others the subtleties of who we are and what we believe in a way that words cannot express.

Shine On