Daily Bread for 3.7.16 – 2017

Good morning, Whitewater.

Monday in town will be cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers and a high of fifty-nine. Sunrise is 6:17 and sunset 5:53, for 11h 35m 06s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 3.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent:

The Scottish-born Bell worked in London with his father, Melville Bell, who developed Visible Speech, a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf. In the 1870s, the Bells moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where the younger Bell found work as a teacher at the Pemberton Avenue School for the Deaf. He later married one of his students, Mabel Hubbard.

While in Boston, Bell became very interested in the possibility of transmitting speech over wires. Samuel F.B. Morse’s invention of the telegraph in 1843 had made nearly instantaneous communication possible between two distant points. The drawback of the telegraph, however, was that it still required hand-delivery of messages between telegraph stations and recipients, and only one message could be transmitted at a time. Bell wanted to improve on this by creating a “harmonic telegraph,” a device that combined aspects of the telegraph and record player to allow individuals to speak to each other from a distance.

With the help of Thomas A. Watson, a Boston machine shop employee, Bell developed a prototype. In this first telephone, sound waves caused an electric current to vary in intensity and frequency, causing a thin, soft iron plate–called the diaphragm–to vibrate. These vibrations were transferred magnetically to another wire connected to a diaphragm in another, distant instrument. When that diaphragm vibrated, the original sound would be replicated in the ear of the receiving instrument. Three days after filing the patent, the telephone carried its first intelligible message–the famous “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you”–from Bell to his assistant.

Bell’s patent filing beat a similar claim by Elisha Gray by only two hours. Not wanting to be shut out of the communications market, Western Union Telegraph Company employed Gray and fellow inventor Thomas A. Edison to develop their own telephone technology. Bell sued, and the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld Bell’s patent rights. In the years to come, the Bell Company withstood repeated legal challenges to emerge as the massive American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) and form the foundation of the modern telecommunications industry.

On this day in 1911, a great naturalist is born:

1811 – Increase Allen Lapham Born

A pioneer naturalist and noted author, Increase Allen Lapham was instrumental in establishing the Milwaukee public high school program. He was one of the founders of Milwaukee Female Seminary in 1848 and served as president of the State Historical Society from 1862 to 1871. Lapham came to Milwaukee in 1836 to serve as chief engineer and secretary for the Rock River Canal Company. He was one of the first authors and map makers in Wisconsin. Among approximately 80 titles in his bibliography, most notable was his Antiquities of Wisconsin, the first book length investigation of Wisconsin’s Indian mounds. Lapham also served as chief geologist for Wisconsin from 1873 to 1875. He founded many educational, civic, and scientific organizations in Wisconsin. You can see many of his writings, letters, maps, and drawings, at Turning Points in Wisconsin History by typing “Lapham” into the search box. [Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography, SHSW 1960, pg. 221]

Puzzability begins a new series this week, entitled Contain Yourself:

This Week’s Game — March 7-11
Contain Yourself
Hey, hold it! Each day’s answer this week is a title, name, or phrase whose initial letters spell the three-letter name of a container.
What documentary about Wikipedia takes its name from a phrase indicating that statistics don’t lie?
Truth in Numbers? (TIN)
What to Submit:
Submit the title, name, or phrase (as “Truth in Numbers?” in the example) for your answer.
Monday, March 7
What’s the subtitle of the 1991 movie in which Kevin Costner played Robin Hood?
My name is:

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