Daily Bread for 8.20.16 – 2017

Good morning, Whitewater.

We’ll have thunderstorms for most of Saturday, on a day with a high of seventy-seven. Sunrise is 6:08 AM and sunset 7:47 PM, for 13h 39m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 94.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

August 20th is the anniversary of two technological feats:

On this day in 1911, a dispatcher in the New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service. Exactly 66 years later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sends a different kind of message–a phonograph record containing information about Earth for extraterrestrial beings–shooting into space aboard the unmanned spacecraft Voyager II.

The Times decided to send its 1911 telegram in order to determine how fast a commercial message could be sent around the world by telegraph cable. The message, reading simply “This message sent around the world,” left the dispatch room on the 17th floor of the Times building in New York at 7 p.m. on August 20. After it traveled more than 28,000 miles, being relayed by 16 different operators, through San Francisco, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, Bombay, Malta, Lisbon and the Azores–among other locations–the reply was received by the same operator 16.5 minutes later. It was the fastest time achieved by a commercial cablegram since the opening of the Pacific cable in 1900 by the Commercial Cable Company.

On August 20, 1977, a NASA rocket launched Voyager II, an unmanned 1,820-pound spacecraft, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was the first of two such crafts to be launched that year on a “Grand Tour” of the outer planets, organized to coincide with a rare alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Aboard Voyager II was a 12-inch copper phonograph record called “Sounds of Earth.” Intended as a kind of introductory time capsule, the record included greetings in 60 languages and scientific information about Earth and the human race, along with classical, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll music, nature sounds like thunder and surf, and recorded messages from President Jimmy Carter and other world leaders.

The brainchild of astronomer Carl Sagan, the record was sent with Voyager II and its twin craft, Voyager I–launched just two weeks later–in the faint hope that it might one day be discovered by extraterrestrial creatures. The record was sealed in an aluminum jacket that would keep it intact for 1 billion years, along with instructions on how to play the record, with a cartridge and needle provided.

On this day in 1794, Americans fight the Battle of Fallen Timbers:

On this date American troops under General “Mad” Anthony Wayne defeated a confederation of Indian forces led by Little Turtle of the Miamis and Blue Jacket of the Shawnees. Wayne’s soldiers, who included future Western explorer William Clark and future President William Henry Harrison, won the battle in less than an hour with the loss of some 30 men killed. (The number of Indian casualties is uncertain.)

The battle had several far-reaching consequences for the United States and what would later become the state of Wisconsin. The crushing defeat of the British-allied Indians convinced the British to finally evacuate their posts in the American west (an accession explicitly given in the Jay Treaty signed some three months later), eliminating forever the English presence in the early American northwest and clearing the way for American expansion.

The battle also resulted in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, in which the defeated Indians ceded to Wayne the right of Americans to settle in the Ohio Valley (although the northwestern area of that country was given to the Indians). Wayne’s victory opened the gates of widespread settlement of the Old Northwest, Wisconsin included. [Source: American History Illustrated, Feb. 1969]

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