Monday, April 27, 2009

Samuel Morse - a Code and a Service

Today is the birthday of Samuel Morse, the inventor of landline telegraphy and more notably the morse code, the use of code of dots and dashes to represent letters of the alphabet.
Samuel Morse was born in Massachusetts, April 27 1791 and died April 2 1872 in New York. In his earlier years he supported himself as a professional artist.
Telegraphy was mostly urban initially but lines later followed the railroad because of the ease of obtaining "right of way"; his morse code survived into the wireless era following the invention of radio. For a long time it had superiority over voice transmission especially at a distance and during times of poor reception due to extreme weather
Morse is probably better known now for his portrait painting which he may very well have considered as a job rather than an artistic pursuit.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine Flu Fears

Mexico is the suspected source of a deadly swine flu with 68 reported deaths. 800 cases have been reported by the World Health Organisation in recent weeks, most among healthy young adults. WHO has supplies of Tamiflu available although there appear to be doubts about its effectiveness for this strain of flu.
Latest news from the New York Times indicates a possible outbreak in a private school in Queens where dozens of students reported symptoms of the flu yesterday..
Symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza - fever, cough, sore throat with the rare possibility of vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may be swelling, headaches and vision problems. The virus is considered to be a strain of swine flu, but also combines genetic material from birds and humans in a way that taxes research knowledge.
In Mexico the official response has been to cancel large gatherings and events, while the public are resorting to the use of face masks..

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Bo, a Portugese Water Dog, has made it to the White House. He is touted as First Dog, definitely Top Dog. He is the fulfilment of a promise made by President Obama to his daughters during his long election campaign.
Australians have long referred to results of elections as 'A drover's dog could have won' (A drover's dog is a highly respected canine that moves cattle or sheep over long distances and often in harsh conditions). Bo has a pedigree that links him to the herders of the plains of central Asia around 700 BC before becoming Portuguese about 500 AD, introduced by the Visigoths, to become a herder of fish into nets.When the Portugese Water Dog Club of America was founded in 1972 only 12 of the animals were known to exist in the US.
With a breeding of a calm demeanor and a love of outdoors, Bo is sure to be a feature of White House activity.