G'day folks,

Welcome to some background on a man who changed the world, and often not for the better when I see the addiction to mobile phones. Notwithstanding, he was a smart man.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-born American scientist best known as the inventor of the telephone, worked at a school for the deaf while attempting to invent a machine that would transmit sound by electricity. Bell was granted the first official patent for his telephone in March 1876, though he would later face years of legal challenges to his claim that he was its sole inventor, resulting in one of history’s longest patent battles. Bell continued his scientific work for the rest of his life, and used his success and wealth to establish various research centers nationwide.

Bell owes his immortality to his having been the first to design and patent a practical device for transmitting the human voice by means of an electric current. But Bell always described himself simply as a “teacher of the deaf,” and his contributions in that field were of the first order.

Bell, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, was educated there and at the University of London. He also studied under his grandfather, Alexander Bell, a noted speech teacher. He taught elocution, assisted his father, also a speech teacher and noted phonetician, and taught at a school for the deaf in England, using his father’s methods. In 1870, Bell immigrated with his parents to Canada.

Two years later he established a school for the deaf in Boston, Massachusetts, and the following year became a professor in speech and vocal physiology at Boston University. While teaching he experimented with a means of transmitting several telegraph messages simultaneously over a single wire and also with various devices to help the deaf learn to speak, including a means of graphically recording sound waves.

 In 1874 the essential idea of the telephone formed in his mind. As he later explained it, “If I could make a current of electricity vary in intensity precisely as the air varies in density during the production of sound, I should be able to transmit speech telegraphically.” Two years later he applied for a patent, which was granted on March 7, 1876. On March 10, the first coherent complete sentence—the famous “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you”—was transmitted in his laboratory.

In later years Bell experimented with a means to detect metal in wounds and with a vacuum-jacket respirator that led to the development of the iron lung. He helped bring Thomas A. Edison’s phonograph to commercial practicality and experimented with hydrofoil boats and with airplanes as early as the 1890s.

 With the wealth derived from the telephone, Bell was able to assist the careers of other scientists. He also founded and helped finance the journal Science, today the premier American scientific journal, and the National Geographic Society.

While constantly engaged in scientific experiments, Bell crusaded tirelessly on behalf of the deaf, encouraging their integration into society with the help of lip-reading and other techniques. In 1890 he founded the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.

He died in 1922 at his summer home on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. People throughout North America were urged to refrain from making phone calls during his burial so that telephones would remain silent as a tribute.


Clancy's comment: Helloooooooooooooooo!

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G'day folks,

Welcome to some amazing facts about a big bird that roams the Australian bush and outback.

The emu is the largest bird native to Australia and the second largest bird in the world, behind the ostrich. The emu is most commonly found in wooded areas but emus are common all over Australia.

Studies show that emus seem to avoid dense forests and largely populated areas, as this means that the emu can be more aware of it's surroundings. Although the emu does prefer to be in woodland or shrub land where there is plenty to eat as well as cover, they like to know exactly what is around them.
In Australia there are enormous emu farms where the emu is bred for meat, oil and leather. Emu oil is said to hold medicinal healing properties when rubbed onto painful joints and is commonly used across the world mainly for sports injuries but also arthritis.

Emus can grow to nearly 2 meters tall and have have extremely soft feathers. Emus are flightless birds mainly due to their enormous size, which means that they are just too heavy to fly. Emus are nomadic animals which means that they rarely stay in the same place for long. This travelling lifestyle means that the emu can make the most of the food that is available and emus are known to travel long distances in order to find more food.

Emus are omnivorous birds feeding mainly on fruits, seeds and insects. Emus are generally found close to water and are therefore not keen on more arid regions. However, the introduction of better water supplies to inland Australia has meant that despite the population decrease of the wild emu, their range has expanded.

Emus have long necks and long legs in comparison to their body size. The long, flexible legs of the emu mean that the emu is able to run a high speeds, with emus generally running at around 25 mph. Emus however are able to reach a top speed 30 mph in short bursts should the emu need to get away quickly from a dangerous situation.

Emus form breeding pairs during the Australian summer (December) and mating usually occurs when the climate becomes cooler a few months later. The female emu can lay up to 20 eggs (although 12 is the average number), which hatch after a couple of months. The male emu eats very little throughout the breeding process and it is he that incubates the eggs. By the time the emu chicks hatch, the male emu has lost a considerable amount of body weight and lives of his fat reserves.

Emus have few predators due to their large size and fast speed. Emus are most commonly preyed upon by wild dogs and crocodiles and are hunted by humans. Emu eggs are eaten by many animals including dogs, birds of prey and large reptiles.

Emus tend to live for between 10 and 20 years in the wild, although it is not uncommon for an emu to be more than 30 years old, particularly when in captivity. Emus are known to be very versatile animals and can easily adapt to many different environments.

Clancy's comment: Yep, they sure are big, and fast. The males are similar to the male Emperor Penguin who also looks after the eggs, doesn't eat and loses a considerable amount of weight.

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