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Jan 6, 1838, Samuel Morse 1st demonstrated electric telegraph. "What hath God wrought!" - 1st formal message sent

Samuel F. B. Morse, 1791-1872, American inventor and artist, b. Charlestown, Mass., grad. Yale, 1810

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Samuel F.B. Morse
It was on this day, January 6, in the year 1838 that Samuel Morse first demonstrated the electric telegraph. The telegraph was perhaps the single largest step forward in telecommunication history, in that it allowed messages to be sent electronically for the first time. The telegraph was key in settling the west, and served as the basis for modern communication methods.

"Science and art are not opposed" - Samuel Morse.

Samuel F.B. Morse led a superbly rendered life as a painter, sculptor, professor and photographer. He became best known, however, for his invention of the telegraph. Morse used the invention of the electromagnet in 1825 to develop a way to communicate virtually instantly over long distances using his own code.

Early days

Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born on April 27, 1791, in Charlestown, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. He was the son of Jedidiah Morse, a pastor well known for his knowledge of geography. Samuel showed an interest in electricity, but his love was art. His father opposed art as a career - not realizing how determined Samuel was to paint.

Morse demonstrated to Congress the practicability of his instrument by transmitting the famous message ‘What hath God wrought’ over a wire from Washington to Baltimore  read more »

France condemns Israeli offensive against Gaza revealing sharp difference in tone from official line in Washington

Israeli artillery guns fire towards the Gaza Strip from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border on January 4, 2009. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza and clashed in fierce battles with Hamas fighters today as Israel upped its deadly offensive on the Islamist

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AFP - France spearheaded alarmed reaction from European nations as Israeli tanks and troops pushed into the Gaza Strip, revealing a sharp difference in tone from the official line in Washington.

At least 460 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in an eight-day bombing campaign, according to Gaza medics, as Israeli tanks clashed overnight with Hamas fighters who fired back with mortars and rockets.

a Palestinian man tries to get his family to safety

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the decision to send ground forces into Gaza after a week of air strikes was a "dangerous military escalation", while Britain called for an immediate ceasefire.

The European Union's new Czech presidency said Israel did not have the right to take military actions "which largely affect civilians," though its launching of land operations in the Gaza Strip was no surprise.  read more »

Astounding! Mars rovers, Spirit & Opportunity (expected lifespan of 90 days from Jan 3 '04), roving on into 5 yrs

Mars Exploration Rover

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The US space agency's (NASA) Mars rovers are celebrating a remarkable five years on the Red Planet. The first robot, named Spirit, landed on 3 January, 2004, followed by its twin, Opportunity, 21 days later. Their longevity in the freezing Martian conditions has surprised everyone.

The unmanned rovers Spirit and Opportunity are showing serious signs of wear after an astounding five years roaming Mars, U.S. space agency officials say. Scientists initially thought the remote-controlled machines would last only three months in Mars' freezing climate, said John Callas, rover project manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Like the thoroughbreds racing at Santa Anita Park, Spirit shows off its champion character, having gone far past its designed distance

"These rovers are incredibly resilient considering the extreme environment the hardware experiences every day," Callas said, noting information sent by the rovers have proved water existed on Mars billions of years ago.  read more »

Nature & wildlife photos: puffin touchdown, panda examines bday cake, polar bear cub peeks out from mother's arms

Atlantic puffin in flight

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(above) Norway - Bright beaks and feet signal the breeding season for Atlantic puffins on Hornoya Island. The birds’ colors dull for winter. Puffins in summer and winter coloration look so different they were once thought different species.

Panda Zhen Zhen turns one

(left) Among cities, San Diego may be the most animal-centric. Animals at the zoo and SeaWorld have names, constituencies and birthday parties. So when Zhen Zhen, a giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, turned 1 year old on Sunday, she celebrated with a jumbo-sized birthday cake: a honey-glazed exterior, stuffed inside with fruit, vegetables and bamboo. Sister Su Lin turned three a few days earlier, with a similar fest. For pandaphiles, Zhen Zhen is now 45 pounds and is approaching the day of independence from her mother, Bai Yun. Su Lin is about two years away from potential motherhood.

panda sitting in a tree

Peekaboo! Polar bear and cub

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Photos courtesy of Jan Vermeer, Foto Nature, San Diego Zoological Society, ppalmward/wallpaperbase.com, and First People  read more »

135 countries committed to International Year of Astronomy 2009: "The Universe, yours to discover." Began on 1 Jan

the Cygnus X-1 binary star system contains one of the best candidates for a black hole

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Stargazers around the world are busy preparing for the International Year of Astronomy. A staggering 135 nations are collaborating to bring the Universe closer to Earth. Events and activities will take place over the coming 365 days and beyond, in a spectacle of cosmic proportions.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) has been launched by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the theme, "The Universe, yours to discover". Thousands of IYA2009 events are described on the national websites, as well as on astronomy2009.org, and a few of the global projects are listed here.

official name of this global celebration is the International Year of Astronomy, abbreviated IYA2009  read more »

"Thank you for dancing with me!" Matt invited people in 39 countries on all 7 continents to come out and dance...

dancing in Istanbul, Turkey

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Matt Harding is a 32-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on.

dancing in Poria, Papua New Guinea

In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is. A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said "Hey, why don't you stand over there and do that dance. I'll record it." He was referring to a particular dance Matt does.

dancing in Paris, France  read more »

World's tallest buildings (part i): Cheops Pyramid, Lincoln Cathedral, St. Olav, Strasbourg Cathedral, St. Nikolai

Cheops Pyramid – Egypt, finished in 2,600 BC (481 ft - 146 m)

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Cheops Pyramid – Egypt, finished in 2,600 BC (481 ft - 146 m)

The Cheops Pyramid at Giza, Egypt, was finished in the year (approx) 2,600 BC and reigned as the world's tallest building / structure for another 4,000 years. How the Great Pyramid was built is a question that may never be answered. This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589 - 2566 BC. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. These stones were brought from Aswan and Tura and the water would have brought the stones right to the pyramid. The total weight would have been 6,000,000 tons and a height of 482 feet (140m). The Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) is the largest and the oldest of the Pyramids of Giza. It wasn't until the 13th Century that Egypt lost the title to a cathedral that was constructed in the U.K. at Lincoln.

Lincoln Cathedral, U.K. (525 ft - 160 m)

Lincoln Cathedral, U.K., completed in 1311 AD (525 ft - 160 m)

Construction of the Cathedral finished in the year 1311 AD, and the Cathedral maintained the title of the world's tallest building for 238 years until 1549 AD, when the central spire was destroyed in a storm. The central spire was never re-built.

St. Olav, Tallinn, Estonia (522 ft - 159 m)  read more »

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