May 13, 2014 AT 6:00 am

Time travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world

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Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson


1857 – Ronald Ross, Indian-English physician and Nobel Prize laureate is born.

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Sir Ronald Ross, KCB, FRS, was an Indian-born British medical doctor who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria. His discovery of the malarial parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of mosquito led to the realisation that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes, and laid the foundation for combating the disease. He was quite a polymath, writing a number of poems, published several novels, and composed songs. He was also an amateur artist and natural mathematician. He worked in the Indian Medical Service for 25 years. It was during his service that he made the groundbreaking medical discovery. After resigning from his service in India, he joined the faculty of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and continued as Professor and Chair of Tropical Medicine of the institute for 10 years. In 1926 he became Director-in-Chief of the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which was established in honour of his works. He remained there until his death.

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1861 – The Great Comet of 1861 is discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia.

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The Great Comet of 1861 formally designated C/1861 J1 and 1861 II, is a long-period comet that was visible to the naked eye for approximately 3 months. It was categorized as a Great Comet, one of eight in the 19th century.

It was discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia, on May 13, 1861, with an apparent magnitude of +4, a month before perihelion (June 12). It was not visible in the northern hemisphere until June 29, but it arrived before word of the comet’s discovery.

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1880 – In Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway.

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A railway electrification system supplies electric power to railway trains and trams without an on-board prime mover or local fuel supply. Electrification has many advantages but requires significant capital expenditure. Selection of an electrification system is based on ecnomoics of energy supply, maintenance, and capital cost compared to the revenue obtained for freight and passenger traffic. Different systems are used for urban and intercity areas; some electric locomotives can switch to different supply voltages to allow flexiblity in operation.

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1909 – The first Giro d’Italia starts from Milan. Italian cyclist Luigi Ganna will be the winner.

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The Giro d’Italia (English: Tour of Italy) is an annual stage race bicycle race primarily held in Italy, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. The race was first organized in 1909 to increase sales of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport; however it is currently run by RCS Sport. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1909, except when it was stopped for the two world wars. As the Giro gained prominence and popularity the race was lengthened, and the peloton expanded from primarily Italian participation to riders from all over the world. The Giro is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI Proteams, with the exception of the teams that the organizers can invite.

Along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro makes up cycling’s prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours. The Giro is usually held during late May and early June. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same, with the appearance of at least two time trials, and a passage through the mountains of the Alps, including the Dolomites. Like the other Grand Tours, the modern editions of the Giro d’Italia normally consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period that includes 2 rest days.

All of the stages are timed to the finish. After finishing the riders’ times are compounded with their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest aggregate time is the leader of the race and gets to don the coveted pink jersey. While the general classification gathers the most attention there are other contests held within the Giro: the points classification for the sprinters, the mountains classification for the climbers, young rider classification for the riders under the age of 25, and the team classification for the competing teams. The 2013 edition of the race was won by Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali.

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1939 – The first commercial FM radio station in the United States is launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut. The station later becomes WDRC-FM.

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In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation (FM) is the encoding of information in a carrier wave by varying the instantaneous frequency of the wave. (Compare with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier wave varies, while the frequency remains constant.)

In analog signal applications, the difference between the instantaneous and the base frequency of the carrier is directly proportional to the instantaneous value of the input-signal amplitude.

Digital data can be encoded and transmitted via a carrier wave by shifting the carrier’s frequency among a predefined set of frequencies—a technique known as frequency-shift keying (FSK). FSK is widely used in modems and fax modems, and can also be used to send Morse code. Radioteletype also uses FSK.

Frequency modulation is used in radio, telemetry, radar, seismic prospecting, and monitoring newborns for seizures via EEG. FM is widely used for broadcasting music and speech, two-way radio systems, magnetic tape-recording systems and some video-transmission systems. In radio systems, frequency modulation with sufficient bandwidth provides an advantage in cancelling naturally-occurring noise.

Frequency modulation is known as phase modulation when the carrier phase modulation is the time integral of the FM signal.

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1958 – The trade mark Velcro is registered.

Velcro Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The hook-and-loop fastener was conceived in 1941 by Swiss engineer, George de Mestral who lived in Commugny, Switzerland.

The idea came to him one day after returning from a hunting trip with his dog in the Alps. He took a close look at the burrs (seeds) of burdock that kept sticking to his clothes and his dog’s fur. He examined them under a microscope, and noted their hundreds of “hooks” that caught on anything with a loop, such as clothing, animal fur, or hair. He saw the possibility of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion if he could figure out how to duplicate the hooks and loops. Velcro is viewed by some like Steven Vogel or Werner Nachtigall as a key example of inspiration from nature or the copying of nature’s mechanisms (called bionics or biomimesis).

Originally people refused to take de Mestral seriously when he took his idea to Lyon, which was then a center of weaving. He did manage to gain the help of one weaver, who made two cotton strips that worked. However, the cotton wore out quickly, so de Mestral turned to synthetic fibers. He settled on nylon as being the best synthetic, which had several advantages. Nylon doesn’t break down, rot, or attract mold, and it could be produced in threads of various thickness. Nylon had only recently been invented, and through trial and error he eventually discovered that, when sewn under hot infrared light, nylon forms hooks that were perfect for the hook side of the fastener. Though he had figured out how to make the hooks, he had yet to figure out a way to mechanize the process, and to make the looped side. Next he found that nylon thread, when woven in loops and heat-treated, retains its shape and is resilient; however, the loops had to be cut in just the right spot so that they could be fastened and unfastened many times. On the verge of giving up, a new idea came to him. He bought a pair of shears and trimmed the tops off the loops, thus creating hooks that would match up perfectly with the loops in the pile.

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1958 – Ben Carlin becomes the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey.

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Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Carlin was an Australian adventurer who was the first and only person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle. Born in Northam, Western Australia, Carlin attended Guildford Grammar School in Perth, and later studied mining engineering at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. After qualifying as an engineer, he worked on the Goldfields before in 1939 emigrating to China to work in a British coal mine. In the Second World War, Carlin was posted to the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, serving in India, Italy, and throughout the Middle East. After his discharge from service in 1946, he emigrated to the United States with his American wife, Elinore (née Arone).

Sparked by an idea he had had whilst in the military, Carlin proposed that the couple honeymoon by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a modified Ford GPA (an amphibious version of the Ford GPW Jeep), which they named the Half-Safe. Beginning their trip in Montreal, Canada, the Carlins finally completed the transatlantic crossing in 1951, after unsuccessful attempts. From there, they travelled to Europe, temporarily settling in Birmingham to raise more money. They resumed their journey in 1954, travelling overland through the Middle East before arriving in Calcutta. After a short fundraising trip to Australia, Carlin’s wife left to return to the United States. He resumed the journey with new partners, travelling through South-East Asia and the Far East to the northern tip of Japan, and then to Alaska. After an extended tour through the United States and Canada, he and Half-Safe finally returned to Montreal, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey. Following Carlin’s death in 1981, Half-Safe was acquired by Guildford Grammar, his old school, where it remains on display.

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1965 – José Antonio Delgado, Venezuelan mountaineer, is born.

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José Antonio Delgado Sucre was the first Venezuelan mountaineer to reach the summit of five eight-thousanders and one of the most experienced climbers in Latin America. Known as el indio (the “Indian” for his strength), Delgado led the first Venezuelan Everest expedition in 2001. On May 23 of that year, he and Marcus Tobía were the only members of the expedition to summit Everest. He held several records in mountaineering, such as the first paragliding flight from Pico Humboldt, Pico Bolívar, and Roraima. Delgado also made the fastest summit for a Venezuelan to the Aconcagua (from the Puente del Inca in 34 hours) and Huascarán (from the base in 14 hours).

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1995 – Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother, became the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas.

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Alison Jane Hargreaves was an English mountain climber from Derbyshire. Educated at Belper School, her accomplishments included scaling Mount Everest alone without supplementary oxygen in 1995. She soloed all the great north faces of the Alps in a single season—a first for any climber.[1] This feat included climbing the famously difficult north face of the Eiger in the Alps in 1993. Hargreaves also climbed 6,812-metre (22,349 ft) Ama Dablam in Nepal.

In 1995 Alison Hargreaves intended to climb the three highest mountains in the world—Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga—unaided. On 13 May 1995 she reached the summit of Everest without the aid of Sherpas or bottled oxygen.

She also did major climbs while pregnant.

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2011 – Adafruit is mentioned in the New York Times!

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From The Kitchen-Table Industrialists @ NYTimes.com

Adafruit also illustrates how a good part of this new manufacturing operates through open-source sharing and what can be called social tinkering, in contrast with the manufacturing of the past, which emphasized patents, trade secrets and proprietary invention. Fried got the idea for such a company when, as a graduate student at the M.I.T. Media Lab, she began making simple MP3 players and cellphone jammers, just for nerdy kicks, and made the recipes for her creations — CAD files, software, mechanical drawings — public on her blog. Requests poured in for kits that would allow people to make what she designed, and Adafruit was born.

Today Adafruit remains an open-source company. It publicizes how its kits are made, so that you can clone them, and also reveals how it runs as a business. The company says which Internet service provider it uses, which shipping company, which software runs its online shopping system. Torrone told me that they share this information so that other companies, including rivals, can cut to the chase of genuine discovery and not get bogged down reinventing wheels.

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2013 – PIXEL Guts Kit – Bluetooth Controlled 32×32 RGB LED Matrix Kit added to adafruit store

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Control a 32×32 LED matrix with your Android device or PC over Bluetooth, no soldering or coding required! This is a 32×32 (1024 total) LED RGB matrix connected to a custom IOIO Mint so that custom graphics can be sent from any Android device to the display. Originally designed for a kickstarter, now the ‘guts’ of the PIXEL project are available for pixelated graphics fans who want to create their own custom enclosure. Read more.

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