(continued)

BBC Calling

Science

The Blitz

written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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During the war I remember Edward R. Morrow's opening lines as the bombs of the Blitz exploded around him.  He would say something like this:  "I'm on a rooftop overlooking London..."

It was like a faint beacon heard, but not seen on the one radio in our house.  The antenna wound it's way inside the walls to the attic to pick up faint signals. 

Columbia Broadcasting System would route my image of England itself across the Atlantic to be heard in North America.  Murrow worked for CBS 

It was a weak signal on short wave, but a powerful force.  It connected the English speaking people world-wide and I remember it.  Murrow used the power of the new tool to keep the nations together.

Murrow more than most, kept  life in the hearts of the free people of the world.  He had a magic voice.  Hear him in column 2.

BBC was there as a witness and still protects the free world with free speech and above all the truth.  Its transmitters brought Murrow to me.

When I got older, I was able to travel to the lands of my schoolboy heroes, who withstood the Blitz.

The phone rang tonight.  It was BBC calling. The signal was strong. An old friend from the days of my work at Cambridge is, with others, working on a documentary.  He would like me to shed some light on the early days of some modern technology.

He considers the work done on Numerical  Control machines has revolutionized manufacturing and is the basis for modern robotics.  It's an interesting theory. 

I thought about it and he is right.  NC has done just that.

What is Numerical Control?  It is movement from one position to another under computer control with precision.

This is how automated milling machines work.  It is how robots move.  It has two key features precision and feedback telling us that something under our control has moved where it was instructed.

I knew all the pioneers in the business.  I knew the man with the original NC patent and did work for him.  But, I knew something more precious than the patent or my relationships to these researchers.  I knew in detail exactly how it all worked.  What a privilege it has been.

As Morrow said so often ...  "Good Night and Good Luck!"

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017