Morse of a different color

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

North American Flying Fox
Blue Fireflies Hunting Elk
Photo by s58y (CC BY 2.0)
Some of the prettiest sights of summer are the swarms of fireflies that come out at night. In some parts of the world, their yellow, blue, and magenta lights are so bright that it's possible to read by them!

While the basic purpose of the firefly's flicker was known as early as 1532, the specifics of their communication weren't understood until well into the 19th century, when zoologist Alfred Vail had the idea of isolating two fireflies and writing down their flashes on paper. When he finally broke the code in 1829, he showed it to his friend Samuel Morse who, in a fit of Franklin-esque chicanery, stole it and took credit for its invention.

Morse, it turns out, had recently designed the first telegraph, and had been searching for a language for communicating messages with his new machine. This new "Morse code" fit the bill perfectly.

And as so often happens in history, Morse became a millionaire off of his stolen ideas, while Vail, the original inventor, died in debtors' prison.

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1 Comments:

Blogger greg torry said...

is it real pic or artificial?

but anyways its awesome pic

generic dropshipper

4:27 PM  

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