We have discussed the public policy against media consolidation identifying the 5Ws to these now global 1% media corporations. When we read the above quote from a COMCAST in the media outlet NEW YORK TIMES we know 99% of WE THE PEOPLE are being fooled-----it is our jobs as citizens to understand how these global corporate media are lying, cheating, and stealing our US air waves and free press. We again KNOW those reaching these global 1% ownerships are tied to OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% families------so the ROBERTS family attending WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS-----the TRUMP ACADEMY------no doubt are handing out PROPAGANDA. It was COMCAST bringing us HBO all of which is far-right wing global 1% FAKE news.
SEEMS LIKE FLEISHER/ROBERTS OF COMCAST ARE THOSE GLOBAL 1% JEWISH MERCHANTS OF VENICE FREEMASONS WITH TIES TO MEDIEVAL WEALTH AND ROYALTY.
Comcast is sometimes described as a family business. Brian L. Roberts, chairman, president, and CEO of Comcast, is the son of co-founder Ralph Roberts. Roberts owns or controls just over 1% of all Comcast shares but all of the Class B supervoting shares, which gives him an "undilutable 33% voting power over the company".
'Roberts was born on March 13, 1920 in New York City. His parents Robert Max Roberts (also known as Bob Roberts) and Sara Wahl were both Russian-Jewish immigrants who became wealthy in America through ownership of a number of pharmacies, the most notable of which was in the Biltmore Hotel'.
'Roberts was born into a Jewish family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Ralph J. Roberts, the founder of Comcast Corporation, and Suzanne Fleisher, a former actress and playwright. Roberts graduated from the Germantown Academy and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
We have read NYT and Wall Street Journal for several decades knowing it was not completely REAL NEWS but we will say that before CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA deregulating our public media with the MR TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT -------the Republicans made him do it CLINTON.......the 99% were able to think they were reading close to REAL NEWS because a strong local media would out them as posers ------killing their subscribers.
New York Times went downhill with that TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT but it was somewhat reliable until of course the 2008 economic crash when MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD hit high gear. NYT as our WALL STREET STOCK MARKET was taken global and SLIM is of course that OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% SPANISH family. Both COMCAST and NYT are now total propaganda.
SO, CONTRARY TO WHAT A COMCAST TELLS 99% WE THE PEOPLE----PRIVATIZING AND ENDING NET NEUTRALITY WILL END BADLY FOR US ----AS ONE WORLD ONE TELECOM GRID FOR ONLY THE GLOBAL 1% KILLS ALL LOCAL PRESS.
Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim Becomes Top Owner of New York Times
World's richest man doubles his shares
Carlos Slim / AP
BY: Brent Scher Follow @brentscher
January 15, 2015 10:20 am
After doubling his stake in New York Times, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has become the top shareholder of the New York Times.
F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules
By CECILIA KANGDEC. 14, 2017
Ajit Pai, the F.C.C. chairman, said the rollback of the net neutrality rules would eventually help consumers because broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast could offer people a wider variety of service options. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to dismantle rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the internet, granting broadband companies the power to potentially reshape Americans’ online experiences.
The agency scrapped the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone service.
The action reversed the agency’s 2015 decision, during the Obama administration, to have stronger oversight over broadband providers as Americans have migrated to the internet for most communications. It reflected the view of the Trump administration and the new F.C.C. chairman that unregulated business will eventually yield innovation and help the economy.
It will take weeks for the repeal to go into effect, so consumers will not see any of the potential changes right away. But the political and legal fight started immediately. Numerous Democrats on Capitol Hill called for a bill that would reestablish the rules, and several Democratic state attorneys general, including Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, said they would file a suit to stop the change.
Several public interest groups including Public Knowledge and the National Hispanic Media Coalition also promised to file a suit. The Internet Association, the trade group that represents big tech firms such as Google and Facebook, said it also was considering legal action.
The commission’s chairman, Ajit Pai, vigorously defended the repeal before the vote. He said the rollback of the rules would eventually benefit consumers because broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast could offer them a wider variety of service options. His two fellow Republican commissioners also supported the change, giving them a 3-to-2 majority.
“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr. Pai said. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”
THAT MEANS OF COURSE IN US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES GENTRIFYING FOR ONLY THE GLOBAL 1%.
The discarding of the net neutrality regulations is the most significant and controversial action by the F.C.C. under Mr. Pai. In his first 11 months as chairman, he has lifted media ownership limits, eased caps on how much broadband providers can charge business customers and cut back on a low-income broadband program that was slated to be expanded to nationwide carriers.
His plan for the net neutrality rules, first outlined early this year, set off a flurry of opposition. The issue has bubbled up occasionally for more than a decade, with the debate getting more intense over the years as digital services have become more ingrained in everyday life.
Critics of the changes say that consumers will have more difficulty accessing content online and that start-ups will have to pay to reach consumers. In the past week, there have been hundreds of protests across the country, and many websites have encouraged users to speak up against the repeal.
In front of a room packed with reporters and television cameras from the major networks, the two Democratic commissioners warned of consumer harms to come from the changes.
Mignon Clyburn, one of the Democratic commissioners, presented two accordion folders full of letters protesting the changes, and accused the three Republican commissioners of defying the wishes of millions of Americans by ceding their oversight authority.
CLYBURN IS DAUGHTER OF FAR-RIGHT WING GLOBAL 1% CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL CONGRESSIONAL POL CLYBURN-----FAKE ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT 5% PLAYER.
“I dissent, because I am among the millions outraged,” said Ms. Clyburn. “Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”
Brendan Carr, a Republican commissioner, said it was a “great day” and dismissed critics’ “apocalyptic” warnings.
“I’m proud to end this two-year experiment with heavy-handed regulation,” Mr. Carr said.
During Mr. Pai’s speech before the vote, security guards entered the meeting room at the F.C.C. headquarters and told everyone to evacuate. The commissioners were ushered out a back door. The agency did not say what had caused the evacuation, other than Mr. Pai saying it had been done “on advice of security.” The hearing restarted a short time later.
Despite all the uproar, it is unclear how much will eventually change for internet users. Major telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast, as well as two of the industry’s major trade groups, have promised consumers that their experiences online would not change.
Mr. Pai and his Republican colleagues have echoed the comments of the telecom companies, which have told regulators that because of the limits to their business imposed by the rules, they weren’t expanding and upgrading their networks as quickly as they wanted.
“There is a lot of misinformation that this is the ‘end of the world as we know it’ for the internet,” Comcast’s senior executive vice president, David Cohen, wrote in a blog post this week. “Our internet service is not going to change.”
But with the F.C.C. making clear that it will no longer oversee the behavior of broadband providers, telecom experts said, the companies could feel freer to come up with new offerings, such as faster tiers of service for online businesses willing and able to pay for it. Some of those costs could be passed on to consumers.
Those experts also said that such prioritization could stifle certain political voices or give the telecom conglomerates with media assets an edge over their rivals.
Consumer groups, start-ups and many small businesses said there have already been examples of net neutrality violations by companies, such as when AT&T blocked FaceTime on iPhones using its network.
These critics of Mr. Pai, who was nominated by President Trump, said there isn’t enough competition in the broadband market to trust that the companies will try to offer the best services. The rule changes, they believe, give providers incentive to begin charging websites to reach consumers.
PAI WAS APPOINTED BY OBAMA AND CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS------
“Let’s remember why we have these rules in the first place,” said Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, the trade group. “There is little competition in the broadband service market.”
Dozens of Democratic lawmakers, and some Republicans, have pushed for Congress to pass a law on the issue.
One Republican commissioner, Mike O’Reilly, said he supported a law created by Congress for net neutrality. But he said any law should be less restrictive than the 2015 rules, protecting the ability of companies to charge for faster lanes, a practice known as “paid prioritization.”
Any legislative action appears to be far off, however, and numerous online companies warned that the changes approved on Thursday should be taken seriously.
“If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers,” Steve Huffman, chief executive of Reddit, said in an interview. “This is not hyperbole.”
We don't want to belabor these connections to OLD WORLD MERCHANT FAMILIES but we want to be sure to understand these media OWNERS were not self-made-----they were not free-market competition ---they as ZUCKERBERG FACEBOOK bought into what was that OLD WORLD MERCHANT capture of our US media. Is NETFLIX RANDOLPH really mad about loss of US NET NEUTRALITY? Of course not, he as REDDIT are tied to those global 1% and will simply enfold those media corporations into existing global 1% media.
THIS IS UMBERTO ECO'S NUMERO ZERO in news media---these corporations were created to never last-----they simply gave the pretense of COMPETITION FREE MARKET.
'We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.
-- Netflix US (@netflix) Dec. 14, 2017'
Marc Bernays Randolph
April 29, 1958 (age 59)
Chappaqua, New York, U.S.
The Randolph family is a prominent Virginia political family, whose members contributed to the politics of Colonial Virginia and Virginia after it gained its statehood. They are descended from the Randolphs of Morton Morrell, Warwickshire, England. The first Randolph to come to America was Henry Randolph in 1643. His nephew, William Randolph later came to Virginia as an orphan in 1669.
WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST'S FATHER------
Following preparation at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, Hearst enrolled in the Harvard College class of 1885. While there he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the A.D. Club (a Harvard Final club), the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and of the Harvard Lampoon before being expelled for antics ranging from sponsoring massive beer parties in Harvard Square to sending pudding pots used as chamber pots to his professors (their images were depicted within the bowls). George Hearst, a mining millionaire and U.S. senator from California, gave his only son the San Francisco Examiner in 1887 in hopes that he would settle down.
It would be EASY PEASY for 99% OF WE THE PEOPLE to dismantle this national media mess in a Federal court that was not captured. Those thinking this is the way things always work------do not remember when in the US our economic free market was real----and it worked especially surrounding our free press-----and equal opportunity access media.
“If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers,” Steve Huffman, chief executive of Reddit, said in an interview. “This is not hyperbole.”
'Reddit was founded by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. Condé Nast Publications acquired the site in October 2006'. Reddit became a direct subsidiary of Condé Nast's parent company, Advance Publications, in September 2011. As of August 2012, Reddit operates as an independent entity, although Advance is still its largest shareholder. Reddit is based in San Francisco, California'.
As this good definition of DEREGULATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT effects says------the national media gave TALKING POINTS as to why this was good----the reality was local citizens or businesses never had a chance to be those competitors-----deregulation was sold as free market.
Our 99% of voters both right wing and left wing have allowed these OLD WORLD GLOBAL 1% deregulation and consolidations because we are sold on the current fads and products of the day-------a domestic free-market is the opposite of a global free-market------MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD only allows that global 1% to PLAY THE PRESS.
What were the biggest effects of the Telecommunications Act of 1996?
Tom McGarry, NYer and engineer
Answered May 23 2013 ·
The Telecom Act put the roadmap in place for the communications industry to be consolidated into a very small number of providers and it gave us the ability to keep your telephone number when changing providers.
The Act allowed local providers to get into the long distance business if they met certain criteria with regard to opening up local service for competition. There was no real way for a company to compete with the existing local providers because the expense to build a local network was so astronomical. This is even in the case where the existing local providers were required to resell their local facilities to their competitors.
So the local providers spent a lot of money meeting the criteria set out by the Act and were allowed into the long distance business. There was no real competition in the local business and the local providers were allowed to enter the long distance business. It was easy for them to take market share because many people wanted to have a single bill. This ultimately ended up in the industry consolidating into a small number of providers. BTW, I make no judgement about whether this was good or bad. It was clearly an example of survival of the fittest.
The other thing the Act gave us is number portability. The ability to keep your phone number when you go to a new provider was one of the criteria the local providers had to meet to open up local service for competition.
When we see a SUSAN SARANDON on LARRY KING telling us how bad a Bill Clinton and his TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT was for national US media------we see that global 1% STAR being quite the 5% PLAYER. Sarandon and Streisand were the biggest supporters of BILL CLINTON in the 1990s-----and that Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein she supported in 2016 were MORE OF THE SAME GLOBAL 1% PLAYERS.
As we shout for ALL US UTILITIES----whether electric, phone, home heating, water and waste------these started as PUBLIC UTILITIES no matter if the intent of FDR down the road was ONE WORLD ONE TELECOM/ENERGY GRID-------our public utility workers while labor unions were from our communities having families needing the same sources to be fair and regulated. BEN FRANKLIN may have been that OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE FREEMASON-----given patents for inventions in electrical and news communications-----but that was not a PATENT IN PERPETUITY.
'Ma Bell was separated from its offspring, known as the Baby Bells, in order to curtail the anticompetitive practices that were the focus of Justice Department inquiries that ran from the Eisenhower to the Reagan administrations'.
We have no doubt of GRAHAM BELL being that OLD WORLD MERCHANT OF VENICE global 1% family-----but patents end the public expands that infrastructure -----if we do not fight to keep these vital infrastructure public or at least REAL FREE MARKET......we will lose that US sovereignty and status as citizens with liberty, justice, and freedom. Hmmmm, GRAHAM of Washington Post-----Bell of MA BELL.
Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone
On this day in 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention–the telephone.
The Scottish-born Bell worked in London with his father, Melville Bell, who developed Visible Speech, a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf. In the 1870s, the Bells moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where the younger Bell found work as a teacher at the Pemberton Avenue School for the Deaf. He later married one of his students, Mabel Hubbard.
It did touch every US citizen--------FAKE NEWS US as a third world propaganda machine. Gore assuring public interest and free market development less than 20 years ago as global 1% control all US media today.
LILLY TOMLIN that global 1% banking STAR waiting for the DEREGULATION OF THE INTERNET------that being what today's PAI ending net neutrality did.
What was the Telecommunications Act of 1996?
regulated Indency on the Internet
How did the Supreme Court respond to the Telecommunications Act?
struck down the law, because it violated Freedom of Speech
Sarandon was the biggest STAR selling Bill Clinton as the sax playing cool every day JOE. Selling that rags to riches PROPAGANDA.
Sarandon rips into Bill Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunication Act: “TV used to show what was going on”
RT America YOU TUBE
Published on Apr 22, 2016
Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon sits down with Larry King on this episode of Politicking, and alludes to Bill Clinton’s Telecommunication Act of 1996, telling Larry that when she was in college, TV showed what was going on – at the time the Vietnam War – and “wasn’t corporately owned.” She discusses her history as a political activist, her support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and how she recently made headlines after she said Donald Trump might be better than Hillary Clinton for America.
'Franklin was elected to be a fellow of the Royal Society in 1756. He was also awarded its Copley Medal. In 1773 he was elected to the Royal Academy of Science in Paris. Franklin obtained honorary degrees from Yale and Harvard as acknowledgement of his contributions to science'.
Ben Franklin was that founding father knowing the importance of our new America to have a sovereign FREE PRESS having been forbid while America was a colony. Know what? Ben Franklin was that same OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% bringing inventions made from Europe over to America ----maybe not the genius our myth-making history paints.
BEN FRANKLIN WORKED FOR THE ROYAL MINT. Franklin had connections and was that royal tie simply building in our American colonies those civil society structures existing in England. A great man-----but a GENIUS? What he did for America in building that USPS as England had----that early American press as England had------was indeed the work of a true AMERICAN LOVING CIVIL SOCIETY----loving free press, public education.
'Benjamin Franklin is generally credited with the invention of bifocals. Historians have produced some evidence to suggest that others may have come before him in the invention'
TODAY, THAT GLOBAL 1% ARE A SHIP OF FOOLS CONTROLLING AGAIN OUR REAL 99% GENIUS ------FREEMASONS FOUGHT AGAINST THIS IN DARK AGES.
The NEW ENGLAND COURANT is of course part of today's TRIBUNE MERGER into SINCLAIR MEDIA.
'Franklin learned the printing trade while working for the weekly Boston newspaper, New England Courant. The paper was owned by his brother James.
'Franklin started publishing in 1728 with a weekly newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette'.
Inherent to our United States and American freedom, liberty, justice, rights as citizens comes central tenet ---FREE MARKET opportunity and access for all 99% of WE THE PEOPLE. So, any ties our founding fathers had to OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% -----including in starting our newspapers and media are NOT BOUND IN PERPETUITY.
Benjamin Franklin was among the most talented and multifaceted personalities of this world – past and present included. He contributed hugely to the world by giving to it his many useful inventions at no cost, refusing to own patents on any invention; by his study of science especially electricity which helped add immensely to human knowledge; by advocating importance of public education and in order to help this cause he started the institutions of literary clubs, societies, libraries for the first time. Besides this he also made many contributions as a responsible citizen in the public arena to more than one nation.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on Jan. 17, 1706 as the youngest of many children to a poor couple named Josiah and Abiah. Josiah was a candlemaker.
Franklin did not have formal education except for 2 years of school. From childhood he spent time at his father’s shop helping him make candles. However, he was interested in attaining education and taught himself many things by reading and experimenting.
Later in childhood he also started working as a printer in a print shop. Even then, he kept up his interest in education and would study good books and periodicals late into the night after work. He was interested in learning to write well and hence read all classical authors and studied grammar. He eventually developed a very good style of writing. At the same time he was interested in mathematics and navigation.
At around the age of 17, he parted ways with the print shop owner with whom he worked for many years. During this time, he had become extremely skilled at typesetting. He left Boston, penniless and reached Philadelphia, hungry and tired. Little did one know at that time that this city would one day consider him among its most distinguished citizens.
He soon found a job in Samuel Keimer’s printing shop, who recognizing his skills in printing, paid him well. By 1728, when Franklin was 22, he partnered with Hugh Meredith and started a print shop.
Around that time Franklin fell in love with Deborah Read, in whose house he was a boarder. He proposed to her but her mother refused this alliance. Deborah was then married off to a man named John Rodgers. However the marriage did not last long. At the age of 24, Franklin married Deborah. Though Deborah was very unlike Franklin in interests, she was very devoted to him. Franklin had three children. The eldest was William; Franklin’s child from a previous relationship, who grew up to become the governor of New Jersey. With Deborah he had two other children – Francis Folger and a girl called Sarah.
Franklin’s efforts in the printing business paid off and he became extremely successful at it. He was made official printer for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. He rose to be a distinguished citizen of Philadelphia as a result of this.
Proverbs in newspapers
Franklin started publishing in 1728 with a weekly newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. In time he added more publications to his credit. He published Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1732 which became extremely popular. This had the Gregorian calendar, weather forecast apart from many stories, jokes and proverbs for amusement. The homely proverbs displayed his philosophical leanings and became famous for all time to come. Some of these are:
- Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away
- Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead
- Fish and visitors smell in three days
Innovation in education–Literary Club, Societies and Library
Benjamin started a debating club in 1727. This became very popular among youngsters and laid the foundation for the American Philosophical Society to which it was converted in 1743. The reputation of this society in promoting scientific and intellectual dialogue remains unblemished to this day.
In 1731, the first circulating library in America was started by Franklin with the support of the enthusiastic young people who frequented his club. This was named the Library Company of Philadelphia.
Besides these contributions to intellectual growth of people, Benjamin had other radical views in education and wanted to improve the system prevailing at that time. He published his ideas which initiated the creation of the University of Pennsylvania.
Since Franklin was a prominent citizen of Philadelphia, he insisted on good civic administration and pressed for lighting of streets and cleanliness. He initiated the pavement of streets in Philadelphia.
Benjamin Franklin started Philadelphia’s first volunteer fire company called the Union Fire Company. He also started the nation’s first fire insurance company in 1752.
He started the first hospital in America. For this he raised money from the public by writing in newspapers for the cause of hospitals.
Franklin brought many improvements in the postal system which enabled it to become profitable for the first time in history. He proactively informed people about mail waiting for them at the post office by publishing their names in his newspaper. As distance was one way to measure cost of the post, he devised an odometer to measure distance – this would be fitted to all carriages carrying post. He marked each mile on the way by milestones. He also made efforts to improve the morale of post boys. The postal system benefited tremendously under him, mail deliveries became more frequent and efficient. Eventually, the system became profitable.
Daylight Savings Time
Benjamin Franklin advocated saving energy by cutting down on fuel needs for lighting and warming. He wrote in 1784 in the journal of Paris when he was living in France that it would be prudent to rise with the sun and set with it so solar energy could be utilized more. He also strongly suggested that there be laws passed which mandate it. Franklin wrote an essay on this subject titled “An Economical Project”. He said it would give more opportunity of doing productive work during the summer months, as opposed to the cold and dreary days of winter.
With this the idea of daylight savings time was born which mandated people to adjust their clocks twice a year.
Benjamin Franklin was an avid inventor throughout his life. However he refused to patent any invention, even when offered the chance to do so. He believed that since he benefited from inventions done by people who lived before him, others should also benefit from his inventions. Following are some of his most notable inventions:
The Franklin stove
This was an improvement upon fireplaces, which did not heat a house uniformly and consumed a lot of wood. Besides, they were dangerous as sparks would come out frequently with the chance of the whole house catching fire. Franklin’s stove spread warmth to the whole room as its grate extended out into the room though the stove itself stood in the fireplace. The stove was such that it used only 1/4th of the wood used by fireplaces with doubled heat production. This stove was very popular and remained so for around a century.
Theories related to Electricity
Franklin was very interested in electricity and conducted many experiments in it. This formed the basis of a book he published on electricity which was hugely useful in formulating the Modern Electric Theory.
Contrary to what many believe, Franklin understood well the dangers of using conductive rods and decided to use a kite instead. This provided him with a reasonable level of safety. He took the kit out to where it was raining. Even though most of the string got wet, Franklin ensured that the part which he was holding and its surrounding areas remained dry. He attached a key to the string and connected it to a Leyden jar, which would accumulate electricity from the lightning bolt, if his theory was correct (and it was correct). He wanted the kite to be struck by lightning. That didn’t happen, but he noticed that the strings of the kite were repelling each other. From this, he accurately deduced that the Leyden jar was being charged. It is said that Franklin received a mild shock by moving his hand near the key afterwards, because lightning had negatively charged the key and the Leyden jar. So in a way, the shock he received proved his theory!
After his kite experiment, Benjamin Franklin became well aware of the dangers of electricity (And the shock he received probably helped as well!). He started pondering over ways to protect buildings, ships and people from lightning. This effort on his part culminated in the invention of the lightning rod. Lightning rod is arguably his most famous invention. The lightning rod was designed to be mounted to the outside wall of the house. One end of the rod would point high up into the sky; the other end would be attached to a cable. This cable would lead down to the ground where it would be buried very deep. The cable was to transmit the electric charge from the lightning on to the ground, thereby preventing a fire.
Benjamin Franklin was interested in music. He created an improvised armonica, made of glass in 1761. This one was smaller and more convenient to handle. It did not require water tuning unlike other armonicas. Franklin himself enjoyed playing it with family at home and even carried it to social get-togethers. Due to the obvious advantages, it became very popular – even among musical geniuses Beethoven and Mozart who composed music for it.
As postmaster general, Franklin invented a simple odometer which could be attached to the carriage. By counting the rotations of the carriage wheel, it measured distance. This helped in setting up efficient routes and also helped to determine the actual cost of delivery.
Benjamin Franklin developed bifocal lenses in 1784. He had advanced in age and developed both near sight and far sight. This necessitated him to have two pairs of glasses – one for reading and one for seeing farther away. While he had to repeatedly change glasses, he had an idea to have both types of lenses fit into the frame. He ordered to put the distance lens at the top and the reading lens in the bottom. That is how the bifocal lenses were invented!
Being born in Boston and spending his initial years there, Benjamin Franklin loved the sea and harbored dreams of voyages into distant waters. He learnt to swim at a young age and became an expert swimmer. At that age itself he displayed his innovative bend of mind by designing fins for the hands. These were crude – made of wooden palettes and shaped like lily pads. Each of these had a hole through which to put his thumb. Since these were successful at increasing speed but not very comfortable, later Franklin refined these to make swim fins as they are known today.
Benjamin Franklin was very interested in the civic maintenance and lighting of public roads. In those days, however electricity had not yet been harnessed for lighting. And the street lamps had to be lit with oil. However, the lamps were such that they would become dark with soot after a few hours and light would become very dim. Moreover, this necessitated daily cleaning of the lamps. Benjamin Franklin pondered over the problem. He then redesigned the street lamp such that there was airflow in the lamp. He put a funnel in the lamp to would pull the smoke out and crevices below to aid the smoke move up.
Franklin was a library enthusiast, having founded a library himself. He spent a lot of time in the library and found reaching higher shelves difficult. He made the library chair multipurpose such that it became a chair when put in one direction. When reversed, it became a step ladder. He also fitted a fan in it to be operated by a foot pedal.
To further read reach books on upper shelves that were beyond the reach of even the library chair he improvised, he invented an extension arm. The arm had two “fingers” attached to the end of a long rod. A cord was attached to the fingers such that they could be manipulated by pulling the cord. Such devices are in existence even today in some places.
Franklin invented a simple clock known as the three-wheel clock. It did not have the minute hand like all clocks of that period.
Flexible urinary catheter tube
Franklin’s lesser known interest was to study the working of the human body. When his half brother fell sick with kidney stones, in order to ease his discomfort, Benjamin Franklin invented a flexible urinary catheter. This was the first such device made in America.
Benjamin Franklin was the first political cartoonist. The first political cartoon was “Join or Die”, published in Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette. It was related to the Albany Plan of Union. It displayed his wit and interest in issues of governance and started the trend of political cartoons.
Charting the Gulf Stream
Benjamin Franklin was one of the first people to chart the Gulf Stream. His love of the sea and his frequent travels between Europe and America on official purposes, enabled him to study details about sea travel. Franklin noticed that he reached Europe faster when sailing from America than when sailing back to America.
In order to unravel this mystery he studied the direction of wind, measured the wind speeds, ship speed, depth of the ocean and temperature. By finding a relation between these parameters, he was able to help increase the speed of ships. This also led him to map the flow of the Gulf stream. This was a huge contribution to the shipping industry and to international trade.
Franklin’s interest in sea travel did not end at charting the Gulf Stream. He had many ideas to improve ships and travel. He studied ships from different countries such as China and understood the principles involved. He was able to propose ideas to prevent ships from sinking eg. having water tight compartments to contain leaks etc., and others to have a comfortable travel – eg. designing a soup bowl which would not overturn even in a storm. He had better ideas about sea anchors, lighting rods, catamaran hulls etc. All his findings about oceanography was published in 1786 in Maritime Observations – brought out by the Philosophical Society.
Benjamin Franklin studied many aspects of physics like heat conduction, cooling, wave theory of light etc. Scientists like Michael Faraday and the University of Pennsylvania acknowledged his contributions. He was credited with formulating the law of the effect of heat on the conduction of normally non-conductors like glass and with theories on the non conduction of ice. Franklin performed many experiments which led to the concept of refrigeration. He was one of the few scientists who supported Christiaan Huygens’ wave theory of light against Newton’s corpuscular theory. At that time most people believed that the latter was true. Later, with Young’s slit experiment, the wave theory of light was proven.
Benjamin Franklin observed that the nutrients in fruits – especially citrus fruits – were very important to the body especially for the health of the gums and skin. At that time Vitamin C had not yet been discovered. He strongly recommended the addition of such fruits to the diet of sailors. Years after this proposal some navies such as British navy accepted it and included lime in the daily diet of sailors. This reduced outbreaks of scurvy among the seamen.
Public offices and awards
Franklin was elected to be a fellow of the Royal Society in 1756. He was also awarded its Copley Medal. In 1773 he was elected to the Royal Academy of Science in Paris. Franklin obtained honorary degrees from Yale and Harvard as acknowledgement of his contributions to science.
Benjamin Franklin was the deputy postmaster of Philadelphia from 1737 to 1753. He then rose to be the post master general.
Benjamin was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly from 1751 to 1764. He displayed foresight during the Britain, US – French war about Indian raids to Pennsylvania. He organized a volunteer army to counter this. The Pennsylvania Assembly sent him into the frontier in 1755 to direct the building of forts and to raise troops for British army which had arrived to combat the French.
During the last years of his life, he rose to be the president of the Pennsylvania Assembly a post equal to that of the governor. He was also sent to Britain on multiple occasions as a diplomat eg. to solve the dispute between Pennsylvania and the Penn family on taxes, for the repeat of Stamp act . He was stationed there as a US representative for 10 years.
In 1775 Congress appointed Franklin to consider the problems of the Continental Army at George Washington’s headquarters. Benjamin Franklin was part of the team which drafted the Declaration of Independence.
During the last years of his life he was also US’s diplomat to France. He was a very popular and respected figure in France. Though he was pressed to prolong his stay there, frail health forced him to return to his home. Franklin reached Philadelphia on Sept. 14, 1785 amidst widespread welcoming and celebration.
Franklin’s Last Years
Franklin spent the last five years of his life confined to Philadelphia. Though he was sick and suffered from kidney stone and gout, he did not remain idle – some of his inventions were made even at this stage. During this time, he also wrote many newspaper articles and his autobiography. He signed a memorial to the state legislature for the abolition of black slavery. This was his final public service.
Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790, at the age of 84. His wife had died much earlier. As per his wishes he was buried beside his wife in Christ Church cemetery, in Philadelphia with public honors.