EDITOR’S NOTE — On Dec. 7, 1941, Eugene Burns, AP’s chief of bureau in Honolulu, couldn’t get out the urgent news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew the U.S. into World War II, because the military had already taken control of all communication lines. In Washington, AP editor William Peacock and staff got word of the attack from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s press secretary. In the language and style used by journalists of his era, including the use of a disparaging word to describe the Japanese that was in common use, Peacock dictated the details of the announcement. Seventy-two years after their original publication, the AP is making the dispatches available to its subscribers.
PHILADELPHIA — Babe Heffron never wanted the limelight. But he got it anyway. People would show up at his door in South Philadelphia just to meet a genuine war hero. ”He was always gracious,” said his son-in-law, Edward Zavrel. “Especially with kids. He would tell them about America.”
A newly operational radio telescope in Australia has successfully demonstrated that it can track orbiting space debris by listening in to reflected signals from terrestrial FM stations. This research project headed byCurtin University in Western Australia uses the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), one of three precursor telescopes making up the 2 billion dollar Square Kilometer Array project.
America’s plain old telephone network is rapidly being overtaken by new technology, putting US regulators in a quandary over how to manage the final stages of transformation.
A few weeks ago in Finland [Oona] discovered a radio data stream centered around 76KHz in a FM broadcast and she recently managed to decode it. This 16,000bps stream uses level-controlled minimum-shift keying (L-MSK) which detection can be quite tricky to implement. She therefore decoded the stream by treating the received signal as non-coherent binary FSK, which as a side effect increased the bit error probability. [Oona] then understood that the stream she was getting was the data broadcast by Helsinky buses to the nearby bus stop timetable displays.
During the dark, early days of World War II, American military commanders were desperate for a code that could not be cracked by the Japanese. The solution rested in the obscure languages spoken by Native American tribes, unfathomable to the Japanese. Native American code talkers, as they became known, were able to transmit messages quickly and securely, giving American forces a critical edge.