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the alpha architecture Amazing Grace


                        Ancient Egypt


       The civilization of ancient Egypt is significant in several ways. Egyptian
       influence on other peoples was also significant. Ancient kingdoms of the
       Sudan adapted its HIEROGLYPHIC writing system and other cultural
       elements. The two last regions and the Bible are the most important
       antecedents of the modern western world that owe something to Egypt. The
       western alphabet is derived from a Phoenician one possibly modeled on
       Egyptian hieroglyphs; Egyptian ideas are found in some parts of the Bible;
       and Greek sciences and especially, art were originally influenced by Egypt.
       Finally, archaeology and historical writing have made Egypt a subject of great
       public interest, stimulating many books, novels, exhibits, and movies. The
       image of Egyptian history moves continually closer to reality as new facts are
       discovered and new kinds of research-anthropological and
       other--supplement more traditional archaeological techniques. Egypt's well
       preserved pyramids and cemeteries on the dry desert, and sturdy stone-built
       temples, have been studied by archaeologists since the early 19th century, but
       river-plain town mounds and all sites in densely settled northern Egypt now
       receive more attention than previously. Funerary and temple inscriptions
       survived well, but they paint an idealized, oversimplified picture of history and
       society. PAPYRUS exists and pottery fragments are rarer but more realistic.
       They now are better studied and are supplemented by new types of
       archaeological analysis. Environment strongly affected history. In a largely
       rainless climate, Egypt's high agricultural productivity depended on a long but
       very narrow floodplain; on average 19.2 km (11.9 mi) wide, it reached a
       maximum of 248 km (154.1 mi) in the Delta and was formed by the Nile's
       annual inundation. Periodic, long-term decreases in its volume might create
       social stress and political and military conflict; increases in volume increased
       food supplies and favored stability and centralized government. The deserts
       to the east and west had valuable stones and minerals and helped protect
       Egypt from much external attack or infiltration. Continuity was very strong.
       Egypt's religion, its concepts of social order, and its system of strong
       monarchical government remained fundamentally the same for over 3,000
       years. Environmental stability helped, as did ethnic and linguistic continuity;
       unlike other areas of the Near East, Egypt did not periodically have to absorb
       large new populations with languages and ideas different from those already
       established. Equally important did all Egyptians share a powerful and
       tenacious worldview--an orderly cosmos, enfolding gods, humans, and
       nature, had been created in complete and perfect form at the beginning of
       time; its perfection held off the destructive, chaotic forces that surrounded it.
       Adherence to traditional forms of belief, politics, and culture was believed
       necessary to maintain perfection and prevent the collapse of the universe.
       Egyptian art and religious architecture (temples and tombs) closely followed
       established conventions of style and content because their role was to depict
       this ideal order--and thus be one of several means ritually integrating Egypt
       with the cosmos. Change and innovation nevertheless occurred, sometimes
       violently. Egypt's periodic interludes of disunity were politically disorderly and
       economically painful in part because inherent problems and contradictions
       (for example, obvious weakness in "perfect" institutions such as kingship)
       came to the surface and demanded solutions. Less obviously, change also
       took place in more stable periods. Bureaucracies were periodically reformed
       or restructured in the interests of both royal power and fairer government.
       Religious concepts became increasingly rich and complex. Styles in art and
       architecture changed subtly to meet new needs and tastes, but all successful
       innovation required adherence to basic, traditional norms. Predynastic Egypt
       Egyptian history is usually divided into periods roughly corresponding to the
       30 dynasties of kings listed by Manetho, an Egyptian chronicler of the 3d
       century BC. The period before c.3100 BC, a time for which no written
       records exist, is called the Predynastic era. Well before 5000 BC many
       communities of Paleolithic hunters and gatherers lived in the Nile valley and
       across savanna lands stretching far to the east and west. As rainfall
       decreased, especially after 4000 BC, the western lands became arid deserts
       and human settlement was confined to the valley and its fringes. However,
       here exotic fauna such as elephants and giraffes persisted as late as 2300 BC
       before finally retreating southward. Annually inundated, and with natural
... more

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Telecommunication



Telecommunication


1. Introduction

Computer and telephone networks inflict a gigantic impact on today's
society.  From letting you call John in Calgary to letting you make a withdraw
at your friendly ATM machine they control the flow of information.  But today's
complicated and expensive networks did not start out big and complicated but
rather as a wire and two terminals back in 1844.  From these simple networks to
the communication giants of today we will look at the evolution of the network
and the basis on which it functions.

2. The Beginnings

2.1. Dot Dot Dot Dash Dash Dash Dot Dot Dot

The network is defined as a system of lines or structures that cross.
In telecommunications this is a connection of peripherals together so that they
can exchange information.  The first such exchange of information was on May 24,
1844 when Samuel Morse sent the famous message "What hath God wrought" from the
US Capitol in Washington D.C. across a 37 mile wire to Baltimore using the
telegraph.  The telegraph is basically an electromagnet connected to a battery
via a switch.  When the switch is down the current flows from the battery
through the key, down the wire, and into the sounder at the other end of the
line.  By itself the telegraph could express only two states, on or off.  This
limitation was eliminated by the fact that it was the duration of the connection
that determined the dot and dash from each other being short and long
respectively.  From these combinations of dots and dashes the Morse code was
formed.  The code included all the letters of the English alphabet, all the
numbers and several punctuation marks.  A variation to the telegraph was a
receiving module that Morse had invented.  The module consisted of a
mechanically operated pencil and a roll of paper.  When a message was received
the pencil would draw the corresponding dashes and dots on the paper to be
deciphered later.  Many inventors including Alexander Bell and Thomas Edison
sought to revolutionize the telegraph.  Edison devised a deciphering machine.
This machine when receiving Morse code would print letters corresponding to the
Morse code on a roll of paper hence eliminating the need for decoding the code.

2.2. Mr. Watson, Come Here!

The first successful telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell.
He along with Elisha Gray fought against time to invent and patent the telephone.
They both patented their devices on the same day-February 14, 1876- but Bell
arrived a few hours ahead of gray thus getting the patent on the telephone.  The
patent issued to Bell was number 174,465, and is considered the most valuable
patent ever issued.  Bell quickly tried to sell his invention to Western Union
but they declined and hired Elisha Gray and Thomas Edison to invent a better
telephone.  A telephone battle began between Western Union and Bell. Soon after
Bell filed suit against Western Union and won since he had possessed the basic
rights and patents to the telephone.  As a settlement Western Union handed over
it's whole telephone network to Bell giving him a monopoly in the telephone
market.  During his experiments to create a functional telephone Bell pursued
two separate designs for the telephone transmitter.  The first used a membrane
attached to a metal rod.  The metal rod was submerged in a cup of mild acid.  As
the user spoke into the transmitter the membrane vibrated  which in turn moved
the rod up and down in the acid.  This motion of the rod in the acid caused
variations in the electrical resistance between the rod and the cup of acid.
One of the greatest drawbacks to this model was that the cup of acid would have
to be constantly refilled.  The second of Bell's prototypes was the induction
telephone transmitter.  It used the principle of magnetic induction to change
sound into electricity.  The membrane was attached to a metal rod which was
surrounded by a coil of wire.  The movement of the rod in the coil produced a
weak electric current.  An advantage was that theoretically it could also be
used both as a transmitter and a receiver.  But since the current produced was
so weak, it was unsuccessful as a transmitter.  Most modern day telephones still
use a variation of Bell's design.  The first practical transmitter was invented
by Thomas Edison while he was working for the Western Union.  During his
experiments Edison noticed that certain carbon compounds change their electrical
resistance when subjected to varying pressure.  So he sandwiched a carbon button
between a metal membrane and ... more

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