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There is no question that the world and our lives have changed because
of computers and technology. Such technology could not exist without the
integrated circuit. The inventor was a tall (6 foot 6 inches) and quiet
man who was hired by Texas Instruments in 1958. His work led to the development
of the microchip and now we use computers and other devices with tiny
chips, powerful memory and blazing processing speeds to do many things
we take for granted.
Jack Kilby passed away at the age of 81 on Monday. There are only
a handful of people who could rightly be considered a person who changed
the course of history. Kilby is right up there with Thomas Edison, the
Wright Brothers and Henry Ford. His work was widely recognized and acclaimed,
including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000. You can read an interesting
piece by John Markoff of the New York Times on Jack Kilby here.
Yesterday I remarked about my parent's 54th wedding anniversary. That's
pretty good. However, today I saw a news story about Percy Arrowsmith.
He just passed away at the age of 105. His wife is 100 which made them
the oldest married couple in the world. They celebrated their 80th anniversary
on June 1!. Story here.
On this day in 1775 the U.S. Army was established. Two years later on
the same day Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our official flag
- hence Flag Day.
On June 14, 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau dedicates UNIVAC, the world's
first commercially produced electronic digital computer. UNIVAC, which
stood for Universal Automatic Computer, was developed by J. Presper Eckert
and John Mauchly, makers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic
digital computer. These giant computers, which used thousands of vacuum
tubes for computation, were the forerunners of today's digital computers.
(from the History Channel) However, the same day is better known in my family as
the day my parents - Thomas Marshall Gilbert, Jr. and Jeanne Brainerd
- wed. 54 years is a pretty good start!
in June of 2001 we held a family reunion for their 50th anniversary at
beautful Lake George, New York. I wrote a dedication to them, "50
Years On" that you can read here.
One of the greatest autobiographies written comes from
the pen of the great American statesman, Benjamin Franklin. He
wrote, "If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and
rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing."
Certainly he did many things worth reading about. You can view his autobiography
on line here.
Another prominent actress has passed away, succombing to cancer on Monday.
Anne Bancroft was successful on stage and screen and one of the few actors
with Tony, Emmy and Oscar awards. Most will remember her from The
Graduate with Dustin Hoffman. She had many other notable roles
including her Oscar winning performance in The Miracle Worker.
I figure Anne must have had a wonderful sense of humor to be married to
Mel Brooks. In an industry where relationships rarely last several years
she and Brooks were together forty years. Reportedly Mel Brooks had a
passerby serve as a witness when the wedding ceremony was held in New
York County Hall.
Anne Bancroft was 73. Peter Marks Washington Post article is interesting
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
-- Norman Vincent Peale
do you think about most of the time? Are you filled with worries and anxieties
about all the problems and challenges you face? Are you constantly thinking
of work, even on your days off, or worse, on vacation? Are you thinking
about yourself — or what you can bring to life?
People who are involved in daily living and being part of other people's
lives have richer and more rewarding experiences. I understand how easy
it is to get trapped in the tyranny of the "things we need to do".
But we must remember that some of the things we need to do involve appreciating
life, especially the things we take for granted.
As you build the memories you treasure in years to come take the time
to slow down and be with the ones you love. Step out and take a few risks.
Get involved with helping others, especially those who would benefit from
the special gifts and talents you have. It's the saying, "you can't
keep it unless you give it away". Counter-intuitive? Yes, but when
you do it you'll find that others will be grateful for your service. And
you will find life is bigger and better than you thought.
Pairing up young people with elders in a community has led to some fascinating
sharing of life stories for a group of participants in Encinitas, California.
Lois Sunrich is the founder of "Legacies: Encinitas Youth Elder
Story Arts Project."
You can read an online article on the project by By Amanda Daniels of the Union-Tribune.
Lois Sunrich has her StoryArts, Inc site which includes more info about the Legacies projects.
You may have heard of StoryCorps. I featured them as a previous
Highlight Site (here). They
have a recording booth set up in Grand Central Station (New York City)
and people can go in and record their story and get a CD copy of it -
a short and quick oral history.
StoryCorps is evidently taking the concept on the road with two
mobile recording units, so you might want to watch for it in a city near
you. They plan to have a MobileBooth blog to chronicle their journeys.
See more here.
Rick Kamen is a personal history writer and his featured product is what
he calls "Heirloom Stories". It's best exemplified by his book
about his dad, The Harness Maker's Son.
The book has several chapters of short stories and life incidents that
frequently have a moral lesson. Rick's father learned a lot from his
father and those lessons are a big part of this book. If you visit Heirloom Stories you can sign up to have some of those stories emailed free
to you, or you can purchase the book. I don't get financial gain from
directing you there. I just think it's a neat deal.
Rick's father, Jack Kamen, passed away last week at the age of 91. Good
thing Rick Kamen had the foresight to record his father's life stories.
Imagine that you know that in a day or so you and many of your friends,
family members and neighbors will die. You will be rounded up by an army
and taken to a death camp. With this knowledge you decide to write a letter
to your son and in it review your life and how you are now facing death.
This is the story of a Russian Jewish woman living in a Ukrainian city
seized by the Germans in 1941 and writes her son a final letter. You can
watch the moving tale on a new episode of INDEPENDENT LENS on PBS. Go here to check your local listings and to get more information.
Everybody has a story to tell!
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