This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Saturday Rave: Telstar

Fifty four years ago today the communications satellite Telstar 1 broadcast the first live USA-to-Europe public television programme. 

There was a tremendous fuss about it, even though Telstar 1 itself was quite little and non-scary: less than a metre long, and covered in solar panels:


The momentous event was supposed to beam the wise words of US President J F Kennedy across the Atlantic (there was a dollar crisis going on at the time and the financial people were, then as ever, doing their headless-chicken routines) but unfortunately the broadcast went live before the president was ready, so the very first thing broadcast was part of a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs.

I have no idea at all what they were playing, and probably neither did many of their viewers in Europe. The world was a larger place, then.

Anyway, President Kennedy spoke a bit later on, and his remarks immediately strengthened the dollar.

Telstar was at once seen to be a mighty force for bringing the peoples of the world together. Walter Crondike, one of the programme's anchors, said: 'we all glimpsed something of the true power of the instrument we had wrought'.

Still, none of them had an idea of the half of it, did they?

Word To Use Today: Telstar. I can't find the derivation of this word, but I assume it's a mixture of telecommunications, because that was what it did, and star, because in among the stars was where it appeared to be. Tel comes from the Greek tele, meaning far, and star comes from the Old English steorra.

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