Panama Canal Diplomacy & Construction III

Lead: The construction of the Panama Canal depended on the United States securing the right to build and operate it. Such was impossible until the U.S. engaged in a little nation-building.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In August 1903, the Colombian Congress, in a burst of patriotic fervor rejected the Hay-Herrán Treaty. Amid a flood of anti-treaty oratory, Colombians denounced this as a shameful sellout of rights to the Yankee colossus and poured out invective on their leaders who had so violated Yankee honor. When he received word that Colombia wished to re-negotiate the Treaty, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sent a note to John Hay, his long-suffering Secretary of State, “Those contemptible little creatures in Bogatá ought to understand how much they are jeopardizing things and imperiling their own future.” Hay and Roosevelt began to quietly interfere in Colombian affairs.

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Edison vs. Westinghouse II


Lead: In the 1880s, two of America’s great entrepreneurial innovators, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, were locked in a battle over electric distribution.

Intro.:  A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Edison was an advocate of direct current, DC, which sent power at low voltage, much like a battery in a flashlight, down the circuit from generator to appliance. It was expensive and cumbersome. Westinghouse was promoting a new type of electrical distribution system, which sent very high power back and forth between the power plant and the electrical application. To solve the high-voltage problem, Westinghouse acquired the inventions of two European engineers, Lucien Gaulard and John Dixon, and lured away from Edison the creative genius, Nikola Tesla. Soon he had perfected the distribution system for alternating current (AC). Power would leave the station at 500 volts, hit transformers along the line and be reduced to 100 volts, sufficient for distribution to customer’s homes.

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Admiral Grace Hopper – Teaching Computers to Speak

Lead: When Grace Hopper got into the business in 1944, the number of people who had ever heard the word computer could not fill a small room. She stayed with it until she died.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content:. When the United States was sucked into World War II, Vassar College Professor Grace Murray Hopper could have avoided military service. She had a Yale PhD and was in a vital profession, a college math teacher barred from military service, but Grace Hopper loved the U.S. Navy. Her great-grandfather had been a rear admiral, and she battered the doors down and finished first in her midshipman class. The Navy wanted her mind, specifically, her ability to calculate and help operate the new generation of mechanical calculators that would be required if modern weapons were to reach their destructive potential.

Transistor Radio

Lead: In 1954 Texas Instruments and its partner released for the holiday shopping season a remarkable new product which transformed entertainment and pointed to the electronic future: the transistor radio.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Just six years earlier, Bell Labs scientists had announced the invention of a primitive replacement for the vacuum tube. The glass enclosed tubes, invented in 1907 propelled the electronic world forward and made possible amplification, radio and long distance telephony, but tubes were slow, hot, bulky, and short-lived. The replacement was called a transistor or “transfer resistor.” It used the element germanium (and later silicon) covered on both sides with another element to create a tiny alternative to the vacuum tube which could act as an amplifier or a on/off switch.