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Claude Chappe

Claude Chappe was a French inventor who in 1792 demonstrated a practical semaphore system that spanned all of France. His system consisted of a series of towers, each within line of sight of others, each supporting a wooden mast with two crossarms on pivots that could be placed in various positions; the operator in a tower moved the arms to a sequence of positions, spelling out text messages in semaphore code. The operator in the next tower read the message through a telescope passed it on to the next tower; this was the first practical telecommunications system of the industrial age, was used until the 1850s when electric telegraph systems replaced it. Claude Chappe was born in Brûlon, France, the grandson of a French baron, he lost his sinecure during the French Revolution. He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen, his uncle was the astronomer Jean-Baptiste Chappe d'Auteroche famed for his observations of the Transit of Venus in 1761 and again in 1769. The first book Claude read in his youth was his uncle's journal of the 1761 trip, "Voyage en Siberie".

His brother, wrote "Reading this book inspired him, gave him a taste for the physical sciences. From this point on, all his studies, his pastimes, were focused on that subject." Because of his astronomer uncle, Claude may have become familiar with the properties of telescopes. He and his four unemployed brothers decided to develop a practical system of semaphore relay stations, a task proposed in antiquity, yet never realized. Claude's brother, Ignace Chappe was a member of the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. With his help, the Assembly supported a proposal to build a relay line from Paris to Lille, to carry dispatches from the war; the Chappe brothers determined by experiment that the angles of a rod were easier to see than the presence or absence of panels. Their final design had two arms connected by a cross-arm; each arm had seven positions, the cross-arm had four more permitting a 196-combination code. The arms were from three to thirty feet long and counterweighted, moved by only two handles.

Lamps mounted on the arms proved unsatisfactory for night use. The relay towers were placed from 12 to 25 km apart; each tower had a telescope pointing both down the relay line. Chappe first called his invention the tachygraph, meaning "fast writer". However, the Army preferred to use the word telegraph, meaning "far writer", coined by French statesman André François Miot de Mélito. Today, in order to distinguish it from subsequent telegraph systems, the French name for Chappe's semaphore telegraph system is named after him, thus is known as a télégraphe Chappe. Alternatively, Chappe coined the phrase semaphore, from the Greek elements σῆμα. In 1792, the first messages were sent between Paris and Lille. In 1794 the semaphore line informed Parisians of the capture of Condé-sur-l'Escaut from the Austrians less than an hour after it occurred. Other lines were built, including a line from Paris to Toulon; the system was copied by other European states, was used by Napoleon to coordinate his empire and army.

In 1805, Claude Chappe killed himself. He was said to be depressed by illness, claims by rivals that he had plagiarized from military semaphore systems. In 1824 Ignace Chappe attempted to increase interest in using the semaphore line for commercial messages, such as commodity prices. In 1846, the government of France committed to a new system of electric telegraph lines. Many contemporaries warned of the ease of interruption of service by cutting a wire. With the emergence of the electric telegraph the Chappe telegraph ended in 1852; the Chappe semaphore figures prominently in Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. The Count bribes an underpaid operator to transmit a false message. A bronze sculpture of Claude Chappe was erected at the crossing of Rue du Bac and Boulevard Raspail, in Paris, it was removed and melted down during the Nazi occupation of Paris, in 1941 or 1942. Chappe code Beyer, The Greatest Stories Never Told, A&E Television Networks / The History Channel, ISBN 0-06-001401-6Gerard J. Holzmann and Bjorn Pehrson, The Early History of Data Networks, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0818667826 French article: Les Télégraphes Chappe, l'Ecole Centrale de Lyon French article: Le télégraphe aérien, in Les merveilles de la science, de Louis Figuier, t.

2, pages 20–68 Italian article: Francesco Frasca, Il telegrafo ottico dalla Rivoluzione francese alla guerra di Crimea, in Informazioni della Difesa, n°1, 2000, Roma: Stato Maggiore della Difesa, pp. 44–51

Fast draw

Fast draw known as quick draw, is the ability to draw a handgun and fire it on a target. This skill was made popular by romanticized depictions of gunslingers in the Western genre, which in turn were inspired by famous historical gunfights in the American Old West. In modern times, fast draw can be seen both in military practices; the World Fast Draw Association is the international sanctioning body of the sport of fast draw. Unlike cowboy action shooting, fast draw is shot with special blanks or wax bullets. While some competitions are against the clock, with the fastest time winning, many are set up as head to head single or double elimination matches; the object of fast draw as a combative sport is to draw one's pistol and fire with the most accuracy. The sport has been inspired by accounts of duels and gunfights which incorporated it during the Wild West, such as the Wild Bill HickokDavis Tutt duel, Luke Short-Jim Courtright Duel, Gunfight at the OK Corral, Long Branch Saloon Shootout and others, which in turn inspired the gunfights seen in Hollywood western movies.

Gunfighters Jim Levy and Tom Carberry became infamous for participating in at least two quick draw duels in their lifetimes. In the case of Jonathan R. Davis, the quick draw is necessary for a gunman to fight back if he is ambushed. Though many gunfighters were remembered to be dangerous with a pistol during the American frontier, only a few known historical individuals have been noted by historians as "fast", such as Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday, John Wesley Hardin, Luke Short, Tom Horn and Billy the Kid. Although unlike the depiction seen in westerns, fast draw duels at that time were performed with the traditional dueling stance. Historical Western duels were a crude form of the "Southern code duello," a formalized means of solving disputes between gentlemen with swords or guns that had its origins in European chivalry. During the Old West, the term "fast on the draw" or "quick on the draw" didn't mean a person is swift on drawing a pistol, it meant that a person is aggressive and would draw his weapon at the slightest provocation.

While the ability to draw a firearm was a popular skill during the American frontier, modern fast draw is inspired more by gun duels in western films than historical gunfights. Most gunfights that occurred in the Old West were more spontaneous and due to either alcohol consumption or heated squabbles. Duels, while fought to uphold honor, were not formalized and sometimes were due to the heat of the moment. In these circumstances, the one who can draw and hit his opponent first was the winner, but accuracy and calmness were and sometimes more, favored by actual gunmen in the era. In western movies, the characters' gun belts are worn low on the hip and outer thigh, with the holster cut away around the pistol's trigger and grip for a smooth, fast draw; this type of holster is a Hollywood anachronism. Fast-draw artists can be distinguished from other movie cowboys because their guns will be tied to their thigh. Long before holsters were steel-lined, they were supple for comfortable all-day wear. A gunfighter would use tie-downs to keep his pistol from catching on the holster while drawing.

Most of the time, gunfighters would just hide their pistols in their pockets, faster and more practical. Other gunfighters would use Bridgeport rigs that gave a easier draw. Fast draw is one of the fastest sports in the world; every time is measured from the signal to draw to when the timer is stopped. The current World Fast Draw Association record for Open Class Fast Draw in an event called Standing Balloons is.208 seconds - and that includes the time it takes to react, draw and pop a balloon target at eight feet away. A world class competitor can fire a shot in under half a second. Given that the average human reaction time is around 0.2 to 0.25 seconds, the round is over before most people can react. The reaction times of the best fast draw shooters is 0.145 seconds, which means that the gun is cocked, drawn and fired in just over 0.06 seconds. To establish a World Fast Draw Association record, a second shot must be fired in the same competition, no more than 0.30 seconds slower than the first.

In competitions where two rounds must be fired, at separate targets, less than 0.10 seconds separate the shots. In Open Class, or "traditional" fast draw competition, shooters must start with the gun holstered, their hands not touching the gun, as opposed to the newer sport of Cowboy Fast Draw, where the competitors start with their hand on the gun. A signal both audible and visible, signals the shooter to fire. A timer is started; the shooter fires at either a balloon. The timer is rigged to stop on the sound of the wax bullet hitting the plate, or the balloon popping. Different types of matches use one or more targets, the shooter can fire from a standing position, or while walking towards or backing away from the target; the exhibition shooter Bob Munden, proclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the fastest man with a gun who lived", could draw, break a balloon target with a blank using a standard weight single-action revolver and return his gun to his holster faster than the blink of an eye.

On his DVD "Outrageous Shooting," Munden was filmed shooting.16 of a second in an event called Walk and Draw Level. Fast draw and quick draw can be seen in real-life combat situations, it is an important skill, still being t

Country Energy

Country Energy, an Australian energy retail subsidiary of Origin Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to retail customers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.. Since its establishment in 2001 and until 28 February 2011, Country Energy was owned by the Government of New South Wales. On 1 July 2001 Country Energy was formed by the merger of New South Wales rural-based energy retailers, Great Southern Energy, Advance Energy and Northpower - all statutory owned by the Government of New South Wales. In addition to electricity retailing, Country Energy operated Australia's largest electricity distribution network by area, covering 95% of the area of New South Wales as well as extending into small parts of Queensland and Victoria, it was one of developers of Directlink, a high voltage direct current electricity transmission line between New South Wales and Queensland transmission grids. In October 2010, Country Energy sold its natural gas network to Envestra Limited for A$108.6 million, which includes 65 kilometres of transmission and 1,160 kilometres of distribution pipelines.

On 15 December 2010, the New South Wales Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, announced that the retail division of Country Energy was sold to Origin Energy as part of a A$3.25 billion deal. As part of the sale of the retail business the electricity distribution division was separated from Country Energy and re-branded as Essential Energy on 1 March 2011. Country Energy has 870,000 customers, annual revenues of $2.3 billion. It provides natural gas and electricity to retail customers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory; the two contact centres are located in the New South Wales cities of Port Leeton. Media related to Country Energy at Wikimedia Commons Country Energy website