Columns DHJ


They hand you this tiny person, all wrinkled and squalling, and suddenly you’re a dad.  I have said this before but it really does hit you at that moment. A wave of emotions washes over you – love, pride, and a healthy dose of sheer terror.  Fatherhood doesn’t come with a manual, and let’s be honest, even if it did, […]

A collaborative telegraph network

In 1832, Samuel Morse considered the making of an electric telegraph while on board a ship returning to New York City from Europe. Despite lacking formal electrical training, from 1835 to 1836, Morse developed a working telegraph model that transmitted information via electrical pulses over a pair of wires, as using a single wire with an earth-ground return path was […]

Sweet reward or just desserts

A while back, I talked about planning a graduation party. I told you that we had a wonderful, awful idea of having a party where we went out on a limb and did what we wanted. We flipped the script and had a just desserts graduation party. Half of you are saying to yourself that it was stupid and you […]

Alexander Bain, the clockmaker who electrified time

Alexander Bain was born Oct. 12, 1810, in Wick, Scotland, and was known for his contributions to telegraphy technology. He also invented the electric magnet clock, the focus of today’s column. Bain, a self-taught engineer with limited formal education, started working as a clockmaker in London in 1837. He furthered his knowledge of electricity and electromagnetism at the Polytechnic Institution […]

NORAD: guardians of North America

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King signed the Ogdensburg Agreement, a mutual defense pact, Aug. 17, 1940. This agreement laid the groundwork for a continental security plan, ultimately leading to the establishment of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) May 12, 1958. Formed amid escalating Cold War tensions, NORAD’s primary mission was […]

Lessons learned at the Delano Citizen Academy

I recently completed the 2024 Delano Citizen Academy. Community Enrichment Director Nick Neaton told me that nearly 30 people participated in the program this year, the most in the academy’s three-year history. The Citizen Academy was divided into six sessions, each designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the city’s operations. The city designed it for anyone wanting to learn […]

School’s out for summer

The final bell rings, a symphony of cheers erupts, and backpacks are tossed into the air. The school year has officially ended, and children of all ages are bursting with anticipation for the long, lazy days of summer. There’s a palpable sense of liberation in the air. Textbooks are swapped for swimsuits, classrooms are replaced by campgrounds, and the regimented […]

The Saturday morning emergency broadcast

At 8:33 a.m. (CST) Feb. 20, 1971, bells loudly dinged from teletype machines in radio and television newsrooms across the United States, printing out a single urgent message. An emergency action notification (EAN) message triggered a nationwide alert and disrupted broadcasting. The EAN originated from the National Warning Center, located within the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at the […]

A father’s pride and a bittersweet goodbye

Tonight, my heart brims with a bittersweet mix of pride and sadness. My oldest son graduates from Lester Prairie High School, a huge milestone etched deep in both our journeys. The truth is, when I first learned I was going to be a father, fear gripped me. Was I good enough, strong enough, smart enough, experienced enough, even man enough […]

Minnesota’s role as the computing heartland

In late 1945, J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly completed the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). ENIAC is considered to be the first programmable general-purpose electronic computer. Programming the ENIAC involved physically setting switches and plugging cables into a patch panel to configure the computer for specific calculations. This electronic computer consists of 40 nine-foot-high cabinets and thousands of […]

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