Борис Бурда
Author: Boris Burda
Journalist, writer, bard. Winner of the «Diamond Owl» intellectual game «What? Where? When?»
Liberal Arts
7 minutes for reading

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Share material
A source: www.kaspersky.com.cn


The spring ice drift damaged the cable laid along the bottom of the river and made it impossible to cross to the other side.

But just at this time, it became necessary to transmit an important message to the opposite side of the river. Where did the young telegraph operator run to do it?

The answer is a little later.




To understand this riddle, it would be rather important to know the name of this young telegraph operator. With your permission, I will inform you a little later. You can guess anyway – the whole question is who will do it earlier and who will do it later. Try to guess as quick as possible.

It was a long time ago – one and a half or two centuries ago, and even far away – on another continent. And our hero came from a family of old rebels. Moreover, dangerous rebels – his ancestor opposed most of his neighbors for the distant and did not know anything about him, the English king George III.

The uprising against the king was victorious, and he had to flee to neighboring Canada. There he took root and even became rich, but his grandson in Canada could not resist participating in the uprising, only not for the English king, but against. So he had to flee back to the United States, to Ohio.

It was there where the future young telegraph operator, the hero of our history, was born. With such rebellious genes, he had every chance of becoming a person who is not very simple. In any case, he would have enough tenacity for any rebel. It gave him all his achievements.




As a child, he was not the kind of child that parents could brag about – short, frail and withdrawn. However, he was very interested in everything around him: he watched steamers and barges, at the work of carpenters, or sat quietly for hours in a corner, copying the inscriptions on the signs.

In our time, he would have already been dragged into child psychiatrists – examine him, please, is he really autistic, poor child? But the term “autism” was invented only in 1911, and the unfortunate parents were only lost in conjecture and were waiting with fear for the school’s reaction to such a child.

Their fears had a foundation – the school agreed to tolerate him for only three months, after which they kindly asked their parents to take this limited and retarded child, since you still cannot learn anything. His mother taught him and, unlike school, coped.

Having learned to read from his mother, he treads a path to a place where limited and retarded boys do not seem to be expected – the library of his town (by the way, there is a library in the city – here it is, America!). He reads there books for older children – Gibbon, Hume and Burton.

But he was more fascinated by the Natural and Experimental Philosophy of Richard Green Parker, read at the age of nine, containing almost all the scientific and technical information of that time. Subsequently, he did almost all the experiments described in this book.




Since the child is limited and retarded, he has no chance of acquiring a respected profession like a pastor, teacher or doctor. But you need to do something – at least in order to feed yourself! And from an early age he starts selling fruits and vegetables grown by his mother.

Business, surprisingly, is going well for him – maybe the limited and backward ones do it better? This is his money, and he himself decides how to spend it – on physical and chemical experiments, which he is sincerely passionate about. Haven’t you guessed the boy’s name yet? Okay, let’s move on.

To make more money, he starts selling newspapers on trains, skillfully doing whatever is necessary to increase demand. For example, having learned about the outcome of the battle between the troops of the North and the South, he makes an agreement with telegraph operators to report this on the line, and newspaper sales are growing.

So our troubled teen starts making $ 10 a month. Do not think that this is very little – at current prices it is about $ 300, that is, two of my own pensions. True, this is not enough for him – he spends all the money on his experiments, he is interested.

In order to have more money, he becomes a publisher – he extracts an old printing press and begins to publish the world’s first train newspaper in the size of 30×40, which he called, with his usual modesty, “Big Railway Bulletin”. And they buy it!




At only 15 years old, he saves a person’s life – literally pulls out the little son of the station chief from under the wheels. To thank him, a happy father teaches him a useful trade – telegraph business. The telegraph was a scientific novelty, no less than lasers are now.

Changing one job as a telegraph operator for another, he quickly grows in service – telegraph operators are needed everywhere to the bone, especially the clever one. He is being paid more and more, but his expenses for food, clothing and everyday life are not growing – it is just that more money is spent on books and regular experiments.

Everything is not so simple for him – he is a complicated man, and it is clear that it will never be otherwise. Then he starts a fire in his laboratory, which he was allowed to equip in a mail car, and he is kicked out of work, then the office of his superiors will be flooded with acid with the same result.

True, it is unclear whether everything worries him at all – in contrast, for example, to his acquaintance with the works of Michael Faraday, which he and we all consider very important in all his future activities. Now it seems clear who he is, but just in case I’ll add a little more.

At least, it was during his work as a telegraph operator at one of the railway stations that the very incident that I mentioned in the question occurred. So where did he run to send an important message to the other side of the river when he realized that the cable was damaged?


By joining the Huxleў friends club, you support philosophy, science and art




If you guessed who was the man, you musst agree that he had to be smart quick-witted. Our young man understood this and directed part of his efforts to inventive activity, which was right.

His first invention was a special electrical apparatus for truthful and accurate counting of votes in elections. What do you think? Do politicians need such an apparatus? So do not be so kind as to doubt – the device wasn’t bought, and sponsors didn’t come running. What for?

Success came with his new invention, quite similar to the first – a system for telegraphing stock exchange bulletins on the gold rate. This invention immediately found fans, and the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company asked how much he wanted for it.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Apparatus for transmitting quotes/timetoast.com

He wanted to ask for $ 3000 – his salary for almost a year. Then he decided that he would ask for $ 5,000 and then he could reduce the price. He got so scared that he did not dare to name the price and asked: “Well, how much will you give?” “Is $ 40,000 enough?” – they asked him. He almost died of happiness and didn’t even bargain.




In the small village of Menlo Park, he set up his laboratory, and miracles rained from there like a cornucopia. It began with the telephone – the introduction of an induction coil into the apparatus sharply amplified the sound. Western Union paid him $ 100,000 for this, and no one was surprised – he was used to it.

Soon, a phonograph created by him appeared – an apparatus for recording sound. It seemed such a miracle that there were times when the phonograph demonstrator was grabbed by the throat with a cry: “Don’t you dare fool us, damn ventriloquist!” But then they got used to it – a new industry emerged.

Then he invented and introduced an electric lamp. Not one – the German Gebel suggested pumping air out of the lamp, the Russian Lodygin advised replacing the carbon filament with a tungsten filament … But he invented a screw base with a cartridge, a plug, sockets and fuses.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Thomas Edison lamp/wikipedia.org

If I add that it was he who invented the kinetoscope – a movie for one person looking through a small peephole – you will immediately guess who it is. Of course, Thomas Alva Edison, the author of 1,093 US patents for inventions… So where did he run to send the message?

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Thomas Alva Edison/wikipedia.org




Of course, to the locomotive depot – where else? A material object or electrical signal cannot be transmitted to the other side of the river, but sounds can be heard!

There is also a telegraph operator in that town, he will guess that the short beeps of the locomotive are dots, and the long ones are dashes, and he will read the message if it is repeated several times. And so it all happened!

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Old steam locomotive/wallup.net




It’s good that Edison transmitted, but did not receive a signal – as a child, after scarlet fever, he was almost deaf in one ear and did not hear everything. In any case, what he didn’t want, he didn’t hear. So his relationship with the world, and with fellow inventors, was by no means rosy.

I can’t understand his attempts to steal the invention of the Lumière brothers – let them look into a narrow slit, and they have a big screen, but the film moves with the help of perforation, and this is mine! The filmmakers were so afraid of him that they worked in Hollywood, so that in case of anything they could hit the road to Mexico …

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Lumiere brothers/inkyiv.com.ua

The story of his relationship with Tesla is even worse – he promised him $ 50,000 for some hard work (now it is about $ 1,000,000), and when Tesla did it, he announced that it was such an American humor! That’s when Edison and Tesla were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1915, they both refused!

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
Nikola Tesla/zhuanlan.zhihu.com

But they do not remember him for this – there is still something for that. Three bridges, three colleges, a bunch of schools, a hotel, a lake and an entire city in New Jersey are named after Edison in the United States. He received such a standard honor as the asteroid named after him back in 1913! And that is not all…

Thomas Edison died at 84, working almost until his last day. He summed up the outcome of his life a few years before his death, saying in an interview: “It’s good if there is an afterlife. If it’s not there, that’s not bad either. After all, I have lived my life with pleasure and have done everything I could”.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to transfer text across the river?
The grave of Thomas Edison/wikipedia.org




No sentences to a child in infancy – neither a genius nor a moron! Grows up – then it will be seen. Until then, hope for the best and help as much as you can. Like Edison’s mother who educated him outside of school.

Do not force the child to read, it is harmful – just encourage and do not interfere! The child will find the local library and order Gibbon and Hume there, if everything else in the upbringing is correct.

If a person is a lot of trouble and noise, he is not necessarily bad – perhaps he is just complicated, and in the end he may be more useful than the one who walks along the line and responds to every gesture of the bosses.

If the buyer offers much more for your idea than you yourself expect, do not argue – he needs it and he knows better. But if he offers little – do not be afraid to say “no”. It just means that another idea is needed.

Judge a person not by his bad deeds and not by his good deeds, but by both. But keep in mind that after his death, all his bad deeds usually lose their meaning and sense, and the good ones do not.

By joining the Huxleў friends club, you support philosophy, science and art
Share material

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: