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17

The communications between national leaders are normally conducted through the embassies. I.e., Churchill would send a Typex-encrypted telegram to the British Embassy in Washington, DC, it is decrypted there, and delivered in person to the White House. Similarly, Roosevelt would send a SIGABA-encrypted message to the US Embassy in London, it is decrypted ...


10

For the most part, the telephone was a welcome invention that, aside from its practical applications for business, helped to alleviate the loneliness of rural existence. It was adopted fairly quickly, reaching 40% of American households before the Depression hit, slowing and even reversing its use (22). Continued adoption would wait until the 1940s. Despite ...


8

In terms of the area of control established by communications, unquestionably the British Empire - with telegraph connections to Australia established in 1871, Britain had enormous swaths of the globe - from Tikitiki on the North Island of New Zealand all the way west to Beaver Creek in the Yukon, with stops for the Indian subcontinent and an enormous chunk ...


7

It took about two weeks. By 1890 postal unions had been formed allowing mail to transit around the world to most places. The domestic rate in the US was 2¢ per ounce. For a first class letter weighing 1/2 ounce or less to Britain the union cost would be an additional 5¢. Thus, the total cost was 7¢ for a first class letter. Here are the rates from 1890, ...


6

A rough estimate of the time is as follows: the distance from London to NY is approximately 3000 (nautical) miles. The Blue Riband prize was awarded to passenger liners which showed the average speed of about 15 knots, (20 knots was the world record in 1889), so I suppose it is safe to assume that an average ship at that time could cross with the average ...


6

It is a strange way, of course to measure the SIZE of an empire in terms of the TIME of travel from end to end; at different times different means of transportation were available, and it also depended on the season. But if one accepts this strange criterion, perhaps Russian empire in the early 19s century is hard to beat: it stretched from Alaska and ...


6

I think it's safe to conclude that no fighter plane radios were encrypted, due to requiring extremely bulky equipment at the time. Communication between enemy fighters was theoretically possible, since all you need to do is tune in to the enemy's frequency, but most planes could only use a very limited set of preset frequencies. Of course this does mean ...


5

Encryption can very well be done on quite small portable devices, also during WWII. The famous German Enigma machine was about as large as a type-writer, and that was one of the most advanced and complex encryption of the time. Smaller machines with simpler encryption also existed. However, encrypted communications required a separate radio person who does ...


4

New media has often been met with criticism - Semaphore rightfully pointed out that often not the medium but the topic (sex, violence, drugs, blasphemy, ...) is condemned. Still there are example where this wasn't the case. Probably the most clear cut example is from Socrates There is an old Egyptian tale of Theuth, the inventor of writing, showing his ...


3

The answer for land empires may have been the Mongol Empire due to its enormous size. (After seeing @RISwampYankee's answer, he probably has the correct answer over all.) However, the Mongols were not only incredible horsemen but also had a very efficient postal system called the Yam. According to National Geographic: At the postal route's zenith, a ...


3

The object in question is a blank spool of recording tape for a multiplex photographic recording system. Such systems were commonly used not only at Sayville, but at all transatlantic radio receiving stations. The way the systems worked is that a photographically sensitive tape was fed into a galvanometrically modulated exposer and then immediately ...


2

First of all, your assumption that slaves in Rome addressed their master as "domine" is not true. The language used in the household was completely different than the "silver" Latin you read in Cicero or Seneca. Vernacular Latin had large amounts of Greek slang in it and the lower in the class the person, the more slangy it got. Words like kurios and ...


1

Besides official or secret agent movement of news and papers, it was routine for soldiers on picket duty to swap newspapers and reading material along with coffee and tobacco when armies were in contact. The desire for different reading material was very strong.


1

As soon as the death was published in northern newspapers it would have become available to the south. For an important event, like Lincoln's assassination, a man would have used a horse and carried a newspaper right to Richmond, which is about 100 miles away from Washington DC, where the assassination occurred. Since the first reports were published on the ...


1

Usually a translator would be found. People like Marco Polo who lived in foreign locations learned the local language, Mongolian in the case of the Yuan empire. Note that Mongolian was spoken widely in Central Asia at that time, so Marco Polo could have started learning it even before he reached Cathay.


1

Here's an excerpt from Kadin2048's answer to this question at ask.metafilter.com, making a reasonable summation if we consider the wire recording (Wiki) techniques that were known at the time: What I think is more likely, is that the tape was just colored in dark and light patches or stripes, and that it was decoded manually. As the tape went through the ...



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