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August 19, 2003

The Greatest Figures Of The 20th Century

John Hawkins' ran two surveys asking two lists of bloggers their opinions on the "greatest figures of the 20th century". The collated lists from writers of right of centre and left of centre blogs are interesting as much for the names they have in common as for their points of difference.

The Flea's contribution to the "right of centre" list included Alan Turing, Jonas Salk, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford and Winston Churchill. It would have included FDR but I felt I should stick to one President a century for fear of skewing my choices. It would also have included Watson and Crick but I did not want to use two spots out of twenty. Contributors to both lists got around this problem by turning them into one person (in which case they should arguably have included Rosalind Franklin).

A number of my choices did not make either list. John Logie Baird is a name I would like to see get the credit it is due.

Although large companies with great financial support were also working on the problem of television, Baird managed to surpass them all with very little money, a handful of unpaid helpers and equipment pieced together using rather unconventional materials. For example, Baird's choice of mechanical scanning as the most effective way of achieving true television required the use of spinning discs -- which of financial necessity were made of hatboxes and mounted on a coffin lid.

And then... The MZTV Museum of Television is a good reason to visit Toronto. My appreciation for John Logie Baird started when I was registrar for the Museum (I developed their catalogue system and helped set up the database software to access it). I was on my way to London when Baird's grandson started work there though I did get to meet him once or twice.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 19, 2003 09:29 AM
Comments

I have been meaning to write something about the "right of centre" character of the Flea. I always curious to see the Flea pop up on a blog-roll only to drop off the list a short time later and wonder if it was something I said... My political views are philosophically libertarian though I find myself in favour of Draconian, even ruthless, action on the world stage since 9/11. I think I fit Andrew Sullivan's "Eagle" category though a Canadian "Beaver" does not evoke quite the same emotional reaction. Hmm... this is turning into a post so I shall stop now.

Posted by: Nicholas Packwood at August 19, 2003 11:20 AM

Exactly right on Baird. Great Scots who created ideas is a facination of the people. I think I was told my Dad saw a display at Jenners (?)Department store in Edinburgh of this form of TV in the 30's.

Posted by: Alan at August 19, 2003 11:20 AM
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