Wed02102016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Morning Forum speaker reflects on life of famed actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr


Photo By:
Rhodes

The Morning Forum of Los Altos audience heard about the owner of a patent for a breakthrough invention that helped the U.S. military during World War II and is still in use today. Members also heard about the life of the “most beautiful woman in the world.” The subject of both was the same – actress Hedy Lamarr.

Richard Rhodes, author of 24 books on a wide range of subjects, discussed the life of “Hedy Lamarr – Inventor” at the March 5 Morning Forum.

Born Hedwig Kiesler of wealthy Jewish parents in Vienna in 1913, Lamarr was exceedingly fond of her father, and they spent many hours walking through Vienna as he pointed out features and explained how things worked. Her Catholic upbringing was filled with music and the arts. She attended a finishing school – from which she ran away. She was beautiful, famously noting that all you had to do to be glamorous was to “stand still and look stupid.”

According to Rhodes, her dream was to be a movie star. So at 16, she walked into the largest movie studio in Vienna and asked for a job. They gave her one, and she worked her way up from script girl to a starring role in “Ecstasy.”

At 19, she married Fritz Mandl, owner of armament factories and the third-richest man in Austria. He used her as a “trophy” wife, Rhodes said, displaying her at social affairs with businessmen from Austria and Germany, where there was much technical talk about ammunition. He kept her confined in lodges and mansions.

“I live in a golden prison,” Lamarr said.

In 1937, Lamarr left Mandl, went to London, where movie mogul Louis B. Mayer was staying, found out what ship he would be taking home, booked passage on it and arrived in New York with a movie contract including a handsome weekly salary in hand.

She became a hit in Hollywood, Rhodes said: “She was young and fresh and different – with an Austrian accent.”

But Lamarr didn’t like Hollywood life, despite her success in films. She didn’t drink, Rhodes said, and found parties boring. She married a total of six times and paid a lot of alimony because of her great wealth.

So, she decided to become an inventor, Rhodes noted. She had a drafting table built and stocked up on tools and technical books. She came up with a few trivial inventions: a tissue dispenser box with disposal attached, a tablet that would turn a glass of water into a soda and a stool that would rotate a bather in a shower.

Meanwhile, the U.S. remained neutral in the expanding war. Germans were torpedoing passenger ships, and Lamarr was aghast when a ship carrying 294 people, including 82 children, was sunk.

The Germans had developed a “gliding torpedo,” but the U.S. Navy was behind in technology. According to Rhodes, Lamarr said they should have been talking to her – she could have answered all their questions about the German system, based on what she learned listening at Mandl’s dinner parties.

As an inventor, she developed the idea of controlling the direction of a torpedo by radio frequency, undetectable because it was constantly changing. The process involved “frequency hopping.” Rhodes said Lamarr was issued a patent in 1941, called “Secret Communication System,” under her married name at the time, H. Markey. Frequency hopping is a concept still in use today. Ships used it during the Cuban missile crisis. Today, car phones depend on it, as does GPS.

Many years later, Rhodes said, someone looked up the old patent and discovered that H. Markey was indeed Hedy Lamarr. Finally, in her 80s in 1997, she was recognized for her invention and awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundation prize.

Morning Forum is members-only series lecture series held at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit www.morningforum.org.

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