Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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