August 19th is the birthday of Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971). Farnsworth was an American inventor who is best known for his image pickup device that formed the basis for the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. Among his many other inventions was the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor, a small nuclear fusion device that remains a viable source of neutrons. At his death, he held over 300 patents, mostly in radio and television.
Thirty years ago, on August 19, 1989, Hungarian border guards allowed East German citizens to cross freely into Austria for the first time. This was the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain, culminating a few months later, with the fall of the The Berlin Wall. Liberal journaliists are now ballyhooing about the supposed irony of Hungary erecting barriers against illegal aliens from the Middle East. But there is a huge difference between keeping foreigners out, and a government keeping its own population in.