Friday / Weekend Open Lines

The distant reaches of planet Earth came into focus for the average American on this date in 1962 with the successful relay of a trans-Atlantic signal by Telstar, the first privately owned satellite launched the day before. While a major communications advance and a sensation of the day, Telstar did not last long. It failed in December, was restored briefly, and then went dead in February 1963. Today, dozens of communications satellites allow television signals, telephone calls and computer hookups to all points of the Earth, and we take such instant communications for granted. There are 659 firms in the U.S. providing satellite telecommunication services, and they generate around $4.5 billion in revenue annually. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <>.

Saturday, July 12th. A romantic period of American history that still intrigues us ended, semiofficially, on this date in 1893. That’s when historian Frederick Jackson Turner delivered an academic paper in Chicago, based on 1890 Census data, declaring the American Frontier had closed. Turner said that migration from the East, the building of railroads and hundreds of new towns had combined to forge a single nation from coast to coast. The most recent census showed that the West is still a magnet for growth. Between 2000 and 2010, Nevada was the fastest growing state at 35 percent. Other states that grew more than 20 percent were Utah, Texas, Idaho, and Arizona. Only Michigan lost population. The nation as a whole grew 9.7 percent. Profile America is in its17th year as a Public Service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, July 13th. A number of special observances are held in July — three of them just naturally go together. It’s not only National Grilling Month, but also National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month. Whether we call them frankfurters or just plain hot dogs, Americans eat some 7 billion of them during the summer months. While more hot dogs are consumed during the summer, they are popular all year round — part of some $37 billion of processed meats sold in the U.S. each year. And when it comes to ice cream, we especially savor the cold treat during the summer, but spoon it out all year long. Americans consume a per capita average of 21 pounds of frozen dairy products annually. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <>.