Miles walked this month: 82

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Footnotes - Jenny Wal­ters, Fea­tures ed­i­tor

‘Any girl can be glam­orous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.’ Those are the words of Hedy La­marr, a Hol­ly­wood star who was far from stupid. Be­tween takes with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, La­marr would work on in­ven­tions and dur­ing World War II she de­vel­oped a fre­quen­cy­hop­ping ra­dio sig­nal with com­poser George An­theil. The idea was that jump­ing fre­quen­cies would stop the en­emy jam­ming sig­nals, and it was later used in se­cure wifi, Blue­tooth – and GPS. The US gov­ern­ment re­sponded by sug­gest­ing she use her celebrity to sell war bonds in­stead and de­spite fil­ing a patent she never saw a cent from the in­ven­tion, even though it’s now worth $30 bil­lion. In fact, La­marr’s con­tri­bu­tion went un­sung for decades, but I know I’ll think of the woman be­hind the tech when I next check my GPS on a walk.

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