Flag semaphore

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A US Navy crewman signals the letter 'U' using flag semaphore during an underway replenishment exercise (2005) US Navy 051129-N-0685C-007 Quartermaster Seaman Ryan Ruona signals with semaphore flags during a replenishment at sea.jpg
A US Navy crewman signals the letter 'U' using flag semaphore during an underway replenishment exercise (2005)

Flag semaphore (from the Greek σῆμα, sema, meaning sign and φέρω, phero, meaning to bear; altogether the sign-bearer) is the telegraphy system conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position. Semaphores were adopted and widely used (with hand-held flags replacing the mechanical arms of shutter semaphores) in the maritime world in the 19th century.[ citation needed ] It is still used during underway replenishment at sea and is acceptable for emergency communication in daylight or using lighted wands instead of flags, at night.[ citation needed ]

Telegraphy long distance transmission of textual/symbolic messages without the physical exchange of an object

Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus flag semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post is not. Ancient signalling systems, although sometimes quite extensive and sophisticated as in China, were generally not capable of transmitting arbitrary text messages. Possible messages were fixed and predetermined and such systems are thus not true telegraphs.

Underway replenishment Method of transferring fuel, munitions, and stores from one ship to another while under way

Replenishment at sea (RAS) or underway replenishment (UNREP) is a method of transferring fuel, munitions, and stores from one ship to another while under way. First developed in the early 20th century it was used extensively by the United States Navy as a logistics support technique in the Pacific theatre of World War II, permitting US carrier task forces to remain at sea indefinitely.

Contents

Contemporary semaphore flag system

The current flag semaphore system uses two short poles with square flags, which a signal person holds in different positions to signal letters of the alphabet and numbers. The signalperson holds one pole in each hand, and extends each arm in one of eight possible directions. Except for in the rest position, the flags do not overlap. The flags are colored differently based on whether the signals are sent by sea or by land. At sea, the flags are colored red and yellow (the Oscar flag), while on land, they are white and blue (the Papa flag). Flags are not required; their purpose is to make the characters more obvious.[ citation needed ]

Characters

The following 30 semaphore characters are presented as they would appear when facing the signalperson:

A First letter of the Latin alphabet

A is the first letter and the first vowel of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is similar to the Ancient Greek letter alpha, from which it derives. The uppercase version consists of the two slanting sides of a triangle, crossed in the middle by a horizontal bar. The lowercase version can be written in two forms: the double-storey a and single-storey ɑ. The latter is commonly used in handwriting and fonts based on it, especially fonts intended to be read by children, and is also found in italic type.

B letter in the Latin alphabet

B or b is the second letter of the Latin-script alphabet. It represents the voiced bilabial stop in many languages, including English. In some other languages, it is used to represent other bilabial consonants.

C Letter of the Latin alphabet

C is the third letter in the English alphabet and a letter of the alphabets of many other writing systems which inherited it from the Latin alphabet. It is also the third letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is named cee in English.

Numbers can be signaled by first signaling "Numerals". Letters can be signaled by first signaling "J".

The sender uses the "Attention" signal to request permission to begin a transmission. The receiver uses a "Ready to receive" signal not shown above to grant permission to begin the transmission. The receiver raises both flags vertical overhead and then drops them to the rest position, once only, to grant permission to send. The sender ends the transmission with the "Ready to receive" signal. The receiver can reply with the "Attention" signal. At this point, sender and receiver change places.

Japanese semaphore

The combination used for o ("O") Shou Qi Xin Hao o.svg
The combination used for オ ("O")

The Japanese merchant marine and armed services have adapted the flag semaphore system to the Japanese language. [1] Because their writing system involves a syllabary of about twice the number of characters in the Latin alphabet, most characters take two displays of the flags to complete; others need three and a few only one. The flags are specified as a solid white square for the left hand and a solid red one for the right. The display motions chosen are not like the "rotary dial" system used for the Latin alphabet letters and numbers; rather, the displays represent the angles of the brush strokes used in writing in the katakana syllabary and in the order drawn. For example, the character for "O" [オ], which is drawn first with a horizontal line from left to right, then a vertical one from top to bottom, and finally a slant between the two; follows that form and order of the arm extensions. It is the right arm, holding the red flag, which moves as a pen would, but in mirror image so that the observer sees the pattern normally. As in telegraphy, the katakana syllabary is the one used to write down the messages as they are received. Also, the Japanese system presents the number 0 by moving flags in a circle, and those from 1 through 9 using a sort of the "rotary dial" system, but different from that used for European languages.

Syllabary set of written symbols that represent the syllables or moras which make up words

A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent the syllables or moras which make up words. A symbol in a syllabary, called a syllabogram, typically represents an (optional) consonant sound followed by a vowel sound (nucleus)—that is, a CV or V syllable—but other phonographic mappings such as CVC, CV- tone, and C are also found in syllabaries.

Latin alphabet Alphabet used to write the Latin language

The Latin or Roman alphabet, is the writing system originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language.

Katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script. The word katakana means "fragmentary kana", as the katakana characters are derived from components or fragments of more complex kanji. Katakana and hiragana are both kana systems. With one or two minor exceptions, each syllable in the Japanese language is represented by one character or kana, in each system. Each kana represents either a vowel such as "a" ; a consonant followed by a vowel such as "ka" or "n", a nasal sonorant which, depending on the context, sounds either like English m, n or ng or like the nasal vowels of Portuguese.

Practical use in communication

Semaphore flags are also sometimes used as means of communication in the mountains where oral or electronic communication is difficult to perform. Although they do not carry flags, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers have used hand semaphore in this manner. Some surf-side rescue companies, such as the Ocean City, Maryland Beach Patrol, use semaphore flags to communicate between lifeguards. [2] The letters of the flag semaphore are also a common artistic motif. One enduring example is the peace symbol, adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958 from the original logo created by a commercial artist named Gerald Holtom from Twickenham, London. [3] Holtom designed the logo for use on a protest march on the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, near Newbury, England. On 4 April 1958, the march left Trafalgar Square for rural Berkshire, carrying Ban the Bomb placards made by Holtom's children making it the first use of the symbol. Originally, it was purple and white and signified a combination of the semaphoric letters N and D, standing for "nuclear disarmament," circumscribed by a circle. [4]

Royal Canadian Mounted Police mounted police force in Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the federal and national police force of Canada. The RCMP provides law enforcement at the federal level. It also provides provincial policing in eight of Canada's provinces and local policing on contract basis in the three territories and more than 150 municipalities, 600 aboriginal communities, and three international airports. The RCMP does not provide active provincial or municipal policing in Ontario or Quebec. However, all members of the RCMP have jurisdiction as a peace officer in all parts of Canada, including Ontario and Quebec.

Ocean City, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Ocean City, officially the Town of Ocean City, is an Atlantic resort town in Worcester County, Maryland. Ocean City is a major beach resort area along the East Coast of the United States. The population was 7,102 at the 2010 U.S. Census, although during summer weekends the city hosts between 320,000 and 345,000 vacationers, and up to 8 million visitors annually. During the summer, Ocean City becomes the second most populated municipality in Maryland, after Baltimore. It is part of the Salisbury, MD-DE Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau.

Motif (visual arts) in the visual arts, individual design element, alone or combined to produce a pattern

In art and iconography, a motif(pronunciation)  is an element of an image. A motif may be repeated in a pattern or design, often many times, or may just occur once in a work.

The album cover for the Beatles' 1965 album Help! was to have portrayed the four band members spelling "help" in semaphore, but the result was deemed aesthetically unpleasing, and their arms were instead positioned in a meaningless but aesthetically pleasing arrangement. [5] Along with Morse code, flag semaphore is currently used by the Navy and also continues to be a subject of study and training for young people of Boy Scouts. In a satirical nod to the flag semaphore's enduring use into the age of the Internet, on April Fools' Day 2007 the Internet Engineering Task Force standards organization outlined the Semaphore Flag Signaling System, a method of transmitting Internet traffic via a chain of flag semaphore operators. [6] The second episode in the second series of Monty Python's Flying Circus depicted famous stories retold using various communication systems, including Wuthering Heights in semaphore.

An album cover is the front of the packaging of a commercially released audio recording product, or album. The term can refer to either the printed cardboard covers typically used to package sets of 10 in (25 cm) and 12 in (30 cm) 78-rpm records, single and sets of 12 in (30 cm) LPs, sets of 45 rpm records, or the front-facing panel of a CD package, and, increasingly, the primary image accompanying a digital download of the album, or of its individual tracks.

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they are regarded as the most influential band of all time. The group were integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. Their sound, rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways. They also pioneered recording techniques and explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era's socio-cultural movements.

<i>Help!</i> 1965 studio album by the Beatles

Help! is the fifth studio album by English rock band the Beatles and the soundtrack from their film Help!. It was released on 6 August 1965. Produced by George Martin, it was the fifth UK album release by the band, and contains fourteen songs in its original British form. Seven of these, including the singles "Help!" and "Ticket to Ride", appeared in the film and took up the first side of the vinyl album. The second side contained seven other releases including the most-covered song ever written, "Yesterday".

See also

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Semaphore usually refers to flag semaphore. It may also refer to;

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Semaphore telegraph Communication along a chain of towers using mechanically operated paddles or shutters

A semaphore telegraph is an early system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters, also known as blades or paddles. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the shutter is in a fixed position. The most widely used system was invented in 1792 in France by Claude Chappe, and was popular in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. Lines of relay towers with a semaphore rig at the top were built within line-of-sight of each other, at separations of 5–20 miles (8.0–32.2 km). Operators at each tower would watch the neighboring tower through a spyglass, and when the semaphore arms began to move spelling out a message, they would pass the message on to the next tower. This system was much faster than post riders for conveying a message over long distances, and also had cheaper long-term operating costs, once constructed. Semaphore lines were a precursor of the electrical telegraph, which would replace them half a century later, and would also be cheaper, faster, and more private. The line-of-sight distance between relay stations was limited by geography and weather, and prevented the optical telegraph from crossing wide expanses of water, unless a convenient island could be used for a relay station. Modern derivatives of the semaphore system include flag semaphore and the heliograph.

Optical communication communication at a distance using light to carry information

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A telegraph code is one of the character encodings used to transmit information by telegraphy. Morse code is the most well known such code. Telegraphy usually refers to the electrical telegraph, but telegraph systems using the optical telegraph were in use before that. A code consists of a number of code points, each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet, a numeral, or some other character. In codes intended for machines rather than humans, code points for control characters, such as carriage return, are required to control the operation of the mechanism. Each code point is made up of a number of elements arranged in a unique way for that character. There are usually two types of element, but more element types were employed in some codes not intended for machines. For instance, American Morse code had about five elements, rather than the two of International Morse Code.

Flag signals can mean any of various methods of using flags or pennants to send signals. Flags may have individual significance as signals, or two or more flags may be manipulated so that their relative positions convey symbols. Flag signals allowed communication at a distance before the invention of radio and are still used especially in connection with ships.

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International Code of Signals Maritime communication method

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In computer networking, Semaphore Flag Signaling System (SFSS) is a humorous proposal to carry Internet Protocol (IP) traffic by semaphores. Semaphore Flag Signaling System was initially described in RFC 4824, an April Fools RFC issued by the Internet Engineering Task Force edited by J. Hofmueller, et al. and released on April Fool's Day 2007. It is one of several April 1 RFCs.

Writing system Any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication

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References

  1. 1 2 "The Flag Signalling System in Japan". 22 July 2011. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  2. "Ocean City Beach Patrol Semaphore Alphabet" (PDF). Oceancitymd.gov.
  3. Bayley, Stephen (6 April 2008). "Fifty years on, the CND logo is the ultimate design for life". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  4. Kathryn Westcott (20 March 2008). "World's best-known protest symbol turns 50". BBC News. He [Gerald Holtom] considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore – or flag-signalling – alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.
  5. Freeman, Robert (2003). The Beatles: A Private View. NY: Barnes & Noble. p. 62. ISBN   978-1-59226-176-5.
  6. Hofmueller, Jogi; Bachmann, Aaron; Zmoelnig, IOhannes (1 April 2007). The Transmission of IP Datagrams over the Semaphore Flag Signaling Syst em (SFSS). IETF. doi: 10.17487/RFC4824 . RFC 4824. Retrieved 20 March 2010.