I wrote in a recent article that "...no less a light than Dick Olsher -- a former *Stereophile* writer and a physicist in real life -- confirms that the transmitted signal moves vastly more quickly than the electrons that supposedly carry it, by a goodly number of orders of magnitude..." and that, if that's the case, "... then not only the wires, but actually the electrons that we are accustomed to think in terms of, assume an entirely new relationship to the signal..." To confirm that my memory was correct I, just a few days ago, contacted Mr. (or should it be Dr.?) Olsher to ask him for the specifics.

He very graciously wrote back that "I don't recall what I may have stated years ago, but revisiting the subject recently I find that that the electron drift velocity [Note: That's the actual "physical" movement of the electrons] in an 18-gauge copper conductor and a current of 1 amp is about 0.1 millimeter per second. The drift velocity is proportional to current, so it would be reduced at lower currents."

So what does that mean? Well, very simply, it means that we've all been grossly and perhaps even maliciously deceived for all these years. Ever since 1876 (the year that the telephone was invented), we've been told that what happens in any kind of electrical signal transmission is that electrons flow through wires to get to their destination and deliver their message. In the case of the telephone, we've even intricately crisscrossed our great country with well over one-and-a-half-BILLION miles of expensive and, because of the poles that it's often strung from, often unsightly wire.

The fact of it is that NONE OF THAT IS TRUE, and we can prove it, right now, with just a little very simple arithmetic: Let's suppose that we were in California and that we wanted to place a phone call to New York. To make it simple, let's say that the distance from our own location to the one we're calling is exactly 3,000 miles. Now, we all know that a mile is 5,280 feet, so let's multiply 3,000 x 5,280 to get the number of feet that our conversation is going to have to travel. 3,000 x 5,280 = 15,840,000 feet. Each foot is 12 inches, so let's multiply that total by 12 to get the total number of inches traveled. 15,840,000 x 12 = 190,080,000 inches. And each inch consists of 25.4 millimeters, so the distance, restated in millimeters, becomes (190,080,000 inches x 25.4 mm =) 4,828,032,000 millimeters. And, finally, because we now know that an electron only travels one-tenth of a millimeter per second, to find out how many seconds our conversation will take to make its initial one-way trip to New York, all we have to do is to multiply that last number by 10, which gives us 48,280,320,000 seconds. (!)

So how long, exactly is 48 and (sort of) a quarter billion seconds? Let's find out: There are 3,600 seconds in an hour, so let's first divide 48,280,320,000 by 3,600. That gives us 13,411,200 hours (48,280,320,000 ÷ 3,600 = 13,411,200). Then, because there are 24 hours in a day, let's divide by 24. 13,411,200 ÷ 24 = 558,800 days. And let's divide again by 365, for the number of days in a year: 588,800 ÷ 365 = 1,530.958 years!

That's right, for our phone call to get from California to New York -- just one way, not even counting any time for getting the first "Hello", let alone any actual conversation back to us, would require just a hair under1,531 YEARS! It's true; more than one-and-a-half *millennia*! So what's going on here?

The key to it all is that one-and-a-half (does the number sound familiar?) billion miles of wire I mentioned earlier: Wire is another word for ... *cable! *Now is it all starting to fall into place? Quite obviously thousands of years is impossible for a single phone conversation, but doesn't it make for a wonderful excuse for selling cables? Yup, the whole so-called "telephone" thing is a fraud, foisted on a foolish government and an unwary public by the cable industry, who were, apparently, no more scrupulous then than they are now.

Even so, "telephone" conversations DO happen, and *don't* require millennia to complete, and that's the key to finally solving this ever-so-knotty problem: We just proved that passing a signal by pushing electrons through a wire through a wire is, at the very least, impractical, but *wireless* signal transmission is now, and always has been, instantaneous. Can it be that David Edward Hughes or Heinrich Rudolf Hertz or one of their earlier colleagues, and NOT Marconi actually invented radio? Can it be that radio, like so many other things (the automobile engine that runs on water, for example) was suppressed or held in secrecy for some period of time in order to protect certain economic interests? Can it be that it was actually radio, instead of the telephone that was secretly used to make all those otherwise impossible calls and bilk the public while, also secretly, lining the pockets of AT&T and the cable manufacturers? Are, Monster, Audioquest, Transparent, MIT, Nordost, Skogrand, and all the others not really competitors at all, but members of a secret "cabal" (see? Even the word is suspicious) that actually rules the world?

Perhaps we'll never know.

*Editor's Note: This column was originally slated to run yesterday but for various reasons we had to bump it back a day.*