A friend runs Seattle’s “telephone museum.”

It’s amazing how far telephony’s come even in my short lifetime.

Growing up, we had a “party-line.”  Once in a while you’d lift the hand-set and hear someone else’s conversation in progress.  When the line was clear, you’d dial four digits to reach someone in the same town.  (Or maybe it was five, but definitely not seven, let alone ten.)

A few years later, I was visiting my college roommate in Cincinnati where AT&T was testing its new “touch-tone” phones.  You “dialed” by pressing buttons.  Amazing!

Today, I can call someone in Mongolia — a video call, no less — while driving down the highway . . . for free.

There’s so much in telephone history that’s fun.  Thank you, Peter Amstein, for working to preserve and curate all this.

One small example?  The way people used to set their clocks and watches by calling the phone company


Meanwhile, we’ve put men on the moon and robot-wandered around Mars. 

This 10-minute Martian tour is from the last mission, not the one that just landed, but not much has changed on Mars in the last ten years, so you might want to look around even before NASA’s latest shots become available.

All we have to do now is figure out how to assure that every child born today — no matter where or in what circumstances — has at least a minimally decent life:  Adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, education, electricity, internet, freedom, respect, love, and purpose.  We have the technology and resources to provide all that; all we lack is the wisdom to get along with each other.  My sense is that Jesus had better ideas on how to do this than, say, the Proud Boys.  And that the leaders of Bhutan (who measure gross national happiness rather than gross national product) have better ideas than Putin, Duterte, Erdogan, Kim Jong-Un, or their friend and admirer, the disgraced former president.

So read Caste. 

And Nick Hanauer’s “Pitchforks” letter

And Andrew Yang’s five-star -rated book on universal basic income.

And, if you can, blow $100 or more to join DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, together with Senators Klobuchar and Booker and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, to save the world.




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