07 November 2011

One Hundred Years of Amazing

Telephone operator circa 1945 

The future. I've thought a lot about the future, about what things are going to be like in 100 years. Logically, to do that we need to look at what life was like 100 years ago.

A century ago, in the USA, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory burned, taking the lives of 145 workers—mostly women—with it. This one event changed the way we thought about factories and led to reforms that benefit workers today. At the same time, women were struggling to gain the right to vote.

The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910. The Incan city of Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911. In 1912, the Titanic sank. The Model T automobile was spreading the luxury of driving to the masses. Electricity use was becoming widespread. Big changes, and bigger changes were on the horizon.

Today, the world has changed so much as to be unrecognizable to a person from the early 20th Century. In the 21st Century, the car is a necessity in most of the United States and a lot of the rest of the world. People tend to view electricity as a right. American women don't bother to vote, even though we've only had the right for 91 years.

The 20th and early 21st centuries have seen such amazing technological advances that some have speculated we had help from aliens from far away planets. While that idea intrigues me as a writer, as a science lover, I'm just thankful to have been born in a time of such forward thinking. I've seen so many things change, from typewriters to computers. From phones that required a human to physically switch the calls, to a phone I carry with me everywhere. Humankind has walked on the surface of the moon. We've learned to use the power of the atom. We have the ability to instantly communicate with anyone, anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Maybe one day we'll even learn how to live together in respect and peace.

I hope so.


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