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Monday, July 4, 2016

100 years of little progress



Let's go back a 100 years: a time of railroads, cars, electric lights, telephones, airplanes, and mass communication. Now compare it to today: a time of railroads, cars, electric lights, telephones, airplanes, and mass communication.

So now we have computers -big deal. Have they really contributed much to our day to day quality of life?

I'm old enough to remember life without personal computers, never mind cell phones. Back then one of my great pleasures was having a good cup of coffee and reading the morning paper. Now I have that coffee, turn on the computer and connect to the Internet. There's a lot more information available on the Internet, but somehow it doesn't quite capture the pleasure of a good newspaper. You could say I could always go back to reading the newspaper in the morning, but there aren't a lot of good ones left.

Medicine has made a lot of progress but there are huge numbers of people who can't afford even the equivalent of 100 year old medicine. There have been times in my own life where I was one of those people.

We didn't have a zillion games to play on our iphones. Instead, we did things like play cards or board games with real human beings -face to face. We've lost that human connection.

I'm not saying that things were better, just that we have not come as far as we think. 100 years ago the world was in the middle of WWI, a truly horrific time. As bad as it was, at least there wasn't the threat of atomic bombs ending all life on the planet.

-Sixbears

17 comments:

  1. We eliminated a whole bunch of diseases.

    You no longer need to have ten kids in the hope that two survive.

    Women can vote. Gays can marry and adopt. Blacks...are..less screwed, I guess.

    But other than sanitation, civil order and infrastructure, what have the Romans ever done for us?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9foi342LXQE

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    1. I'm not saying there's no progress, just that the world from 100 years ago wasn't as different as we'd like to think.

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  2. And I think you underestimate just how awful WWI was. Something like 10 million men died in one of the worst campaigns in history.

    And nuclear weapons are the only time in human history we have let a weapon sit on the shelf for 70 years. By their very existence, they probably prevented a shooting war with the USSR. Total deaths from both bombs used in WWII is estimated at up to 246,000, which is a whole lot, but to put it in perspective, that's about ten bombings of Dresden.

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    1. WWI was truly horrific. Frankly, that's why I'm disturbed by some of the political and social trends of the present. Reminds me of the early 20th century. The interlocking alliances combined with a lack of memory of what all out war looks like.

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  3. The best thing about living now, as compared to 1953 when I was born, is that communications let me stay up with my kids in real time.

    Other than that, if I could go back and 63 in 1953 I would. I'd be dead now but I wouldn't have to live in the 'Time Machine" world we live in now.

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    1. Of course, we now need electronics to stay in touch because so many family members move away.

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  4. I am old enough that I remember steam locomotives on the railroads. My maternal grandpa was an engineer on the Pennsy and my fraternal grandpa was a conductor on the B&O during the steam era. Yep, I am that old!!!

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    1. I'm within 50 miles of a working steam railroad -the cog railway that goes up Mt. Washington.

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  5. I've always said that progress requires change, but change by itself isn't necessarily progress.

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    1. Good saying. I think I'll steal it. :)

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  6. Ah, but those things were only for the well-to-do then. My grandmother was born in 1908, she said that she didn't see indoor plumbing until 1925. Her first house with electricity wasn't until after WWII. Phone calls were expensive, and she had a party line well into the '50's.

    Knowledge is easier to come by via the computer. I prefer to read paper books, but the ease and cost is driving me to read more from my phone. I'll take today, warts and all.

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    1. We are at a strange point in time where knowledge is so available yet so many people refuse to learn.

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  7. i don't want to live in any time prior to penicillin, water treatment plants, sewerage treatment, fire departments, and trauma units in hospital.

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    1. Medicine is the biggest step forward -for those who can afford it. The death rate for poor white women is going up.

      The old steam fire pumpers put out as much water per minute as the average modern diesel pumper. Of course it took a team of horses to get it to the fire.

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    2. Not from 100 years ago it isn't.

      The death rate for poor women in childbirth was astronomical 100 years ago.

      And as bad as inequality is now, this is a veritable Utopia compared to 1916.

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  8. Sigh...so what will people do if the grid goes down? You'll survive and so will I but what about the younger generations who grew up with all those electronics?

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    1. It will be a shock, that's for sure.

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