The Amazing World in Which We Live.

First of all, I really should apologize for yesterday (this mornings?) post.  I know that night-time is always when I crash, and instead of making a whiny blog post, I should just go to bed, get a good nights sleep, and when I wake up, the world will be a happier place.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand.  I was out running errands today.  I listen to NPR in the car, mostly because I can’t stand watching the “news” on TV, but still want to stay connected with the world.  The were, naturally, talking about the earthquake in Chile, and the threat of a tsunami throughout the pacific. The very first I heard about the earthquake and tsunami threat was when I opened my computer for the first time this morning, around 10am. This was approximately 10 hours after the earthquake struck, and they were already talking about the danger of a tsunami in places as far spread as Australia, Japan and Hawaii.

I was awestruck, sitting in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart, and not just because I ventured to go to the Wal-Mart on a Saturday (you’d think I’d know better by now).  Do you realize how amazing it is that there was an earthquake in Chile, and people in danger of a tsunami thousands of miles away had most of the day to prepare?  Think about it. If this earthquake had happened 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, they might have been able to make phone calls, or send telegraphs–if the lines weren’t damaged, to warn of the impending disaster.  Father back than that, people might listen to the wisdom of their elders, and when they see the sea retreating unusually far, they might know to run to high ground. (Or, in the case of the Indonesian tsunami in 2004, they might wander out to pick up fish and oysters).  Today, people were given ample warning so that they could saunter up to high ground at their leisure–keeping the death toll to the hundreds, rather than the thousands.

Along that same line of thought–if, even as a child growing up in the 80’s, I was told that as an adult I’d have friends in California, Texas, New York and New Zealand that I communicated with on almost a daily basis, I’m not sure I would believe it–and I grew up with a computer.  When my best friend in elementary school moved from central Utah to northern Utah, I never expected to see her again.  But, again, but we are able to keep track of each other through Facebook, now.

I have a friend who lives 2000 miles away from me who gave birth yesterday.  For most of human existence, the kid would be walking and talking before I would have found out about her, but I know that she was premature, her weight and length, that she was born via c-section, and that she has red hair.  The baby isn’t 24 hours old, yet.

I keep a phone in my pocket that is smaller and more versatile than the communicators on the original Star Trek.  If my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, I could call for help.  I can talk to my sister while I’m traveling to see her. (and by traveling to see her, I mean walking from my apartment to the car, not while I’m driving–that’s too dangerous.  Um, yeah *shifty eyes*)  The fact that nearly every phone conversation I have includes a phrase that would have been considered insane even ten years ago, namely “Where are you?” shows how quickly technology has progressed. Even this blog–as soon as I hit the “publish” button, it will be visible to people all over the world.  I’m slightly amazed that I’ve had visitors from places as far-flung Pakistan, Sweden and France.

I know that nothing I’ve talked about today is mind-blowing, or earth shattering. (Except the earthquake.  Too soon?) But honestly, I think we tend to forget how incredible the technology we take for granted is.

Um, I guess in conclusion, I really should post this video from YouTube, along these same lines.  You’ve probably seen it before, but it’s something that we all need to be reminded of.

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