America Embraces Debt

“Put it on my card!” It’s the American way. We buy now, pay later.  The history for card purchases is nothing new. In fact, it was first described in an Edward Bellamy utopian work titled Looking Backward (1887). Bellamy employed the term “credit card” in his work as a way for a person to spend…

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The Golden Spike Connects a Nation

It was one of the most significant transportation projects in U.S. history: the transcontinental railroad. Over six years (1863-1869) in the making, this railroad project joined the eastern states with the western frontier. The golden spike (or “The Last Spike”) was a ceremonial 17.6-karat gold spike driven by Leland Stanford to connect the rails of…

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The Hindenburg Disaster

Nobody knew it at the time, but the Hindenberg disaster was the beginning of the end for air travel by blimp. For decades, the rich used blimps to travel to new locales, still somewhat faster than the automobile of that day. But as the airplane–a new air tech–found its wings, old-school blimps no longer held…

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Network News is Born!

CBS News Debuted

If your over 40, you remember a day when the three big networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) dominated the television news landscape. Indeed, the 1960s and 1970s were the “golden age” of network news, featuring personalities like Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Howard K. Smith. There were also new emerging (and future) stars like Dan Rather…

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The Age of Television is Launched!

RCA introduces television to the public

In the course of human history, there are few technologies that significantly reimagine everything and move culture forward exponentially. Fire. Gunpowder. The Printing Press. The Internet. And television. The world before television–the projection of visuals into the private home–reimagined how we lived. It proved, in the end, more than just an entertainment evolution. In the…

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The Mouse Hits the Big 4-0!

On April 27, 1981, I was a senior in high school. In six weeks I would graduate and leave home for good. At the time I was typing my papers on an electric typewriter. In graduate school I bought my first desktop computer and learned the misery of early MS-DOS computing. In the mid-1990s I…

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Boomers The First To Get the Point on Polio!

Jonas Salk and Polio Vaccine

Polio was a feared disease in the early and mid-1900s. The crippling disease had disabled Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. But, even more so, polio was epidemic among children (who saw the lion share of the cases). In 1952 there were 58,000 new cases of poliomyelitis (with 3000 deaths). The worst part was polio…

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Titanic Sinks!

The sinking of the Titanic was a huge blow to industrial science and the promise of machines making life faster and better. The Titanic was the fastest and best. It was reputed to be unsinkable, but it still sunk. For the oldest members of the Transportation and Telephone (TNT) Generation–born 1900 to 1920–this tragedy was…

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“Houston, We Have A Problem”

It’s scripted like Hollywood but this tale from space produced some genuine heroes. The innovation to solve “the problem” and bring three US astronauts back to earth remains a story for the ages. The fated mission was commanded by Jim Lovell with Jack Swigert as command module (CM) pilot and Fred Haise as Apollo Lunar…

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Westward Ho! The Pony Express!

The Pony Express

Did you know the fabled Pony Express was actually a massive failure? It’s true. It lasted only 18 months as a mail service. The innovations of the telegraph and railroad proved better means for transporting America’s letters to the West.

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