Wednesday, May 04, 2005


"on one day in 1998, the U.S. fired 75 cruise missiles at ben Laden, at $1 million apiece, at a person" [Longitudes and Attitudes p. 19-20 LP version, by Thomas L. Friedman (2003)]. (A later book by Tom is called The World is Flat.)

In the book he talked about the Superpower and other nation-states, the Supermarkets, and Super-empowered individuals. The world is not only flat; it has become tiny!

Tom talked about "super-empowered angry men", and you can guess the name of one such individual at least. But he also talked about a "super-empowered" Nobel prize winner named Jody Williams who brought about a treaty outlawing land mines. She got almost 120 governments to sign it- one notable exception, our beloved homeland. When asked how she had done it, her answer was "E-mail".

Needless to say the internet is one of the primary instruments in this cosmic change to a tiny, flat world. And I must say that the blog is the cutting edge.

The personal computer became common about 1982. It seemed to me like an outstanding gift from God, fully equal to the one that came through Johannes Gutenberg.

Of course there was much resistance and resentment. An old friend who was an editor for the Chicago Tribune for 30 years (also a flaming liberal Quaker BTW) - I mean old, late 80's- still writes everyday- on a typewriter!

Since the beginning of time people have always resisted change and hankered for the 'good-old days', but it won't happen; any discerning person knows that things are constantly getting better -- and worse!

Tom Friedman shows a better grasp of "the way things are getting" than anyone I know. He understands the power of the computer-- for better or worse.

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