Rise and Fall of the Landline: 143 Years of Telephones Becoming More Accessible – and Smart

A century ago, a three-minute call from New York City to San Francisco on a landline cost $500. Today, you can make the same call on a cellphone for a few cents (or free). The global economy has changed dramatically over the past century and a half. When I lecture my Boston University business students on this topic, I[…]

A Stuttered Hello to ARPANET: How the Internet Was Born

On October 29, 1969, an experiment at UCLA sparked a communication revolution, the implications of which are still unfolding nearly five decades later. The Spark Introduction In the late hours of October 29, 1969, an apparently insignificant experiment carried out in a lab in the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) would spark a[…]

Flesh Made Wood: The Invention of Artificial Refrigeration

Preserving foodstuffs by mechanical refrigeration became an industrial possibility only in the 1870s and 1880s. The refrigerator is among the most familiar of household appliances. It may also be a distinctively American machine: it has long figured in the domestic sphere as a symbol of prosperity. More recently, it has become a source of ecological[…]

The History of the Niagara Telecolorimeter

The joint U.S.-Canada project turned the iconic waterfall into infrastructure designed to create both power and beauty. It is no secret that Niagara Falls has a long history as a major site of hydroelectric production and related industrial developments. What is perhaps less well known is that the famous cataract has been engineered to that[…]

How Ancient and Medieval Science Fiction Imagined the Mobility Revolution

At first glance, a category like ancient science fiction might seem paradoxical. By Mike Bezemek / 08.30.2017 At first glance, a category like ancient science fiction might seem paradoxical. Most contemporary discussions of science fiction tend towards movies, TV shows, and fictional stories from the past 50 to 100 years—with the early part of that period being called the[…]