Sunday, July 17, 2011

Welcome to 1930! Happy New Year! (Jan. 1, 2008)

Current mood: thoughtful

Last night in the hours leading up to midnight, I tuned in Radio Dismuke, an Internet radio station that plays music from the 1920s and early 1930s. While they normally are DJ- and commercial-free, 24/7, last night they had a special program broadcast live. Among the recordings they played was the lead-up to midnight as 1929 became 1930, as captured by some dance hall of the era.

This was fascinating, as it caused me to reflect upon the new technology of the era, what effect it was having, and what was about to happen. Consider:

* Broadcast radio was new to the 1920s. By 1930, stations and radios were all over the place. In a couple of years, President (F.D.) Roosevelt would speak to the nation each week over the radio. With shortwave, stations could be heard all over the globe (and still can).

* The electric microphone around 1926. Prior to that, nearly all recordings were some variation on singing or playing into the horn on the master phonograph recorder, and your sound etched the wiggles in the record. With the electric mike, you no longer needed to be loud to make recordings, and resultingly the music changed. Soft crooners, and vocalists with a band as backup, became the norm.

* Motion pictures with sound, in 1927, replaced silent films. Need I say more?

* Automobiles were truly commonplace. Four-lane paved highways and traffic jams become daily irritations.

* Commercial air travel, including trans-Atlantic flights, shrunk the world.

So back to 2008. What big changes have we had in the last couple of years? Where are they taking us?

* YouTube
* Security cameras everywhere
* Cell phone cameras
* RFID chips implanted in your body
* Retinal scans to prove identity in a non-invasive manner
* Automobiles that do not run exclusively on petroleum
* Being able to hop on a bus anywhere and not have to figure out how to get around to the Nth detail to avoid getting lost or stranded, so that we don't need cars.

(OK, the last one isn't there yet. I'm still working on it. And I think I'm the only one on earth who is. Can someone please help me?)

Back to reality, though. Just sit back for a minute and be in January 1, 1930, as I was. Where are we going, really?

3 comments:

bus15237 said...

When you think about a point in the past, think about what was new then. Here's a look at what was new in 1930, and how the world was about to change.

bus15237 said...

Comments from the original 1/1/2008 post on MySpace:

Pittsburgh Storm
It's amazing how much can change in one lifetime. I even thought about that how I will be telling my children about the 1980s and 1990s, but to me, that was the best part of my life.

It also should make you take a moment to think about what is important to you material wise. Is it worth it to work a second job to make sure you have the latest, kewlest electronics, or should you take that time with your family?

Good points!

Stuart Strickland
Good questions!

Maybe the point is, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Those same "is it worth it" questions were just as relevant in 1930 as they are today, to the parents of the young children of the time.

My own two sets of grandparents would've had 11- and 9-year-olds, and 3- and 2-year-olds, respectively, on 12/31/1929. My own parents would have had 11-, 7- and 5-year-olds on 12/31/1969, and assuredly did ask those questions.

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