Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The World By Our Fingertips

A lot can be said about the internet -- both good and bad. On the negative side of the ledger, the internet has pushed people farther apart. While it is true that you can converse with individuals you most likely would never meet (e.g., someone thousands of miles away), this lack of platonic intimacy allows people to write things they would NEVER say to a person's face. It's very unfortunate indeed that a great many people revel in this kind of virtual anonymity by viciously attacking anyone who happens by.

On the plus side, however, the internet has brought libraries home to anyone with an internet connection. Need to find a new recipe for stuffed peppers? Need to look up a phone number or address? Looking for a new pair of socks or jeans? You can find all this and more with a few mouse clicks.

For someone like me -- who loves to do research AND who lives in a small town in a rural county far from a quality library -- my computer and the internet have become the closest of friends! Almost anything I might need (job) or want (interest) to look up, I can find, if I'm patient.

Just yesterday, I watched a documentary on The Weather Channel about the famed "Serum Run of 1925". According to Wikipedia,
During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the "Great Race of Mercy", 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic. Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is still one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City's Central Park. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.
After watching the documentary, I wanted to learn more about the one musher who covered more distance than any other, Leonhard Seppala. Among the many facts I learned was that Seppala lived his last years in Ballard, Washington (a section of Seattle). A Norwegian friend of mine lives there now and I emailed her to ask if she ever met the man!

Were it not for the internet and the world wide web, I would have known very little about the Serum Run, other than what I watched on TV. And this is but one example that is representative of many such occurrences.


  1. What "We" stand for.

    Dear Friend,

    We have seen the likes of "the politically motivated" slowly bringing a country into ruin, because they no longer stand for, or even understand, the idea of having an ideological concept as a goal. Read each other’s writings: it is “I” and not often “We the people.” At the founding of this country, men (We) stood shoulder to shoulder and fought for FREEDOM; then the government was formed as a way to defend people from the oppressive processes. The processes have resurfaced, evolved and become more complex but they are still processes people have once again allowed themselves to be controlled by. The country needs to define what was lost over time, and what to fight for. Do you really want to know what the soul really yearns for leaders to do, even if they appear to not know it or want it? Try this webblog to get an idea of the things which this country (We) can (will) stand for:

    It is prophetic; and won't go away, and will be satisfied.

    John K. Gregory


  2. Yeah Trey,
    I love having the ability to "touch the world" at my fingertips. But as it is with all things, in the wrong hands even good things can be made rotton.


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