Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 14, 2008 / 7 Shevat 5768

Moving in the right direction

By Tom Purcell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Hey, good buddy, I'm finally headed in the right direction — and so is the rest of humanity.


I got a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) device for Christmas. It's amazing what the thing can do.


Not only does it allow me to search for a restaurant, store or any place nearby, it provides phone numbers and addresses. Then a female voice tells me exactly where to drive (a female is used because a male might not consult anybody for directions).


GPS technology dates back to 1957. U.S. scientists were warily monitoring Sputnik 1 — the world's first satellite, which was sent into space by the Soviets — when they stumbled onto something unexpected.


As Sputnik approached their location, the frequency of its radio signal increased. As it moved farther away, its frequency decreased. This effect is known as the Doppler shift. Scientists were able to use this information to determine Sputnik 1's location in space.


But they also immediately concluded something else: They could use satellite signals to determine specific locations on the ground.


Since then the government has been perfecting the GPS concept. Our current system is composed of 24 satellites that orbit the Earth. Thanks to a directive Ronald Reagan signed in 1983, GPS, upon its completion, was to be made available to civilians.


And since the GPS system was enhanced and modernized in 2005, civilians have been using it like mad. Any fellow with a handheld GPS receiver can quickly determine his longitude, latitude and altitude — and, more important, where the nearest pizza joint is.


Which gives humanity plenty of reason to be hopeful about the future.


Look, 25 years ago when my family drove to the beach every summer, we had only one way to seek directions on the highway: my trusty CB radio. My handle was "Trail Blazer," good buddy.


Why did we have a CB in our car? Because of solid-state transistor technology, an innovation from the 1950s that replaced the old vacuum-tube technology. Solid-state transistors allowed CBs to be made smaller and cheaper, which is how a 12-year-old kid called Trail Blazer could afford one.


The CB saved my family on more than one occasion. The truckers helped us keep an eye out for Smokey. And when we needed crucial information, I'd pick up the mike and say, "We're at the 64-mile marker headed east on the turnpike, good buddies. How far to the nearest bathroom!"


Now we have GPS devices that know exactly where we are and where we need to go. For less than a couple hundred bucks, any old fool has nearly as much navigational capacity as the U.S. military did last time it went into Iraq.


If you're not amazed by that, you should be. I'm 45. I still marvel at the technology advances that have occurred in my lifetime.


In 1985 I worked for a high-tech firm and had access to one of the first portable computers in existence. It was the size of a large suitcase and had very little computing capacity.


Today, I sit in a coffee shop pecking away on a small laptop computer. It has more computing capacity than a mainframe machine did 30 years ago — one that took up a whole city block.


I use my cell phone to call anybody around the globe. My computer, via a broadband cellular modem, is continually connected to the Internet. I'm able to access and share reams of information with people all over the planet.


And if I need to find any location anywhere on Earth, I just consult my handheld GPS device.


I'm puzzled by folks who see only gloom and doom when it is such an amazing time to be alive. I can't imagine how many more advances we'll make in the next 25 years, but they're coming. We're going to solve a lot of problems.


I'll bet we'll look back to our current problems and laugh at how they once kept us up at night.


Know what I mean, good buddy?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR Contributor Tom Purcell's column, by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


ARCHIVES

© 2007, Tom Purcell

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles