invention of the telegraph

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Victorian Internet by Tom Standage

British Empire, financial independence, global village, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jacquard loom, paper trading, QWERTY keyboard, technoutopianism, undersea cable

Impressed by what he later described as Cooke's "zeal, ability and perseverance," Wheatstone eventually agreed to a partnership, on the rather childish condition that his name would go first on the documentation. This sort of behavior was typical of Wheatstone, who was a somewhat prickly character, and whose relationship with Cooke was always highly precarious. Ry turns painfully shy and incurably arrogant, Wheatstone insisted on referring to the invention of the telegraph in the first person singular and claiming all the scientific credit for himself, as though Cooke were nothing more than a business associate whom he had engaged to promote his invention. But even though they didn't get on personally, the two men's professional relationship was productive: They had soon devised and patented an improved five-needle telegraph. Each needle could be deflected to the left or right to pick out numbers and letters on a diamond-shaped grid, so there was no need to learn which combination corresponded to which letter.

The story goes that when some of the connecting wires broke, preventing three of the five needles from working, the operators quickly improvised a new code, based on multiple wiggles, which only required two needles. At any rate, Cooke and Wheatstone soon realized there was no need for all five, which meant that subsequent installations would require fewer wires and would be much cheaper. But the personal rivalry between the two men over which of them was principally responsible for the invention of the telegraph had, by this time, resurfaced. They eventually decided upon a gentlemanly way to resolve the matter: They appointed a panel of two mutual friends to act as arbitrators and agreed to be bound by their decision. In April 1841, the arbitrators came up with an artful compromise acceptable to both sides: "Whilst Mr. Cooke is entitled to stand alone, as the gentleman to whom this country is indebted for having practically introduced and carried out the electric telegraph as a useful undertaking, Professor Wheatstone is acknowledged as the scientific man whose profound and successful researches have already prepared the public to receive it as a project capable of practical application."

With the telegraph's ability to destroy distance, it provided plenty of scope for exploiting information imbal­ances: situations where financial advantage can be gained in one place from exclusive ownership of privileged information that is widely known in another place. A classic example is horse racing. The result of a race is known at the racetrack as soon as it is declared, but before the invention of the telegraph, the information could take hours or even days to reach the bookmakers in other parts of the country. Anyone in possession of the results of a horse race before the news reached the bookmakers could then place a surefire bet on the winning horse. Almost immediately, rules were introduced to disallow the transmission of such information by telegraph; but, as is often the case with attempts to regulate new technologies, the criminals tended to be one step ahead of those making the rules.


pages: 566 words: 122,184

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Eratosthenes, Grace Hopper, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, millennium bug, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

In the same way that Morse code reduces written language to dots and dashes, the spoken version of the code reduces speech to just two vowel sounds. The key word here is two. Two types of blinks, two vowel sounds, two different anything, really, can with suitable combinations convey all types of information. Chapter 2. Codes and Combinations Morse code was invented by Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791–1872), whom we shall meet more properly later in this book. The invention of Morse code goes hand in hand with the invention of the telegraph, which we'll also examine in more detail. Just as Morse code provides a good introduction to the nature of codes, the telegraph provides a good introduction to the hardware of the computer. Most people find Morse code easier to send than to receive. Even if you don't have Morse code memorized, you can simply use this table, conveniently arranged in alphabetical order: Receiving Morse code and translating it back into words is considerably harder and more time consuming than sending because you must work backward to figure out the letter that corresponds to a particular coded sequence of dots and dashes.

Morse learned how to make daguerreotype photographs from Louis Daguerre himself and made some of the first daguerreotypes in America. In 1840, he taught the process to the 17-year-old Mathew Brady, who with his colleagues would be responsible for creating the most memorable photographs of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and Samuel Morse himself. But these are just footnotes to an eclectic career. Samuel F. B. Morse is best known these days for his invention of the telegraph and the code that bears his name. The instantaneous worldwide communication we've become accustomed to is a relatively recent development. In the early 1800s, you could communicate instantly and you could communicate over long distances, but you couldn't do both at the same time. Instantaneous communication was limited to as far as your voice could carry (no amplification available) or as far as the eye could see (aided perhaps by a telescope).

The key, the sounder, a battery, and some wires can be connected just like the lightbulb telegraph in the preceding chapter: As we discovered, you don't need two wires connecting the two telegraph stations. One wire will suffice if the earth provides the other half of the circuit. As we did in the previous chapter, we can replace the battery connected to the ground with a capital V. So the complete one-way setup looks something like this: Two-way communication simply requires another key and sender. This is similar to what we did in the preceding chapter. The invention of the telegraph truly marks the beginning of modern communication. For the first time, people were able to communicate further than the eye could see or the ear could hear and faster than a horse could gallop. That this invention used a binary code is all the more intriguing. In later forms of electrical and wireless communication, including the telephone, radio, and television, binary codes were abandoned, only to later make an appearance in computers, compact discs, digital videodiscs, digital satellite television broadcasting, and high-definition TV.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the sewing machine, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, undersea cable, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

Just as the country-to-town migration in Britain reduced the standard of living of the average worker during 1800–1830, so the urbanization of America after 1870 also reduced the average standard of living of working-class Americans.6 THE GOLDEN SPIKE AS A SYMBOL OF AMERICA IN 1870 A quintessential symbol of the American advance and future promise is captured by the 1869 hammering of the golden spike that united the transcontinental railway. This story combines the British invention of the railroad, rapidly adapted to the much larger land mass of the United States, with the American invention of the telegraph.7 The event happened at noon on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah. That moment was a pivotal episode in world history as Leland Stanford pounded a golden spike with a silver hammer and in an instant ended the isolation of California and the Great West from the eastern half of the United States. Just as important, symbolizing the revolutionary increase in the speed of communication achieved by the 1844 invention of the telegraph and first 1858 undersea ocean telegraphic cable, the famous message “DONE!” was transmitted within a second to the entire United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.8 This was the first time that news of an epochal event had been greeted with such celebration by so many people at the same time: Across the nation, bells pealed.

The importance of the horse became apparent when in the fall of 1872 horses in cities throughout the northeast caught a virulent strain of horse flu and could not be used for work: City life came to a standstill … Streetcar companies suspended service, undelivered freight accumulated at wharves and railroad depots, consumers lacked milk, ice, and groceries, saloons lacked beer, work halted at construction sites, brickyards, and factories, and city governments curtailed fire protection and garbage collection.53 A full century after James Watt’s steam engine, why were cities so dependent on horses rather than steam-powered devices? Disadvantages of steam engines within the narrow confines of cities included the ever-present danger of fires started by sparks, their acrid black smoke, their deafening noise, and their heavy weight, which cracked street pavements. LEISURE, FROM NEWSPAPERS TO SALOONS By 1870, the American invention of the telegraph had announced the joining together of the transcontinental railway, had in 1861 made the Pony Express obsolete, and had allowed local print newspapers to report the events of national and world affairs on the day that they happened, including daily chronicles of carnage in the Civil War. The great surge of popular journalism in the late nineteenth century had not yet arrived, and in 1870 relatively few people read newspapers.

The rotary dial phone and automatic switch were invented and patented as early as 1892 but were not introduced into service by AT&T until 1919, being “resisted by Bell leadership.”29 Progress was also slow in extending the reach of the telephone across the nation. The first long-distance calls between New York and Chicago did not occur until 1892, nor the first between New York and San Francisco until 1915. That thirty-nine-year gap between the initial invention and transcontinental service was more than twice as long as the seventeen-year gap between the 1844 invention of the telegraph and the 1861 completion of the transcontinental telegraph. The varying growth rate of subscribers is evident in figure 6–4, later this chapter. Growth accelerated between 1893 and 1908 after the expiration of the original Bell patents with the emergence of independent companies. In the fifteen years after 1894, price competition pushed the annual rates for Bell residential service down by two-thirds.30 By 1907, the independent companies accounted for almost half the telephones in the United States, but five years later, the Bell companies controlled 85 percent of the telephones either directly or through sublicense agreements.


pages: 360 words: 85,321

The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling by Adam Kucharski

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, call centre, Chance favours the prepared mind, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, locking in a profit, Louis Pasteur, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, p-value, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

From 1866 onward, America and Europe were linked by a transatlantic cable, which meant traders were able to spot incorrect prices even faster. The messages that traveled down the wire were to become an important part of finance (even today, traders refer to the GBP/USD exchange rate as “cable”). The invention of the telegraph meant that if prices were out of line in two locations, traders had the means to take advantage of the situation by buying at the cheaper price and selling at the higher one. In economics, the technique is known as “arbitrage.” Even before the invention of the telegraph, so-called arbitrageurs had been on the hunt for mismatched prices. In the seventeenth century, English goldsmiths would melt down silver coins if the price of silver climbed past the value of the coin. Some would even trek further afield, hauling gold from London to Amsterdam to capitalize on differences in the rate of exchange.


pages: 339 words: 95,270

Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace by Matthew C. Klein

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, illegal immigration, income inequality, intangible asset, invention of the telegraph, joint-stock company, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, passive income, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, Wolfgang Streeck

High transport costs and politically imposed constraints limited the flow of finished goods and raw materials across borders. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, British thinkers argued for removing tariffs and other barriers to encourage specialization, while Americans and Germans proposed protecting infant industries to develop diversified domestic markets. The end of the Napoleonic Wars, the mass deployment of steam engines, and the invention of the telegraph led to a boom in trade until the early 1870s—which ended with what some have called the world’s first synchronized global financial crisis, the Panic of 1873. From the late 1880s until World War I, high imperialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led to increased trade within larger blocs even as it limited trade between them. World wars, the Great Depression, and revolutions upended the political and economic order in the first half of the twentieth century.

He realized that the superior productivity of Portuguese workers meant “it would undoubtedly be advantageous to the capitalists of England [that] the wine and the cloth should both be made in Portugal, and therefore that the capital and labour of England employed in making cloth, should be removed to Portugal for that purpose.” He thought that this would be bad for England, but he was unconcerned because he assumed that “most men of property” would be “satisfied with a low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations.” It was difficult to supervise investments in foreign countries before the invention of the telegraph and the steamship. Ricardo also thought that “the natural disinclination which every man has to quit the country of his birth” would limit capital outflows.7 Ricardo’s subtle case for free trade depended on persistent differences in rates of return across countries, which in turn depended on investors’ unwillingness to move money abroad. Those assumptions broke down as technology improved, communication costs collapsed, and global politics changed.


pages: 123 words: 32,382

Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web by Paul Adams

Airbnb, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, information retrieval, invention of the telegraph, planetary scale, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, sentiment analysis, social web, statistical model, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, white flight

Much of our behavior is based on adaptations that took many thousands of years to evolve, and these behavior patterns are not going to change much in our lifetime. Instead, those who are successful with the social web today focus less on the technology itself and more on the communication and interaction it enables with the people they care about. This includes a group size that is hard-wired into our brains by evolution (as you’ll see in Chapter 3). Despite huge advances in communication technology over the past 200 years—for example, the invention of the telegraph, telephone, mobile phone, text messaging, instant messaging, and video calling—our social network structure has largely stayed the same. Our modern communications structure allows us to connect to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people, yet we still have a very small number of close friends. Despite the ability of digital communications to connect any two groups of people together, our groups of friends remain independent from each other.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

AI ran for mayor: Paul Withers, “Robots Take Over,” Express, April 17, 2018. We choose this references because it has the best video. See: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/947448/robots-japan-tokyo-mayor-artificial-intelligence-ai-news. Networks Change came on May 24, 1844: Library of Congress staff, “Invention of the Telegraph,” Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress, 1793–1919. See: https://www.loc.gov/collections/samuel-morse-papers/articles-and-essays/invention-of-the-telegraph/. Alexander Graham Bell: See: https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/march-10/. In 1919, less than 10 percent of U.S. households: For a great history of mass communications development, see: https://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/150/1870.xhtml. Today it’s around 28 cents: See: https://www.verizon.com/personal/info/international-calling/.


From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia by Pankaj Mishra

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, financial innovation, invention of the telegraph, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Monroe Doctrine, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Scramble for Africa, the scientific method, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Washington Consensus, young professional

Described by the German kaiser as the most important naval battle since Trafalgar a century earlier, and by President Theodore Roosevelt as ‘the greatest phenomenon the world has ever seen’, the Battle of Tsushima effectively terminated a war that had been rumbling on since February 1904, fought mainly to decide whether Russia or Japan would control Korea and Manchuria. For the first time since the Middle Ages, a non-European country had vanquished a European power in a major war; and the news careened around a world that Western imperialists – and the invention of the telegraph – had closely knit together. In Calcutta, safeguarding the British Empire’s most cherished possession, the viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, feared that ‘the reverberations of that victory have gone like a thunderclap through the whispering galleries of the East’.1 For once the aloof and frequently blundering Curzon had his finger on the pulse of native opinion, which was best articulated by a then unknown lawyer in South Africa called Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948), who predicted ‘so far and wide have the roots of Japanese victory spread that we cannot now visualize all the fruit it will put forth’.2 In Damascus, Mustafa Kemal, a young Ottoman soldier later known as Atatürk (1881 – 1938), was ecstatic.

The language of these writings was strikingly similar to those of his speeches to the fellaheen in Egypt: These few pounds of tobacco, which were produced with labor and which a few men with trouble used to export in order to obtain a piece of bread have been coveted and they have been granted to the infidels and forbidden to the followers of the prophet. Oh great human beings, don’t you know yourselves? When are you going to wake up?120 The Persians responded by erupting in angry protests in major cities in the spring of 1891. They were helped by the invention of the telegraph and the secret societies with their leaflets and placards; the mass demonstrations seem to have been as carefully co-ordinated as they would be in Khomeini’s cassette-tape-aided revolution in 1978 – 9, and women participated in large numbers. Al-Afghani wrote furious letters to leading Shiite clerics who were then resident in the shrine cities of Mesopotamia, asking them to shed their political indifference and move against the shah.


pages: 501 words: 145,097

The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester

British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, distributed generation, Donner party, estate planning, Etonian, full employment, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, James Watt: steam engine, Joi Ito, Khyber Pass, Menlo Park, plutocrats, Plutocrats, transcontinental railway, Works Progress Administration

The wire up above them looked so modest and innocent and incapable. It was just a wire. It didn’t move, except when the wind made it vibrate and send out a plangent whistling, somewhat akin to the grass on the plains when the breezes ruffle it like the sea, and it bends and waves and seems to sigh. The all-too-rapid changes afflicting some quarters of American society brought about by the invention of the telegraph were famously caught by the Cincinnati artist Henry Farny in his 1904 painting Song of the Talking Wire, in which a puzzled Plains Indian tries to listen to the conversation supposedly passing overhead. There was something odd about the metal wire. It had to do with movement. Things that shifted their ways along roads and canals and railways and even through the air above—eagles, for instance—could be seen to proceed from place to place.

There is what one might term an NPR culture in the country: decisions are often made, conversations are often begun, conferences often commenced, with a simple commonly heard phrase: I heard it on Morning Edition, or more simply, I heard it on NPR. Despite reaching fewer than one in ten of the American public, NPR seems sometimes, in terms of its influence, to be just about everywhere. But can NPR be fairly said to have unified the nation? Did it—indeed, does it today—help connect the people of America in the way that the invention of the telegraph, the laying of the railroad tracks, or the making the Interstate Highway System so unequivocally managed to do? Was that ever the intent of its creators? Was NPR devised to be both a national bulletin board and a social sounding board—or was it to be something with rather more strength, an entity of great size and power that could employ the metaphor of being a network to help link the nation together by an invisible skein of radio waves, and thus forge a bond quite as strong and enduring as any railroad line, telegraph wire, or highway vanishing over the horizon to the mountains?


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Railway companies installed telegraph lines wherever they went because they needed to communicate quickly over vast distances in order to prevent trains from crashing into each other. The telegraph revolution quickly outpaced the railway revolution. Telegraph lines were much cheaper to construct than railway lines: by 1852, America had twenty-two thousand miles of telegraph lines compared with eleven thousand miles of tracks. They also had a more dramatic effect: information that once took weeks to travel from place A to place B now took seconds. The invention of the telegraph was a much more revolutionary change than the invention of the telephone a few decades later. The telephone (rather like Facebook today) merely improved the quality of social life by making it easier for people to chat with each other. The telegraph changed the parameters of economic life—it broke the link between sending complicated messages and sending physical objects and radically reduced the time it took to send information.

For all its convenience the telephone spread slowly compared with, say, the radio or the internet. The number of households with phones climbed from 250,000 in 1893 to 6 million in 1907. The price of phone calls remained high and the pace of technological progress was slow. The gap between the invention of the phone and the first long-distance phone service between New York and San Francisco was twice as long (thirty-nine years) as the gap between the invention of the telegraph and the first long-distance telegraph service between the two cities (seventeen years). The reason for this was that Bell Telephone was a virtual monopoly. The only thing that kept it on the cutting edge was that the government monopolies that controlled the technology in the rest of the world were even more inefficient than a private monopoly. In 1900, the number of telephones per person was four times more than in England, six times more than in Germany, and twenty times more than in France.


pages: 243 words: 59,662

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt

"side hustle", Atul Gawande, Cal Newport, Checklist Manifesto, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, informal economy, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, remote working, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game

When you’re done, you’ll have clear, actionable strategy for banishing the time bandits once and for all. Put Your Focus to Work Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. STEPHEN KING In 1816 Francis Ronalds looped eight miles of wire between two poles in his backyard. Sending signals over the wire keyed to letters of the alphabet, he was able to send messages that could be received and decoded in an instant. Before Ronalds’s invention of the telegraph, messages could only travel as fast as they could be physically transmitted over the necessary distance. Ronalds wrote the British Admiralty with news of his extraordinary breakthrough, expecting an eager reception. Instead, an official responded and said the government had no need of his invention. As historian Ian Mortimer explains, “The Admiralty believed that the semaphore system they had then recently adopted—that is, men waving flags at each other—was superior.”1 Can you believe it!


pages: 215 words: 64,460

Shadows of Empire: The Anglosphere in British Politics by Michael Kenny, Nick Pearce

battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, corporate governance, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, imperial preference, informal economy, invention of the telegraph, Khartoum Gordon, labour mobility, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Nixon shock, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, trade route, Washington Consensus

Merchant fleets were dominated by the British, which carried something like a half of the world's shipping by the end of the nineteenth century. The advent of the railways, beginning in Britain in the 1830s, opened up vast land masses to migration and trade, and these new rail networks also reached their fullest development in the Anglo-world: the top five nations in terms of rail miles per capita in 1875 were the USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. Meanwhile, the invention of the telegraph collapsed distances in time and space, as cables laid overland and undersea brought near-instantaneous communication.12 The ‘Anglo-diaspora’, argues Belich, was different to other mass migrant communities. It ‘began earlier, was more permanent, and its migrants went to reproductions of their own societies, not someone else's.’13 Land grants, assisted passage, charitable endeavour and government campaigns all played their part in promoting migration, as did the extremes of famine and deprivation.


pages: 236 words: 66,081

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky

Andrew Keen, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, citizen journalism, corporate social responsibility, Dean Kamen, experimental economics, experimental subject, fundamental attribution error, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Kevin Kelly, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, social software, Steve Ballmer, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, ultimatum game

The opportunity we collectively share, though, is much larger than even a book’s worth of examples can express, because those examples, and especially the ones that involve significant cultural disruption, could turn out to be special cases. As with previous revolutions driven by technology—whether it is the rise of literate and scientific culture with the spread of the printing press or the economic and social globalization that followed the invention of the telegraph—what matters now is not the new capabilities we have, but how we turn those capabilities, both technical and social, into opportunities. The question we now face, all of us who have access to new models of sharing, is what we’ll do with those opportunities. The question will be answered much more decisively by the opportunities we provide for one another and by the culture of the groups we form than by any particular technology.


pages: 242 words: 68,019

Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, From Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, assortative mating, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, New Economic Geography, Norbert Wiener, p-value, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, price mechanism, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, working-age population

However, the change in communication technologies has been mostly qualitative. To estimate the change in costs fairly, we would need to know how much a late nineteenth-century industrialist would pay for asynchronous technologies such as email, or for a simple Skype call. And it is interesting to note that, as James Gleick describes beautifully in The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (New York: Pantheon, 2011), the French invention of the telegraph was based on contraptions whose arm positions were used to transmit information. This mechanical telegraph long predated the electric telegraph that we are more familiar with, and which became the standard image that comes to mind when using the word. 15. Coase, “The Institutional Structure of Production,” highlights the standardization role of money as its most fundamental yet overlooked property. 16.


pages: 272 words: 76,089

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, zero-sum game

However, for the great majority of eighteenth-century Chinese, Europeans could not have been more exotic had they lived on the Moon, and vice versa. The real binding up and deprovincial-ization of the planet requires a technology that communicates much faster than horse or sailing ship, that conveys information all over the world, and that is cheap enough to be available, at least occasionally, to the average person. Such a technology began with the invention of the telegraph and the laying of submarine cables; was greatly expanded by the invention of the telephone, using the same cables; and then enormously proliferated with the invention of radio, television, and satellite communications technology. Today we communicate—routinely, casually, with hardly ever a second thought—at the speed of light. From the speed of horse or sailing ship to the speed of light is an improvement by a factor of almost a hundred million.


pages: 325 words: 73,035

Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida

active measures, assortative mating, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, Celebration, Florida, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, edge city, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, extreme commuting, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, industrial cluster, invention of the telegraph, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, post-work, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, World Values Survey, young professional

PART I WHY PLACE MATTERS 2 SPIKY WORLD THE WORLD IS FLAT, SAYS NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST Thomas Friedman.1 Thanks to advances in technology, the global playing field has been leveled, the prizes are there for the taking, and all of us are players—no matter where on the surface of the earth we may reside. “When the world is flat,” Friedman writes, “you can innovate without having to emigrate.” It’s an old idea with a long history. Since the turn of the twentieth century, commentators have been writing about the leveling effects of trade and technology that make place unimportant. From the invention of the telegraph and the telephone, the automobile and the airplane, to the rise of the personal computer and the Internet, many have argued that technological progress has eroded the economic significance of physical location. The same prophecies persist today. In 1995 The Economist proclaimed the death of distance. “Thanks to technology and competition in telecoms,” journalist Frances Cairncross predicted, “distance will soon be no object.”


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

With the written word, we gained a tool for transferring information through space and time, giving us the means to express ourselves across miles and into the future. Advancements in the flow of information often underlie a step-change in our coordinative capacity. Assyrian cuneiform enabled our ancestors to organize by recording harvests and transactions. Ships would not only return with precious wares from distant lands, they would also bring back information for armies and merchants. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, and other communications technologies—including the Internet—have greatly improved human coordination through effective communication. And societal institutions help humans coordinate through subtle communication: courts, for instance, send signals about how specific conflicts are settled, thereby reducing the incidences of future disagreements. In their own unique way, all these different ways of communicating influence our ability to coordinate.


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Even in scientific disciplines that are more theoretical or observational than experimental—evolutionary biology, for example—science has been a careful and conservative practice, patiently trying to tie facts together into theories that make sense of them. That is an excellent strategy. But in some of the most important fields it’s failing to scale. There is now more data than Darwin could have imagined. For example, both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington recorded daily weather observations, but they didn’t record them hourly or by the minute. Not only did they have other things to do, such data didn’t seem useful. Even after the invention of the telegraph enabled the centralization of weather data, the 150 volunteers who received weather instruments from the Smithsonian Institution in 1849 still reported only once a day.3 Now there is a literally immeasurable, continuous stream of climate data from satellites circling the earth, buoys bobbing in the ocean, and wi-fi-enabled sensors in the rain forest.4 We are measuring temperatures, rainfall, wind speeds, CO2 levels, and pressure pulses of solar wind.


pages: 275 words: 84,980

Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business cycle, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, large denomination, M-Pesa, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, Northern Rock, Pingit, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, social graph, special drawing rights, technoutopianism, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, Washington Consensus, wikimedia commons

Throughout this period, the business of finance and payments and investment changed utterly, yet money remained the same, however loosely tethered to the physical by the bonds of Bretton Woods. Personal wealth shifted from bank deposits to mutual funds. Cash shifted from bank branches to ATMs. Payments went from cheques to credit cards. But the money stayed the same. This period I classify as the present. It arrived with electronic communications – when even paper became too substantial and too slow for society, and the invention of the telegraph spurred the innovation of electronic money – and it still dominates the way that the man in the street thinks about money. It is the prevailing paradigm, but it is not the truth (a paradigm is a model, remember, not reality). The present, therefore, is about money as information about physical things (paper that represents gold), or, to put it another way, bits about atoms. The future: Money 3.0 The steps to dematerialize money for consumers – those major post-war innovations of payment cards and money market accounts – began to separate payments and banking, just as money separated from value starting with the end of the gold standard in the 1930s and finishing in 1971 when Nixon ended the US dollar’s convertibility.


pages: 383 words: 81,118

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

Airbnb, Alvin Roth, big-box store, business process, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, if you build it, they will come, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Lyft, M-Pesa, market friction, market microstructure, mobile money, multi-sided market, Network effects, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Victor Gruen, winner-take-all economy

Déjà Vu In 2015, billions of people worldwide are using messaging apps to communicate instead of making phone calls or sending e-mails or text messages. WeChat and WhatsApp are two of the largest messaging apps. These two-sided platforms rely on smartphones to connect senders and receivers of messages. People can also use them to send and receive money. They are very convenient. But they seem like small advances and not that novel, when you look at some older two-sided platforms. In 1832, with the invention of the telegraph, it became possible to send messages over long distances very quickly. For thousands of years, it had taken about a day to transmit a message or carry money a hundred miles. That’s how far one could go in a day on horseback.13 The telegraph wasn’t as quick as a phone call or e-mail because people had to get to telegraph stations and attendants had to code and decode their messages. But it did reduce the time to communicate over long distances to a miniscule fraction of what it had been.


pages: 307 words: 88,180

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee

AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, ImageNet competition, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, pirate software, profit maximization, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Y Combinator

Those entrepreneurs are beating Silicon Valley juggernauts at their own game and have learned how to survive in the single most competitive startup environment in the world. They then leveraged China’s internet revolution and mobile internet explosion to breathe life into the country’s new consumer-driven economy. But as remarkable as these accomplishments have been, these changes will pale in comparison to what these entrepreneurs will do with the power of artificial intelligence. The dawn of the internet in China functioned like the invention of the telegraph, shrinking distances, speeding information flows, and facilitating commerce. The dawn of AI in China will be like the harnessing of electricity: a game-changer that supercharges industries across the board. The Chinese entrepreneurs who sharpened and honed their skills in the coliseum now see the power that this new technology holds, and they’re already seeking out industries and applications where they can turn this energy into profit.


pages: 336 words: 92,056

The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution by Henry Schlesinger

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, British Empire, Copley Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Livingstone, I presume, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, Thomas Davenport, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Yogi Berra

So, it was in communication—the telegraph—that electrical power found its first widespread application. 6 What Hath God Wrought? “You can’t throw too much style into a miracle. It costs trouble, and work, and sometimes money; but it pays in the end.” —Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court As the history book legends have it, Samuel Finley Breese Morse defied all doubters and stretched the boundaries of technology with his invention of the telegraph and the code that went with it. It was Morse, or so we are taught, who led the charge in the conquest of distance and united America from coast to coast with the humming, pulsing wires of his invention. What the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes described as “…a network of iron nerves which flash sensation and volition backward and forward to and from towns and provinces as if they were organs and limbs of a single living body.”


pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

Cuneiform tablets dating back to 2000 BC have been found inscribed with a simple form of musical notation, featuring notes arranged according to what we now call the diatonic scale. Once again, music appears to leap ahead of where it should logically be on the hierarchy of needs. In 2000 BC, most human settlements around the world hadn’t invented a notation system for language yet. And yet somehow the ancient Sumerians were already composing scores. Rhythm, too, can function as a kind of informational code, as Samuel Morse discovered in the invention of the telegraph. The very first long-distance wireless networks were the “talking drums” of West Africa, percussive instruments that were tuned to mimic the pitch contours of African languages. Complex messages warning of impending invasions, or sharing news and gossip about deaths or marriage ceremonies, could be conveyed at close to the speed of sound across dozens of miles, through relays of drummers situated in each village.


pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, mass immigration, Metcalfe’s law, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

Along with the lower cost of shipping goods, faster and safer transportation meant lower costs of moving people and ideas. People could and did migrate in massive numbers. But travel was incredibly slow, risky, and expensive. For example, most European and Asians who moved to the New World never saw their homelands again. Most ideas moved in the old way—via books and experts—but this period did see a real change with the invention of the telegraph. By the late 1800s, most nations were connected by telegraph lines. Goods and people still had to travel by boat, rail, or road, but now ideas could travel by wire. The telegraph had enormous effects on societies, but it did little to challenge the locality of most know-how. Long-distance communication remained extremely expensive—especially internationally. The word “telegraphic” was invented to describe the way people compacted thoughts in an effort to limit the number of words in a telegram.


pages: 313 words: 95,077

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Andrew Keen, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, c2.com, Charles Lindbergh, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, hiring and firing, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Kuiper Belt, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Merlin Mann, Metcalfe’s law, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, Picturephone, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, prediction markets, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra

The predicted end point of this process was a progressive disassociation of social life from real space, leading to the death of cities as the population spread out to more bucolic spots. The assumption that communications tools are (or will someday be) a good substitute for travel assumes that people mainly gather together for utilitarian reasons of sharing information. Companies have been selling us this idea since the invention of the telegraph, and AT&T’s famous Picturephone, first launched at the 1964 World’s Fair, was pitched as a way to reduce the need for travel. This reduction did not happen, not in 1964 or ever. If communication were a substitute for travel, then the effects would have shown up by now, but they haven’t. In 1978 President Carter deregulated the airlines, causing travel prices to fall, but telecommunications stocks didn’t collapse; they rose.


Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson

Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, linked data, low cost airline, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, mass immigration, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

New technologies and ideas are nearly always resisted at first; the stronger or more disruptive the idea, the more resistance there will be at both a direct level (physical actions) and indirect level through the creation of myths. The cellphone, for example, is one of the most successful innovations of recent times and yet its ubiquity has done little to dispel safety fears surrounding its use. Similarly, the invention of the telegraph created a widespread belief that signals would interfere with the weather, while the introduction of trains and automobiles was predicted to create a variety of physical and mental disorders. I was talking to an 86-year-old man recently about cellphone masts and he pointed out that exactly the same objections were raised when lamp-posts were first introduced. Too much information In my experience, the nostalgia bug tends to kick in around the age of 40.


pages: 344 words: 104,077

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

And the global mind became increasingly visible as humans developed language, writing, and advanced forms of social organization, including all the different types of superminds we’ve discussed in this book. HOW WILL THE GLOBAL MIND CHANGE WITH NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES? For most of its existence, the global mind operated so slowly and with such weak connections among its many parts that we could be forgiven for not noticing it was there at all. But starting about 200 years ago, with the invention of the telegraph and continuing with the radio, telephone, television, and Internet, the global mind has become far more connected than ever before. The number, speed, and capacity of connections in the global mind has exploded in the last two centuries. This hyperconnectivity is making the global mind harder and harder to ignore. When terrorists attacked a restaurant in Paris, people all over the planet reacted to it almost instantly.


pages: 571 words: 106,255

The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking by Saifedean Ammous

Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, central bank independence, conceptual framework, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, delayed gratification, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, global reserve currency, high net worth, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, iterative process, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, market bubble, market clearing, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Network effects, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, price mechanism, price stability, profit motive, QR code, ransomware, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, secular stagnation, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Stanford marshmallow experiment, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, too big to fail, transaction costs, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

Telephone, wireless telegraphy, voice recording, color photography, movies: While we like to think of our modern era as being the era of mass telecommunication, in reality, most of what we have achieved in the twentieth century was to improve on the innovations of the nineteenth. The first computer was the Babbage computer, designed in 1833 by Charles Babbage, but completed by his son Henry in 1888. It might be an exaggeration to say that the Internet and all it contains are bells and whistles added onto the invention of the telegraph in 1843, but it does contain a kernel of truth. It was the telegraph which fundamentally transformed human society by allowing for communication without the need for the physical transport of letters or messengers. That was telecommunication's zero‐to‐one moment, and everything that followed, for all its wonders, has been a one‐to‐many improvement. Artistic Flourishing The contributions of sound money to human flourishing are not restricted to scientific and technological advance; they can also be vividly seen in the art world.


pages: 416 words: 108,370

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce

Journalists were members of their own audiences, and editors did not have to agonize over what to put in the paper, since writing for one’s readers often meant writing for oneself. But the papers of the early twentieth century were a different beast altogether—national rather than local, pluralistic rather than purely ethnic. Urbanization encouraged smaller papers to consolidate. The invention of the telegraph and the syndication of news brought far-flung stories to local readers. The business of newspapers was changing, but so was the basic charge of journalism. As newspapers got bigger, editors were responsible for reaching a massive and diverse group of readers they didn’t know at all. Writing for one’s audience no longer meant writing for one’s neighbors. It meant writing for hundreds of thousands of strangers.


pages: 407 words: 114,478

The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio by William J. Bernstein

asset allocation, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, buy low sell high, carried interest, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, George Santayana, German hyperinflation, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, index fund, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, South Sea Bubble, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, survivorship bias, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the rule of 72, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

No human being, no manufactured item, no bushel of wheat, no side of beef, no letter, no information, no idea, order or instruction of any kind moved faster. Nothing had moved any faster, and, as far as Jefferson’s contemporaries were able to tell, nothing ever would. The revolution in communication was even more dramatic. For most of recorded history, information traveled as slowly as physical goods. With the invention of the telegraph by Cooke and Wheatstone in 1837, instantaneous telegraphy abruptly changed the face of economic, military, and political affairs in ways that can scarcely be comprehended by even our modern technologically jaded sensibilities. It is humbling to realize that the news of Grover Cleveland’s election in 1884 traveled from New York to San Francisco and London almost as quickly as it would today.


pages: 374 words: 114,600

The Quants by Scott Patterson

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, automated trading system, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Blythe Masters, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, index fund, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kickstarter, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Mercer, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sergey Aleynikov, short selling, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, volatility smile, yield curve, éminence grise

It involves buying an asset in one market and almost simultaneously selling that asset, or its near equivalent, in another. Say gold is trading for $1,000 in New York and $1,050 in London. A fleet-footed arbitrageur will buy that New York gold and sell it in London (instantaneously), pocketing the $50 difference. While this was difficult when traders were swapping stocks beneath a buttonwood tree on Wall Street in the eighteenth century, the invention of the telegraph—and the telephone, the high-speed modem, and a grid of orbiting satellites—has made it much easier to accomplish in modern times. Such obvious discrepancies in practice are rare and are often hidden in the depths of the financial markets like gold nuggets in a block of ore. That’s where the quants, the math whizzes, step in. Behind the practice of arbitrage is the law of one price (LOP), which states that a single price should apply to gold in New York as in London, or anywhere else for that matter.


pages: 516 words: 128,667

Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson

clean water, invention of the telegraph, job satisfaction, period drama

Various attempts to set up a trades union for domestic service were unsuccessful, compared to those of industrial labour movements. Until the passage of the National Insurance Act in 1911, there was actually no legislation that legally protected the servant in sickness or old age.3 The constant refinement of technology during the nineteenth century meant that light and heat no longer needed so much manual labour. Even the carrying of messages by trusted hands was made obsolete by the successive invention of the telegraph in the 1830s and the telephone in the 1870s. Most significantly perhaps, increased taxation had an immense impact on the economy of the country house. Large staffs began to shrink in the 1930s – some houses dispensing entirely with senior menservants and opting instead for parlourmaids who were paid less. After the seismic shifts of the Second World War, few establishments could return to the complex and stratified staff hierarchies that until then had been so much a part of the cultural prestige and demography of the British country house.


pages: 587 words: 117,894

Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, do-ocracy, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game

But before they could type the “g” in the word “log,” the computer at the Stanford end of the network crashed. However, the ARPANET project, so named as it was funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), would eventually transform how computers shared data and, with that, everything else. Electronic communication networks have been shaping how we share information since the invention of the telegraph, the device that some now look back on and call the “Victorian Internet.” The hype around that old technology were similarly high; contemporaries declared that, with the telegraph, “It is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist.” What makes the Internet distinct from prior communication networks like the old telegraphs and then telephone networks, however, is that it is packet-switched instead of circuit-switched.


To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland's Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 by T M Devine

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, deindustrialization, deskilling, full employment, ghettoisation, housing crisis, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, land tenure, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, railway mania, Red Clydeside, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Scramble for Africa, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce

In return, the primary producers acquired ships, locomotives, bridges and railroads which then went to build the infrastructure in the New World for yet further expansion in global trade. The entire system was lubricated by the revolution in transportation and the flow of information: improvements in the design and speed of sailing ships; the arrival of the ocean-going steamships; the crucial invention of the telegraph, at a stroke providing instant commercial intelligence; and the construction of transcontinental railways, such as the Canadian–Pacific. These unlocked the production potential of vast territories, from the prairies of North America to the plains of India, while the opening of the Suez Canal transformed the connections with Asia and the East. In the centre of all this, like the proverbial spider in the web, was Britain, as the main entrepôt for world trade and finance.13 At the same time, the system of tariffs, regulations and controls which had been at the heart of the old imperial system in the eighteenth century were all swept away by the 1850s.


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

When the Western Railroad experienced a Post-Fordism 93 series of accidents on its Hudson River rail, culminating in a head-on crash on October 4, 1841, that killed a passenger and conductor, the company responded to the growing safety problem by instituting elaborate changes in its organizational management, including a more systematic process of data collection from its roadmasters and faster dissemination of vital scheduling information to its train crews. The innovations in management, says historian Alfred Chandler, made Western Railroad "the first modem, carefully defined, internal organizational structure used by American business enterprise."lO The invention of the telegraph in 1844 greatly facilitated communications, allowing the railroads to expand across the continent. Together, the rail and telegraph provided the critical transportation and communication infrastructure to serve a national market stretching some 3,000 miles. To meet the needs of this new market, other businesses began to adopt their own increasingly sophisticated managerial schemes. By the time Alfred Sloan of General Motors introduced the multidivisional organizational model in the 1920S, the modem managerial corporation had grown to maturity and was the driving force behind the American economy.


pages: 611 words: 130,419

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by Robert J. Shiller

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, implied volatility, income inequality, inflation targeting, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, Jean Tirole, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, litecoin, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, superstar cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, yellow journalism, yield curve, Yom Kippur War

New Technology Will Change Contagion Rates and Recovery Rates Notable changes in information technology, with changes in contagion rates and recovery rates, have occurred over the course of history. The early invention of printed books in China, the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press in the fifteenth century, the invention of newspapers in Europe in the seventeenth century, the invention of the telegraph and telephone in the nineteenth century, the invention of radio and television in the twentieth, and the rise of the Internet and social media have all fundamentally altered the nature of contagion, but to date there has been no systematic quantitative study of these inventions’ impact on contagion. Social media and search engines have the potential to alter the fundamentals of contagion.


Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy

Albert Einstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Donald Knuth, Eratosthenes, Extropian, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knapsack problem, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Network effects, new economy, NP-complete, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web of trust, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

Perhaps the idea of pursuing the forbidden was simply irresistible to a contrarian like Diffie. He kept thinking about crypto and the silent embargo against it. And the more he thought about the problem, the more he came to understand how deeply, deeply important the issue was. Especially in what he saw as the coming era of computational ubiquity. As more people used computers, wireless telephones, and other electronic devices, they would demand cryptography. Just as the invention of the telegraph upped the cryptographic ante by moving messages thousands of miles in the open, presenting a ripe opportunity for eavesdroppers of every stripe, the computer age would be moving billions of messages previously committed to paper into the realm of bits. Unencrypted, those bits were low-hanging fruit for snoopers. Could cryptography, that science kept intentionally opaque by the forces of government, help out?


Investment: A History by Norton Reamer, Jesse Downing

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, colonial rule, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, dogs of the Dow, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of the telegraph, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, margin call, means of production, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, statistical arbitrage, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Vanguard fund, working poor, yield curve

Furthermore, many governments loosened restrictions on corporate formation at this time, making it easier for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses; these new businesses, then, issued debt or equity for the first time, further fueling financial markets.76 As a result of these changes, the combined capitalization of these enterprises exceeded the gross debt of nations for the first time in the early twentieth century.77 Technology also played a vital role in the continued evolution of public capital markets. The most influential technologies were those that affected the spread of information, given the importance of accurate data in making financial decisions. The first in a series of such inventions came in 1844 with the invention of the telegraph, which allowed relatively convenient and immediate communication among markets and cities. In 1866, the first transatlantic cable was completed, allowing near-instantaneous communication between the key global financial centers of London and New York. The next year, the stock 90 Investment: A History ticker was introduced. This specialized telegraph receiver, invented by Edward Calahan in 1863, printed stock symbols and prices on a paper tape, providing a mode of communicating financial data even more conveniently than the telegraph.


pages: 604 words: 161,455

The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life by Robert Wright

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, fault tolerance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global village, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, invention of writing, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, planetary scale, pre–internet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, talking drums, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, your tax dollars at work, zero-sum game

It explains why biological evolution, given enough time, was very likely to create highly intelligent life—life smart enough to generate technology and other forms of culture. It also explains why the ensuing evolution of technology, and of culture more broadly, was very likely to enrich and expand the social structure of that intelligent species, carrying social organization to planetary breadth. Globalization, it seems to me, has been in the cards not just since the invention of the telegraph or the steamship, or even the written word or the wheel, but since the invention of life. The current age, in which relations among nations grow more non-zero-sum year by year, is the natural outgrowth of several billion years of unfolding non-zero-sum logic. YOU CALL THAT DESTINY? Any book with a subtitle as grandiose as “The Logic of Human Destiny” is bound to have some mealy-mouthed qualification somewhere along the way.


pages: 733 words: 179,391

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sam Peltzman, Shai Danziger, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, Thales and the olive presses, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Technological innovation has always been intimately interconnected with financial innovation, a coevolutionary process in which adaptations in one domain have influenced innovation in the other. New stamping and printing processes, used to prevent coin clipping, counterfeiting, and other forms of financial fraud, led directly to the modern system of paper banknotes and token coinage. The invention of the telegraph sparked a continent-spanning communications revolution that spurred the creation of the modern futures market in nineteenth-century Chicago. And improvements to the ticker tape machine—symbolic of Wall Street for over a century—made Thomas Edison his early fortune. The symbiosis between technology and finance has accelerated the pace of the financial markets beyond mere human capacity.


The Secret World: A History of Intelligence by Christopher Andrew

active measures, Admiral Zheng, airport security, anti-communist, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, Francisco Pizarro, Google Earth, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Julian Assange, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, éminence grise

Because of their lack of awareness of the role of SIGINT, none of the numerous twentieth-century histories of the origins of the First World War mentions that, in both St Petersburg and Paris, the first indication in July 1914 that Austria was preparing to deliver the ultimatum to Serbia which was to trigger the outbreak of war came from diplomatic decrypts.17 The First World War, thanks to its unprecedented scale and intensity in an era of equally unprecedented technological change, marked an even greater turning point in intelligence history than the Renaissance. The vast increase in communications made possible by the nineteenth-century invention of the telegraph and wireless gave SIGINT a greater operational role than in any previous conflict. Particularly in the early stages of the war, however, war leaders’ ignorance of past experience made them ill-equipped to put intelligence to good use. Despite the pre-war successes of Russian foreign intelligence, Russian military intelligence at the outbreak of war was far less effective than it had been a century before on the eve of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

Henderson added that investigation by the Met of Russian political exiles would, in any case, be ‘worse than useless’.61 Despite the creation of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in 1877, Superintendent Adolphus ‘Dolly’ Williamson complained in 1880 that detective work remained unpopular within the Met: The uncertainty and irregularity of the duties . . . are . . . no doubt in many cases very distasteful and repugnant to the better class of men in the service, as their duties constantly bring them into contact with the worst classes, frequently cause unnecessary drinking, and compel them at times to resort to trickey [sic] practices which they dislike.62 20 The Telegraph, Mid-Century Wars and the ‘Great Game’ The invention of the telegraph, first successfully demonstrated at the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria, began ‘the greatest revolution in communications since the development of the printing press’.1 The Crimean War (1853–6), the first war between great powers since Waterloo, was also the first in which the telegraph played a major role. At the start of the Anglo-French campaign on the Crimean peninsula in September 1854, news took at least five days to reach London: two by steamship from Balaklava to Varna on what is now the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, then three by horseback to the nearest telegraph link at Bucharest.


pages: 782 words: 245,875

The Power Makers by Maury Klein

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, animal electricity, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, British Empire, business climate, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, margin call, Menlo Park, price stability, railway mania, Right to Buy, the scientific method, trade route, transcontinental railway, working poor

A decade after the creation of Western Union, the telephone arrived and launched the next phase of the communication revolution. By then Maxwell had published his brilliant theories on electricity and the quest for an incandescent lightbulb was under way. As for Morse, like other inventors he had to endure years of litigation challenging his patent. In all he defended no fewer than fifteen suits. The worst of them revolved around an ugly wrangle with Joseph Henry over the latter’s role in the invention of the telegraph. Despite these troubles, Morse lived long enough to gain both fortune and fame at home and abroad. He married his deaf cousin, Sarah Griswold, in 1848, had three more children, and raised them on a hundred-acre farm he bought near Poughkeepsie, New York. On a trip to Europe in 1856 he made a pilgrimage to the laboratory of Hans Oersted and sat reverently in the inventor’s chair. Afterward, at the Porcelain Museum, he bought a bust of Oersted and happened to meet the great man’s daughter.


pages: 1,164 words: 309,327

Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners by Larry Harris

active measures, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, automated trading system, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, compound rate of return, computerized trading, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, data acquisition, diversified portfolio, fault tolerance, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, High speed trading, index arbitrage, index fund, information asymmetry, information retrieval, interest rate swap, invention of the telegraph, job automation, law of one price, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fragmentation, market friction, market microstructure, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, open economy, passive investing, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-materialism, price discovery process, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Small Order Execution System, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, the market place, transaction costs, two-sided market, winner-take-all economy, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

If Napoleon’s Grande Armée defeated the English-Prussian allies under the command of Lord Wellington, British consol bonds would fall. If Napoleon lost, the consols would rise. On June 18, however, the London traders did not even know that the battle had started. They learned the official outcome of the battle only after the Cabinet received Wellington’s dispatch at 11 P.M. on June 21. Communications before the invention of the telegraph were much slower than now. The Rothschild family of investment bankers ran a private system of couriers to move information, securities, currency, and bullion throughout Europe. Their system was very fast, given the available technology. The Rothschild brothers often were the first to learn news in their respective cities. London-based Nathan Rothschild learned of Wellington’s victory late on the night of June 19.


pages: 1,088 words: 297,362

The London Compendium by Ed Glinert

1960s counterculture, anti-communist, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, British Empire, Brixton riot, Corn Laws, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Exxon Valdez, hiring and firing, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Khartoum Gordon, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Nick Leeson, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, price stability, Ronald Reagan, Sloane Ranger, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, V2 rocket

By the beginning of the twenty-first century Admiralty House was being used as their residence by various MPs, including John Prescott, deputy prime minister, whose tenure was marred by blown fuses, exploding lights and faulty microwave ovens courtesy of the property’s antiquated electrics. Old Admiralty Long-time home to the Navy, the building was designed by Thomas Ripley in the 1720s to replace a Christopher Wren block that had been constructed only twenty-five years previously and is shielded from Whitehall by Robert Adam’s Admiralty Screen of 1759–61. Before the invention of the telegraph the Admiralty was equipped with rooftop semaphore, and when the British general Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, a defeat which hastened the end of the American War of Independence, news was sent across the Atlantic, received in Britain at Falmouth, and dispatched to the Admiralty, from where it was sent by semaphore to Lord Germain’s house on Pall Mall, Germain then speeding off to 10 Downing Street to inform the prime minister, Lord North.


pages: 1,799 words: 532,462

The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication From Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn

anti-communist, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cuban missile crisis, Fellow of the Royal Society, Honoré de Balzac, index card, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Louis Daguerre, Maui Hawaii, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, pattern recognition, place-making, popular electronics, positional goods, Republic of Letters, Searching for Interstellar Communications, stochastic process, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, union organizing, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

Rather, it amounts to a reorientation, a new perspective. For 300 years, the only great book of this kind in cryptology was Porta’s. He was the first to delineate a coherent image of cryptology. His ideas remained viable so long because cryptology underwent no essential change; communication was by messenger, and consequently the nomenclator reigned. But his views no longer sufficed after the invention of the telegraph. New conditions demanded new theses, new insights. And in 1883 cryptology got them in the form of its second great book of the outward-looking kind, La Cryptographie militaire. Its author was born Jean-Guillaume-Hubert-Victor-François-Alexandre-Auguste Kerckhoffs von Nieuwenhof on January 19, 1835, at Nuth, Holland, son of a well-to-do landlord and a member of one of the oldest and most honorable families of the Flemish duchy of Limburg.