Friday, August 20, 2010

Tesla Predicts iPhone, Blackberry and Droid Technology … in 1909

One hundred and one years ago, in a conversation with a New York Times reporter, the brash and brilliant Nikola Tesla, a predicted the current mobile revolution. Popular Mechanics reprinted the Times interview, “Wireless of the Future,” in its October 1909 issue. Here’s an example of what the high-tech visionary was forecasting more than a century ago:

“It will soon be possible, for instance, for a business man in New York to dictate instructions and have them appear instantly in type in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up from his desk and talk with any telephone subscriber in the world. It will only be necessary to carry an inexpensive instrument not bigger than a watch, which will enable its bearer to hear anywhere on sea or land for distances of thousands of miles. One may listen or transmit speech or song to the uttermost parts of the world.”

(Via Boing Boing)

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Eye for an Eye … Except in Certain Cases

One of the most interesting specialties in public relations is litigation PR: the management of the communication process during the course of a legal dispute so as to positively affect the outcome of both the process itself and its impact on the client’s reputation.

Litigation — disputes over the interpretation of the law — is almost as old as human history. Among the oldest and best organized of the legal codes is Hammurabi’s Code, which may be nearly 3,800 years old!

Hammurabi’s Code consists of 282 laws regulating people’s relationships. The punishment was meant to fit the crime, so “if a man puts out the eye of an equal, his eye shall be put out”; however, a crime against an upper class person was typically punished much more severely than one against, for instance, a slave. Here are a few examples:

• If anyone strikes the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.
• If during an unsuccessful operation a patient dies, the arm of the surgeon must be cut off.
• If anyone commits a robbery and is caught, he shall be put to death.
• If a man strikes a pregnant woman, thereby causing her to miscarry and die, the assailant's daughter shall be put to death.
• If a judge tries a case, reaches a decision, and presents his judgment in writing; and later it is discovered that his decision was in error, and it was his own fault, he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case and be removed from the judge's bench.

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