Saturday, May 17, 2008

Idaho - Not Just Potatoes...

May 17, 2008 - Sometimes the simplest things have a big impact in the world. On this day in 1845, a patent was issued for the rubber band. Far in to the future it will be proven that the rubber band is the 2nd most useful item (2nd only to the Towel).1. The rubber band is surely the first tactical weapon you use... often when the teacher's back is turned. The rubber band can hold paper together, hold your hair out of your eyes, and hold your pants out of the bike chain (I could have used one yesterday). They can be gathered up, compressed, and wrapped in white bumpy material to become a golf ball, used to relieve boredom, used to spin the cooling fan in your car, hold the braces on your teeth, or as stylish wrist jewelery. On Rubber Band Day, we can thank the rubber band for all that it does for us.

Society has come a long way since the days before the rubber band. The Internet has grown from days of academic research to a source of information, opinions, rhetoric and this blog to which everyone can contribute, myself included. There has never been a telecommunications device developed, not even the telephone, that has brought people together like the Internet. Even the United Nations has got on the Internet bandwagon. May 17th used to be known as World Telecommunication Day, commemorating the founding of the International Telecommunication Union in 1865. As of 2006, the date remains the same, but now it is known as World Information Society Day.

The internet has played a massive role in the amount of information we have at our finger tips. The world is certainly smaller than it used to be, and in general I would say we are smarter for it. So how is it that it took until May 17, 1990 for the World Health Organization to remove homosexuality from the international classification of diseases? As a result, around the world May 17th is celebrated as International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). It is not a coincidence that this is the day Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, and California is doing the same in 2008.

If not for the Internet, I wouldn't have the content for this column. It is Saturday, the weather is getting better, and the last thing you want to do is spend your day in the basement of the garage sorting through all that stuff. So don't. I found out today is also Pack Rat Day - a day to let it all pile up. You never know, you might just need that case of rubber bands before the day is out.

1. Reference to Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". May 25 is Towel Day... get yours ready.

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