Title II FCC Regulations Were Created in 1934, Based on 125+ Year Old Railroad Regulations

Title II FCC regulations were created in 1934, based directly on railroad regulations from 1887, 125+ years ago. Here are some other things that happened in 1887, same year railroad regulations, that then became telecom regulations, were designed:

  • In 1887, Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective character Sherlock Holmes makes his first appearance, in the novel A Study in Scarlet.
  • 1887, the earliest constituent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health is established in Staten Island as the Laboratory of Hygiene.
  • In 1887, construction of the iron structure of the Eiffel Tower starts in Paris, France.
  • In 1887, Gottlieb Daimler, the cofounder of the company that now makes Mercedes cars, unveils his first automobile.
  • In 1887, the cornerstone of the new Stanford University, in northern California, is laid (the college opens in 1891).
  • In 1887, the Giuseppe Verdi opera Otello premieres at La Scala. In 1887, Emile Berliner is granted a patent for his Gramophone, the flat-disc phonograph.
  • Finally, in 1887, Chester Greenwood patents earmuffs.

These and many more described here.

Source Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, 11


Founding Fathers Arguably Designed US System Specifically To Be Dominated By Moneyed Interests

A common thing one hears in the US is the “Political system is broken; Founding Fathers never intended politics to be dominated by moneyed interests.” But in 1776, voting was “restricted to property owners—most of whom are white male Protestants over the age of 21″. In 1789, George Washington was elected President. “Only 6% of the population can vote.” Not until 1856 was voting expanded, even to all white men (eliminating property ownership requirement).

In 1868, voting was extended to former slaves (at least in theory), but still explicitly defined as male. Women could first vote starting in 1890 in Wyoming! In 1920, the 19th Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote throughout the US. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s,there were lots of battles for and against the rights of other groups e.g. Native Americans and immigrants to vote. Of course, the massive battles in the 1960’s to extend practical right to vote to African-Americans; some battles continue to this day.

Not until 1971 (year I was born) did the voting age get lowered to 18, despite 18-21 year olds being conscripted and sent to war throughout. Founding Fathers arguably designed US system specifically to be dominated by moneyed interests, aka white male Protestant landowners. We have far broader-based voting and political participation today than ever before, due to hard work by many activists over 200 years and we’re still by no means perfect. There is lots of progress yet to be made. But we’re leaps and bounds ahead of 50-100-150-200 years ago and no, I’m not watching the World Cup finals :-).

[tweet https://twitter.com/pmarca/status/488432907808026624 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/mcguirejpatrick/status/488428845750431744 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/StevenEJohnston/status/488429115368689665 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/danhudson007/status/488429219567763456 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/prchovanec/status/488429559256076288 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/josephjeong/status/488431360323764224 align=”center”]

Source Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

The Importance Of Communication Technology To Maintain and Subvert State Control

How important is new communication technology both to maintenance of state control and subversion of state control?

Forty years into the era of xerography, the Soviet Union is getting ready to move its photocopiers from their guarded, double-locked, steel-covered doors as the country tries to catch up with the worldwide explosion of information.


The Soviet Ministry of Interior Affairs announced Wednesday that it wants to “relinquish control over the acquisition, storage and operation of copying equipment,” admitting that photocopiers are now standard office equipment and not really the grave threat to state security they were once perceived to be.


The ministry’s Second Department of the Main Directorate of Protecting Public Order acknowledged that the recent spread to more than 60,000 different Soviet organizations of kseroks machines, as all photocopiers are called in Russian, had made its task of supervising their operation virtually impossible.

Soviets Free the Dreaded Photocopier via The Los Angeles Times

Source Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

American Kids in the 19th Century

The Wild Children of Yesteryear

Outstanding piece in NYT on what American kids were like in the 19th century — eye opening:

“American children of the 19th century had a reputation. Returning British visitors reported on American kids who showed no respect, who swore and fought, who appeared — at age 10 — ‘calling for liquor at the bar, or puffing a cigar in the streets,’ as one wrote…


“There were really no children in 19th-century America, travelers often claimed, only “small stuck-up caricatures of men and women….


“The story of every 19th-century empire builder — Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt — seems to begin with a striving 10-year-old. “

Source: Tweets – 1,2,3,4,5