Thursday, August 8, 2013

Moldy, but still relevant techno

Americans remain a stunningly isolated and sheltered bunch of folk.
I was recently actually laughed at by a 24-year-old upper-middle-class suburbanite because after 36 years, I remain a "ham" radio operator and shortwave listener.  He, of course, with his iPhone, XM satellite receiver, and DirectTV, considers my old-tech radio stuff obsolete and useless.
He also has limited knowledge or understanding of the ball of rock on which he lives.  One quarter of the world population has no access to electricity. 40 percent of earthlings have no indoor plumbing.  About one sixth of earthlings have never seen a television.  Only 34% of the world population have internet access at all.  In several countries, including North Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Yemen, and most recently Zimbabwe,  shortwave receivers, satellite dishes, and walkie-talkies are illegal, and will get you fined and imprisoned.  China still severely restricts the above goodies, and though the government makes big puffery about 40% of the population having internet access, that access is strictly filtered by the government.
"Nobody does shortwave radio anymore" - really?  This is a link for a web document that will show you what is on the shortwave bands right now.

The creaky old Voice of America, from the post-WWII era, is still there, broadcasting thousands of programs from dozens of high-power transmitters, in more than 100 languages, including Special English, read slowly with a vocabulary of about 1500 words, for those with rudimentary English skills. 
Do a little research, folks.  You may be surprised.

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