History Doesn't Follow the Rules

The world can change in a day, all right, but not always the way we think it will

Looking for a lesson in humility? Stand at a major historical marker, and try drawing a perfectly reasonable, prudent conclusion about where that marker is pointing. Believe me, if you read about a 15th century traveler saying, "I have to get back to Italy now; the Renaissance is starting," you're reading a line from a Woody Allen story. Real life rarely offers such prescience, even from the people paid to deliver it. Some of the days commemorated in this 80-year retrospective slipped by unnoticed at the time. Who could imagine that a gizmo to help techno-nerds talk to one another with...

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