Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pondering Technology

Since a very good friend of ours gave me a gift card for the Olive Garden restaurant for my birthday, we decided to use it tonight. After buckling up in our air conditioned car, we fired up the Garmin GPS locator. We asked it for Italian food, and sure enough, there was the Olive Garden. Punching "Go" we were given explicit directions by a pleasant female voice.

We've had fun musing about sarcastic versions of the GPS (maybe someone has already invented it?) or a voice with a New York accent and attitude. Your imagination can go far with this.

We easily found the eatery, and had a great meal. I discovered Venetian Apricot Chicken which was offered with veggies and cost me only 380 calories. However the potato and sausage soup added another 170. Nevertheless I kept within a weight loss limit of calories today. Barbara, not feeling very imaginative or adventuresome today, enjoyed a pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives. She didn't eat much of it, but it makes a great breakfast (or lunch).

But it is the GPS that got me thinking. The lady knows where the restaurant is located, and tells us just how to get there. Never mind that we lost satellite reception twice, briefly. I'm still in awe of the technology that is represented by this little metal box.

Then I remembered Sputnik in October of 1957. It was only 23 inches in diameter and orbited the earth every hour and a half or so. I actually could see it from my back yard in the city. If one looked for it at dusk, when the sun was just below the horizon, he could see the silver dot slowly moving across the sky. Radio news let us monitor the heartbeat of Lika, the dog that gave her all to be the first animal to orbit the globe. I remember thinking, "That is a great trick, but what a waste of money and resources just to be the first in space. Of what possible practical use could this ever be to mankind. It is just a political chest-thumping venture of the Soviets."

I could never have guessed!

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