A few weeks ago I had dinner in a restaurant housed in the former Salem Lyceum building. Lyceums were to mid-nineteenth-century America what TED talks are to our America. Here’s a nice summary of the history of the one in Salem. Hawthorne, Thoreau, Emerson, Daniel Webster . . . the intellectual and political heavyweights of nineteenth-century Massachusetts all showed up here.
As the article points out, the Salem Lyceum is most famous for an event that was technical, not intellectual — Alexander Graham Bell’s first public demonstration of “long distance telephone conversations” in 1877:
Technology marches on. I took this photo on my iPhone, which automatically sent a copy to my Dropbox account on a computer somewhere in the cloud. Then I used my phone’s global positioning technology to map out the route back to my hotel. I didn’t use the phone to talk to anyone.