All things 70s and 80s

Talking about the Eighties, this item at Slashdot had me look up the Rubik’s Cube at Wikipedia. I was particularly curious when the cube hit the market, and apparently it hit the Western European toy markets in May of 1980. I bet every household had one of those cubes, whether genuine or ‘cheap imitation’. At that time, computers didn’t even exist in schools. Maybe universities, but not lowly public funded elementary/primary schools.

One of the most annoying things during those early school days, were the obligatory ‘class pictures’. It always appeared to take weeks before negatives were turned into prints and parents were asked to put money in envelopes to be delivered to the teacher. Weeks. Digital photography has changed that: for example, Alfons apparently stumbled into a protest march, made pictures of it and was able to publish them in minutes. Imagine other people making pictures of the same demonstration. With luck you may find Alfons in these pictures (1,2, 3). Links not safe if your political alignment is extreme-right). Or at Flickr (1). Point is, that technology and science are frequently changing and shaping our cultural habits, ideas, ideals and words and it’s (generally) not the other way around. Unless, you’re in control of a nation (Slightly NSFW, Check accompanying metafilter discussion); then your political views apparently trump common scientific facts.

In the mid Seventies to the Eighties, there were a couple of major (terrorist) attacks on Dutch soil, but if you skim throught the list, did these really affect your life? Did these events stop you from going to school and playing with your friends or having birthday parties? While some of them may have had lasting memories (particularly for the ones directly involved), most of these events have been made into historical footnotes, despite what the media may have told you those days.

That doesn’t mean that you should blame the media: what I’m saying is that while it’s the media’s job to report extraordinary events in extremely detail, it’s society’s duty to put things in more nuanced perspective.

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