The resurgence of Ma Bell

Now is it just me, or does it seem like the Bell Telephone Company is slowly reassembling itself? Back in the day, kids, there was only one phone company in the USA. It manufactured its own equipment, which you rented from it. It also handled long distance traffic through an associated company, AT&T. In the 1980s, the US government broke up Ma Bell into separate parts: seven Baby Bells (like BellSouth), AT&T and Western Electric. The research and development branch, Bell Labs, also got pulled away from Ma Bell. Since then, the splintered parts of the Bell monopoly seems to be magnetically attracting themselves into larger and larger units, as Baby Bells buy up cellular companies, AT&T reconfigures itself several times over, buying up cable companies and cellular companies, and Baby Bells merge. So I wonder, will we once again see a bigger, more powerful Ma Bell, controlling land lines, cellular traffic, cable TV, broadband internet and long distance, too? If you’re worried, like me, that Bell is getting too big again, protest with your wallet and switch to a different carrier. I am using Voice Over Internet Protocol now over my cable broadband connection and paying just $25 a ...

Will the world flip over?

All right, this is for real. I actually heard someone say on the radio that he was afraid the earth will tip over. Granted, it was someone calling into Coast to Coast AM, but the mere mention of it sent chills up my teacherly spine. Here’s the gist of what he said. As we approach the summer solstice (June 22 here in the N hemisphere), the sun moves higher and higher in the sky. As we approach the winter solstice (Dec. 21), the sun moves lower in the sky. The caller asked if there was ever a possibility that the earth might just keep going and tip over. The guys on the radio program I think we thinking the same thing as I was — this guy is clueless — but they managed to set him straight without deflating his ego. It took me awhile to figure out why he was worried, though. Here it is. His concept of the (apparent) motion of the sun northward and southward during the year was that the earth was slowly rocking back and forth. He was afraid that the earth would rock too far, putting the sun on the horizon or worse yet ...

Obligatory introduction

So, why should I, who already has way too much to do, bother to start my own weblog? Like Everest, because it’s there! I maintain three websites in one way or another, and am support staff on another. None of them really allow me to vent my opinions, frustrations, rants, whatever. Now that the internet allows everyone to be their own publisher, I thought it was time to join in on the fun. So, what do I do? Who am I? I wonder myself sometimes … I have taught high school physics at St. Francis High School in Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 20 years. (I still retain some fragments of sanity, thank you.) In 2000, I spent a year teaching at Pretoria Boys High School in South Africa on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. I have also been called upon to teach math. Aside from my teaching duties, I am the technology coordinator for the school. That title translates into “network administrator + webmaster + computer repairman + help desk + security expert + Exchange administrator + infrastructure guru.” Yes, I am a one-man shop — pretty typical for a small private school. I was one of the go-to guys ...
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