The Country

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"Reach Out and Call Someone"

by National Building Museum curator Susan Piedmont-Palladino

Magic, special, necessary, ordinary. That’s the life of a technological object, whether an airplane or a dishwasher. The telephone has followed that path twice. As sociologist Claude S. Fischer described it in America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940, the telephone changed “from miraculous in the nineteenth century to mundane in the mid-twentieth century to mandatory by the end of the twentieth century…eventually becoming a basic constituent in the material culture of modern life.” Liberated from the cord and outlet, the cell phone traced that same arc in a much shorter time. In little more than two decades the cell phone evolved from brick to flip phone to smart phone. Now making a phone call is just one of its many capabilities.

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Bill Saporito on Intelligent Cities

Bill Saporito, assistant managing editor for TIME Magazine and an adviser for Intelligent Cities talks about engaging cities and citizens with information technology tools.

What information would you like about your city?

We want to hear from you! Each month we feature a new video question. Please record a response and upload it to our Youtube channel. This month, Intelligent Cities delegate Javaun Moradi asks what information you would like to know about your city.

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*The data used in our country infographic has been updated as of 4/12/2011.

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