When USSR premier Nikita Khrushchev visited IBM’s Silicon Valley research facility in 1959 he showed indifference to computing technology, but he was so impressed by their buffet style cafeteria that he instructed factories across the Soviet Union to implement the self service dining concept.
France had a “proto-internet” called Minitel, to which half the population had access. It allowed for buying plane tickets, shopping, 24-hr news, message boards & adult chat services. It was used to coordinate a national strike in 1986. Some believe it hindered the internet’s adoption in France.
Uber drivers in China changed their profile photos to ghosts and zombie images so that when potential passengers saw these pictures they would cancel the ride they’d just booked, thus earning the driver the cancellation fee.
In 1920, The New York Times ridiculed Robert H. Goddard and claimed that rockets could not function in space. On July 17, 1969, a day after the Apollo 11 launch, NYT formally acknowledged their error.
Shenzhen, China went from sleepy fishing village (pop 30K) to a global city of over 10 million that produces 90% of world’s electronics. With some of the tallest skyscrapers on earth. All in a mere 35 years.
More Africans have access to cell phone service than piped water and electricity. In Africa, less than one in three people have a proper drainage system, half of the population live in areas without paved roads, and only 63% have access to piped water. Yet, 93% of Africans have cell phone service.
A French law demands that manufacturers display how long their appliances will last. French companies have to inform consumers how long spare parts for the product will be available or risk a fine of up to €15,000 (£11,000).
According to top addiction experts, “Giving your child a smartphone is like giving them a gram of cocaine”.
A business in Texas still uses a 1949 IBM 402 punched card computer. It still runs all of its accounting work (payroll, sales, and inventory) through the IBM 402.
Instead of using refrigerated trucks to deliver medical supplies to people who live in the deserts of Africa, inventors have built solar-powered refrigerators that can be carried by camels, and so the medicines are delivered via refrigerated camel. Apparently it wasn’t that easy to build a camel-carried refrigerator. It had to be lightweight, but also sturdy enough to survive the motion of being on the camel as well as the extreme desert conditions.