The View from My Section – A Father’s Perspective: The Waterfall

I was working in my office, and on a separate LED screen was one of those relaxing waterfall videos intended to produce a sense of calmness of mind and body. At that moment, I thought, what a picturesque scene, as the water cascaded over the falls, dropping into the crystal clear turquoise lagoon with all its 4K grandeur. This led me to appreciate that I’m seeing something for which, without the internet in all likelihood, I would never have seen in my life.

Though a lot has been written about the internet since its inception, good and bad, I still marvel at how we benefit from this catalyst of opportunities for magical destinations and critical, entertaining information that would potentially be unseen otherwise. Much of our lives every day is directly impacted by this singular innovation in technology. It’s been said that more than two billion people across the globe use some form of the internet each day. Most of us don’t make it through one day without its services, benefits and memory preservation of the moments in our lives stored in our gallery. 

October is an important month in its evolution. For example, it was October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched “Sputnik,” the world’s first manmade satellite, into orbit. This pivotal moment opened the eyes of some in science and the U.S. State Department that we’d better not blink at this new method of communication. So wide-eyed they were in fact that new agencies were formed including NASA, and the all-important creation of ARPA, or Advanced Research Projects Agency. Today, it’s known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA, if you’re not aware, has been responsible for some of the most advanced technology ever created, and that’s just including what they can publicly tell you about. This organization has made our military stronger, our defenses more robust and our systems of communication and information relay the best in the world (that last one was opinion). One of those communication and information-sharing advancements of course was the internet.  

A scientist from MIT who was part of ARPA named J.C.R. Licklider first proposed a “galactic network of computers that could talk to one another.” (History.com) A second scientist from MIT, Dr. Leonard Kleinrock, just three years later developed a way to actually achieve this proposal safely, without unsolicited interference from foreign governments, including our enemies. 

On October 29, 1969, this initial step into the incarnation of the internet, sent out its first message, computer to computer. It failed to complete the message, yet, a giant leap was taken to advance global communication to the masses on this day. However, there was still one big problem – how to get “different computers from all areas of the globe” to speak the same language, thus truly making a universal communicative tool for mankind. 

Incidentally, the “destination” of that historic first message attempt was Stanford University. The same hallowed ground that produced Vinton Cerf, an engineer from Stanford, and Bob Kahn, a Doctorate of Electrical Engineering from Princeton, who both ultimately found a way to bridge this divide. The official name was “Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol” or TCP/IP for short. It was this communication pathway that set the stage for what would eventually become the worldwide web that we rely on so heavily today. Of course, it was Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, a programmer in Switzerland, who is credited with introducing the actual version we currently utilize and recognize on our cellphones, laptops and more. A year later, Congress unlocked the door and allowed the internet to officially be used for commercial purposes introducing a new age in mankind’s history. (To learn more, visit History.com.)

To think, more than 50 years ago this month (October 1969), the concept for this beautiful waterfall image I’m seeing that inspires me to write this story today was born. Exactly 12 years earlier, the inspiration for that idea was blasted into space. Again, in October. 

I know we save this month for Halloween, and more importantly, as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but typically, we tend to think of October as the time when all the leaves are falling, producing both pristine beauty and dissatisfying hard work, simultaneously (unless you’re a kid with a dog). 

Who says you can’t do great things in October? I’d like to think I’ve provided evidence to the contrary. The image I’m watching didn’t likely come from October, but the means by which I’m watching it did. Let that be a source of encouragement and motivation to you this month if you’re sitting on a new idea, or anything else new in your world that will improve your life and perhaps the lives of others in a positive way. Unlock the gates of inspiration and enthusiasm, and go forth with your creation. Or, we can all just watch football.

Musical selection for this month (Enjoy): “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” by Coldplay

To comment and see more, visit theviewfrommysection.com.

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