With the passing of Steve Jobs yesterday, the web is filled with remembrances of a pioneer and industry legend. It’s a sad day indeed. But it’s also a good day to look back and consider the history of innovation. And how all the inventions and creations of the last 100 years have impacted us.

As a specific topic to write about: How would you compare the importance of electricity with the invention of the internet? or the cell phone? Can this kind of comparison be made? If you had to lose one of these inventions, which would you keep? And why?

Right well, that a pretty theoretical question, since you would have a difficult time using the internet or a cell phone without electricity…

I love the internet, I am severely addicted to the thing, personally – and it is my life line to my family and friends around the world, especially now that I am here in Alaska. But much more importantly, I think that the wonders that the web has been able to do for modern society as a whole – is it’s most profound facet. Somehow it slipped through the cracks of censorship, at least for a bit there… & it remains the main forum for free speech, nationally and globally. Super cool!

All the same, as a cook, I really think that the most profound recent advancement for mankind & civilization is refrigeration. This simple method of preserving food is why we are able to live as comfortably, and in as many climates as we do, and it’s why you probably did not have to eat salt-pork for dinner tonight. Perhaps you even enjoyed a nice salad in this post-harvest season, that is thanks to fridges.

I am also a big fan of light bulbs, which are another boon of electricity… candlelight is hard to do much by, it’s so flickery!

I think that especially when you look at the wondrous achievements of men (& women!) such as Steve Jobs (and all of his colleagues!) it is hard to quantify, or estimate, what the world would look like, absent their contributions. Apple computers are part and parcel of why so many of us are able to enjoy home computing, any sort of digital graphics (i.e. video games), and my personal favorite – iTunes and the iPod.

I am just grateful for it all, really.


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