It’s the slowest news day in a traditionally slow news week, which allows me more time to think deep thoughts. Today’s deep thought: How many things that you owned in 1977 are still working and still useful to you?
If you were born after 1977, then think back to the deepest recesses of your memory for a similar object.
I just moved a couch that I bought in 1983, out of my house and into my son’s new apartment after convincing him that an orange-dominant, all-plaid couch never goes out of style. That’s about as far back as I can go to find a useful object.
1983 is six years after this country launched two Voyager space probes, which originally were intended to fly past Jupiter and Saturn, but worked so well that their mission now is to reach interstellar space, which is the space in a galaxy that is not occupied by planets or stars.
In 1977, the picture of the year was Annie Hall. Hotel California was the top song, and the Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl, 32-14.
Voyager II was launched the same year Apple Computer was incorporated, and the Apple II computer was unveiled. Tandy’s TRS-80 made its debut, the Atari 2600 game system was first sold, and the Concorde made its first regularly scheduled flight from London to New York, and this baby was the Motor Trend Car of the Year:
All of those things are now, for practical purposes, junk. And yet, there is Voyager, still functioning. And this week it taught us that the bubble of solar wind surrounding the solar system is not round, but has a squashed shape. It’s an impressive thing, even though we admit to having no idea what it means or what its significance is.
Meanwhile, back on terra firma in 2008, the average lifespan of a cellphone is 14 months.