Radioactive dating technology
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His most famous foray ended poorly, after the great man of letters fancied himself a man of letterpress as well, and invested heavily in the Paige Compositor, a typesetting machine that bankrupted him.
In portraying a relationship begun and brought to marriage entirely via long-distance telecommunication, Twain seems to prefigure a very modern sort of romance, foreshadowing even online dating.
“At present,” he continued, “a man may go and tap a telegraph wire which is conveying a song or a concert from one State to another, and he can attach his private telephone and steal a hearing of that music as it passes along. Alonzo, heartbroken, sets out to find her, using what Lasswell identifies as the first portable phone in all of literature, too.
My invention will stop all that.” “Well,” answered Alonzo, “if the owner of the music could not miss what was stolen, why should he care? Using the hacking trick identified by his rival, Alonzo travels the country, listening in to phone calls and hoping to hear Rosannah’s distinctive off-key singing.“Strangers were astounded to see a wasted, pale, and woe-worn man laboriously climb a telegraph pole in wintry and lonely places, perch sadly there an hour, with his ear at a little box, then come sighing down, and wander wearily away,” Twain writes.
But he bore it all patiently.”Finally (some spoilers ahead) the couple are united and married—by telephone, as Alonzo remains on the East Coast, in recovery from his travails, while Rosannah is in Hawaii.
Only after the long-distance nuptials do the couple meet in the flesh, as it were, for the first time.
“Sometimes they shot at him, as peasants do at aeronauts, thinking him mad and dangerous.
Thus his clothes were much shredded by bullets and his person grievously lacerated.
He is dissuaded from leaving the house by poor weather. “Don’t be afraid,—talk right along; there’s nobody here but me,” Aunt Susan tells him.
This is especially important to flirtatious young chatters like Alonzo and Rosannah.
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Mark Twain’s reputation for spotting trends in technology is not great.
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