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%% The Futurist                                         by Brad Hansen %%
%%                                 %%

The other night my wife and I were watching TV in our living room, we 
live in a little village outside of Zurich Switzerland, we were watching
the American news program "Dateline" on NBC SuperChannel, a Pan European
station that was recently bought by NBC the American Network.  At the 
close of the program the presenters asked that the viewers to Phone in 
their opinion, voting yes or no on a certain story.  They gave out the 
phone numbers to call and then they gave an Internet address.  This was
a phenomenal thing,

The program was inviting us sitting halfway around the world to 
participate. In that instant the program went Global. The world became a
little smaller, a little more alike, a little less different.

Now I know that for more than a few years a lot of you have been using
Internet E-mail much like your regular mail and not giving it a second 

The reality is a little different though.  For you Internet E-mailers are 
experiencing the future.  You are living on the edge of the technology.
You are pushing the envelope.  Just the like the person from "Dateline" 
who had the idea to include an Internet address.

It is often said on the Internet nobody is any color or sex or 

The Internet life is truly an singular experience.  Seeing that Internet
address on that TV show made me think of a line in a song which goes  
"Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do." Because in an instant
there weren't any.  Maybe because we all sit alone at our Keyboards we 
don't always see.   In a way we are living the dream of our Utopian 

You could think of it like this.  It's 1840 in the Old West and your
mud hut of a town just happens to be one that is part of the Pony Express
route, so you get mail delivered to you once every three days but all the 
towns that lay to the east and to the south have to wait weeks for any 
mail.  You know there's a beacon of light hanging on your porch because 
your house is on the river bank and that's where all the boats come by.

Because you went to a University or worked for a company which offered
a service, the Internet, you thought was Unique and now is common place.
But I'm here to tell you, it's still Unique.  The beacon on your porch 
might be bright, bright bright. But the rest of the world is still dark.
Most of the people aren't on the route.  You can sit there and say," 
Someday everybody will get there mail like this."  The rest of the world
hardly even knows it exists. 

But it's only a matter of time.  So when you send E-mail, for every
important reason or trivial little thing you can think of, consider 
yourself "a futurist."