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What IF

  • 4 min to read

So WHAT IF things were different? Have you ever wondered how life would be altered if the ‘facts’ we know hadn’t happened?  Sorta like Opposite Day – which we celebrate in the library every so often. We love to wear our pjs to work or put our clothes on backwards some days.  Let’s spark your curiosity and imagination. What would you being doing different if: 

What if the Europeans had never landed in the Americas?  Probably wouldn’t be name America right? ‘America’ comes from Martin Waldseemüller. Waldseemüller was a cartographer who drew the world map in 1507 from Amerigo Vespucci’s explorations and maps he drew while exploring mainly South America. Waldseemüller used Vespucci’s name primarily to give him credit for the info he used from Vespucci’s maps.  Waldseemüller map became so popular people began referring to the New World as the Americas.

One more thought. If all these explorers such as Columbus, Vespucci, and Ferdinand Magellan had never sailed from the European continent – would we still consider the world flat? OR assuming the Asians, such as China’s Zheng He, did the exploring – would we now be speaking Chinese?  Thoughts to ponder.

What if the telescope had never been invented?  Would we still be thinking there a ‘Man in the Moon’ looking down upon us?  One step further – What if we had never landed on the moon. (Yes, we all know some think it was all a hoax and a movie set.) 

Had we never thought about space and landing on the moon, we wouldn’t have super glue (I’m sure they never considered using it in their hair at that time or gluing a plastic cup to their mouth.) Pens that write upside down would still be a dream. The moon exploration made Tang and Velcro household words.

You can thank the Apollo program for developing lightweight cordless devices.  Pretty long extension cord from Cape Canaveral to the moon.  The space program propelled us to dream far beyond.  It excited us as explorers to become explorers once more, energized the scientific world, to reach beyond our horizons and dream once more.  Many believe we will be able to live on other planets in the future and become ‘Star Trek’.

Have you ever wondered – What if the internet had never been created? Wow, where would we be now. Since the beginning of time man has looked for ways to communicate and enhance those communication methods. We have come a long way since Claude Chappe and his brothers built their 1st prototype telegraph in 1790.  This was the beginning of the internet. Actual people stood atop a tower and conformed their arms for a letter of the alphabet, then the next tower and the next tower; letter by letter until the complete message was relayed.  So weird signal towers across France – hoping no one’s arms got tired.  Chappe even invented codebooks for shorter cost and privacy.

What if there were no holidays?  It would stink nowadays to never have a holiday.  We did live without ‘em for the 1st 94 years of the U.S. tho.  No time off until June 28, 1870. That’s when the 1st federal holiday law was enacted.  Then we picked up New Year’s Day, 4th of July and Christmas.  1,000 federal holidays have been proposed over time. Wow can you imagine if they all had been enacted? What if they had?  Would they have to actually name days we HAD to go to work?  But only 11 have made the cut.  It wasn’t until George Washington’s birthday was added in 1879 that federal employees received a paid day off.

Talk about moveable holidays tho.  The 1st Thanksgiving was declared by good old George for November 26, 1789. He then called for a 2nd one on February 19, 1795.  Lincoln however proclaimed in 1863 Thanksgiving to be celebrated once a year on the last Thursday of November.  Even then it moved around. President Roosevelt settled it in 1941 – the 3rd Thursday of November. So why move it to then?  To give stores an extra week for Christmas shopping.  So what if Black Friday shopping had not been invented????

What if you could move objects with your brain?  Actually we already do in a way.  When we eat – we reach for, pick up something, and move it to our mouth.  So we move it with our brain cause the brain tells our arm to move in a way so we can eat.  But I bet you were thinking – lift a car, move a video game character type of move with just the brain weren’t you? But you can!

Brain-computer interfaces are devices that connect your electrical thoughts or signals to small sensors in the objects. Each of our brains is unique so you can’t be blamin your best buddie now for an illegal game move if you learn to ‘move’ that object with just your little ole brain.  So be careful when you are asked to move heaven and earth.

So what if ‘Awesome’ didn’t exist?  How would we express ourselves!?  Does awesome exist? Have we created it?  Believe it or not awesomness didn’t exist for everyone who lived before the end of the 16th century.  At least the word for it didn’t exist until around 1950.  And the meaning has changed over time.  The 1st definition was “profoundly reverential”.  Then about 80 years ago – you remember this right? – the meaning was down to “inspiring awe”.  Then the 60’s – “impressive, very good”.  Then the 80’s created the trendy definition we see today.  Didn’t you hear the word during the ‘Hippie’ time period? That’s awesome man.

What if walls could talk?  Wow would most of us not be in trouble?  Might even be hard to sell a house if those walls could tell all our secrets – the good and the bad.  We would surely know the truth of what people think of us.  Just a talkin to the walls might not be so ‘unusual’. 

But think of it – so much history would not be lost. Our childhood adventures could be carried down through the generations.  OK- well maybe we don’t want all those adventures to be known.  We did a good job hiding them from the folks as it was.

Actually in a way some high tech houses do talk.  Think Alexa. A group of researchers and students at MIT have developed an intelligent radar-like technology that makes it possible to see through walls to track people as they move around. 

Irrelevant of the technology, buildings do talk.  They tell how well they’ve been kept up. Empty houses look lonely. Houses with happy families give off happy fun auras.   Depending on the architecture we can learn how old the houses are. Older people creak. Haven’t you heard old houses creak late at night?  Just a talkin to the walls.

What if there weren’t any trees?  Oh wow, where would all the birds sit?  OR the squirrels play?  Where would we build our tree houses?  OR we could never learn to climb a tree.  We would never have learned about gravity – no apples falling.  Guess we wouldn’t have to travel to Mars to see that landscape.  Fortunately we do have trees.  We see the beautiful blossoms, the apples and fruit they bear. We definitely take advantage of all the oxygen they produce and take advantage of the deep underground roots to help prevent erosion. Ever see a hillside where the trees have died by fire or bugs.  Ergo much erosion.  They don’t move much, except in Bilbo’s world, but their shade is sure nice.

So What if you read a book today.  What would you learn? What if you learned something or just went on an adventure?