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The Atlas, August 16, 2058
When I got home today, the Electronic Atlas was sitting on the kitchen table. The Atlas was one of six prototype devices for a project a business buddy of Matt's had abandoned. It was a thin display surface half a meter square in the centre of which was a slowly rotating image of the Earth.
If you touched any part of the planet, it would get larger. You could flip through different views: topographical, political, meteorological, agricultural and so on. More detailed statistics on various regions were also available at a touch: form of government, religious affiliations, ethnic breakdowns --- each accompanied by scores of documentaries.
Edie heard me come in and came up from the basement.
"Did you know that if you tap an image twice, you can bring up video documentaries?"
"No. I always just use the menu."
"I came upstairs earlier and Anna was watching a family of apes. She watched that for a while, then to my amazement hit the home button, watched the planet spin for a few seconds and then tapped Central Asia. She tapped one of the pictures and it brought up a documentary on some dried up lake."
"Lake Baikal. The Soviets diverted rivers for irrigation in the 20th century and the lake dried up."
Anna must have heard my voice because she came running.
"Nose!" she demanded.
I picked her up and dutifully complied by performing our nose rubbing ritual. She laughed, kissed me then pointed at the Atlas and said, "Monkeys!"
I stood her up on a chair and she leaned over the Atlas. When India came around, she poked it twice and brought up a screen full of pictures. She examined the pictures for a second and then tapped a temple in the lower right.
The picture expanded into a documentary. A swarm of monkeys ran riot over an old stone temple.
Anna pointed with glee. "Monkeys!" she exclaimed.
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.
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Last modified October 22, 2013
Last time I looked, Lake Baikal was still there, was still the deepest lake in the world and still accounting for some 25% of the world's fresh water! When I finally retire from www.microscope.com, it is No 1 on my places to visit!