Thursday, April 16, 2009

Choice choices

I'm reading about the early days of submarine telegraph cables - this in the context of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1873 , as authored by Simon Winchester in Krakatoa - The Day the World Exploded.

Apparently, when sending a telgraph from Java to Europe, senders had a choice

It could either go, slowly and insecurely, via the long chain of landlines that had been established midcentury, ... or it go "Via Eastern". A customer could in those days specify on the telegram forms which cable should be used, and pay the costs that particular cable company charged. Specify Via Eastern, and it made most of its long journey by sea. Leave the cable-routing box blank, and the message went the long and slow way, and for most of its length, by land.

Clearly there are a number of ways I could go with this.

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