What would a postwar world look like?

By Andrea Shea King

Thank the American Historical Association for creating the fascinating online archive of “Constructing a Postwar World, the G.I. Roundtable Series in Context”, a 42-pamphlet series prepared under the direction of the Army’s Division of Information and Education between 1943 and 1945 for the War Department for service men and women around the world.

The pamphlets give us a glimpse at the contemporary issues Americans were considering on topics ranging from economic and cultural anxieties at home – particularly around women, crime, and jobs – to foreign policy issues in a postwar world.

“These pamphlets provide an intriguing indicator that the postwar world was being seriously considered and developed fairly early in the military campaign,” the website states. “Even if historians of the present want to divide the 20th century neatly at 1945, the series reminds that at the time, many people were looking to the prewar years as a guide to build what was to come after the war.”

“It will rot your brain”

That’s what they thought back in the 1940s in one of the federal-government-issued pamphlets written to address societal and technical changes in postwar America. “What is the future of Television” looks at the concerns about the nascent “idiot” box.

Note that concerns of that time are similar to those voiced about the Web now, including how much control Uncle Sam should have over content and licensing. Which brings me to …

How far should the government control radio?

Another 1945 pamphlet in that series written by the federal government to a World War II citizenry was this one dealing with the explosion of radio stations across America.

In it you’ll find discussion on the history of radio programming, advertising, ownership, licensing and managing the airwaves, and of course, the ultimate question: “How far should the government control radio?”

And along that vein – Fairness 2.0: Media content regulation

WND talk radio columnist Kathy Shaidle reports the libertarian Cato Institute has issued a report called “Fairness 2.0: Media Content Regulation in the 21st Century.”

While noting that a “return to the Fairness Doctrine … now seems unlikely,” they say it is “very likely, however, that politicians from both the left and the right will try to extend government control over the media beyond current policies.”

Time keeps on slipping into the future

YouTube, Boxee, Dell Inspiron Zino HD, Clicker – with each passing month it seems the convergence of technologies gets closer, like cutting the cable cord in favor of Internet TV. Take a look at what was introduced at last week’s New TeeVee event in San Francisco. And get ready to cut your cable loose.

Clicking over to the Twitter section

Attack of the Twitter trucks

Remember the bicycle bell and carousel music that announced the arrival of the neighborhood ice cream truck? We’ve come a long way, baby. Now they’re tweeting their arrival.

In trendy L.A., hip Angelenos know about the Kogi BBQ truck and its famous Twitter account announcing where you can find eats at any point in the day. Mobile eateries with matched Twitter accounts have been multiplying as part of a business model that didn’t exist 12 months ago. Food on wheels attracts a following and then not only drives directly to them, but text messages them to let them know when it’s “within scarfing range.”

Find out where your rolling buffet is. And if you don’t have one in your city, well, what are you waiting for? Folks gotta eat.

To keep up with improvements being developed for Twitterers, bookmark One Forty.

Sometimes it feels like somebody’s “weighting” me

File this in the “What ARE you thinking?” category: a bathroom scale that knows how much you weigh and can blab it to your friends. Ho-kay … not in my powder room, thank you!

David Colker in the Los Angeles Times writes: “In a news release, [French technology company] Withings declared the Twitter function would be a great help to users, ‘further motivating them by sharing their progress with followers.’

“Right. What’s next for Withings?” asks Colker. “An app to let the Twitterverse know how much debt you’re carrying? How about a public questionnaire to rate how far you are from achieving your life dreams? Come to think of it, either might be preferable to letting the weight info hit Twitter.”

Inviting Big Brother – the modern day “Telescreen”?

Yikes! Just flip a switch, and your every move can be tracked? Last week we told you about Google’s ability to track you online. Here’s a way Google can track you physically. Google says it has been inundated with requests to add a “history” function to its Google Latitude, a mobile phone app that shows where your (authorized) friends on the service are located at any given moment.

It’s 1984, folks, a Brave New World. Meet the willing who welcome it with open arms.

It’s like buttah

Are you linked in with Twitter? Pretty soon you can be. LinkedIn Corp. and Twitter have partnered up to let users instantly post status updates on both of the social networks. In an online video with LinkedIn chairman and co-founder Reid Hoffman, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said the partnership is like “bringing peanut butter and the chocolate together to make the perfect combination.”

“Oh lord,” the pentagigatweet

According to Caroline McCarthy writing in her column “the social”, former Current Media (the cable news network cofounded by former Vice President Al Gore) executive Robin Sloan appears to have posted Twitter’s 5 billionth tweet, in the form of a reply to another user that otherwise read only, “Oh lord.”

Gigatweet had been measuring the total tweet count. Sloan’s tweet, which he has nicknamed “The Pentagigatweet,” does get at least some landmark status because it actually has the number 5,000,000,000 in the URL. That’s because the number at the end of a tweet’s URL is apparently the running count of tweets that have been posted until that point.

Get out of jail free card – courtesy of Facebook

You’re under arrest. You’re at the police station. Do you call your lawyer, your bail bondsman or a family member? Or, do you go online? A young man found himself in that situation and he went online to Facebook to prove his innocence. Thereafter, he was a free man. Read how.

Sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are providing evidence in legal battles. Your digital trail and online communications can be used to exonerate or nail you.

Thank those who risk it all that we may have Thanksgiving

Send an E-card of thanks and remember our military.

Honor the troops for all they have done for our country by watching their stories. Free documentary films capture experiences from vastly different wars, including accounts from WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Watch a film … then seek out a vet, or a veteran’s family, and say thanks.

Lookin’ out my back door

1963 – JFK: Another President who made his own rules

1978 – They too, drank the Kool-Aid

1945 – Nuremberg trials begin

Now playing at the Texas Theater

This week’s movie trivia: In which movie does the following line appear?

“Like Caesar, he is surrounded by enemies. Something’s under way, but it has no face. Yet, everybody in the loop knows. … I think it started like that in the wind. Defense contractors, oil bankers. Just conversation. A call is made.”

Send your answer to me at the email address below. Be the first reader to guess correctly and your name will go here in next week’s Surfin’ Safari.

WorldNetDaily Surfin’ Safari reader Julie H. of Corvallis, Ore., correctly identified John Avnet as the director of last week’s movie trivia film, the 1991 movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.”

Character Idgie Threadgood played by Mary Stuart Masterson spoke the familiar line, “You a politician, or does lying just run in your family?”

The film tells the story of an unhappy housewife who befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.