Be sure to bring your cell phone next time you go to the museum. More than 500 museums have replaced the audio-tour handsets or earphones with, you guessed it, your cell phone. For example, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis asks visitors to dial a local number, enter a code listed next to a piece of art and get info about the piece. At the opera, you must still remember to turn the damn phone off. However, you might be asked to use text messaging at the conclusion to vote on the encore. Too much.
Most of India never had a land line telephone. But today, over 400 million cellphone users chirp away for less than five buck a month. And they get more bang for the buck than we do. Among other things, Indian phone companies have invented methods to wire money to temples, to pay for groceries, to find jobs in addition to humble e-mail messages.
Blame it on the recession. Some desperate people are becoming voluntary prisoners, committing minor infractions so they will go to jail just to get three hots and a cot. Detroit reports four or five such arrests weekly. Up from a dozen a year before the downturn. The criminal justice system is becoming the safety net of last resort. Sad.
The rich men in Qatar hunt with peregrine falcons. The birds, which sell for $5,000 and up, can hit speeds of 200 mph in a dive. Some prized birds even have their own passports.