Did Darwin discover the Internet of just describe how it came to be?

Identifying the precise moment of change is not always possible, nor is always possible to identify the person who brought it about.  Today, while waiting at the blood clinic for my appointment I was reading an advertisement for a course on the events that changed the world; according to the advertisement the 36 events that were chosen were absolute turning points in human history and “things were never the same again.”  There were all of usual suspects, the major religious figures in history, the great conquers,  the settling of the American continent by Europeans, the world wars, Kennedy’s assignation and Martin Luther King’s march on Washington and 9/11.  The only scientific or technological events or persons of note were Darwin, Pasteur, the A-bomb and the Wright Brothers.  No mention of Watt, Bell, Otto, Einstein, Watson, Crick, Berners-Lee, Mauchly or any of the other original thinkers that gave us today’s technology and our current life-styles.

Interestingly, in the same magazine another article about the recent confirmation of the existence of the Higgs particle, said something quite different.  In the introduction to that article, the author said few things in human history are important after their time – we quickly forget wars, assignations and the names of noble leaders, but according to the author, some things last forever.  His list included scientific discoveries and brilliant thinkers like Einstein and Watson, relativity and DNA.  He said those achievements would would stand the test of time and forever be important in the history of human society.  Although taking opposite tracks both articles sought to mark the exact point of change.

The two articles juxtapositioned, if one can call an advertisement an article, framed a minor gaming story out of Atlantic City for me.  The state of New Jersey is doing whatever it can to strengthen the gaming industry in Atlantic City.  One of its tactics is to publicize major jackpots – today’s story was of two people who each hit jackpots of nearly $2 million each.  The story also included a reference to new technologies and regulations that would allow casinos to link jackpots from one casino jurisdiction to another.  So, say for example, that Harrah’s could link all of its properties and its progressive jackpots, the jackpots would not only get  much, much larger, but they would also grow very fast; that combination would increase the excitement they generate and thereby increase the play on those machines.

 Two People Win Nearly $2 Million Each At Atlantic City Slots: Two people hit slot machine jackpots, each worth nearly $2 million, within a week of one another, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced in a new initiative intended to publicize the high jackpots being won in Atlantic City. The latest one came Aug. 2 at Bally’s Atlantic City when a patron playing the $1 Million Dollar Rewards slot machine hit a $1.6 million jackpot. Six days earlier, a patron playing on a penny Millionaire Sevens machine at Trump Plaza hit for $1.9 million. Progressive slot machines also are expected to take another leap forward later this year with the introduction of machines that are linked together across state lines. A bill authorizing mobile device gambling that was signed into law earlier this year also authorized multistate progressive slots.  Hoa Nguyen, 9-5-12

And here, I get to return to one of my favorite themes, online gambling.  Soon it will start to occur to the same people that introduced the law allowing for cross-jurisdictional play, that putting those same jackpots online would really enhance the process and the profits.  Puff, you have it –  the transition to a hybrid of online gambling and bricks and mortar gambling.  That is not the only avenue of course, IGT just partnered with DoubleDown for a Facebook application (no money yet).   Every day, almost imperceptibly we inch forward toward full fledged online gaming.  When the history of the Internet is written, gaming will be a very small chapter, but I think not an unimportant one.  The question may arise; “who invented online gambling?”  or “When did online gambling begin?”  There will be no clear answers, because like most things in our society, it just evolved from the muck and mud of other forms of gambling and retail.   So, now does Darwin deserve to be on the list with Einstein, Alexander and Buddha?  Of course, Darwin did not invent anything, nor change society by his presence, he did give us a way think about change in life.


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