January 11, 2014: Smithsonian Has A Gourd Phone
The Smithsonian Institute has within its collections a 1200-year-old device that is, functionally, a short-range telephone. It consists of two specially prepared gourds attached by a long length of twine. You probably played with something very similar when you were young, but didn't know that it had been invented more than a millenium ago.
Two things in the article stand out in particular.
First, Baron Walron V. Von Schoeler is described as a "shadowy Indiana Jones-type adventurer," which is what I want on my tombstone. Second, the device was likely used to allow a courtier-like functionary to communicate with a member of the elite caste without face-to-face contact, probably because such contact was forbidden in some way. This, coincidentally, is similar to our own communication methods with the Secret Masters.
-- Brian Engard
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