In Search Of (Electronic) Globalization

In a world that is tied together by trade, roads, economics, air travel, the internet, and countless international organizations, isn’t it weird that something as basic as electric service—the magical substance that powers pretty much every device used in the modern world—differs so dramatically from one country to another? Once your computer is on line you can communicate seamlessly with people anywhere in the world, but there’s nothing seamless about getting your laptop powered up in a foreign land. You’ll face weird plug-in configurations and need a converter or adapter or some other gizmo, and then you’ll want to cross your fingers that some strange power surge doesn’t fry your motherboard.

It makes absolutely no sense. And isn’t it infuriating that the fact that you can buy a converter that turns the two dots into the two slots means that global uniformity can in fact be achieved from a technology standpoint? So why isn’t standardized electricity high on the one- worlder punch list?

We know that, at some point, the electrical supply riddle is solved, because futuristic sci-fi shows never show the characters wandering around, fretting and cursing about plugging in their devices. So, what’s the hold up? Is national pride in a country’s distinctive socket configuration preventing sensible electrical homogeneity? C’mon, countries of the world! Let’s set aside our silly differences and settle on standardization. I’d happily go for the weird two-hole set-up, or even the slanted slots set-up, so long as it means I never have to buy a converter or adapter again.

On The Black Sand Beaches Of Ladispoli

Last night we drove from Rome to Ladispoli, a seaside town on the western coast of Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea that separates Italy from Sardinia and Corsica, There we had an excellent seafood dinner with lots of clams, oysters, octopus, and shrimp, an Aperol spritz to kick off the festivities, and some terrific wines with our meal.

Our restaurant was right on the Ladispoli beach, which has very dark, almost black sand. It was an overcast evening, and the beach attendants had already neatly folded and stashed the lounge chairs and closed the umbrellas when we arrived. The waters were calm, and the sky and the sea looked like an unbroken curtain of silver behind the black sands and the orange chairs.