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Today is a very important day in history.  Oh, it floats by every year and most people don’t take any notice, but that doesn’t change the importance.  It should be a day that is especially honored by those of us who are geeks of the stripe that love our electronics and other devices.  Why is it so important, you ask?

Today, in the year 1752, Benjamin Franklin took a kite out in a rainstorm and made a major step forward in the human understanding of electricity.

Benjamin Franklin is a man I hold in the highest of esteem.  I respect him for his undying loyalty and unquestioning patriotism.  I respect him for his great courage in the face of threats of death and worse to those who stood up to the establishment of his time.  And, of course, I respect his great intellect and the many inventions he gifted us with from the lighting rod to bifocal glasses.

But, that stormy June day in 1752 is a special one.  It is a day when Franklin took the first halting steps in man’s harnessing of electricity for his greater good.  Without that day inventors that came later from Edison with his light bulb, to Tesla (yes, Tesla not Marconi) with his radio, to Jobs and their early forays in computing would have been moot.  They would have had nothing to power their inventions.

Without that rainy day, you couldn’t TiVo the latest “Survivor” or Google the latest celebrity gossip.  Any work on batteries to power devices like out iPhones and Nintendo DS’s would have been light years behind because our understanding of the primal force of electricity wasn’t there.

So, everyone in geekdom, take a moment.  Raise a beer (or a Red Bull or Bawls Guarana, depending on your taste) to one of the first of our kind.  A true geek that started us down the path that led us to our journeys on the light fantastic, whether we go there via video game, music, film, or TV. 

Give a toast to one of the greatest of Americans and greatest of geeks, one of my personal heroes: Benjamin Franklin.

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