A very classic communication technology.

Speech wasn't invented. I don't know how it came about, but I can confidently write that nobody sat down at a desk and thought to him or herself "let's get ourselves a tool that will let me get the ideas that I've got in my head into the next guy over there's head more elegantly than using hand signals". It couldn't have worked that way because, among other reasons, we've learned how intimately related speech and thinking are - our speaking, our framing thoughts into words, influences our thinking of those thoughts.

But what about reading out loud? Not to ourselves (though that's a fascinating topic unto itself) but as a way of disseminating information. The classic modern example (at least the one I'm familiar with) is in pre-revolutionary (hey, even pre-independence) Cuban cigar factories where the rollers would listen to someone reading out loud as they worked. But the same principle has obviously been around for much longer, and was undoubtedly more popular in only semi-literate cultures where only a few members knew how to read. Ancient Israel, for example?

This month's date tie-in relates to a classic example, though whether it's truly accurate I really don't know. It was on this date (apparently extrapolated from the Hebrew calendar), in the year 445 BCE that Ezra read the Book of the Law to his fellow Hebrews upon their return from the Babylonian diaspora. This probably isn't the first recorded instance of a reading-aloud of this sort, but certainly a classic, and important, one.

Go to: Please organize me.