Over the last 2-3 days I haven't heard anything on the radio (my normal source of news) except the death of Nelson Mandela. In pace requiescat; et lux perpetua luceat eis. But I did begin to wonder what was happening in (say) Syria, or Iran, or the North China Sea, which China has suddenly declared that it owns. In fact, my very first knowledge of Mandela's passing wasn't from the radio; it came from - Facebook. Yup, I was browsing Facebook early in the afternoon and one of my friends posted a link. That was my first indication. I guess I do get my news from Facebook, sigh.
This reminded me of the death of another world figure, many years ago. In September 1976, I called my mother, just to check in, and she was taken aback that Mao Tse Tung had died and I didn't know it. I replied that I didn't need to know that right away, and in fact she'd just told me, so now I did know. Mao died on Thursday, September 9, the Thursday after Labor Day. I have no idea why I didn't pick this up; I usually read the newspaper. But I didn't know. I stand by my statement to her then that if something really important happens, someone will eventually tell me.
Odd. Both Mao and Mandela died on a Thursday. Should we worry about Thursdays?
What a change in information sources in 37 years! In 1976 I accessed the Internet (yes, I did) on a 3600 baud dialup connection, to a paid (very highly paid) database that told me what the peso or whatever was worth on a given date - and only that. (I used a Texas Instruments SilentWriter 800 terminal that used heat to print out the data. I could practically see the electrons march across the line.) Now I'm using a high-speed broadband connection to post random reminiscences; and I find out about new events almost in real time. I remember having more time back then, though.