Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Australia: this is Scotland calling

Sometimes you get so used to the advances in technology that you take it all for granted. And other times, you just sit and wonder how on earth we got to where we are. Like this morning. There I was, sitting in the Scottish Parliament with some other members of the Public Petitions Committee, having a live meeting with MPs from Australia's House of Representatives. It all felt perfectly normal until I had that "wow" moment when I realised we were sitting in Edinburgh, they were half way round the world in Canberra, it was breakfast time for us and dinner time for them and we were chatting easily to one another via a live video link up. And despite not having a clue who pioneered video conferencing, I even decided we in Scotland could take the credit. After all if it hadn't been for John Logie Baird inventing the TV, we'd have had to have had that meeting by telephone - oh, another Scottish invention! Anyway, it does us no harm sometimes to stop and appreciate advances in technology and to look at how far we've come in such a short space of time.


  1. Anne
    Having removed my tartan tinted specs, I note that several individuals actually contributed to the invention of the television. It's too simplistic to state it was invented by any one individual. I reckon Russians or Americans might claim that a chap called Vladimir Zworykin was the inventor for example as he pioneered the modern electric TV set. Baird's was a mechanical system, the technology probably wouldn't have been much use for video conferencing!
    There is also some controversy about the phone I believe but Bell and his contemporary, the American Elisha Gray, apparently have the most persuasive claims.
    So I reckon telly is about 1/5 Scottish and the phone 1/2 Scottish. Will that suffice?
    You still can't have marmalade or the train though, that's for certain.

  2. Was censorship another Scottish invention Anne?

  3. Not censoring you Paul, just very busy and forgot you'd put that comment on. I'm quite happy to publish your anti Scottish rant and before you ask, my justification for that is that in that rant you list other nationalities it is claimed might have had an input to the invention of various things that are commonly accepted to be the invention of Scots. And your conclusion, with absolutely no back up other than your personal beliefs, is that the other nationalities win.

  4. Steady on Anne. How is what I said anti-Scottish. I don't have any personal beliefs about who invented stuff - it's based upon events in history that actually happened. Baird and Bell were 2 seriously clever chappies that contributed a lot to their science - this does not mean they were the sole inventors as things are rarely that black and white.
    TV and telephone are commonly accepted to be the exclusive invention of Scots in Scotland yes, but I would suggest this does not apply universally.
    If you rescind your earlier slurs on my character and ask me nicely I MIGHT consider applying for the parliamentary research job by the way.

  5. Oh good God, can you imagine??? I'd be expelled from the party in no time.

    Right, you said TV was 1/5 Scottish; therefore it must be 4/5 something else.

    You said telephone 1/2 Scottish; therefore 1/2 something else.

    As you've not given any evidence as to the accuracy of your conclusions, I'm assuming you're basing it on nothing more than wanting to believe them not to be Scottish inventions. Look I'm sure Essex invented something - white stilettoes or something.