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50 Years Ago: The World in 1962 (theatlantic.com)
210 points by wglb on May 17, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 130 comments

The briefcase-sized computer with dials that Mauchly is carrying around is interesting. It's an analog computer for solving scheduling and flow problems, i.e. finding the critical path. The arrows show dependencies, and you turn a knob to set how long a task takes. The computer computes the critical path and the float (slack) time. It's implemented as a corresponding network of voltages sources and diodes, where the voltage at a point indicates time. A plotter creates a time graph as output. The computer is programmed through a plugboard and cables.

This is described in patent 3250902, which is actually pretty clearly written.

Now that we have powerful electronics simulation I'd be interested to see the results of genetic algorithms designing various analogue computers.

You can search for automatically created analog curcuits here: http://www.genetic-programming.com/humancompetitive.html

There are also examples and explanations in John Koza's "Genetic Programming" series of books.

There's a lot of interesting discussion on Mauchly in The Man Who Invented the Computer: The Biography of John Atanasoff

50 years ago in Afghanistan it was 1962.

Today it is 1262.

Sort of makes you realize that peace, freedom and technological advancement aren't defaults, but aberrations. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be an Afghan citizen who was born in Kabul in the 1940s... It must feel like being stuck in a time machine.

Interesting photos of life in Kabul in the sixties.


Quote: "A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real."

By three decades of war and Islam.

The sad thing is, I don't see Islamic countries evolve much. They seem to have no drive to get better unless they have oil and are lucky at the same time.

>>By three decades of war and Islam.

War, I agree. Unnecessary remark on Islam!

But there are no statistics to indicate that Islam propagates backwardness. Fundamentalism in any religion, may be. But to say a particular religion propagates backwardness is not a right remark.

Islamic scholars have contributed a lot back to the world. Infact corner stone of computer science Algorithm is named after a Arabic scholar of Islamic faith.

Your point comes across as a tell tale sign of Islamophobia in the west to perceive every other muslim as a backward moron from the stonage waiting to blow up the whole world.

While the fact is muslims are like any other people in the world.

For a change you must look into your own backyard and question who started those wars. Is it the mistake of the Afghans that soviets invaded them? Is it mistake of Iraqi's that US invaded them without any proof of WMD's.

You go burning the whole world, in a century US has invaded more countries than anybody else(Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korean Peninsula, Japan, Countries in South America). You've killed several millions of people under the pretext of war, destroyed their national infrastructure to dust. Denied them any hope recovery by sanctions. And you call others backward?

Correlation is not causality - most of the Muslim nations you're thinking about were also coincidentally victims of colonialism - after which they were used by us as pawns. Afghanistan for example, started as a British colonial buffer zone to protect interests in India - and then was carved into by the Soviets as part of the Cold War, after which the Americans aided, encouraged, and outright armed radical fundamentalists and told them to go kill some Russians. Is it any real surprise that they ended up with a brutal, fundie dictatorship?

(By the way, Afghanistan's history of being a warzone stretches back waaaaay further than just 30 years, way before the Soviets)

And Iran, that most favourite of whipping boys now that Afghanistan and Iraq are off the map. They were doing just peachy with a liberal, relatively secular, democratic government until Mossadegh kicked out Western oil interests. After that the gloves were off, and the Americans engineered a coup and installed a radical fundamentalist puppet instead. Turns out he wasn't so much a fan of America.

(though to be fair, the Shah kind of had it coming. He had a particularly nasty case of murdering political dissidents... though after Khomeini it became unimaginably worse)

Note: this is not to mean that the Middle East was not without its own problems. It would be entirely unfair to pin the blame solely on Britain and the US for the national failures that litter that subcontinent. That being said, where you see a dramatic failure of government, British or American interventionism is never too far away, and the current woeful state of Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan (disregarding recent wars, i.e. <2000) can be traced directly to Western interventionism.

And furthermore, traditionally Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are doing just fine for themselves. In fact, if you put all of these nations side by side, it seems that "crossed the US/Britain" is a greater predictor of misery than "is Islamic".

Try telling that to the Indonesians.

That was the picture that struck me most as well. Reminded me of this "Iran in the 70s" collection


It's the same story with Lebanon and Iraq. We can take the opportunities of modern society for granted, but so much can be destroyed by war.

Here's another photo album on that topic: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/27/once_upon_a...

Some good photos of Afghanistan this year: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2012/05/afghanistan_may_201...

US and USSR had not entered at that time thus things were quite good over there.

The racism those photos document is startling. Just 50 years ago?

Though, in my private high school in Indiana, in 1999 I overheard kids more than once telling n*er jokes. I heard less overtly racists at the school saying things like "Yeah, it would be weird to have a black friend." These were the rich kids who parents owned the local businesses. I have a hard time believing the kids weren't getting it from the parents.

It seemed so absurd at the time, but I guess it's less surprising if you remember segregation had only officially ended 37 years ago, then, and that the klan remained active in Indiana for decades after.

That was 12 years ago, but I doubt it's all fixed since then. I know that school is still basically exclusively white despite the town being about 25% African American and 9% Latino. I fear the consequences of treating so many people as less than people will stick with us for a long time. Kind of naive to think they would all go away in just 50 years.

"Yeah, it would be weird to have a black friend." ... I have a hard time believing the kids weren't getting it from the parents.

I know that school is still basically exclusively white

I think this is a non sequitur. (IMO) the stuff about "people are colorblind until society teaches them otherwise" is ridiculous, so you put these kids in an environment with no black children? Of course they are going to see black children as strange- they haven't had the opportunity to interact and learn otherwise. It doesn't have to have anything to do with racist comments from their parents.

I think this is a non sequitur. (IMO) the stuff about "people are colorblind until society teaches them otherwise" is ridiculous, so you put these kids in an environment with no yellow children? Of course they are going to see yellow children as strange- they haven't had the opportunity to interact and learn otherwise. It doesn't have to have anything to do with racist comments from their parents.

Labeling anyone of any color is racicst period. There is only one race called the Human Race!

If everyone recognized this and stopped describing one another in terms of colors, we could end fucking bullshit!

To say a child is black, is understood to mean they are of African descent. That's not a label, that's phylogeny.

As for the rest, it is a simple fact that the different regions of the world are home to communities with distinct differences in phenotype. Combine that with the (very human) tendency to be cautious around unfamiliar peoples, and there you have it.

I'm not saying it is Just, or Right, or any crap like that. I am only observing that there are simple explanations for why children might behave as described, other than "their parents must be hateful bigots".

Yes, trying to be blind of people's traits, such as skin color, is indeed not the way to get beyond racism. We need to recognize that some people are different and that is a good thing, not that we should try to ignore the differences.

The racism those photos document is startling. Just 50 years ago?

Imagine what "Marriage is between one man and one woman" people will look like in 50 years.

Depending where you are and how old you are, it's already happened.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for 7 years now, since 2005. My wife's a high school teacher, and when it was legalized her students were 8-9 years old -- too young to care about who can and can't marry whom. Same-sex marriage being legal is, to them, now the default. They don't see it as being a 'debate' and and don't really understand why it's such a big deal in the States.

She says that homophobia in general is almost entirely a thing of the past. There's the odd student that says something homophobic, but all the other students look at them like they're weird. This is a complete 180 from when I was in high school 8 years ago.

It may not be "all fixed," and it's certainly worse in some parts of the country in others, but I believe it's gotten better, getting better, and will always get better (small pockets of extreme deliberate resistance notwithstanding).

When I watched the film Ray and learned about the life of Ray Charles, I was struck by how quickly (just 18 years, IIRC) Georgia's culture went from banning him for refusing to play a segregated concert to officially apologizing to him from the state government.

Well one take away from those pictures that many people tend to forget is that it was not an issue just for the South. It was just brought to the forefront in the South because it was far easier for people accept it was only a Southern problem.

There are still bastions of hatred in many parts East of the Mississippi, its not just a Southern thing.

As a young boy our family took a trip to Florida in 1966. At the time I-75 wasn't completed so we ended up having to detour through some small towns in the South.

Even though that was two years after the civil rights act you could still see examples of segregation. Though they were no longer being used you could see separate bathrooms and drinking fountains for the different races.

It left a lasting impression on this Detroit boy. I was too young to comprehend at the time but racism existed in Detroit, but it was just more subtle.

Well, the Native American boarding schools which took children from their families and beat them for using their language didn't reach their peak for another 11 years. Some avoided this treatment, but quite a lot got caught up in it. The forced moving from reservations away from their families of some adults was yet to come. This resulted in a 90% suicide rate. AIM was in the 1970s. Nevermind the current problems with Indian Health Service.

I get the feeling Reagan was right, we won't "fix" racism until there is another them.

Apparently, white births are now a minority in US: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18100457

I could not see this as a submission on its own but it seems relevant here. As the US (white) population ages, it seems that immigration has played an incredible part without anyone noticing - its less about race now, then about age, but the dividing lines might not be drawn that way.

And we all know what can go wrong if you are looking at the wrong question for your answers.

[edit - wanted to emphasise age context more]

I was born on the same date that the last photo (with Jackie Kennedy) was taken.

The racism was still quite real even in the early 70s.

Wow, enlightened white people. We sure are good at patting ourselves on the back, aren't we?

Reality check: in 1962, every American city, north or south, with a substantial black population had a thriving black business district and a commercial middle class. Example: Bronzeville in Chicago.


Enlightened white people destroyed these worlds and the people who lived in them. The replacement was this:


In San Francisco those neighborhoods were Third Street and the Fillmore. Pictures of Third Street from the 1950s show fancy cars, fancy clothes, fancy shops, not a white face in sight. Pictures of Third Street today show someone about to sucker-punch the photographer and steal his camera.

In 1962 there were no no-go zones anywhere in America. Today I could walk five miles from my home and be in a place where my life wasn't safe. Black America in 2012:


Upside: black people can vote. For the same party, every time. For a black (or, well, half-East-African) president whose campaign office looks as white as a Romney family reunion:


I think the enlightened people of 1962 might be a little incredulous at all the back-patting going on in 2012. Nice job you've done of uplifting black America, 2012. With successes like this, who needs failures?

I don't know how old you are, maybe you've got better info than I do about America in 1962. I wasn't aware of much in 1962, but by the time I could read newspapers in the late 1960s, there very definitely were "no-go zones" for white people in America.

And substantial portions of America were still "no-go zones" for non-white Americans, and had been for generations. You might want to look into the term "sundown town".

In 1962 there were no no-go zones anywhere in America

So long as that group kept to their zone. If they go into that zone, then things might happen. Of course the police would take an interest in that group being in that zone, they must be up to no good!

You're right, of course - I'm glad to be corrected.

What I really meant to say was that in 1962 there were no no-go zones anywhere in America, Crackerjack Peckerwood Creek in the deep back asshole of Alabama where no one without a mullet in a Camaro would want to go anyway excepted. (Alas, in 1962 there were no Camaros either.)

Trust me, I went to high school in Howard County, Maryland, and I would be the last person in the world to speak up for the indigenous American peckerwood. However, I also note that there's a big difference between Peckerwood, Alabama being a no-go zone (if your skin is darker than a bad white zinfandel), and half of Brooklyn being a no-go zone (for any sane person regardless of race, color or creed).

I really don't understand your contention here. You're claiming that integration ruined Brooklyn? Can you explain the mechanism? I don't see how public housing projects (widely regarded as a failure that cities are transitioning away from) have anything to do with segregation (widely regarded as an moral atrocity).

Also, just because there's a lot of black people on the street doesn't mean a neighborhood is dangerous. FYI. (former brooklyn resident).

You're claiming that integration ruined Brooklyn? Can you explain the mechanism?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_flight http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_cleansing

If you ever actually talk to anyone who was personally involved in the former, and they're being frank, they'll tell you that a primary concern was a rational fear for their physical safety and/or that of their families. Which adds up to the latter. Why do you think there are no Serbs left in Kosovo, or no Albanians in Mitrovica?

E. Michael Jones's Slaughter of Cities (http://www.amazon.com/The-Slaughter-Cities-Renewal-Cleansing...) is a good overview from a j'accuse perspective. For a mainstream author, read J. Anthony Lukas' Common Ground. Better yet, read them both.

Of course we've digressed into the question of harmful effects (of the civil-rights movement) on white people. My original post was mainly concerned with the effect on black people.

Perhaps you've noticed some cultural changes? Are they for the better? If we could sit down together and watch WSHH for an hour, how exactly would we disagree?


> Black America in 2012:http://tosh.comedycentral.com/video-clips/uncensored---video...

> If we could sit down together and watch WSHH for an hour, how exactly would we disagree?*

Out of curiosity, do you have any opinions on modern black culture that aren't based on videos you find online?

The worst of everything tends to get my attention - doesn't it get yours?

There are three kinds of blacks in America today - feral, traditional, assimilated. Traditional black people are the nicest people in the world and have the coolest churches. Unfortunately they're all over 50 and have high blood pressure. Assimilated black people are just like white people except for the little box they check when they want to get into Harvard. (Samuel R. Delany's memoir, The Motion of Light in Water, is among other things a wonderful evocation of the old "Jack and Jill" black upper class.) Feral black people need to be rounded up, flex-cuffed, laser de-tattooed, sent to boot camp for three months, and placed in the unconditional custody of traditional black people, who will know exactly what to do with them.

Is that enough stereotypes for you? A stereotype is a pattern you don't want to recognize. I think you'll find you recognize these patterns just fine, however.

The worst of everything tends to get my attention - doesn't it get yours?

No, because I'm not a bigot.

I'm absolutely stunned that your horrific rant hasn't been downvoted into oblivion.

Dr. Johnson defines bigot as:

... a man devoted unreafonably to a certain party; prejudiced in favour of certain opinions; a blind zealot. It is ufed often with to before the object of zeal; as, a bigot to the Cartefian tenets...

I'm pretty sure you're not a bigot to the Cartesian tenets. You do strike me as pretty zealous, though - n'est ce pas?

I am actually quite okay with bigots and bigotry. We can't all embrace change. We don't all have to. One thing is certain, though - if it's not surprising, it's not change. Welcome to the 21st century!

I'm pretty sure you're not a bigot to the Cartesian tenets. You do strike me as pretty zealous, though - n'est ce pas?

I've read some of your comments. You repeatedly misinterpret what people say and throw out presumptuous personal attacks.

You should go through the whole history and downvote, if you've got the time - it will reduce my overall karma.

So, basically, the only no-go areas in 60s USA (for african-americas) were in the middle of nowhere where hardly anyone wanted to go, but now-a-days, the people can't go into half of a large, populous city? I think you might have a rosy eyed view of the past…

You know crime in the USA has actually fallen a lot recently?

>You know crime in the USA has actually fallen a lot recently?

He's talking about late 50s, early 60s. We're not there yet. (NYC used to be safer than London. Yes, same time.)

The late 60s had a huge crime jump in the US. The 70s were even worse. We're working back from that.

Trust me, I'm oddly familiar with the country this used to be. Go back and read some primary sources - there are a lot here:


Crime statistics in the USA have actually fallen a lot recently. What's your explanation of this? You didn't by any chance watch The Wire? You don't by any chance read the New York Times?


The former captains spoke of an unrelenting, often unethical pressure to manipulate crime statistics. In addition, the professors studied police and health data and found weird divergences. City hospital data shows a 90 percent increase in emergency room visits for assaults from 1999 to 2006. But police data for the same period records a nearly 50 percent decrease in assaults.

See also:


> The former captains spoke of an unrelenting, often unethical pressure to manipulate crime statistics. In addition, the professors studied police and health data and found weird divergences. City hospital data shows a 90 percent increase in emergency room visits for assaults from 1999 to 2006. But police data for the same period records a nearly 50 percent decrease in assaults.

A friend offered this: "Clearly the hospitals are just padding their books so it looks like they'll need more funding."

You use this phrase "trust me" more than is probably warranted in this circumstance.

I can't believe this comment. Segregation and poll taxes were no big deal, right? Things were great for black people back when it was enshrined legal doctrine to treat them as a lower category of people.

You want to know why black people vote for the same party every time? Because it's the alternative to your party.

The world is not that simple. Bush had Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, who did Bill Clinton have? Al Sharpton?

"There were often a few token people who were allowed to stay on in town provisionally: usually, they offered an unusual trade or service that a small town relied on, and were thus granted an exception to the sundown rules."


Preface: I'm a white American, with plenty of WASP guilt.

I forget the issue, but an African-American was in the news spewing the standard reprehensible winger talking points.

An African-American coworker of mine said "There's always one", shaking his head in disgust. He probably let his guard down around me, because we got to know each other pretty well and he knew of my political activism (voting issues).

I asked him to explain. He said no matter how stupid or extreme an issue, the white man could always find some black man to voice support.

I'm guessing that "there's always one" is a cliche in the African-American world.

Spike Lee's Boyz in the Hood, a fucking great movie, had scene depicting this phenomenon.

So, in sum, when Clarence Thomas, Condi, or that US Rep Allen fruitcake says something retarded, it's still retarded, and I don't have to measure my criticism (of the idea) just because I'm white and the speaker is black.

Clinton went on Arsenio Hall. He didn't need tokenism.

If you want to claim there's no undercurrent of racism in standard Republican messaging, well, I can't prove it to you. Just know that most black people disagree with you.


I don't know what that means, but the accomplishments of Powell and Rice stand on their own. It is ludicrous to deem them mere tokens. In fact if Bush was a dumb as the haters say, Condi was to all intents and purposes both the first black and the first female President...

Their accomplishments do stand on their own. You were using them as tokens in the above post, and I called it out. A couple of public figures don't undo an entire culture and electoral strategy.

Not at all. Just demonstrating the falseness of the assertion that Republicans don't represent or respect blacks.

Once again: The world is not as simple as that.

Oh, and while I am here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Democrats

Southern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the American South. In the 19th century, they were the definitive pro-slavery wing of the party, opposed to both the anti-slavery Republicans (GOP)

The 19th century, thanks. Pretty disingenuous. You already know the content of these links before clicking them, right?



http://newsone.com/16051/top-10-racist-limbaugh-quotes/ (just for fun)

For what it's worth, I don't think President Bush the person was particularly racist. But he was definitely the #1 candidate among racists.

You know a story probably wasn't HN material when you end up discussing racism and recent US presidents:-/

You'll have to cast out that beam in your eye first. Cabrini-Green is no big deal?


Your choice: grow up without a "right" to vote (not actually a right but a power, and of no direct value to you). Or grow up in Cabrini-Green.

Oh, and my party:


Democracy is working out pretty much as we always expected. Don't you think? You think your system of government is a success? Oh, please, I can't wait to hear this.

There were certainly no-go zones in America in 1962.

Most of them applied if you were black, however (or in the language of the time, "Negro").

But not all. Casablanca (70 years old this year) includes Rick advising the Germans "there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade."

Yes (I accept the correction). See below:


You make it seem like it's either-or.

Why don't you consider the option that americans just screwed this good idea up?

Note to people who make decisions about content-based websites: Based on previous experiences with these kinds of features on websites, I half expected each picture to be on its own page. If it was, I did not intend to click past the first one. However, in this case I browsed the entire thing, and am much more likely to share this URL with others.

Even better, the Atlantic's photo articles like this can be navigated with the arrow keys to go from one photo to the next.

Even worse, you mean. It breaks the standard navigational tools, so after I had hit pagedown several times, I pressed a right-arrow once to shift the page slightly and it skipped me all the way back to the top. It happened again later when I absent-mindedly pressed the right arrow again. This is totally broken.

On the other hand, each page request uses a lot of bandwidth, and it's more difficult to split the load efficiently according to actual usage. A good compromise might be to load the first five or six pictures, and only load successive ones once the user has scrolled down past the first few.

Reminds me of the Boston big Picture, which also has gorgeous photos in such a format.

It's no coincidence. The Atlantic's "In Focus" blog is run by the same person who created The Boston Globe's "Big Picture" blog.

Here's his personal site: http://www.kokogiak.com/index.php

Unfortunately, most users of the Internet, will happily click through 50 slides to view the latest top 10 list. Damn the masses.

I am from India (currently living in NY) and I find it really surprising that it was only 50 years ago that there was race discrimination in US. My college friends are all over the world (UK, rest of the Europe, Germany, Australia etc.) and based on my conversation with them, USA is the place with least amount of 'racism' against Asians (I put racism in quotes because there is no blatant, in the face racism in USA. It's more about subtle racism against Asians). In a place like NY, it's practically non-existent.

The photos of overt discrimination against African-Americans in 1962 remind me of the overt discrimination we are seeing against gay people today. I hope a similar retrospective in 50 years will see people saying "I find it surprising that there was discrimination against gay people at one time."


On the same line, I hope 50 years from now, people will be amused that marijuana was illegal just like I feel amused when I heard about prohibition.

Not to put a damper on your hopes, but 40 years ago I would have said the same thing about 2012.

Why does racial discrimination make you bring up the criminalization of marijuana? Have you been smoking too many drugs?

I don't see any similarity between the two. Blacks were trying to obtain equal rights. The right to marry same sex is one that no one has, not just gay people.

Interracial marriage was certainly illegal for a while and anyone arguing that it should have stayed that way would probably be deemed a racist, right?

If marriage is supposed to have something to do with love (which hasn't always been the case historically), saying that someone can't marry another person they love because of their race is a racist law. Given such a law, you could say "No one has the right to marry someone of another race, it's not just black people!" That would be missing the point.

Saying someone can't marry another person they love because of their sexual orientation is almost exactly the same thing.

How about:

"I don't see any similarity between the two. Gays were trying to obtain equal rights. The right to be a black man and vote is one that no one has, not just black people."

Straight people have the right to marry. Gay people don't. Same exact issue. If you're not gay, you by default don't need the right to marry same-sex, just like if you're not black, you don't need the right to be black and vote.

Actually everyone except blacks could vote. Contrary to popular belief, gay people can marry, just not same sex. This isn't a statement against same sex marriage, I'm just making a subtle distinction. Gay people have never experienced the maltreatment that blacks have in this country.

Now I'm wondering if blacks could vote if they dressed up in whiteface and pretended to be white to fool the voter board. You know, denying everything they are. Just like a gay person marrying the opposite sex.

Gays have benefited from the liberalism and civil rights movement in that the majority of the population doesn't hate them for being different. But you can't deny that they're being harrased, beaten, killed, pushed to suicide, thrown from their homes, and subjected to punishments designed to "fix" them. It's doesn't have to be "black had it worse", the point of the matter is gays have it bad.

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth since you didn't come out and directly state your viewpoint, I'm just trying to show how fallacious the words you did say are. Especially when we're on the verge of starting things down the right path. Both blacks and gays have been are are being violently persecuted for something they can't change. Telling gays to marry straight is highly offensive.

I did not tell anyone to marry, let alone tell gays to marry straight. I never said that gays weren't treated badly. I also never said that gays should pretend they are not gay to get married. Nothing I said was false or was meant to slight gay people.

My comment was a response to someone comparing the two plights. For me, the differences are worth discussing.

First you say...

Gay people have never experienced the maltreatment that blacks have in this country.

Then you come back with:

I never said that gays weren't treated badly.

Gays have been routinely beaten up and occasionally murdered for decades. Many have been rejected by their own families.

Freehunter is right, of course -- this is not about comparing who is the most persecuted, as if only the winner of such a comparison had the right to complain about it. It's about seeing prejudice for what it is.

I think that if you really looked at what a lot of gay people have gone through, you would not so facilely deny any similarity between that and what blacks have experienced. Of course there are differences; they are different situations. But there are also very substantial similarities. It appears that you don't want to look at the similarities, and I think you should ask yourself why not.


You should really talk to some gay black people. The ones I have spoken to about this have all said the experiences aren't very different at all.

Black people had the right to marry someone of their own race.

Don't be silly.

The right to marry (publicaly declare love and live as a family unit) is one that straight couples have and gay couples do not. Equal rights.

Let's move this to a different preference and see how it looks. Imagine you were saying:

"The right to write with their left hand is a right that no one has, not just left-handed people."

Do you not see how that would be unfair, not to let people write with whichever hand they prefer, just because the majority happens to be right-handed? What would justify imposing the majority's preference on the minority?

I found these comments on the subject to be rather interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQw0eLzfGNI

I know we still have a ways to go before we're a country free of racism, but it still makes me really proud to hear you say that about America.

Thank you for coming to the US. I think of the United States as a country that belongs to the whole world, and it really makes me happy when people from other countries like America enough to move here.

As a visitor from India, you're making our country a stronger, better place. I hope you decide to stay.

50 years ago the american civil war was only 100 years ago (does that make sense?)

Strangely the sixties doesn't seem that long ago for me personally. I wonder how the contemporaries of Kennedy thought about 1912, when there were few cars/planes, no radio, no television, no talking movies, no color polaroids, William Howard Taft was president and Europe/Russia/China/Japan was ruled by Emperors.

I am from India (currently living in NY) and I find it really surprising that it was only 50 years ago that there was race discrimination in US

Really? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit

As bad a American segregation (or South African apartheid) was, it was nothing compared to the Indian caste system, which is still practiced today.

I guess I was not clear in my comment. In no way, I was implying that India is better than USA. My surprise stemmed from the fact that based on my current experience, it seems odd that it was barely 50 years ago that race discrimination was rampant. I would have thought that those things would have put behind 100 years ago for USA to be where it is.

It's worse than you might imagine. The federal Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. Before that time, it was legal to have a "covenant" that prohibited blacks from living in certain neighborhoods (housing developments). It was some years after 1968 that it actually started being enforced with some vigor.

You can still talk to older people (say, people in their 60s) in Los Angeles, who chose the house they now live in because that neighborhood allowed blacks, asians, or mixed-race couples to buy property, and other nearby neighborhoods did not allow it.

In other words, even these blatant and widespread effects of racism are not past history by any means.

Note: I'm not disagreeing with what you've said, just trying to add some historical background.

Here's some wonderful interviews by Studs Terkel done in the 60's that provide a nice audio complement to these pictures:


I particularly enjoyed the interviews with R. Buckminster Fuller (18:50) and Mahalia Jackson (24:40). If you have just 5 minutes, listen to the one with Jackson which is about the racism of the time.

Sorry, there doesn't appear to be a transcript. The first interview starts at 13:30.

So much suffering, so much cruelty, so much wealth, and then moments of real humanity and connection, especially in the children.

I started to tear up several times, staring into some of the photos—and I realized how alike our world is today. We have a lot of work to do, here.

"So much suffering, so much cruelty"

Indeed, and only by an incredibly narrow margin did we escape many orders of magnitudes more suffering and cruelty - we really did come awfully close to the edge during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Actually, I believe that nowadays we live in even more cruel and lethal world than 50 years ago. On the other hand, we also have so many wonderful things. I do not believe that evil/good ratio has gone down in these 50 years.

> I believe that nowadays we live in even more cruel and lethal world than 50 years ago

Good news! You'd be wrong. The world is safer and more peaceful than it's ever been. This book presents the facts on it: http://www.amazon.com/Winning-War-Decline-Conflict-Worldwide...

The difference between then and now is that we have so much media to saturate our minds. It seems like it's worse.

This is not about the world, it is about the US and how it perceived the world as its allies and enemies 50 years ago. Better change the title as "The US in 1962"

Excellent pictures.

50 years ago, some countries were moving ahead with science/technology and some were in the midst of war crisis. 50 years later, its still the same.

Picture 47 - I thought it odd that no-one removed the sprue tags on the lettering. Also, how deep is that TV?

Picture 44 - Anyone able to locate this on Google Maps? I can see a sign for "Viginia Stree", but I'm having toruble finding the place.

Picture 44 is at the corner of Virginia Street and 5th Avenue.

The monorail only goes down 5th Avenue, so I didn't have too much detective work to do :)


Picture 38 - Here's the street in 1978 (http://berlin-wall.org/popup/mur1.html)

Here's the same street, but I need to work harder for a better location.


Lol Google, your urls.

Google will generate a short URL for you on demand: http://g.co/maps/tdr8j

Click the chain 'link' icon, then check "Short URL"

44: It's 5th and Virginia http://preview.tinyurl.com/ccrtsph

This is great:

Use j/k keys to navigate

Although, having grown up with keyboard-controlled games and the IJKL pattern, I was expecting the K to scroll down, not the J.

These appear to be based on VI key bindings (hjkl).

As a VIM User, I feel right at home :)

This seems to be influenced by tumblr, which also uses j/k. Tumblr is, of course, influenced penultimately by vi, which is ultimately influenced by ANSI control codes LF and VT :-)

The navigation was obviously written by someone who prefers vim.

Wow, some great pictures. It's exciting to think of what we'll think of pictures taken from the year 2000 when we're all living in the year 2050.

We'll be thinking how cool it would be to see pictures from the year 2000 if only they weren't locked away by DRM formats that are now unreadable in the year 2050. ;)

Not that I'm arguing against your point, but you've made me curious. Is there actual DRM on photos? I know videos, music, games, books... but I haven't heard of a DRM'd picture before. Any insight?

Personally, I would predict incompatible formats with no decryption program available. Will Photoshop and .psd still be around in 50 years?

Aside from a few odd cases like AutoCAD and Photoshop, I don't think most pictures are encumbered by DRM as of right now. I'm sure there are several companies that would love to change that, however. My comment was mostly a joke, but I could see a world in the not-so-distant-future where it wouldn't be very funny.

Well, there's currency note schemes that aim to prevent scanning or photocopying; and there are digital watermarks as well.

You will almost certainly be able to spin up an emulator and feed it whatever.

To my point (and I guess the point of the DRM issue), that would depend on if you could actually get a copy of Photoshop working. Would Adobe still be running their activation servers? Would any of the cracks still be around? I'm willing to admit I don't know if there are FOSS (or equivalent) .psd software. Maybe GIMP will still be around, if it can open .psd?

Sure, it's an issue. PSD isn't actually all that opaque though (Adobe has published some specifications for it).

I guess most consumer formats are pretty broadly supported by open software, most of the hard to access stuff will be pretty specialized.

People have learnt from the UK "Doomsday Book" laser disc problem.


I see little evidence people have learned from it. (And the main lesson seems to be: if you give the national archive office a disc, they will lose it. If you painstakingly reconstruct the disc and give them a fresh copy, they will lose that too)

We've come so far, yet still have so much to do.

I've always thought about the ravages of war nowadays and how many countries are constantly in conflict. As a great admirer of this period in American history, I have to conclude war and pestilence have always been around and are more symptomatic of the human race than of some particular span of time. The reminders were quite eye opening.

The U.S. Centric View on the World in 1962.

Except the Mongolian photo. How did it make there?

Or, the photos from Italy. Or the ones from Vietnam. Or the ones from Germany. Or Afghanistan. Or Algeria. Or the UK. Or Hong Kong. Or Cuba. Or Venezuela. Japan. Guatemala. South Africa. And the Mongolian one that you mention.

So, OK, there was a bit of a focus on the US, and countries that the US was heavily involved in (like Vietnam and Cuba). But for you to claim that this is US centric except for the Mongolia photo is a bit unfair.

And why would you expect something else from an American magazine? Of course it's going to be the world from a US perspective, as it's a view of the world from a US perspective.

I didn't expect anything or complained or something. I proposed the title that I thought is more relevant, and did it in a sorta humorous way. This photostream is posted now, not in 1962, when people could live and think that there is the US, the Western allies, the third world with problems - and some grey parts of the world where nothing happens. We know now that 'Russians love their children too', do we?

I never understand this complaint. It's a US-based news source (The Atlantic) posted to a US-based news aggregator (HN). Why would you expect, or demand, it to not be US centric? You're more than welcome to post collections like this from non-US news sources on hacker news, if you wish.

Why would you expect, or demand, it to not be US centric?

I, for one, would not. But "The World" in the title seems unwarranted. Just as it does for many "World Series" that only apply to the US, even if everybody deems American teams of sport X to be clearly above the rest.

Yes. In 1962, for example, the FIFA World Cup was held in Chile. And it was a really world scale event


The best baseball players in the world play in the US, so it truly is a World Series, regardless of where the teams play.

Well not all of them play in the US.


I agree with you except with that I am welcomed with some Eastern bloc POV :) I wont even try

I think everyone here would be super interested to see more pics/description of the Eastern bloc during that era. Post something cool!

I believe, that a simple google search would do: https://www.google.com/search?q=life%20in%20ussr%20in%2060s

Yes! It would be fascinating.

I went to Moscow and Leningrad in 1986. Just buying things - you queue to point at what you want and then you get a ticket. You take the ticket to a second queue, to pay for the item and get a receipt. You join a third queue with your receipt to collect the item.

I'd love to read more about that time, especially from people who lived there.

I didn't live there that time, I am much younger.

But as for receipts, we have this system till now at some stores, in car or computer parts stores, except that you write down item codes on a sheet of paper by yourself, or select them in a database, then you go to cashier to pay and get the receipt, and then you go and get the items from a guy that doesn't deal with money. Don't you have such buerocracy?

There were food supermarkets (универсамы) where you collected items into shopping carts and payed at the exit.

In 1986 there were just enormous queues and deficit of everything due to reasons out of scope for now...

Why not?

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