Time Machine: San Francisco 1906

I haven’t done a Time Machine entry in a while, so here’s a look at life in America more than 100 years ago. This is Market Street in San Francisco, on April 14, 1906, as taken from the front of a trolley car. Horse drawn carriages, cars dodging in and out without any sense of safety and people just walking in the middle of the street. Also notice how well-dressed folks are.

The first thing that strikes me is the total anarchy of the street. The automobile drivers are lunatics. People just walk out in the middle of the street. Kids play chicken with the trolley. How many bodies were they picking up off the streets every day? This is not safe. But you sense this is what life was like throughout American cities. The streets were packed and lawless. People survived.

Some history, from YouTube:

The origin of the film was an enigma for many decades, and it was long thought to have been shot in September of 1905, after being dated as such by the Library of Congress based on the state of construction of several buildings. However, in 2009 and 2010, film historian David Kiehn, co-founder of Niles Film Museum in Niles, California, dated the film to the spring of 1906 from automobile registrations and weather records. Kiehn eventually found promotional materials from the film’s original release and dated the film to April 14th, 1906, and finally gave credit to the filmmakers, the Mills Brothers.

Four days later, the great San Francisco Earthquake hit. Thousands dead. The city destroyed.

And the city looked like this:

It’s the same route, but notice that the film is reversed.

Mushroom clouds can be beautiful

On the other hand, I’ll just watch them in videos.

This isn’t a nuclear explosion. This is a time-lapse of a natural forming mushroom cloud leading to a thunderstorm in central Illinois last week, according to the Capital Weather Gang. But consider the power of thunderstorms:

The average thunderstorm releases around 10,000,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — the equivalent of a 20-kiloton nuclear warhead.

The upside is you don’t glow in the dark after this happens. The downside is if you get hit by lightning, glowing in the dark doesn’t matter.