Really enjoyed this post from Kevin Kelly over at New Rules for the New Economy on unintended uses of technologies. His blog is the online version of a book he published which he is giving away for free in the form of two posts a week. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to it. Lots of good stuff in there. Here’s an excerpt:
As opportunities proliferate, unintended uses take off. In the late 1970s, the Shah of Iran exiled his rival, the Ayatollah Khomeini, to Paris. Since the Shah controlled his country’s media he assumed Khomeini would not be able to reach the Iranian people from France to stir up trouble. But sympathetic Iranian clergy exploited an unsuspected technological opportunity: the cassette tape. Every week in Paris Khomeini’s friends recorded his inflammatory speeches on cheap recorders and smuggled copies (easily disguised as music tapes) into Iran, to be multiplied on $200 duplication machines and passed out to every mosque. On Fridays, Khomeini’s sermons were played throughout Iran on boomboxes.