Every day, I see or read about innovations that force us to think differently about some part of the world.
One recent example is the electronic cigarette, which has been invented by tobacco companies to separate the unquestionably negative attributes of tobacco ingestion, the exhaling of smoking, the ingestion of tar and other hazardous chemicals, and the creation of fire hazards from cigarette butts and ashes, from other attributes that are important to tobacco marketers, but are less obviously harmful, such as the addictive qualities of tobacco. The March 2 issue of The Wall Street Journal highlights the battle between proponents and opponents of electronic cigarettes, but it has the most difficulty with a vocabulary that is poorly suited for this product. A lot of the terms we associate with tobacco no longer make sense, such as “smoking” or “lighting up a cigarette.
The electronic book has changed how we think about reading material. Bookstores become showrooms for content we download instantaneously (possibly from a vendor other than the owner of the bookstore) and can take with us anywhere we have a portable electronic device. That device can provide us with enlarged print, the ability to convert text to speech, and, most importantly, can give us the ability to carry a library with us everywhere we go.