Barbed Wire Fences Were An Early DIY Telephone Network

Before Ma Bell came to town, and long before DSL, it was barbed wire, of all things, that brought rural communities together. A Sears telephone hooked up to barbed wire—miles of which were already conveniently strung along fences—connected far-flung ranches in the recently settled American west. Thus an ingenious and… » 1/02/14 2:30pm 1/02/14 2:30pm

The Futures of the West, Utopian and "Less Utopian" Alike

Americans have long had an obsession with the West — as much an idea as it is a physical place. Even if you risked getting lost, its wide open spaces have always had a sort of mystical pull. The West holds the promise of a new life; the idea of starting over; the appeal of new beginnings. So it's no surprise that when… » 11/22/13 4:44pm 11/22/13 4:44pm