The Connected World.

If you're over the age of 30 or so, there was probably a time when you thought the idea of getting a cell phone was kind of silly. I remember saying, "I'm not a doctor, or a drug dealer, so what would I need one of those things for?" Then more and more people started to get them, and for a while I still thought it was kind of ridiculous. The breaking point came when I had to pick my better half up at the airport and we couldn't find each other. "Enough is enough," I said, and we got cell phones soon after.

And a few years later, it's the idea of leaving the house without your phone that seems ridiculous:

GENEVA — The number of Internet users worldwide has mushroomed to reach the two billion mark, the head of the UN's telecommunications agency, Hamadoun Toure, said on Wednesday. The number of mobile phone subscriptions also reached the symbolic threshold of five billion, the secretary general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) told journalists. "At the beginning of the year 2000 there were only 500 million mobile subscriptions globally and 250 million Internet users," he said...

Fresh data posted online by the agency showed that the estimated number of Internet users had reached 2.08 billion by the end of 2010, compared to 1.86 billion a year earlier. The estimated number of cellphone subscriptions worldwide reached 5.28 billion at the end of the last year, compared to 4.66 billion at the end of 2009.

There are 6.9 billion people in the world, and 5.28 billion cell phone subscriptions. That's a lot of cell phones. Also, the Internet figures mean that at least 2 billion people have Internet access, yet are not yet reading TAPPED. Which explains the persistence of ignorance and strife in our world.

-- Paul Waldman

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