If you were to walk into a college dorm in 2023 there are two ubiquitous things you’ll see that first came out fifty years ago in 1973. The first is, obviously, a cell phone of some denomination. The other is a poster, T-shirt, or actual record of “The Dark Side of the Moon”, Pink Floyd’s landmark album that has maintained its status as a rock classic with generations of music fans. While we may listen to “The Dark Side of the Moon” (one of the best selling albums of all time) on the same format that it was released on in 1973 (the vinyl revolution is in full swing) we, thankfully, do not have to lug around massive brick phones in order to call, text, or check whatever app is in vogue at the moment. Now, my friends can speak to me from anywhere with their lightweight device, whether sitting at home or on the run.

The man credited with inventing the cell phone is named Martin Cooper and like most of the 20th centuries most influential scientists and inventors, he worries about the impact his invention is having on the world.

The 94-year-old spoke to the Associated Press earlier this year: “My most negative opinion is we dont have any privacy anymore because everything about us is now recorded someplace and accessible to somebody who has enough intense desire to get it.

Cooper worked for a little company called Motorola. On April 3 of 1973, Cooper called Bell Labs in New Jersey from New York’s Sixth Avenue the first cell phone call in history.

While the original was just a beige brick with a large antenna and two columns of rubber number buttons, the cell phones of today are a multi-purpose tool that come in any color you like with the “phone” part being perhaps the least used facet of the device. While back in the day staring blankly at your cell phone may have been reserved for when you try to recollect your grandma’s phone number, now you’re probably reading this article on that very same technology.

While the cell phone was invented in the 70’s, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that they became commercially available. And like the majority of electronics we take for granted nowadays, the cell phone cost a lot of money. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was sold for nearly $4,000 in 1983. Adjusted for inflation, that’s over $12,000 in 2023.

In the 90s, cell phones looked less like walkie-talkies and more like cordless phones found in homes. And by the mid-2000’s, they were even smaller and more pocket-sized.

Of course, it was Steve Jobs and Apple who would change the game with the iPhone, turning cell phones into the micro-computers they are today. And gone are the flip-out keyboards or touchpads of yore, as now we can tap away on the screen to compose a message.

According to CNN, 97 percent of Americans now own a cell phone of some kind. That’s the same percentage, according to the New York Times, as Americans who own a TV.

So while you listen to “The Dark Side of the Moon” on your cell phone to celebrate fifty years of both, let me leave you with one more entirely useless piece of trivia: According to Eric Idle, after the success of Dark Side, Pink Floyd funded over ten percent of the budget for

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