9 March 2014

Long distance information

It would be rash to predict the outcome of the current crisis over Russia, Ukraine and Crimea but no-one seems to be doubting its seriousness. Perhaps with an eye to reassuring the public that “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”, photographs have been appearing of world leaders on the phone to each other discussing what should be done. The first seems to have been of Obama’s call from the Oval Office to Vladimir Putin:

Obviously the Russian equivalent of NSA and GCHQ wouldn’t be interested in listening to that one, but Obama’s call to David Cameron – well, they would if they could:

This was released via Twitter and subsequently generated numerous parodies with bananas and other surrealist substitutes. François Hollande was at work in the splendours of the Elysée when Obama rang:

who was on the line from Florida:

This is an interesting image - the others only show handsets whereas this shot includes the phone base station:

The LCD screen isn’t as easy to read as the coffee cup, but it also seems to carry the Presidential Seal. The base station and the handsets have some similarities to those of the Cisco VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone which appears on Wikipedia:

Now, what at auction would be a really expensive phone, Salvador Dali’s Lobster Telephone, c 1938:

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