Will future generations assume that the US telephone number for reporting Emergencies, 9-1-1, was designated as such because of “The Events of September 11, 2001,” [TEOSETTO] as we’re calling it these days? I could certainly see that happening.

Mightn’t they also figure that the number for Information, 4-1-1, was similarly configured based on some significant event that occurred on April 11th? Anticipating the work of 22nd-Century anthropologists, I’ve come up with three informational candidates (so far):

  • 1974 – The Judiciary committee subpoenas U.S. President Richard Nixon to produce tapes for impeachment inquiry.
  • 1986 – Kellogg’s stopped giving tours of its breakfast-food plant. The reason for the end of the 80-year tradition was said to be that company secrets were at risk due to spies from other cereal companies.
  • 2003 – Vol 300, Issue 5617 of Science is published, a special issue containing a series of articles announcing and discussing that the complete human genome has been sequenced.

The first two are tenuous at best. Watergate is no longer as explosive a topic as it once was and is dissipating into the mists of our increasingly jaded history. Perhaps the actions of Kellogg’s will turn out to be more significant than we can yet imagine. The Human Genome Project’s work is chock full of information, so that’s where I’d put my pesos. Of course, another scenario is that something absolutely and undeniably significant having to do with information will take place on an April 11th to come.

Maybe aliens will show up and we’ll learn that their planet’s anthem is something akin to “Informer,” by Snow.