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Great Grandma was born in 1900 and died in 1998. What would it have been like to witness these advances in medicine, technology, and opportunity for all?
|In her early years||By the end of her life|
|Expansion and Development: The American West was dominated by miners, ranchers, and cowboys who wouldn’t hesitate to use guns to defend themselves and rode horses right into the saloons.||A hub of innovation and wealth, the West is irrigated, tame, and high-tech, with fantastic freeway systems.|
|Education for the Masses: Schooling was basic, and students were still taught in one-room schoolhouses. Not many advanced beyond grade school.||Most students are encouraged to go on to college and beyond. Schooling for the wealthy looks similar to education for the middle and lower classes. Scholarships and loans abound for both the ambitious and not so ambitious.|
|Travel: Continental train travel was just beginning. Horses were still the norm, and roads were rough. Travel by land or sea took weeks.||We board a plane, watch in-flight movies, reach our destination in a matter of hours, and consider an overnight delay to be a huge failure of the system. We all own efficient, fast vehicles.|
|Air and Space Technology: Flight had not yet been invented.||Supersonic jets, moon landing, the launch of the International Space Station|
|Quality of Daily Living: The majority of our ancestors still sustained themselves on farms or in factories, going barefoot in the South and getting hookworms, supporting large families, and laboring with cooking and cleaning. Refrigerators and indoor bathrooms were slow in coming. Daily bathing and showering was not a thing.||Most people expect to own their own homes, enjoy modern appliances and daily entertainment, have access to more mass-produced and affordable goods. The way is paved for politicians to use the lack of in-home Internet as an example of poverty in the US. Most people take hot showers or baths every day.|
|Medicine: Diabetes was a killer. The first open-heart surgery was decades away. Years of agonizing trial and error lay ahead to pave the way for advanced life-saving surgeries. At least we’d stopped bleeding patients and knew about germs.||Heart, liver, and kidney transplants. Diabetes as a manageable disease. Standardized care and efficiency. We all know someone who wouldn’t be here without modern medicine.|
|Mysteries of Life: There were painstaking fruit fly experiments to isolate inherited traits and recognize patterns in genetics.||We began to sequence worm genomes. Human eggs could be fertilized outside the womb.|