The power of the fax effect–

The power of the fax effect–

As opportunities proliferate, unintended uses take off. In the late 1970s, the Shah of Iran exiled his rival, the Ayatollah Khomeini, to Paris. Since the Shah controlled his country’s media he assumed Khomeini would not be able to reach the Iranian people from France to stir up trouble. But sympathetic Iranian clergy exploited an unsuspected technological opportunity: the cassette tape. Every week in Paris Khomeini’s friends recorded his inflammatory speeches on cheap recorders and smuggled copies (easily disguised as music tapes) into Iran, to be multiplied on $200 duplication machines and passed out to every mosque. On Fridays, Khomeini’s sermons were played throughout Iran on boomboxes. The clerics turned the common tape deck into a broadcast network. I’m sure that not a single engineer who developed cassette tape technology ever envisioned it being used for broadcasting.

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