Your Network Is Disconnected

A large grid-like structure with electrodes
A Component of Francis Ronalds’ Electric Telegraph Design from His 1823 Book

From Francis Ronalds, Descriptions of an Electrical Telegraph, and of Some Other Electrical Apparatus (London: R. Hunter, 1823). Google Books link at .

Select Sources

Mesopotamian Beer

People of Corn

  • Charles Phillips with David M. Jones, Complete Illustrated History: Aztec & Maya (New York: Metro Books, 2013), 284–285.
  • See also Jeffrey M. Pilcher. Food in World History (Themes in World History). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Andean Peoples

Inca Suspension Bridges


Roast Beef Drumming

  • Frederick von Steuben, Baron Von Steuben’s Revolutionary War Drill Manual: A Facsimile Reprint of the 1794 Edition (Mineola, NY: Dover Military History, 1985 reprint of 1794 edition).
  • Username “John C.,” “Revolutionary War Drum Beatings | Dinner Call, The Roast Beef,” YouTube video, at, accessed 2 Feb., 2023.

Optical telegraphs

Electric Telegraph

Brazil and Cândido Rondon

  • Todd Diacon, Stringing Together a Nation: Cândido Mariano Da Silva Rondon and the Construction of a Modern Brazil, 1906–1930 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).

Talea’s Homespun Cellular Network

  • Roberto J. González, Connected: How A Mexican Village Built Its Own Cell Phone Network (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020).

Audio Resources


  • Secret bottom-of-the-screen bonus file: My imaginary video game music here as an mp3. Download it now!

2 replies on “Your Network Is Disconnected”

Hey Doug, this is Bob, your old pal from MC. I love your podcast!

I thought I would share something that ties together two eras in history that you discussed. There is an official RFC (RFCs are the standards documents for the internet), which establishes a method of using pigeons to carry internet traffic. RFC2549: IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service. Give it a read over at

Thanks Bob! This is hilarious and great to know—even if it was basically an April Fool’s Day joke at first. Your comment also got me reading about races that pitted pigeon-carried memory sticks against network-delivered data. Apparently sometimes the pigeons still win too, depending on the kinds of tech being used on both sides of the equation. Wired & wireless network speeds increase but so does storage capacity in lightweight, pigeon-portable physical objects.

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