Today marks the 161st anniversary of the publication of Herman Melville’s classic work Moby-Dick. Normally nobody would know about this or even care. But this day the entire English-speaking world knows thanks to a visual reminder from Google.
For those of you too young to remember, neither the Internet nor Google existed back in 1851. But that doesn’t mean that the world was without its connections. Morse-code telegraphs had been in use for more than a decade, and the first undersea cable for intercontinental messaging would be placed a few decades later. Queen Victoria opened London’s Great Exhibition, a grand world’s fare that would run through most of 1851. And in nearby France, Napoleon made dramatic political changes in advance of declaring himself Emperor. In this time of technological advancement and worldwide transformation, Captain Ahab got on a boat and chased a whale.