Sunday, March 29, 2009


    24. Yellow Pages
    This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like
    newspapers, print Yellow Pages 20 will continue to bleed dollars to their
    various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local
    search engines and combination search/listing services like Reach Local and
    Yodle Factors like an acceleration of the print 'fade rate' and the looming
    recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the
    falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10%
    this year -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate ;seen in past years.

    23. Classified Ads
    The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads
    might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one
    of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization
    as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by
    free online listings at sites like and Google Base, then
    newspapers are not far behind them.

    22. Movie Rental Stores
    While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store
    locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world,
    but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008,
    especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City. Movie Gallery,
    which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year.
    Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost

    21. Dial-up Internet Access
    Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The
    combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed
    Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded
    the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

    20. Phone Landlines
    According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the
    end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that
    had landlines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.

    19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
    Maryland's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay. Last
    year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just
    four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down
    70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120
    million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a
    sustainable population. Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global
    warming get the blame.

    18. VCRs
    For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple
    in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and
    now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS
    age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days.
    Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically
    nowhere to be found. They served us so well.

    17. Ash Trees
    In the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now known
    as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood
    products imported from eastern Asia. In less than a decade, its larvae have
    killed millions of trees in the Midwest, and continue to spread. They've
    killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with
    tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana. More than 7.5 billion ash
    trees are currently at risk.

    16. Ham Radio
    Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless
    communications with each other and are able to support their communities
    with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing
    their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However,
    proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the
    decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people
    holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse
    Code is no longer a requirement.

    15. The Swimming Hole
    Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the
    past. '20 /20' reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High
    Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt
    they'll sue. And that's exactly what happened in Seattle. The city of
    Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a
    popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park. As injuries occur and lawsuits
    follow, expect more swimming holes to post 'Keep out!' signs.

    14. Answering Machines
    The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No 20
    in our list -- the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of
    homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has
    been particularly bad in New York; since 2000, landline usage has dropped
    55%. It's logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing
    traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.

    13. Cameras That Use Film
    It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the
    film camera in America. Just look to companies like Nikon, the professionals
    choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would
    stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market -- only 3% of its
    sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.

    12. Incandescent Bulbs
    Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was
    the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and
    all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL)
    is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA
    reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and
    these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb
    market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out
    incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

    11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys
    Bowling balls. US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at
    least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys.
    Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types of
    recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades,
    climbing walls and glow miniature golf.  Bowling lanes also have been added
    to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts
    and gambling casinos.

    10. The Milkman
    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the
    milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a
    third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent. Nowadays most milk is
    sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home

    delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket,
    better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen
    still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S., they are certainly a dying

    9. Hand-Written Letters
    In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails
    were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an
    estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world's
    population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text
    messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially
    since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the
    elegant, polite hand-written letter?

    8. Wild Horses
    It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were
    roaming free within the United States. In 2001, National Geographic News
    estimated that the wild horse population had decreased to about 50,000 head.
    Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that
    there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of
    them residing in Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce
    the total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective

    7. Personal Checks
    According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan
    to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14%
    plan to increase their use of PIN debit.  Bill payment remains the last
    stronghold of paper-based payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to
    be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying
    at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on a
    bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers' recurring bill
    payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

    6. Drive-in Theaters
    During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in
    this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly
    zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and
    five reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the
    closed ones.

    5. Mumps & Measles
    Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually,
    truly are disappearing from the United States. In 1964, 212,000 cases of
    mumps were reported in the U .S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000,
    thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the
    measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported
    in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were

    4. Honey Bees
    Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting
    so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the
    honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse Disorder,' or CCD, has spread
    throughout the U.S. and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to
    90% of the colonies of many beekeepers -- and along with it, their

3. News Magazines and TV News 
While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last several
decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing
returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three
network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast
forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.

2. Analog TV
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S.
get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For
the remaining 15% -- or 13 million individuals -- who are using rabbit ears
or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air
If you are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter
box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital

1. The Family Farm
Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly.
According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this
number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the
2007 census hasn't yet been published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. farms
are small family farms. 

Change is interesting...but to us "old" folks also somewhat disheartening. 

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