Almost from the first, networking meant synchronization. The single piece of information transmitted more than any other was the time-a "standard time." A few decades earlier, standard time had barely existed. Astronomers and ships' navigators concerned themselves with the time at the Royal Observatory, but the sprawling United States was a country of a thousand local times. Railroads changed that. Railroads demanded punctuality-they forced people to be "on the clocker" or even "on time." Until they could ride on trains, few people traveled fast enough to notice clocks set differently at their destination. It took telegraphs and telephones to synchronize clocks separated by hundreds of miles. In a networked world, time as a universal, ticking away everywhere in unison, seems normal, but to the nineteenth century, railroad time came as a shock-an unwelcome side effect of technology. It brought serious aftershocks-time zones, dividing neighbors along the boundaries, and daylight saving time, dividing city dwellers from farmers. Artificial, constructed, industrial-age time gave people a sense of its presumed opposite, natural time, a flow unbroken by machines, punctuated only by the swings or cycles of nature, and thus gentler in its effect on our true selves.