General discussion


Major innovations that have changed history

By Surflover ·
Bricks... Just so everyone will understand I'm not just talking about "high tech" innovations, I though a good place to start would be bricks.

They (and dressed stone) were the fundamental material which allowed the creation of large public structures... The Mayans built incredibly intricate palaces and roads, the Egyptians built the great pyramids (which BTW, we can't reproduce either the Mayan roads or the Pyramids to those tolerances with our current technology)... bricks were the key issue that cause the Hebrews to revolt from the Pharoh in Egypt... the Romans used bricks and stone to build roads and aqueducts which allowed them to conquer most of the known world at the time... which in turn spread a common language to the peoples who were conquered (Koine Greek)... which in turn provided a vehicle for the spread of Christianity...

And eventually, with the advent of the F4 Phantom in the 1960's, we proved that with enough power, even a brick can fly :^O

What innovations do you feel are significant?

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yes it is

by ITgirli In reply to Your printing press

Thank you for noticing.

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You're welcome

by M_a_r_k In reply to yes it is
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Like anyone wouldn't notice

by Surflover In reply to yes it is
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Which version of the wheel?

by M_a_r_k In reply to The Wheel, Fire and the W ...

At my job, we reinvent the wheel all the time.

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Language and mathematics

And even before the wheel, control of fire, and the written word, what about the spoken word? Language? Without communication that was understood by everyone, nothing could have been invented.

And next to language, mathematics, or at least what passed for math at first -- measurement, I daresay -- but what later developed into mathematics.

And reasoning. Put 'em both together, and that's what they become. Reasoning and logic.


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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Language and mathematics

You watched that Doco on the Star Disk didn't you? Well it should be obvious from that Doco that painting was the first big achievement that started everything else.

Col ]:)

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The case of the star disk

by In reply to Gret

Yes, I did watch it, Col, and I'm still reeling. I mean seriously.

What stunned me the most was not the disk itself, which was fairly straightforward in its interpretation once it was explained, but the AGE of it. 'Time can't be faked', was the comment of one of the experts on the show, and I tend to agree, especially after all those tests.

I thought it was a great doco all round, and I intend to discuss it with my archaeology and history class, because I got 'em all to watch it too, but I just can't believe 16,000 years!

That was still during the last ice age, for heavens' sake, and humanity hadn't even moved into cities. And, as you say, painting, a forerunner of 'picture writing', was probably the only real way of communicating ideas other than the spoken word, probably at a very rudimentary stage at that time.

On the other hand, the whole star disk episode pointed to a very sophisticated culture indeed, so what are we meant to believe now? That humanity's a helluva lot older than we realised, or civilisations are or what?

Col, do me a favour and knock me on the head with a brick and hessian! It's bad news to get me going on one of my hobby horses!!


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Gret, was that the Horizon documentary?

by neilb@uk In reply to The case of the star disk

It would have been on the BBC over here as they commission all of the Horizon stuff.

I saw a documentary early last year about a gold-inlaid bronze disc found in Germany that showed a picture of the night sky but they dated that to 1,600BCE, ie 3,600 years ago. The excitement was over where it was found as Germany was generally regarded as being pretty primitive in those times.

It must be the same documentary as I remember the "Time can't be faked" quote.


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That's the one Neil

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Gret, was that the Horizo ...

But the thing about faking was in relation to the size of the crystals of corrosion of the copper in the Bronze. That was where the Time can't be faked was used.

Col ]:)

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The Star Disk

That's the one, Neil (we get all that stuff ages after you!) and Col's quite right when he speaks about the quote of not being able to fake time by finding out how old the corrosive bits on the disk were.

I'm glad I taped it (for my archaeology and history class to discuss at a later date), because now you've got me confused. I was positive I heard '16,000BCE' years old, not 1600BCE! And I'd better get it right before presenting it to my class or I will have egg on my face!

The thing is, with all the pre-hype on telly before the show was aired, it was 'going to change the way we think about evolution' and 'change our ideas about early civilisations' and all that, so maybe I was already thinking 'extremely ancient' before the thing was even shown!

I must admit though, that it was a jolly good program and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is an archaeological dig now proceeding at the site where the disk was found, just to see what else can be brought to light.

It'll be interesting to follow what's found there in the future.


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