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Author Topic: Ten Most important Technological Advances.  (Read 2956 times)
Alain Raethorne
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« on: February 26, 2008, 03:26:24 am »

Alrighty, folks. I'm writing a paper for my English class about, well, essentially the history of invention and technology and its impact on human history. Now, we could pick whatever we felt like writing about, and I picked this, history and technology being to favorite fields of study of mine (and no doubt most of you). However, I've come across a little turbulence in my dirigible of thought. Since I've really picked a wide range of things to talk about, I need to narrow it down to some of the most "important" inventions and innovations throughout history. And that's where you fine gentlemen and ladies come into play; What, in your opinion, are the ten most important inventions throughout the course of history?

I'm chalking down fire as number one.
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 03:32:05 am »

Flight, whatever the form.
Fuel power
Nano-technology
Antibiotics

The list goes on and on...

As an aside, this should probably be put in off topic.
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 03:34:12 am »

A lot of people will say the wheel, but 1 would say number 1 would be the blade.  can't make much without one, not even a wheel Grin
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Tallest
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 03:38:29 am »

Optics! without which modern science & medicine would be screwed.
Ferrous metallurgy!, also known as working with iron based metal.
The transistor, can't have tiny electronics without it!
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 03:38:43 am »

In no particular order...

blade
lever
wheel
the clock and calendar
controlled combustion
longitude (or the accurate measurement thereof)
written language
the printing press
gunpowder
antibiotics


and one more just for good measure:
absinthe

Cheesy
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Alain Raethorne
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Browncoat and Firefly Flan


« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2008, 03:45:51 am »

As an aside, this should probably be put in off topic.

Yeah, I wasn't really quite sure to put this here or in Off Topic. Now that I think about it, it should be there instead. Oh well. Modfolks, commence the moving if necessary!
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2008, 03:50:41 am »

   -can openers! patented in 1858, nearly 50 years after canned food (in 1813, i think?).  Cheesy
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Tallest
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2008, 03:52:27 am »

Replace Longitude with Cartography, it covers all aspects of mapping.
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Prof. A. Morphous
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2008, 04:18:27 am »

* The inclined plane
* The wheel and axle
* The lever
* The pulley
* The wedge
* The screw
or do "simple machines" count as one?

Depends on if you want basic concepts or big leaps.
Basics:
Fire
Optics
Tool making-flint knapping gives you blades and fire potential

Big Leaps:
Gun powder
Harnessing Steam
the IC engine
the microchip
the transistor
etc.

I also tend to list the Scientific Method or some semblance thereof when making such lists, because I think that structured testing of theories led to all advances.

Just my two cents.
-Prof. A. Morphous  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2008, 06:29:32 am »

Well, if you want to narrow it down to the 10 discoveries that really changed the world, here's a few that I believe ought to be included..

In no particular order:

The engine (both internal combustion and external combustion) <-- Steam engines are what brought on the industrial revolution. Basically it catapulted the world from a semi-agrarian society into the modern industrial age.

The computer <-- Since complicated calculations are automated, scientific research has literally skyrocketed. Not o mention the integration of computers into every day life since the late 1980s onwards..

Wheels/axles and variations thereof (including cogs and gears!) <-- This invention is key to all transport and construction work, so it has to be included.

Agriculture and the domestication of animals. <-- Somehwere in hisory we made the transition fro hunter/gatherers to an agrarian society, which enabled us to settle down permanently and led to a myriad of inventions and social improvements.

Formalization of the scientific method. <-- Establishing standards for discovery and gaining knowledge vastly improved our understanding of the world around us, while at the sime time made it harder for crackpot theories to become mainstream. (however, since technically, it's ore of a concept rather than an actual, physical invention, you may not want to include it in your list.. the same goes for language, BTW, which I also wanted to include but decided against..)

Imunization and antibiotics <-- Responsible for saving countless lives, and extending countless more..
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akumabito
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2008, 07:10:56 am »

Hm... just thinking about this a little more, it seems to me that many of the 10 most important discoveries of all time seem to originate from the prehistory. That alone could be an interesting premise for a paper! Some of the most fundamental discoveries have been in constant use for millenia on end and although refined over time, their basic principles have remained unchanged. Let's see if I can come up with 10 inventions made before the year 0CE...

-Handtools (Stone Age)
-Agriculture (Stone Age)
-Permanent housing (Stone Age)
-Ship Building (Stone Age)
-Wheels/axles (Bronze Age)
-Cement (Bronze Age)
-Basic Metallurgy (Bronze Age / Iron Age)
-Toilet/sewage system (Iron Age)
-Currency (Iron Age)
-Alphabet (Iron Age)

That wasn't too hard.. you might want to check on dates and stuff though. The three-tier dating system isn't very accurate considering different parts of the world were in different stages of development at the time.. (bronze age and iron age in particular have a huge overlap)





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Albrecht
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2008, 07:15:11 am »

In no particular order:


the hammer
the wheel
fire
the pill (is that technology or rather medicine)
carpentry
road construction
metallurgy
powered flight
the microscope and the telescope
and to substitute for the pill: the boat/raft whatever
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The Hon. Luc Du Rette
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2008, 09:11:24 am »

One major invention that has thouroughly changed the world, is refrigeration. As recently as the 30's and 40's, people looked forward to the daily visits of their ice vendor. Refrigerated transport led  to the vast array of produce available in our groceries today. I am only 46, and I can remember when bananas and strawberries were strictly seasonal, and not available for long, at that. My earliest memories of most fruits were either driedd or in cans. I honestly think that the development of refrigeration is at least as large a change in our lives as radio, television, the internet, and the automobile, if not more important. It also happens to be one of those "invisible" inventions, that we take so for granted that we do not see it, until it stops working!
The elevator is another one, that we could not have had urban centers without. Before the elevator, buildings usually only had three or four floors.
Radio, and later television, also dramatically changed the world, changing how we entertained ourselves, got news, and generally "shrank" the world. (I know I will seem ancient by saying this, but I actually remember watching a "coast-to-coast satellite broadcast" for the first time, showing the atlantic on one side of the screen, and the pacfic on the other.)
Satellites, for that matter.
Hope this has given you more food for thought!
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Fortigurn
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2008, 09:48:42 am »

Since we're limited to technology, I'm skipping mathematics, science, and medicine (along with the scientific method, which wasn't that important until much later anyway).

*  The lever:  leads to the wheel and enables technologically superior tools and weapons
*  Pottery:  prehistoric plastic, bricks, and cement all in one, leads to major advances in construction
*  The wheel:  transportation, advances in tools (such as the pulley), and pottery
*  Agriculture:  the cultivation of crops enables large population groups and a food surplus which reduces labour time, creating surplus time for non-labour activities such as writing, study, and intellectual investigation
*  Animal husbandry:  assists agriculture, increases population's immune system strength
*  Writing:  invaluable for recording and disseminating information
*  Fire:  required for kiln pottery (useful for food, but more significant for pottery)
*  Metallurgy:  enabled by pottery (clay kilns enable the bloomery, a furnace for metallurgy)

After that I think you need to skip forward to electricity.  Pretty much everything in between was a matter of combinations of the above.  After electricity, I would say the internal combustion engine.  That has had more of an impact over the last century than many other dramatic inventions such as nuclear power (which hasn't done that much, really).  But I'm tempted to swap out the internal combustion engine for the silicon chip.
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2008, 10:47:14 am »

The external combustion engine, basically without the availability of High controllable power most of the inventions since would not have been possible.

power stations, burn coal/oil to turn water to steam to drive turbines, produce electrickery.
Nuclear - Use the heat from nuclear fission to turn water to steam to drive turbines, produce electrickery.

Internal combustion engine is a derivative, burn the fuel in the cylinders directly rather than driving the pistons by the release of pressurized steam.

Definitely the steam engine.
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juxtimon
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2008, 01:17:58 pm »

fire
printing
toilet paper (invented 11 years after the flush toilet, what happened before that doesnt bare thinking about :p )
anti-biotics
combustion engines
electricity
metalurgy
plumbing (the mayans had daily hot baths, and brushed their teeth... centuries before the english started)
blades
harnessing water-power (romans used water to power automatic sawing machines, for cutting marble veneers as big as 5m by 3m)

they all deserve a mention really, and so do many many more- i wonder how you do go about ranking them :/
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akumabito
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2008, 01:40:22 pm »

toilet paper (invented 11 years after the flush toilet, what happened before that doesnt bare thinking about :p )

Never heard dogs or cats complain about not having toilet paper...

Actually, outside the cities here, there are few people that use toilet paper. I know of lots of places where there are no flush toilets either.. My in-laws' place being one of those... but it ain't all that bad. They got the little 'spray-gun' that's actually much more efficient than TP, although it does leave you with a wet bum, lol..

Now at my uncle-in-law's farm, it is a different story altogether.. welcome back to the freakin stone age! No electricity, no running water, no toilet period. Just a hole in the ground.. heh, over there you gotta pick some leaves before you go.. or do like Uncle Mai and use your hand... then wash it thoroughly with rainwater when you're done, lol.. 
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Sir Nikolas Vendigroth
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2008, 02:34:53 pm »

In no particular order, and not a complete list:
The harnessing of motive power, either by an engine or a waterwheel, or a windmill, for obvious reasons.
Steel.
Bread and cheese, in particular cheese, to allow milk from being kept without going off.
Beer and wine, both were a sterile source of water and nutrients when cholera and other water-borne diseases were rife.
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2008, 03:25:33 pm »

I´d have to vote for the printing press, that enabled the easy spread of knowledge.

Vaccines as well were a great idea.
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von Brasswood
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2008, 03:40:01 pm »

Wikipedia? Tongue
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Atterton
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« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2008, 03:47:18 pm »

Wikipedia was not an original invention.
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von Brasswood
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« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2008, 03:55:11 pm »

Okay, how about the "technologies of user-generated content on the internet"? It's more of a trend than a technology in itself, but it has revolutionized the way companies and people of common interests can think about long-distance cooperation.
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akumabito
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2008, 04:26:39 pm »

As much as I enjoy forums, "of all time" sees to stretch on for an awful long period, while "top 10" is a pretty finite and short list. It's a good invention and all, but I wouldn't consider it one of the 10 most fundamental inventions ever..
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2008, 05:16:26 pm »

A/C power.
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Great Bizarro
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2008, 05:44:28 pm »

Women, they then harassed men into inventing all they wanted or needed.
Then there is beer, which makes even ugly women influential. Cheesy
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