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Thread: What Is Your Favorite Invention Or Discovery In Human History?

  1. #1 What Is Your Favorite Invention Or Discovery In Human History? 
    Forum Masters Degree mmatt9876's Avatar
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    What is your favorite invention and/or discovery in human history and why?

    My favorite invention is the personal computer because it allows you to create and run applications using the personal computers operating system.


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    Mine is the transistor (and it's later development into the microchip), without it most if what we now take for granted would have been impossible.


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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Mine is the transistor (and it's later development into the microchip), without it most if what we now take for granted would have been impossible.
    Yea, without the transistor my choice for favorite invention would not be possible.
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    Symbolism?

    If you think about all the possible discoveries that can be considered pivotal it is amazing people found time to do anything else.

    Didn't Reagan have some quote about the importance of mundane lives? ( although did he have any quotes that weren't scripted? A bit like an anti -Trump , who can't stay on any message unless he thinks it reflects well on himself personally or serves his own interest)
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    Probably money. Whilst many of us bemoan a lack of it, or at least having insufficient amounts to always be able to have the very latest things we are told we must have or want in this consumer society of ours, it does provide us with an effective and efficient exchange medium for acquiring all the things we really need in a relatively easy way. The world without money would be a very strange place and complicated if everything was being run on a barter system. Perhaps one day in the dim and distant future we may see a more altruistic world where people aren't quite so obsessed with the materialistic and where consumerism isn't the driving force, at this time the abolition of money might not seem so strange but here and now today I would certainly contend that money is indeed still a very important invention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Symbolism?

    If you think about all the possible discoveries that can be considered pivotal it is amazing people found time to do anything else.

    Didn't Reagan have some quote about the importance of mundane lives? ( although did he have any quotes that weren't scripted? A bit like an anti -Trump , who can't stay on any message unless he thinks it reflects well on himself personally or serves his own interest)
    By symbolism do you mean the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, the use of symbols to represent quantities, or do you mean the late nineteenth-century art movement called Symbolism?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post

    By symbolism do you mean the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, the use of symbols to represent quantities, or do you mean the late nineteenth-century art movement called Symbolism?
    I just meant the use of some sign to represent something else . Language would be an example . Coinage another."The use of symbols" would have been more correct than "symbolism" In fact I was using the word wrongly , I now see.(thanks for picking me up on it)

    I imagine animals may also use symbols (or do they?) and so this would not count as a human discovery as per the OP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post

    By symbolism do you mean the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, the use of symbols to represent quantities, or do you mean the late nineteenth-century art movement called Symbolism?
    I just meant the use of some sign to represent something else . Language would be an example . Coinage another."The use of symbols" would have been more correct than "symbolism" In fact I was using the word wrongly , I now see.(thanks for picking me up on it)

    I imagine animals may also use symbols (or do they?) and so this would not count as a human discovery as per the OP.
    An example of symbol use exclusive to humans is the use of alphabetical symbols to represent spoken human language.
    Last edited by mmatt9876; June 17th, 2017 at 09:52 AM.
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    Genetic engineering. It is already providing additional food to feed hundreds of millions and we're just started to explore its amazing potential from could result in the remarkable possibility to preserve the mass extinction we've started to colonizing space.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Genetic engineering. It is already providing additional food to feed hundreds of millions and we're just started to explore its amazing potential from could result in the remarkable possibility to preserve the mass extinction we've started to colonizing space.
    A nice thought but all those dying species only exist in a symbiosis with their niches,don't they . We cannot ever restore them (the niches) and can we realistically hope to tap into the knowledge being lost as these species die out?

    I mean there are countless species (correct terminology) being lost continuously without our even knowing they existed which might have held the key to advances in medicine and other areas .

    Antibiotics spring to mind ....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Probably money. Whilst many of us bemoan a lack of it, or at least having insufficient amounts to always be able to have the very latest things we are told we must have or want in this consumer society of ours, it does provide us with an effective and efficient exchange medium for acquiring all the things we really need in a relatively easy way. The world without money would be a very strange place and complicated if everything was being run on a barter system. Perhaps one day in the dim and distant future we may see a more altruistic world where people aren't quite so obsessed with the materialistic and where consumerism isn't the driving force, at this time the abolition of money might not seem so strange but here and now today I would certainly contend that money is indeed still a very important invention.
    Yea, purchasing goods with money when there is a set price is a lot less complicated than valuing one item towards another and trading them through bartering.
    Last edited by mmatt9876; June 17th, 2017 at 06:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Genetic engineering. It is already providing additional food to feed hundreds of millions and we're just started to explore its amazing potential from could result in the remarkable possibility to preserve the mass extinction we've started to colonizing space.
    Some of the benefits genetic engineering has brought to farming are longer shelf life, better disease resistance, and faster more frequent crop cycles, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Probably money. Whilst many of us bemoan a lack of it, or at least having insufficient amounts to always be able to have the very latest things we are told we must have or want in this consumer society of ours, it does provide us with an effective and efficient exchange medium for acquiring all the things we really need in a relatively easy way. The world without money would be a very strange place and complicated if everything was being run on a barter system. Perhaps one day in the dim and distant future we may see a more altruistic world where people aren't quite so obsessed with the materialistic and where consumerism isn't the driving force, at this time the abolition of money might not seem so strange but here and now today I would certainly contend that money is indeed still a very important invention.
    Yea, purchasing goods with money when there is a set price is a lot less complicated than valuing one item towards another and trading them through bartering.
    I'm watching the cryptocurrencies to see what kind of impact they might have, it seems to have been a steadily growing market, was a mini-crash a few days ago but moving back up again now. There appears to be nearly 900 with a total market capitalisation of over $100 billion. It will be very interesting to see if any of them can really replace or supercede one of the more established physical national currencies. If so, this could be a real evolutionary step fowards for the entire concept of money, rather than just another techy fad.
    Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. - confucius
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Probably money. Whilst many of us bemoan a lack of it, or at least having insufficient amounts to always be able to have the very latest things we are told we must have or want in this consumer society of ours, it does provide us with an effective and efficient exchange medium for acquiring all the things we really need in a relatively easy way. The world without money would be a very strange place and complicated if everything was being run on a barter system. Perhaps one day in the dim and distant future we may see a more altruistic world where people aren't quite so obsessed with the materialistic and where consumerism isn't the driving force, at this time the abolition of money might not seem so strange but here and now today I would certainly contend that money is indeed still a very important invention.
    Yea, purchasing goods with money when there is a set price is a lot less complicated than valuing one item towards another and trading them through bartering.
    I'm watching the cryptocurrencies to see what kind of impact they might have, it seems to have been a steadily growing market, was a mini-crash a few days ago but moving back up again now. There appears to be nearly 900 with a total market capitalisation of over $100 billion. It will be very interesting to see if any of them can really replace or supercede one of the more established physical national currencies. If so, this could be a real evolutionary step fowards for the entire concept of money, rather than just another techy fad.
    What exactly are cryptocurrencies? I know they are a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds independent of a central bank.
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    You've just answered your own question
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    You've just answered your own question
    I thought so. I was not sure if there was more to it than I thought.
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    cell phone that are Smart....they serve to keep us connected to business, and those we love.
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    I definitely agree with Lynx about genetic engineering, but to add something different to this conversation I will say indoor plumbing. Hot water and cold water on tap and a proper sewage disposal system are things I would hate to live without. Just think about how nasty things were back in the days of dumping chamber pots in the streets.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    cell phone that are Smart....they serve to keep us connected to business, and those we love.
    Cell phones are defiantly useful and cool because they keep one up to date. You can also listen to music, play videos, and play games on some smartphones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    I definitely agree with Lynx about genetic engineering, but to add something different to this conversation I will say indoor plumbing. Hot water and cold water on tap and a proper sewage disposal system are things I would hate to live without. Just think about how nasty things were back in the days of dumping chamber pots in the streets.
    A clean town is a happy and healthy town. I believe plumbing goes back to the ancient Romans but I think the science of plumbing was lost for a while during the Early Middle Ages in Europe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    I definitely agree with Lynx about genetic engineering, but to add something different to this conversation I will say indoor plumbing. Hot water and cold water on tap and a proper sewage disposal system are things I would hate to live without. Just think about how nasty things were back in the days of dumping chamber pots in the streets.
    A clean town is a happy and healthy town. I believe plumbing goes back to the ancient Romans but I think the science of plumbing was lost for a while during the Early Middle Ages in Europe.
    I think I heard on a TV documentary that it predated the Romans and that the Cretan civilization used sewerage systems.

    This seems to back up my memory on this

    "The Minoans were the first civilization to use underground clay pipes for sanitation and water supply. The Romans would develop these sophisticated comforts - but not for 1500 years."


    Minoan Engineering - Plumbing and Heatiing: HistoryWiz Ancient Greece
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    I definitely agree with Lynx about genetic engineering, but to add something different to this conversation I will say indoor plumbing. Hot water and cold water on tap and a proper sewage disposal system are things I would hate to live without. Just think about how nasty things were back in the days of dumping chamber pots in the streets.
    A clean town is a happy and healthy town. I believe plumbing goes back to the ancient Romans but I think the science of plumbing was lost for a while during the Early Middle Ages in Europe.
    Actually plumbing goes back further. The Indus Valley had indoor plumbing to an extent. In the city of Lothal (about c. 2300 BCE) every house had an indoor toilet that was connected to a covered sewer system.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

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    And my clarification predates yours ,Falconer360 by a minute
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    Hot water and cold water on tap and a proper sewage disposal system are things I would hate to live without. Just think about how nasty things were back in the days of dumping chamber pots in the streets.
    Reminds me of a scene in Blackadder II (set in Elizabethan times) when Blackadder is selling his house and the purchaser asks about the toilet arrangements:

    Mrs. Pants: But what about the privies?
    Blackadder: Um, well, what we are talking about in privy terms is the latest in front wall fresh air orifices combined with a wide capacity gutter installation below.
    Mrs. Pants: You mean you crap out the window?
    Blackadder: Yes.
    Mrs. Pants: Well in that case we'll definitely take it. I can't stand those dirty indoor things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    And my clarification predates yours ,Falconer360 by a minute
    Geordief the ninja has struck again!

    Demon I've only watched one episode of Blackadder, but clearly I need to watch more.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

    "It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down"
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    Guinness of course!
    And writing - preservation and distribution of knowledge. Without that scientific/ technological development would have been much slower.
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    Did the ancient Minoans, Romans, and peoples of the Indus Valley use water under pressure in their plumbing systems as we do today?
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    Demon I've only watched one episode of Blackadder, but clearly I need to watch more.
    Yes, yes you do It's witty as fuck and if you want to "get" British humour (note spelling ) it's a good starting point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Guinness of course!
    And writing - preservation and distribution of knowledge. Without that scientific/ technological development would have been much slower.
    Have you ever tried the Chimay Grande Reserve? It has a great texture and taste.

    Writing is defiantly one of the more paramount inventions in Human history for the reasons you stated.
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    With all the profundity of previous suggested favourites my liking for the humble gumboot seems a bit shallow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Did the ancient Minoans, Romans, and peoples of the Indus Valley use water under pressure in their plumbing systems as we do today?
    How could you have a water flow without pressure? Would it be "slopping out" otherwise?

    I only really know as much as there is in the link I gave you.

    I did also see a documentary on the BBC about how they filmed ,measured and reconstituted virtually a submerged town underwater using submarine drones

    The reconstituted town was then described as being very mod con and one that we would have felt very at home in.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlopetri
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    With all the profundity of previous suggested favourites my liking for the humble gumboot seems a bit shallow.
    That depends on your shoe size and how long your legs are!
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Did the ancient Minoans, Romans, and peoples of the Indus Valley use water under pressure in their plumbing systems as we do today?
    How could you have a water flow without pressure? Would it be "slopping out" otherwise?

    I only really know as much as there is in the link I gave you.

    I did also see a documentary on the BBC about how they filmed ,measured and reconstituted virtually a submerged town underwater using submarine drones

    The reconstituted town was then described as being very mod con and one that we would have felt very at home in.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlopetri
    Sorry about that! It is pretty obvious you need water pressure in order to have water flow through pipes.

    It is interesting that the people from the documentary were able to virtually reconstruct an ancient submerged town using submarine drones and find it had some amenities like our own.
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    Solar!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Solar!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Do you mean solar energy?
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    Nah, she just suffers from Tourette's Syndrome

    Also, I'm with Pratchett.. Multiple exclamation marks are the sign of a sick mind
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  38. #37  
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    writing ofc, all the above mentioned wouldn't be possible w/o making notes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Solar!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Do you mean solar energy?
    yes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Nah, she just suffers from Tourette's Syndrome

    Also, I'm with Pratchett.. Multiple exclamation marks are the sign of a sick mind

    Thank you Sir Demon. I could have said TAMPONS *L*
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    Solar tampons?
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    But surely if they are used as intended they are in a dark place
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Solar tampons?
    WHACKING YOU AND DEMON

    TAMPONS

    SOLAR?

    SHEESH they are in an dark place *L*


    Sorry that was so hilarious I spit my water out!
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    My favorite discovery is the discovery of Earth like exoplanets around other stars because they may harbor alien life or provide a place for interplanetary colonization one day.
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    Every time I get on an airplane, I always think how amazing it's to be able to fly on a machine that weights thousands if pounds but yet can move against the forces of nature in such controlled, perfect, graceful and precise manner. One would have to truly understand all the controls an aircraft has working in harmony all at the same time to really appreciate the invention of the airplane. Think about the Airbus 380 and the millions of operations that happen at the same time to see the marvelous machine flying.
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    and I need a pill to fly it is claustrophobic for me
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    Soap... because sometimes plain water just doesn't cut it.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdborjas View Post
    Every time I get on an airplane, I always think how amazing it's to be able to fly on a machine that weights thousands if pounds but yet can move against the forces of nature in such controlled, perfect, graceful and precise manner. One would have to truly understand all the controls an aircraft has working in harmony all at the same time to really appreciate the invention of the airplane. Think about the Airbus 380 and the millions of operations that happen at the same time to see the marvelous machine flying.
    After considering all the evolution the airplane went through since the first successful controlled flight of an aircraft by the Wright Brothers back in 1903 to the modern stealth fighters it is hard to believe the airplane has gone from point A to point B in only 114 years.
    Last edited by mmatt9876; July 10th, 2017 at 06:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    and I need a pill to fly it is claustrophobic for me
    Yea, it is such a small space.
    Last edited by mmatt9876; July 10th, 2017 at 06:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJW View Post
    Soap... because sometimes plain water just doesn't cut it.
    Without soap so many businesses could not function and a lot more people would be sick.
    Last edited by mmatt9876; July 10th, 2017 at 06:19 PM.
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    I think an important historical discovery is A^2+B^2=C^2.
    It can be used to calculate how far the solar tampon has to poke out to generate voltage.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
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    Vaccines, generally credited to Edward Jenner from Gloucestershire, England has helped save the lives of more people than anything else.

    Penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming from Darvel, Scotland has also saved countless lives.

    Painkillers such as Ibuprofen, discovered by Stewart Adams in Nottingham, England.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    I think an important historical discovery is A^2+B^2=C^2.
    It can be used to calculate how far the solar tampon has to poke out to generate voltage.
    In emergencies they have been used by Air Traffic Controllers to pinpoint an aircraft's position.
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    Self service supermarket checkouts are great.
    Seldom a queue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Vaccines, generally credited to Edward Jenner from Gloucestershire, England has helped save the lives of more people than anything else.

    Penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming from Darvel, Scotland has also saved countless lives.

    Painkillers such as Ibuprofen, discovered by Stewart Adams in Nottingham, England.
    The discovery of medicine and the countless inventions and discoveries that followed was very important for humanity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Self service supermarket checkouts are great.
    Seldom a queue.
    Self service supermarket checkouts are great and save the business, and ultimately the consumer, more money but they can hurt cashier job availability though.
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    Hair spray!
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    You've gone from the wrong page to the wrong thread! A two word random interjection should be in Follow On!
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    nope I mean it is the best discovery
    HAIR SPRAY

    and 24 hour LIPSTICK!!

    WHACK!
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    Now I think about it, I haven't been mugged in the street for money since debit cards.
    This quiet invention has made walking a lot safer.
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    does like work?
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    does like work?
    No.Nor is it likely too as things stand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    does like work?
    No.Nor is it likely too as things stand.
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    Mine is the discovery of AC current by Nikola Tesla !!
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  65. #64  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslam View Post
    Mine is the discovery of AC current by Nikola Tesla !!
    Tesla didn't "discover AC": look here.
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    But the AC motor is discovered by Tesla !! Isn't ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslam View Post
    But the AC motor is discovered by Tesla !! Isn't ?
    No.
    Look at the the link I gave.
    Tesla refined the AC motor, which was (probably) first made by Hippolyte Pixii (and based on work done by Faraday).
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    The light-bringing slave.
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    For me, pretty much anything that is electronic.
    "Change is almost always negative. Things degenerate." - Woody Allen

    "So all that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combatted, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle." – Nikola Tesla
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    The internet. It has brought porn to the masses....and allows people from alll over the world to argue about meaningless shit.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver1968 View Post
    The internet. It has brought porn to the masses.
    Porn; that shit needs fixin'!

    IN 1969, WE PUT A MAN ON THE MOON.

    IN 1982, WE INVENTED THE INTERNET.

    IN 1998, WE DISCOVERED THE FULL ANATOMY OF THE CLITORIS.


    Cliteracy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secular Sanity View Post
    The light-bringing slave.
    Makes me think there would be no bright indoor or outdoor light at night beyond the moon and starts without the discovery of fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serenesam View Post
    For me, pretty much anything that is electronic.
    Electronics are constantly evolving.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver1968 View Post
    The internet. It has brought porn to the masses....and allows people from alll over the world to argue about meaningless shit.
    The Achievements of the Internet: #1) Porn, #2) Meaningless Argument, #3) Solving Real World Problems... (Just Kidding!)
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    MacGyver only you would say porn!! *L*
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    What is your favorite invention and/or discovery in human history and why?

    My favorite invention is the personal computer because it allows you to create and run applications using the personal computers operating system.
    I think I might go for the steam engine.

    This was the first practical heat engine, enabling people to obtain unlimited mechanical power in any location they liked - previously one needed to be near running water or rely on wind or something. It powered the Industrial Revolution, revolutionised transport and led to the modern world.
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    The windmill, which allowed watering of the deserts the development of a powerful Arabic revolution that would bring together ideas from China, India, Africa and Roman/Greek cultures giving us the start of empirical science, Arabic/India numeric systems and algebra--a remarkable consolidation of ideas that would become the foundation for much of the European Renaissanceand eventual formation of the modern world.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Genetic engineering. It is already providing additional food to feed hundreds of millions and we're just started to explore its amazing potential from could result in the remarkable possibility to preserve the mass extinction we've started to colonizing space.
    Since I think DNA is one of the most remarkable pieces of matter existing on Earth I would agree with your choice.

    IMHO genetic engineering is actually an evolutionary step. One could say all that's transpired on Earth re LIFE has led us to a point where time's importance as a component of evolution has been severely reduced.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    I have little doubt the invention of the microwave oven (along with the development of more traditional cookers) is a very important advance.
    As a gourmand I am someone who appreciates fine food, expertly cooked, and admit I feel a certain level of contempt for those philistines who demand HP sauce with almost every meal!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cameron buttle View Post
    I have little doubt the invention of the microwave oven (along with the development of more traditional cookers) is a very important advance.
    As a gourmand I am someone who appreciates fine food, expertly cooked, and admit I feel a certain level of contempt for those philistines who demand HP sauce with almost every meal!
    Strange ,as some might think that the microwave was less than helpful when it comes to fine cooking.I use one but never as the main method.

    (having meals with food snobs is a harsh penance I have had to endure rarely praise the Lord)
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    What is your favorite invention and/or discovery in human history and why?

    My favorite invention is the personal computer because it allows you to create and run applications using the personal computers operating system.
    I think I might go for the steam engine.

    This was the first practical heat engine, enabling people to obtain unlimited mechanical power in any location they liked - previously one needed to be near running water or rely on wind or something. It powered the Industrial Revolution, revolutionised transport and led to the modern world.
    Scottish engineer James Watt's contribution to the steam engine with his patenting of a steam engine that could produce continuous rotary motion in 1781 was a huge contribution the the Industrial Revolution.
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    On reflection, geordie, you are almost certainly right about microwaves.
    However as someone who has literary pretensions I am incensed at my use of the word "gourmand".
    I should have said "gourmet"
    A gourmand refers to someone who eats and drinks too much: in other words a greedy B-----D.
    I could hardly be described in these terms as I have always kept careful watch on my calorie intake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The windmill, which allowed watering of the deserts the development of a powerful Arabic revolution that would bring together ideas from China, India, Africa and Roman/Greek cultures giving us the start of empirical science, Arabic/India numeric systems and algebra--a remarkable consolidation of ideas that would become the foundation for much of the European Renaissanceand eventual formation of the modern world.
    Wow! The windmill brought together and fostered a lot of science, math, and culture. Today the windmill is still helping us and is being used as a source of clean and renewable energy.
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  84. #83  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    What is your favorite invention and/or discovery in human history and why?

    My favorite invention is the personal computer because it allows you to create and run applications using the personal computers operating system.
    I think I might go for the steam engine.

    This was the first practical heat engine, enabling people to obtain unlimited mechanical power in any location they liked - previously one needed to be near running water or rely on wind or something. It powered the Industrial Revolution, revolutionised transport and led to the modern world.
    Scottish engineer James Watt's contribution to the steam engine with his patenting of a steam engine that could produce continuous rotary motion in 1781 was a huge contribution the the Industrial Revolution.
    I'd always understood that was a myth, as everybody had known about the principle of the crank for centuries already, and that the real contribution of Watt was the separate condenser, which greatly improved thermal efficiency by not cooling the cylinder every stroke (the early engines were driven by vacuum, not steam pressure, water being sprayed into the cylinder to abruptly condense the steam and "suck" the piston along the cylinder. So they were limited to 1bar operating pressure in effect).

    Having checked with Wiki, it is a little more complex, however. It is the case that the separate condenser was his key contribution. It is also the case that the crank was of course well-known.

    However it appears that someone had - rather preposterously - managed to get a patent on use of a crank (obvious or wot!), so Watt had to "design round" the patent, which he cleverly did with his sun and planet gearing. So that was indeed a route to overcoming a commercial stumbling block to the expansion of Boulton & Watt's range of steam engine applications.

    The separate condenser presumably enabled someone, later, to think why not jack up the steam pressure and not just rely on condensation to pull the piston, but actively push it with steam*. And thus, in stages, the modern concept of the steam engine was born.

    *Note added later: On closer reading I find this too was Watt! So he totally transformed the mode of operation, improving both thermal efficiency and power output, as well as getting round the attempt at restricting him commercially from converting the motion to rotary form.

    It also perhaps shows the galvanising effect of private enterprise: Boulton & Watt was a commercial business, competing with others to provide steam power for the developing industries of the time. So there was a strong driver for these improvements, to beat the competition.
    Last edited by exchemist; September 7th, 2017 at 11:24 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    What is your favorite invention and/or discovery in human history and why?

    My favorite invention is the personal computer because it allows you to create and run applications using the personal computers operating system.
    I think I might go for the steam engine.

    This was the first practical heat engine, enabling people to obtain unlimited mechanical power in any location they liked - previously one needed to be near running water or rely on wind or something. It powered the Industrial Revolution, revolutionised transport and led to the modern world.
    Scottish engineer James Watt's contribution to the steam engine with his patenting of a steam engine that could produce continuous rotary motion in 1781 was a huge contribution the the Industrial Revolution.
    I'd always understood that was a myth, as everybody had known about the principle of the crank for centuries already, and that the real contribution of Watt was the separate condenser, which greatly improved thermal efficiency by not cooling the cylinder every stroke (the early engines were driven by vacuum, not steam pressure, water being sprayed into the cylinder to abruptly condense the steam and "suck" the piston along the cylinder. So they were limited to 1bar operating pressure in effect).

    Having checked with Wiki, it is a little more complex, however. It is the case that the separate condenser was his key contribution. It is also the case that the crank was of course well-known.

    However it appears that someone had - rather preposterously - managed to get a patent on use of a crank (obvious or wot!), so Watt had to "design round" the patent, which he cleverly did with his sun and planet gearing. So that was indeed a route to overcoming a commercial stumbling block to the expansion of Boulton & Watt's range of steam engine applications.

    The separate condenser presumably enabled someone, later, to think why not jack up the steam pressure and not just rely on condensation to pull the piston, but actively push it with steam*. And thus, in stages, the modern concept of the steam engine was born.

    *Note added later: On closer reading I find this too was Watt! So he totally transformed the mode of operation, improving both thermal efficiency and power output, as well as getting round the attempt at restricting him commercially from converting the motion to rotary form.

    It also perhaps shows the galvanising effect of private enterprise: Boulton & Watt was a commercial business, competing with others to provide steam power for the developing industries of the time. So there was a strong driver for these improvements, to beat the competition.
    It sounds like Watt was a very smart and inventive engineer with his contribution of the separator condenser to the steam engine, his design around of the already patented crank with his sun and planet gearing, and his other various improvement of the steam engine which led up to the modern steam engine.
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    I think two major discoveries in human history were the discovery of the Big Bang Theory and the discovery of the Theory of Evolution because they offered different and more scientific explanations of the origins of the Universe and the origins of humankind and life than were offered by the Christian Church or Christian Bible.
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    The light bulb is right up there.
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    Many of my hobbies and everyday activities consist of using the internet (even for schooling). But without electricity my computers, phone, and other devices would be pointless and the internet would have no reason or possibility to exist. So electricity would definitely have to be my answers. That or indoor plumbing. I really never want to be in a situation where I have to dig a hole and shit in it.
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    The revolutionary tweeking of the printing press, by Johannes Gutenberg.
    https://www.livescience.com/43639-wh...ing-press.html
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    Invention of Language....
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    Aloha Dave Wilson

    LTNS
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Aloha Dave Wilson

    LTNS
    Howdy.
    Latinos are Republican. They just don't know it yet.
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    My least favorite discovery: microbes. Because it came so late. How long we'd been cooking, preserving, catching diseases and spreading them, dealing with our own crap - plumbing or no - and we failed to guess this was all about microscopic bugs. I mean if you want to live naked in the jungle, you ought to know about microbes.

    My favorite one can see from space: electric light.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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