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Humanity's greatest invention

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Topic: Humanity's greatest invention
Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Subject: Humanity's greatest invention
Date Posted: 13-Sep-2007 at 05:01
The wheel is usually cited as humanity's greatest invention buti have serious objections to that idea. As we know that although the Americans did knew the wheel but it never found any large scale application because of a few reasons yet they had pretty advanced societies. I think that the importance of wheel to human society may be a bit overstated. Paper is another invention which is mentioned in that regard and it is correct that paper's contribution to society is unmistakable because paper allowed much larger amount of text to be stored in the same space that what was possible before. However i think that the one human invention which beats them all is the invetion of metal. Just imagine that what it was like before metals. Human had to fashion his tools from stone rather in a cumbersome manner by taking a stone and smashing it against another stone in the hope that the other stone would breakoff in the manner in which tools couldbe fashioned from it while with the invention of metal objects could be shaped according to precise specification. It also meant that now wood could be extracted from trees something which was not possible before and that led to another revolution including the invention of paper (which is made from wood) and wheel (which is usually made from wood as well as metal sometime). Thinking about it i have to say that i think that it is the one barometer of a high materialy evolved society rather than the wheel (who americans didn't used) and paper (who before 700 A.D much of the world did not have). Thoughts??




Replies:
Posted By: Dolphin
Date Posted: 13-Sep-2007 at 05:28
Humanity's greatest invention? Well, in order to justify the term humanity, for me the invention must be centred around the developement of the self, the spirit, or intellect if you will of our race. And under this distinction the printing press eclippses any other invention in terms of the availability of knowledge, the spreading of ideas, the value of opinion, the spread of religious ideologies, the basis for the global notion of mankind, the documentation of language for the masses, the education of the poor...The list goes on and on.
 
For me, without the printing press, our race would never have developed culturally, morally, ethically and intellectually to the point it has today. Yes, steel brought about great economic change, but what's the endgame? Only the development of the mind, in my view, can warrant true and perfect invention.


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Am not I Dametas? Why, am not I Dametas?


Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 13-Sep-2007 at 05:40
All technology, every tree cut down to build a house, to hunt with, to cut up an animal to make clothing with, for 1.5 million years was made from flint. A lot of people reguard flint technology as the most important invention ever.

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Light blue touch paper and stand well back

http://www.maquahuitl.co.uk - http://www.maquahuitl.co.uk

http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk - http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 13-Sep-2007 at 23:02
For me it is clear: writing. All complex societies had it, or at least something equivalent as accounting in knowted strings. Writing produced the start of the first informatic revolution.
 
Other crucial development was the domestication of plants and animals. This allowed people to live in large numbers in cities, and assured the start of "civilization" (or living in cities). It was the first energy revolution.l
 
The wheel was important to develop modern technology, but like it was said above, not all societies made full use of it at all. But more than the wheel itself, it is the thooted wheel the founding stone for developing mechanics. This is perhaps the first technological revolution of importance.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 


Posted By: Balaam
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 03:58
There needs to be more recognition for those sponges with the scourers on one side, they really do save alot of time and effort when cleaning the dishes.

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Posted By: JanusRook
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 05:12


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Economic Communist, Political Progressive, Social Conservative.

Unless otherwise noted source is wiki.


Posted By: Dolphin
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 05:18
Originally posted by JanusRook JanusRook wrote:

 
 
But Judge Dredd says that 'The Seashells' are the way forward!!
 
Pinguin, paper is the prerequisite for the printing press, so you have a point. Still though, the printing press is my choice.
 
 


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Am not I Dametas? Why, am not I Dametas?


Posted By: Majkes
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 12:52
We had such a discussion on my spanish lessons and we've agreed that the most important invention in human history was alphabet.


Posted By: Cywr
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 13:46
Wet wipes > toilet paper.

But the flushing toilet is way up there, much better than those drafty bum-out-the-window jobs.


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Arrrgh!!"


Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 14:24
Nah! Toilet paper is totally unecessary as long as Geofrey Archer continues to put pen to paper.


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Light blue touch paper and stand well back

http://www.maquahuitl.co.uk - http://www.maquahuitl.co.uk

http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk - http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 17:37
The early American colonists used corn cobs for the toilet! 

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elenos


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 18:51
Originally posted by Majkes Majkes wrote:

We had such a discussion on my spanish lessons and we've agreed that the most important invention in human history was alphabet.
 
 
I do agree, although most Chineses don't. Most don't see the necesity of alphabetic writing.
 
Please, if there is a Chinese person reading this post, tell us what do you think about the importance of alphabetic writing
 
Pinguin
 


Posted By: SearchAndDestroy
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 19:35
Quote The early American colonists used corn cobs for the toilet! 
Corn Husk, not the cob. The cob was eatten, the husk was left, so they used'em!Smile

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"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." E.Abbey


Posted By: konstantinius
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 20:32
Humanity's biggest "invention" is agriculture, ca. 7-9,000 BC. Alas, this what's got us in the mess that we're in today.

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" I do disagree with what you say but I'll defend to my death your right to do so."


Posted By: mamikon
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 21:00
penicilin?


Posted By: Malik
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 21:32
Id say the alphabet


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 21:49
Perhaps underwear?

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elenos


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 23:18
Originally posted by konstantinius konstantinius wrote:

Humanity's biggest "invention" is agriculture, ca. 7-9,000 BC. Alas, this what's got us in the mess that we're in today.

I totally agree, and i take my statement  back about metal being humanity's greatest invention, it is without a doubt agriculture


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 23:37
Originally posted by elenos elenos wrote:

Perhaps underwear?
 
Not only underwear, but I would say "cloths" in general. That allow us to leave Kenya for colder places.


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 23:56
Good thinking pinquin. I'd stay at home and go nowhere without my clothes as well, even down the street!

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elenos


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 15-Sep-2007 at 22:17
Pinguin the toothed wheel is more of an invention of geometry than wheel technology. To an ordinary person the toothed wheel looks like just a wheel with jagged edges to us engineers it is a very complex mechanical device with lots of geometric shapes and only in its simplest form does it come in the toothed wheel shape, otherwise it can come in a lot variety of shapes. Your own Meso American calender employed cog technology without strictly being a toothed wheel.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 15-Sep-2007 at 23:19
Originally posted by bilal_ali_2000 bilal_ali_2000 wrote:

Pinguin the toothed wheel is more of an invention of geometry than wheel technology. To an ordinary person the toothed wheel looks like just a wheel with jagged edges to us engineers it is a very complex mechanical device with lots of geometric shapes and only in its simplest form does it come in the toothed wheel shape, otherwise it can come in a lot variety of shapes. Your own Meso American calender employed cog technology without strictly being a toothed wheel.

 
A fascinating matter, indeed. Let me show you my theory. For me there are civilization of first, two and third degrees, according to technology. A first degree civilization would be a pre-Imperial China, Mohenho Dahro, the Aztecs, Crete, the ancient Israel, etc. A second degree would be classical Greece, Middle Ages Europe and Tang China. A third degree civilization would be the modern world after the steam machine.
 
What marks the differency? Well, tecnology. Some example:
 
First degree:
 
Writing
Basic technology
Poetry, shamanism.
 
Second degree:
Alphabet writing
Thooted wheel (clockworks)
Phylosophy, scholastic, algebra.
 
Third degree:
Printing press
Steam machine
Calculus, modern science
 
You can see that there are basic technologies that mark the differency. The thooted wheel is one of them. It is my thesis, anyways...
 
Pinguin
 
 


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 16-Sep-2007 at 06:24
I agree with you, although i still think that using the toothed wheel in complex machines requires an advanced knowledge of geometry. But i still think that Agriculture is humanity's greatest invention without which there can be no civilization hence no inventions.
On a side note i was just learning about the crossbow and i have to say that the crossbow must rank right up there with the best of human inventions considering its usefulness. It would be in my list of top 30 human inventions.


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 16-Sep-2007 at 20:49
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

You can see that there are basic technologies that mark the differency. The thooted wheel is one of them. It is my thesis, anyways...
 
Pinguin
 
 

Didn't the Americas had toothed wheel. I think it was you who showed us a picture of it on the site. That explains you having such a high regard for it.LOLWink



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 16-Sep-2007 at 21:39
Originally posted by bilal_ali_2000 bilal_ali_2000 wrote:

...
Didn't the Americas had toothed wheel. I think it was you who showed us a picture of it on the site. That explains you having such a high regard for it.LOLWink
 
I have Amerindians in high regard, particularly the Incas and Mayas, because of theirs cultural achievements. Besides I have a sentimental link with the Mapuche natives. They are my "brothers" you know Wink
 
That doesn't mean I am not realistic. Ancient Peruvians melted bronze war axes that "looked like" thooted wheels.... But "looking" is not the same of "being". The fact is in the ancient Americas there wasn't clockwork. The notion of the train of gears was completely absent.
 
Now, without clockworks you can't build machinery. You can't build a water mill or a wind mill that accelerates production (like was done in Europe in the Middle Ages). You can't build astronomical instruments and precission clocks that help you to change society. Even worst, without that element you can't build an industrial society.
 
Natives were very inventive and keep surprising archaologists, having invented things like hydraulic toys, convex mirrors to start fires, authomatic furnaces for metalurgy, paper manufacturing, hanging bridges, inflatable boats, and thousand of other things.
 
However, they never invented the thooted wheel, the real arch in architecture, the alphabet writing system or the string instruments in music. The Europeans contributed with that, besides bringing better animals than the llamas (cows, oxes, mules, horses). After the Spanish arrived water mills started to appear, the mule replaced the llama in heavy transportation and agriculture become richer (Natives had a chronical deficiency in consumption of meat, so they addopted the cows, chickens, pigs and sheeps of Europeans pretty fast)....  which is good... at least Europeans contributed with something LOL
 
Pinguin
 
 


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 17-Sep-2007 at 01:28
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

and agriculture become richer

American agriculture was quite rich itself by then, which can be gaged by the fact that more than half of the crop varieties grown over the world today are of American origin. People all over the world are forever thankful to the native Americans for increasing the standard of their living.


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 17-Sep-2007 at 01:30
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

and agriculture become richer

American agriculture was quite rich itself by then, which can be gaged by the fact that more than half of the crop varieties grown over the world today are of American origin. People all over the world are forever thankful to the native Americans for increasing the standard of their living.


Posted By: wang yun
Date Posted: 17-Sep-2007 at 03:34
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

 What marks the differency? Well, tecnology. Some example:
 
First degree:
 
Writing
Basic technology
Poetry, shamanism.
 
Second degree:
Alphabet writing
Thooted wheel (clockworks)
Phylosophy, scholastic, algebra.
 
Third degree:
Printing press
Steam machine
Calculus, modern science
 
You can see that there are basic technologies that mark the differency. The thooted wheel is one of them. It is my thesis, anyways...
 
Pinguin
 
 
Much like taking the toothed wheel as a sign of technological progress for all civilizations, taking the alphabetic writing as a sign of technological progress for all civilizations is flawed. E.g Many advanced countries like Japan are still using syllabets-- where the most basic symbol in writing represents one syllable rather than one alphabetic sound-- it's a question of whatever works (most practically/ efficiently) in the circumstances, not what is (ideologically/ conceptually) a sign of technological progress.
 
BTW, Shintoism, which is still quite shamanistic, is still alive in Japan-- so it seems to me that your degrees of civilization was "calibrated" by reference to another region or civilization. In fact, the stages of technological development, just like the stages of social development, have always needed some "recalibration" whenever making cross-regional/ civilizational comparisons.
 
This is my biggest beef with Sid Meier's Civilization games-- the technology tree is a fun game device, but does not actually make historical or scientific sense. It perpetuates the myth that one single person or invention, however ground-breaking, is enough to change the world.
 
In fact, the history of Chinese science, which some quite astutely call the history of LOST Chinese science-- shows the relationship between an invention and its subsequent usage and development cannot be taken for granted. E.g. Having a compass does not necessarily lead to naval exploration or expansion, etc..


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 17-Sep-2007 at 15:15
Originally posted by wang yun wang yun wrote:

Much like taking the toothed wheel as a sign of technological progress for all civilizations, taking the alphabetic writing as a sign of technological progress for all civilizations is flawed. E.g Many advanced countries like Japan are still using syllabets-- where the most basic symbol in writing represents one syllable rather than one alphabetic sound-- it's a question of whatever works (most practically/ efficiently) in the circumstances, not what is (ideologically/ conceptually) a sign of technological progress.
 
I don't agree. It is not a matter that Western culture is superior to the East. It is a matter if alphabetic writing is better or worst than ideographic writing. As far as studies go, the impact of alphabetic writing IN THE WEST was huge, and many inventions and institutions IN THE WEST come from alphabetic writing.
 
Now, no matter that the East invented quite a lot of things and created many important ideas, the question remains: does ideographic writing slow down somehow the development in the East? I bet so.
 
Originally posted by wang yun wang yun wrote:

BTW, Shintoism, which is still quite shamanistic, is still alive in Japan-- so it seems to me that your degrees of civilization was "calibrated" by reference to another region or civilization. In fact, the stages of technological development, just like the stages of social development, have always needed some "recalibration" whenever making cross-regional/ civilizational comparisons.
 
Even "modern" religions are forms of refined shamanism, anyways. The point was not that. I tried to give an idea that technology can define different "levels" of technological advances; nothing more than that.
 
Originally posted by wang yun wang yun wrote:

... 
In fact, the history of Chinese science, which some quite astutely call the history of LOST Chinese science-- shows the relationship between an invention and its subsequent usage and development cannot be taken for granted. E.g. Having a compass does not necessarily lead to naval exploration or expansion, etc..
 
Absolutely agree. Aztecs knew the wheel but never used it, and Greeks knew the steam machine, but didn't apply it either....
So, China is not an exception in lost opportunities.
 
 


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 18-Sep-2007 at 06:00
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

 
I don't agree. It is not a matter that Western culture is superior to the East. It is a matter if alphabetic writing is better or worst than ideographic writing. As far as studies go, the impact of alphabetic writing IN THE WEST was huge, and many inventions and institutions IN THE WEST come from alphabetic writing.
 
Now, no matter that the East invented quite a lot of things and created many important ideas, the question remains: does ideographic writing slow down somehow the development in the East? I bet so.
 
 

Pinguin these countries do have a subset in their writing system for alphabetic writing. If you don't know the sign for a certain word then you can use these alphabetic characters to represent them. Its not that cumbersome a system to use in fact it may be more efficient then the alphabetic writing which modern studies have indicated.  Anyway most fast readers process the alphabetic writing as ideographic writing anyway.  They look at individual words as more of a shape then a combination of shapes, they identify a misspelled word as not "looking right".  And some of the chinese even in ancient times did try to use syllabic writing but since it was looked down by the mainstream intellegencia it never caught on. The main reason for the Chinese use of ideographic writing than a syllabic one is because unlike the Indians who  had a standard tongue Sanskrit the Chinese spoke a wide variety of languages and so instead used a unified writing system which was independent of any language.  That  is the  main reason why they never used syllabic writing.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 18-Sep-2007 at 09:30
Originally posted by bilal_ali_2000 bilal_ali_2000 wrote:

...Pinguin these countries do have a subset in their writing system for alphabetic writing. If you don't know the sign for a certain word then you can use these alphabetic characters to represent them. Its not that cumbersome a system to use in fact it may be more efficient then the alphabetic writing which modern studies have indicated.  Anyway most fast readers process the alphabetic writing as ideographic writing anyway.  They look at individual words as more of a shape then a combination of shapes, they identify a misspelled word as not "looking right".  And some of the chinese even in ancient times did try to use syllabic writing but since it was looked down by the mainstream intellegencia it never caught on. The main reason for the Chinese use of ideographic writing than a syllabic one is because unlike the Indians who  had a standard tongue Sanskrit the Chinese spoke a wide variety of languages and so instead used a unified writing system which was independent of any language.  That  is the  main reason why they never used syllabic writing.
 
I agree with that. Besides, Chinese is a tonal language so in writing the ideograms help to precise the meaning. So, the Chineses has to live with it, no matter the problems it also has. You realize that when you try to look for a character in a Chinese dictionary of ideograms.
 
But the point was with respect to the alphabet itself and its contribution to the development of civilization. The main characteristic of the alphabet is that codify sounds, which is amazing if you think on it. Other of the main properties of the alphabet is that you can order words in an arithmetic fashion, associating each letter of the alphabet with a number (a=1, b=2, c=3... etc) that's crucial for what it follows.
 
These are the contributions found by scholars:
 
(1) It help in the development of catalogs and systems of files.
(2) It inspired the coding of written laws.
(3) Impulsed the concept of classification in science.
(4) It helped spreading writing to the masses because it was a simple system.
(5) It helped to codify languages that lacked writing.
(6) It is in the origins of the digitalization and informatics.
(7) Introduce the concept of equivalence between numbers and letters, inspiring algebra (and kabbala as well).
(8) Inspire writing of music.
(9) Was the origin of the methodical study of grammar and logic.
 
Among many other things. The alphabet is considered by many scholars one of the main inventions because of these and other key developments of mankind.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 


Posted By: xi_tujue
Date Posted: 18-Sep-2007 at 11:28
Originally posted by Majkes Majkes wrote:

We had such a discussion on my spanish lessons and we've agreed that the most important invention in human history was alphabet.



agreed



written language Clap


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I rather be a nomadic barbarian than a sedentary savage


Posted By: TheOrcRemix
Date Posted: 19-Sep-2007 at 01:19

 
words are overrated.


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True peace is not the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.
Sir Francis Drake is the REAL Pirate of the Caribbean


Posted By: JuMong
Date Posted: 19-Sep-2007 at 06:31
Anyone mentioned fire?

Something that you should have learned in high school.  Any fan of Greek mythology should know this by heart. Ever wonder why Frankenstein is alternatively titled a Modern Prometheus?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 19-Sep-2007 at 13:48
Yes, fire making is older. If I am not wrong, pre-dates the exhodous from Africa...
And perhaps made the difference.


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 19-Sep-2007 at 18:15
Fire making seems to come from the time of using stone. It has been suggested at one time the early tribes carried around the fire made by lightning. The Australian Aborigine used a "fire-stick" the friction of twirling hardwood on softer wood to make fire.


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elenos


Posted By: bilal_ali_2000
Date Posted: 20-Sep-2007 at 08:49
As a humbling thought on how we take many things for granted including fire making which we feel that any person can create it anywhere, it happened so that some Europeans got lost in the Amazon jungles and because of isolation reverted to a stone age way of life and lost even the art of making fire.


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 21-Sep-2007 at 02:20
Necessity is the mother of invention but it is indeed humbling to know how long it has taken to get what we now take for granted and cannot duplicate when the need arises.


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elenos


Posted By: Rusalka
Date Posted: 21-Sep-2007 at 03:19
I wouldn't want to live without human language or fire... though I've never (really) been without either of them.

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"You can choose everything in the world, son,
The only thing you cannot choose is your Fatherland." - Oles Honchar


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 21-Sep-2007 at 10:14
Originally posted by elenos elenos wrote:

Necessity is the mother of invention but it is indeed humbling to know how long it has taken to get what we now take for granted and cannot duplicate when the need arises.
 
Actually, our contemporary fellows hardly knows how to manufacture anything of our material world. If you are left in the jungle nude, could you built a car? a TV? a radio? make paper? or even melt metal? .... hardly.
Not even engineers can make most of those things, because they buy theirs parts in Radio Shack LOL
 
Realizing that we become modest when we compare ourselves with the "savages" of the jungle. By the way, natives of the Amazons use internet today to fight for theirs rights and to preserve theirs knowledge in plant and medicine. So, it is just not that difficult to become "civilized". What's hard is to build "civilization" from scratch. That took 10 thousand years to million of people spread along the surface of earth. That's the heritage of all.
 
Pinguin
 


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 23-Sep-2007 at 02:02
We become civilized to make things easier and by being a consumer carry all the rest along with us. We are the modern day magicians in that we can walk into a room flick a switch and before we can say "Let there be light!" there is light. Trouble is the electricity company and not us owns the magic. I have been on a farm where I had to chop firewood to do the cooking but not any more. I have a gas stove but do my most of my cooking in a microwave.  The gods must be saying by now "Come back Prometheus all is forgiven!"


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elenos


Posted By: wang yun
Date Posted: 24-Sep-2007 at 15:48
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I don't agree. It is not a matter that Western culture is superior to the East. It is a matter if alphabetic writing is better or worst than ideographic writing. As far as studies go, the impact of alphabetic writing IN THE WEST was huge, and many inventions and institutions IN THE WEST come from alphabetic writing.
 
Err, you don't have to agree or disagree-- I was stating a fact, not an opinion. Some countries just don't use or never developed an alphabetic writing because it doesn't work as well as whatever system of writing they use or developed. Did I say anything about cultural superiority? Confused
 
In fact, my only point was what you take for levels of development in the area of such "humanities" or social science are difficult to apply evenly across the board. The impact of any writing is closely tied to the impact of the language which it tries to record, which is closely tied to the literature in the language, which is closely tied to the philosophy behind the literature, etc.
 
Unless you're talking about modern linguistics-- in which case, the International Phonetic Alphabet with its detailed demarcation of sounds and tones is an absolutely essential invention. But the IPA (which only professional can understand) helps to promotes the development of linguistics in general rather than any particular language or literature, philosophy.
 
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Now, no matter that the East invented quite a lot of things and created many important ideas, the question remains: does ideographic writing slow down somehow the development in the East? I bet so.
 
If you were making the bet in early ROC/ PRC, you would have won because many Chinese themselves were led by western writings to believe that it was their writing system which affected their development-- completely forgetting that the Chinese led or kept up with world technology until the 16th century when... [long Chinese history lesson which cannot be explained simply just by the writing system].LOL
 
That was why Mao Zedong himself commissioned and promoted the Hanyu Pinyin system of phonetization/ transliteration, with the intention of modernizing China by romanizing Chinese writing-- aka, because all modern nations have alphabetic writing, therefore China will modernize if it alphabetizes. It failed, not because Mao Zedong didn't have enough power to enforce the change, but because it didn't "work" (FOR the Chinese).
 
But you have mixed up or generalized a few things (both east & west). E.g, the Koreans, Japanese, etc. already had their own phonetic scripts by the 16th century-- but they ALSO fell behind the western developments (like the rest of East Asia)... AND later caught up again (like the rest of East Asia), withOUT changing alphabetizing or romanizing their scripts. So my point was only this, whatever general principle you're proposing may need to be recalibrated (for exceptions?) when you widen your scope or consider specific instances.
 
 
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Even "modern" religions are forms of refined shamanism, anyways. The point was not that. I tried to give an idea that technology can define different "levels" of technological advances; nothing more than that.
 
 
So as long as a religion has survived into modern times, you are just going assumed it is "advanced" and not consider the actual nature of the religion? Doesn't that defeat your efforts in distinguishing between different "levels" of technological advances? Again, my point is that religion is in the area of such "humanities" or social science, like language and writing, where it can gain refinement and complexities but don't really (need to) make "technological leaps".


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 24-Sep-2007 at 16:12

Yes, Wan Yun. You are right in your points. Chinese script is fine for China, no matter it is very hard for people to get it. Some Chinese friends told me once that only the most educated fellows managed most of the ideograms, for instance.

For that reason I said that for the west (and I remark "the west"), the switch from ideographic systems to the alphabet was a major cultural revolution... 2800 years ago, indeed. You can trace the origin of Greek phylosophy and literature, and even Jewish religion to developments in the alphabet... It was also the main force behind the development of codified laws, library cathalogs and finally organized science.... again, in the west!
 
Today is hard to tell the impact in Asia because Japaneses, Chineses and Koreans KNOW the alphabet already, and they use them when they need it, as for example in mathematics (greek alphabet) or in codings.
 
With respect to shamanism and religion, I really don't care much. I am agnostic. And I feel very attracted by local Amerindians believes, anyways.
 
Pinguin
 


Posted By: warnenczyk
Date Posted: 15-Nov-2007 at 19:46

The gratest invention is :



Posted By: longshanks31
Date Posted: 17-Nov-2007 at 22:14
dont know if its been mentioned but i will vote for soap or the nail

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long live the king of bhutan


Posted By: Goban
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 17:21
Beer of course.
 
The contributions to the birth and advancement of sedentary cultures cannot be ignored!!  Wink (for better or worse...).
 
But on the other hand, I have to agree with Paul. The working of stone (both flaked stone and ground stone) made us who we are today... They are the tools directly responsible for our "advancement" (careful use of the term).
 
And for being an extremely ancient art, it's hard to become proficient. My personal level of proficiency is somewhere just outside of the oldowan industry....
 
 


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The sharpest spoon in the drawer.


Posted By: Illirac
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 14:01
I do not know what is humanity greatest invention...at this day everything is great: we would not probably have 'this' without 'that'...though i can say what are the worst of invention: all sort of weapons and every thing used to put an end to human life


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For too long I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it.


Posted By: Athanasios
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 15:10


Religion...LOL!


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Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 22:17
Let's not go there. Religion I mean. 

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elenos


Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 29-Nov-2007 at 23:49
Originally posted by konstantinius konstantinius wrote:

Humanity's biggest "invention" is agriculture, ca. 7-9,000 BC. Alas, this what's got us in the mess that we're in today.


Seconded.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 29-Nov-2007 at 23:59
fire...

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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 00:03
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Now, no matter that the East invented quite a lot of things and created many important ideas, the question remains: does ideographic writing slow down somehow the development in the East? I bet so.


I don't think so. The West had alphabetic writing for thousands of years, but lagged far behind the East for all but the last five or six hundred years. Nor did alphabetic writing appear to offer any boost in literacy, since for millenia, literacy in China was far higher than in Europe. Only in the late 19th century was it surpassed (and even then only in certain parts of Europe).

The big advantage of ideographic scripts like Hanzi are that they don't rely on sounds, and so, are totally independant of language altogether. You could, technically, learn to write Chinese even if you spoke only English, and it would (historically, at least) be intelligible to speakers of dozens of different Asiatic languages. I think idiographic script actually explains rather well why the East was in the technological lead for most of history - they had a literary lingua franca as far back as 6000 BC, whereas Europe only had Latin since about 100 BC.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 00:23

The west lagged behind the East mainly in the Middle Ages period, where without doubt Tang and Sung China were more advanced technically than anything in the West.

However, if you compare the GreeK-Roman civilization from 800 BC to 400 AD, that was undoubtly more advanced in technology but mainly in science than China in that period. Things like the study of the conics of Apholonious, the works of Philo of Alexandria and the theory of Calculus of Archimedes were a lot more advanced than anything in China at the time.

Finally, Chineses had no writing at 6000 BC.
 
 

 



-------------
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 00:37
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Finally, Chineses had no writing at 6000 BC.


Quite wrong. The Damaidi Petroglyphs push the origins of the Asiatic script to between 7 and 8 thousand years BC. Some of the inscriptions are as old as 20-30 thousand BC (although admittedly, they are not recognizably a "script" at that point).

Quote However, if you compare the GreeK-Roman civilization from 800 BC to 400 AD, that was undoubtly more advanced in technology but mainly in science than China in that period. Things like the study of the conics of Apholonious, the works of Philo of Alexandria and the theory of Calculus of Archimedes were a lot more advanced than anything in China at the time.


Asiatic achievements are simply not as well known in the west. Archimedes is familiar - practically a brand name; but nobody knows the Chinese texts or mathematicians. The Chinese had discovered everything the Romans and Greeks had, roughly at the same time, usually a century or two ahead and with slightly more precision.

One particular advantage they had at this point was that the ideographic script featured true numerals and a form of decimal notation, like Arabic script (not quite that good but close), while the Romans and Greeks were stuck with a most awkward and clumsy numbering system, totally unsuited to higher mathematics. Quick ... what's the square root of MCMLXIV? No decimals now ... Roman long writing for fractions ...


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 01:05

Pethroglyps are not necesarily writing. In fact, all people of the earth have symbolic systems, some with thousand of symbols. But they are not considered scripts. The damaidi pethroglyphs doesn't qualify as writing, I am afraid.

 
 
Experts say the earliest proper writing in China is from 1.200 B.C., a time very late in history. In fact, the writing systems of Mesopotamia and of the Fertil Crescent in general, are thousand of years older.
 
 
With respect to Chinese science more advanced than the science of Alexandria, I am afraid is fantasy. Yes, Chineses knew some interesting numerical method at the time, but they didn't developed anything close to axiomatic geometry and they didn't reach the math skills of Archimedes at all. Greek-Roman engineering was quite advanced, however not many people knows the details. I am sure it has nothing to envy to China in Classical times. As I said before, it is not the case of the Middle Ages were China was indeed at the top, particularly with the Tang and Sung dinasties.
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Siege Tower
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 01:25
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The west lagged behind the East mainly in the Middle Ages period, where without doubt Tang and Sung China were more advanced technically than anything in the West.

However, if you compare the GreeK-Roman civilization from 800 BC to 400 AD, that was undoubtly more advanced in technology but mainly in science than China in that period. Things like the study of the conics of Apholonious, the works of Philo of Alexandria and the theory of Calculus of Archimedes were a lot more advanced than anything in China at the time.

Finally, Chineses had no writing at 6000 BC.
 
 

 




The early Chinese scientist simply took a different approach in science and mathematic, the greeks were more focused on theories, while the  Chinese  were focusing on more practical use of science and mathematic. it's hard to tell who is more advanced because the Chinese are most definitely more advanced in astronomy, practical use of mathematic and metallurgy, while the greeks are more advanced in scientific and mathematical theories.


Finally, Chineses had no writing at 6000 BC.

This just give us one more reason to admire the Chinese civilization.


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Posted By: Brian J Checco
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 05:35
The internet- millions of nudie pictures at lightning speed!

Oh yeah, and the ability to communicate in real time with people all oer the planet, and even in space. But, obviously, that's of secondary importance...
LOL


Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 07:56
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Pethroglyps are not necesarily writing. In fact, all people of the earth have symbolic systems, some with thousand of symbols. But they are not considered scripts.


Unless they have standardized pictograms ... which the portions of the Damaidi inscriptions made after 7-8 thousand BC do have. Those inscriptions go back to 20 000 BC so, it is not all of them that qualify. But some do.

Quote Experts say the earliest proper writing in China is from 1.200 B.C., a time very late in history. In fact, the writing systems of Mesopotamia and of the Fertil Crescent in general, are thousand of years older.


No, quite wrong here. Damaidi is new stuff and pushes it back quite a bit, but since the late 1800s, historians have universally dated the emergence of proto-Hanzi script at around 3000-4000 BC. Since the 1970s, various discoveries (Jiahu script, Damaidi, etc) seem to be pushing those dates back. The most conservative estimates remain at 3000-4000 BC, as they have for over 100 years now.

Quote Greek-Roman engineering was quite advanced, however not many people knows the details.


Yeah, nobody knows about the aqueducts, the roads, or the colloseum. It's so ... obscure.

The Chinese had comparable achievements, the least of which were roads and aqueducts. Bridge design was centuries ahead, they possessed blast furnaces, crucible steel, Wootz steel, wrought and cast iron, towers much taller than any freestanding structures in Roman design, etc.

The Romans had their own technologies too, but between the Han and the Romans, it is absurdity to state the Romans as being technologically superior, in any overall sense.

Quote but they didn't developed anything close to axiomatic geometry and they didn't reach the math skills of Archimedes at all.


Sure. They had pi, they had pythagorean theorum, etc. Zhang Heng and others like him were easily the equal of anything produced in the Classical world.


Posted By: Garvm
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 11:03
Guys i was reading this thread, and i think that is very good!
 
Please dont make this thread a competition between West and East...
 
And the greatest invention is the agriculture, because trigered all major civilizational acomplishments of Humanity.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 13:03
Originally posted by Siege Tower Siege Tower wrote:

...
The early Chinese scientist simply took a different approach in science and mathematic, the greeks were more focused on theories, while the  Chinese  were focusing on more practical use of science and mathematic.
 
In science, Greeks created abstract science and axiomatic geometry. Without that science and technology wouldn't have reached the standards of modern society. Now, in technology, the Greeks, particularly Heron of Alexandria and Philo, were amazing engineers, and the Antekitera clockwork show the were ahead of anything in Asia by the 1rst Century AD. Yes, China catch up and by the Middle Ages China was the most advanced industrial society. But, please, do not downplay as easily Greek-Roman achievements that were many.
 
Originally posted by Siege Tower Siege Tower wrote:

...
it's hard to tell who is more advanced because the Chinese are most definitely more advanced in astronomy, practical use of mathematic and metallurgy, while the greeks are more advanced in scientific and mathematical theories.
 
In Astronomy? Hardly, the model of Ptolmey was predictive up to fractions of the second. In practical use of mathematics, if you mean in arithmetic and numerical calculus, Chineses had a small advantage, particularly with the Pascal theorem. In metallurgy, Chineses have a lead. In scientific theory there is no comparison, Greeks already had formulated statics in Physics in its modern form.


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 13:10
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:


Yeah, nobody knows about the aqueducts, the roads, or the colloseum. It's so ... obscure.

That's the easy and popular stuff. But not many know they also knew acoustic to build theirs theaters, they knew hydraulics, had pumps, cranes, concave mirror and had the clockworks most advanced of the time.
They also build the tallest building of theirs time and knew to make concrete. They also have feedback mechanism, abacus and used printing in stamping cloths. Just that as a start for the many things the Greek-Roman engineering produced.
 
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:


Quote but they didn't developed anything close to axiomatic geometry and they didn't reach the math skills of Archimedes at all.


Sure. They had pi, they had pythagorean theorum, etc. Zhang Heng and others like him were easily the equal of anything produced in the Classical world.
 
Pi is kids' stuff. The pythagorean theorem was known by Egyptians in their PRACTICAL aspect. What is new to greeks is that they DEMOSTRATED the theorem. Before Greeks mathematics was empirical, Greeks developed the axiomatic method to demostrate everything in Geometry. In that they were light-years ahead of Chineses and anyone else in the planet.
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Sun Tzu
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 14:02
ehh tough question, umm fire? not sure if it was invented or just happened.

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Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception - Sun Tzu


Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 20:04
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

That's the easy and popular stuff. But not many know they also knew acoustic to build theirs theaters, they knew hydraulics, had pumps, cranes, concave mirror and had the clockworks most advanced of the time.


And the Chinese had acoustics, hydraulics, pumps, cranes, clocks, seismographs, the odometer ... "light years" behind? That's silly and just indicates an unfamiliarity with the Han.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 20:53
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

That's the easy and popular stuff. But not many know they also knew acoustic to build theirs theaters, they knew hydraulics, had pumps, cranes, concave mirror and had the clockworks most advanced of the time.


And the Chinese had acoustics, hydraulics, pumps, cranes, clocks, seismographs, the odometer ... "light years" behind? That's silly and just indicates an unfamiliarity with the Han.
 
I know Needham well, and also Greek and Roman achievements. I know Chineses developed a lot of technology, mainly in the Middle Ages, but in Han times they were even. Now, the comment about the "light years behind" applies to axiomatic geometry and abstract science where Greeks really reached higher levels. Modern technology has a good share of Chinese inventions (not all, though), but modern science is highly based in Greek (geometry, physics, astronomy), Muslim (algebra, astronomy, optics) and Indian (arithmetics) abstract developments rather than in Chinese science.
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 20:55
Originally posted by Sun Tzu Sun Tzu wrote:

ehh tough question, umm fire? not sure if it was invented or just happened.
 
If invented, it wasn't by Homo Sapiens Sapiens but probably Homo Erectus, Neardhentals or who knows...


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Siege Tower
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 05:17
In science, Greeks created abstract science and axiomatic geometry. Without that science and technology wouldn't have reached the standards of modern society. Now, in technology, the Greeks, particularly Heron of Alexandria and Philo, were amazing engineers, and the Antekitera clockwork show the were ahead of anything in Asia by the 1rst Century AD. Yes, China catch up and by the Middle Ages China was the most advanced industrial society. But, please, do not downplay as easily Greek-Roman achievements that were many.
 
In Astronomy? Hardly, the model of Ptolmey was predictive up to fractions of the second. In practical use of mathematics, if you mean in arithmetic and numerical calculus, Chineses had a small advantage, particularly with the Pascal theorem. In metallurgy, Chineses have a lead. In scientific theory there is no comparison, Greeks already had formulated statics in Physics in its modern form.

okay pinguin, can you explain what you mean by "advanced", because it's quiet unclear. so scientific theories are consider "advanced" and focusing on practical use is considered "primitive"? and please what do you know about chinese astronomy? and mathematic? ever heard of nine chapters on mathematic? and Mozi. ring any bell? you say chinese engineering is primitive, than what about siege weapons, the chinese are by far more advanced than than greeks. and who build these marvelous marble architecture?  millions of slaves , that doesn't sound very advanced to me. China on the other hand had abolished slavery by the end of zhou dynasty.


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Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 08:48
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

but modern science is highly based in Greek (geometry, physics, astronomy), Muslim (algebra, astronomy, optics) and Indian (arithmetics) abstract developments rather than in Chinese science.


That's strictly because of its lineage and has nothing to do with the degree of advancement in ancient China. It has alot to do with the stagnation of Chinese science relative to the West, a few centuries ago.


Posted By: edgewaters
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 22:39
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

the Antekitera clockwork show the were ahead of anything in Asia by the 1rst Century AD.


I don't know, I'd say Zhang Heng's hydraulic powered armillary sphere was nearly as complex - and powered, too.

Heng's armillary sphere:



Antikythera clock:



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2007 at 03:08

Yes, edgewaters, but the Antikythera calculator was designed several centuries BEFORE the Zhang Heng armillary sphere..

And no doubt that Zhang Heng was a very important advancement. In fact he invented the escape mechanisms, which is an outstanding invention in the history of clocks. However, those hydraulic clock are from the Middle Ages, and we are trying to compare the state of development in classical times.

During the Middle Ages, China has no parallels. I said that to you before,


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2007 at 03:19
Originally posted by Siege Tower Siege Tower wrote:

...
okay pinguin, can you explain what you mean by "advanced", because it's quiet unclear. so scientific theories are consider "advanced" and focusing on practical use is considered "primitive"? and please what do you know about chinese astronomy? and mathematic? ever heard of nine chapters on mathematic? and Mozi. ring any bell?
 
I never used the word "primitive". I know relatively well all the developments of Chineses and Greek alike, and we are talking about genious in here, in both sides. There is no doubt about it.
However, what I was trying to explain, is that the path that leads to modern science was followed by Greeks and not by Chineses. Although Chineses have many brilliant minds, for instance, there was not an institution equivalent to the Library and Museum of Alexandria in Asia.
 
In abstract mathematics, for example, Greeks reached level of complexity and studied fields never known in China before the Jesuit contact in the 17th century. In fields like engineering and medicine, things were more even.
 
Originally posted by Siege Tower Siege Tower wrote:

...
you say chinese engineering is primitive, than what about siege weapons, the chinese are by far more advanced than than greeks. and who build these marvelous marble architecture?  millions of slaves , that doesn't sound very advanced to me. China on the other hand had abolished slavery by the end of zhou dynasty.
 
I didn't say chinese engineering was primitive. I say Greek and Roman engineering can't be downplay with that easy. With respect to gadgets, the sysmograph and some other things were invented only in China. In the west you could find hydraulic pumps, the water wheel and a steam machine in very earlier times.
 
Comparing brutality is another matter. It is well known Romans were brutes and most its people were slaves; besides having those inhuman espectacles like the Circus. However, we can't say that China was a land that respected human rights either, at least at Han times. Wasn't the Chinese wall build with the skeletons of theirs workers? like the legend say? That show quite well we can't expect the same human rights standards that we have to day from the civilizations of the past.


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2007 at 03:23
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

but modern science is highly based in Greek (geometry, physics, astronomy), Muslim (algebra, astronomy, optics) and Indian (arithmetics) abstract developments rather than in Chinese science.


That's strictly because of its lineage and has nothing to do with the degree of advancement in ancient China. It has alot to do with the stagnation of Chinese science relative to the West, a few centuries ago.
 
See it in this way, the Greek and Roman civilization also stagnated by the time China reached its glory, during the Sung, Tang and early Ming dinasties.
 
The level reached between the second century BC and the third century AD in Alexandria wasn't reached back by the west up to the times of Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th century. While the West was going down, China arose to its glory. However, strictly during the times of glory of the Greek Roman civilization, there you could find most of the top science and technology of the world, rather than in China.
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: longshanks31
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2007 at 09:07
star trek

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long live the king of bhutan


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2007 at 10:41
Virtual reality.

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elenos


Posted By: Eondt
Date Posted: 04-Dec-2007 at 09:55
Beer?


Posted By: Roberts
Date Posted: 04-Dec-2007 at 10:53
God


Posted By: FAQ FAQ
Date Posted: 03-Feb-2008 at 16:20
I think this is a great topic and I learnt a lot from posts made in this thread.Personally I think paper money and plastic money are humanity's greatest inventions.I think capitalist economy won't be possible without these inventions.Ofcourse fire,wheel,metal and alcohol are important too.


Posted By: red clay
Date Posted: 03-Feb-2008 at 19:59
Radio, the ability to communicate across distance changed everything forever.


Posted By: red clay
Date Posted: 03-Feb-2008 at 20:05
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy SearchAndDestroy wrote:

Quote The early American colonists used corn cobs for the toilet! 
Corn Husk, not the cob. The cob was eatten, the husk was left, so they used'em!Smile
 
 
Errm, as incredible as it sounds, Elanos is correct.  Cobbs were used in the toilet.  The husks were generally fed to the animals.  I have excavated enough privy sites to know this one first hand.


Posted By: FAQ FAQ
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 15:06
Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

Radio, the ability to communicate across distance changed everything forever.
 
Manufacturing radio [on a commercial scale] or even the components which makeup radio won't have been possible without the invention of paper money.


Posted By: SearchAndDestroy
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 15:12
Quote
Errm, as incredible as it sounds, Elanos is correct.  Cobbs were used in the toilet.  The husks were generally fed to the animals.  I have excavated enough privy sites to know this one first hand.
I'll take your word for it, lol. I only read the opposite, but you are much more wiser then I am redclay.Smile

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"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." E.Abbey


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 15:53
Originally posted by elenos elenos wrote:

Good thinking pinquin. I'd stay at home and go nowhere without my clothes as well, even down the street!
 
Besides, try to go to the artic nude. Perhaps not only your nose, but your pride would get frozen.
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: red clay
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 16:24
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy SearchAndDestroy wrote:

Quote
Errm, as incredible as it sounds, Elanos is correct.  Cobbs were used in the toilet.  The husks were generally fed to the animals.  I have excavated enough privy sites to know this one first hand.
I'll take your word for it, lol. I only read the opposite, but you are much more wiser then I am redclay.Smile
 
I only know what I have found in privy sites over the years, and also anectdotal reports from my rural relatives when I was a kid.  People must have been made of tougher stuff back then.Big%20smile


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 16:26
Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

... 
I only know what I have found in privy sites over the years, and also anectdotal reports from my rural relatives when I was a kid.  People must have been made of tougher stuff back then.Big%20smile
 
Perhaps hemorroids were more common back then LOL


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: red clay
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 21:44
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

... 
I only know what I have found in privy sites over the years, and also anectdotal reports from my rural relatives when I was a kid.  People must have been made of tougher stuff back then.Big%20smile
 
Perhaps hemorroids were more common back then LOL
 
 
 Considering the consistancy of dried corncob maybe they didn't have that problem.Pinch
 
Actually there was a recipe for preparing cobs for use in the little shack out back.  They soaked them in a solution of ash and other substances.  This made them swell and upon drying were quite fluffy.  They also separated them into 2 groups, reddish brown and light cream colored.  The idea being you first used a brown one and then a cream colored one to see if you needed another brown one.    Source-  Foxfire Publications.
 
 
 
 
 


Posted By: red clay
Date Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 22:02
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Sun Tzu Sun Tzu wrote:

ehh tough question, umm fire? not sure if it was invented or just happened.
 
If invented, it wasn't by Homo Sapiens Sapiens but probably Homo Erectus, Neardhentals or who knows...
 
 
What is known is that Barbecue was invented the same day. Big%20smile
 
 
 
 


Posted By: Darius of Parsa
Date Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 01:48
Agriculture was humanity's greatest invention. It allowed people to settle in one area for longer periods of time and it ended the hunting-gathering way of life.

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What is the officer problem?


Posted By: Goban
Date Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 02:11
1)  Lithic tools
2) Fire
3)  The dog, Man's best friend
4)  Fermentation
5)  Agriculture (could be viewed as man's worst invention as well)


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The sharpest spoon in the drawer.


Posted By: Voice of Reason
Date Posted: 14-Feb-2008 at 14:50
3)  The dog, Man's best friend
 
Just for my affinity towards Dogs Wink


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Einstein said, "God does not play dice." He was right. God plays Scrabble. - Philip Gold


Posted By: nova roma
Date Posted: 06-Sep-2008 at 22:25

Agriculture

Combustion Engine

Gunpowder-- Though maybe not. More just a military revolution.

My best guess.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 07-Sep-2008 at 00:18
For me, humanity greatest invention is the alphabet. I got to that conviction after reading a book called "The alphabet effect", that explained how modern society is the result of the impact of that invention in the world.

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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 07-Sep-2008 at 12:21
Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Sun Tzu Sun Tzu wrote:

ehh tough question, umm fire? not sure if it was invented or just happened.
 
If invented, it wasn't by Homo Sapiens Sapiens but probably Homo Erectus, Neardhentals or who knows...
 
What is known is that Barbecue was invented the same day. Big%20smile
Texas or California-styleThumbs%20Down maybe, but not Carolina style Thumbs%20Up.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: ulrich von hutten
Date Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 17:28
The shopping mall around the next block...and the overdraft...

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http://imageshack.us">


Posted By: IamJoseph
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2008 at 03:07
I would have nominated 'speech' as the greatest invention, and one being unique to one life form, and what is blatantly the most powerful tool in the known universe. Metals are a derivitive of speech.
 
However, I don't see speech as an invention [it did not appear from grunts and coo's]. Speech appears an inherent trait in one only life form, and it seems to have emerged suddenly and in an already advanced form.
 
I would nominate the idea of Monotheism and Creationism as humanity's greatest thought. This seems very basic and we take it for granted - but in its space-time, it was the single most strange thought of all, and resulted in serial wars and variant belief systems. Today, some 4000 years since Abraham, we still have no alternative to Monotheism and Creationism, despite our best state of art sciences. This factor is greater than Newton's laws of Einstein's MC2 - in fact these derived from the premise of Monotheism.


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Moses - the First Zionist.


Posted By: IamJoseph
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2008 at 03:11
Good choice. The first alphabetical 'books' is the OT. Book being a continueing, multi-page narrative. The OT also came with numerals inclusive in its alphabeticals, and able to perform cencus counts in the millions, with gender and age sub-totals.

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Moses - the First Zionist.


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2008 at 10:08

If we are speaking of physical rather than abstract things, I'd have to agree with Francis Bacon when he states the compass, gunpowder and the printing press. However, navigators need almanacs and maps, and powder-mixers and gunsmiths need treatises on their art. Therefore, I'd probably have to say that in physical objects, the printing press...and certainly the microchip!



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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: The Hidden Face
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2008 at 19:00
One of my friends says "Fleshlight". I have no idea what the f. it is.


Posted By: IamJoseph
Date Posted: 08-Oct-2008 at 03:01
Quote   I'd have to agree with Francis Bacon when he states the compass, gunpowder and the printing press
 
These are effects of speech, because they would not occur w/o it. Compass and gunpowder are extensions of knowing where you live and discovering fire burns. Humans became the most superior life form because they acquired the most powerful weapon in the universe: speech.


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Moses - the First Zionist.


Posted By: malizai_
Date Posted: 09-Oct-2008 at 00:27
other than the obvious:
 
electricity
internet
direct debit
tampons
 
electricity  being  the greatest.


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"We didnt land on Israel, Israel landed on us!!"--Palestinian X
http://www.antiwar.com - antiwar.com
http://www.crimesofwar.org - crimesofwar.org


Posted By: red clay
Date Posted: 09-Oct-2008 at 03:19
I believe the compass is one of those things that's been with man from very early on.  Discovered I think rather than invented.    That leaves gunpowder and Archimedes Screw.  Without either, our world would be quite different. 
 
 
 
 


Posted By: IamJoseph
Date Posted: 09-Oct-2008 at 08:29
There is an indication all discoveries are critically alligned to their space-time and requirement, and that not a single discovery came before it's time. They appear to just pop into someone's minds, and its eureka! It appears its not voluntary and we cannot stop it from happening, and many times these occur by accident. Its like rainfall. Perhaps someone is preparing humanity for a future which will require a certain vocabulary.

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Moses - the First Zionist.



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