Time Travel Cheat Sheet

By | April 11, 2009

Fun idea.  Page 2 of the cheat sheet could include: spears, rope, ships, Anesthesia, dental drill, plywood, writing, soap, plumbing, papyrus, the arch, currency, ink, rubber, horseshoe, wheelbarrow, catapult, rockets, differential gear, hydrolic power,  the steam engine, water pump, steam boat, toothpaste, the cotton gin, woodblock printing, quill pen, clockworks, water purification, the printing press , oil lamp, gunpowder,  vaccination, bicycle, the transistor, the loom, the sewing machine, safety pin, pencil, telephone, ceramic pots,  bronze, steel, glass, the lens (leading to eye glasses, telescopes, microscopes), concrete, dynamite, antiseptic, the battery, solar cells,  … What else?

– the Indo-Arab counting system with 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 with its positional information content (so 111 means one hundred plus one ten plus one unit), zero symbol, and operator property that by adding a zero to the righthand end of a string multiplies the number by the base value of 10.

– The horse collar around 1000 AD in northern Europe, allowed the region to be farmed efficiently and so, it could be argued, was responsible for the rise of civilization there. It also gave its possessors great war-making potential — think of knights in armour.

– the plough: Ploughing (or soil-breaking in general) leads in short to arable farming, which primarily means mass growing of cereals. Ploughing has given us a world population of 6 billion, and transformed the world’s landscape. The plough is the most significant human invention of all.

In looking back at the most significant inventions from the dawn of time (fire) to the present (the Internet), it is interesting to plot an invisible line and to speculate where we might be going. I think the next major human invention will allow us to control our biology to the degree that we can regrow, lost, damaged, or aging parts of our bodies.

One thought on “Time Travel Cheat Sheet

  1. James

    Sustainable fusion? I would be kind of hard pressed if I had to choose between regrowing lost, damaged or aging body parts (though I am assuming we would still be far from immortal) or fusion power for the world.

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