Posts tagged ‘science’

4 Simple Inventions That Changed the World

There are many conveniences that we take for granted these days. In fact, it’s hard to imagine life without many things that were cutting edge long ago! Computers, vehicles, gas and electric ranges, sewing machines and ballpoint pens are just some of the innovations that influence daily life.

They say the simplest inventions are the cleverest. I agree. There is a recent story about a three-year old kid who invented a double-ended broom, one for a coarse brush and one for a fine brush. It’s amazing that he’s the first to patent that. Throughout history, such simple inventions changed the lives of people everywhere. What are these all-important devices?

1. The Wheel – one of the early inventions that changed the way humans lived. We see it everywhere; on cars, trucks, planes, ships, inside machines, toys, and much much more. Life wouldn’t be the same without the wheel. It was said to be invented by the Mesopotamians in 4th century BC, eventually helping usher about the Bronze Age. Starting from wooden carts and wagons, the simple yet so very useful device evolved over time. With so many uses and applications, it is forever part of the human race, and one of the first steps to civilization. Can you imagine being unable to take a taxi to your hotel, instead footing several miles with tons of bags? Or spending an hour walking to get to the mall?

2. Tools – Yet another thing that set us on the path of civilization. Humans have opposable thumbs, which led to the creation of tools. Simple tools like sharp rocks used to cut turned into knives and spears. Large rock used as a hammer became actual hammers. We built our own houses, caught animals, made our own fields and improved our way of life with tools. Interestingly, some mammals and birds use tools too.

3. Sewers – Sanitation is important to civilized people. A system where waste is gathered and disposed of in once place rather than everywhere is indeed helpful. Ancient people saw this, and were among the first to invent the system. Today, we rarely think of the network of pipes running under our feet, making sure that our waste stays out of our sight, and out of our noses! I’m happy knowing that we’re not defecating on the ground. Well, most of the time.

4. Roads – Along with the first wheeled inventions, roads came about. Dirt paths worn by hunters were common before vehicles, but it was only after the wheeled inventions were invented that there became a real need for better roads. Dirt-worn paths became wood, stone and brick roads. Because of the ease of transport roads offered, the world became prosperous. Today, they are the backbone of economy and society. Imagine life without roads now. We would be living in houses in a haphazard manner. Goods are transported slower. There would be more accidents.

There you have it! These are, for me, the ones that truly shaped the world. Well, I guess money did, too. What inventions do you think changed the world?

May 6, 2008 at 5:17 pm 2 comments

Disappearing Ink Printer

Science never ceases to amaze. According to news.com, Xerox is experimenting with a new type of paper and printer. Documents produced using these fade away after 16 to 24 hours, making the paper re-usable again.

There is no actual ink used in the printer. The special paper is hit with UV rays, causing parts of it to change color; that is, the parts you want printed. You don’t have to wait for it to fade, running the paper through the printer wipes the colored parts away.

This is great news for a lot of people I know. A manager friend of mine prints a lot of documents that finds its way in a trash can before the day ends. It will save him and his employer lots of money on paper! No more spending money on ink, either. Of course, not all documents should be wiped, but this will be really useful when you only need it for a day.

I can think of quite a few uses for it in my house, myself. A shopping list is one. Just print before you set off. It’s probably not worth the cost though, since it has limited home applications. What do you think it should be used for?

April 30, 2008 at 9:58 am 1 comment


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