Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Rasputin
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Rasputin » Wed May 31, 2017 9:28 pm

ddray wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 7:30 pm
It's as if the PC popped out of someone's forehead fully grown.
I kinda think that too - all the credit is going to the guy who happened to lay the last brick. Still I don't think there's any avoiding that, because everything does build on what has gone before. It is interesting to speculate about which innovations were the most original, or involved the greatest creative and imaginative leaps. People will disagree even more about that though, and it is easy to say an invention was obvious once someone else has invented it.

Personally, I think the car involved practically zero innovation - it was an obvious application of technology that already existed. Same for the lightbulb really. I think I remember learning that a lot of experimentation required to find the right material for the filament, but once you have electricity and you see it sparking and maybe making wire glow a little, it is not hard to see that that kind of experimentation is worth doing. I think the printing press was more innovative - I can imagine people saying "what's the point of that contraption when a scribe will work day and night for two boiled eggs and a tallow candle. Anyway the letters look all funny". The PC is also a bit like that.

I don't think the clock belongs on the list anyway, but that again is incremental problem solving rather than a flash of inspiration. The use of electromagnetic waves to transmit signals is much more innovative, IMO, but that doesn't figure unless we say that "telephone" covers it.

khayes
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by khayes » Wed May 31, 2017 9:40 pm

Has anyone mentioned sliced bread?
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Michael.N.
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Michael.N. » Wed May 31, 2017 9:52 pm

I guess these lists are a bit of fun, not to be taken too seriously. Everything does indeed build on what has gone before. Earlier I stated that the diode/thermionic valve was a game changer. It was. Of course you can't get there without the light bulb (filament), the vacuum and even a bit of glass and glass blowing skills. Without the valve (tube) you don't get radio (except crystal sets) but radios are a bit more than just valves, it requires all the other components to have been invented or discovered. So much of that list is the result of a large series of discoveries or inventions that then go into making the whole.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:43 am

Rasputin wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 9:28 pm
Personally, I think the car involved practically zero innovation - it was an obvious application of technology that already existed. Same for the lightbulb really.
I agree about the car - it was just a way to put horses on the menu.
I think the lightbulb, and the implications of electricity that went with it, were a bigger innovation, although we aren't used to gaslight, so I'll meet you half way on that one.

Literacy is a big bee in my bonnet at the moment. When people say literate, they mean functionally literate. There's illiteracy, functional literacy, critical literacy and rhetorical literacy. I would say that potentially 80% of "literate" people are only functionally literate. There are plenty of university graduates who are not critically literate. Of course, the more complex your society, the more literate you have to be in order to be functionally (or critically) literate. If you believe what a tabloid says, you are functionally literate. If you believe that a paper is a newspaper, then you are probably functionally literate. If you don't believe me, look at the media in Britain and America and the resultant politics in those countries.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:08 am

khayes wrote:Has anyone mentioned sliced bread?
If there is one item that should never under any circumstance be allowed near the list, sliced stodge (it is not bread) is it.
Andrew Fryer wrote:If you don't believe me, look at the media in Britain and America and the resultant politics in those countries.
Not that I disagree, but chickens and eggs spring to mind ... and poultry farms.

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Rick Yzaguirre
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Rick Yzaguirre » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:41 am

Antibiotics is my medical item vote

Microwave oven has got to be on the list though

Rasputin
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:00 am

Rick Yzaguirre wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:41 am
Antibiotics is my medical item vote

Microwave oven has got to be on the list though
Don't understand that at all. Of all the things mentioned, if I had to do without one I think it would be the microwave. I would definitely chuck it before sliced bread / stodge.
Andrew Fryer wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:43 am
Literacy is a big bee in my bonnet at the moment. When people say literate, they mean functionally literate. There's illiteracy, functional literacy, critical literacy and rhetorical literacy. I would say that potentially 80% of "literate" people are only functionally literate. There are plenty of university graduates who are not critically literate. Of course, the more complex your society, the more literate you have to be in order to be functionally (or critically) literate. If you believe what a tabloid says, you are functionally literate. If you believe that a paper is a newspaper, then you are probably functionally literate. If you don't believe me, look at the media in Britain and America and the resultant politics in those countries.
I think I know what you are driving at but I don't get why you file it under literacy. It seems to me to be a matter of going behind the words used and recognising the agenda - i.e. why use such overblown language for such and such, why not mention such and such, etc. You could call that reaing between the lines, but it would be the same if you were blind and had the papers read to you by a friend, so it is really do with the use of language, not writing.

The use of language is not really an invention, any more than walking is an invention - but writing certainly is, which is why we acquire the ability to speak automatically whereas the ability to write requires training, even in a world where there is writing everywhere.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:13 am

That's just the way it is.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_literacy
Of course the reason I mentioned it at all was because of the references to Caxton and literacy.
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Laudiesdad69
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:23 am

I vote for the simple, lowly nail clipper. Can you imagine how much time you would spend on your fretting hand without one of these? Split the nail on I today, and would have been really up the creek without the clipper. :D

gitgeezer
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by gitgeezer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:15 pm

If you guys keep going with this, we'll soon get down to the paper clip and bobby pin and, who knows, maybe even as far down as the classical guitar.

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guitareleven
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by guitareleven » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:45 pm

Haven't read through the thread- but, in the good ol' bad ol' days of analog recording in pressured circumstances, I would have put the tape splicing block in the top 5.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Marshall Dixon » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:32 pm

gitgeezer wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 5:21 pm
Marshall Dixon wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 4:13 pm
gitgeezer wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 7:45 pm
The inventions and innovations on the list are all patentable things that we can see or experience directly, so electricity is out. The radio would be a good one, but didn't make the list. Perhaps it would have been 11th or 12th in a list of a dozen. Sorry, you members on the driverless car thread, driverless cars didn't make the list.
Patentable things?

The clock? The escapement goes back to the 13th century.

The camera? The camera obscura? The lens?

She missed the biggest one of all. Gunpowder.
Yes, I did say patentable, but In my opening post I asked for inventions and innovations in which "it's possible to point to specific individuals who made it possible in a modern sense."

There are 33 patents on the clock registered with the U.S. Patent Office. There are also many patents on the camera, the most important being the one issued to George Eastman in 1888.

I also asked for those that are "most meaningful to human life today." I meant that in a positive way of course, so gunpowder is out. If I failed to stress that enough, then that's my mistake. Carla Hayden certainly understood that she was being asked to name positive things so it wasn't her miss at any rate.
Gunpowder is perhaps too negative a word. I doubt trinitrotoluene would imply anything more positive. However, the former was, and the latter still is, used to produce the raw materials or energy for the manufacture of every item on her list.

Let us assume only positive uses for things on the list and negative uses for explosives. We have a conundrum where positive things are acquired by using an unmentionably negative thing.

gitgeezer
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by gitgeezer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:55 pm

The fact that we seem unwilling to move an item off the list to make room for our suggested new item shows that the librarian's list is pretty solid. Apparently it was well thought out. Having been a federal bureaucrat myself, I know something about how these things work.

After being asked to do the list, the librarian would not have just jotted down ten items off the top of her head. Wanting to respond conscientiously, and sensitive to the fact that the list would be made public, she would have wanted to make it as good a list as she could make it.

She would likely have put together a team of knowledgeable staff to research the question and make an initial list, perhaps of the top 50 or 100. Then there would have been a good deal of discussion and debate to refine the list to perhaps the top 20. She might have then emailed this list to people in other agencies and in the universities whose opinions she respected.

It's also possible, of course, that a list already existed within the library, as a product of past inquiries and research.

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:22 pm

I'd bump the pc for any number of medicinal drugs and/or procedures beyond antibiotics. The pc is mostly a convenience; drugs that treat otherwise debilitating or deadly conditions go far beyond that.

society was functioning fine just twenty five years ago, before the pc 'revolution'. We shop, bank, communicate more handily now; it was certainly easy enough to do all that before the pc.
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pogmoor
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Re: Top Ten Inventions and Innovations

Post by pogmoor » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:18 pm

I've had to remove more than two pages worth of posts from this thread. As the thread-starter, gitgeezer, himself said in the last of the removed posts:
gitgeezer wrote:This thread has taken a wrong turn into politics. I admit that a couple of my jokes contributed to it, but let's please get back to the subject of inventions and innovations, or just let the thread die.
Apologies to the authors of the few posts that did not break the rules but it didn't possible to leave these in and maintain the continuity of the thread. We moderators would be grateful if members could follow gitgeezers advice and stick to the topic!
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