This led to the discovery of electricity and magnetism's relationship and to the development of radio, and deep space telecommunications that may enable contact with galactic civilizations. Faith in Numbers Each development in the organization of systems political, economic, mechanical, electronic influences the next, by logic, by genius, by chance, or by utterly unforeseen events. The transition from the Middle ages to the Renaissance was influenced by the rise of commercialism, a sudden change in climate, famine and the Black Death, which set the stage for the invention of the printing press.
The Wheel of Fortune The power to see into the future with computers originally rested with priest-astronomers who knew the proper times to plant and harvest.
The constellations influenced life spectacularly, particularly when the ailing Caliph of Baghad was cured by an astrologer using Greek lore. His ancient medical secrets were translated and spread throughout Europe, ushering in an era of scientific inquiry. The need for more precise measuring devices in navigation gave rise to the pendulum clock, the telescope, forged steel and interchangeable machine parts-the basis of modern industrial system.
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Thunder in the Skies A dramatically colder climate gripped Europe during the 13th century profoundly affecting the course of history for the next seven centuries. The changes in energy usage transformed architecture and forced the creation of new power sources. The coming of the Industrial Revolution, spurred on by advances in the steam engine, scarred England indelibly: The Long Chain Often, materials discovered by accident alter the course of the world.
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In the s Dutch commercial freighters controlled Atlantic trade routes. Competing British lines induced America to produce pitch to protect hulls of their royal vessels. This arrangement lasted until , after which a Scottish inventor tried to produce pitch from coal tar. By the time he succeeded the navy was using copper instead.
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Subsequent experiments with coal tar yielded gaslight lamps, waterproofed garments, a brilliant mauve dye that established the German chemical industry and nylon, the first of the miracle plastics. Eat, Drink and Be Merry When Napoleon marched huge forces across Europe, he needed an efficient way to store provisions. A Frenchman preserved sterilized food in empty champagne bottles, an idea modified by the British, who tried tin cans. Still, canned foods sometimes spoiled, which led to experiments with refrigeration.
Later, it was discovered that gases may be stored at very low temperatures in a thermos flask, a device handy for picnics, for polar explorers and for, storing large quantities of liquid oxygen and hydrogen.
When lit by a spark these gases can send rockets into space. Countdown What happens when you combine a carbon arc light, a billiard ball coating, a spoked wheel and consecutive images? Complex and sometimes incredible events led to Thomas Edison's remarkable invention; the beginnings of limelight on a Irish mountain; George Eastman's production of celluloid from the slightly explosive gun cotton; the "magic lantern" of an Austrian ballistics teacher.
Then Eadweard Muybridge settled a bet in by photographs; does a horse raise all four feet when galloping?
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Today moving pictures, together with television, are enormously powerful mass media. Have we become trapped by our own technology? Yesterday, Tomorrow and You "Why did we do it this way? Will they go on operating to affect our futures? And if so, can we recognize them? The second half looks at the extent to which we have become increasingly incapable of understanding how change occurs in our complex world and at why we are in such a predicament.
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All may provide information on the type of bomb and its origin. In the s, scientists began designing sensors to capture these signals, first at White Sands and then primarily at the Nevada Test Site, where the United States detonated bombs. Now, DTRA is leading a government-wide effort to upgrade those sensors and link them up in an array, called Discreet Oculus, which can be deployed in and around cities.
That required devising algorithms to account for how cityscapes deflect or absorb various types of waves, for instance, and filtering out noise from sources such as subways, the vibrations of which could interfere with interpreting vibrations from the detonation.
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Mighty Saber set out to test the ability of Discreet Oculus to identify the type of bomb in a surprise attack. In late , several dozen experts began ginning up a fallout profile and modeling how waves would propa- gate and attenuate in a real U. The task was to identify the bomb, and time was of the essence. They are expected to be operational and transferred to the U. Air Force in DTRA has also begun working on a portable version called Minikin Echo that could be deployed for events like the Olympics.
A gun-triggered uranium bomb, for example, could be fashioned by any of a number of terrorist outfits with modest technological expertise, such as the Islamic State group, providing they can lay their hands on several kilograms of highly enriched uranium. But to have any chance of unraveling the details of a nuclear attack, investigators have to lay the scientific groundwork—while hoping it will never be needed.
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Indian court offers final vindication for innocent space scientist who was arrested and tortured By Sanjay Kumar Sep. NSF spells out new sexual harassment policy: Talk to us By Jeffrey Mervis Sep. Antarctic glacier gets new name in wake of sexual harassment finding By Elizabeth Culotta Sep. Ivory trade kingpins could be toppled by testing tusk DNA Sep. Fifty-thousand-year-old wolf pup still has paws, skin, and hair Sep.