Breaking News
Comments
Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
<<   <   Page 9 / 10   >   >>
zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
re: Greatest innovation in the world
zeeglen   8/23/2011 8:32:56 PM
NO RATINGS
I suggest language played a major part in all early inventions and innovations as a way for those prehistoric engineers to bounce ideas around. Let me add to the example previous quote - "Let's all make some new spears and then log-roll our heavy fat deer home and roast them tonight." Which probably led to campfire discussions (with full tummies) about better ways to make spears, better ways to make fire, better ways to manually machine flint, and improvements to the concept of the wheel ("Hey Gronk, what if we somehow fastened those logs to a platform so we won't have to keep moving them from back to front?". If not for language and translators and measurements and the printed word followed by machines to print words (and librarians), none of the progress in later centuries would have happened. Therefore I suggest that the development of language was the enabler for all the technological progress that followed. Sophisticated language that actually conveyed ideas, not the springtime birdsong that says "This is my tree, all males stay away, females welcome...", or the grunts, growls, barks, and whines that many creatures use to convey threats, submission, hunger, and mating invitations. While this could be considered basic language, it cannot say anything as complex as "I'm cold. Build a fire." Early humans had the good fortune to be blessed with a vocal tract that was initially intended for eating and breathing, but became a method for modulating sound into meaningful harmonics. Without that ability humans might still be competing with gorillas for food.

Naomi Price
User Rank
Rookie
re: Greatest innovation in the world
Naomi Price   8/23/2011 7:31:21 PM
NO RATINGS
I think we've found our theme music!

gerryv
User Rank
Rookie
re: Greatest innovation in the world
gerryv   8/23/2011 7:20:03 PM
NO RATINGS
was language needed to invent the wheel? If not then perhaps the wheel was one of the greatest inventions.

drward
User Rank
Rookie
re: Greatest innovation in the world
drward   8/23/2011 6:38:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Agreed. Language permitted complex forms of cooperation. This is where we start hearing the theme from "2001" :)

old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: Greatest innovation in the world
old account Frank Eory   8/23/2011 5:46:58 PM
NO RATINGS
I like your answer. And since the question asked included "what was the most innovative century?" I was going to answer, the 19th century. Or if we could go off grid a little, I would say the century from 1830 to 1930. Most of the fundamental scientific discoveries that enabled everything that has come along since then were made during that 100 year period.

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
re: Greatest innovation in the world
zeeglen   8/23/2011 5:25:14 PM
NO RATINGS
Language of sufficient complexity to convey sophisticated social concepts, such as "Let's all make some new spears and eat deer tonight."

Duane Benson
User Rank
Blogger
re: Greatest innovation in the world
Duane Benson   8/23/2011 5:03:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Fuel (or the controlled use of). Of course, fuel comes in many forms, but going back to the first fires to deliver warmth and cook food. [A side question - why did we ever start to cook food?] The utilization of different types of fuels in different capacities has been a prerequisite to almost every major period of innovation. Wood, Coal, Oil, Fusion (hopefully). Each exponentially increased our capacity to develop as a civilization.

WireMan0
User Rank
CEO
re: Greatest innovation in the world
WireMan0   8/23/2011 3:57:54 PM
NO RATINGS
I suggest the alphabet as the greatest invention. With only 26 letters we can express and communicate just about anything we want to.

Naomi Price
User Rank
Rookie
re: Greatest innovation in the world
Naomi Price   8/23/2011 3:57:32 PM
NO RATINGS
A reader named Roxy emailed these comments: I had to answer your question about the innovation of 1100's compared to today. If we could be half as creative we would still be lucky. I can't imagine memorizing drawings from sand pits or tables and working toward an image that has never been seen, and wich may not be completed in your life time. It never occurred to me that any on those earlier buildings fell down because of design flaws. In my ignorance I didn't realize the ones that remain are only the success stories, explained as being "right in God's eyes". Considering that most of the work force were illiterate and work conditions were brutal the whole building process must have been a challenge to organize and keep on track. The craftsmen made their own tools and often invented new ones as needed, we would never be able to match the skill, dedication, and work ethic of the time. And when asked about favorite innovation from the book... It's been some time since I read either of the books but I would have to agree that the single most dramatic or at least the most significant innovation was the flying buttress. Although seeing those very high stone walls with wonderous images in stained glass and light are still very impressive today, it must have been very awe inspiring to the local peasants.

Circuit
User Rank
Rookie
re: Greatest innovation in the world
Circuit   8/23/2011 2:02:35 PM
NO RATINGS
As per as my thinking,pencil and paper is greatest innovation in history of humankind.The next innovation is wheel..bicycle....and so on. Really interesting question to think..!

<<   <   Page 9 / 10   >   >>


Flash Poll
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

The Best of the Best Videos on YouTube
Max Maxfield
4 comments
A couple of days ago, my chum Paul was visiting me in my office. He'd wandered over from his cubicle in the next bay to take a brief coffee break. This week, Paul had been admiring the ...

Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock

Jolt Awards: The Best Books
Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock
1 Comment
As we do every year, Dr. Dobb's recognizes the best books of the last 12 months via the Jolt Awards -- our cycle of product awards given out every two months in each of six categories. No ...

Engineering Investigations

Air Conditioner Falls From Window, Still Works
Engineering Investigations
2 comments
It's autumn in New England. The leaves are turning to red, orange, and gold, my roses are in their second bloom, and it's time to remove the air conditioner from the window. On September ...

David Blaza

The Other Tesla
David Blaza
5 comments
I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...