Now Reading…Posted: August 22, 2012
I started perusing this book yesterday when a library patron brought it upstairs for me. That never happened before, so I thought I should at least check it out. It’s compiled from entries to an annual question Edge.org releases. I never heard of the site or the series. It’s an interesting idea for a book, and the book itself bring up interesting concepts. That is not to say it is a good book. Quick 1-4 paragraphs emailed back from professors and scientists around the globe to the question “What is the most important invention of the past 2,000 years?” Nothing really in depth, hence me calling is ‘perusing’ – like looking through a magazine. The questions from other years, and answers from global smarties are on the website.
What I would consider common ones came up – the printing press, Indo-Arabic number system, papermaking, the harnessing of electricity, penicillin, the scientific method, computer networks etc. Other responses were new to me in thinking about how they changed the world – hay, the plow, waterworks, anesthesia, the mirror. It also covers more intellectual, or theory driven, inventions; the concept of education, disbelief in the supernatural (as in more independent thought, no more rule by divine right), or the non-implemented 33-year English Protestant Calendar, etc.
And of course television…
“Television has changed status and prestige criteria, created instant celebrities, hastened the downfall of leaders, increased the importance of physical appearance, and accelerated the intensity of intrasexual mate competition — all of which have acutely transformed the nature of sexuality and mating and perhaps forever altered the evolutionary course of our species.”