The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.

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153 views

How common is “decades ahead of his time” in real history?

The idea of a super-scientist who invents things that no contemporary is able to equal because he's just that smart is a common trope in works of fiction, especially of the sci-fi or superhero ...
13
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4answers
974 views

Why was decimal time unsuccessful?

Under the metric system (and later SI), units of weight can be related to each other based on multiples of ten (e.g. 1 metric tonne = 1,000 kg = 1,000 × 1,000 g). Likewise with length (e.g. 1 ...
19
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2answers
3k views

What is the name of the theory that says an early discovery can stop technological development?

Some time ago I read a claim that an early discovery can lead to a great scientific stagnation. The example given was the Chinese porcelain, that resolved all the known problems, and stopped the ...
2
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1answer
78 views

Other possible inventors of the Transistor?

From Wikipedia's Article on the History of the Transistor: The Bell Labs work on the transistor emerged from war-time efforts to produce extremely pure germanium "crystal" mixer diodes, used in ...
6
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2answers
151 views

How would a 16-17th Century European Rapier have been made?

I've done a little reading on sand and permanent casting but a rapier seems like it may be thin for that kind of manufacture. What methods and tools would have been used to make it? (Please provide ...
3
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2answers
233 views

Travelling by a Viking ship

What it was like to travel on a Viking ship back then? Please, focus on these points: How long it would take for a Viking raider group to get to their favourite destinations using a Viking warship? ...
9
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1answer
180 views

1850s steel technology advance before the Bessemer converter

The Bessemer converter is often cited as the critical invention causing a breakout in the production of cheap steel and enabling the industrial revolution. However, I just put together this chart ...
2
votes
2answers
211 views

How was iron obtained in ancient times? [closed]

Today we have advanced machines to mine iron, but it was not so a millennium ago. How did our ancestors locate the presence of iron deposits, mine them and make weapons out of them? How did they ...
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1answer
175 views

Has anybody ever tried to use sea animals to pull a ship?

Given that many land animals throughout history were harnessed to pull land vehicles (horses, bulls, dogs, deer, elephants etc), I wonder whether anyone ever tried or suggested to use sea or river ...
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1answer
192 views

Why was Europe so technologically and culturally advanced? [closed]

In history, why were European populations so advanced, if compared to other populations, such as native Americans? What's the reason why Europeans were so good in technology and science? Why did ...
0
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1answer
176 views

Who invented the Airplane? [closed]

When I was in first grade I was told it was the Wright brothers who invented the airplane and I still find their names on the first page of Google. But I have heard of an Indian who invented the ...
12
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3answers
352 views

The Purpose of Mystery Object 40.9.11

In the summer of 1915, a wireless telegraph station in Sayville, Long Island owned by the German company Telefunken was caught sending covert commands to U-Boats patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. The ...
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1answer
100 views

Did the ancient Chinese use an ink covered finger to sign documents?

I saw some film that in imperial China, Chinese who doesn't know read and write often push his/her finger in ink then apply it in the document instead of signing. Is that true in history? Because I ...
7
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4answers
933 views

How come all the major WW1 rifles were bolt action?

The main disadvantage of bolt action is that one has to remove the right hand from the trigger which leads to slower rate of fire. Neither lever nor pump have this problem. Rate of fire was viewed as ...
2
votes
1answer
190 views

What is the oldest excavated/discovered piece of silk textile made for clothing or writing?

Chu manuscript dating back to circa 300 B.C., middle of the Warring States era. Mawangdui robe's dating back to ~ 200..150 B.C., beginning of the Western Han. Do you know any older examples of ...
-1
votes
1answer
85 views

Morse code is a ternary human-optimised code, is there a binary, non-machine optimised code? [closed]

http://cs.stackexchange.com/questions/34067/is-morse-code-without-spaces-uniquely-decipherable Discusses how Morse code isn't very clear without the third (usually) unseen element, the space. Is ...
-3
votes
1answer
103 views

How were the first computers on the internet connected? [closed]

The internet started as a small "net" of interconnected computers, but how were those computers connected? Was a chip manufactured to be installed onto the computer? Was it software?
2
votes
1answer
215 views

Why did the Nazis invent videotelephony?

This claim that the Nazis invented two-way video telephony is astonishing and I almost thought it was a hoax. Except it's not, because it's copiously referenced to contemporary sources. So other than ...
2
votes
3answers
226 views

When was flat glass invented? [closed]

The question is pretty simple. I'm quite curious about since when we are lucky to have windows with glass in them. And since when is there faint glass that isn't perfectly see-through?
7
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2answers
164 views

Were new forms of communication and media usually condemned similar to how television/video games are now?

I'm sure anyone who is reading this has read at least an article, blog, or book condemning the consumption of television and video games as harmful to children, the behavior of teenagers, intelligence ...
1
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1answer
300 views

What machine technology did the Egyptians have to build the great pyramids?

Reading the "Account of Egypt" by Herodotus, it says of the great pyramid of "Cheops" (Macauley translation): This pyramid was made after the manner of steps which some called "rows" and others ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

What was the available level of agricultural technology in late 2nd century China?

How would you characterize the situation of the agricultural technology around the time of the Yellow Turban rebellion (A.D. 184-205), when technological breakthroughs were yet about to come?
12
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2answers
262 views

What kind of device is pictured on this Roman mosaic from Villa Tellaro, Sicily?

Based on numismatic evidence, this is dated in the second half of the fourth century CE
8
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5answers
574 views

The Needham Question: What stunted China's technological and proto-scientific advancement?

According to Joseph Needham Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

Technology and status symbols that predate language [closed]

I remember distinctly reading about peoples and cultures - in, I believe, the Caucasus - that used to knap large flakes of flint into spearheads and would use them (instead of actual tools) as status ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Row for powers of 10 on 1950's French typewriter keyboards

In the movie Populaire, 1950's-era French typewriter keyboards are shown with dedicated "1", "10", "100", "1...", "10...", "100...", "1M", and "10M" keys on the top row. Was there a dedicated type ...
2
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1answer
55 views

What computer was used in 1958 for handwriting recognition by Dimond?

I've just seen that the article Dimond, T. L. "Devices for Reading Handwritten Characters". Papers and Discussions. Presented at the December 9-13, 1957, Eastern Joint Computer Conference: ...
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1answer
793 views

Did the cold war affect the development of the internet?

What were the influence of the Cold War in the internet origin or their development. Did DARPA's support of the creation of the internet explicitly address cold war fears? The cold war was the ...
4
votes
1answer
699 views

Did Marco Polo write about or bring back fireworks from his travels?

I have read a lot of anecdotal accounts claiming that Marco Polo was "impressed" with fireworks he saw in Cathay, and other stories that he "brought back fire crackers" or "introduced gunpowder" to ...
4
votes
2answers
211 views

How was Euclid's Elements likely written?

How was Euclid's Elements written? I mean, what type of paper, ink and pen did Euclid likely use? As I guess there is no definite answer on this, you can also answer: How did people in 300 BC write ...
3
votes
4answers
303 views

Why did email use develop in tandem with the internet, rather than other technologies?

During the 1980s, I envisioned a (primitive) version of email that would come off telex machines. That is, a person would sit down at a keyboard, create a document, store it on a cartridge, stick the ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Which was more revolutionary for its time: Television or Radio? [closed]

In terms of broadcast technologies, which was seen as more revolutionary for its time: television or radio? How was each technology utilized in terms of its intended purpose and audience/users in its ...
53
votes
3answers
9k views

When did bombs actually look like this?

I guess most are familiar with the cartoonish "bomb icon". It is used to warn of metaphorical or literal explosive danger and shows a deep black sphere with a smaller cylinder attached. That is where ...
9
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9answers
2k views

What is the best historical example of conflict between two cultures with differing levels of technology? [closed]

Let me start with some background, in fiction authors like to explore situations where the human race meets another civilization. As a rule of thumb both races in one way or another - sometimes after ...
3
votes
1answer
268 views

Invention of Planned Obsolescence

Excluding style obsolescence or any type of advertising, when was the first form of planned obsolescence concerning shortening the life of a product by making it break sooner or forcing a consumer to ...
-1
votes
3answers
512 views

Why only in the last few hundred year has science and technology progressed like it has [closed]

Man has been on the Earth for millions of years. But in only the last few hundred years, science has made major advances: the average life expectancy expanded, electronics, transistors, ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the history of Research and Development laboratories?

When did Research and Development laboratories (R&D labs) emerge? What was the institutional and intellectual context? Have they undergone major changes in their nature? What role have R&D ...
1
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1answer
97 views

what city was unix invented in? [closed]

Unix operating system (and the C language) was developed at Bell Labs by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie in 1970. What city did they invent it in?
3
votes
2answers
111 views

When did the <input> tag come about, and in what web browser? [closed]

I realize that the <isindex> tag came first, but which browser was the first to support the <input> tag and when?
3
votes
1answer
87 views

When was first security screen door instaled in Seoul metro

My task is to document Seouls metro history. However, I'm from Czech Republic which limits selection of sites I can get data from. (I don't speak Korean, and google translate usually fails). Also, ...
9
votes
1answer
402 views

Did France & Italy continue to develop and manufacture sophisticated military hardware once under German control?

Both France and Italy were designing and building advanced vehicle engines, motorcyles, aero engines and airframes through the 1930s and early 1940s. In the case of those advanced economies of ...
3
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1answer
112 views

Luddite revolutions

I can think of examples from history where societies erupted in revolutions against elites or perceived moral corruptions. Is there any good example where the cause of a major revolution was too ...
17
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3answers
680 views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
5
votes
2answers
208 views

Why weren't R-4 helicopters used in the European theatre in 1944-5?

Early helicopters it seems were deployed by the American military in WW2 in the Burma and China theatres, and in the South Pacific. Their principal use would appear to have been small scale rescue ...
10
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3answers
458 views

Was the German Empire responsible for the advancement of German technology?

After the creation of the German Empire in 18 January 1871, there was a boom of advancement in Germany. Especially in chemistry, motors and electricity. At the same time Germany quickly grew as an ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What devices used computer-like programs in industrial era?

As possibly some of you remember early computers had very small human-machine interface and coding programs was done by cards like this one: or a tape like these: This invention of controlling ...
8
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2answers
812 views

Did Germany produce ammunition with depleted uranium?

Albert Speer in a footnote in Inside the Third Reich states, "During 1940 1200 metric tons of uranium ore had been seized in Belgium." Later in the book, Speer states, "In the summer of ...
3
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3answers
224 views

Printing - When did advertisements in colour became commonplace?

I wonder when colourful advertisements became commonplace in print (such as magazines or occasionally newspapers). I can imagine that colourful printing was far more expensive - so at what point did ...
5
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2answers
156 views

Did the break up of AT & T in 1984 lead to technological innovation?

Are there examples of technologies developed since 1984 that would not have been likely to be developed had the Bell system stayed intact rather than being broken up by the US government? UPDT: To ...
21
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8answers
2k views

Did Heisenberg undermine the German atomic bomb by deliberately hiding his expertise from the Nazis?

Source. In his massive book Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb, Thomas Powers says that Heisenberg, who never became a Nazi and balked at the immorality of building a bomb for ...