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 Post subject: ...one giant leap for mankind.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:05 pm 
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Just heard Neil Armstrong passed away. :(

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/nei ... 50193.html

I Finally read all about the Apollo 11 mission just a couple of weeks ago. I was never really into space travel until visiting the Air and Space museum at the Smithsonian and read about the moon landing. Unbelievable how efficient their systems were with what they had to work with. My cell phone had more processing power. Still boggles me how all their primitive (by today's standards) systems were able to get the lunar module back in lunar orbit to reconnect with the command module. No way they could ever do that today using that technology.

This got me thinking the other day, what is arguably the greatest achievement of mankind? Landing someone on the moon and returning has to be way up there. Others that come to mind (somewhat chronological): fire, agriculture, animal domestication, the wheel, written language, removable type, internal combustion engine, photographs, radio/television, alternating current, the assembly line, controlling nuclear fission, the transistor, machine that can solve a Rubik's cube (had to throw that in :) ), internet, manipulating DNA, etc. I know I forgot a bunch.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: ...one giant leap for mankind.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:27 pm 
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Yeah it is a sad day. Neil Armstrong was a real pioneer.

If I had to point to one of the greatest (modern) achievements of mankind, it would be the programmable computer. Starting with Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, it has allowed us to automate calculating tasks with such speed and precision that almost all of the breakthrough achievements we've made since would have been impossible without it.

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 Post subject: Re: ...one giant leap for mankind.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:11 am 
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Deciding which achievement is the greatest is an impossible task, as each one is built upon all of the others before it. But the world would certainly be a different place without the integrated circuit.

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 Post subject: Re: ...one giant leap for mankind.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:38 am 
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darryl wrote:
what is arguably the greatest achievement of mankind?
Understanding the entire universe would be our greatest achievement, so I'm still waiting for a grand unified theory of everything which includes both general relativity and quantum mechanics...

Meanwhile, it seems most of our "greatest" inventions to date have just accelerated the rate at which our population grows beyond the earth's capacity by consuming all of its resources. So perhaps some internationally respected law of absolute sustainability would be our greatest achievement, but I fear that will never happen and nature will eventually take over to restore equilibrium by force. :(

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 Post subject: Re: ...one giant leap for mankind.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:22 am 
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KelvinS wrote:

Meanwhile, it seems most of our "greatest" inventions to date have just accelerated the rate at which our population grows beyond the earth's capacity by consuming all of its resources. So perhaps some internationally respected law of absolute sustainability would be our greatest achievement, but I fear that will never happen and nature will eventually take over to restore equilibrium by force. :(


Necessity is the mother of invention, so as we use up our resources, there will be an incredible drive to come up with other ideas. For example, the only way we will truly come up with an alternative to oil, is to use it all up or wait for it to become so expensive that it's not practical anymore. I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm just stating the way it is.

-d


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