Archive for the ‘History’ Category

More people have direct access to more knowledge than at any time in history

March 16, 2008

“The World Wide Web is a marvelous thing.  Because it exists, more people have direct access to more knowledge than at any time in history.”

— Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal

Isn’t clapping an odd thing we humans do?

March 15, 2008

We bang our open hands together which produces a sound.  We call it “clapping.”  We repeat it over and over. We perform this action when we want to express enthusiasm.

I got to thinking about this today.  “What an odd thing to do,” I thought.  “Why would people swiftly, almost violently slam their hands together?  Why is the sound that is produced in any way indicative of support? (It’s just a noise)  When did this clapping custom begin?  Is it a recent thing, or have peopled been doing this for a long time?”

Anyone know the history of clapping?

History: Big domestic mammals revolutionized human society by becoming our main means of land transportation

October 27, 2007

 I am reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.  At this point in the book he is talking about the role that animals played in enhancing the development of society:

Big domestic mammals revolutionized human society by becoming our main means of land transportation until the development of railroads in the 19th century.  Before animal domestication, the sole means of transporting goods and people by land was on the backs of humans.  Large mammals changed that: for the first time in human history, it became possible to move heavy goods in large quantities, as well as people, rapidly overland for long distances.  The domestic animals that were ridden were the horse, donkey, yak, reindeer, and Arabian and Bactrian camels.  Cows and horses were hitched to wagons, while reindeer and dogs pulled sleds in the Arctic.  The horse became the chief means of long-distance transport over most of Eurasia.