How Did Technology Die?
Technology is an ever-expanding world, and there are some things that just don’t seem to age well. For example, this year Apple killed the original Homepod, but the smaller Homepod mini is still available. LG stopped making mobile phones this year. Microsoft killed Windows 10X and Minecraft Earth, and in the past year it killed Skype for business. Now we’re seeing Microsoft Teams take over corporate video calls.
The slave ship
From the 17th century onward, enslaved people were transported by deep sea vessels. They ranged from small sloops with twenty slaves to vast three-masted ships with 900 people. Around 1750, vessels for the slave trade began to appear in Liverpool. Usually they had an air port above water and a lower deck to house enslaved people.
The conditions on board the slave ship were horrific. Over the course of a century, over 12.5 million people were transported to the Americas in this way. Slavery vessels tended to be large, ranging from ten to five hundred tons. They were divided into separate compartments for men and women. The living conditions were horrendous, with little airflow and poor sanitation.
Over time, the slave population was diverse, but the majority of slaves went to the Americas. The majority sailed from west central Africa, from Angola, Kongo, the Bight of Benin, and Biafra. The gold coast and Upper Guinea coast were also ports of departure for slaves.
The wreck site of the Sao Jose, off the coast of South Africa, was a symbol of an early trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the 1800s, the U.S. Congress passed a law against the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was strengthened by another Federal act, ratified in two May 1800.
The combustion engine
When Niklaus Otto invented the first working four-cycle internal combustion engine in 1876, it changed the world. In the next 100 years, gasoline engines would compete with steam-powered vehicles and electric drives, and ultimately win. Throughout that time, 1.2 billion vehicles would be manufactured worldwide, with the vast majority being powered by gasoline. But now, the death of the combustion engine is looming.
A recent EU Parliament deal would ban internal combustion engines and liquid fuels in the European Union by 2035. The engines would be replaced by hydrogen-powered and electric cars. The combustion engine is not likely to come back. Carmakers are already shifting production to electrified vehicles. If a ban were to take place, hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost.
As the automotive industry has progressed into electric and autonomous vehicles, it has become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to stay competitive. While German carmakers have retained a traditional, internal combustion engine, the competition has shifted toward electric and hybrid models. The combustion engine is no longer as relevant today as it was a few decades ago. Today, battery technology, software, and a new form of motorization are more valuable.
The combustion engine was born in the early nineteenth century. Its development began when German engineer Nicephore Niepce developed an internal combustion engine powered by moss, coal dust, and resin. By 1857, it had been used to pump water in the Croydon Canal. Several years later, Samuel Brown patented the first industrial internal combustion engine. It was used to pump water on the Croydon Canal for over 30 years.
Today, 270 million ICE-powered vehicles are in use. In addition to this, 98 percent of new cars are powered by this technology. This puts the internal combustion engine on a par with the coal-fired power plant and the incandescent light bulb. The combustion engine produces more heat than it moves cars. In fact, two-thirds of the energy it consumes is lost as heat.
The printing press
In its heyday, the printing press was an essential tool for publishing books and other materials. It dramatically cut the cost of book production and enabled more people to become literate. It also allowed scientific publishing and research to flourish. It was one of the key factors in the transition from the Medieval to Early Modern era.
The printing press also paved the way for the Renaissance. Its widespread use led to the rise of literacy and the spread of information, which helped European societies develop and advance. During this period, Europe was recovering from a devastating plague called the Black Death, which had decimated the population. In addition, the printing press spurred the rise of the money economy and the Renaissance. Moreover, it contributed to the secularization of western culture. While many early texts were religious, more were secular.
Printing used raw manpower and raw materials. Raw materials like wood and particle boards were used to create type, which was then arranged into sentences and printed. The printing process also required raw manpower, which made it a labor-intensive process. However, printing enthusiasts enjoy the process and the physical product of their labor.
Gutenberg’s invention made reading books accessible to the masses and ushered in the Renaissance. Gutenberg is generally credited as the father of modern printing. Before Gutenberg’s invention, most books were written by hand. Before the printing press, this process was known as block printing. Block printing was an expensive and labor-intensive process that required a large number of wooden blocks to produce one printed page.
Gutenberg’s printing press was seized by a former financial backer in a lawsuit. While Gutenberg was not financially successful in his lifetime, his work impacted the technological and societal development of Europe. The first printed book was the Gutenberg Bible, which became an instant bestseller. It was so popular, the printing press was sold out before the next printing.
The Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project started in October 1990, with $30 million donated by Robert Sinsheimer, the chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Sinsheimer and a team of researchers, led by Salk Institute director Rene Dulbecco, wanted to use the money to build a large telescope, but instead chose to use the money to develop an approach for understanding the genetic origins of cancer. The project also attracted researchers from the Department of Energy, whose researchers wanted to detect radiation-induced mutations.
Ultimately, the project’s goals were to map and sequence the human genome. However, some countries were hesitant to participate, citing fears of eugenics and mass death. Nevertheless, the completed human genome sequence will be a significant advance in molecular medicine. It will enable researchers to target the causes of disease, and will help scientists develop better treatments for patients. It will also allow preventative gene therapy, which will fix genetic errors before they cause disease.
In its early years, scientists believed that sequencing the human genome was an impossible goal, but a series of simpler methods showed that sequencing DNA was possible. As the technology developed, scientists were able to create automated DNA sequencers, which made the base-by-base sequencing of DNA easier.
The Human Genome Project was the technology that lasted a decade after the first draft was released in the public. The scientists published details of the project’s draft sequence in February 2001 in Nature magazine. The draft sequence contained about 83% of the genome, but there were more than 150,000 gaps. The project’s goal was not to finish until 2003, but to release “working drafts” sooner than later.
Cloning technology is a form of artificial reproduction used to create identical twins. The first cloned mammal was Dolly the sheep. Though cloning is not widely used for commercial purposes, it remains popular among scientists. It can be used to create new species of animals, including endangered and extinct ones. However, cloning requires egg donors and surrogates that are closely related to the species being cloned.
The technology is not without controversy. While it may not be as effective as in creating twins, it is still a step toward the creation of new human life. Some people worry that it could lead to the use of embryonic stem cells in treating human disease. Others are concerned about the similarities between cancer cells and stem cells. These two types of cells can multiply indefinitely, but they can also accumulate mutations that could cause cancer. More research is needed to understand how stem cells and cancer cells interact.
Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, caused a stir. Dolly’s birth in 1999 changed the way scientists viewed cloning. It also opened up new possibilities for medicine and biology. In the years since, the research has led to the development of personalised stem cells.
Despite the controversy, the scientists behind the technology have not completely abandoned the idea. Many ambitious young scientists have continued to pursue their goals. One such scientist, He Jiankui, was sentenced to three years in prison at the end of 2019, so his conviction could chill their ambition. Despite the legal issues, some egocentric billionaires have emerged and are openly pursuing immortality.
While cloning is still not a practical option, it has potential to help restore endangered species. Some have suggested restoring woolly mammoths, giant pandas, and Neandertals, but this has not happened yet. Eventually, these clones can be bred with other members of a species to add diversity to the gene pool.