1. the automobile, also known as “the machine that changed the world.” Cars succeeded through the widespread construction of highways and gas stations. Those things created a global supply chain of steel plants and refineries. Seemingly unrelated things, including suburbs, fast food and drive-time talk radio, arose in the success
     
  2. Three “general purpose technologies”—rare innovations that transform not only one industry but the entire economy—were developed within a few months of each other in 1879. Thomas Edison invented the first properly working light bulb, Karl Benz built the first reliable internal combustion engine and, two decades before Marconi, David Edward Hughes sent a wireless signal. … The second industrial revolution was “multidimensional.” The internal combustion engine meant cars and thus motorways, which led to wholesale distribution networks. Electricity meant light, air-conditioned offices and the service economy. US productivity grew by an average of 2.36 per cent a year from 1891 to 1972.

    In contrast, Gordon says, the computer revolution of the past 40 years has been “one-dimensional,”

     
  3. aspiring Cassandras have regularly proclaimed that new waves of technological innovation would render huge numbers of workers idle…

    As early as 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused a patent on a knitting machine for fear it would put “my poor subjects” out of work.

    In the 1930s, the great John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread job losses “due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses

     
  4. Before 1950, journalism in [the US] was lots of competing organizations in every city… when William Seward left Auburn, New York, population 10,000, there were 11 daily newspapers. Why were there 11 daily newspapers? Because they were being printed one sheet at a time, and each newspaper was tailored to a different audience. … There were a hundred daily newspapers started and closed in Washington during the 19th century. They came and they went, and they were almost all voices or mouthpieces of political organizations and powerful people. And they all competed vigorously, and people tended to read what they were interested in—much as they now watch Fox News and MSNBC today, depending on their views. That was the norm until the middle of the 20th century, when the technologies had adapted to the point where you could run a printing press really fast… The 18th-century norm has become the 21st-century norm. The fragmentation, the niche audiences
     
  5. The Vatican Apostolic Library has announced it will digitize all 82,000 manuscripts in its 135 collections…. That’s 41 million pages spanning nearly 2,000 years of church history
     
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    (via 15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever) Apparently from the 1970s, this “answer machine” concept has come pretty close to true :)

    (via 15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever) Apparently from the 1970s, this “answer machine” concept has come pretty close to true :)

     
  7. (In the 1930’s) Long-playing record technology was still in its infancy, and didn’t sound very good for recorded music. But the LP was perfectly fine for the spoken word… given the strange intellectual property agreements hammered out at the time, it was essentially illegal for anyone but blind people to use an LP record player in the 1930s.
     
  8. Holder of 55 patents and a 2008 inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Ruth R. Benerito was an American chemist best known for her invention of “easy-care” permanent press cotton, a staple of modern fabrics. Her work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in New Orleans focused on chemically bonding cotton fibers in a way that would prevent wrinkling. Today, many think of her inventions as having saved the cotton industry. Benerito passed away at age 97 on Oct. 5, 2013
     
  9. Albert Einstein called her the most “significant” and “creative” female mathematician of all time, and others of her contemporaries were inclined to drop the modification by sex. She invented a theorem that united with magisterial concision two conceptual pillars of physics: symmetry in nature and the universal laws of conservation. Some consider Noether’s theorem, as it is now called, as important as Einstein’s theory of relativity
     
  10. Nikola Tesla in Sound and Light (by Marco Tempest)

     
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    (via 15 Hilarious Technology Ads From the 1980s)
     
  12. 23:11

    Tags: history

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    (via Edison Electric Company The decade Los Angeles really lit up: Power company photographs capture the spread of electricity in the 1940s The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens | Mail Online)
     
  13. 23:08

    Tags: history

    a story of better living, improvement, and uplift all made possible through the power of electricity or “white gold,” the company’s term of art for its product. Boosters spoke fervently about the opportunity a regular supply of electricity created and the benefit it would provide a mass of people for whom ready access to white gold meant extended hours of productive labor, enhanced quality of their leisure hours, and greater safety
     
  14. we are depriving future generations of the memory of us… Though we now reveal so much more – teenagers especially – we leave behind so much less. Texts, tweets and Facebook updates exist in abundance, but they rarely provide the depth of a letter. And few would bet on them surviving 70-odd years… The point is that a fundamental aspect of human life – memory – is being altered by the digital revolution, and it is far from the only one. I confess I long avoided bowing to such a conclusion. In the 1990s, I was among those who wanted to believe the internet represented a shift in scale or form, rather than in kind: emails would be the same as letters, only faster. But increasingly, it seems, that was to underestimate the nature of the change…
     
  15. the right to be forgotten, as it has become known, could complicate the collection and digitization of mundane public documents — birth reports, death notices, real estate transactions and the like — that form a first draft of history. “Today, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter — this is the correspondence of the 21st century,” said Jean-Philippe Legois, president of the Association of French Archivists, which has around 1,700 members. “If we want to understand the society of today in the future, we have to keep certain traces.”