Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In 240 BC Aristarchus discovered the size of the moon based on the width of the moon's shadow compared to the earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse. In 235 BC Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the earth just by knowing the distance between two cities and the angle of a shadow on a pillar. In 1610 Galileo made a telescope powerful enough to see the moons of Jupiter. All these inventions were made without electricity. None of these inventors had a math book or computer. All of these inventions have had a direct impact science and modern technology.

None of those men technically needed to make these discoveries. No one was pressuring them to discover new things. The world would keep going even if technology stopped progressing. True, the standard of living wouldn't have gotten any better, but people wouldn't have known any different. But that's the interesting thing about progress. It's the nature of man to improve his situation. Physics teaches us that matter always takes the path of least resistance, but mankind thankfully defies this law and goes the opposite direction. From the beginning of time, someone has always had the desire to make his life, and by extension the lives of others, better.

This idea stretches from the beginning of time and will continue forever. People were fine with going out back to use the outhouse, but someone decided to take a page out of the Romans' book and bring about the toilet. The teenagers of the eighties would have been fine using their walk-mans forever. However, someone had the foresight to invent the compact disk and thereby the disc-man. And these are only conveniences. World problems like malaria and polio have been cured because someone wanted to make life better.

Aristarchus used simple means to further the study of science that would change the world. Eratosthenes discovered technology that's the basis for a large quantity of math used today. Galileo perfected technology that changed the way we view the universe. All these discoveries were made without electricity or modern instruments and look at what they've done for mankind. Progress has a way of happening no matter the circumstance which surrounds it.

So while people worry about the state of the world, I'm not that concerned. My generation is the future leaders of the world and look at all the great things we're doing. Today I learned how to jump start a car. (Forget that it was because I left the headlights on.) Never fear America. Your fate rests in my capable hands.