Breakthrough Discoveries

I am not sure where to start this post or to better say, which point in history of time I'd choose when something extraordinary happened for the first time and started the domination of humans over all other species competing on Earth. Was it the discovery of fire and learning how to start it? Maybe it was rather the discovery of tools to make everyday life easier and made us the ultimate predator? Even though these two can definitively be classified as breakthrough discoveries, if you ask me, what was more important back in that period of prehistoric era was the point in evolution of human brain when we started to dream. The time when brain cells evolved to the point when we started to use imagination and to think outside the boundaries of simple survival. That point in history of mankind is maybe the most important of them all. It was the time when first images appeared on the cave walls, first simple houses and camps started to exist. We started to bury and mourn the dead and to live in families. Yes, that was the first breakthrough discovery, the first giant leap into evolution of humans and ever since this will stay the biggest one making us the real citizens of the planet. The earthlings.

While we are still waiting for something similar to happen in order to ascend humans into citizens of Solar system, or the next breakthrough discovery of the same size, lots of time has passed since the first one. After many millenniums from that point in time, many other breakthrough discoveries and inventions happened and while their importance is not that great as the first one, they are really responsible for the human evolution and progress to the present day. Every one of them represented one step toward the future destination and changed the humans irretrievably. I am sure the following list will be questionable for many of you, but nevertheless I will try to count them all out of the head hopefully without much editing this post in the future.


Instead of chronological ordering I will try to group them differently. Let's start with food, hygiene and medicine as I think this must had come next after socializing the humanity into tribes, cities, countries, etc. What was inevitable next step after eating berries, collecting wild fruits and after hunting for meat, invention of various tools opened the door for farming, agriculture and domesticating wild animals. Sophisticated tools and floating devices brought a fish on the menu and it seems that eating fish started rapid evolution of brain. There is ongoing debate among evolutionary scientists what exactly caused rapid evolution of human brain and culture about 50000 years ago and if you ask me I blame the fish. So if you want to be smart eat fish a lot, especially during childhood. After that, it all started to develop pretty fast. Century after century brought more brain cells to the average human. In common effort, humans populated the whole planet, started to recognize the healing plants, to understand how body works and in all years to the date, invented toilet and soap, clothing, drugs, antibiotics, vaccination, anesthetics, surgery and created a world of self-awareness ultimately resulting in considerably prolonging human life over time. Life expectancy variation over time according to Britannica almost doubled since prehistoric times. This is maybe the best proof that humans constantly learn about themselves directly influencing their own evolution. Maybe the next major invention will be nano-technology applications, similar what electronics brought to medicine, just imagine a futuristic nano-robot delivering a drug directly to the body part in need killing the cancer cells right in their neighborhood.

When we learned to live healthy and to repair ourselves what was next is industrialization of our communities. That all started with discovery of the wheel. This piece of ingenuity started as an transportation tool, but over time it ended into many other industrial machines and tools, clocks, steam and internal combustion engines, generators, sewing and printing press machines, the list is endless. Maybe the only breakthrough of this size in this area of industrialization was discovery of electricity and its own endless applications starting with light bulb, telephone, radio and television, computers, medicine etc. Combined, the wheel and electronics created the wonderful world of bicycles, cars, tracks, buses, trains, zeppelins, submarines, boats, ships, helicopters and airplanes, satellites, shuttles and rockets, all kind of transportation devices that truly allowed us to rule the planet to its most hidden corner.

Internet and World Wide Web

Next and maybe the area with same importance is art and communication, starting with written language, numbers and calculations, expressing thoughts in different ways and orientation in space. While above described discoveries were first made in past and now we are only perfecting the inventions dated centuries ago, here within communication and modern art the most breakthrough discoveries came only recently. The most biggest invention is of course the internet and computerizing the home and human interaction. We are just very near to the discovery of universal translation device and wearing a mobile computer equipped with various sensory applications, similar to wrist watches in their pick of popularity. Thanks to computerizing the movie industry in latest years, movies made in recent years are tremendously different to the ones made only two decades ago. Lastly, and also very important discovery in human history is sport. My previous post was about sport, this is something that truly changed the people, the post was somewhat entertaining as well, so if you are willing to read it is here: Sports. The conclusion in this article is perfectly suitable for this article too: "I really think that international sport is responsible for less amount of wars today. If you compare middle age, up to the middle of last century, with modern era today, it seems that people sometimes back in dark ages organized wars in a fashion of a today's sport competitions. If they had sports back then to compete with their 'enemies', they would probably used baseball bats instead of spears, large swords or cannons."

Generally speaking, maybe the major milestone was the birth of science and scientific thought. This is maybe the only part of the humanity that was developing slowly from the beginning. It all started with watching the nightly sky and understanding the heavens. Today, we can surely say that science is responsible for majority, if not of them all, of breakthrough discoveries since the beginning of humans, with exception of imagination that is maybe the origin point of humans as we know. Along with industrialization of the world, science evolved rapidly in past couple of centuries and today we are experiencing its next level of existence. The time when one individual inventor or scientist could be the father of the breakthrough invention that is capable for changing the world is inevitably gone. Time of master minds like Aristotle, Archimedes, Galileo, Einstein, Tesla, Edison, Bohr, Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Kepler, Planck, Mendeleev and hundreds more are changed in a way that single scientist is no longer enough to produce something extraordinary and new. 21st century is a time of science institutes and scientific commuting. Breakthrough discoveries moved from garage laboratories into expensive international experiments lead by teams of scientists and logistic backgrounds.

Orbital City

No doubt that next milestone of the milestones will happen in the future and it will be developed in scientific laboratory in the Earth orbit. In order to truly become Type II and III civilization according to Kardashev scale several severe breakthroughs in space engineering are required. You don't have to be a super smart to conclude that living in harsh environment as space requires tremendous amount of energy and building a space cities is the challenge almost impossible if we are looking it from today's perspective. Technology of the space future must be built on breakthroughs solving artificial gravity, creating super speed engines pushing the space ship or city in half a speed of light or faster and managing active radiation protection capable to transform micro meteorites or solar particles into usable energy. Many science fiction stories and movies already addressed all kind of technological solutions of the future, but whether or not humans will be able to handle antimatter, negative energy, Alcubierre's warp drive, wormholes or giant sailing ships, future will tell. However, by knowing how much negative energy or antimatter is required for a small warp bubble it seems impossible right now. But crossing the Atlantic was similar impossible mission in the past and look it now - it is just another piece of cake. Well, who knows, maybe what we only need is to find a small micro black hole and build a star ship around it and it will might be the only thing we need. I am sure the solution is there waiting for discovery.

Looking it from the pessimistic (realistic?) point of view, it is almost impossible that all mankind evolution in the past went smoothly. We are simple beings after all and lots of obstacles were on the road posted by nature and ourselves. The major one is probably the religiosity and our need to create the divine simply because of the fear of unknown and the things we are not capable to comprehend. I guess this is the nus-product of our imagination and directly created by first breakthrough discovery. To be honest, while the various religions in the past and present days are also responsible for many good things, like making tight connection between people in essence, and this is my opinion only, religiosity after all is just one sidetrack of our road to the future. As soon as we evolve into beings with no fear for the unknown and yet undiscovered realm the better. I had one post earlier discussing this and if you are eager to read its titled: Science of God

The cannon from the Hill of Čegar*

One more downside of the human imagination and emotional "reasoning" is, no doubt, violent human history. If you are looking for opposite words for inventions and breakthrough discovery take a pick from these: wars, hatred, conflicts, political sidetracks, dictatorships, hostilities, global resistance for change in general, old democracy system, corruption, too big dependence for current economic system, worshiping the power and money. I once wrote about democracy improvement that might deal with most of these, find the article here: Real Democracy System.

Hmm, maybe the best way to conclude this post is to list some inventions that can't be titled as extraordinary as lightning the fire but nevertheless they are also important for mankind. There are plenty of lists on the net and these links below are the one I stumbled upon while writing this post.

Image ref:
http://www.milanzivic.com/2014/11/warfare-then-and-now.html

Refs:
http://www.adherents.com/people/100_scientists.html
http://science.discovery.com/convergence/100discoveries/big100/big100.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy
http://shareranks.com/155,Greatest-Inventions-of-All-Time
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101018051705AAbc99q
http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-human-inventions-of-all-time.php
http://www.helium.com/knowledge/5223-top-ten-greatest-inventions-of-all-time
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution


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