Big Picture Science – Since Sliced Bread

by Gary Niederhoff on April 7, 2014


Big Picture Science – Since Sliced Bread

Happy Birthday, World Wide Web! The 25-year-old Web, along with the Internet and the personal computer, are among mankind’s greatest inventions. But back then, who knew?

A techno-writer reminisces about the early days of the WWW and says he didn’t think it would ever catch on.

Also, meet an inventor who claims his innovation will leave your laptop in the dust. Has quantum computing finally arrived?

Plus, why these inventions are not as transformative as other creative biggies of history: The plow. The printing press. And… the knot?

And, why scientific discoveries may beat out technology as the most revolutionary developments of all. A new result about the Big Bang may prove as important as germ theory and the double helix.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Rob Shostak – PC Reminiscence
Part 2: Kevin Kelly – Advent of The Web
Part 3: Eric Ladizinsky – Quantum Computing
Part 4: George Dyson – The Greatest Inventions
Part 5: Prehistoric Almost Inventors
Part 6: Jamie Bock – Inflation Theory
Part 7: Aaron Gardner – Sliced Bread

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Cory Albrecht April 27, 2014 at 9:11 am

While catching up on the podcasts I am behind (BPS is one I never skip!), I notice how in this episode in the segment with George Dyson, the plough is mentioned as “made agriculture possible” agriculture.

Perhaps this is just subjective semantics, but the way Molly phrased that comes across to me as if she’s saying that there was no agriculture before the plough. However, agriculture was around long before the plough with early farmers first using digging sticks, then hoes to create furrows. Indeed, the first primitive ploughs, called “ards” didn’t appear until some time after 6000BCE by which time agriculture had already been happening for a few thousand years.

While the plough certain enabled an important increase in farming efficiency, it’s not what made agriculture possible.

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