The Western Lines

September 22, 2010

Modern Marvels: Ancient Discoveries

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,ancient technology,Modern Marvels — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we continue our retrospective of past technologies. But, instead of taking a trip through time of just mere decades, our time odyssey will take us back more than two thousand years. And in the course of this temporal voyage we will examine the ancient antecedents of many technologies that many would consider modern.

Today’s video feature Modern Marvels: Ancient Discoveries, explores the question – Is it possible the ancients were so technologically advanced that they successfully designed the template for today’s computers, planes, trains, automobiles and other engineering marvels?

We will first examine a mysterious device that still baffles many of today’s experts – the Antikythera mechanism.

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900 from the Antikythera wreck, but its complexity and significance were not understood until decades later. It is now thought to have been built about 150–100 BCE. The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to late medieval Swiss watch making. Technological artefacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.

Modern Marvels: Ancient Discoveries will also explore the forerunners of today’s modern rail service, super ships and flame throwers.

Modern Marvels: Ancient Discoveries


September 20, 2010

Modern Marvels: 90’s Tech

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we travel back to the last decade of the Twentieth Century for a retrospective look at the beginnings of the trendy technologies that have defined that epoch and has shaped ours.

Modern Marvels: 90s Tech will take you way back to the end of the Twentieth Century and the beginning of today’s trendy technologies. From DVDs to TIVO to GPS, we’ll see how the gadgets we can’t live without all started in the 1990s.

Modern Marvels: 90’s Tech

September 18, 2010

Modern Marvels: 80’s Tech

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a trip back in time, all the way back to the 1980s and will examine some of the most popular gadgets and fads of that defined a decade.

Join us as we take a retrospective look at Sony’s Walkman, the Rubik’s Cube, the DeLorean DMC-12, and of course the microchip which changed electronics forever.

Modern Marvels: 80’s tech

September 17, 2010

Modern Marvels: 70’s Tech

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a retrospective look at the technology of the Nineteen Seventies.

From pong to CB radios, to the instant camera to the Pontiac Firebird and everywhere in between it all has the mark of the technology of the seventies.

Modern Marvels: 70’s Tech

September 16, 2010

Modern Marvels: 60s Tech

Filed under: 60s Tech,Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a ride back to the 1960s and recall the technological happenings that helped shape the decade.

Colour TV, computers the size of Mac® trucks and Lava lamps we return to the heady days of the Space Age with this affectionate look at the advances that convinced us the “future is NOW!” For over a decade, Modern Marvels has brought grand stories to life. This documentary is the ultimate celebration of engineering excellence.

From broadcast satellites to superballs, high-tech advances in the 60s improved every part of our lives.

Modern Marvels: 60s Tech

July 14, 2010

Nikola Tesla – The Man Who Created the Future

Nikola Tesla invented or developed many of the electrical technologies which form the basis of our technological civilization, including: alternating-current (AC) power transmission and electric motors; high-frequency (HF) communications, the basis for radio and television; neon lighting; remote radio-control; radio astronomy and X-rays. He was the man that developed the technology that electrified America and the world. He is credited by many maverick inventors as the man who almost single handedly created the future. Yet despite his great body of work he is a largely forgotten by the general public at large.

Nikola Tesla’s influence could also be seen in such diverse fields as the development of RADAR, hybrid-fuel automobiles, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and particle beam weaponry. Tesla even foresaw the need for alternative energies sources such as geothermal and solar power and also envisioned an age where electric power would one day be transmitted wirelessly.

But, his visionary genius and technical skill was countered by his lack of business acumen and an eccentric personality.

Yet, despite his failures in life Nikola Tesla is very much revered today and has gained an almost legendary mystical aura. After dying penniless in 1943, his “missing papers” regarding the construction of a ‘death ray’ became the focus of much international intrigue. And maybe one day, late in the twenty-first century, Tesla’s work may lead to advanced beamed energy interstellar propulsion systems that will take humanity to the stars.
One such idea is already potentially being developed by Joe Davis of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in connection to a memorial dedicated to the victims of hurricane Katrina. Imagine, if you will, a hundred-foot tower to throw some of nature’s fury back into the sky. The tower will be constructed like a lightning rod, but with three vertical masts made of aluminum. When lightning strikes the tower, a resonant cavity is formed that breaks down nitrogen in the air and triggers an ultraviolet laser discharge, sending the beams back into the sky. Its possible use in spacecraft propulsion can be seen if we combine this concept with one developed by Robert L Forward of using a vast reflective sail pushed by laser beam to the outer edges of the Solar System and beyond.

Nikola Tesla’s Mad Electricity Modern Marvels

July 13, 2010

Modern Marvels – Apollo 11

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Apollo 11,Apollo Technology,Modern Marvels,Moonshot — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we highlight perhaps the greatest scientific and technological achievement in living memory – Apollo 11 and the first manned Moon landing.

Modern Marvels – Apollo 11 chronicles the trials and tribulations of the Apollo program and its ascent to glory as the Apollo 11 crew touched down on the moons surface.

With insightful narration, interviews with Astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Flight Director Gene Kranz, NASA experts, scientists and engineers, the program winds through the evolution of the space program from President Kennedy’s famous congressional address to the stories of personal sacrifice necessary for Apollo’s success.

Also included is video footage and pictures from the Apollo 11 mission, allowing viewers to step inside the minds and spacesuits worn by the three brave astronauts.

Modern Marvels – Apollo 11
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July 1, 2010

Benjamin Franklin – America’s Renaissance Man

Today on Discovery Enterprise in order to help commemorate the two hundred and thirty fourth anniversary of the founding of the United States of America we explore the life of perhaps the greatest inventive mind that ever graced America’s cultural landscape before the birth of Thomas Edison and the arrival of America’s greatest import – the creative technological genius Nikola Tesla.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His signature appears on all the documents related to the founding of our nation from the Declaration of Independence to the Treaty of Paris which formally ended the American Revolutionary War between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America.

Franklin was a noted polymath, a leading author and printer, a leading satirist, political theorist in colonial America, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania.

Franklin earned the title of “The First American” for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity; as a writer and spokesmen in London for several colonies, then as the first American ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation and embodied the frontier spirit of a young vigorous nation in the making.

So join us today on Discovery Enterprise in our salute to the founding of the United States of America as we honor its greatest son and its one true Renaissance man – Benjamin Franklin.

Modern Marvels – Ben Franklin Tech

June 25, 2010

Leonardo’s Marvelous Inventions

Today on Discovery Enterprise we again explore the life and work of a man, who more than anyone else in history, epitomizes the Age of the Renaissance – Leonardo da Vinci.

In this episode of the History Channel’s Modern Marvels we take another close look at the technological innovations that flowed forth from Leonardo’s prodigious imagination and intellect.

Nearly 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci still intrigues us. Most people think of him as a great artist, but he was also a remarkable scientist and inventor. His love of mechanics was unparalleled and he filled his notebooks with pages of incredible machines–from weapons of war to “Ships of the Skies”, from submarines and scuba suits to robots and an analogue computer…even contact lenses and alarm clocks! How did a 15th-century man envision such modern innovations? If we follow his plans, would any of his designs work? We need wonder no more. With recent technological advances and new materials, we’re the first generation able to bring Leonardo’s drawings to life–to learn whether his “mechanical dreams” were workable plans. We explore the fascinating intersection of his art, science, and engineering marvels, and use them to offer insight into this “Genius of Geniuses”, who remains as elusive as Mona Lisa’s smile.

Modern Marvels – Da Vinci Tech

June 22, 2010

Carbon – Life’s Most Essential Building Block

Today on Discovery Enterprise we focus our attention on the sixth element of periodic table -Carbon. The element carbon forms the basis of all organic and biochemAdd Imageistry, the chemistry of life itself. Life on Earth is Carbon based and we humans, to use a phrase made famous by the late Arthur C. Clarke, are “Carbon Based Bipeds”.

So on behalf of my fellow co-bloggers Dennis Chamberland, Ralph Buttigieg and Michael Lombardi I bid you all – Greetings, fellow carbon based bipeds and any other sentient carbon based life forms that harbor nothing but good will towards our fellow inhabitants of planet Earth.Join us as we explore the one essential ingredient that links all life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the Cosmos.

All life forms, including us, are built upon atoms of carbon. But modern technology is also built on a foundation of carbon. Modern Marvels: Carbon explores how such a simple element burns hotter, cuts deeper, dies harder, insulates more thoroughly, and absorbs more fully than any other material.

From diamonds to coal, carbon fiber race cars to graphite pencils, you’ll see why carbon is not just the stuff of life, but the key to modern technology. You’ll also learn why “activated carbon” is the material of choice for absorbing everything from toxic heavy metals in your drinking water to funky odors in your shoes. And you’ll see how NASA is using carbon aerogel, the lightest, most insulating substance in the world, to search for clues about-you guessed it-carbon-based life forms.

Copyright: History Channel

Modern Marvels – Carbon

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