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November 3, 2016 / consort3

Some History of technology

Where it began, for our purposes, little known Elizabethan physician Gilbert

http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/all-things-measured/4441206/The-actual-father-of-electricity

Stephen Gray, the discoverer of electrical conduction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Gray_(scientist)

Thought Morse invented the Telegraph? Francis Ronalds invented it in 1816. Unfortunately no-one wanted it.

http://www.theiet.org/resources/library/archives/biographies/ronalds.cfm

It has been 150 years since Maxwell presented his equations:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/wireless/the-long-road-to-maxwells-equations

The history of Maxwells equations

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1871/1849

My friend has summarised them here:

Maxwells Equ

Heaviside’s conflict with Preece “Theory versus practice”

83Hunt

A worthy biography of Heaviside is “Oliver Heaviside”   by Paul Nahin

Another book on Heaviside

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v549/n7671/full/549156a.html

Another 150th anniversary George Boole. Boole like Heaviside was self -taught.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/how-george-boole-s-zeroes-and-ones-changed-the-world-1.2014673

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-bicentennial-of-george-boole-the-man-who-laid-the-foundations-of-the-digital-age/

There is more to Boole than Boolean

http://georgeboole.com/boole/

Interesting article about a contemporary of Maxwell and Boole, namely Babbage

http://blog.plan28.org/2014/11/babbages-language-of-thought.html?m=1

More detail on the invention

http://athena.union.edu/~hemmendd/Courses/cs80/an-engine.pdf

Article about Babbages friend, the first programmer, Ada

http://www.leftlion.co.uk/articles.cfm/title/the-dilettante-society–augusta-ada-lovelace/id/7225

Great piece on Ada and Babbage by Wolfram

http://blog.stephenwolfram.com/2015/12/untangling-the-tale-of-ada-lovelace/#

Impressive comic book of the Ada/Babbage story

www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/15/the-thrilling-adventures-of-lovelace-and-babbage-sydney-padua/

Another contemporary British invention, the Bessemer process

http://hackaday.com/2015/04/07/retrotechtacular-the-bessemer-converter/#comment-2518

A quartet of Victorian engineers beginning with B

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isambard_Kingdom_Brunel

I had to make it a quintet of people beginning with B. Thomas Bayes came up with Bayes’ Theorem, a basic law of probability governing how to modify one’s beliefs when new evidence arrives. Are you Bayesian or Boolean?

In the Boolean worldview, the world is organised into basic situations such as Sydney being north of Melbourne. Such situations are facts. Truth is correspondence to facts. That is, if a belief matches a fact, it is objectively true; if not, it is objectively false. If you and I disagree, one of us must be right, the other wrong; and if I know I’m right, then I know you’re wrong. Totally wrong.

In the Bayesian worldview, beliefs are not simply true or false, but more or less probable. That is, we can be more or less confident that they are true, given how they relate to our other beliefs and how confident we are in them. If you and I disagree about the cause of climate change, it is not a matter of me being wholly right and you being wholly wrong, but about the differing levels of confidence we have in a range of hypotheses. Dare I say it, shades of grey!

http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/bayesholland.pdf

Good explantion of Bayes Theorem

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/bayes-s-theorem-what-s-the-big-deal/

Another question, are you Babylonian or Balkan in your Philosophy? Feynman used to say that there were two kinds of Physicists, the Babylonians and the Greeks. He was referring to the opposing philosophies of those ancient civilizations. The Babylonians made western civilization’s first great strides in understanding numbers and equations, and in geometry.
Yet it was the later Greeks – in particular Thales, Pythagoras, and Euclid – whom we credit with inventing Mathematics. This is because the Babylonians cared only whether or not a method of calculation worked – that is, adequately described a real physical situation – and not whether it was exact, or fitted into any greater logical system. Thales and his Greek followers, on the other hand, invented the idea of theorem and proof – and required that for a statement to be considered thorough, it had to be an exact logical consequence of a system of explicitly stated axioms or assumptions. To put it simply, the Babylonians focused on phenomena, the Greeks on the underlying order.”
Nevertheless, the existence of Babylonian method has actually a deep sense: axiomatic approach can be formulated only if satisfactory number of facts, needed for the generalization, is accumulated.

Interesting reflections on Feynman:

http://www.planetanalog.com/author.asp?section_id=3049&doc_id=563898

Comments on the Feynman minority report of the shuttle disaster, interesting blog BTW

Feynman’s Minority Report and Top-Down Design | The Multidisciplinarian

More on Feynman:

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Richard_Feynman

How ARM happened

http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-02-24/the-unlikely-tale-of-how-arm-came-to-rule-the-world#p1

More on the history of ARM

http://community.arm.com/groups/processors/blog/2015/04/22/a-brief-history-of-arm-part-1

http://armdevices.net/

Arm 25th anniversary

http://blog.visual6502.org/2015/11/the-visual-arm1.html

350 years of scientific publishing. The Royal Society

http://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2015/mar/06/royal-society-celebrates-350-years-of-scientific-publishing

Contemporary work showing interest in Science from the nobility

http://www.tor.com/2016/09/21/discover-the17th-century-science-fiction-of-duchess-margaret-cavendish/

How technology developed from the enlightenment

https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2017/08/20/Mokyr-on-Enlightenment

A good summary of the basics of electronics:

http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/electronics/

Germanium is making a comeback:

http://forum.eetasia.com/BLOG_ARTICLE_22875.HTM

The hacker hacked

http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/how-yuppies-hacked-the-original-hacker-ethos/

The history of spreadsheets or the first killer app:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/03/visicalc-software-first-killer-app-john-naughton

Unsung computing hero Douglas Englebart

http://media.bemyapp.com/douglas-engelbart/?utm_source=bemyapp&utm_medium=ycombin&utm_content=&utm_campaign=media

The engineering approach to innovation in science

http://serious-science.org/principles-of-invention-3679

More on this idea

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIZ

Review of TRIZ for dummies

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/reader/1119107474/?tag=foxebook-21#reader_1119107474

How to engineer serendipity

http://time.com/3951029/engineer-serendipity/

Innovation tips

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/want-be-innovative-stop-chasing-next-big-thing-think-inside-ncna822601

Divisions of time

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physics/161-our-solar-system/the-earth/day-night-cycle/761-why-is-a-day-divided-into-24-hours-intermediate

Talking astronomy, where Jocelyn Bell discovered the Quasar. She, Lise Meitner and Rosalind Franklin are more famous female scientists than if they were Nobel Laureates:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/12/geeks_guide_to_britain_mullard_radio_astronomy_observatory/?page=1

https://theconversation.com/fifty-years-ago-jocelyn-bell-discovered-pulsars-and-changed-our-view-of-the-universe-88083

Talking of Rosalind Franklin here is the story of the how the structure of DNA was discovered:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/the-structure-of-dna-61-years-later-how-they-did-it/

More on Crick

http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.2003243

Lest I be accused of eurocentrism in the history of science

https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/political-correctness-and-the-history-of-science/

Sorry its creeping back in. Horrocks

https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/an-important-anniversary-in-the-history-of-science/

Restoring the balance, Martin Bernal and Black Athena

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2007/10/martin-bernal-revisits-black-athena-controversy-lecture

https://aeon.co/ideas/arabic-translators-did-far-more-than-just-preserve-greek-philosophy

https://theconversation.com/five-ways-ancient-india-changed-the-world-with-maths-84332

More balance, Sanskrit and the periodic table

http://swarajyamag.com/ideas/sanskrit-and-mendeleevs-periodic-table-of-elements/

Erdos and the Egyptian fraction problem:

https://www.simonsfoundation.org/uncategorized/new-erdos-paper-solves-egyptian-fraction-problem/

Computers can lead to experiments not being repeatable:

http://gizmodo.com/how-computers-broke-science-and-what-we-can-do-to-fix-i-1741649207

The future of the professions

http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/opinion/future-professions-0

Philosophy and work/life balance

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/10/leisure-the-basis-of-culture-josef-pieper/

Lord Nuffields philanthropy

http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/features/humble-philanthropist-how-modest-multimillionaire-lord-nuffield-saved-many-oxford-college

Babylonian maths more advanced than we previously thought:

https://www.inverse.com/article/10792-ancient-babylonians-used-calculus-to-track-jupiter-1-400-years-before-anyone-else

http://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/the-best-known-old-babylonian-tablet

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0315086017300691

http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/backgrounder-plimpton-322-and-trigonometry

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/dont-fall-for-babylonian-trigonometry-hype/

On the other hand:

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/02/babylonians-scientists/462150/

The clock on most computers started theoretically on 1st Jan  1970. Someone has worked out when the clock on the Anti-Kythera mechanism started, for solar eclipses it is 12 May 205BC.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/1386117/on-the-epoch-of-the-antikthera-mechansim.pdf

ancient-computer-lg

The age of enlightenment has become the age of entanglement

http://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/enlightenment-to-entanglement

Newtons recipe for the Philosophers stone

http://www.livescience.com/54162-newton-recipe-for-philosophers-stone-rediscovered.html

The extraordinary career of William Dampier

https://scolarcardiff.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/william-dampier-pirate-navigator-naturalist-and-explorer/

Richard Hakluyt and his early travel book

http://publicdomainreview.org/2016/10/26/richard-hakluyt-and-early-english-travel/

The silicon revolution started at  Shockley Semiconductor in April 1956 at Santa Clara which was the year Shockley got the Nobel prize for Physics for inventing the transistor. However by 1957 a number of staff he had recruited left to join Fairchild. More here:

http://silicongenesis.stanford.edu/about.html

How Silicon Valley got the name in 1971:

http://www.computerhistory.org/atchm/who-named-silicon-valley/

Unfortunately, all those manufacturing plants in Silicon Valley have left a toxic legacy in the groundwater.

The is/ ought problem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem

The above was written by Enlightenment philosopher David Hume who may have got some of his ideas from Buddism

http://www.alisongopnik.com/papers_alison/gopnik_humestudies_withtoc.pdf

The friendship between Hume and Adam Smith

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-scotsmen-who-invented-modernity-21940

More on Buddism:

http://madrascourier.com/books-and-films/vajracchedika-prajnaparamita-sutra-the-worlds-oldest-dated-printed-work/

Salvation by algorithm!

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/09/salvation-algorithm-god-technology-and-new-21st-century-religions

A scientific look at religon

http://sciencereligionspectrum.org/blog-posts/edward-burnett-tylor-and-the-evolution-of-religion/

Righteous religon and politics

https://laingdk.github.io/righteous-mind-summary/

Smartphones and social media are supposed to connect us. What happens when we are so constantly connected that forget how to be alone?

http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/09/andrew-sullivan-technology-almost-killed-me.html

How information technology affects capitalism:

https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/postcapitalism-and-the-city-6dda80bc201d#.uqgdt8usf

Maths lessons 4000 years ago in Babylon:

http://cdli.ucla.edu/pubs/cdlp/cdlp0005_20160501.pdf

The beginnings of modern philosophy?

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/imaginary-spaces/

The continuation of Greek Philosophy

https://aeon.co/ideas/when-philosophy-needed-muslims-jews-and-christians-alike

Scientists solve Prince Ruperts drops mystery:

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-scientists-year-old-mystery-prince-rupert.html

Genetically engineered Petunia history

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/how-transgenic-petunia-carnage-2017-began

Kranzbergs six laws of Technology

https://thefrailestthing.com/2011/08/25/kranzbergs-six-laws-of-technology-a-metaphor-and-a-story/

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