What's the greatest invention of all time?

by Kurt
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What's the greatest man-made invention or discovery of all time? (Other than beer and duct tape)

Is it controlling fire? The wheel? Something else?
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    The wheel.
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    The wheel is so simple that it would be impossible to ascribte to any one inventor. Accoring to the book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

    <title>The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, by Michael H. Hart

    The most important inventors were 5. Ts'ai Lun (paper, although probably wrongly ascribed to), and 6. Johann Gutenberg (printing press)
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    • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
      Originally Posted by derekwong28 View Post

      The wheel is so simple that it would be impossible to ascribte to any one inventor. Accoring to the book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

      <title>The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, by Michael H. Hart

      The most important inventors were 5. Ts'ai Lun (paper, although probably wrongly ascribed to), and 6. Johann Gutenberg (printing press)

      The word paper is derived from the ancient Egyptian papyrus plant which they used to make paper.

      http://www.wipapercouncil.org/invention.htm
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      • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
        Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

        The word paper is derived from the ancient Egyptian papyrus plant which they used to make paper.

        The Invention of Paper
        The paper used today are not descended from papyrus, it didn't go far because it was too cumbersome.
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        • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
          Originally Posted by derekwong28 View Post

          The paper used today are not descended from papyrus, it didn't go far because it was too cumbersome.

          Of course not.

          Hardly anything made 5,000 years ago will stand up to it's modern counterparts - or any improvement made say.... a thousand years later.


          But the word paper itself is no doubt derived from the usage of the papyrus plant and the crude paper it made.
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          • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
            Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

            Of course not.

            Hardly anything made 5,000 years ago will stand up to it's modern counterparts - or any improvement made say.... a thousand years later.


            But the word paper itself is no doubt derived from the usage of the papyrus plant and the crude paper it made.
            The word paper is a english word that is derived form papyrus. This is only an english word only, it does not have any bearing on Chinese or any other language at that time.

            If you read the rest of that articles, it clearly states that the invention of paper was accredited to T'sun Lun

            Papyrus was not known in China and there were similar writing materials at that time.

            Just because there is a Chinese word for Space Shuttle doesn't mean that they invented the Space Shuttle
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            • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
              In no particular order...

              Music
              Dogs
              Language
              The control of fire - and thus Cookery
              The Printing Press
              Electricity
              The Plough
              The Telescope/Microscope
              The Computer
              Chocolate Hobnobs


              Okay, I was joking about the Computer.


              Frank
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            • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
              Originally Posted by derekwong28 View Post

              The word paper is a english word that is derived form papyrus. This is only an english word only, it does not have any bearing on Chinese or any other language at that time.

              If you read the rest of that article, it clearly states that the invention of paper was accredited to T'sun Lun

              Papyrus was not known in China and there were similar writing materials at that time.

              Just because there is a Chinese word for Space Shuttle doesn't mean that they invented the Space Shuttle
              Granted...


              But...

              I'm not sure why paper's invention was accredited to T'sun Lun since all he did was improve on the Egyptian material and process that was created and used 3,000 years earlier.
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    Obviously, the answer is coffee.

    After that, the answer is the editor VI.

    After that, the answer is the village/community - its what gave people unable to hunt, other ways to contribute towards their clan/tribe/etc., and so allowed for invention to flourish.
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  • Profile picture of the author mediasurgeons
    For me, The Cat's eye.
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  • Profile picture of the author vishalduggal
    The Internet.
    Atleast this is the Biggest invention for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author theurbantwist
      Originally Posted by vishalduggal View Post

      The Internet.
      Atleast this is the Biggest invention for me.
      I would have to cosign. I can live without a car (and its wheels) but I can't live without the internet.
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    • Profile picture of the author healthconverter
      Originally Posted by vishalduggal View Post

      The Internet.
      Atleast this is the Biggest invention for me.
      But without a computer, would there be any sort of thing like the internet? Perhaps a computer wouldn't exist without the invention of electric cables. Which may not have existed without the invention of the wheel.

      Every invention comes back, in one way or another to the earliest inventions, fire, law, the wheel, coffee. If it wasn't for these inventions, there would be no internet (and possibly no happiness, for without the internet, the world is a dark and dreary place...) because there would be nothing to build your invention on.

      Sir Issac Newton: "If I have seen a little farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    How about agriculture?

    With it folks stopped wondering around and settled down and the rest is history.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Who knows? There was once a problem, and a guy solved it by having like a giant egg slicer come down, flip the product over, and wrapping it super quick. I guess he was proud of his invention, thought it was fantastic, etc... According to the story I heard, from that moment on, he compared every invention of note to his, and THAT is where we get the expression "That is the greatest thing since sliced bread"!

    The story goes that, at the time, you had to slice your own bread because if the company did it it would start to degrade. So he developed a way to do everything quickly so sliced bread could stay on the shelf. Leave bread out for like an hour, and you quickly see the problem.

    Anyway, WHO KNOWS!?!?!? I COULD say THE MICRO PROCESSOR because it allows so many other things to work well today. From the cell phone to the stealth bomber, AND the internet. But plumbing, and AC are nice too.

    The wheel is so basic and, let's face it, it's obvious! Wear down a square by rolling it, or figure that an object requires less effort to move if all points are equidistant, and it becomes just too obvious. Round rocks, trees, even the planets look round.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author vpgemini
    The invention of the computer and internet...
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  • Profile picture of the author waterotter
    The discovery of DNA, hence the invention of DNA Testing.
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    I think it is possibly fire, or else there would no cooked food. Otherwise, it would be clothing, although it is not necessary in tropical climates.
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  • Profile picture of the author likesaSwirly
    Someone already said it but I gotta say Electricity.

    Motors / Gasoline
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by likesaSwirly View Post

      Someone already said it but I gotta say Electricity.

      Motors / Gasoline
      WHY say gasoline AND motors, PICK ONE!

      I AGREE motors are good and useful. ONE reason is because THEY DON'T NEED GAS!

      In proper terms, a car gas mower, etc... has an engine.

      But I HATE gas! I wish it had never been used.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Mega B
    I would say the black gold OIL and electricity.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Barboza
    the screw is a very important invention in my opinion
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Without fire and the wheel - most of the other things people list would not have happened.

      The greatest of anything is often the most basic discovery.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Without fire, it's possible man wouldn't have survived at all. It protects us from animals, allows us to live in climates we couldn't live in, lights the night, tenderizes food that we couldn't have eated otherwise, as well as saves tons of calories used for chewing, hardens wood spears and arrows, sterilizes water and food.

    So I'll go with fire as the greatest Man invention...

    However, if we say the greatest invention for SOCIETY, I'll say MONEY. Without money, not much else on this thread would have been invented. And money/currency never comes up as a great invention, but it really opens up a lot of trade and commerce that just isnt' possible without it.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Without fire, it's possible man wouldn't have survived at all. It protects us from animals, allows us to live in climates we couldn't live in, lights the night, tenderizes food that we couldn't have eated otherwise, as well as saves tons of calories used for chewing, hardens wood spears and arrows, sterilizes water and food.

      So I'll go with fire as the greatest Man invention...

      However, if we say the greatest invention for SOCIETY, I'll say MONEY. Without money, not much else on this thread would have been invented. And money/currency never comes up as a great invention, but it really opens up a lot of trade and commerce that just isnt' possible without it.
      Well, for fire, man didn't invent it, but merely discovered it. Granted, ways were made to start it and use it, but that is it.

      As for money, good point. I wish we really still had some. The japanese recently became poorer to the world when the government reduced the fiat currency's value.

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

        Well, for fire, man didn't invent it, but merely discovered it. Granted, ways were made to start it and use it, but that is it.

        As for money, good point. I wish we really still had some. The japanese recently became poorer to the world when the government reduced the fiat currency's value.

        Steve
        Well I didn't say it was! Go back and read my first post. Note where I said "discovered". Another knitpick (and wrong).

        For someone that can't answer the question themselves (see your first pick), you sure like to be critical of others. Gotta love critics.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Kurt,

      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Without fire, it's possible man wouldn't have survived at all. It protects us from animals, allows us to live in climates we couldn't live in, lights the night, tenderizes food that we couldn't have eated otherwise, as well as saves tons of calories used for chewing, hardens wood spears and arrows, sterilizes water and food.
      I don't know if you're familiar with the book "Catching Fire" by Richard Wrangham Amazon.com: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us...Amazon.com: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us... but his theory is that the control of fire and its use in cooking food is what actually made us human.

      Cooked food made it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients, using fewer calories in the digestion process. As well as improving nutrition, the energy saved in digestion, he argues, allowed the body to shift its resources; freeing the extra energy needed for growing the brain.

      If that was the case, all other inventions stem from this discovery.


      Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Sorry about missing the part about discovery. 8-(

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    Science is now exploring whether humanity and technology are so intertwined that technology has altered human genetics:
    The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor | Book review | Books | The Guardian
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  • Profile picture of the author Olga_Tarkhan
    I would say the "off" button on my TV set...
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  • Profile picture of the author cosmoslad
    According to my grandmother-the washing machine.
    I am more inclined to go with the chocolate chip cookie.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgeReed
    The engine for sure.

    Its what makes the wheels work...

    Turning fire into energy, movement.
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    • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
      I'd say language(s). Although "language" isn't a strictly human phenomenon (birds, dolphins, apes, other animals and even insects have complex systems of communicating with each other), it's hard to see how we could've gotten very far as a species without it.

      Everything from knowledge of which foods were safe to eat and which ones were poisonous, to hunting in groups, to agriculture, to social heirarchies and relationships, to skills being passed down from one generation to the next, were facilitated by codified systems of communication.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by Hesaidblissfully View Post

        I'd say language(s). Although "language" isn't a strictly human phenomenon (birds, dolphins, apes, other animals and even insects have complex systems of communicating with each other), it's hard to see how we could've gotten very far as a species without it.

        Everything from knowledge of which foods were safe to eat and which ones were poisonous, to hunting in groups, to agriculture, to social heirarchies and relationships, to skills being passed down from one generation to the next, were facilitated by codified systems of communication.

        Just for conversation...The fire folks would suggest that we wouldn't have developed the brain power for language if it wasn't for fire being able to give us more nutrition from food.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by GeorgeReed View Post

      The engine for sure.

      Its what makes the wheels work...

      Turning fire into energy, movement.
      Without fire, there is no combustion engine.

      Humans, oxen, horses and donkeys have powered wheels longer than engines. The Amish seem to be doing all-right.
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  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    Certain inventions have radically reduced the need for labor. For example, money.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    I'm with Einstein on this one...

    Compound interest.
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  • Profile picture of the author Austin john
    I think its computer and internet if these things are not present in real life then you never ask us this question that "What's the greatest invention of all time?"
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  • Profile picture of the author derprinz
    i would say , it's controlling fire .
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  • Profile picture of the author slk
    It would be a toss up between plumbing and toiletpaper or Electricity and the blowdryer. LOL
    It would have to be the Cellphone and the Internet!!! Like another said, I can live without a car, but the internet, I am not so sure.
    Sherry
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  • Profile picture of the author NickEllisTV
    We are in an IM forum right? It is the internet!
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  • Profile picture of the author sans
    What about the electro magnetic engine wave power wind power and solar power
    all free all clean,

    But potato chips while reading this forum is heaven to me
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