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Are most notable inventions derivative of military purpose?

  1. Nov 14, 2007 #1
    I keep hearing about most of our notable inventions being derivative of military purpose. I tried searching for more information to see if this was actually true, but couldn't find anything substantive. So is it true?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2007 #2

    BobG

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    I don't think most of our notable inventions are for military purposes over all, but they do subsidize a lot of technology, especially within certain niches. The space program would be one example where it might be true most developments were paid for by the military. Until recently, just about all of our launch vehicles have been modified ICBMs. Until very recently, the most sophisticated satellites have been military satellites. Only in the last decade or so has the civilian space industry been lucrative enough for much of an effort for a purely civilian technology.

    A lot of military technology was driven by the cold war and I'd say that while there's still a huge market for purely military technology, there's a trend towards adopting civilian technology to military uses, which is probably the norm if you exclude the cold war era.
     
  4. Nov 14, 2007 #3

    mgb_phys

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    I thought they were all about sex;
    Language - ask for sex.
    Fire - keep warm while having sex.
    Weapons - kill wild animals that interrupt you while having sex.

    Of course the anaology breaks down with modern inventions like the internet .....
     
  5. Nov 14, 2007 #4

    Moonbear

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    Haven't spent much time in chatrooms, have you? :biggrin:
     
  6. Nov 14, 2007 #5

    Gokul43201

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    Aww...you killed it, moonbie!
     
  7. Nov 17, 2007 #6
    How about Liquid Paper?
     
  8. Nov 17, 2007 #7

    Moonbear

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    Female secretary says to male chemist, "Why don't you come over to my kitchen and help me cook something up?" Hmm...
     
  9. Nov 17, 2007 #8

    mgb_phys

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    You don't know? - You have led a sheltered life :biggrin:
     
  10. Nov 17, 2007 #9
    I read that 80% of the internet traffic is porn so maybe not.....
     
  11. Nov 17, 2007 #10

    matthyaouw

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    Margarine!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarine#History
     
  12. Nov 17, 2007 #11

    mgb_phys

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    Do we have an icon for the wooshing sound a comment makes as it goes over a poster's head?
     
  13. Nov 17, 2007 #12
    Yes, but now I'm intrigued. Liquid paper...hmmmmm.....
     
  14. Nov 17, 2007 #13

    ummm i would say that most of our notable inventions are the result of a perceived necessity.
     
  15. Nov 17, 2007 #14
    That's catchy.
     
  16. Nov 17, 2007 #15

    Mk

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    That was probably because it requiring so much picture and video, making an off-ratio on bandwidth spent on nonpornographic graphic and video vs. pornographic graphics and video, which there used to be much less of. But now, every website is graphics-intensive and no body is afraid to add extra or video, so I wouldn't be surprised if nonporn trumps porn as for bandwidth.
    You know what they say, Mother is the necessity of invention.
     
  17. Nov 28, 2007 #16

    Astronuc

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  18. Nov 28, 2007 #17

    BobG

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    It could also be pretty useful for some disabilities (Nursing Care, Rehab Robots ... ).

    The Japanese domestic market for robotic exoskeletons is predicted to soar to over $8 billion a year by 2025 when many of the baby boomers hit their 80's. I imagine there will be a huge market in the US, as well. (Just think, quite a few of us could be using these things.)

    It's hard to invest in something that doesn't pay off immediately (which is why developing exoskeletons for soldiers will probably lead the way) but awful hard not to invest when there's such a huge payoff somewhere down the road.

    Limited exoskeletons (say for an ankle) have had some success, as well. As long as a signal is coming down the nervous system, the exoskeletons seem to work pretty well.

    Help for people like Stephen Hawking might take a little longer - not because it couldn't be done, but because the user has to learn an entirely new brain process for controlling their movements. Coordination is a lot better if the user moves the exoskeleton exactly the same way they move their own arm or leg.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
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