What Innovations Are You Thankful For . . .?

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  • #1
kyphysics
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I was just sitting back today thinking of how we live compared with people just 100-200 years ago (or, even people living today in less modernized parts of the world). I often complain of not having this or that and the nuisance of getting spam and fake emails. And, yet, something as simple as email (and a computer with word processing) is a truly remarkable luxury that people just 50 years ago did not have. Mail had to be sent by postal delivery. Word processing was done on cumbersome typewriters.

Air conditioning...indoor plumbing...refrigeration...hell, even electricity...are all quite amazing when compared to their absence just a few decades or hundred years ago.

I am thankful for the labor, creativity, and drive to innovate that so many people of the past had that have made my life so much better. . .Life is not perfect - yes, spam and fake emails annoy me - but I am so much more glad to have to deal with the troubles that innovations bring than to live life without them.

OMG, even Coca-Cola...Five Guys burgers...Lays potato chips...I am so thankful for these food innovations too! It would be torture to imagine not having access to my favorite foods ever again!
 
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  • #2
256bits
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Direct deposit for my paycheck - no more waiting in lines for that one. It's like free money!
And give the guy who put a motor on the passenger window of the car a high five, same guy who probably thought to put that button that unlocks it from the driver side door - nice thinking.

Not much else...
Liquid paper stripe ( not that I ever do make any mistakes :rolleyes: ) , polaroid sunglasses, microwave oven, the end of the floppy disk 👍, 8-track tapes ( I always thought that was neat :woot: ) , soap on a rope ( good for a laugh :biggrin:), the bikini (:wideeyed: whoops how did that i get in there ), three hole puncher, milk in a bag, bic pens, laser pen ( hours of fun for the cat ),
 
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  • #3
hutchphd
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Having done some primitive living, here is what I missed most:
  1. Refrigeration
  2. Hot water on demand
  3. The Microwave
  4. electric Lighting
  5. TV
To this generic list I would add modern medical and dental practice. And of course SPAM (the meat).

My maternal grandmother was born in 1892. Over the span of her 87 year life she saw fundamental changes to her way of life that it would make our heads spin. From buckboard to 747, wood to polystyrene, missive to telepresence, and the eradication of most childhood disease and advent of antibiotics. The changes during my nearly 70 years pale in comparison. I think perhaps we humans have overextended ourselves.
 
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  • #4
fresh_42
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MMR-, polio-, small pox-, and tetanus vaccines.
 
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  • #5
Klystron
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Interesting trend in these comments concerning refrigeration. I recently bought a new home refrigerator.

My current home came with a used but new-looking fridge that matched the other appliances. When it abruptly failed (with shelves filled with holiday leftovers, naturally), I shopped for a replacement. Though comparable in cost, the new fridge design holds approximately twice the amount of fresh food with a smaller footprint and less noticeable operation.

The new refrigerator maintains an even cold temperature, verified by separate thermometers in the upper and lower compartments, while running much more quietly than the previous model. Milk tastes fresh, vegetables crisp. The external 'brushed nickel' stainless steel panels in simple polygons look elegant and futuristic. The internal LED lighting soothes the eye while illuminating the entire compartment compared to earlier harsh incandescent bulbs. The wide uninterrupted shelves adjust for large items.

All external controls, filtered water and ice dispensers remain invisible, built into the interior; leaving unbroken exterior panels. This presents an area for experimentation and discussion: in a desert climate, does eliminating heat exchange from external taps outweigh opening the left upper door to access the cold water tap or rolling open the lower freezer to scoop ice cubes? Answer probably depends on number of occupants and their need for ice and water.
------------------
Futurific refrigerator mods I eschewed in favor of simplicity and cost:
  • Wireless internet access enabling:
    • remote alarms and notices including temperature changes and door openings.
    • real-time camera video of refrigerator contents.
    • automatic reminders of perishable dates.
    • all the above posted to social media.
    • fridge linked to household appliances and controls.
  • Touch or motion-activated door panels that de-polarize to reveal contents.
  • An even more expensive option combines the above by displaying internal cameras on a recessed video screen, making your refrigerator as 'smart' as your flat-panel TV.
  • Individualized proximity sensors that alert and respond to individuals, releasing different compartments.
  • Voice-activated electronic door locks with speaker ID.
This informal survey only included floor models in local stores. Imagine what a high budget search might reveal; not to mention custom home refrigerator installations.
 
  • #6
256bits
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  • Touch or motion-activated door panels that de-polarize to reveal contents.
  • An even more expensive option combines the above by displaying internal cameras on a recessed video screen, making your refrigerator as 'smart' as your flat-panel TV.
Even with that option, I still think the teenagers will open the door(s) and look inside for 10 minutes, and then declare, "There's nothing to eat!"
 
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  • #7
DennisN
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What Innovations Are You Thankful For . . .?

Besides the things already mentioned by others above (*), I'd mention the transistor.
All hail the transistor! :biggrin: (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor#Importance)

The impact the development of the transistor has had on our society is ridiculously remarkable,
as it is an incredibly important component in virtually all electronics.

Besides the transistor, some other things I'm thankful for are:
Coffee, HP Sauce, Digestives and ice cream. My life without ice cream would be much duller.
And as a hint from me: you can crumb Digestive biscuits into ice cream to make a real feast. :smile:
(I do not suggest mixing HP Sauce and ice cream, though).

(*)
It is interesting to note that many of the innovations mentioned above (e.g. plumbing, water, food, refrigeration) serve to fulfil needs at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs (physiological needs).
(and yes, I know that Maslow's hierarchy is not rock solid science, but anyway :wink:).

I am thankful for the labor, creativity, and drive to innovate that so many people of the past had that have made my life so much better. . .Life is not perfect - yes, spam and fake emails annoy me - but I am so much more glad to have to deal with the troubles that innovations bring than to live life without them.

As a sidenote, I firmly believe gratitude is one of the keys to happiness.
 
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  • #8
Keith_McClary
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All hail the transistor!
Without them, we'd be knee deep in vacuum tubes (according to my calculations).
 
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  • #9
hutchphd
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HP Sauce
I am something of a gourmet gourmand and have never heard of this product! After googling I believe my closest familiar (in the states) sauce is A-1 Steak Sauce, of which I am quite fond. Can anyone provide a taste comparison?
 
  • #10
Mondayman
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There are too many innovations that simplify our lives for me to mention. One that gets to me is the guitar and the amplifier. I feel like I could sacrifice quite a bit as long as I had my guitar and music to listen to.
 
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  • #11
scottdave
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Direct deposit for my paycheck - no more waiting in lines for that one. It's like free money!
And give the guy who put a motor on the passenger window of the car a high five, same guy who probably thought to put that button that unlocks it from the driver side door - nice thinking.

Not much else...
Liquid paper stripe ( not that I ever do make any mistakes :rolleyes: ) , polaroid sunglasses, microwave oven, the end of the floppy disk 👍, 8-track tapes ( I always thought that was neat :woot: ) , soap on a rope ( good for a laugh :biggrin:), the bikini (:wideeyed: whoops how did that i get in there ), three hole puncher, milk in a bag, bic pens, laser pen ( hours of fun for the cat ),
So you like 8-track tapes, but not floppy disks :woot:
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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Having done some primitive living, here is what I missed most:
2. Hot water on demand
Just hot water or is the rest of plumbing/sanitation a big issue? Because for me, the fact that I don't have to go outside and squat in a hole is a pretty big quality of life issue.
 
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  • #13
hutchphd
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I kinda liked the outhouse...it had a nice woods view and a good seat. Lots to see. There were a few -20F mornings that were pretty brisk of course And the path to shovel sometimes
But I missed having an on-demand hot shower. No fire to build. No hot water to lug. It takes forever!
 
  • #14
fresh_42
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Although we used the outhouse until recently, inhouse water closest weren't invented in the last 100 to 200 years. The Romans invented them.
 
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  • #15
chemisttree
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Gotta be the internal combustion engine. It takes me awaayyyyy...
 
  • #16
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Technological innovation brings so much benefits. It increases productivity and brings new and better goods and services that improve overall standard of living.
 
  • #17
256bits
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So you like 8-track tapes, but not floppy disks :woot:
Well, 30 or 40 8-tracks would hold some joy from listening to the music.
Not so much so with loading a program with that many floppy disks - in the WordPerfect time of past ages 10 floppies was just about as much as one could tolerate.
 
  • #18
DennisN
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I am something of a gourmet gourmand and have never heard of this product! After googling I believe my closest familiar (in the states) sauce is A-1 Steak Sauce, of which I am quite fond. Can anyone provide a taste comparison?
I can't. I've never heard of A-1 Steak Sauce, and never seen it in any shop here in Sweden. But I will look for it. :smile:
The good thing about HP Sauce (in my opinion) is that it's very versatile. I can enjoy it with pretty any meat dish and also for adding a bit of spice to pasta (but in moderate doses).
 
  • #20
sysprog
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I like the P-38 can opener ##-## it doesn't by itself open cans, but it's an enabler ##\dots##

1611665666762.png
 
  • #22
fresh_42
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108 is in my opinion inarguably an 'interesting number' ##-## ##1^1 \times 2^2 \times 3^3 = 108## ##\dots##
And ##1^1\cdot 2^2\cdot 3^3\cdot 4^4\cdot 5^5## is the number of seconds in ##1,000## days.
 
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  • #23
sysprog
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And ##1^1\cdot 2^2\cdot 3^3\cdot 4^4\cdot 5^5## is the number of seconds in ##1,000## days.
Wow.
 
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  • #24
DrGreg
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And ##1^1\cdot 2^2\cdot 3^3\cdot 4^4\cdot 5^5## is the number of seconds in ##1,000## days.
And ##10!## is the number of seconds in 42 days.
 
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  • #25
fresh_42
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And ##10!## is the number of seconds in 42 days.
##42## is the lowest known dimension of a space without sausage disaster!

I haven't found an English version, so Google translate must do:
Wikipedia said:
Sausage conjecture

The name sausage comes from the mathematician László Fejes Tóth, who established the sausage conjecture in 1975. The optimal arrangement of spheres can be investigated in any dimension. Spheres, convex hulls and volumes can be formulated in any Euclidean space with more than one dimension. The generalized concept of the sphere then denotes a d-dimensional body, in which all edge points are equidistant from its center, where d denotes the respective number of spatial dimensions. Fejes Tóth's sausage conjecture says that from a dimension of 5 the arrangement of spheres along a straight line is always the best. Accordingly, the sausage disaster would no longer occur in a space with more than 4 dimensions. It has not yet been proven whether this is actually true. The best result for this comes from Ulrich Betke and Martin Henk. In 1998 they proved that from a dimension of 42 on the sausage conjecture actually applies. From the 42-dimensional space onwards, the sausage is always the closest arrangement, and the sausage disaster does not occur. According to J. M. Wills, the optimal arrangement in two-dimensional space is always a cluster.

Interestingly, in three dimensions, the optimal pack always seems to be either a sausage or a cluster, but never a pizza. This fact also seems to hold in higher dimensions. It is assumed that an optimal arrangement always has "extreme" dimensions. Either the centers of the spheres lie on a line (one-dimensional) or they are generally arranged in a n-dimensional cluster.
 
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  • #26
kyphysics
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nail clippers

That was mine for today. ...How'd people do without them in the past? They are so cheap (less than $3.00 at most general stores) and nice to have around.
 
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  • #27
chemisttree
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Sausage disaster? I’m glad you provided some context. I was starting to wonder if it was something I missed in The Hitchiker’s Guide.
 
  • #28
gmax137
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And ##1^1\cdot 2^2\cdot 3^3\cdot 4^4\cdot 5^5## is the number of seconds in ##1,000## days.
And ##1^1 +2^2 +3^3+ 4^4+ 5^5## is the number of BTUs in a kW-hour.
 
  • #29
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Air conditioning...indoor plumbing...refrigeration...hell, even electricity...are all quite amazing when compared to their absence just a few decades or hundred years ago.

Economist Robert Gordon wrote a book worth checking out titled The Rise and Fall of American Growth. A skeptic of current futurism, he argues that the rise in living standards witnessed over 1870-1970 was a one-time event driven by 'five Great Inventions': electricity, urban sanitation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine and modern communication. The expectation it created of 3% per capita income growth and perpetual exponentially improving lifestyles is therefore unfounded. Unlikely that any future technology will improve our lives or generate the economic growth that these inventions did. The rapid growth in Japan, Korea, China and other emerging countries in the past 70 years relates to a rapid adoption of these technologies - i.e. China got from where we were in 1870 to the present in a generation, compressing over a century of economic growth in about 40 years
 
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  • #30
Keith_McClary
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one-time event driven by 'five Great Inventions': electricity, urban sanitation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine and modern communication
A lot of that depends on fossil fuels.
 
  • #31
BWV
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A lot of that depends on fossil fuels.
All of that did, the trick now is to rebuild it without them
 
  • #32
HAYAO
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Chopsticks. You can pretty much eat anything with it (including soup, if you use the entire bowl). Proud to be a chopsticks user for life.
 
  • #33
OCR
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I was starting to wonder if it was something I missed in The Hitchiker’s Guide.


You didn't happen to notice if my printer was still OK ? . 🤔

1611725927860.png


Thanks, and...

Carry on.
.
 
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  • #34
sysprog
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Chopsticks. You can pretty much eat anything with it (including soup, if you use the entire bowl). Proud to be a chopsticks user for life.
My Khmer-American friend uses chopsticks for noodles, but uses a spoon for rice, and I agree with that ##-## also, my Korean-American (female) friend said to my friend to whom she's married, that you should be able to pick up single grains of rice with your chopsticks.
 
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  • #35
chemisttree
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You should be able to pick up a whole bunch of grains of rice with a spoon! It’s more better gooder.
 

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