top of page

Jool Study Guides - Guns, Germs, and Steel - Chapter 13 - Part 1

The Big Ideas - Necessity’s Mother Chapter 13 (Part 1 - the first 50% of the chapter)




Considerably richer…brainer than YOU!!!

Why did most monumental inventions in history emerge from European nations and not in Australia or Sub-Saharan Africa 🌍? Is it because the marvellous Europeans in their pantaloons were just a bit cleverererer (tricky that one)? 🤔 A European might tell you it’s simply because they’re a massive bunch of smarty-pants with innate genius 🧠. Is there another explanation? I hope so because I really don’t want to accept the idea that some people are naturally more sagacious than others 🤷‍♂️. Thankfully, Diamond, our faithful friend, is here to explain 📚✨.


Invention leads to invention



Say you invent an automatic tooth extraction device for dogs 🐶. The device strokes the dog, coos softly to lull it into a peaceful and tranquil state 🎶, and then gently pulls the decayed and dangerous tooth out 😷. Naturally, being the wily business-savvy people you are, you immediately think about developing a human version 👩‍🔬. All you need to do is cross out ‘dog’ and write ‘human’ instead 🔄. Humans love to be petted and cooed to, so all is in order 😌. Thomas Edison’s phonograph machine, first built in 1877 to record, rather soberly, the dying words of people about to pop their clogs, and other very serious, ever so serious functions, became a jukebox for people to play music 🎵. Edison wasn’t thrilled because he was a bit of a bore 🙄, but it teaches us a fine lesson. One invention can be adapted into another and another. It starts a chain of events ⛓️.


Copycats



Take James Watt, the genius inventor of the steam engine 🚂. It was used at first to pump out water from mines, but then went on to power ships 🚢, trains 🚆, and the latest version of our Dog Human Tooth Extraction Device (available at www.DogorHumanToothExtractionDevice.com) 🐶🦷. Except, Watt was inspired by watching a steam engine invented 57 years earlier by Thomas Newicome! What a cheater! 😲 Should we dismiss people like Edison and Watt as flagrant copycats and wipe them from the annals of history? Not really - it’s a bit too far 🤔. Should we recognise, according to Diamond, the relationship between invention and next invention? Abso-steamy-lutely 🌟. Human nature dictates that we observe things around us and develop it 🧠💡.


Tinker, tailor, spy, llama



The ancient world was no different, really 😌. Humans love to tinker 🔧. Have you ever seen your Dad inventing a solution to a problem that doesn’t really matter, but he’s insanely bored so ploughs ahead? I have 🙋‍♂️. My Dad couldn’t stop tinkering with things that didn’t need to be fixed or invented 🛠️. Now, I do the same. Tinkering led to glass windows from the random discovery of melted limestone and sand 🏺. The ancient Greeks tinkered and messed around with petroleum, pitch, and other lovely chemicals like quicklime (don’t get THAT in your eyes - baby shampoo it is NOT! 😂) and invented incendiary devices 🔥. Were a few people blown up completely? Sure! 💥 But tinkering changed the world 🌍. The Islamic Empire invented grenades 💣. The Chinese cooked up gunpowder 💨. The world tinkered their way to guns 🔫.

12 views0 comments

Commenti


bottom of page