According to myth, the craftsman Daedalus, fleeing the wrath of King Minos, made wings secured with wax for himself and his son, Icarus.
“Don’t go too low, or water will weigh the wings down; Don’t go too high, or the Sun’s fire will burn them,” Daedalus advised his son. Unfortunately, Icarus, as keen as he was on flying, violated the latter part of his father’s instruction. Like any legend, this story was a mere allegory until, one day, a daredevil decided to take it literally.
The same ideas often occur to several researchers at the same time. They may also arise in the minds of different species! It’s hard to take something like this at face value, isn’t it? Take a closer look: the world around us is teeming with inventions and mechanisms! They grow under our feet, swim in the water, twitter in the trees. We only need to ﬁgure out how they work, and it can’t be done without a dedicated branch of science — bionics.
Why would we discuss coins today, in the age of electronic transactions, credit cards, Bitcoin, and blockchain? Such hard currency may seem outdated, but, despite their archaism, coins remain a symbol of their countries’ financial independence.
On November 14th, 2007, engineer Fred Simms pulled the plug on the electric supply that ran from a substation to 10 East 40th Street in Manhattan. Thus, the 125-year “War of the Currents” ended with a victory for the prominent engineers Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse: direct current electricity service was finally eliminated from local electric power distribution systems. But was this victory final?
On August 16, 1858, Queen Victoria sent a telegram to James Buchanan, then-President of the United States. For the first time in history, high-ranking officials communicated via transatlantic telegraph cables. The process took almost 18 hours. Today, it would take you no more than 70 milliseconds.
90% of everything we use in our daily lives—auto-mobiles, clothing, food, supplies, furniture, medicine—have traveled a long way by sea to get to us, and it’s highly likely that they arrive in containers. These giant metal boxes have completely changed the face of world trade by reducing the cost of transportation and increasing efficiency.
Paradoxically, astronautics, the most technological of all industries and one that has become a symbol of progress, is currently experiencing a dry spell. It’s not due to a lack of resources or money but the lack of a grandiose goal towards which we all can collectively strive. Perhaps there are some sort of fundamental limitations that are getting in our way?