european technology

anonymous asked:

Can you explain why Europeans were much more technologically advanced than the indigenous populations of Africa? I mean, these cultures hadn't even invented sewage systems, which is something the Romans were able to design and implement in 800-735 BC (a long fucking time before "the white man" colonized it)... I mean fuck, without "the white man", they would probably still be in the fucking bronze age.

I don’t really know what kind of history books bigots like you read.

The Great Libraries of Timbuktu? The steel metallurgy of the Haya? Dentistry? Caesarean section? Premature neonatal care? Mathematics, architecture, engineering? The goddamn Pyramids? All of Egypt?

I know it’s hard for a racist like you who imagines “technological advancement” to be some kind of end-all-be-all, or proof of some “inherent intelligence”. I know, I know. It’s hard to imagine, but Europeans have been drawing knowledge from everyone around them since the dawn of time. What did you think ended the Dark Ages?

Your magical (read: white supremacist) idea of a purely ‘white’ Rome never existed.

Nevertheless…

The Minoan culture on the island of Crete between 1500-1700 B.C.E. had a highly developed waste management system. They had very advanced plumbing and designed places to dispose of organic wastes. Knossos, the capital city, had a central courtyard with baths that were filled and emptied using terra-cotta pipes. This piping system is similar to techniques used today. They had large sewers built of stone.”

In case you needed further clarification, neither the Minoans nor other (later) Greeks were ethnically uniform. They also had the first flush toilets, dating back to 18th century B.C.E. They had flushing toilets, with wooden seats and an overhead reservoir. The Minoan royals were the last group to use flushing toilets until the re-development of that technology in 1596.

Oh, and look the Maya had indoor plumbing, acqueducts, and pressurized water too. I mean, you can ignore that the area Maya lived in had little to few rivers, no lakes or standing water, nor other sources of running water, while simultaneously dealing with monsoons and flooding due to one of the heaviest yearly rainfalls in the Americas.

Classic Maya even used household water filters using locally abundant limestone carved into a porous cylinder, made so as to work in a manner strikingly similar to modern ceramic water filters.

Of course, by this time millenia later none of your precious “white people” had developed any methods besides shitting in pots.

Continuing,

the earliest archaeological record of an advanced system of drainage comes from the Indus Valley Civilization from around 3100 B.C.E in what is now Pakistan and North India.

By 2500 B.C.E (almost 5,000 years ago), they had highly developed drainage systems where wastewater from each house flowed into the main drain.

All houses in the major cities of Harappa and Mohenjo−daro had access to water and drainage facilities.

Waste water was directed to covered drains which lined the major streets directed to covered drains, which also lined all major streets. Each home had its own private drinking well and its own private bathroom. The mains that carried wastewater to a cesspit were

tall enough for people to walk through.

Reservoirs, a central drainage system, fresh water pumped into the homes. Pools. Baths.

It was made from bricks smoothened and joined together seamlessly. The expert masonry kept the sewer watertight. Drops at regular intervals acted like an automatic cleaning device.

Filters for solid waste.

Sorry, what were the British doing up until like, 200 years ago? Shitting in the streets? Oh yeah. I mean, I could get into how by the Shang Dynasty (roughly 1600 B.C.E.), China had sophisticated plumbing including

pressure inverted siphons.

Or into the city of Amarna, Ancient Egypt. Or Persepolis, Persia and the Achaemenids in 600 B.C.E. But, I mean, it sounds like the only one still in the Bronze Age is you.

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The most powerful magnet in the world.

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Comet lander Philae wakes up: How it happened and what’s next

By Lauren Raab

Philae, the first spacecraft to land on a comet, surprised and delighted scientists this weekend by waking up and reestablishing contact with Earth, seven months after running out of power. It “spoke” for more than a minute, according to the European Space Agency, and it’s expected to be able to continue gathering information and sending it home.

Here’s a look at what the lander has done so far and what will happen next.

Continue Reading.

imo part of deconstructing white supremacy and eurocentrism is also resisting the urge to automatically assume everything is about white people, even if it is ostensibly to assign blame.

there are 7 billion souls on this planet. they are definitely not the only ones with the agency and capacity to oppress.

thinking they are is to- in some warped ways- to go back to the days of European colonialism, where Europeans frequently used their technology and knowledge to portray themselves as fearsome gods or superhuman beings to instill fear in the natives of whichever region they aimed to colonise. Colombus for example, knowing that an eclipse was imminent, told the native Jamaicans that his god would show his wrath against them for failing to give him enough food by making the moon appear red. In Belgian Congo, they even did things like having a person fire a blank while hiding a bullet up their sleeve to suggest they couldn’t die. 

to default to thinking that everything that happens in the world is to do with white people is to validate a narrative of white supremacy: to see them as supernatural beings in a similar fashion, to think the world turns only because of them. 

I hate whenever, when talking about the conquest of the America, someone says it was due to Europeans’ “better technology.” Too many people have a very narrow scope of what qualifies as technology. Many of the Europeans who met with Native Americans* on friendlier terms were awed by their comfortable, durable shoes, their rain-resistant housing, their agricultural developments – don’t these techniques and tools qualify as ‘technology’? All those other things, things whose purpose is to raise the quality of daily life, are ‘customs’ or ‘traditions,’ implied to be antiquated, superstitious, and arbitrary, while the label of sleek, advanced ‘technology’ only goes to big, noisy metal things that can kill someone.

(’Native American’ is obvs a very broad term that applies to hundreds if not thousands of different cultures, but the similar techniques w/r/t weaving and agriculture that I mention had spread to pretty much everywhere in the Americas so the example is still valid imo)

‘Peony Nebula’ Star Settles for Silver Medal

If our galaxy, the Milky Way, were to host its own version of the Olympics, the title for the brightest known star would go to a massive star called Eta Carina. However, a new runner-up—now the second-brightest star in our galaxy—has been discovered in the galaxy’s dusty and frenzied interior. This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the new silver medalist, circled in the inset above, in the central region of our Milky Way.

Dubbed the 'Peony nebula’ star, this blazing ball of gas shines with the equivalent light of 3.2 million suns. The reigning champ, Eta Carina, produces the equivalent of 4.7 million suns worth of light—though astronomers say these estimates are uncertain, and it’s possible that the Peony nebula star could be even brighter than Eta Carina.

If the Peony star is so bright, why doesn’t it stand out more in this view? The answer is dust. This star is located in a very dusty region jam packed with stars. In fact, there could be other super bright stars still hidden deep in the stellar crowd. Spitzer’s infrared eyes allowed it to pierce the dust and assess the Peony nebula star’s true brightness. Likewise, infrared data from the European Southern Observatory’s New Technology Telescope in Chile were integral in calculating the Peony nebula star’s luminosity.

The Peony nebula, which surrounds the Peony nebular star, is the reddish cloud of dust in and around the white circle.

The movie begins by showing a stretch of the dusty and frenzied central region of our Milky Way galaxy. It then zooms in to reveal the “Peony nebula” star—the new second-brightest star in the Milky Way, discovered in part by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

This is a three-color composite showing infrared observations from two Spitzer instruments. Blue represents 3.6-micron light and green shows light of 8 microns, both captured by Spitzer’s infrared array camera. Red is 24-micron light detected by Spitzer’s multiband imaging photometer.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Potsdam Univ.

NASA's James Webb Space telescope primary mirror fully assembled

The 18th and final primary mirror segment is installed on what will be the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever launched.

The final mirror installation Wednesday at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland marks an important milestone in the assembly of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope.

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The Philae lander is wedged against a rock and isn’t getting enough light to charge its batteries. Composite: Sipa USA/Rex

Philae comet lander tries drilling and hammering to free itself

(Friday November 14) Time is running out for the European Space Agency’s lander. Since its bumpy triple touchdown on Wednesday, the spacecraft has been resting on its side, lodged in the shadows of a cliff or large boulder.

Philae has been receiving just 1.5 hours of sunlight instead of the expected 6-7 hours. This is not enough to charge the secondary batteries. With an initial battery life of about 60 hours, Philae’s mission could be over in less than 20 hours.  […]

A second communications window will open tonight, but Paolo Ferri, Esa’s Head of mission operations, European Space Operations Centre, said this morning that there was no guarantee that Philae’s primary battery would still be charged by then.

Scientists have begun to activate the lander’s drill. Designed to extract sub-surface samples for analysis, it will be a risky manoeuvre. Philae is not anchored to the surface, and the rotation of the drill will cause an equal and opposite reaction on the lander. It could make Philae do a cartwheel.

Then, as the drill presses into the surface, it could push the lander away. Either of these consequences could move Philae into a better position for receiving sunlight, or they could topple the craft and end the mission.

Another instrument deployed by the lander overnight is MUPUS (Multi-Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science) which hammers into the ground to measure the strength of the surface.

If Philae is still alive after the drilling, then more radical action could be taken to try to move it. “We have four systems that could move the lander,” said Jean-Pierre Bibring, lead lander scientist at the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris Sud, France.

One possibility is to move the landing legs. According to Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager, DLR, these could be used to try to hop the lander into the sunlight. But one leg is sticking up into space rather than in contact with the surface, so there might not be enough spring in Philae’s step to achieve this.

Finally, in desperation, Bibring says they could even try re-firing the harpoons and thruster system that malfunctioned on landing day to jolt Philae into a new position.

Fred Jansen, Rosetta mission manager, European Space Agency, European Space Research and Technology Centre, struck a philosophical note, saying: “It has been absolutely fantastic. Of course you want the mission to last forever but there is a limited amount of sunlight.” […]

Regardless of what happens to Philae, the main Rosetta mission, which analyses the comet from orbit continues for the next 20 months.