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Clean (Ch.4)

a. Breakthroughs that Enabled Safe Disposal of Human Waste and Access to Safe Drinking Water

The current essay discusses the various breakthroughs that have facilitated the safe disposal of human waste and access to safe drinking water for the first time in the US and other Western countries. The first breakthrough to be discussed is the invention of the enclosed sewer systems. The US started developing different designs of the sewer system for the growing cities in the 19th century. City engineers started building closed sewer systems that would allow human waste to be disposed of safely without being exposed. The second breakthrough was the invention of the modern flush toilet which was better referred to as the water closet. In the views of Johnson (2014), the flush toilet, which was considered as luxury did not become common until the 19th century. It was the growing level of urbanization and industrial prosperity that made the flush toilet to become widely used. In London, the first modern public lavatory with flushing toilets was opened in 1852. This toilet enabled safe disposal of human waste by flushing it through a drainpipe to another location where it was disposed therefore improving sanitation.

The discovery of the process of filtration was one of the breakthroughs that facilitated access to safe drinking water. Initially, filtration was done using crude sand or charcoal filters. In the 19th century, cities started constructing large water filters to protect public health. Filter capacity was improved using powerful jet steam.

Another breakthrough was the discovery of the process of chlorination. Chlorine was applied to water to purify it. This eventually led to water disinfection to become a normal activity that would provide people with water that was safe to use. The installation of water pipes further enhanced the people’s capability to access safe drinking water.

b. Consequences of the Clean Revolution for People in the 20th Century

The consequences of the clean revolution were the positive and involved improvement of life in the 20th century. For instance, one consequence of the clean revolution was improved mortality as better sanitation led to the elimination of diseases that had been generated as a result of germs. Another consequence of this is the increase in population as children, who were most vulnerable to deadly infectious diseases, like typhoid and cholera, could now survive these ailments.

The clean revolution also impacted the way of life of the people. For instance, taking baths had not initially been considered a normal thing to do. It took a lot of effort on the part of health organizations to promote it. Johnson (2014) states that “The virtues of washing oneself were not self-evident, the way we think of them today. They had to be discovered and promoted, largely through the vehicles of social reform and word of mouth” (25). Continuous promotion of the necessity for bathing thrived as bathing became popular in the 19th century.

c. How the Clean Revolution Facilitated the Digital Revolution

To an extent, the clean revolution had an influence on the development of the digital revolution. For instance, the clean revolution led to the production of innovations that promoted hygiene through advertisement. The commercial messages of these products and innovations moved from newspapers and magazines to radio and television. These pioneer forms of advertising created rapid changes in digital technology by changing radio and television.

In addition, for a digital revolution to take place cleanliness must first be achieved. Johnson (2014) affirms that “And at the same time, to make the digital revolution, we had to create a hyper-clean environment” (64). That is when people were in a hygienic environment and thus healthy they could focus on the digital revolution.

Time (Ch.5)

a. Innovations that have Made It Possible to Measure Accurately the Smallest Units of Time

The measurement of small units of time has been made possible by a number of innovations. One such innovation that made this possible was the use of quartz in making clocks. This facilitated the measurement of time accurately in microseconds.

The use of the atomic clocks improved this measurement as it enabled time to be accurately measured in nanoseconds, a much smaller unit of time compared to the microsecond of the quartz clock. This is explained by Johnson (2014) when he says “The first atomic clocks were built in the mid-1950s, and immediately set a new standard of accuracy: we were now capable of measuring nanoseconds, thousand times more accurate than the microseconds of quartz” (125).

b. Consequences of the Time Keeping Revolution

The timekeeping revolution was significant in promoting the industrial revolution and thus business as a whole. For instance, the timekeeping revolution facilitated the development of accurate clocks that could determine longitude at sea. Johnson (2014) affirms in his book that “Accurate clocks, thanks to their unrivaled ability to determine longitude at sea, greatly reduced the risks of global shipping networks, which gave the first industrialists a constant supply of raw materials and access to overseas markets” (87). By reducing the global shipping networks the cost of conducting business also reduced. Further, accurate measurement of time and determination of longitude at sea gave the ships a capacity to reach their destinations faster, acquire raw materials for factories, and dispatch finished products to the overseas market.

Further, the process of industrialization demanded a way of determining the time. This was imperative in regulating new working days for workers. Overall, the economy started being directed by time.

In the modern world, the timekeeping revolution and innovations have transformed everyday life radically leading to further innovations like global air travel, telephone networks, and financial markets. They all highly depend on the nanosecond accuracy of the atomic clock.

c. Ways in the Past 70 Years that We Have Been Able to Measure Ever Larger Periods of Time

It is the discovery of radiocarbon decay that first made a measurement of larger periods of time possible. These larger periods of time include centuries and millennia which can be measured by use of radiocarbon decay. Johnson (2014) reiterates that through carbon and radiometric dating forms of radiocarbon clocks that can measure large periods of time have been developed. The use of the term radiocarbon clocks, in this case, does not refer to actual clocks but to the rate at which different elements decay enabling the age of certain things to be determined.

Currently, there is a clock that is being developed to tick once a year. It will complete its cycle in about a hundred years. Thus, the clock will measure a century’s equivalent time which is a very large period of time. The clock is known as the clock of the long now.

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Light (Ch.6)

a. Technologies that Have Made it Possible for More Powerful and Brighter Sources of Light to Exist

The discovery of fossil fuels made it possible for more powerful and brighter sources of light to exist. The man started using kerosene lamp, gaslight, and fewer candles. The lamps were twenty times brighter than the candlelight.

The electric light bulb is another form of technology that has facilitated the possibility of brighter and more powerful sources of light to come into existence. Although past inventors and researchers had attempted to develop the light bulb, it was Thomas Edison who made a breakthrough in this technology.

Further, the discovery of neon was also critical in the development of technology that would make it possible for more powerful and brighter sources of light to exist. The work of the scientist Georges Claude made it possible to produce the gas in large quantity. Johnson (2014) explains that Claude experimented with the gas and passed an electric current through it and discovered that it glowed. This discovery led to the invention of neon lights which are widely used today. They glow in different colors and are good for businesses to advertise themselves.

b. Consequences of the Light Revolution

The light revolution transformed the everyday life of man. For instance, the discovery of brighter sources of light sparked an explosion in magazine and newspaper publishing. As a result, people started reading more after dark by using kerosene and gas lamps. Reading, therefore, became a way of passing time.

Reiterating the consequences of light revolution it also opened a range of activities that could be performed well after sunset further changing the way of life of man. For instance, people could visit theatres or dine in restaurants as there was light provided with the discovery of candle making, and later kerosene and gas lamps.

In addition, the light revolution affected the sleeping patterns of a man significantly. With the introduction of artificial light in the form of candles, many people ended up experiencing the middle of the night insomnia. Johnson (2014) holds that “Those waking moments at three a.m. are a kind of jet lag caused by artificial light instead of air travel” (154). This statement emphasizes how the introduction of artificial light adversely impacted on man’s ability to sleep.

Further on, the light revolution also led to the endangerment of some animals. A good example is the spermaceti whale called so because of the white oily substance found in the whale’s skull that resembled seminal fluid. The discovery that this substance could be used to make candles that burned brighter and longer soon led to many of these whales to be killed endangering the whole species.

c. Significance of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory

Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory was significant in the discovery of a number of inventions that changed Edison’s career and the world is a great way. This is because it is in this laboratory that Edison’s most famous inventions were created. However, the invention that remains the most significant to the light revolution was his development of the first constant voltage generator that would later become the standard system for the distribution of electricity. Johnson (2014) notes that to further advance of the light revolution, it is in this laboratory that Edison first used electricity to charge a carbonized cotton filament in a vacuum bulb to produce light. This became the famous electric light bulb. The perfection and mass production of this invention soon lead to the electrification and illumination of the world.

Another significance of Menlo Park Laboratory is it marked the beginning of the functioning of an organization. The fact that Edison had wisely employed a number of diversely talented people contributed to the success of the laboratory and the innovations made. It can be seen as the beginning of the use of incentives in an organization to encourage the higher performance of employees. For instance, Edison incentivized his team with financial rewards.

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