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Old 05-05-2010, 10:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best and Worst inventions

I'm thinking of human inventions, here. Which do you think are the best and worst, and why?

My candidate for Best Invention is the Internet. Obviously, I was going to say "the collander," but the Internet itself hijacked what I typed and inserted itself. Seriously, I am continually amazed at the applications and remaining potential for human benefit from the Internet.

My candidate for Worst Invention is television. Grancey and I were sitting outside Sunday afternoon, and I remarked that it was sad to think of the millions of people sitting indoors at that moment watching TV instead of experiencing life. I blame TV for a lot of social inactivity that plagues Americans.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's beautiful outside but here I am, stuck on the Internet
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Of course this thread springs up now, not even a day afterwards. Why else wouldn't it? (my coincidence monster speaking)

"Do you want to know the greatest and worst device that humans have invented?

It's Television. Television controls people by bombarding people with information until they lose sense of reality. Now television itself has become a new religion. Television has created a people who believe instantly in dramatic fantasies and can be controlled by tiny dots of light."



It's sensationalism has created a population of fanatics and apathetics, entwined.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My son is home sick today with strep throat. I'm going with antibiotics. I don't know if that counts as a "human" invention since it's a biological thing, but I'm voting for it anyway.

Worst? Thong underwear.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Best: language, specifically writing — it can be credited for vaulting humanity into organized civilization.

Worst: atomic weapons — something that capable of widespread destruction should not have left our imaginations.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
Best: language, specifically writing — it can be credited for vaulting humanity into organized civilization.
Really? There were organized civilizations thousands of years before the first alphabet appeared, and still then civilizations were bustling the world over before the creation of what we now know as parchment paper.

The only thing that generational-static writing might have helped vault is the recoginition that these cultures existed, and that they were smart (better fit word: "aware") enough to utilize it to preserve their history throughout the ages.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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They didn't likely do it without language though.

It should be noted that writing allowed for more widespread and complex organization, especially when you consider nation building.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Wheel and Axle, obviously.

Heck, all of the simple machines that make our lives easier: Lever, Screw, inclined plane etc...
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fresnelly View Post
Wheel and Axle, obviously.

Heck, all of the simple machines that make our lives easier: Lever, Screw, inclined plane etc...
Those are good and to that list I would add roads. They are pretty basic, but I'm reminded of how wonderful they are after walking in the woods or mountains. They make traveling any distance much easier.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Best Invention: Domestication of animals/Development of agriculture in roughly 15,000-10,000 B.C.

Worst Invention: If I remember correctly, some famous French guy once wrote that humanity's worst inventions were love and gunpowder :P
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You people! You ungrateful people!! WC and Toilet Paper Trump EVERYTHING!! Imagine. Just imagine, anything else in place of these? These are timeless effects. Anything else just feels weird.

Without these Language would all be centered on the the degree of how stinky things are. And life would evolve on making the bathroom experience more comfortable! So, I submit to you, WC toilet and Toilet paper! Best inventions ever.

Worst? I dunno, I pretty much like TV, insomniacs pay great tribute to paid programming.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Best: the simple machines, medicine, agriculture, language, the scientific method, the Internet, buffalo sauce, birth control (all types,) beer, I could go on for pages.

Worst: I'm not sure. Probably religion.
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerxys View Post
You people! You ungrateful people!! WC and Toilet Paper Trump EVERYTHING!! Imagine. Just imagine, anything else in place of these? These are timeless effects. Anything else just feels weird.
Timeless? We've only had each invention in its current form for the past 100 years or so.
There was no toilet paper during the Civil War, nor were indoor washrooms really apparent in the majority of homes until after WWII.

Holes in the ground and your left hand are still used in a majority of the world that you are just unaware of...

But, I do see your point, and I give you kudos.

One for the win column: the rise and ubiquitousness of filtered, 99.7% pure, drinkable water.

One that can be debated as an utter travesty (or just complete and elementary brilliance): free speech.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Television? Seriously? There would be no "Lost", and no one would have seen The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. And you would have missed the Tivo of that bald newscaster who came on the air with his reading glasses on top of his head.
If not for my childhood obsession with television I would have grown up with a southern accent. So for TV, I am grateful.
Best invention: Central Air & digital cameras
Worst invention: super glue
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm going to pick refrigeration as the best invention.

It's allowed us to transport food over vast distances for longer periods of time without spoiling over much.
Allowed us to keep fresh food in our kitchens longer without all of the old preservation techniques.
It's really good at keeping my Pudding Pops nice and cold, too.


The worst man-made invention?
Clowns!!
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:26 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Best Invention: Fermentation

Worst invention: Feermmennennenttatzion...... hiccup.

Welcome to my Love/Hate relationship
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Best - Electricity
Worst - Nuclear weapons
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Best - Nuclear weapons- yes, those, because without the massive threat they posed, the cold war would not have spawned the the development of literally thousands of great things we now have, the space race would not likely have happened, giving us about a bazillion other great things, and the internet itself would also.... not be here....

worst- reality tv..... its just that dumb.....
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah, nuclear weapons have barely hurt anyone. Only a very small percentage of people have even been killed by one. People die more often from pigeon attacks, or falling coconuts, than from a nuclear strike (or nuclear radiation fallout from military testing grounds). Certainly not the worst invention ever; maybe the worst imaginable scenario if the inventions of them were use to their full potential - yes, that is indeed grim.

another best / worst deal: the invention of the robot (and all that entails if it is ever given suffice sentience). The idea of a robot is worse the reality of them, really, as the best that they do is manufacture your cars, your clothes, and the grocery store food that you eat.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetée View Post
Timeless? We've only had each invention in its current form for the past 100 years or so.
There was no toilet paper during the Civil War, nor were indoor washrooms really apparent in the majority of homes until after WWII.

Holes in the ground and your left hand are still used in a majority of the world that you are just unaware of...

But, I do see your point, and I give you kudos.

...
Trust me, I am very aware of the world you speak of. I am very well cultured. But toilet tissue paper is timeless. Not in it's age, but it's undying practicality and ...erm ... application. I believe it is a commodity that will remain unchanged for longer than even the English language itself!
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Best invention - I have to go with the wrap. Using the hide of your kill to gather up the bits you want to take back to your shelter is a step. Keeping that hide around and finding ways to make it last instead of rotting and being an insect magnet is another step. Using the wrap to keep the wind and rain off of you and the kiddies, keeping you warm and happy, and allowing you to carry surplus veggies back to the shelter - huge step. I think it possibly predates fire, and is so impactful I can't imagine all the ramifications.

Worst invention? My vote is for negative attribution. The creating of a bad story to fill a perceived void of knowledge about something or someone. The beginnings of the "bad stranger", the "alien" or the "weird family two caves down". That has led to more grief, ignorance, unending nasty shit, death, pain and hatred . . .
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:04 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
Best: language, specifically writing — it can be credited for vaulting humanity into organized civilization.

Worst: atomic weapons — something that capable of widespread destruction should not have left our imaginations.
I'll go with Baraka on language, specifically writing, for its ability to convey information and/or ideas to another person in a different place or time. I'd put music as a close second. Music is far less important in a practical sense, but I believe it is a higher form of expression.

For the worst, I nominate industrial agriculture, because that is what has enabled us to so incredibly overpopulate the planet. Overpopulation is, in the long run, far harder to control than atomic weapons.

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Old 05-13-2010, 04:09 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Well, there's "best," and there's "most useful," and there's "most influential" and they're all slightly different things. It's hard to argue with the utility of simple machines like screws and levers and wheels, but it's also hard to argue with the sheer game-changing awesomeness of the internet. I'm gonna say language doesn't even get to play, it's in such a category by itself. And who of us would not be here without antibiotics? *raises hand*

That said, I'm going to argue for an unglamorous choice: public sanitation. Maybe it's because I've read way too many books about the misery of Victorian London and the revolution that modernized sewers created. The invention of modern public waste has made living in a city of any size livable and clean.

Worst: Billy Bass. Serves no purpose, is not amusing, is not aesthetically pleasing, contributes nothing to the human experience. How many of those things are rotting (or worse, not) in landfills? I mean, really.
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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lurkette, my kids would put a pox on you if you messed with their "billy fish", "Don't Worry, Be Happy", Mon.


They actually "inherited" it from my late grandmother, yea, I find it kinda useless too, but man I love to hear their laughter, and it seems to persist in garnering their attention, and their little friends too.

p.s. did I mention without fermentation we would have all continued drinking unpurified water, not that mead and such was any better, well, yes it was, the natural rot killed all the bad stuff and gave us the good, hehehe.

---------- Post added at 10:46 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 AM ----------

Oh, and yes, my grandparents were rednecks too, just not the bigoted, ignorant kind...
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:25 AM   #25 (permalink)
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LOL, Idyllic...

Well I'm glad someone is enjoying Billy Bass!

I come from a long line of rednecks myself. Maybe we're cousins
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:20 PM   #26 (permalink)
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For the industrialized nations, it's indoor plumbing. Without it, the great cities we know of would not have come into being due to the threats of disease the filth would have presented.

The worst invention is organized religion, hands down. It has created more divisiveness, wars, persecutions, and utter misery throughout human history.
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ananas View Post
The worst invention is organized religion, hands down. It has created more divisiveness, wars, persecutions, and utter misery throughout human history.
One could say the exact same thing for language.
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:20 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Best invention ... the antigravity machine
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:21 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Best: Over sized Burritos.

Worst: Indigestion.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:29 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I made the pulser pump. "Simplest pump in the world" Even though it is simple, it took 20 years for someone else to make one and put the results on the internet. Whats that about?
A guy has a great video youtube ted talks, about lone nut and first follower. Worth taking a look at the video. dereksivers is the username of the guy who tells the story of the lone nut and first follower (I am not allowed to post links.
So anyway, i got the first follower about this time last year. A guy called Mat in Cornwall, England. First research results from real science went on appropedia in April 2010 and there are going to be field tests in California too!
So my message is that if you see someone doing something crazy (that just might work) do not sit on your backsides, get up and join in. You will make MORE and quicker difference that the lone nut ever did!
In my case, it took 20 YEARS for the first person to join. And the rest has been easy. But in those 20 years, my Da, 2 brothers and a close friend passed away. All those people took an interest and could have seen this happen in their lives if someone had taken a little step way back when.
So even scientists who knew from their training that my pump would work and about 80,000 ! people who saw video of mine working before Mat did couldn't bring themselves to leave the safety of the crowd of doubters and actually try make one or a model.
I think it is amazing just how cautious the herd of humans really is!
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:18 AM   #31 (permalink)
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best invention; Computers worst invention; Computers
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrrreagl View Post
I'm thinking of human inventions, here. Which do you think are the best and worst, and why?

My candidate for Best Invention is the Internet. Obviously, I was going to say "the collander," but the Internet itself hijacked what I typed and inserted itself. Seriously, I am continually amazed at the applications and remaining potential for human benefit from the Internet.

My candidate for Worst Invention is television. Grancey and I were sitting outside Sunday afternoon, and I remarked that it was sad to think of the millions of people sitting indoors at that moment watching TV instead of experiencing life. I blame TV for a lot of social inactivity that plagues Americans.
Wait a second. You said the internet was the best invention, but then said people were stuck inside watching television?

---------- Post added at 01:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:23 PM ----------

Best inventions: The number zero, writing, the wheel, sanitation, vaccines, aqueducts, animal domestication, money, and agriculture.

Worst inventions: War, lying.
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Old 06-19-2010, 01:18 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I'm going to say mathematics is one of the greatest inventions (along with language).

The worst? Contemporary advertising.
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Old 06-19-2010, 01:42 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Best invention: The scientific method
Worst: dogmatic religion
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:31 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabbyness View Post
Best: Over sized Burritos.

Worst: Indigestion.
I fucking love big-ass burritos.

I'd say the best invention might have to be clothing.

possibly the worst invention of all time would be nuclear weaponry. sorry to be cliche but damn I can't think of anything i'd like to have on the planet less than that. talk about mutual destruction...
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:03 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by raging moderate View Post
nuclear weaponry ...
To be honest, nuclear energy is what is used to create the weapon. If you can find a suitable dispersion mechanism then all you need is some energy to power it which is then found in waste form in many nuclear plants. The details, it's the details that matter. Bullets and guns don't kill people. Bullets and guns don't choose sides and hence are not evil.
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:36 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Location: With All Your Base
Best: Technology to record and play music, computers, indoor plumbing and duct tape.

Worst: Love bugs, napalm, rubber cement, and that stupid screaming monkey that plays the cymbals.
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:59 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Worst: text messages
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:34 PM   #39 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Right up there for best: the oral contraceptive pill

Right up there for worst: obnoxious ring tones
(and they're ALL obnoxious)

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Old 06-23-2010, 02:04 PM   #40 (permalink)
Junkie
 
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Location: Toronto
Worst: Electric Leaf Blowers. And the internet, damn the internet and its addictive properties.
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