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Inventions that changed the world in ways we didn’t expect

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Here are powerful technologies developed last century that are still changing the world, even though we didn’t expect them to.

The Haber-Bosch process

Back in the early part of the 20th century, the German chemist Fritz Haber was alarmed by the growing number of mouths to feed — and the inability of farmers to keep up with the demand. Subsequently, Haber became the first person to figure out that ammonia could be created from nitrogen and hydrogen. In turn, this ammonia could be used to produce fertilizer. A lot of fertilizer…

Vaccines

Nationwide, 85,000 cases of vaccine-preventable diseases are reported every year. The recently debunked claim that there is a link between vaccines and autism hasn’t helped. Globally, over 3 million people die each year mostly on account of insufficient access to vaccines. More to the point, though, it’s easy to forget what it is, exactly, that we’re being protected against on account of their profound effectiveness; vaccines stave off such blights as polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A and B, shingles, and many other diseases…

The birth control pill

The development of the pill in 1960 marked a major biological and sociological turning point. For the first time in our species’ history, women were actually able to temporarily turn off their fertility. Moreover, its presence has irrevocably altered the social and economic landscape in those countries where it has become available. Subsequently, its impact cannot be overstated…

Lots more in the whole article. Some, I don’t doubt you’ve reflected upon in your own time. Some might be a surprise – again, until you think about what each has accomplished on their own – and provided as a beginning for much more.

Thanks, SmartAlix

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Written by Ed Campbell

October 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

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