Comments about ‘101 Inventions that Changed the World exhibit opens at Leonardo’

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Published: Tuesday, June 25 2013 3:55 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

It's easy to quibble with some of the selections-- some items seem too closely related or to be subsets of another to stand alone (is there any real difference between "vaccination" and "polio vaccination" or "photography" and "film camera/projector"?) and some of the modern era inventions seem historically trivial (electric guitar? LEGOS?). By and large, though, it's a decent list suitable for the educational purposes of the exhibit and could generate some fun debate. The biggest and least forgivable oversight, for me, is agriculture, which created food surpluses and made it possible for people to specialize in trades. Agriculture created trade goods, which facilitated the development of economies and mathematics (arithmetic for inventory tracking and market transactions, geometry for maintaining land tenancy, etc.). It's no accident that the cradles of Western civilization were the fertile, flooded agricultural lands of the Nile and Mesopotamia. Many of the 101 items are directly traceable to agriculture (tractors, irrigation) and few of them could have existed without it (stone tools, maybe, but none of the rest).

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