Many technologies we take for granted today are what make our everyday life possible. Here are ten great technologies to be thankful for.
It’s Thanksgiving in America, and a tradition is to say what you are thankful for as the family and extended family gathers around the dinner table and someone makes the first cut into the holiday turkey. It’s a wonderful time and a wonderful meal, and the aroma of the thanksgiving meal hot out of the oven brings a warm feeling of joy and tranquility.
But much of this could not be possible without many modern technologies. Sure, technology also has its detriments – the rebellious teenager who won’t get off her phone, and the disconnect between close relatives caused by a society deteriorated by social media. Still, there is much technology to be thankful for, and without it, much of our modern society would not be possible – at least, not in the way we are accustomed to.
1 Transportation: Cars
Today we take automobiles for granted, but barely more than a century ago people had to travel by horse and buggy. Not long before that, the primary form of travel for most of human history was by horseback, or by foot. Today's automobiles make long-distance travel both possible and practical. Even a few minutes was a very long distance - about a day's walk - not long ago. Today, it is a routine daily occurrence.
Many of us travel distances every day which would have taken weeks in olden times. As a result, our close friends and family don't have to live next door in order to see them every day, and it also makes it possible for more distant relatives to come over for the holidays.
2 Transportation: Airplanes
Airplanes make it possible to travel great distances in a short period of time. Barely half a century ago, traveling such long distances was simply not feasible. If someone lived a state or a country or even an ocean away, you can bet that Aunt Mary would not be coming over for the holidays.
Today, air transportation makes it possible for more and more extended family to come together for the holidays. While some may not like to see certain family members, just remember that just like planes and cars allowed people to come over more often, it also allowed people to spread out more, so you don't have to worry about your crazy cousin coming over more than once or twice a year.
3 Transportation: GPS
Where would we be without GPS. GPS, that is the Global Positioning System, a worldwide network of satellites which gives us the ability to navigate in real time, it an essential component to our modern society which is becoming increasingly sprawled. It is not uncommon for someone to visit a new place on a daily or weekly basis, so without it, we would be lost - pun intended.
Years ago before cell phones became ubiquitous, people used to have to follow actual paper maps. Today's millennials couldn't even imagine it. Even a decade ago, people still printed out mapquest maps from the internet, often getting lost in the process when mapquest took you down a dead-end street and off a cliff into the ocean, instead of to the local grocery store.
4 Communication: Cell Phones
Of course, without cell phones, we wouldn't really have CPS. Before all cell phones included GPS, dedicated GPS devices like Tome Tom and Garmin had a grip on the market. Today, people just use their smartphones along with free maps apps. GPS is not the only thing that cell phones brought to the world of course.
Before cell phones, there was landlines; before landlines, there were phone booths and payphones; and before those, there were telegraphs. There still are some payphones, but phone booths have drifted into obsolescence. While some people still have landlines, it is only still common among very old people and some businesses.
Before cell phones,communication was not a trivial matter. You could not just reach into your pocket and call someone on the other side of the world like you can today. 20 years ago, you had to pay a fortune to make such a call, and 100 years ago, it was unheard of except among spies and governments. Shortly before that, such communication was impossible.
While on the one hand, communication is so accessible and ubiquitous that it is taken for granted and often neglected, still, we should be very thankful that it is now so easy to communicate with our friends and family, whether they live one street down or on the other side of the world.
5 Communication: Email
Before email the only way to communicate by written message was by paper mail. The telegraph was a major leap in speed of communication, but to deliver a handwritten note you would have to send it through the postal service. It could take anywhere from a day to a year to send a message, maybe longer. Before cars, merely 100 years ago it was delivered by horse and buggy; and shortly before that the fastest way was simply by horseback.
Today, email has made most peper mail completely obsolete. WHile we still send certain things like holiday cards for that erpsonal touch, and printed contracts so a client can have a hardcopy, still both of these have an alternative that can b sent entirely over email.
There are digital card-sending services, which although they lack a certain tangible touch can often largely replace physical cards; and other services exist to do complete contract signing over the internet to all but the oldest people living in the middle of nowhere who do not have email - yes, some people still exist without email!
Today, email gives us the ability to communicate immediately with a wide variety of people very quickly, from sending a message to keep up with friends and family, to communicating with business clients for the next big project.
6 Kitchen: Electric Appliances
Think about making a holiday meal for 10 or even 30+ people without the luxury of everyday kitchen appliances. Blenders, microwaves, ovens, electric mixers, electric can openers, griddles, grills, electric basters, and so many other essential kitchen appliances can make a massive feast be not much more effort than an everyday meal, on a slightly larger scale. Sure, it may take a few hours - or even a day - to prepare such a feast, but without today's modern electric kitchen appliances, the same meal would be dramatically more arduous and exponentially more time-consuming.
Sure, you could order out if you had no appliances, but then the restaurant would be faced with the same challenges without industrial appliances. It is safe to say that without our modern electric kitchen appliances that we take for granted every day, food preparation would be a chore than cooks and chefs today could not even imagine.
7 Kitchen: Refrigerators
Refrigerators and freezers are a type of appliance that goes into a category all to itself. While the numerous other electric and motorized kitchen appliances all serve their purtpose in making our lives easier, refrigerators do something much more. They make food last longer, and brings us dishes that were not previously possible, and on a frequency that was not previously feasible.
Eggs on a daily basis, meat, cheese, milk, vegetables, fruits, condiments, and more, all would not be possible except once in a while or with daily transportation to get fresh food, without the invention of refrigeration. It goes without saying that we could not enjoy our modern luxuries in the same way without the invention of regrigerators.
8 Digital Photography
Merely decades ago, the family photo could not be seen until weeks later, as the fimlk was taken into a shop to get developed from the negatives and finally retrieved to see the final result. Today, not only is digital photography ubiquitous, but nearly every person on the planet has a digital. camer in their pocket on their cell phone.
Digital photography enables us to take far more memories - a practically unlimited amount of them - and be able to see the result immediatel. The kids happened to make a funny face and messed up your family holiday picture? Sally is pulling her brother's hair and causing trouble? Noworries, just take another shot. Photography is so easy today that we barely give it a second thought; and we never have to miss another moment that we can capture and immortalize in a photograph with our love ones.
Of course, most modern technologies would not be possible without electricity. While gas-powered cars can indeed run without electricity, all modern cars now rely exclusively on electricity for starting the vehicle, listening to music, charging devices, and other modern luxuries like interior lighting and the electric horn.
Electicity is a fundamental and critical discovery that has transformed our world, from transportation to communication to computers. It makes our lives easier in so many ways. Nikola Tesla, arguably the greatest scientist and genius to have ever lived, is to thank for the amazing innovation of our modern method of wall outlets to plug all our devices. This was made possible though alternating current (AC, which is why we call our charging devices AC adapters) and direct current. Thomas Edison, who stole most of his inventions, was the one who came up with alternating current. However, Nikola Tesala came up with direct current (DC), which is what all battery-powered devices use.
In fact, DC current could have been used for wall electricity too. All electric devices and electric motors use direct current, from blenders to cell phones to flashlights, and this is why we need "AC adapters", because we need an adapter to convert AC power from the wall to DC power that our devices can use. If not for Edison, we could have plugged our devices directly into the wall DC outlet (instead of the AC outlets that we have today) to use our devices directly, without the need for any pesky AC adapters. But, I digress.
In any event, electricity, especially DC current developed by Nikola Tesla, as well as the elctric motor which runs almost all of our devices, also developed exclusively by the genius Nikola Tesla, is one of the most important and critical technologies that has transformed the world, and has given us nearly all the technology that we have today.
10 Light Bulbs
Last but not least, we have the light bulb. You may think that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but that is not true, not true at all. In fact, 40 years earlier, British chemist Warren de La Rue invented the vacuum-sealed filament light bulb. He used a thin filament of platinum for his filament, however, which was too expensive to be commercially viable.
Fortunately, some years later in 1878 (a year before Edison in 1879), British chemist Joseph Swan came up with the idea of using a carbon-filament bulb which was far more commercially viable, since carbon is common and relatively inexpensive. His filaments burnt out too quickly because they were too thick, so all Edison did was steal Warren de La Rue's idea of using a vacuum-bulb with a filament and then stole Joseph Swan's idea of using carbon and a thinner filament, and with very minor modifications, pushed this invention to the market.
Still, even though Edison stole most of his ideas and passed them off as his own, to his credit he was a great businessman, and with good connections with the likes of J.P Morgan, who financed Edison's company, the Edison Electricity Company. It was a good bet, for today, we have commercially viable electricity. With this, we have the modern light bulb.
Today, the carbon filament vacuum light bulb is still ubiquitous, but is slowly being replaced by cheaper and longer-lasting alternatives like LED. Still, nothing compares to the warm glow of a traditional incandescent light bulb. The fact remains that without the invention of the light bulb, we would possibly still be having our holiday dinner by candlelight and going to bed shortly after dark.