The First Mass Produced Items of the Ancient World


The first mass produced pieces of artwork were the ancient Egyptians shabtis which were essentially miniature mummies that the ancient Egyptians believed had magical powers and were therefore buried with the dead. Shabtis were comprised of Egyptian faience which is a type of glass ceramic material made from sand. Egyptian faience is referred to as such in order to distinguish it from faience, which is a tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza, Italy. The idea of Egyptian faience was to replicate semiprecious stones like turquoise lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, which at the time was more expensive than gold. The recipe for Egyptian faience is 90% crushed silica, crushed fine natron salt to act as a flux, crushed limestone, and then the coloring with blue being the most popular, a color achieved through the use of pure copper oxide. Water was introduced to turn this composition from a granular mix into a dough like substance. Natron salt which is a type of baking soda, is the key ingredient to this recipe as it rises to the surface when baked and lowers the overall temperature at which sand melts and becomes glass. The statues are left to stand for 24 or more hours as this helps the salt grow on the surface through a chemical reaction process as oxygen within the ambient environment mixes with the ingredients inside the Egyptian faience

The Reason Beer Bottles Are Brown and Green

brown-green-beer-bottlesAlcoholic beverages like beer are brown in color because clear glass allows ultraviolet light to penetrate which can alter the flavor profile. Bottles inevitably became tinted brown to prevent ultraviolet light from achieving full penetration. After World War II, green bottles became popular due to shortages of brown glass

The Advent of Parallax Distance to Measure Immense Distances in Space


Stellar parallax is a measurement technique developed by Friedrich Bessel to measure far away objects in deep space. The process of stellar parallax involves measuring an object from two separate vantage points hinging upon the fact that the object being observed will appear to move a lot more than objects further behind it (e.g. if an observer closes one eye and views their finger in front of a building, and then repeats this act with their second eye closed and the first eye open, the observers finger will appear as though it has moved much further left or right, relative to the other objects behind it). Because Bessel developed a method of calculation to take advantage of this phenomena, astronomers now have the ability to map grand distances with relative accuracy. Bessel worked out that if an observer took an image of a star when the Earth was at either side of its orbit around the sun, it would be possible to observe the star shifting in its position. By knowing how much a star shifts, it is possible to calculate the distance the star is from its observation point on Earth. Bessel surmised that the relatively close star 61 Cygni must be 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) kilometers away from the Earth because of his parallax distance method. This technique unfortunately is severely limited as the diameter of the Earth’s orbit is only 300,000,000 (300 million) kilometers which means that the parallax method can only measure objects up to a factor of 1,000,000x (1 million) the Earths orbital rotation, allowing for a maximum distance of 300,000,000,000,000 (300 trillion) kilometers which is only a tiny fraction of the size of the Milky Way Galaxy or the universe as a whole

The Ancient History of Damascus Steel

Damascus-steel-swordDamascus, Syria, the birthplace of Damascus steel was prized in the ancient world for its durability but unbeknownst to the craftspeople who forged Damascus steel, the region from which the iron ore was taken had naturally occurring nickel which meant that Damascus metalsmiths had composite steel 3000 years before the rest of the world as the idea to mix different kinds of metals had not yet been invented. Damascus steel was shatter resistant and could be sharpened to become sharper than any other type of steel. Having first encountered it during the Crusades of the 11th century, European forgers attempted for centuries to recreate what their Middle Eastern counterparts had already perfected

The Advent and Original Intent of Intelligence Quotient​ Examinations


Intelligence quotient examinations were invented by the French psychologist Alfred Binet as a way of measuring and identifying skill sets which children had or had not yet developed during their adolescence. The idea was to calculate the mental age divided by the chronological age to determine whether a child was ahead or behind their peer group

The Evolution of Primitive and Sophisticated Neural Networks


The human brain has 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) connections and 86,000,000,000 (86 billion) neurons, which is more connections and neurons than there are stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Ironically, the majority of the most successful creatures on Earth do not have a brain; organisms like plants, coral, and jellyfish. The sea squirt is a primary example as it has just 200 neurons, allowing it only to perceive and display simple interaction with the environment by sensing light and moving its flagellum. The sea squirt moves around until it finds a rock, then it dumps its tail and uses those once dedicated neurons for different applications, staying anchored to this spot for the rest of its life. Neurons were originally designed to allow for simple motion and movement, but as evolution progressed steadily, neural networks began to build and design intelligent life which is capable of consciousness and a sense of self but also more abstract concepts like art, mathematics, and science

The Decaying Sewage Infrastructure of Calcutta, India

Calcutta-India-sewer-cleanerKolkatan sewers were once the envy of the world, built during the Victorian era and spanning 90 kilometers below the city. Because the Kolkatan sewer system is now 130 years old, it no longer functions as it should, especially when accounting for the increasingly large modern day population of Calcutta, India. Due to this, teams of workers with buckets enter the sewers every night all over Calcutta to shovel and remove excrement so that blockages don’t occur. Workers typically work 11:00 PM – 5:00 AM because this is when the least amount of people are awake to use the bathroom. The problem is becoming increasingly worse as time progresses, being that more and more people are now connecting into the central city sewage line as incomes and quality of life increases throughout India