Tuesday, 20 January 2009

1001 Days that Shaped the World

Apologies (again) for the slowdown in blogging. I guess I'm feeling utterly uninspired by global events and the New Year has brought with it its usual January slump. Who knows, maybe after today I'll have some positive stuff to write - though as we all know, good news isn't really news at all.

On that note, I'm currently reading a book I got for Christmas titled "1001 days that shaped the world." It is an interesting book, and runs from the Big Bang as its starting point to the Chinese earthquake of May 2008, with 999 other world-shaping events in between.

It is written very much from a western, if not Christian, perspective, taking Biblical events as fact for some of the early events - which are, at the very least, debateable. Nonetheless, its very interesting to read about some of the events that these authors think have shaped the world. Funnily enough, there's no mention of the creation of the Scottish Parliament - though the power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland does merit inclusion.

I guess another event today may make it into the next edition. But that got me thinking. Any suggestions for a "top 5 world changing events? Interesting to see how different people rate events I guess. Maybe not. But if you are bored/ inspired/ reading my waffle, feel free to post your thoughts.


BSH 20 January 2009 at 13:17  

Top 5 World Changing Events (in no particular order):

The Arab Expansion/The Battle of Manzikert (Perhaps a series of events!)

The Wall Street Crash

The Opium Wars

The Renaissance/The resulting enlightenment

The October Revolution

Perhaps one of the lessons in these is that the times we live in are perhaps not as harrowing as those above.

Sam 20 January 2009 at 15:43  

I'm in a sociological mood today. World/history changing events don't have to be full of battles. At least not just the military kind.

Again in no particular order:

The invention of the contraceptive pill. A reliable form of birth control that placed sexual power in the hands of women for literally the first time in history. Ask any woman who was having sex before 1970. (Though not if that means asking you're Gran because that obviously just wrong).

WWII. (and other wars 1930s & 1940s directly & indirectly connected) Sparked the end of some empires (British, French) & the beginning of others (US, Soviet). Also led to the rise of Communist China, the pushing of Japan into its pacifist, pro-Western shell, the birth of the UN & the architecture of modern international relations.

The invention of the printing press. An unparalleled and never to be repeated tool for the spreading of information between the masses. Information would never again be restricted entirely to the elites.

The discovery of oil. The drilling of underground oil deposits in Texas in the early 1800's (I think) marked the beginning of the age of cheap & plentiful energy which fuelled vast expansions in agricultural production and industrial output, and powered the modern Western lifestyle.

The discovery of anaesthetics. Enabling surgeons to cut further into the human body than ever before led to a massive leap in our understanding of human anatomy. Though it took the invention of germ theory and consequent understandings of hygiene to allow patients to survive the procedures, modern medicine began with anaesthetics.

Sam 20 January 2009 at 18:49  

By the by, I assumed the reason for your lack of blogging was too many presents of whiskey for Christmas. Not that its possible to have too many of course... I got a lovely bottle of Cragganmore which I have yet to open, but I'm going to love it when I do!

Hope today's event gets you back in the mood mate. If not, Six Nations is soon & I know you have plenty to say on that!

McChatterer 22 January 2009 at 16:47  

discovery of fire: kept the wolves away.

development of agricultre: agriculture meant settlement which meant humankind developed in a whole new way.

invention of the wheel: circular motion is the basis of human engineering.

invention of printing press: for the first time, plebs could read what had been kept from them - utterly revolutionary.

invention of contraception: see above

invention of nuclear bombs: made people think 'whoa, we've gone too far' for the first time in history.

Oops... that's six!

Malc 23 January 2009 at 12:14  

Wow... you guys picked some rather interesting things.

Sam - I gave up drinking last February. So no, no whisky (WITH NO E!) for Christmas. I do miss it a wee bit... just the whisky though. Cragganmore is a lovely wee dram.

Roll on the 6 Nations!

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