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7 Surprising Technologies From World War I
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Ariella
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Ariella,
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6/29/2014 | 2:10:25 PM
Re: Animal Tech Goes to War
@Lufu they still relied on pigeons even in WW II. Miadenform even made a special outfit for the birds

 

 

 
impactnow
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impactnow,
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6/29/2014 | 2:42:08 PM
imagination = reality
It is terrific that technology has made our imagined creations a reality. What will the next 100 years hold!
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
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6/29/2014 | 10:54:39 PM
"War: What is it good for?"
As terrible as war is, it's amazing the innovations war can inspire.

Not WWI, but I recently read about how crazy glue was developed/adapted to quickly seal soldiers' wounds on the battlefield in Vietnam.

Warning: You probably don't want to try this at home.  A special formulation is used for medical purposes, and differs from the typical "household" crazy glue/super glue -- which can burn the skin.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
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6/30/2014 | 9:20:01 AM
Tactics Didn't Keep Up
As Curt suggests, the military tactics during WWI didn't keep pace with the technology advances -- trench warfare in an era of nerve gas, advanced artillery, and aerial offensives. In that sense, WWI was like the US Civil War a half century earlier, when lines of men marched forward to face automatic weapons.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
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6/30/2014 | 12:51:29 PM
Re: Tactics Didn't Keep Up
Excellent point, but either way the tactics didn't keep up. The tactics (trench warfare) developed to counter certain technologitical adances (more sophisticated and reliable automatic weapons) were proved ineffective with the advent of still other technologies (nerve gas, tanks, air warfare, etc.). Seems like trench warfare could have worked during the Civil War. 

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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6/30/2014 | 1:03:33 PM
Re: "War: What is it good for?"
Joe, this reminds me of the trauma surgeons in Boston hospitals who commented they used medical lessons they had learned in the Iraq conflict when they treated Boston marathon bombing victims. I did not know about the super glue example.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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6/30/2014 | 8:06:20 PM
WWi more technical, but Civil War set patterns that played out in it
The Civil War has been marked by historians as the first modern war; in its latter stages no one had to instruct the troops to dig trenches. By its end, repeating rifles and gatling guns were in use. The First World War was horrible for the scale that it brought to trench warfare, each side hurling a million shells into the lines of the other in a battle. Then there was the influenza afterward, believed to have been a particularly virulent virus that jumped from the bloodstream of pigs being slaughtered for the troops into the blood of humans doing the work. One horror begets another. So many young people who survived the carnage of the war were then killed by the disasse.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2014 | 11:39:15 PM
Re: Technology Evolution
Thanks, @jastro. I think that wars are opportunities for a technological version of what biologists call punctuated equilibrium. We know that technology doesn't advance in a smooth line -- wars, catastrophes, and other unusual circumstances tend to be related to times of faster development. If we could accurately predict these unusual points on the timeline then we'd be much better at predicting the future in general!
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
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7/1/2014 | 12:29:24 AM
Re: Technology did not begin with WW1
@Jim Wagner: Right you are!  Of course, this article, you'll notice, came on the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, which started WWI -- so the point is more about recognizing that anniversary.  Nonetheless, your points are very well taken!  Basic technologies that we take for granted today -- or even consider quaint and far outdated -- were extremely advantageous in early warfare.


The much-debated "heat ray/death ray" of Archimedes immediately comes to mind.  Whether or not it's true, the guy did some pretty neat stuff when it came to warfare.

(@Curt/Dave: Maybe earlier warfare technologies would be a good topic for a followup?  Or a Geekend piece?)

Anyway, all this talk of triremes and chariots and technological development desperately makes me want to play Sid Meier's Civilization now.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 12:31:36 AM
Re: 7 Surprising Technologies From World War I
@zerox203: "Wrist stuff" is cool (just look at the fans of FitBit).  One of my favorite pieces of tech conference swag are these orange rubber bracelets, put out by Avere Systems, that are really USB drives.
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