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Greeley Tidbits 2.19.13 Issue 867

Greeley Tidbits 2.19.13 Issue 867

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Published by ronalddross
Fun reading - this week's topic: From the Stone Age to the Tech Age
Fun reading - this week's topic: From the Stone Age to the Tech Age

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Published by: ronalddross on Feb 22, 2013
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The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®
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by Kathy WolfeHow much do you know about how our culture hasevolved throughout the ages? is week, Tidbitsexplores the progress made over the centuries.• Archaeologists generally divide prehistoric erasinto three ages – the Stone Age, the Bronze Age,and the Iron Age – named such for the mate-rial used for making implements and weapons.During the Stone Age, stone was fashioned witha sharp edge or a point, with the oldest knownstone tools excavated from several sites in whatis now Ethiopia. e Stone Age is divided intothree sub-eras, the Paleolithic era (early), roughly 70,000 to 20,000 B.C., the Mesolithic era (middle),20,000 to 7000 B.C., and the Neolithic era (new),7000 to 3000 B.C. e period of the Bronze Ageis considered to be from 3000 to 1200 B.C., andushered in the use of copper and tin with the alloy 
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Issue 867
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bronze in the manufacture of tools and weapons.e Iron Age occurred between 1200 and 600B.C., when the harder and tougher iron replacedbronze. Cultural changes accompanied the dif-ference in metal, as newer agricultural practices,religious beliefs, and artistic styles evolved. Deco-rative designs on ornaments and pottery becameprevalent. Blacksmiths were hammering itemsinto shape, advancing away from the Bronze Age’smethod of casting.According to Greek mythology, there are severalstages of human existence on Earth. During theGolden Age, the first race of mortals, dubbed thegolden race (meaning good and noble), was creat-ed by the gods and held conversations with them.ere was an endless abundance of food and noneed for agriculture. is age was characterizedby peace, harmony, and prosperity. e mortalslived to an old age while maintaining their youth-ful appearance, and eventually died very peacefuldeaths. e Silver Age followed, with the mortalsdescribed as foolish and immature, who refusedto worship the gods and goddesses. Accordingto mythology, this so angered Zeus, he destroyedthe silver race. e mortals of the mythologicalBronze Age were hardened and tough, caught upin wars. is race was undone by their own vio-lence. e Heroic Age was the period of heroeswho fought at Troy. In the Iron Age, pain and evilran rampant, with humans living in toil and mis-ery, and with no shame over wrongdoing.e period of European history from the 5th to the15th centuries is referred to as the Middle Ages.It began aer the collapse of the Western RomanEmpire and the abdication of Romulus Augustusin the year 476. e early Middle Ages were calledthe Dark Ages, lasting until about 1000, duringwhich time there was a drastic deterioration incultural development and the economy, as well asan increase in wars. e part of the Middle Agescommonly known as the Medieval Period, beganaround 1000, and continued until the Renais-sance began in the 16th century. Gothic art andarchitecture appeared during this era.• e Age of Discovery started in the early 1400sand continued to the 1600s. Also called the Ageof Exploration, it was the time when Europeansbegan travels in search of new sea trade routes towhat they thought were the East Indies. e Por-tuguese and Spanish dominated the exploration –Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Balboa, Cortes, Poncede Leon, and, of course, Columbus were the lead-ers of the more well-known voyages of discovery.When the Earth undergoes a long-term reductionin surface and atmospheric temperatures, glaciersand ice sheets may expand. is is known as an iceage, or more accurately, a glacial age. Experts say there have been at least five major ice ages overthe Earth’s history. ey are probably the resultof an interaction between very small changes inthe Earth’s orbit, changes in ocean currents, andchanges in the concentration of carbon dioxide inthe atmosphere. We can see the effects of glaciersacross the continent – the Great Lakes and mostof Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s lakes were carvedout by glaciers and filled up with melting water.During the 17th and 18th centuries, the world
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moved into the Age of Enlightenment, a culturalmovement promoted by the intellectuals of thattime, such as Isaac Newton and Voltaire. ey at-tempted to lead the world away from superstition,irrationality, and tyranny and toward knowledgethrough science and reason. It was based on faithin nature and belief in human progress, with hos-tility toward organized religion and monarchy.e “enlightened” believed that people were natu-rally good and would work to further the happi-ness of others.e period between 1750 and 1850 was the Indus-trial Age, when dramatic advances in manufac-turing, transportation, and technology producedpowerful changes in the economy and culture.e introduction of steam power and improve-ments in mining created huge advancements.Manufacturing machines allowed mass produc-tion of goods.e 1920s, commonly called the Roaring Twen-ties, was a time of economic prosperity and rapidindustrial growth. Drastic social changes camealong, including the growth of jazz music, whichwas so popular that the decade became known asthe Jazz Age. e sounds of Louis Armstrong, FatsWaller, and Benny Goodman dominated popularmusic. It was a time of breaking with traditionand turning toward modern technology. Youngpeople took joy in shocking the older generation– women bobbed their hair and wore short skirtswith silk stocking, taking on the nickname “Flap-pers.” e Jazz Age came tumbling down on Oc-tober 29, 1929, with the crash of the stock market,ushering in the Great Depression.• We entered the Atomic Age when the first atom-ic bomb was detonated over Japan in 1945. ephrase Atomic Age was invented by a New York Times journalist named William Laurence, whowas the official journalist for the U.S. Manhat-tan Project, which developed the first nuclearweapons. Aer witnessing the Japan bombings,he wrote a series of articles supporting the advan-tages of the new weapon.Today we are part of the Information (or Digital)Age, characterized by our increases in technology and how we receive our information. We are alsoin the Social Age, which places more emphasis onpeople’s needs through various social networks.---------------------------------------------------------
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Curie, the pair studied the elements and radioac-tivity. Marie was the first to discover radioactivity in an element, thorium. She and Pierre went onto discover two new elements, polonium (whichshe named for her native Poland) and radium. Asa result of her 1903 dissertation on radium, shewas awarded a doctorate in science, the first everfor a woman in all of Europe. e Curies receivedthe Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 for their work,and Marie became the first woman to be awardedthis prestigious prize. eir prize winnings werepoured back into their research.e year 1904 was an eventful one for Marie – shewas awarded a professorship at the Sorbonne, es-tablished the use of radiation therapy for cancer,and gave birth to her second child. Just two yearslater, Pierre was run over by a horse-drawn car-riage in Paris and died, leaving Marie a widow atage 37 with two young daughters to raise alone.Shortly aerward, she was awarded Pierre’s de-partment chair position at the Sorbonne, becom-ing the first woman ever to hold achair there, and the first woman to teach at theSorbonne. Although she was offered a nationalpension following Pierre’s death, she declined it.Marie’s second Nobel Prize came along in 1911,this time in the field of Chemistry, for her isola-tion of pure radium. is set her apart as the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in two differentfields up to that date. is time, Marie donatedher prize money toward equipping World WarI ambulances with portable X-ray machines, aswell as establishing 200 permanent X-ray stationsin France and Belgium.e laboratories of the Radium Institute at theUniversity of Paris opened in 1914, and the Cu-rie Foundation was established in 1920 to work toward applying radium in medical procedures.Marie’s daughter Irene joined her mother in herresearch at the Institute.Marie Curie certainly passed on her brilliance tothe next generation. In 1934, her daughter Ireneand her husband discovered artificial radioactiv-ity, an accomplishment for which they receiveda Nobel Prize in 1935. Unfortunately, Marie didnot live to see her daughter’s award. Seemingly unaware of the effects of radioactivity on humanhealth during all her years of research, Marie con-tracted leukemia, most likely due to her prolongedexposure. She died a few months aer Irene’s dis-covery. Sadly, Irene developed leukemia as welland died from the effects of radiation exposure.e Curies’ notebooks recording their researchremain so radioactive today that they still cannotbe handled without protection, and are stored inlead-lined boxes.• e name Curie is a household word among sci-entists, as it is used as the name of the unit of measure for radioactivity.

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