Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The History Of The Motorbike

Welcome back my fellow learners, today I am going to speak about my favourite subject “motorbikes”.
Motorbikes were invented in the late 1800’s, when people basically got fed up using pedal power and began installing engines in their bicycles. In the 1900’s different models of motorbike were being imported from England, and one of a kind motorised bicycles started to show up across the country.  In the first decade hundreds of bikes were being imported, and by the time 1915 showed its face over 2,000 imports had arrived.

The earlier models were just like I said bicycles, but with a small motor added to them, these early models did not come with keys or ignitions, they were kick started by the pedals, this in turn started the motor which turned the wheels, however, the bicycle could still be used just with pedal power. The gears were changed using the hand, and riders never worn helmets, due to the fact the bicycle never went that fast, head lights were not thought of at the time so gas lamps were used to light the way.  

Side cars on motorcycles were introduced in 1913, which increased popularity, due to the fact running costs and prices to purchase these were lower than a car.

Motorcycles hit its peak in the 1920’s when the economic crisis hit, which meant not a lot of people could afford cars, so motorbikes were an acceptable alternative means of transport.

After the 2nd world war the number of motorcycles increased. This was the strongest in the 70’s due to the oil shocks that arose. And, in 1982 over 130,000 bikes were registered, however this fell in the 90’s most due to the price of cars dropping and the gas prices were low.  

In the beginning the most imported motorbike originated from the UK, with the US a close ranking second. However, Japan soon became a front runner in the industry in the 50’s by a little know person call Soichiro Honda, which as we all know today is one of the top selling bikes in the world, (I know I have one) this spelt doom for the UK industry. Names like Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha soon outranked the UK models like Truimph, BSA, Ariel and the beloved Norton.

So there you have it readers, a quick rundown on the history of bikes. Comments are welcome and replies will be quickly replied to.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The History Of The Gearbox

Welcome back my fellow learners, today’s blogs is for all my fellow gearheads out there.
Today we are going to look at the gear box or in some parts of the world also referred to as the transmission.

The manual gearbox or transmission has been around for eons, however, the latest buzz is that the death knoll is tolling for this sadly overlooked but necessary car part. We have all heard about the legendary Lamborghini, gossips is that this car companies customers are choosing the e-gear semi-automatic transmission, over its sister the standard triple pedal model. However, this particular transmission is known not to be the best in the business. So it begs the question of, “why would one of the most expensive cars in the world, use a substandard gearbox”? Anyone with answers to that particular question feel free to add a comment.

Ok, back on course. There is an ongoing quiet argument on who exactly created the world’s first ever operational automatic transmission. This arguments dates back as far as the 1890’s.
Some say that GM Hydramatic, which was first seen in 1939 was the first mass produced automatic in the car industry.

Back then things were much simpler compared to today’s technology. The standard transmission had 4 gears, plus a reverse. Back then there was no park position, people driving these vehicles first had to switch off their engines, then put the car in reverse, thus ensuring their vehicles stability.

Although the GM was a 4 speed gearbox, subsequent models came with a 2 and 3 speed, over the years various other speeds were introduced, such as the overdrive setting to make for better efficiency when driven correctly.

While basic transmission permitted a driver to choose and hold a lower gear when going up and down steep hills, their most defining character is that drivers no longer have the option of running through the gears. Some people like this as it not only saves on fuel consumption, but they no longer have to run through all the gears.

However, if you are anything like me, who loves to go through all the gears, a manual while being a safe and kind of eco-friendly car, is just too boring, no matter what car it is in. My fellow gear heads will know what I mean when I say that stomping on the gas pedal and hearing that engine scream when overtaking people is the best sound ever.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The History Of Mobile Phones

Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to speak about the mobile phone, how it was invented and its consequent progress since then.

The first ever mobile call was made by Martin Cooper, a senior engineer at the time working for Motorola on April 3, 1973. Obviously having a quirky sense of humour, his first call was to his rival company informing quite tongue in cheek, that he was talking to them via a mobile phone. This phone however, was bigger than a house brick, weighing a whopping 1.1kg, it provided you with approximately 30 minutes of talk time, which let’s face it ladies would be absolutely no good to us, and then it took a staggering 10 hours to re-charge.

However, I am jumping the gun slightly, so let’s go back even further. The origins of the mobile phone are very interesting to say the least. It started with that famous man Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the first phone in 1876. This was designed by using the telegraph as a rough guide. Phone calls would be routed via operators, who would then in turn direct your call to the relevant person.

Ericsson being technically advanced as per normal, released the earliest cellular phone system known in Sweden as the MTA in 1956. However, due to its bulk and weight soon fizzled out, mobile phones back in the day could weigh up to 40kgs. A lighter version soon came out in 1965 and was called the MTB. 

However, it was a young engineer living in Moscow called Leonid Kupriyanovich in 1957 first developed the wearable mobile phone, this was operated with the help of a base station. The battery of this revolutionary phone lasted up to 30 hours, and weighed 3kg, however, it only worked at a distance of 30km from the base station. Later on that same year, this enterprising young man, came up with a pocket version of this same phone, and it only weighed 0.5kg.

In 1970, Ames E Joel invented the handoff technology, thus ensuring mobile phone users were not restricted within a certain distance of their base station. Ames technology allowed people to make a call while passing through different cell areas without loss of connection.

Since then technological advances have progressed by leaps and bounds. Modern phones now possess the ability to having a miniature office all stored on one phone.   

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Birth Of The Computer Age

Welcome my fellow learners. Today’s blog is about the birth of the computer age. Computers were built not just by one person, but a series of people, combining their talents to construct a computer, starting from its binary code to its storage memory.

The computer was created not for entertainment but out of necessity to solve serious number crunching issues. By 1880 the population in the U.S. had grown so much that it took over seven years to calculate the census results. The government began to look for faster ways to do the job, this gave rise to punch card computers that filled whole rooms. Today however, we carry more power on our phones than was in these earlier models.

Charles Babbage an English mathematician in 1822, created the first steam powered calculating machine, this could compute large tables of numbers. However, even though the government funded this revolutionary product, it was doomed to failure. And it took over a century for the world’s first computer to be built.

Herman Hollerith in 1890 designed the first punch card system to calculate the 1880 census. It took less than 3 years to do this job, and saved the government a whopping $5 million. He then established a company that would be known in time as IBM, which was actually founded in 1911.

J V Atanasoff, a physics and mathematics professor in 1937 tries to build the first computer that did not need gears, belts, cams or shafts. In later years he and his student Clifford Berry, designed a computer that could solve up to 29 equations at the same time. This was the first recorded computer that could store information in its memory.

In 1953 a lady called Grace Hopper develops computer language, (nice to see the ladies finally joining the race).

Two gentlemen known as Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce in 1958 give the world its first integrated circuit, also known today as the computer chip

The first known floppy disk was created an unveiled in 1971 by Alan Shugart and his team from IBM, thus allowing information to be traded between computers. Later on in years IBM 5100 is the first portable computer, this was released in 1975.

And let’s not forget about Steve Jobs and Wozniak who started Apple on believe it or not April Fool’s Day, they delivered to us the first single circuit board computer, known as the Apple I.  

These examples are but a drop in the ocean regarding inventions by little known people. Needless to say, the nameless individuals that helped built and create the computers of today are the unsung heroes we should not neglect. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Who Exactly Invented Electricity?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to look more in-depth to that much used invention electricity.

Most people are under the misconception that Edison invented the light bulb, Marconi the radio, Bell the telephone and Morse the telegraph. However, they did not, they may have improved on the original idea in some cases, but, only the clever ones has the sense to patent it.  
Electricity was around before the word of Christ was even thought of, together we will follow the journey of how several people actually brought the light bulb into fruition.

Franklin was borne into a family of seventeen children. He left school at the tender age of ten to become a printer’s apprentice. His was as we call today a self-made man, amassing wealth and notoriety through sheer determination and cunning.

James Watt was born in 1736 in bonny Scotland. Even though he did never experimented with electronics, he must not be passed over. By trade he made instruments, and opened up a repair show in 1757 in Glasgow. Watt knew that one day the steam engine would take the place of animals, he decided to measure the rate of work done by a horse bringing up debris from a working mine, and calculated it was 22,000 ft-lbs per minute. He added 50% which gave him at 33,000 ft-lbs.

However, it was in 1791 a significant discovery was made in the history of electricity by an English man named Michael Faraday, this was Electromagnetic induction. He discovered how electric currents actually work, to this day many inventions are based on his work, and however, his vision would not see the light of day for another 150 years.
In 1847 one of the most well-known inventors, with 1093 patents under his belt was the famous Thomas Edison. Thomas was a self-educated man, with only 3 months of schooling to his name, believe it or not his last school actually threw him out as being retarded! However, due to a bout of scarlet fever, Edison was actually partially deaf.

The saddest tale of all of them was Nikola Tesla, born in 1856 to Serbian parents, he passed away a lonely and broke man in New York in 1943. This man was a visionary, predicting the future of having a skyline of poles and power lines. However, as testament to Tesla, Niagara Falls with the help of his invention was the first hydroelectric plant in the US.

So you see dear readers, the parable to this tale is simply, unless you patent it, you will never go down in the annexes of history as one of the great inventors!

Monday, 10 March 2014

The History Of Religion

Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to look into the controversial subject of religion. Whether you are a believer or not, religion in any shape or form is here to stay.

The oldest religion known to man is still being practiced today is Hinduism. The Egyptians were the first on record to practice religion, and their first God was Ra, the sun God, followed by Shu the God of Air, the Goddess of moisture Tefnut, Geb the God of Earth, and last was the Goddess of the sky Nut. Now this Ra wanted to marry Nut, however, she was in love with Geb, so Ra separated the lovelorn lovers, these Romeo and Juliet pair could only meet when night fell, however, this did not stop them from having 3 sons, Osiris, Set And Horus, and Isis and Nephthys their 2 daughters. What followed after this basically consisted of incest murder and blood shed, so not much has changed since then (well maybe the incest bit), since religion is the most blood thirsty of all wars. And still is. Why people think that killing each other in the name of religion is going to solve anything is totally beyond me. Don’t get me wrong I am Switzerland when it comes to religion, however, the wars that have been started due to this is what I am against.

Anyway back to the history lesson. So where was I?

Ah yes, the Phoenician tale of the god Baal who does a Jesus and comes back to life, just to battle Yamm who created havoc in 2750BCE

This ongoing theme of life-after-death gained the greatest fame through St. Paul who spread the word of Jesus throughout ancient Palestine, Greece and Rome.

Christianity gave people hope of an afterlife, and instigated a set of rituals by which people could gain everlasting life. However, early Christians were following unbeknownst to them in the footsteps of the Egyptians, Sumerians, Phoenicians and Greeks all of which had their own rituals for worshiping their gods. Then came the Muslims who instituted their own rituals for understanding their deity which, even though different from Christianity, Judaism or any other pagan religions, followed the same principle as the rituals once practiced by the Egyptian goddess Hathor in 3000BCE, religion basically give human beings the understanding they were not alone in their suffering and triumphs.

However, on a personal note, the most bloodshed in any war was done by that little house painter, also known as Hitler. Hitler towards the end became deeply involved in the Occult. Spending resources and men looking for the Spear of Christ, thinking this would give him an edge over his losing battle in the war. His persecution of the Jews was unprecedented, even his own men in the end plotted against him.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Signs Of Child Abuse And What Steps To Take To Aid Recovery

Welcome my fellow learners, today we are going to talk about something which most people want to sweep under the rug. Child abuse is rife in today’s society, and burying our heads in the sand is just not acceptable.

Most abusers believe it or not are some type of family member, whether it be an Uncle, Nephew and even in some cases Fathers and Mothers.  But I have to say, what the hell can an adult see in an innocent child is totally beyond me. However, sexual abuse is just the tip of the iceberg, there are other forms of abuse that are just as heinous. Such as physical and mental abuse.

In material of what form the abuse comes in, harming a precious gift like a child, can be soul destroying for the child. With intensive counselling some children can bounce back, albeit damaged and their innocence gone forever. Below are some symptoms of abuse, so if you see any of these signs in friends or family member’s children, your duty is to report it to the right authorities.

1. Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of abuse may include bruises or burns, and the explanation of how they were received are tenuous.

2. Radical behaviour changes. Abuse can changes the way a child behaves. Abused children could appear scared, depressed, withdrawn or even aggressive.

3.  Abused children may regress to thumb-sucking, and bed-wetting, or in some severe cases memory loss or failure to speak.

4. Using excuses for not going home. Abused children may show apprehension or anxiety when leaving school, or going out with their abuser.

5. Developing eating disorders. Extreme stress, fear and anxiety can change a child’s eating habits, which result in weight gain or loss.

6. Changes in sleeping patterns. Abused children could develop sleeping problems, such as difficulty falling asleep, or nightmares.

7. Performance and attendance in school. Difficulty concentrating, or have unexplained absences, sometimes due to adults hiding the child’s injuries.

8. Neglecting personal hygiene. Abused or neglected children appear uncared for. They may have dirty clothes on and bad body odour.

9. Inappropriate behaviour. Sexually abused children could start to exhibit overly sexual behaviour or use sexual language uncommon in their age group.

Ok, above are just some signs to look out for, so come on people, these kids are our future, they are supposed to be treasured and nurtured, not broken and neglected.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The History Of Windows And How They Came Into Being

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are looking at the common glass window, which truth be told many of us take for granted, however, how different would our lives be if this unappreciated item was never discovered?

The first window was manufactured in Britain, yep it’s those Romans again, using broadsheet glass which an elongated balloon of glass was blown out, the ends were cut off, and the resulting product was split and flattened using an iron plate. However, this was poor quality, and because of this it was used to make leaded lights. Glad to hear this is one thing those Romans were not too good at!

Anyway, by the early 14th century this type of glass was almost obsolete, and people were importing higher quality glass from France. Britain only caught onto this technology in the late 17th century due to the ever rising prices of the imported glass.

Due to the high cost of glass, blown plate was rarely used in windows, and utilized more in mirrors and carriages.

In the late 18th century Britain was finally introduced to polished plate glass. This process was basically done by casting a sheet of glass on a table, then grinding and polishing it manually, however, due to the strenuous labor that was needed for this, some clever soul, probably fed up with all the grinding and polishing, decided to create a steam powered grinding and polishing machine. Thus saving time, and much pain.

Through this revolutionary new process, big panes of good quality glass could be produced, however, it was still an expensive process, and so only the affluent could afford this.

In 1834 the Germans decided to improve on this machine, so that larger sheets of glass could be manufactured at a fraction of the cost. Not many people know this but many years ago Britain decided to start taxing window glass, for what reason is still a mystery to many, however, in 1845 they decided to withdraw glass duty, which lead to an increased demand for glass, so prices actually dropped by 75%. Should anyone ever decide to visit Britain, they will see, mostly on the older houses, which many of the windows have actually been bricked up. People did this so they would not have to pay the tax.

In 1903 saw the birth of laminated glass, which incorporated a thin plastic film between two pieces of glass, which not only increased safety and security, but allowed people to incorporate larger windows, without the usage of strengthening dividing bars.

Double glazing was first introduced in the late 20th century, as a way to reduce utility bills by improving the energy efficient windows.

With the way technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, who knows what the future will bring, maybe glass will be abolished altogether, and a simple energy field will be used. Well stranger things are known to happen. Only time will tell.