Steam Engine Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Steam Engine. Here they are! All 200 of them:

It's hot rain and humid days and broken thermostats. It's screaming and raging steam engines and wanting to take your clothes off just to feel a breeze. It's the kind of kiss that makes you realize oxygen is overrated.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities. So I believe that dreams - day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain-machinery whizzing - are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilization.
L. Frank Baum (The Lost Princess of Oz (Oz, #11))
The Ancient Greeks? If they had steam engines, why didn't they have trains?' . . . 'They were philosophers; they put two and two together and got a goldfish.' (p. 76)
Natasha Pulley
A person whose desires and impulses are his own—are the expression of his own nature, as it has been developed and modified by his own culture—is said to have a character. One whose desires and impulses are not his own, has no character, no more than a steam-engine has character…
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.
Neil Armstrong
As the semantic engineer, your job is naming the parts and tightening nuts and bolts. I suggest you get back to your office and do that - right now!
John Sladek (The Steam-Driven Boy)
I had a dream about you. You suggested to split the profits, so I did. I threw one half in the furnace to power the steam engine, and the other half in the air to distract our pursuers.
Bauvard (I Had a Dream About You)
I saw a huge steam roller, It blotted out the sun. The people all lay down, lay down; They did not try to run. My love and I, we looked amazed Upon the gory mystery. "Lie down, lie down!" the people cried. "The great machine is history!" My love and I, we ran away, The engine did not find us. We ran up to a mountain top, Left history far behind us. Perhaps we should have stayed and died, But somehow we don't think so. We went to see where history'd been, And my, the dead did stink so.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
The steam engine has done much more for science than science has done for the steam engine.
William Thomson
All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elefant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains makkeable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules. Generally, all the best mechanistic games - those which can be played in any sense "perfectly", such as a grid, Prallian scope, 'nkraytle, chess, Farnic dimensions - can be traced to civilisations lacking a realistic view of the universe (let alone the reality). They are also, I might add, invariably pre-machine-sentience societies. The very first-rank games acknowledge the element of chance, even if they rightly restrict raw luck. To attempt to construct a game on any other lines, no matter how complicated and subtle the rules are, and regardless of the scale and differentiation of the playing volume and the variety of the powers and attibutes of the pieces, is inevitably to schackle oneself to a conspectus which is not merely socially but techno-philosophically lagging several ages behind our own. As a historical exercise it might have some value, As a work of the intellect, it's just a waste of time. If you want to make something old-fashioned, why not build a wooden sailing boat, or a steam engine? They're just as complicated and demanding as a mechanistic game, and you'll keep fit at the same time.
Iain Banks (The Player of Games (Culture #2))
Reading is a mighty engine, beside which steam and electricity sink into insignificance.
Melvil Dewey
It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.
Mark Twain
I imagine horses in the engine, their manes flying, their breaths steaming, their nostrils flaring as they gallop.
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
It is clear that all the valuable things, material, spiritual, and moral, which we receive from society can be traced back through countless generations to certain creative individuals. The use of fire, the cultivation of edible plants, the steam engine—each was discovered by one man.
Albert Einstein (The World As I See It)
Now comes the second machine age. Computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power—the ability to use our brains to understand and shape our environments—what the steam engine and its descendants did for muscle power.
Erik Brynjolfsson (The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies)
Students of public speaking continually ask, "How can I overcome self-consciousness and the fear that paralyzes me before an audience?" Did you ever notice in looking from a train window that some horses feed near the track and never even pause to look up at the thundering cars, while just ahead at the next railroad crossing a farmer's wife will be nervously trying to quiet her scared horse as the train goes by? How would you cure a horse that is afraid of cars—graze him in a back-woods lot where he would never see steam-engines or automobiles, or drive or pasture him where he would frequently see the machines? Apply horse-sense to ridding yourself of self-consciousness and fear: face an audience as frequently as you can, and you will soon stop shying. You can never attain freedom from stage-fright by reading a treatise. A book may give you excellent suggestions on how best to conduct yourself in the water, but sooner or later you must get wet, perhaps even strangle and be "half scared to death." There are a great many "wetless" bathing suits worn at the seashore, but no one ever learns to swim in them. To plunge is the only way.
Dale Carnegie (The Art of Public Speaking)
Steam in an open space would just simply scatter in different directions. Steam contained in an engine can move a whole train. Success comes from One-pointedness and Constancy of Aim and Effort.
Choa Kok Sui (Experiencing Being - The Golden Lotus Sutras on Life)
hat a feeble thing intelligence is, with its short steps, its waverings, its pacings back and forth, its disastrous retreats! Intelligence is a mere instrument of circumstances. There are people who say that intelligence must have built the universe—why, intelligence never built a steam engine! Circumstances built a steam engine. Intelligence is little more than a short foot-rule by which we measure the infinite achievements of Circumstances.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
She sat at the dining table, a steaming mug of tea in front of her, a distant look in her eyes. Holden couldn’t tell if she was melancholy or solving a complex engineering problem in her head. Those looks were confusingly similar.
James S.A. Corey (Nemesis Games (The Expanse, #5))
[Under Marxism] Christ the Redeemer is replaced by the steam engine as the promise of the realm to come.
Eric Voegelin (From Enlightenment to Revolution)
By now there were whole new Industrial Revolutions going on in the Low Earths; the British seemed to have the building of steam engines and railways in their genes.
Stephen Baxter (The Long War (The Long Earth, #2))
What a feeble thing intelligence is, with its short steps, its waverings, its pacings back and forth, its disastrous retreats! Intelligence is a mere instrument of circumstances. There are people who say that intelligence must have built the universe - why, intelligence never built a steam-engine! Circumstances built a steam-engine. Intelligence is little more than a short foot-rule by which we measure the infinite achievements of Circumstances.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
Alternative Anthem. Put the kettle on Put the kettle on It is the British answer to Armageddon. Never mind taxes rise Never mind trains are late One thing you can be sure of and that’s the kettle, mate. It’s not whether you lose It’s not whether you win It’s whether or not you’ve plugged the kettle in. May the kettle ever hiss May the kettle ever steam It is the engine that drives our nation’s dream. Long live the kettle that rules over us May it be limescale free and may it never rust. Sing it on the beaches Sing it from the housetops The sun may set on empire but the kettle never stops.
John Agard (Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (with DVD))
All it takes is for people to believe and I am no longer just an artefact put together by clever engineers. I am an idea, a something made of nothing, whose time has come to be. Some may even call me "Goddess
Terry Pratchett (Raising Steam (Discworld, #40; Moist von Lipwig, #3))
Or did a Martian sit within each, ruling, directing, using, much as a man's brain sits and rules in his body? I began to compare the things to human machines, to ask myself for the first time in my life how an ironclad or a steam engine would seem to an intelligent lower animal.
H.G. Wells (War Of The Worlds)
Ironically, the serious study of the impossible has frequently opened up rich and entirely unexpected domains of science. For example, over the centuries the frustrating and futile search for a “perpetual motion machine” led physicists to conclude that such a machine was impossible, forcing them to postulate the conservation of energy and the three laws of thermodynamics. Thus the futile search to build perpetual motion machines helped to open up the entirely new field of thermodynamics, which in part laid the foundation of the steam engine, the machine age, and modern industrial society.
Michio Kaku (Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel)
True, hundreds of millions may nevertheless go on believing in Islam, Christianity or Hinduism. But numbers alone don’t count for much in history. History is often shaped by small groups of forward-looking innovators rather than by the backward-looking masses. Ten thousand years ago most people were hunter-gatherers and only a few pioneers in the Middle East were farmers. Yet the future belonged to the farmers. In 1850 more than 90 per cent of humans were peasants, and in the small villages along the Ganges, the Nile and the Yangtze nobody knew anything about steam engines, railroads or telegraph lines. Yet the fate of those peasants had already been sealed in Manchester and Birmingham by the handful of engineers, politicians and financiers who spearheaded the Industrial Revolution. Steam engines, railroads and telegraphs transformed the production of food, textiles, vehicles and weapons, giving industrial powers a decisive edge over traditional agricultural societies.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone or any other important thing-and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others.
Mark Twain
The espresso machines in station cafés boast their kinship with the locomotives, the espresso machines of yesterday and today with the locomotives and steam engines of today and yesterday.
Italo Calvino (If On A Winter's Night A Traveler)
Old Man River! That seems far too austere a name For something made of mirth and rage. O, roiling red-blood river vein, If chief among your traits is age, You're a wily, convoluted sage. Is "old" the thing to call what rings The vernal heart of wester-lore; What brings us brassy-myth made kings (And preponderance of bug-type things) To challenge titans come before? Demiurge to a try at Avalon-once-more! And what august vitality In your wide aorta stream You must have had to oversee Alchemic change of timber beam To iron, brick and engine steam. Your umber whiskey waters lance The prideful sober sovereignty Of faulty-haloed Temperance And wilt her self-sure countenance; Yes, righteousness is vanity, But your sport's for imps, not elderly. If there's a name for migrant mass Of veteran frivolity That snakes through seas of prairie grass And groves of summer sassafras, A name that flows as roguishly As gypsy waters, fast and free, It's your real name, Mississippi.
Tracy J. Butler (Lackadaisy: Volume #1 (Lackadaisy, #1))
Sugar plus coffee did reach Great Britain right around the time that steam engines finally hit their stride. Imagine that for a second: the British and stimulants, together at last! Shit got done.
K.B. Spangler (Greek Key (Hope Blackwell #1))
Today, nothing is unusual about a scientific discovery's being followed soon after by a technical application: The discovery of electrons led to electronics; fission led to nuclear energy. But before the 1880's, science played almost no role in the advances of technology. For example, James Watt developed the first efficient steam engine long before science established the equivalence between mechanical heat and energy.
Edward Teller
Mark Twain is good on this: “It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others.
Jordan Ellenberg (How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday)
Nothing man has discovered or imagined is to be named with the steam engine. It has no fellow. Franklin capturing the lightning, Morse annihilating space with the telegraph, Bell transmitting speech through the air by the telephone, are not less mysterious—being more ethereal, perhaps in one sense they are even more so—still, the labor of the world performed by heating cold water places Watt and his steam engine in a class apart by itself.
Andrew Carnegie (James Watt)
You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it … Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.
William T. Sherman
The traveller gets out, walks up and down the platform, sees the vast slow flare and steaming of the mighty engine, rushes into the station, and looks into the faces of all the people passing with the same sense of instant familiarity, greeting, and farewell,--that lonely, strange, and poignantly wordless feeling that Americans know so well.
Thomas Wolfe (Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man's Hunger in His Youth)
Some comfort it would have been, could I, like a Faust, have fancied myself tempted and tormented of the Devil; for a Hell, as I imagine, without Life, though only Diabolic Life, were more frightful: but in our age of Downpulling and Disbelief, the very Devil has been pulled down, you cannot so much as believe in a Devil. To me the Universe was all void of Life, of Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility: it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling on, in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb.
Thomas Carlyle (Sartor Resartus)
Steam coming off the planet, clouds of fleecy steam as boy and girl populations clash in religious riots, hot and whistling like a graveyard sodomist our little planet embraces its fragile yo-yo destiny, tuned in the secular mind like a dying engine. But some do not hear it this way, some flying successful moon-shot eyes do not see it this way. They do not hear the individual noises shhh,hiss, they hear the sound of the sounds together, they behold the interstices flashing up and down the cone of the flowering whirlwind.
Leonard Cohen (Beautiful Losers)
The liberal political system was shaped during the industrial era to manage a world of steam engines, oil refineries, and television sets. It has difficulty dealing with the ongoing revolutions in information technology and biotechnology.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The strategy of this book, then, is to awaken us from the dream that the world is about to end, because action on Earth (the real Earth) depends on it. The end of the world has already occurred. We can be uncannily precise about the date on which the world ended. Convenience is not readily associated with historiography, nor indeed with geological time. But in this case, it is uncannily clear. It was April 1784, when James Watt patented the steam engine, an act that commenced the depositing of carbon in Earth’s crust—namely, the inception of humanity as a geophysical force on a planetary scale.
Timothy Morton (Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Posthumanities Book 27))
Just as combining the steam engine with ingenious machinery drove the Industrial Revolution, the combination of the computer and distributed networks led to a digital revolution that allowed anyone to create, disseminate, and access any information anywhere.
Walter Isaacson (The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution)
There are people who say that intelligence must have built the universe--why, intelligence never built a steam engine! Circumstances built a steam engine. Intelligence is little more than a short foot-rule by which we measure the infinite achievements of Circumstances.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
A consciousness of rectitude can be a terrible thing, and in those days I didn’t just think that I was right: I thought that “we” (our group of International Socialists in particular) were being damn well proved right. If you have never yourself had the experience of feeling that you are yoked to the great steam engine of history, then allow me to inform you that the conviction is a very intoxicating one.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Travel" The railroad track is miles away, And the day is loud with voices speaking, Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day But I hear its whistle shrieking. All night there isn’t a train goes by, Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, But I see its cinders red on the sky, And hear its engine steaming. My heart is warm with friends I make, And better friends I’ll not be knowing; Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
But I was not so much interested in facts themselves as in the importance they had for my imagination. I was passionately interested in railways, and in the relative speed of the fastest express trains; but I did not understand the principle of the steam engine and had no wish to learn.
L.P. Hartley (The Go-Between)
Most discoveries become imaginable at a very specific moment in history, after which point multiple people start to imagine them. The electric battery, the telegraph, the steam engine, and the digital music library were all independently invented by multiple individuals in the space of a few years.
Steven Johnson (How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World)
But man is an odd, sad creature as yet, intent on pilfering the earth, and heedless of the growths within himself. He cannot be bored about psychology. He leaves it to the specialist, which is as if he should leave his dinner to be eaten by a steam-engine. He cannot be bothered to digest his own soul.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
Consider this!” Edmond declared. “It took early humans over a million years to progress from discovering fire to inventing the wheel. Then it took only a few thousand years to invent the printing press. Then it took only a couple hundred years to build a telescope. In the centuries that followed, in ever-shortening spans, we bounded from the steam engine, to gas-powered automobiles, to the Space Shuttle! And then, it took only two decades for us to start modifying our own DNA!
Dan Brown (Origin (Robert Langdon, #5))
Soon shall thy arm, UNCONQUER'D STEAM! afar Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car; Or on wide-waving wings expanded bear The flying-chariot through the fields of air.
Erasmus Darwin (The Botanic Garden. Part 1: The Economy of Vegetation)
...anger is a waste of energy. Steam which is used to blow off a safety valve would be better used to drive an engine.
Winston S. Churchill
Enthusiasm is the steam that drives the engine
Napoleon Hill
I think magic went out when people began to have steam-engines, and newspapers, and telephones and wireless telegraphing.
E. Nesbit (The Enchanted Castle)
It's hot rain and humid days and broken thermostats. It's screaming tea kettles and raging steam engines and wanting to take your clothes off just to feel a breeze.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
With the first steam engines, the barrier between heat and work was breached, so that coal’s energy could now amplify the work of people.
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
There was power in knowledge. Like the gears of a steam engine, the more active knowledge was, the more force it produced.
Sarah McCoy (Marilla of Green Gables)
Technology changes nothing. People were people before and after the steam engine, before and after the airplane. But … not quite now. Walls. That’s what it is. The problem is walls.
Dean Koontz (Odd Apocalypse (Odd Thomas #5))
[The family] will be sent to a museum of antiquities so that it can rest next to the spinning wheel and the bronze axe, by the horsedrawn carriage, the steam engine, and the wired telephone.
Semen Iakovlevich Vol'fson
The wood echoed to the hoarse ringing of other saws; somewhere, very far away, a nightingale was trying out its voice, and at longer intervals a blackbird whistled as if blowing dust out of a flute. Even the engine steam rose into the sky warbling like milk boiling up on a nursery alchohol stove.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
Ingenious philosophers tell you, perhaps, that the great work of the steam-engine is to create leisure for mankind. Do not believe them: it only creates a vacuum for eager thought to rush in. Even idleness is eager now—eager for amusement; prone to excursion-trains, art museums, periodical literature, and exciting novels; prone even to scientific theorizing and cursory peeps through microscopes. Old Leisure was quite a different personage. He only read one newspaper, innocent of leaders, and was free from that periodicity of sensations which we call post-time. He was a contemplative, rather stout gentleman, of excellent digestion; of quiet perceptions, undiseased by hypothesis; happy in his inability to know the causes of things, preferring the things themselves. He lived chiefly in the country, among pleasant seats and homesteads, and was fond of sauntering by the fruit-tree wall and scenting the apricots when they were warmed by the morning sunshine, or of sheltering himself under the orchard boughs at noon, when the summer pears were falling. He knew nothing of weekday services, and thought none the worse of the Sunday sermon if it allowed him to sleep from the text to the blessing; liking the afternoon service best, because the prayers were the shortest, and not ashamed to say so; for he had an easy, jolly conscience, broad-backed like himself, and able to carry a great deal of beer or port-wine, not being made squeamish by doubts and qualms and lofty aspirations.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
You worked at night, when the shadows masked you and you were little more than a dream. You hid in the forest or the mountains, away from the steam engines and the lamps of the cities, the things that would expose you, confirming you and stripping you of your mystery. You showed yourself rarely, and only to the ones who needed to see you. After the free-for-all that was the earlier Chapters, when babies were stolen, young men murdered and maidens locked away, the fae had had to learn to be very careful about their involvement in the lives of the characters, lest they turn still further away from their beliefs.
F.D. Lee (The Fairy's Tale (The Pathways Tree, #1))
Policy makers and politicians want more STEM; educators want more STEAM. Both, in ways that are eerily similar, are engaging in social engineering to support an ideology. At the macro-level, in both worlds, it’s all about teaching a point of view, rather than teaching students to learn. We seem hell bent on an arbitrarily linear approach to engineering a “useful” or job-securing education, from which we continue to get mixed results.
Henry Doss
Atro had once explained to him how this was managed, how the sergeants could give the privates orders, how the lieutenants could give the privates and the sergeants orders, how the captains... and so on and so on up to the generals, who could give everyone else orders and need take them from none, except the commander in chief. Shevek had listened with incredulous disgust. "You call that organization?" he had inquired. "You even call it discipline? But it is neither. It is a coercive mechanism of extraordinary inefficiency--a kind of seventh-millennium steam engine! With such a rigid and fragile structure what could be done that was worth doing?" This had given Atro a chance to argue the worth of warfare as the breeder of courage and manliness and weeder-out of the unfit, but the very line of his argument had forced him to concede the effectiveness of guerrillas, organized from below, self-disciplined. "But that only works when the people think they're fighting for something of their own--you know, their homes, or some notion or other," the old man had said. Shevek had dropped the argument. He now continued it, in the darkening basement among the stacked crates of unlabeled chemicals. He explained to Atro that he now understood why the Army was organized as it was. It was indeed quite necessary. No rational form of organization would serve the purpose. He simply had not understood that the purpose was to enable men with machine guns to kill unarmed men and women easily and in great quantities when told to do so.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia)
By 1870, Britain’s steam engines generated 4 million horsepower, equivalent to the work of 40 million men, who—if industry had still depended on muscles—would have eaten more than three times Britain’s entire wheat output.
Ian Morris (Why the West Rules—for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future)
In some respects, the sexual mores of Victorian Britain replicated the mechanics of the age-defining steam engine. Blocking the flow of erotic energy creates ever-increasing pressure which is put to work through short, controlled bursts of productivity. Though he was wrong about a lot, it appears Sigmund Freud got it right when he observed that “civilization” is built largely on erotic energy that has been blocked, concentrated, accumulated, and redirected.
Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships)
Only now did Pierre understand the full force of human vitality and the saving power of the shifting of attention that has been put in man, similar in steam engines, which releases the extra steam as soon as the pressure exceeds a certain norm.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
The liberal political system has been shaped during the industrial era to manage a world of steam engines, oil refineries and television sets. It finds it difficult to deal with the ongoing revolutions in information technology and biotechnology.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The idea of gas engines was by no means new, but this was the first time that a really serious effort had been made to put them on the market. They were received with interest rather than enthusiasm and I do not recall any one who thought that the internal combustion engine could ever have more than a limited use. All the wise people demonstrated conclusively that the engine could not compete with steam. They never thought that it might carve out a career for itself. That is the way with wise people--they are so wise and practical that they always know to a dot just why something cannot be done; they always know the limitations. That is why I never employ an expert in full bloom. If ever I wanted to kill opposition by unfair means I would endow the opposition with experts. They would have so much good advice that I could be sure they would do little work.
Henry Ford (My Life And Work (The Autobiography Of Henry Ford))
They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam-engine, only smaller. At any rate, they seemed to think that if they only pay for it, a horse is bound to go just as far, and just as fast, and with just as heavy a load as they please.
Anna Sewell (Black Beauty)
Ethanol is a volatile, flammable, colourless liquid with a slight chemical odour. It is used as an antiseptic, a solvent, in medical wipes and antibacterial formulas because it kills organisms by denaturing their proteins. Ethanol is an important industrial ingredient. Ethanol is a good general purpose solvent and is found in paints, tinctures, markers and personal care products such as perfumes and deodorants. The largest single use of ethanol is as an engine fuel and fuel additive. In other words, we drink, for fun, the same thing we use to make rocket fuel, house paint, anti-septics, solvents, perfumes, and deodorants and to denature, i.e. to take away the natural properties of, or kill, living organisms. Which might make sense on some level if we weren’t a generation of green minded, organic, health-conscious, truth seeking individuals. But we are. We read labels, we shun gluten, dairy, processed foods, and refined sugars. We buy organic, we use natural sunscreen and beauty products. We worry about fluoride in our water, smog in our air, hydrogenated oils in our food, and we debate whether plastic bottles are safe to drink from. We replace toxic cleaning products with Mrs. Myers and homemade vinegar concoctions. We do yoga, we run, we SoulCycle and Fitbit, we go paleo and keto, we juice, we cleanse. We do coffee enemas and steam our yonis, and drink clay and charcoal, and shoot up vitamins, and sit in infrared foil boxes, and hire naturopaths, and shamans, and functional doctors, and we take nootropics and we stress about our telomeres. These are all real words. We are hyper-vigilant about everything we put into our body, everything we do to our body, and we are proud of this. We Instagram how proud we are of this, and we follow Goop and Well+Good, and we drop 40 bucks on an exercise class because there are healing crystals in the floor. The global wellness economy is estimated to be worth $4 trillion. $4 TRILLION DOLLARS. We are on an endless and expensive quest for wellness and vitality and youth. And we drink fucking rocket fuel.
Holly Whitaker (Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol)
This is a common theme in human progress. We make things beyond what we understand, and we always have done. Steam engines worked before we had a theory of thermodynamics; vaccines were developed before we knew how the immune system works; aircraft continue to fly to this day, despite the many gaps in our understanding of aerodynamics. When theory lags behind application, there will always be mathematical surprises lying in wait. The important thing is that we learn from these inevitable mistakes and don’t repeat them.
Matt Parker (Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors)
During the Society's early years, no member personified the organization's eccentricities or audacious mission more than Sir Francis Galton. A cousin of Charles Darwin's, he had been a child prodigy who, by the age of four, could read and recite Latin. He went on to concoct myriad inventions. They included a ventilating top hat; a machine called a Gumption-Reviver, which periodically wet his head to keep him awake during endless study; underwater goggles; and a rotating-vane steam engine. Suffering from periodic nervous breakdowns––"sprained brain," as he called it––he had a compulsion to measure and count virtually everything. He quantified the sensitivity of animal hearing, using a walking stick that could make an inconspicuous whistle; the efficacy of prayer; the average age of death in each profession (lawyers: 66.51; doctors: 67.04); the exact amount of rope needed to break a criminal's neck while avoiding decapitation; and levels of boredom (at meetings of the Royal Geographical Society he would count the rate of fidgets among each member of the audience).
David Grann (The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon)
A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, 11 o’clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the ticket box had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it. He had done it.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
Mourning the dead led the living, as it often does, to come to terms with their own existence. Following Joyce, Benjamin sensed that this quintessentially modern trauma (the steam engine, that machine of progress, can also be a machine of mass destruction) presaged what the new century held in store.
David Kishik (The Manhattan Project: A Theory of a City)
The Chinese and Persians did not lack technological inventions such as steam engines which could be freely copied or bought. They lacked the values, myths, judicial apparatus and sociopolitical structures that took centuries to form and mature in the West and which could not be copied and internalised rapidly.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
During the peak of animal use for agriculture in Britain and the United States, which surprisingly occurred as late as ca. 1915 (even though mobile steam engines had existed for fifty years and gasoline-powered tractors were already available), a full third of cultivated land was committed to the upkeep of horses.
Lewis Dartnell (The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch)
The troll rumbled away in the direction of the coal store and his place in front of Billy was taken by a smartly dressed young lady with an air of authority. ‘Sir, I think the railway is going to need a translator. I know every language and dialect on the Disc.’ Her voice was firm but there was a glint of excitement in her eyes as she looked at Iron Girder and the other engines in the compound and Billy knew she was hooked. He also knew that ‘translator’ was not on his list of vacancies and sent her off to Sir Harry’s office, while he returned to his search for shunters, tappers and other workers. And so the line moved on again. It seemed everybody wanted to be part of the railway.
Terry Pratchett (Raising Steam (Discworld, #40; Moist von Lipwig, #3))
The principal reason for this limited mastery of materials was the energy constraint: for millennia our abilities to extract, process, and transport biomaterials and minerals were limited by the capacities of animate prime movers (human and animal muscles) aided by simple mechanical devices and by only slowly improving capabilities of the three ancient mechanical prime movers: sails, water wheels, and wind mills. Only the conversion of the chemical energy in fossil fuels to the inexpensive and universally deployable kinetic energy of mechanical prime movers (first by external combustion of coal to power steam engines, later by internal combustion of liquids and gases to energize gasoline and Diesel engines and, later still, gas turbines) brought a fundamental change and ushered in the second, rapidly ascending, phase of material consumption, an era further accelerated by generation of electricity and by the rise of commercial chemical syntheses producing an enormous variety of compounds ranging from fertilizers to plastics and drugs.
Vaclav Smil (Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization)
I've always seen hidden meanings in everything. Whenever I used to do those puzzles in children's magazines, the ones where you're supposed to find all the hidden pictures, I'd never find the right ones. I'd say I found the griffin, and the Wesselman steam engine, and the missing little finger of the mummy of Tut, and everyone would give me a strange look and say, All you're looking for is a yellow duck. […] work up to the voices of places you can only imagine. Ask where to find the griffin, and the Wesselman steam engine, and the little finger of Tut. I know they're out there, and usually in the strangest of places. And if you find the yellow duck, let me know. That's the one I always miss.
Brian Andreas (Still Mostly True: Collected Stories & Drawings)
You can’t take their type too seriously; they will be all steamed up over an idea today, but by tomorrow will have dropped it for some other wild notion.
W.J. King (The Unwritten Laws of Engineering)
[A] pile driver was improvised by mounting a large steam donkey engine, a steam hammer, and a timber tower on a barge.
Ray Bottenberg
All night there isn’t a train goes by, Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, But I see its cinders red on the sky, And hear its engine steaming.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Men often have grievances against prominent and powerful persons. Historically, the grievances of the powerless against the powerful have furnished the steam for the engines of revolutions. My point is that in many of the famous medicolegal cases involving the issue of insanity, persons of relatively low social rank openly attacked their superiors. Perhaps their grievances were real and justified, and were vented on the contemporary social symbols of authority, the King and the Queen. Whether or not these grievances justified homicide is not our problem here. I merely wish to suggest that the issue of insanity may have been raised in these trials to obscure the social problems which the crimes intended to dramatize.
Thomas Szasz (Law, Liberty and Psychiatry)
I had entered the Green [of Glasgow] by the gate at the foot of Charlotte Street—had passed the old washing-house. I was thinking upon the engine at the time, and had gone as far as the herd's house, when the idea came into my mind that as steam was an elastic body it would rush into a vacuum, and if a communication were made between the cylinder and an exhausted vessel it would rush into it, and might be there condensed without cooling the cylinder. I then saw that I must get rid of the condensed steam and injection water if I used a jet, as in Newcomen's engine. Two ways of doing this occurred to me. First, the water might be run off by a descending pipe, if an outlet could be got at the depth of 35 or 36 feet, and any air might be extracted by a small pump. The second was to make the pump large enough to extract both water and air. ... I had not walked further than the Golf-house when the whole thing was arranged in my mind. {In Robert Hart's words, a recollection of the description of Watt's moment of inspiration, in May 1765, for improving Thomas Newcomen's steam engine.}
James Watt
This is the time of myths, Orphan. They are the cables that run under the floors and power the world, the conduits of unseen currents, the steam that powers the great engines of the earth.
Lavie Tidhar (The Bookman (The Bookman Histories, #1))
Markets are not just about the steam engine, iron foundries, or today’s silicon-chip factories. Markets also supported Shakespeare, Haydn, and the modern book superstore. The rise of oil painting, classical music, and print culture were all part of the same broad social and economic developments, namely the rise of capitalism, modern technology, rule of law, and consumer society.
Tyler Cowen (Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist)
Song of myself Now I will do nothing but listen, To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it. I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals, I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice, I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or following, Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night, Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of work-people at their meals, The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick, The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronouncing a death-sentence, The heave'e'yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the refrain of the anchor-lifters, The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streaking engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color'd lights, The steam-whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars, The slow march play'd at the head of the association marching two and two, (They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin.) I hear the violoncello, ('tis the young man's heart's complaint,) I hear the key'd cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears, It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast. I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera, Ah this indeed is music--this suits me.
Walt Whitman
You must learn not to look upon the world as a lost and decaying thing but as a something perfect and glorious which is going on to a most beautiful completeness; and you must learn to see men and women not as lost and accursed things, but as perfect beings advancing to become complete. There are no “bad” or “evil” people. An engine which is on the rails pulling a heavy train is perfect after its kind, and it is good. The power of steam which drives it is good. Let a broken rail throw the engine into the ditch, and it does not become bad or evil by being so displaced; it is a perfectly good engine, but off the track. The power of steam which drives it into the ditch and wrecks it is not evil, but a perfectly good power. So that which is misplaced or applied in an incomplete or partial way is not evil. There are no evil people; there are perfectly good people who are off the track, but they do not need condemnation or punishment; they only need to get upon the rails again. That which is undeveloped
Wallace D. Wattles (The Science of Being Great)
Annabeth hadn’t seen much of Buford during the trip. He mostly stayed in the engine room. (Leo insisted that Buford had a secret crush on the engine.) He was a three-legged table with a mahogany top. His bronze base had several drawers, spinning gears, and a set of steam vents. Buford was toting a bag like a mail sack tied to one of his legs. He clattered to the helm and made a sound like a train whistle.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
The evolutionary economist Richard Nelson of Columbia University has pointed out that there are in fact two types of technology that play a major role in economic growth. The first is Physical Technology; this is what we are accustomed to thinking of as technology, things such as bronze-making techniques, steam engines, and microchips. Social Technologies, on the other hand, are ways for organizing people to do things.
Eric D. Beinhocker (The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics)
It is a curious thought that the earliest description of the steam-engine in antiquity describes its use for the magic opening of the temple doors, when the priests lit the fires on the altars, to deceive the populace into ascribing to a deity what was the work of the engineer. In much the same way today, the almost boundless fecundity of the creative scientific discoveries and inventions of the age are being appropriated for the purpose of the mysterious opening of doors into the holy of holies of the temples of mammon by a hierarchy of imposters and humbugs, whom it is the first task of a sane civilization to expose and clear out.
Frederick Soddy (The Role of Money)
The pioneers and their new Indian partners amply displayed the American penchant for technological prowess, developing shore-to-shore windlasses and flatboat ferries to cross the rivers, innovations as vital to the country’s progress as the steam engine and the telegraph. America’s default toward massive waste and environmental havoc was also, and hilariously, perfected along the trail. Scammed by the merchants of Independence and St. Joe into overloading their wagons, the pioneers jettisoned thousands of tons of excess gear, food, and even pianos along the ruts, turning vast riverfront regions of the West into America’s first and largest Superfund sites. On issue after issue—disease, religious strife, the fierce competition for water—the trail served as an incubator for conflicts that would continue to reverberate through American culture until our own day.
Rinker Buck (The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey)
To the majority of those on the job his presence had been magical. Years afterward, the wife of one of the steam-shovel engineers, Mrs. Rose van Hardevald, would recall, "We saw him...on the end of the train. Jan got small flags for the children, and told us about when the train would pass...Mr. Roosevelt flashed us one of his well-known toothy smiles and waved his hat at the children..." In an instant, she said, she understood her husband's faith in the man. "And I was more certain than ever that we ourselves would not leave until it [the canal] was finished." Two years before, they had been living in Wyoming on a lonely stop on the Union Pacific. When her husband heard of the work at Panama, he had immediately wanted to go, because, he told her, "With Teddy Roosevelt, anything is possible." At the time neither of them had known quite where Panama was located.
David McCullough (The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914)
Before water generates steam, it must register two hundred and twelve degrees of heat. Two hundred degrees will not do it; two hundred and ten will not do it. The water must boil before it will generate enough steam to move an engine, to run a train. Lukewarm water will not run anything. A great many people are trying to move their life trains with lukewarm water—or water that is almost boiling—and they are wondering why they are stalled, why they cannot get ahead. They are trying to run a boiler with two hundred or two hundred and ten degrees of heat, and they cannot understand why they do not get anywhere.” Lukewarmness in his work stands in the same relation to man’s achievement as lukewarm water does to the locomotive boiler. No man can hope to accomplish anything great in this world until he throws his whole soul, flings his force to his whole life, into it.
Orison Swett Marden
All the various time travel devices used by Verne and Bert were stored in the repository, Poe explained, including the ones that had never quite worked as they were meant to. There was one that resembled a blue police box from London—“Stolen by a doctor with delusions of grandeur,” said Poe—one that was simply a large, transparent sphere—“Created by a scientist with green skin and too much ego,” said Verne—and one that was rather ordinary by comparison. “This one looks like an automobile,” John said admiringly, “with wings.” “The doors open that way for a reason,” Verne explained, “we just never figured out what it was. The inventor of this particular model tried integrating his designs into a car, an airplane, and even a steam engine train. He was running a crackpot laboratory in the Arizona desert, and he never realized that it was not his inventions themselves, but his proximity to some sort of temporal fluctuation in the local topography, that allowed them to work.” “What happened to him?” asked Jack. “He’d get the machines up to one hundred and six miles per hour,” said Bert, “and then he’d run out of fuel and promptly get arrested by whatever constabulary had been chasing him. The sad part was that Jules figured out if he’d just gone two miles an hour faster, he’d likely have been successful in his attempt.
James A. Owen (The Dragon's Apprentice (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #5))
Its 300 stokers, trimmers, and firemen, working 100 per shift, would shovel 1,000 tons of coal a day into its 192 furnaces to heat its 25 boilers and generate enough superheated steam to spin the immense turbines of its engines.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
The greatest danger we face from this machine age is that we will become engrossed with mechanical gadgets and forget we have hearts. Man cannot live by bread alone nor by machinery alone. The heart must be nurtured. For this reason the prophet and the poet are more important to a nation than the engineer or the inventor. Longfellow and Whittier have meant more to us than Edison or Ford. Burns’s songs have meant more to Scotland than Watts’s steam engine.
James L. Snyder (The Life of A.W. Tozer: In Pursuit of God)
In his 2007 book Farewell to Alms, the Scottish-American economist Gregory Clark points out that we can learn a thing or two about our future job prospects by comparing notes with our equine friends. Imagine two horses looking at an early automobile in the year 1900 and pondering their future. “I’m worried about technological unemployment.” “Neigh, neigh, don’t be a Luddite: our ancestors said the same thing when steam engines took our industry jobs and trains took our jobs pulling stage coaches. But we have more jobs than ever today, and they’re better too: I’d much rather pull a light carriage through town than spend all day walking in circles to power a stupid mine-shaft pump.” “But what if this internal combustion engine thing really takes off?” “I’m sure there’ll be new new jobs for horses that we haven’t yet imagined. That’s what’s always happened before, like with the invention of the wheel and the plow.
Max Tegmark (Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence)
Quite a few inventions do conform to this commonsense view of necessity as invention’s mother. In 1942, in the middle of World War II, the U.S. government set up the Manhattan Project with the explicit goal of inventing the technology required to build an atomic bomb before Nazi Germany could do so. That project succeeded in three years, at a cost of $2 billion (equivalent to over $20 billion today). Other instances are Eli Whitney’s 1794 invention of his cotton gin to replace laborious hand cleaning of cotton grown in the U.S. South, and James Watt’s 1769 invention of his steam engine to solve the problem of pumping water out of British coal mines. These familiar examples deceive us into assuming that other major inventions were also responses to perceived needs. In fact, many or most inventions were developed by people driven by curiosity or by a love of tinkering, in the absence of any initial demand for the product they had in mind.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (20th Anniversary Edition))
The Chinese and Persians did not lack technological inventions such as steam engines (which could be freely copied or bought). They lacked the values, myths, judicial apparatus and sociopolitical structures that took centuries to form and mature in the West and which could not be copied and internalised rapidly. France and the United States quickly followed in Britain’s footsteps because the French and Americans already shared the most important British myths and social structures.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The Industrial Revolution was based on two grand concepts that were profound in their simplicity. Innovators came up with ways to simplify endeavors by breaking them into easy, small tasks that could be accomplished on assembly lines. Then, beginning in the textile industry, inventors found ways to mechanize steps so that they could be performed by machines, many of them powered by steam engines. Babbage, building on ideas from Pascal and Leibniz, tried to apply these two processes to the production of computations, creating a mechanical precursor to the modern computer. His most significant conceptual leap was that such machines did not have to be set to do only one process, but instead could be programmed and reprogrammed through the use of punch cards. Ada saw the beauty and significance of that enchanting notion, and she also described an even more exciting idea that derived from it: such machines could process not only numbers but anything that could be notated in symbols.
Walter Isaacson (The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution)
In the early twenty-first century the train of progress is again pulling out of the station – and this will probably be the last train ever to leave the station called Homo sapiens. Those who miss this train will never get a second chance. In order to get a seat on it you need to understand twenty-first-century technology, and in particular the powers of biotechnology and computer algorithms. These powers are far more potent than steam and the telegraph, and they will not be used merely for the production of food, textiles, vehicles and weapons. The main products of the twenty-first century will be bodies, brains and minds, and the gap between those who know how to engineer bodies and brains and those who do not will be far bigger than the gap between Dickens’s Britain and the Mahdi’s Sudan. Indeed, it will be bigger than the gap between Sapiens and Neanderthals. In the twenty-first century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Nineteenth-century inventors of the steam engine used a physical theory which today is considered as scientifically false . In fact most of the inventors up to very recent times have been, for the most part, ignorant of the science of their day and have applied theories that have proved to be false. Moreover, even today a physical or chemical theory can change while its application continues untouched. The success of applied science, therefore, is no reason for accepting the infallibility of the scientific theories involved. There should be an intelligent and conscious criticism of science and its implications, both for those involved in the sciences, and most of all for those who are the recipients of the popularized versions of scientific theories. The philosophy of science has in certain cases tried to point to the lack of logical consistency in some scientific definitions and methods. But having surrendered itself to the fruits of the experimental and analytical methods, it cannot itself be an independent judge of modern science.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man)
Each year, the United States issues about 70,000 patents, only a few of which ultimately reach the stage of commercial production. For each great invention that ultimately found a use, there are countless others that did not. Even inventions that meet the need for which they were initially designed may later prove more valuable at meeting unforeseen needs. While James Watt designed his steam engine to pump water from mines, it soon was supplying power to cotton mills, then (with much greater profit) propelling locomotives and boats.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (20th Anniversary Edition))
At times the engine stopped, and grown-ups and children climbed out of the carriages with tins to collect water from the engine steam pipes. This was the only drinking water that we had access to, and though it was hot and very rusty, it was the best drink I felt I’d ever had.
Alfred Nestor (Uncle Hitler: A Child's Traumatic Journey Through Nazi Hell to the Safety of Britain)
The challenge posed to humankind in the twenty-first century by infotech and biotech is arguably much bigger than the challenge posed in the previous era by steam engines, railroads, and electricity. And given the immense destructive power of our civilization, we just cannot afford more failed models, world wars, and bloody revolutions. This time around, the failed models might result in nuclear wars, genetically engineered monstrosities, and a complete breakdown of the biosphere. We have to do better than we did in confronting the Industrial Revolution
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The challenge posed to humankind in the twenty-first century by infotech and biotech is arguably much bigger than the challenge posed in the previous era by steam engines, railroads and electricity. And given the immense destructive power of our civilisation, we just cannot afford more failed models, world wars and bloody revolutions. This time around, the failed models might result in nuclear wars, genetically engineered monstrosities, and a complete breakdown of the biosphere. Consequently, we have to do better than we did in confronting the Industrial Revolution.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
A book on steam engine design lay next to one of poems by the poet laureate Tennyson. Lenore traced the poetry book’s cover design. A finely made book with its gold-tooled leather and gilt-edged vellum pages. A beautiful book. An expensive one given to her by a man who’d likely spent three months’ hard-earned wages to obtain it. Lenore made a mournful sound in her throat. Nathaniel. She closed her eyes, remembering his ready smile and eyes as blue as bachelor’s button. She thought of him every day, but lately, in the weeks following her father’s death, he was constantly on her mind.
Grace Draven (Beneath a Waning Moon)
The Chinese and Persians did not lack technological inventions such as steam engines (which could be freely copied or bought). They lacked the values, myths, judicial apparatus and sociopolitical structures that took centuries to form and mature in the West and which could not be copied and internalised rapidly. France and the United States quickly followed in Britain’s footsteps because the French and Americans already shared the most important British myths and social structures. The Chinese and Persians could not catch up as quickly because they thought and organised their societies differently.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
steam boiler, delivering so and so many pounds of steam to its engines as long as the envelope can contain the pressure; but let a breach in its continuity arise—relieving the boiling water of all restraint—and in a moment the whole mass flashes into vapour, developing a power no work of man can oppose.
Carl von Clausewitz (On War)
In the nineteenth century, scientists described brains and minds as if they were steam engines. Why steam engines? Because that was the leading technology of the day, which powered trains, ships and factories, so when humans tried to explain life, they assumed it must work according to analogous principles. Mind and body are made of pipes, cylinders, valves and pistons that build and release pressure, thereby producing movements and actions. Such thinking had a deep influence even on Freudian psychology, which is why much of our psychological jargon is still replete with concepts borrowed from mechanical engineering.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Where exactly the Hogwarts Express came from has never been conclusively proven, although it is a fact that there are secret records at the Ministry of Magic detailing a mass operation involving one hundred and sixty-seven Memory Charms and the largest ever mass Concealment Charm performed in Britain. The morning after these alleged crimes, a gleaming scarlet steam engine and carriages astounded the villagers of Hogsmeade (who had also not realised they had a railway station), while several bemused Muggle railway workers down in Crewe spent the rest of the year grappling with the uncomfortable feeling that they had mislaid something important.
J.K. Rowling (Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3))
Through the haze, bulbous shapes drifted to and fro about the town. Silka guessed they were the dirigibles of which her father had sometimes spoken--great elongated bags of gas ribbed and hung with gondolas, powered by grinding engines, gouting steam, and sparks as they cruised like airborne pigs, filled with passengers and cargoes.
Allan Frewin Jones (Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances)
Astounding, really, that Michel could consider psychology any kind of science at all. So much of it consisted of throwing together. Of thinking of the mind as a steam engine, the mechanical analogy most ready to hand during the birth of modern psychology. People had always done that when they thought about the mind: clockwork for Descartes, geological changes for the early Victorians, computers or holography for the twentieth century, AIs for the twenty-first…and for the Freudian traditionalists, steam engines. Application of heat, pressure buildup, pressure displacement, venting, all shifted into repression, sublimation, the return of the repressed. Sax thought it unlikely steam engines were an adequate model for the human mind. The mind was more like—what?—an ecology—a fellfield—or else a jungle, populated by all manner of strange beasts. Or a universe, filled with stars and quasars and black holes. Well—a bit grandiose, that—really it was more like a complex collection of synapses and axons, chemical energies surging hither and yon, like weather in an atmosphere. That was better—weather—storm fronts of thought, high-pressure zones, low-pressure cells, hurricanes—the jet streams of biological desires, always making their swift powerful rounds…life in the wind. Well. Throwing together. In fact the mind was poorly understood.
Kim Stanley Robinson (Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, #3))
In the coming decades, it is likely that we will see more Internet-like revolutions, in which technology steals a march on politics. Artificial intelligence and biotechnology might soon overhaul our societies and economies – and our bodies and minds too – but they are hardly a blip on our political radar. Our current democratic structures just cannot collect and process the relevant data fast enough, and most voters don’t understand biology and cybernetics well enough to form any pertinent opinions. Hence traditional democratic politics loses control of events, and fails to provide us with meaningful visions for the future. That doesn’t mean we will go back to twentieth-century-style dictatorships. Authoritarian regimes seem to be equally overwhelmed by the pace of technological development and the speed and volume of the data flow. In the twentieth century, dictators had grand visions for the future. Communists and fascists alike sought to completely destroy the old world and build a new world in its place. Whatever you think about Lenin, Hitler or Mao, you cannot accuse them of lacking vision. Today it seems that leaders have a chance to pursue even grander visions. While communists and Nazis tried to create a new society and a new human with the help of steam engines and typewriters, today’s prophets could rely on biotechnology and super-computers.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
What if the Cairo Conference of 1921 went ahead as planned, with Churchill and T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell dividing up the Middle East for the British? What if they chose a Hashemite king to rule Iraq, and would that have led to a revolution in the nineteen fifties? Or, what if the French war in Indochina somehow led to American involvement in Vietnam? Or if the British held on to their colonies in Africa after the Second World War? You see – " he was in full steam now, his eyes shining like the headlamps of a speeding engine – "the Vigilante series is full of this sort of thing. A series of simple decisions made in hotel rooms and offices that led to a completely different world.
Lavie Tidhar (Osama)
The first thing to understand about the human race is that, in evolutionary terms, we’re babies. As a species we’ve only just emerged. Imagine that the whole history of life on earth spans just one calendar year, instead of four billion. Up until about mid-October, bacteria had the place to themselves. Not until November did life as we know it appear, with buds and branches, bones and brains. And we humans? We made our entrance on 31 December, at approximately 11 p.m. Then we spent about an hour roaming around as hunter-gatherers, only getting around to inventing farming at 11:58 p.m. Everything else we call ‘history’ happened in the final sixty seconds to midnight: all the pyramids and castles, the knights and ladies, the steam engines and rocket ships.
Rutger Bregman (Humankind: A Hopeful History)
The repetitive drone of the shanty music and raucous banter had stopped dead. All eyes were upon them. ‘Carry on, boys—don’t let me spoil yer merriment,’ Brady called, rolling his hand around in a barrel-organ gesture. Then, just like an engine, the whole commotion rumbled up to steam again, the fiddler’s elbow sawing away, concertina pumping and spoons clacking, but no one sang...
Martin R Jackson : Running with Finn McCool
Michael Lind quotes Frederick Douglas on page 381: “If we had built great ships, sailed around the world, taught the science of navigation, discovered far-off islands, capes and continents, enlarged the boundaries of human knowledge, improved the conditions of man’s existence, brought valuable contributions to art, science, and literature, revealed great truths, organized great States, administered great governments, defined the laws of the universes, formulated systems of mental and moral philosophy, invented railroads, steam engines, mowing machines, sewing machines, taught the sun to take pictures, the lightning to carry messages, we then might claim, not only potential and theoretical equality, but actual and practical equality. Nothing is gained to our cause by claiming more for ourselves than of right we can establish belongs to us.
Michael Lind (The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution)
I think about the people I know with the absolutely largest hearts, people with a stunning capacity for endurance and grace and kindness against the most screaming terrors and pains. My Mom and Dad, for example, enduring the death of their first child at six months old, the boy the brother I never met, dying quietly in his stroller on the porch in the moment that my mother stepped back inside to get a pair of gloves because the crisp brilliant April wind was filled with a whistling cutting wind.... Fifty years later after five more children and two miscarriages she is standing in the kitchen with her usual eternal endless cup of tea and I ask her: How do you get over the death of your child? And she says, in her blunt honest direct terse kind way, You don't. Her face harrowed like a hawk for a moment in the swirling steam of the tea. p112-13
Brian Doyle (The Wet Engine: Exploring Mad Wild Miracle of Heart)
You have not done badly with electricity in a hundred years. And you did well with steam in quite a short time. But all that is so cumbersome, so inefficient. And your oil engines are just a deplorable perversion - dirty, noisy, poisonous, and the cars you drive with them are barbarous, dangerous… You should be employing your resources, while you still have the, to tap and develop the use of power which is not finite. ..I sometimes
John Wyndham (Chocky)
Historians are wont to name technological advances as the great milestones of culture, among them the development of the plow, the discovery of smelting and metalworking, the invention of the clock, printing press, steam power, electric engine, lightbulb, semiconductor, and computer. But possibly even more transforming than any of these was the recognition by Greek philosophers and their intellectual descendants that human beings could examine, comprehend, and eventually even guide or control their own thought process, emotions, and resulting behavior. With that realization we became something new and different on earth: the only animal that, by examining its own cerebration and behavior, could alter them. This, surely, was a giant step in evolution. Although we are physically little different from the people of three thousand years ago, we are culturally a different species. We are the psychologizing animal.
Morton Hunt (The Story of Psychology)
The three-twenty train from Glasgow to Ardfillan, the first half of the journey accomplished successfully, had left Overton behind, and traversing the low, dripping, smoke-filled arches of Kilmaheu Tunnel, emerged into the breezy March afternoon with a short, triumphant whistle, that sent a streamer of steam swirling behind the engine like a pennant, and presently began to coast gently down the slight incline of the track, which marked the approach to Levenford Station.
A.J. Cronin (Hatter's Castle (Bello))
For instance, we are regularly told, “James Watt invented the steam engine in 1769,” supposedly inspired by watching steam rise from a teakettle’s spout. Unfortunately for this splendid fiction, Watt actually got the idea for his particular steam engine while repairing a model of Thomas Newcomen’s steam engine, which Newcomen had invented 57 years earlier and of which over a hundred had been manufactured in England by the time of Watt’s repair work. Newcomen’s engine, in turn, followed the steam engine that the Englishman Thomas Savery patented in 1698, which followed the steam engine that the Frenchman Denis Papin designed (but did not build) around 1680, which in turn had precursors in the ideas of the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens and others. All this is not to deny that Watt greatly improved Newcomen’s engine (by incorporating a separate steam condenser and a double-acting cylinder), just as Newcomen had greatly improved Savery’s.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (20th Anniversary Edition))
I saw a huge steam roller, It blotted out the sun. The people all lay down, lay down; They did not try to run. My love and I, we looked amazed Upon the gory mystery. “Lie down, lie down!” the people cried. “The great machine is history!” My love and I, we ran away, The engine did not find us. We ran up to a mountain top, Left history far behind us. Perhaps we should have stayed and died, But somehow we don’t think so. We went to see where history’d been, And my, the dead did stink so.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
In the twenty-first century it sounds childish to compare the human psyche to a steam engine. Today we know of a far more sophisticated technology – the computer – so we explain the human psyche as if it were a computer processing data rather than a steam engine regulating pressure. But this new analogy may turn out to be just as naïve. After all, computers have no minds. They don’t crave anything even when they have a bug, and the Internet doesn’t feel pain even when authoritarian regimes sever entire countries from the Web. So why use computers as a model for understanding the mind? Well, are we really sure that computers have no sensations or desires? And even if they haven’t got any at present, perhaps once they become complex enough they might develop consciousness? If that were to happen, how could we ascertain it? When computers replace our bus driver, our teacher and our shrink, how could we determine whether they have feelings or whether they are just a collection of mindless algorithms? When
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
That feeling about trains, for instance. Of course he had long outgrown the boyish glamour of the steam-engine. Yet there was something that had an appeal for him in trains, especially in night-trains, which always put queer, vaguely improper notions in his head - though he would have been hard put to it to define them. Also he had an impression that those who leave by night-trains leave forever - an impression heightened the previous night by his glimpse of those Italians piled into their carriage like emigrants
Georges Simenon (The Man Who Watched Trains Go By)
As an archeologist, when Thomsen divided the ages of man into Stone, Bronze, and Iron, naturally enough, he did so in accordance with the physical tools that defined each epoch. But what of man’s spiritual development? What of his moral development? I tell you, they progressed along the very same lines. In the Stone Age, the ideas in the caveman’s head were as blunt as the club in his hand; they were as rough as the flint from which he struck a spark. In the Age of Bronze, when a canny few discovered the science of metallurgy, how long did it take for them to fashion coins, crowns, and swords? That unholy trinity to which the common man was enslaved for the next one thousand years.” Mishka paused to consider the ceiling. “Then came the Age of Iron—and with it the steam engine, the printing press, and the gun. Here was a very different trinity, indeed. For while these tools had been developed by the Bourgeoisie to further their own interests, it was through the engine, the press, and the pistol that the Proletariat began to free itself from labor, ignorance, and tyranny.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
How often things must have been seen and dismissed as unimportant, before the speculative eye and the moment of vision came! It was Gilbert, Queen Elizabeth's court physician, who first puzzled his brains with rubbed amber and bits of glass and silk and shellac, and so began the quickening of the human mind to the existence of this universal presence. And even then the science of electricity remained a mere little group of curious facts for nearly two hundred years, connected perhaps with magnetism—a mere guess that—perhaps with the lightning. Frogs' legs must have hung by copper hooks from iron railings and twitched upon countless occasions before Galvani saw them. Except for the lightning conductor, it was 250 years after Gilbert before electricity stepped out of the cabinet of scientific curiosities into the life of the common man… . Then suddenly, in the half-century between 1880 and 1930, it ousted the steam-engine and took over traction, it ousted every other form of household heating, abolished distance with the perfected wireless telephone and the telephotograph… .
H.G. Wells (The World Set Free)
In the nineteenth century, scientists described brains and minds as if they were steam engines. Why steam engines? Because that was the leading technology of the day, which powered trains, ships and factories, so when humans tried to explain life, they assumed it must work according to analogous principles. Mind and body are made of pipes, cylinders, valves and pistons that build and release pressure, thereby producing movements and actions. Such thinking had a deep influence even on Freudian psychology, which is why much of our psychological jargon is still replete with concepts borrowed from mechanical engineering. Consider, for example, the following Freudian argument: ‘Armies harness the sex drive to fuel military aggression. The army recruits young men just when their sexual drive is at its peak. The army limits the soldiers’ opportunities of actually having sex and releasing all that pressure, which consequently accumulates inside them. The army then redirects this pent-up pressure and allows it to be released in the form of military aggression.’ This is exactly how a steam engine works.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
The Three-Decker "The three-volume novel is extinct." Full thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail. It cost a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail; But, spite all modern notions, I found her first and best— The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest. Fair held the breeze behind us—’twas warm with lovers’ prayers. We’d stolen wills for ballast and a crew of missing heirs. They shipped as Able Bastards till the Wicked Nurse confessed, And they worked the old three-decker to the Islands of the Blest. By ways no gaze could follow, a course unspoiled of Cook, Per Fancy, fleetest in man, our titled berths we took With maids of matchless beauty and parentage unguessed, And a Church of England parson for the Islands of the Blest. We asked no social questions—we pumped no hidden shame— We never talked obstetrics when the Little Stranger came: We left the Lord in Heaven, we left the fiends in Hell. We weren’t exactly Yussufs, but—Zuleika didn’t tell. No moral doubt assailed us, so when the port we neared, The villain had his flogging at the gangway, and we cheered. ’Twas fiddle in the forc’s’le—’twas garlands on the mast, For every one got married, and I went ashore at last. I left ’em all in couples a-kissing on the decks. I left the lovers loving and the parents signing cheques. In endless English comfort by county-folk caressed, I left the old three-decker at the Islands of the Blest! That route is barred to steamers: you’ll never lift again Our purple-painted headlands or the lordly keeps of Spain. They’re just beyond your skyline, howe’er so far you cruise In a ram-you-damn-you liner with a brace of bucking screws. Swing round your aching search-light—’twill show no haven’s peace. Ay, blow your shrieking sirens to the deaf, gray-bearded seas! Boom out the dripping oil-bags to skin the deep’s unrest— And you aren’t one knot the nearer to the Islands of the Blest! But when you’re threshing, crippled, with broken bridge and rail, At a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head to gale, Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taffrail dressed, You’ll see the old three-decker for the Islands of the Blest. You’ll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver spread; You’ll hear the long-drawn thunder ’neath her leaping figure-head; While far, so far above you, her tall poop-lanterns shine Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles round a shrine! Hull down—hull down and under—she dwindles to a speck, With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her deck. All’s well—all’s well aboard her—she’s left you far behind, With a scent of old-world roses through the fog that ties you blind. Her crew are babes or madmen? Her port is all to make? You’re manned by Truth and Science, and you steam for steaming’s sake? Well, tinker up your engines—you know your business best— She’s taking tired people to the Islands of the Blest!
Rudyard Kipling
The most wonderful and the strongest things in the world, you know, are just the things which no one can see. There is life in you; and it is the life in you which makes you grow, and move, and think: and yet you can't see it. And there is steam in a steam-engine; and that is what makes it move: and yet you can't see it; and so there may be fairies in the world, and they may be just what makes the world go round to the old tune of "C'est l'amour, l'amour, l'amour Qui fait la monde à la ronde:" and yet no one may be able to see them except those whose hearts are going round to that same tune.
Charles Kingsley (The Water-Babies)
He rolled and thrashed in his bed, waiting for the dancing blue shadows to come in his window, waiting for the heavy knock on his door, waiting for some bodiless, Kafkaesque voice to call: Okay, open up in there! And when he finally fell asleep he did it without knowing it, because thought continued without a break, shifting from conscious rumination to the skewed world of dreams with hardly a break, like a car going from drive to low. Even in his dreams he thought he was awake, and in his dreams he committed suicide over and over: burned himself; bludgeoned himself by standing under an anvil and pulling a rope; hanged himself; blew out the stove’s pilot lights and then turned on the oven and all four burners; shot himself; defenestrated himself; stepped in front of a moving Greyhound bus; swallowed pills; swallowed Vanish toilet bowl disinfectant; stuck a can of Glade Pine Fresh aerosol in his mouth, pushed the button, and inhaled until his head floated off into the sky like a child’s balloon; committed hara-kiri while kneeling in a confessional at St. Dom’s, confessing his self-murder to a dumbfounded young priest even as his guts accordioned out onto the bench like beef stew, performing an act of contrition in a fading, bemused voice as he lay in his blood and the steaming sausages of his intestines. But most vividly, over and over, he saw himself behind the wheel of the LTD, racing the engine a little in the closed garage, taking deep breaths and leafing through a copy of National Geographic, examining pictures of life in Tahiti and Aukland and the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, turning the pages ever more slowly, until the sound of the engine faded to a faraway sweet hum and the green waters of the South Pacific inundated him in rocking warmth and took him down to a silver fathom.
Stephen King (Roadwork)
I will give technology three definitions that we will use throughout the book. The first and most basic one is that a technology is a means to fulfill a human purpose. For some technologies-oil refining-the purpose is explicit. For others- the computer-the purpose may be hazy, multiple, and changing. As a means, a technology may be a method or process or device: a particular speech recognition algorithm, or a filtration process in chemical engineering, or a diesel engine. it may be simple: a roller bearing. Or it may be complicated: a wavelength division multiplexer. It may be material: an electrical generator. Or it may be nonmaterial: a digital compression algorithm. Whichever it is, it is always a means to carry out a human purpose. The second definition I will allow is a plural one: technology as an assemblage of practices and components. This covers technologies such as electronics or biotechnology that are collections or toolboxes of individual technologies and practices. Strictly speaking, we should call these bodies of technology. But this plural usage is widespread, so I will allow it here. I will also allow a third meaning. This is technology as the entire collection of devices and engineering practices available to a culture. Here we are back to the Oxford's collection of mechanical arts, or as Webster's puts it, "The totality of the means employed by a people to provide itself with the objects of material culture." We use this collective meaning when we blame "technology" for speeding up our lives, or talk of "technology" as a hope for mankind. Sometimes this meaning shades off into technology as a collective activity, as in "technology is what Silicon Valley is all about." I will allow this too as a variant of technology's collective meaning. The technology thinker Kevin Kelly calls this totality the "technium," and I like this word. But in this book I prefer to simply use "technology" for this because that reflects common use. The reason we need three meanings is that each points to technology in a different sense, a different category, from the others. Each category comes into being differently and evolves differently. A technology-singular-the steam engine-originates as a new concept and develops by modifying its internal parts. A technology-plural-electronics-comes into being by building around certain phenomena and components and develops by changing its parts and practices. And technology-general, the whole collection of all technologies that have ever existed past and present, originates from the use of natural phenomena and builds up organically with new elements forming by combination from old ones.
W. Brian Arthur (The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves)
Finally, if we add to these observations the remark that Marx owes to the bourgeois economists the idea, which he claims exclusively as his own, of the part played by industrial production in the development of humanity, and that he took the essentials of his theory of work-value from Ricardo, an economist of the bourgeois industrial revolution, our right to say that his prophecy is bourgeois in content will doubtless be recognized. These comparisons only aim to show that Marx, instead of being, as the fanatical Marxists of our day would have it, the beginning and the end of the prophecy, participates on the contrary in human nature: he is an heir before he is a pioneer. His doctrine, which he wanted to be a realist doctrine, actually was realistic during the period of the religion of science, of Darwinian evolutionism, of the steam engine and the textile industry. A hundred years later, science encounters relativity, uncertainty, and chance; the economy must take into account electricity, metallurgy, and atomic production. The inability of pure Marxism to assimilate these successive discoveries was shared by the bourgeois optimism of Marx's time. It renders ridiculous the Marxist pretension of maintaining that truths one hundred years old are unalterable without ceasing to be scientific. Nineteenth-century Messianism, whether it is revolutionary or bourgeois, has not resisted the successive developments of this science and this history, which to different degrees they have deified.
Albert Camus (The Rebel)
Then at 00:28, while reducing power to levels low enough to begin - a process which would take about an hour - Senior Reactor-Control Engineer Leonid Toptunov made a mistake when switching from manual to automatic control, causing the control rods to descend far more than intended.99 Toptunov had only been in his current position for a few months, during which the reactor power had never been reduced.100 Perhaps his nerves got the better of him. Power levels - supposed to be held at 1,500-Megawatts thermal (MWt) for the test - dropped all the way to 30MWt. (The reactor’s output is measured in terms of thermal power - the turbogenerator’s in electrical power. Energy is lost during the transfer from steam to electricity, hence the higher thermal figures.)
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
Anyone looking up from the dock saw only beauty, on a monumental scale, while on the far side of the ship men turned black with dust as they shoveled coal—5,690 tons in all—into the ship through openings in the hull called “side pockets.” The ship burned coal at all times. Even when docked it consumed 140 tons a day to keep furnaces hot and boilers primed and to provide electricity from the ship’s dynamo to power lights, elevators, and, very important, the Marconi transmitter, whose antenna stretched between its two masts. When the Lusitania was under way, its appetite for coal was enormous. Its 300 stokers, trimmers, and firemen, working 100 per shift, would shovel 1,000 tons of coal a day into its 192 furnaces to heat its 25 boilers and generate enough superheated steam to spin the immense turbines of its engines.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
The sponge or active charcoal inside a filter is three-dimensional. Their adsorbent surfaces, however, are two-dimensional. Thus, you can see how a tiny high-dimensional structure can contain a huge low-dimensional structure. But at the macroscopic level, this is about the limit of the ability for high-dimensional space to contain low-dimensional space. Because God was stingy, during the big bang He only provided the macroscopic world with three spatial dimensions, plus the dimension of time. But this doesn’t mean that higher dimensions don’t exist. Up to seven additional dimensions are locked within the micro scale, or, more precisely, within the quantum realm. And added to the four dimensions at the macro scale, fundamental particles exist within an eleven-dimensional space-time.” “So what?” “I just want to point out this fact: In the universe, an important mark of a civilization’s technological advancement is its ability to control and make use of micro dimensions. Making use of fundamental particles without taking advantage of the micro dimensions is something that our naked, hairy ancestors already began back when they lit bonfires within caves. Controlling chemical reactions is just manipulating micro particles without regard to the micro dimensions. Of course, this control also progressed from crude to advanced: from bonfires to steam engines, and then generators. Now, the ability for humans to manipulate micro particles at the macro level has reached a peak: We have computers and nanomaterials. But all of that is accomplished without unlocking the many micro dimensions. From the perspective of a more advanced civilization in the universe, bonfires and computers and nanomaterials are not fundamentally different. They all belong to the same level. That’s also why they still think of humans as mere bugs. Unfortunately, I think they’re right.
Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1))
The population, who are, ultimately, indifferent to public affairs and even to their own interests, negotiate this indifference with an equally spectral partner and one that is similarly indifferent to its own will: the government [Ie pouvoir] . This game between zombies may stabilize in the long term. The Year 2000 will not take place in that an era of indifference to time itself - and therefore to the symbolic term of the millennium - will be ushered in by negotiation. Nowadays, you have to go straight from money to money, telegraphically so to speak, by direct transfer (that is the viral side of the matter). A viral revolution, then, more akin to the Glass Bead Game than to the steam engine, and admirably personified in Bernard Tapie's playboy face. For the look of money is reflected in faces. Gone are the hideous old capitalists, the old-style industrial barons wearing the masks of the suffering they have inflicted. Now there are only dashing playboys, sporty and sexual, true knights of industry, wearing the mask of the happiness they spread all around themselves. The world put on a show of despair after 1968. It's been putting on a big show of hope since 1980. No more tears, alright? Reaganite optimism, the pump ing up of the dollar. Fabius's glossy new look. Patriotic conviviality. Reluctance prohibited. The old pessimism was produced by the idea that things were getting worse and worse. The new pessimism is produced by the fact that everything is getting better and better. Supercooled euphoria. Controlled anaesthesia. I should like to see the equivalent of Bernard Tapie in the world of business emerge in the world of concepts. Buying up failing concepts, swallowing them up, dusting them off (firing all the deadbeats who are in the way), putting them back into circulation with a dynamic virginity, sending them shooting up on the Stock Exchange and then abandoning them afterwards like dogs. Some people do this very well. It is perhaps better to save tired concepts by maintaining them in a super cooled state like unemployed labour, or locking them away in interactive data banks kept alive on a respirator.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
The test would involve inserting all 211 control rods part-way, creating a power level low enough to resemble a blackout while continuing to cool the reactor to compensate for fission products. Use the residual steam in the system to drive a turbine, then isolate it and allow it to run down, generating electricity through its own inertia. The electrical output would be measured, allowing engineers to determine whether it was sufficient to power the water pumps in an emergency. Because the deliberately low power levels would appear to be a power failure to the control computer, which would then automatically activate the safety systems, these systems, including the backup diesel generators and Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS), were disconnected in order to re-attempt the test straight away if it proved unsuccessful. Otherwise, the ECCS would automatically shutdown the reactor, preventing a repeat of the test for another year. Astonishingly, these measures were not in violation of safety procedures when approved by a Deputy Chief Engineer, despite many subsequent reports to the contrary.96
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
I had this book when I was a little kid," Eddie said at last. He spoke in the flat tones of utter surety. "Then we moved from Queens to Brooklyn--I wasn't even four years old--and I lost it. But I remember the picture on the cover. And I felt the same way you do, Jake. I didn't like it. I didn't trust it." Susannah raised her eyes to look at Eddie. "I had it, too--how could I ever forget the little girl with my name...although of course it was my middle name back in those days. And I felt the same way about the train. I didn't like it and I didn't trust it." She tapped the front of the book with her finger before passing it on to Roland. "I thought that smile was a great big fake." Roland gave it only a cursory glance before returning his eyes to Susannah. "Did you lose yours, too?" "Yes." "And I'll bet I know when," Eddie said. Susannah nodded. "I'll bet you do. It was after that man dropped the brick on my head. I had it when we went north to my Aunt Blue's wedding. I had it on the train. I remember, because I kept asking my dad if Charlie the Choo-Choo was pulling us. I didn't WANT it to be Charlie, because we were supposed to go to Elizabeth, New Jersey, and I thought Charlie might take us anywhere. Didn't he end up pulling folks around a toy village or something like that, Jake?" "An amusement park." "Yes, of course it was. There's a picture of him hauling kids around that place at the end, isn't there? They're all smiling and laughing, except I always thought they looked like they were screaming to be let off." "Yes!" Jake cried. "Yes, that's right! That's JUST right!" "I thought Charlie might take us to HIS place--wherever he lived--instead of to my aunt's wedding, and never let us go home again." "You can't go home again," Eddie muttered, and ran his hands nervously through his hair. "All the time we were on that train I wouldn't let go of the book. I even remember thinking, 'If he tries to steal us, I'll rip out his pages until he quits.' But of course we arrived right where we were supposed to, and on time, too. Daddy even took me up front, so I could see the engine. It was a diesel, not a steam engine, and I remember that made me happy. Then, after the wedding, that man Mort dropped the brick on me and I was in a coma for a long time. I never saw Charlie the Choo-Choo after that. Not until now." She hesitated, then added: "This could be my copy, for all I know--or Eddie's." "Yeah, and probably is," Eddie said.
Stephen King (The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3))
Arnold's notion of the intellectual as disinterested critic distinguished him from both Marx and Hegel. For Marx, the proper function of the intellectual was to be a partisan on behalf of the proletariat, criticizing bourgeois society for its fundamental, structural oppression. For Hegel, the role of the intellectual was to stand above particular group interests, and to bring to consciousness the ethical basis of modern, capitalist society, in the process creating standards by which to guide politics and culture. Arnold's conception of "aliens" has obvious affinities with this Hegelian image of the intellectual. But "disinterestedness" for Arnold had a rather different meaning. It implied the ability to free oneself from partisanship, to take a distanced enough view to be able to criticize the side of the issue to which one had been committed, as circumstances required. "Living by ideas" he wrote, means that "when one side of a question has long had your earnest support, when all your feelings are engaged, when you hear all around you no language but one, when your party talks this language like a steam-engine and can imagine no other--still to be able to think, still to be irresistibly carried, if so it be, by the current of thought to the opposite side of the question..." The role of the intellectual, then, was to embody and encourage that quality of mind that allowed individuals to get some distance from their social, political, and economic milieu; to reflect critically, and to be carried away by truth. (p. 227)
Jerry Z. Muller (The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought)
Nevertheless, it would be prudent to remain concerned. For, like death, IT would come: Armageddon. There would be-without exaggeration-a series of catastrophes. As a consequence of the evil in man...-no mere virus, however virulent, was even a burnt match for our madness, our unconcern, our cruelty-...there would arise a race of champions, predators of humans: namely earthquakes, eruptions, tidal waves, tornados, typhoons, hurricanes, droughts-the magnificent seven. Floods, winds, fires, slides. The classical elements, only angry. Oceans would warm, the sky boil and burn, the ice cap melt, the seas rise. Rogue nations, like kids killing kids at their grammar school, would fire atomic-hydrogen-neutron bombs at one another. Smallpox would revive, or out of the African jungle would slide a virus no one understood. Though reptilian only in spirit, the disease would make us shed our skins like snakes and, naked to the nerves, we'd expire in a froth of red spit. Markets worldwide would crash as reckless cars on a speedway do, striking the wall and rebounding into one another, hurling pieces of themselves at the spectators in the stands. With money worthless-that last faith lost-the multitude would riot, race against race at first, God against God, the gots against the gimmes. Insects hardened by generations of chemicals would consume our food, weeds smother our fields, fire ants, killer bees sting us while we're fleeing into refuge water, where, thrashing we would drown, our pride a sodden wafer. Pestilence. War. Famine. A cataclysm of one kind or another-coming-making millions of migrants. Wearing out the roads. Foraging in the fields. Looting the villages. Raping boys and women. There'd be no tent cities, no Red Cross lunches, hay drops. Deserts would appear as suddenly as patches of crusty skin. Only the sun would feel their itch. Floods would sweep suddenly over all those newly arid lands as if invited by the beach. Forest fires would burn, like those in coal mines, for years, uttering smoke, making soot for speech, blackening every tree leaf ahead of their actual charring. Volcanoes would erupt in series, and mountains melt as though made of rock candy till the cities beneath them were caught inside the lava flow where they would appear to later eyes, if there were any eyes after, like peanuts in brittle. May earthquakes jelly the earth, Professor Skizzen hotly whispered. Let glaciers advance like motorboats, he bellowed, threatening a book with his fist. These convulsions would be a sign the parasites had killed their host, evils having eaten all they could; we'd hear a groan that was the going of the Holy Ghost; we'd see the last of life pissed away like beer from a carouse; we'd feel a shudder move deeply through this universe of dirt, rock, water, ice, and air, because after its long illness the earth would have finally died, its engine out of oil, its sky of light, winds unable to catch a breath, oceans only acid; we'd be witnessing a world that's come to pieces bleeding searing steam from its many wounds; we'd hear it rattling its atoms around like dice in a cup before spilling randomly out through a split in the stratosphere, night and silence its place-well-not of rest-of disappearance. My wish be willed, he thought. Then this will be done, he whispered so no God could hear him. That justice may be served, he said to the four winds that raged in the corners of his attic.
William H. Gass (Middle C)
Time passed fast and I was coming out from the reputed engineering college at last after the same Professor had intervened with the college authority for holding the examination in spite of political troubles, prevailing during seventies in Calcutta. The sprawling complex of the university would suddenly vanish from my view. I would be missing the chirping of the birds in early morning, view of green grass of the football field right in front of our building, badly mauled by the students and pedestrians who used to cut short their journey moving across the field, whistling of steam trains passing parallel to the backside of boundary wall of our building, stentorian voice of our Professors, ever smiling and refreshing faces of the learned Professors every day. I would definitely miss the opportunity of gossiping on a bench by the lake side with other students, not to speak of your girlfriend with whom you would try to be cozy with to keep yourself warm when the chilling breeze, which put roses in girls’ cheeks but made sinuses ache, cut across you in its journey towards the open field during winter. The charm of walking along the lonely streets proscribed for outsiders and bowing occasionally when you meet the Professors of repute, music and band for the generation of ear deafening sound - both symphony and cacophony, on Saturdays and Sundays in the auditorium, rhythmic sound of machines in the workshop, hurly-burly of laughter of my friends, talks, cries at the top of  their lunges in the canteen and sudden departures of all from the canteen on hearing the ding-dong sound of the big bell hung in the administration building indicating the end of the period would no longer be there. The street fighting of two groups of students on flimsy grounds and passionate speeches of the students during debate competition would no longer be audible. Shaking of long thin pine trees violently by the storm flowing across these especially during summer, shouting and gesticulation of students’ union members while moving around the campus for better amenities or administration, getting caught with friends all around with revolvers in hand during the violent Naxalite movement, hiding in the toilet in canteen to avoid beating by police personnel, dropping of mangoes from a mango tree which spread its wings in all directions during the five years we were in the college near our building and running together by us to pick the green/ripe mangoes as fast as possible defying inclement weather and rain etc. were simply irresistible. The list was endless. I was going to miss very much the competition among us regarding number of mangoes we could collect for our few girlfriends whom we wanted to impress! I
Rabindranath Bhattacharya
Knowledge about the nutritious properties and growth cycles of what would later become staple crops, feeding vast populations – wheat, rice, corn – was initially maintained through ritual play farming of exactly this sort. Nor was this pattern of discovery limited to crops. Ceramics were first invented, long before the Neolithic, to make figurines, miniature models of animals and other subjects, and only later cooking and storage vessels. Mining is first attested as a way of obtaining minerals to be used as pigments, with the extraction of metals for industrial use coming only much later. Mesoamerican societies never employed wheeled transport; but we know they were familiar with spokes, wheels and axles since they made toy versions of them for children. Greek scientists famously came up with the principle of the steam engine, but only employed it to make temple doors that appeared to open of their own accord, or similar theatrical illusions. Chinese scientists, equally famously, first employed gunpowder for fireworks.
David Graeber (The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity)
A time when the miracles of technology were still virile and exciting: steam engines and flying machines, not smart phones and cosmetic surgery. When there were still wildernesses left to explore and mountains left unclimbed.
Ben Elton (Time and Time Again)
Rudolf Diesel deliberately set out to design a new, more efficient, prime mover, and by 1897 his first (heavy and stationary) engine had reached an efficiency of 30 percent, double the performance of the best steam engines.[40] But the first marine engine was installed only in 1912 on Christian X, a Danish freighter. Diesel-powered ships carried much less fuel than coal-fired steamers, but could travel further without refueling because the new engines were nearly twice as efficient—and because, per unit of mass, diesel oil contains nearly twice as much energy. An
Vaclav Smil (How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We're Going)
Every time we sit down to breakfast, we are likely to be benefiting from a dozen such prehistoric inventions. Who was the first person to figure out that you could make bread rise by the addition of those microorganisms we call yeasts? We have no idea, but we can be almost certain she was a woman and would most likely not be considered ‘white’ if she tried to immigrate to a European country today; and we definitely know her achievement continues to enrich the lives of billions of people. What we also know is that such discoveries were, again, based on centuries of accumulated knowledge and experimentation – recall how the basic principles of agriculture were known long before anyone applied them systematically – and that the results of such experiments were often preserved and transmitted through ritual, games and forms of play (or even more, perhaps, at the point where ritual, games and play shade into each other). ‘Gardens of Adonis’ are a fitting symbol here. Knowledge about the nutritious properties and growth cycles of what would later become staple crops, feeding vast populations – wheat, rice, corn – was initially maintained through ritual play farming of exactly this sort. Nor was this pattern of discovery limited to crops. Ceramics were first invented, long before the Neolithic, to make figurines, miniature models of animals and other subjects, and only later cooking and storage vessels. Mining is first attested as a way of obtaining minerals to be used as pigments, with the extraction of metals for industrial use coming only much later. Mesoamerican societies never employed wheeled transport; but we know they were familiar with spokes, wheels and axles since they made toy versions of them for children. Greek scientists famously came up with the principle of the steam engine, but only employed it to make temple doors that appeared to open of their own accord, or similar theatrical illusions. Chinese scientists, equally famously, first employed gunpowder for fireworks.
David Graeber (The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity)
For this is part at least of what industrialism has done for us. Columbus sailed the Atlantic, the first steam engines tottered into motion, the British squares stood firm under the French guns at Waterloo, the one-eyed scoundrels of the nineteenth century praised God and filled their pockets; and this is where it all led—to labyrinthine slums and dark back kitchens with sickly, ageing people creeping round and round them like blackbeetles
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
Religions tell us to get rid of these emotions, but we cannot. They are human emotions that we will feel whether we want to or not. Suppression does not work. George Stevenson invented the steam engine because he noticed that the steam in a boiling kettle lifted the lid. The force was irresistible. yoga is about channeling and transforming that energy to higher purposes, just as Stevenson used the energy of steam to drive locomotives.
B.K.S. Iyengar (Light on Life)
That man, I think, has had a liberal education who has been so trained in his youth that his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and pleasure all the work that, as a mechanism, it is capable of; whose intellect is a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts of equal strength, and in smooth working order; ready, like a steam engine, to be turned to any kind of work, and spin the gossamers as well as force the anchors of the mind; whose mind is stored with a knowledge of the great and fundamental truths of Nature and of the laws of her operations; one who, no stunted ascetic, is full of life and fire, but knows passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous will, the servant of a tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty, whether of Nature or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as himself. Such a one and no other, I conceive, has had a liberal education, for he is in harmony with nature. He will make the best of her and she of him.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Lay Sermons, Addresses, And Reviews)
My investing advice is simple: I only invest in unregulated monopolies. They aren’t supposed to exist, but our antitrust laws were written in the era of steam engines, and enforcement has been nonexistent.
Scott Galloway (Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity)
Best Budget Travel Destinations Ever Are you looking for a cheap flight this year? Travel + Leisure received a list of the most affordable locations this year from one of the top travel search engines in the world, Kayak. Kayak then considered the top 100 locations with the most affordable average flight prices, excluding outliers due to things like travel restrictions and security issues. To save a lot of money, go against the grain. Mexico Unsurprisingly, Mexico is at the top of the list of the cheapest places to travel in 2022. The United States has long been seen as an accessible and affordable vacation destination; low-cost direct flights are common. San José del Cabo (in Baja California Sur), Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun are the three destinations within Mexico with the least expensive flights, with January being the most economical month to visit each. Fortunately, January is a glorious month in each of these beachside locales, with warm, balmy weather and an abundance of vibrant hues, textures, and flavors to chase away the winter blues. Looking for a city vacation rather than a beach vacation? Mexico City, which boasts a diverse collection of museums and a rich Aztec heritage, is another accessible option in the country. May is the cheapest month to travel there. Chicago, Illinois Who wants to go to Chicago in the winter? Once you learn about all the things to do in this Midwest winter wonderland and the savings you can get in January, you'll be convinced. At Maggie Daley Park, spend the afternoon ice skating before warming up with some deep-dish pizza. Colombia Colombia's fascinating history, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering cuisine make it a popular travel destination. It is also inexpensive compared to what many Americans are used to paying for items like a fresh arepa and a cup of Colombian coffee. The cheapest month of the year to fly to Bogotá, the capital city, is February. The Bogota Botanical Garden, founded in 1955 and home to almost 20,000 plants, is meticulously maintained, and despite the region's chilly climate, strolling through it is not difficult. The entrance fee is just over $1 USD. In January, travel to the port city of Cartagena on the country's Caribbean coast. The majority of visitors discover that exploring the charming streets on foot is sufficient to make their stay enjoyable. Tennessee's Music City There's a reason why bachelorette parties and reunions of all kinds are so popular in Music City: it's easy to have fun without spending a fortune. There is no fee to visit a mural, hot chicken costs only a few dollars, and Honky Tonk Highway is lined with free live music venues. The cheapest month to book is January. New York City, New York Even though New York City isn't known for being a cheap vacation destination, you'll find the best deals if you go in January. Even though the city never sleeps, the cold winter months are the best time for you to visit and take advantage of the lower demand for flights and hotel rooms. In addition, New York City offers a wide variety of free activities. Canada Not only does our neighbor Mexico provide excellent deals, but the majority of Americans can easily fly to Canada for an affordable getaway. In Montréal, Quebec, you must try the steamé, which is the city's interpretation of a hot dog and is served steamed in a side-loading bun (which is also steamed). It's the perfect meal to eat in the middle of February when travel costs are at their lowest. Best of all, hot dogs are inexpensive and delicious as well as filling. The most affordable month to visit Toronto, Ontario is February. Even though the weather may make you wary, the annual Toronto Light Festival, which is completely free, is held in February in the charming and historic Distillery District. Another excellent choice at this time is the $5 Bentway Skate Trail under the Gardiner Expressway overpass.
Uncomfortable Illumination (The Sonnet) Barbarism, thy name is Britain. Racism, thy name is America. Regress, thy name is Turkey. Intolerance, thy name is India. Superstition, thy name is East Europe. Megalomania, thy name is Russia. Snobbery, thy name is West Europe. Shallowness, thy name is South Korea. Only "humans" living in these lands, Will realize the truth in these words. Whereas the practitioners of prejudice, Will blow steam out of their ears. Ignorance, thy name is Sapiens. Illumination begins with illness acknowledgment.
Abhijit Naskar (Esperanza Impossible: 100 Sonnets of Ethics, Engineering & Existence)
But traveling faster than light would require infinite energy; it is possible on paper, not in practice. More recently, physicists have theorized other ways that physical travel into the past could be achieved, but they are still exotic and expensive. A technological civilization thousands or more years in advance of our own, one able to harness the energy of its whole galaxy, could create a wormhole linking different points in the fabric of spacetime and send a spaceship through it.8 It is an idea explored widely in science fiction and depicted vividly in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. But all this is academic for our purposes. For Gleick, what we are really talking about with time travel is a thought experiment about the experiencer—the passenger—in a novel, disjointed relationship to the external world. We can readily perform feats of “mental time travel,” or at least simulate such feats, as well as experience a dissociation between our internal subjective sense of time and the flux of things around us and even our own bodies.9 According to Gleick, part of what suddenly facilitated four-dimensional thinking in both popular writing and the sciences was the changing experience of time in an accelerating society. The Victorian age, with its steam engines and bewildering pace of urban living, increased these experiences of dissociation, and they have only intensified since then. Time travel, Gleick argues, is basically just a metaphor for modernity, and a nifty premise upon which to base literary and cinematic fantasies that repair modernity’s traumas. It also shines a light on how confused we all are about time. The most commonly voiced objection to time travel—and with it, precognition—is that any interaction between the future and past would change the past, and thus create a different future. The familiar term is the grandfather paradox: You can’t go back in time and kill your grandfather because then you wouldn’t have been born to go back in time and kill your grandfather (leaving aside for the moment the assumed inevitability of wanting to kill your grandfather, which is an odd assumption). The technical term for meddling in the past this way is “bilking,” on the analogy of failing to pay a promised debt.10 Whatever you call it, it is the kind of thing that, in Star Trek, would make the Enterprise’s computer start to stutter and smoke and go haywire—the same reaction, in fact, that greets scientific claims of precognition. (As Dean Radin puts it, laboratory precognition results like those cited in the past two chapters “cause faces to turn red and sputtering noises to be issued from upset lips.”11) Information somehow sent backward in time from an event cannot lead to a future that no longer includes that event—and we naturally intuit that it would be very hard not to have such an effect if we meddled in the timeline. Our very presence in the past would change things.
Eric Wargo (Time Loops: Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious)
oxygen and water. But the water is in the form of high-pressure steam, which is used in engines. The jeep's fuel supplied steam for power and its ashes were water to drink and oxygen to breathe. Steam ran all motorized vehicles on Luna.
Murray Leinster (Operation: Outer Space)
My theory," said that ingenious person, "is that human progress is simply a long march from one inconceivable to another. Look at that airship of ours that came over Porth yesterday: ten years ago that would have been an inconceivable sight. Take the steam engine, stake printing, take the theory of gravitation: they were all inconceivable till somebody thought of them. So it is, no doubt, with this infernal dodgery that we're talking about: the Huns have found it out, and we haven't; and there you are. We can't conceive how these poor people have been murdered, because the method's inconceivable to us." The club listened with some awe to this high argument. After Remnant had gone, one member said: "Wonderful man, that." "Yes," said Dr. Lewis. "He was asked whether he knew something. And his reply really amounted to 'No, I don't,' But I have never heard it better put.
Arthur Machen (The Terror)
Getting It Right" Your ankles make me want to party, want to sit and beg and roll over under a pair of riding boots with your ankles hidden inside, sweating beneath the black tooled leather; they make me wish it was my birthday so I could blow out their candles, have them hung over my shoulders like two bags full of money. Your ankles are two monster-truck engines but smaller and lighter and sexier than a saucer with warm milk licking the outside edge; they make me want to sing, make me want to take them home and feed them pasta, I want to punish them for being bad and then hold them all night long and say I’m sorry, sugar, darling, it will never happen again, not in a million years. Your thighs make me quiet. Make me want to be hurled into the air like a cannonball and pulled down again like someone being pulled into a van. Your thighs are two boats burned out of redwood trees. I want to go sailing. Your thighs, the long breath of them under the blue denim of your high-end jeans, could starve me to death, could make me cry and cry. Your ass is a shopping mall at Christmas, a holy place, a hill I fell in love with once when I was falling in love with hills. Your ass is a string quartet, the northern lights tucked tightly into bed between a high-count-of-cotton sheets. Your back is the back of a river full of fish; I have my tackle and tackle box. You only have to say the word. Your back, a letter I have been writing for fifteen years, a smooth stone, a moan someone makes when his hair is pulled, your back like a warm tongue at rest, a tongue with a tab of acid on top; your spine is an alphabet, a ladder of celestial proportions. I am navigating the North and South of it. Your armpits are beehives, they make me want to spin wool, want to pour a glass of whiskey, your armpits dripping their honey, their heat, their inexhaustible love-making dark. I am bright yellow for them. I am always thinking about them, resting at your side or high in the air when I’m pulling off your shirt. Your arms of blue and ice with the blood running to make them believe in God. Your shoulders make me want to raise an arm and burn down the Capitol. They sing to each other underneath your turquoise slope-neck blouse. Each is a separate bowl of rice steaming and covered in soy sauce. Your neck is a skyscraper of erotic adult videos, a swan and a ballet and a throaty elevator made of light. Your neck is a scrim of wet silk that guides the dead into the hours of Heaven. It makes me want to die, your mouth, which is the mouth of everything worth saying. It’s abalone and coral reef. Your mouth, which opens like the legs of astronauts who disconnect their safety lines and ride their stars into the billion and one voting districts of the Milky Way. Darling, you’re my President; I want to get this right! Matthew Dickman, The New Yorker: Poems | August 29, 2011 Issue
Matthew Dickman
The first is that we’re living in a time of astonishing progress with digital technologies—those that have computer hardware, software, and networks at their core. These technologies are not brand-new; businesses have been buying computers for more than half a century, and Time magazine declared the personal computer its “Machine of the Year” in 1982. But just as it took generations to improve the steam engine to the point that it could power the Industrial Revolution, it’s also taken time to refine our digital engines.
Erik Brynjolfsson (The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies)
Some technological invention is made, like that of a steam engine or a printing press, for example; or some discovery of scientific method, like that of analytical geometry or the infinitesimal calculus; or [pg 020] some discovery of natural law, like that of falling bodies or the Newtonian law of gravitation. What happens? What is the effect upon the progress of knowledge and invention? The effect is stimulation. Each invention leads to new inventions and each discovery to new discoveries; invention breeds invention, science begets science, the children of knowledge produce their kind in larger and larger families; the process goes on from decade to decade, from generation to generation, and the spectacle we behold is that of advancement in scientific knowledge and technological power according to the law and rate of a rapidly increasing geometric progression or logarithmic function.
Alfred Korzybski (Manhood of Humanity)
What put an end to this was power. Man’s dominion over the earth might have been given to him in Genesis, but he began acting on it in earnest in the nineteenth century. Steam engines and steel and combustion of all kinds provided the means; manifest destiny provided the motive. Within a few decades, humankind had come to understand nature as its enemy in what the philosopher William James called, approvingly, “the moral equivalent of war.
Casey Cep (Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee)
The importance of these charts cannot be overstated. They are widely used, for instance, by engineers who design the type of power stations that generate much of the world’s electricity. Many of these contain modern-day steam engines in which heat from coal, nuclear reactions, geothermal sources, or sunlight is used to create hot, high-pressure steam. Unlike in their nineteenth-century counterparts, this doesn’t push a piston. Instead, it rushes through turbine blades, making them spin and drive electricity generators. After the steam has done its work spinning the turbine, it’s condensed back into water and the whole process repeats. The overriding concern here is efficiency—to convert as much of the heat available into electrical power. Thanks to Sadi Carnot, engineers know the best way to achieve this is make the steam as hot as possible. But they must do this while maintaining the structural integrity of the power station’s component parts.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
To build his pyramid Cheops packed some pounds of rice into the stomachs of innumerable Egyptians and Israelites. We today would pack some pounds of coal inside steam boilers to do the same thing, and this might be cited as an instance of the superiority of modern civilization over ancient brute force. But when referred to the sun, our true standard of reference, the comparison is naught, because to produce these few pounds of coal required a thousand times more solar energy than to produce the few pounds of rice. We are simply taking advantage of an accidental circumstance. It took Cheops twenty years to build his pyramid, but if he had had a lot of Trustees, contractors, and newspaper reporters to worry him, he might not have finished it by that time. The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
David McCullough (The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge)
I mean, who are we to think anything is impossible? We evolved from primates who couldn't imagine what lay before them. There was a time when the printing press was inconceivable, circumnavigating the globe unthinkable, the steam engine unimaginable. These massive impossibilities became possible, then probable, then commonplace. So why should we challenge the inevitability of the possible?
Mick Ebeling (Not Impossible: The Art and Joy of Doing What Couldn't Be Done)
The date of the trial, Tuesday, 21 February 1804, marked the first time a steam locomotive running on rails hauled a loaded train of freight cars—in this case, about twenty-five tons of engine, iron, wagons, and men.
Richard Rhodes (Energy: A Human History)
On 25 April 1829 they published a list of “Stipulations & Conditions” for the Rainhill trials. First on the list was a requirement that the “engine must effectually consume its own smoke.”61 Black, sulfurous coal smoke blowing across their lands had offended the rural gentry in particular. This requirement had already been written into law in the 1825 Railway Act of George IV. To comply, locomotives had been designed to burn coke, a much cleaner fuel than coal, and to route waste steam up the chimney to increase the draft and fan the fire.
Richard Rhodes (Energy: A Human History)
Although Stephenson began to manufacture steam locomotives in steady numbers after Blucher and My Lord had demonstrated their utility, railway infrastructure continued to limit development. Early-nineteenth-century cast iron was far more impure and brittle than cast iron is today and often broke under the weight of heavy steam engines. Consequently, rail sections had to be short, about three feet, which in turn introduced numerous unstable joints. Allowing for a horse path between rails—as late as 1828, Stephenson’s first major British railway still hauled 43 percent of its tonnage with horses—meant that rails had to be supported on stone blocks rather than connected with crossties, making it difficult to keep them aligned.35 Cast-iron rails, despite their limitations, met a characteristic requirement of new technology: lower cost. Haulage by rail cost less than by packhorse or horse cart.
Richard Rhodes (Energy: A Human History)
Wrought iron began to replace cast iron before 1820, when a Northumberland railway engineer named John Birkinshaw patented a method of rolling wrought iron rails in various shapes in fifteen-foot lengths that could withstand the weight of steam locomotives pounding and running over them.
Richard Rhodes (Energy: A Human History)
Electricity was a harder problem than steam had been. Though it was conceived first as a fluid, it wasn’t something that could be boiled up by heating a mass of liquid and released in controlled volumes to push a heavy piston to turn wheels. It was not a prime mover—a machine such as a windmill or a steam engine, which converts a natural source of energy into mechanical energy—it was a transfer agent. A Leyden jar discharged intermittently, in multiple bursts, each successive burst weaker than the last. A conductor—a wire, a river—could carry the charge, but when it reached the end of the wire or the other side of the river, it discharged all at once. Franklin’s electrostatic motor was powerful, yet it lacked a source of energy beyond a workman rubbing a sulfur ball to charge a Leyden jar. Assigning a workman to turn the spit by hand continued to be both simpler and less expensive. Again, unlike steam, electricity lacked obvious applications, however mysterious and fascinating it might be. With enough equipment—cat skin and amber, Leyden jar mounted with a spark gap—you could use it to light a candle. A few did, another parlor trick, but most continued to borrow a flame from the fireplace or strike a light with flint and steel.
Richard Rhodes (Energy: A Human History)
From the wheel to the steel - from papyrus to kindle - from churchbell to doorbell - from holy books to comic books - from monotheism to secularism - from fundamentalism to humanism - from steam engine to jet engine - from cave painting to apple pencil - from antibiotics to antipsychotics - from embroidery to surgery - from moving pics to netflix - every single feat that we can think of, good or bad, is born of the neurons. In short, neurons can make the world or break the world.
Abhijit Naskar (Revolution Indomable)
Samuel once said that Thomas “never had any boyhood days; his earliest amusements were steam engines and mechanical forces.
Captivating History (Thomas Edison: A Captivating Guide to the Life of a Genius Inventor)
There was little follow-up to the remarkable advances seen in Classical Greece in the understanding of technology, medicine and geography. When the steam engine was invented in Alexandria about a hundred years after the birth of Jesus Christ, it remained a toy, and the ancient world failed to make the breakthrough in energy resources which occurred in England seventeen centuries later. Abundant slave labour, after all, blunted the need for any major advance in technology. Yet in the realm of ideas, philosophy and religious practice, Hellenistic civilization created a meeting place for Greek and oriental culture, which made it easy and natural for Jewish and then non-Jewish followers of Jesus Christ to take what they wanted from the ragbag of Greek thought which any moderately educated inhabitant of the Middle East would encounter in everyday conversation.
Diarmaid MacCulloch (A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years)
The fire was stopped at State Street by a brigade of firefighters with pumps, saving the Old State House for posterity. Also saved by extraordinary effort was the Old South Meetinghouse at Milk and Washington. Credit is given to a crew from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who arrived by train with their steam engine, Kearsage No. 3, that had been loaded on a flatbed railroad car and hauled by train to Boston.
Ted Clarke (Brookline, Allston-Brighton and the Renewal of Boston)
For Carnot, obsessed as he was with steam engines, the key question was how to produce the greatest amount of motive power from a given amount of heat. Joule’s surroundings encouraged him to go further, to ask if there might be a better source of motive power than heat.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
As I have always said, it is a mistake to allow matters of the heart to cloud one’s judgment or obscure one’s ability to think clearly. I bring up the issue merely so that, once acknowledged, it can be set aside.” I rubbed my forehead. I wondered whether other girls felt this way in conversing with their own parents: as though they were trying in vain to keep up with a racing steam engine that kept making violently sharp turns.
Anna Elliott (Remember, Remember (A Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery, #3))
In Britain, steam power was seen as the route to commercial profit, in France to social progress, and in Prussia, in elite circles at least, to improve on nature. Here steam power was connected to the natural world in a literal way, and here, scientists first appreciated that the lessons learned from steam power applied far beyond the engines themselves. After all, if a steam engine could enhance nature, perhaps it could also explain it?
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
The answer is that the coolant is forced through a device called a compressor, which is the opposite of a cylinder in a steam engine. In those, heat turns into work by making a gas expand. In a compressor, work is turned into heat by squeezing a gas. Once enough heat is added in this way to ensure the coolant vapor’s temperature is greater than that of the room, it is allowed into the condenser, a network of pipes at the back of the refrigerator. Here the vapor releases into the surroundings the heat that was in the refrigerator’s interior and the heat that was created in the compressor. Put your hand behind your refrigerator to feel that combined heat.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
The fact that the Titanic slowly resumed her course after hitting the iceberg is not included in many accounts of the disaster but it was noted by several others on board besides Lawrence Beesley. Quartermaster Alfred Olliver later testified that Captain Smith gave the “Half Speed Ahead” order for the engines not long after the collision. The captain had by then sent Fourth Officer Boxhall below on a tour of inspection, so it seems likely that he thought the ship would have to limp in to New York or Halifax under its own steam and that they could proceed slowly in the meantime. By best estimates, the ship moved forward for about ten minutes and may have stopped when Chief Officer Wilde reported to Smith that the forepeak tank, a water ballast tank deep in the forward bow, was taking in seawater.
Hugh Brewster (Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World)
Since then, people have downloaded the open-source software that is Bitcoin, studied its blockchain, and released different blockchains that go far beyond Bitcoin. Blockchain technology can now be thought of as a general purpose technology, on par with that of the steam engine, electricity, and machine learning.
Chris Burniske (Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond)
Stephen pulled up the collar of his coat as he walked briskly along the platform. Overhead a dim fog clouded the station. Large engines hissed superbly, throwing off clouds of steam into the cold raw air. Everything was dirty and smoke‐grimed.
Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot, #20))
Historians estimate that the average annual income in Italy around the year 1300 was roughly $1,600. Some 600 years later – after Columbus, Galileo, Newton, the Scientific Revolution, the Reformation and the Enlightenment, the invention of gunpowder, printing, and the steam engine – it was … still $1,600.3 Six hundred years of civilization, and the average Italian was pretty much where he’d always been.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
Anyone who was, say, sixty years old in Manchester, England, would have witnessed in his or her lifetime a revolution in the manufacturing of cotton and wool textiles, the growth of the factory system, the application of steam power and other astounding new mechanical devices to production, remarkable breakthroughs in metallurgy and transportation (especially railroads), and the appearance of cheap mass-produced commodities. Given the stunning advances in chemistry, physics, medicine, math, and engineering, anyone even slightly attentive to the world of science would have almost come to expect a continuing stream of new marvels (such as the internal combustion engine and electricity). The unprecedented transformations of the nineteenth century may have impoverished and marginalized many, but even the victims recognized that something revolutionary was afoot. All this sounds rather naive today, when we are far more sober about the limits and costs of technological progress and have acquired a postmodern skepticism about any totalizing discourse. Still, this new sensibility ignores both the degree to which modernist assumptions prevail in our lives and, especially, the great enthusiasm and revolutionary hubris that were part and parcel of high modernism.
James C. Scott (Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (Veritas Paperbacks))
the Cottonwood Creek one, or maybe it was Indian Creek—so that I could park near the broken-down van that had given up one of its occupants that cold night. I parked and got out, walking toward whatever damn creek it was, and looked up at the makeshift poster still stapled to the power pole. The snow was falling steadily, very much like the night Jeanie One Moon had gone missing, almost as if the fates were toying with me, laughing in my face. I reached up and tore the now brittle plastic from the tree, having been fastened there for over a year, and studied the photo of the missing girl with half her face faded away, as if she were lying in a snowdrift somewhere, waiting to be discovered. Carefully folding the notice, I slipped it into the inside pocket of my jacket just as a pair of headlights appeared in the distance from the south, roiling the snow in their wake. I watched, fully expecting it to continue on I-90 up to Billings, but instead it slowed, turned in, and pulled up behind my truck. The big, full-ton turbo diesel dually engine rattled to a stop and the lights shut off. A large man extricated himself from the driver’s seat and lumbered toward me. “How did you know I would be here?” Lyndon Iron Bull stomped through the couple of inches of snow and pulled up the collar on his blanket-lined coat, his glasses steaming with his breath. “This is my land;
Craig Johnson (Daughter of the Morning Star (Walt Longmire, #17))
The Industrial Revolution is usually attributed to the invention of the steam engine; but as Mumford shows in his 1934 magnum opus, Technics and Civilization, it also probably couldn’t have happened without the clock. By the late 1700s, rural peasants were streaming into English cities, taking jobs in mills and factories, each of which required the coordination of hundreds of people, working fixed hours, often six days a week, to keep the machines running.
Oliver Burkeman (Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals)
In vain Pons tried to put in a word; La Cibot talked as the wind blows. Means of arresting steam-engines have been invented, but it would tax a mechanician’s genius to discover any plan for stopping a portress’ tongue.
Honoré de Balzac (Works of Honore de Balzac)
1. As the Industrial Revolution proceeded, modern society created for itself a self-congratulatory myth, the myth of “progress”: From the time of our remote, ape-like ancestors, human history had been an unremitting march toward a better and brighter future, with everyone joyously welcoming each new technological advance: animal husbandry, agriculture, the wheel, the construction of cities, the invention of writing and of money, sailing ships, the compass, gunpowder, the printing press, the steam engine, and, at last, the crowning human achievement—modern industrial society! Prior to industrialization, nearly everyone was condemned to a miserable life of constant, backbreaking labor, malnutrition, disease, and an early death. Aren’t we so lucky that we live in modern times and have lots of leisure and an array of technological conveniences to make our lives easy? Today I think there are relatively few thoughtful, honest and well-informed people who still believe in this myth. To lose one’s faith in “progress” one has only to look around and see the devastation of our environment, the spread of nuclear weapons, the excessive frequency of depression, anxiety disorders and psychological stress, the spiritual emptiness of a society that nourishes itself principally with television and computer games…one could go on and on.
Theodore J. Kaczynski (Technological Slavery)
More coal, more smoke, more heat, more steam, more pressure, more speed. The engine raced forward streaming black smoke like a funerary ribbon rippling in the breeze.
Martin R Jackson : Running with Finn McCool
Nietzsche asked in 1882: 'What is the point of all the art of our works of art if we lose that higher art, the art of festivals?' The brief moment of intoxication lures us off the via dolorosa. Such spectacles also asserted the underlying continuity of European society since the Renaissance, despite steam engine, trainm and telegraph. Such was the confidence in the homology between the present day and a supposedly integrated and self-assured sixteenth century that people were still willing, in donning costumes, to turn themselves into living works of art. (This was the bourgeois response to the fantasy of the socialist Fourier, who thought people could become living artworks if they disrobed.) The contrast between the costumes and the black-and-white everyday garb of 1879, a way of dressing as if designed to be photographed, was sharp. Fourteen thousand citizens took part in Makart's extravaganza, 300,000 more looked on.
Christopher S. Wood (A History of Art History)
The period of very rapid advances after 1700 was ushered in by ingenious practical innovators. But its greatest successes during the nineteenth century were driven by close feedbacks between the growth of scientific knowledge and the design and commercialization of new inventions (Rosenberg and Birdzell 1986; Mokyr 2002; Smil 2005). The energy foundations of nineteenth-century advances included the development of steam engines and their widespread adoption as both stationary and mobile prime movers, iron smelting with coke, the large-scale production of steel, and the introduction of internal combustion engines and of electricity generation. The extent and rapidity of these changes came from a novel combination of these energy innovations with new chemical syntheses and with better modes of organizing factory production.
Vaclav Smil (Energy and Civilization: A History)
How could this be corrected? One way, Carnot argues, is to use atmospheric air as the substance that pushes the piston. Because air contains oxygen, fuel can burn and generate heat inside the cylinder and not in an external boiler as happens in a steam engine.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
Air has another advantage—it has a lower “specific heat” than steam. That means, roughly, that the same amount of heat can raise the temperature of a quantity of air by a greater amount than an equivalent quantity of steam. In turn that implies that the same flow of heat can drive an air-based engine between greater temperature differences than a steam-based one. Thus, even more efficiency is achieved.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
Newcomen engines” work as follows: Heat from burning coal creates steam. This flows via an inlet valve into a large cylinder in which a piston can move up and down. Initially the piston rests at the top of the cylinder. Once this is full of steam, the inlet valve closes. Cold water is sprayed into the cylinder, cooling the steam inside, causing it to condense into water. Because water occupies much less space than steam, this creates a partial vacuum below the piston. Atmospheric air will always try to fill a void, and the only way it can do so in this arrangement is by pushing the piston down. This is the source of the engine’s power. The steam is a means to create a vacuum and the downward pressure of the atmosphere does the work.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
the working materials in the engine, such as the steam or the air, don’t themselves provide any motive power—that all comes from the heat flow.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
Carnot’s conclusion is that an unchanging amount of caloric flows from the hot furnace to the cold condenser, and this flow generates the motive power of the engine. He equates this to the flow of water. Just as no water is lost as its downward flow drives a mill, so, too, no heat is lost as its “coolward” flow drives a steam engine.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
This logic told Carnot that the real steam engines of his day had to be woefully wasteful. The hottest temperature the steam reached as it expanded and pushed a piston was, Carnot reckoned, a little over 160°C. The coldest it fell to as it condensed was around 40°C. That meant steam engines were extracting motive power from a temperature drop of around 120°C. But the temperature in the engine’s furnace in which the coal was burning was over 1,000°C, and that meant a much-larger temperature drop—of 900°C or more—was being wasted.
Paul Sen (Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe)
McCracken’s “grow by 50 percent” is classic bad strategy. It is the kind of nonsense that passes for strategy in too many companies. First, he was setting a goal, not designing a way to deal with his company’s challenge. Second, growth is the outcome of a successful strategy, and attempts to engineer growth are exercises in magical thinking. In this case, the growth SGI engineered was accomplished by rolling up a number of other firms whose workstation strategies had also run out of steam.
Richard P. Rumelt (Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters)
They all forget that those who make the least noise do the most work. An engine that expends all its steam in whistling, has nothing left with which to turn wheels. Then let us cultivate silence. All that we can save in noise we gain in power.
Charles Wagner (The Simple Life)
An article in the New York Times concluded that, “Television will never be a serious competitor for radio.” If you’re listening to the radio, you can get on and do other things. To experience television, the Times argued, “People must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen.” Ironically, of course, this was to become the very attraction of the whole system. Nonetheless, it seemed clear to the writer that, “The average American family doesn’t have time for it.” Well, they found time. On average, the average American family went on to squeeze about 25 hours a week from their busy schedules to sit and keep their eyes glued on the television. The fault line in the Times’ assessment of television was to judge it in terms of contemporary cultural values where there seemed to be no place for it. In fact, television was not squeezed into existing American culture: it changed the culture forever. After the arrival of television, the world was never the same place again. Television proved to be a transformative technology, just as print, the steam engine, electricity, the motorcar and others before it had been.
Panting like a marathon runner at mile twenty, overheated bloodhound, steam engine crawling up the Continental Divide.
Dennis Vickers (Between the Shadow and the Soul)
Hellooo.” The ferry captain shot a thumb at her Jeep. “Gonna get it off ?” “Oh.” She laughed. “Sorry.” Releasing Nicole, she ran back onto the ferry and slid behind the wheel. By the time she revved the engine, Nicole was in the passenger’s seat, sliding a hand over the timeworn dashboard. “I am paying you for this.” Charlotte shot her a startled look and inched forward. “For this car? You are not.” “You wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t for my book, and you won’t take money for that.” “Because it’s your book. I’m just along for the ride.” She laughed at her own words. “Can you believe, this is the first car I’ve ever owned?” She eased it onto the dock. “Is it real or what?” “Totally real,” Nicole said, though momentarily wary. “Safe on the highway?” “It got me here.” Charlotte waved at the captain. “Thank you!” Still crawling along, she drove carefully off the pier. When she was on firm ground, she stopped, angled sideways in the seat, and addressed the first of the ghosts. “I’m sorry about your dad, Nicki. I wanted to be there. I just couldn’t.” Seeming suddenly older, Nicole smiled sadly. “You were probably better off. There were people all over the place. I didn’t have time to think.” “A heart attack?” “Massive.” “No history of heart problems?” “None.” “That’s scary. How’s Angie?” Nicole’s mother. Charlotte had phoned her, too, and though Angie had said all the right words—Yes, a tragedy, he loved you, too, you’re a darling to call—she had sounded distracted. “Bad,” Nicole confirmed. “They were so in love. And he loved Quinnipeague. His parents bought the house when he was little. He actually proposed to Mom here. They always said that if I’d been a boy, they’d have named me Quinn. She can’t bear to come now. That’s why she’s selling. She can’t even come to pack up. This place was so him.” “Woo-hoo,” came a holler that instantly lifted the mood. “Look who’s here!” A stocky woman, whose apron covered a T-shirt and shorts, was trotting down the stairs from the lower deck of the Chowder House. Dorey Jewett had taken over from her father midway through Charlotte’s summers here and had brought the place up to par with the best of city restaurants. She had the gleaming skin of one who worked over steam, but the creases by her eyes, as much from smiling as from squinting over the harbor, suggested she was nearing sixty. “Missy here
Barbara Delinsky (The Right Wrong Number)
An invention like the steam engine or computer comes along and we reap economic benefits from it. Those benefits start small while the technology is immature and not widely used, grow to be quite big as the GPT improves and propagates, then taper off as the improvement—and especially the propagation—die down. When multiple GPTs appear at the same time, or in a steady sequence, we sustain high rates of growth over a long period. But if there’s a big gap between major innovations, economic growth will eventually peter out. We’ll call this the ‘innovation-as-fruit’ view of things, in honor of Tyler Cowen’s imagery of all the low-hanging fruit being picked. In this perspective, coming up with an innovation is like growing fruit, and exploiting an innovation is like eating the fruit over time.