Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Clay Pot one of the greatest human technologies EVER - and a roof is only a pot turned upside down

Jason Merkoski makes the point in "Burning the Page" - he's probably not the first - that the humble pot was the greatest invention of the Stone Age.

Taking a cue from Philosopher of Science Nancy Cartwright, I take it further --- it was one of the greatest big leaps ever - matched only by the someone who turned that pot upside down and called it a roof.

A pot encloses things we can't easily carry other ways - Jason makes this clear when he asks how the pot made it easy to no longer be forced to live close to a stream for a survival

A pot is generally described as an enclosure small enough to carry - a roof is the same sort of idea - an enclosure - but now for something really big, like a factory.

A factory has plenty of hi tech stuff in it but spare a thought for the humble building itself.

Heated in winter, cooled in summer, lit at night, protected from winds, rain, insects and blowing sand : Man is now totally enslaved to profit, no longer ceasing work on rainy days or dark nights or in the off-seasons.

Once motive energy came from endless coal or electricity, its workforce no longer got any precious time off because the watermill or windmill wasn't getting its needed flow.

Auschwitz or Los Alamos won't have been half so efficient if it hadn't been for roofs.

But all this presumes we are living in a climate that is temperate and that the weather only provides variations around a tender theme.

At CFB Alert, the climate is so severe (energy deficient) that 95% of any 24/7/365 factory's energy bill would be devoted to simply keeping it warm enough for wheels to turn, metal not to shatter and human hearts not to freeze to death.

That is what baneful climate change can do for us - or to us - render even pots and roofs irrelevant ....

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