The Technology Portal
A steam turbine
with the case opened. Such turbines produce most of the electricity used today. Electricity consumption and living standards are highly correlated. Electrification is believed to be the most important engineering achievement of the 20th century.
Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia) is first robustly defined by Jacob Bigelow in 1829 as: "...principles, processes, and nomenclatures of the more conspicuous arts, particularly those which involve applications of science, and which may be considered useful, by promoting the benefit of society, together with the emolument [compensation ] of those who pursue them".
- Principle is a term defined current-day by Merriam-Webster as: "a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption", "a primary source", "the laws or facts of nature underlying the working of an artificial device", "an ingredient (such as a chemical) that exhibits or imparts a characteristic quality".
- Process is a term defined current-day by the United States Patent Laws (United States Code Title 34 - Patents) published by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) as follows: "The term 'process' means process, art, or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material."
- Nomenclature is term defined by Merriam-Webster as: "name, designation", "the act or process or an instance of naming", "a system or set of terms or symbols especially in a particular science, discipline, or art".
- Application of Science is a term defined current-day by the United States' National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as: "...any use of scientific knowledge for a specific purpose, whether to do more science; to design a product, process, or medical treatment; to develop a new technology; or to predict the impacts of human actions."
The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.
Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth's environment. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions of the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
) is the agency of the United States government
that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program
and for aeronautics
research. Since February 2006, NASA's mission statement has been to "pioneer the future in space exploration
, scientific discovery
and aeronautics research." President Eisenhower
established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act
was passed on July 29, 1958, replacing its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
(NACA). The agency became operational on October 1, 1958. Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo
moon-landing missions, the Skylab
space station, and later the Space Shuttle
. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station
and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle
and Commercial Crew
vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program
(LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System
that it said would take the agency's astronauts farther into space than ever before and provide the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S. NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System
, advancing heliophysics
through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System
with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons
, and researching astrophysics
topics, such as the Big Bang
, through the Great Observatories
and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite
In this month
Did you know...
was an English
emigrant to New Zealand
, where he became one of that country's most prominent 19th-century architects
. He was instrumental in shaping the city of Christchurch
. He was appointed the first official Provincial Architect of the developing province of Canterbury
. Heavily influenced by the Anglo-Catholic
philosophy behind early Victorian architecture he is credited with importing the Gothic revival
style to New Zealand. His Gothic designs constructed in both wood and stone in the province are considered to be unique to New Zealand. Today he is considered the founding architect of the province of Canterbury, and he ranks today with his contemporary R A Lawson
as one of New Zealand's greatest 19th century architects.
In the 1860s, New Zealand was a developing country, where materials and resources freely available in Europe were absent in New Zealand. When available they were often of inferior quality. His monumental Gothic stone civic buildings in Christchurch, which would not be out of place in Oxford or Cambridge, are an amazing achievement over adversity of materials.
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