1. The Earth is round
We take it for granted now that the Earth is round, but for most of ancient history, humanity believed that the Earth was flat. The first practical proof of the world’s sphericity (yes, sphericity is a real word) did not occur until Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano’s circumnavigation of the globe.
2. Classical elements
Pre-Socratic philosophers (Thales of Miletus, Anaximander, Anaximendes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, etc.) postulated that the world was comprised of four classical elements: earth, fire, water and air. (No, not the band.) It was the first time that man tried to explain the world without relying on mythological explanations and set the foundation for modern science.
3. Germ theory
Tiny things that we can’t see make us sick? No way! For much of early human civilzation, people thought that disease was spontaneously generated, while others blamed spirits or other supernatural phenomena. Then along came Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, commonly known as “the Father of Microbiology,” who was the first to record bacteria and other microorganisms. His research would help lead to the development of germ theory, a theory where microorganisms cause disease, the basic foundation of modern medicine.
The computer has become so ubiquitous to everyday life, that it’s hard to imagine life before it. (There was actually a time when people used to write by hand on actual paper.) But the fact is, computers only started to become widespread at a consumer level in the 1980/90s. Before that, computers were limited to governments and universities and took up entire floors of buildings.
The concept of zero has been around since the ancient Bablyonians, but it wasn’t until the 12th century when Leonardo Fibonacci (no relation to the turtle of the same name) included it in his book “Liber Abaci” that the idea took hold in the west. Why is this lowly number so important? Everything from quantum physics to the binary code that runs computers relies on the mathematical principles derived from it.
Farming, at first, may not seem to be such a breakthrough idea, however, without it no other advances in humanity would have been possible. Farming allowed a single person, for the first time in human history, to generate more food than he himself could eat. Without the need to constantly search for food, this freed up time for everyone else to pursue other goals like inventing the shake weight.
7. Women’s rights
Women deserve the same treatment as men? What a novel idea. It wasn’t until about the last 100 years that feminist movements finally convinced society that women deserved equal opportunities at things like voting and higher education.
8. Fast food
Most historians agree that A&W was the first fast food restaurant to open and set up franchises, with White Castle being the second. Before the advent of the automobile and fast food, most families ate their meals together over a home-cooked meal. Fast food, with its quick readily available meals, however, would change this dynamic forever.
Smallpox, polio, measles—diseases that were once life-threatening were virtually eliminated due to the discovery and implementation of vaccination. The simple process of getting a shot instantly improves the life expectancy and health of every modern human.
10. The internet
Before the internet we had to look at cats in person, now look at us. Isn’t progress amazing?
We tip our hats to those who see things differently. MINI. NOT NORMAL.
©2012 MINI USA, a division of BMW of North America, LLC.