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Future Hype by Bob Seidensticker

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13 Innovation Stimulation

ALMOST TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO, Hero of Alexandria made a toy called the aeolipile. It is a small sphere that spins on a hollow axle. Steam, forced through the axle, exits the sphere through two jets pointing in opposite directions. The force of the steam causes the sphere to spin. While designed to be a novelty, this is thought to be the world’s first steam engine.

The Romans were masters of engineering, building roads, coliseums, aqueducts, and other impressive projects. With the aeolipile, they had the insight that ultimately led to the Industrial Revolution seventeen hundred years later. Our lives today might be vastly different if the Industrial Revolution had been ignited in the first century CE.

Why didn’t ...

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