This week, host Josh Klein explores the origins of automated control systems, like the one used on the Perdido—the world’s deepest offshore oil rig. He starts out in ancient Rome, where local volcanic ash was once used to create superstrong concrete, which the Romans utilized in creating their famous aqueducts. Readily available water resulted in the Romans developing the hand pump, which in turn was modified by the Greeks to make a flamethrower, enabling them to defend Constantinople, the cultural and intellectual hub of its time. Josh learns that the city’s role in the Renaissance led to architects producing elaborate fountains—and the existence of the vacuum pump. As Josh discovers, the vacuum was integral to the invention of the steam engine—which requires a flyball governor to regulate power. From there, advances in feedback controls and remote controls were applied to undersea remote operating vehicles, allowing for deeper drilling.
And Josh additionally writes:
The show is about the history of human innovation, tracing the connections between the worlds greatest inventions in art, science, medicine, finance and more, from ancient times up to the present day. Its chock full of crazy stuff like underwater helicopter evacuations, Indy race car driving, the Black Plague, and playing with the codebreaking devices that won World War II. If youve ever found yourself clicking just one more link when you should have been going to bed, this is the show for you – each episode spans a dozen or so technologies, and traces how each one was dependent on the capabilities provided by the one before it.
Its a lot of fun, and its also one of the last shows on television that doesnt hinge on someone getting kicked off the island, being humiliated in front of their peers, or getting drunk and doing regretful things. This is our last shot to see if anyone still cares about intelligent programming, so its hugely important that we move the needle on its ratings.
So if youve ever loved a science show like Nova, or gotten crazy excited watching Myth Busters, this is your chance. Please tune in each Friday, and set your DVR. Most importantly of all, please help us spread the word! You can get all kinds of great info, clips, behind the scenes blogs etc at the show website.
And if you enjoy the show, please join in on the discussion on Facebook, tweet about it (using the hashtag #TheLink), or do whatever else strikes you to help spread the word.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.