[i] “… Renaissance…”
The Renaissance (from French Renaissance, meaning “rebirth”; Italian: Rinascimento, from re- “again” and nascere “be born”) was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of western Europe. It encompassed a revival of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and educational reform. The Renaissance saw developments in most intellectual pursuits, but is perhaps best known for its artistic aspect and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who have inspired the term “Renaissance men”.
However, it was not until the nineteenth century that the French word Renaissance achieved popularity in describing the cultural movement that began in the late 13th century“ (1200 AD – 1300 AD).
The term was first used retrospectively by the Italian artist and critic Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) in his book The Lives of the Artists (published 1550). In the book Vasari was attempting to define what he described as a break with the barbarities of gothic art: the arts had fallen into decay with the collapse of the Roman Empire and only the Tuscan artists, beginning with Cimabue (1240-1301) and Giotto (1267-1337) began to reverse this decline in the arts. According to Vasari, antique art was central to the rebirth of Italian art.
During the 12th century in Europe, there was a radical change in the rate of new inventions and innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production and economic growth. In less than a century, there were more inventions developed and applied usefully than in the previous thousand years of human history all over the globe. The period saw major technological advances, including the adoption or invention of printing, gunpowder, spectacles, a better clock, the astrolabe, and greatly improved ships. The latter two advances made possible the dawn of the Age of Exploration.
Alfred Crosby described some of this technological revolution in The Measure of Reality : Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600 and other major historians of technology have also noted it.
- The earliest written record of a windmill is from Yorkshire, England, dated 1185.
- Paper manufacture began in Italy around 1270.
- The spinning wheel was brought to Europe (probably from India) in the 13th century.
- The magnetic compass aided navigation, first reaching Europe some time in the late 12th century.
- Eyeglasses were invented in Italy in the late 1280s.
- The astrolabe returned to Europe via Islamic Spain.
- Leonardo of Pisa introduces Hindu-Arabic numerals to Europe with his book Liber Abaci in 1202.
- The West’s oldest known depiction of a stern-mounted rudder can be found on church carvings dating to around 1180.”
– Reference: Wikipedia.org
[ii] “… explosions that were tested and used in the past two years on Earth have the potential to destroy all of life…”
“A doomsday device is a hypothetical construction — usually a weapon — which could destroy all life on the Earth, or destroy the Earth itself (bringing “doomsday”, a term used for the end of planet Earth).
Doomsday devices have been present in literature and art especially in the 20th century, when advances in science and technology allowed humans to imagine a definite and plausible way of actively destroying the world or all life on it (or at least human life). Many classics in the genre of science fiction take up the theme in this respect, especially The Purple Cloud (1901) by M. P. Shiel in which the accidental release of a gas kills all people on the planet.
After the advent of nuclear weapons, especially hydrogen bombs, they have usually been the dominant components of fictional doomsday devices. RAND strategist Herman Kahn proposed a “Doomsday Machine” in the 1950s which would consist of a computer linked to a stockpile of hydrogen bombs, programmed to detonate them all and bathe the planet in nuclear fallout at the signal of an impending nuclear attack from another nation. Such a scheme, fictional as it was, epitomized for many the extremes of the suicidal logic behind the strategy of mutually assured destruction, and it was famously parodied in the Stanley Kubrick film from 1964, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. It is also a main topic of the movie Beneath the Planet of the Apes, in parallel with the species extermination theme. Most such models either rely on the fact that hydrogen bombs can be made arbitrarily large (see Teller-Ulam design) or that they can be “salted” with materials designed to create long-lasting and hazardous fallout (e.g.; a cobalt bomb).
There are many unconfirmed, anecdotal reports of a Soviet doomsday device involving a 200-megaton hydrogen bomb sheathed in (or, alternately, “salted” with) a highly radioactive material, usually said to be cobalt, of sufficient quantity to saturate the earth’s atmosphere with deadly fallout should the device be detonated. Details regarding this device vary according to the source, but enough similarities in the dozens of different stories exist to suggest at least some basis in truth. According to various sources, at some point between 1967 and 1985, the device was designed but never constructed; built but never activated; built and activated, but dismantled at the end of the cold war; or designed and constructed in such a manner that it can never be de-activated, and is still in existence today. Tales of its location and means of operation are equally diverse: it was in an underground bunker west of Moscow, Siberia, the Ukraine, etc.; it was installed on a special rocket booster that would deliver it to the upper atmosphere upon activation; it was actually a series of bombs placed at intervals along the western border of the USSR; it was to be detonated upon command from the Kremlin, automatically by a special computer, a seismic trigger, or upon detection of incoming missiles. Many more versions exist, such as one with the device being permanently installed in the hold of an unmarked tramp freighter, steaming randomly from port to port in the North Sea.”
— Reference: Wikipedia.org
[iii] “… paradigm…”
“Historian of science Thomas Kuhn gave this word its contemporary meaning when he adopted it to refer to the set of practices that define a scientific discipline during a particular period of time. Kuhn himself came to prefer the terms exemplar and normal science, which have more exact philosophical meanings. However, in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Kuhn defines a scientific paradigm as:
- what is to be observed and scrutinized
- the kind of questions that are supposed to be asked and probed for answers in relation to this subject
- how these questions are to be structured
- how the results of scientific investigations should be interpreted
Alternatively, the Oxford English Dictionary defines paradigm as “a pattern or model, an exemplar.”
— Reference: Wikipedia.org