Quotes Tagged "tools"
When I started writing I wanted the best tools. I skipped right over chisels on rocks, stylus on wet clay plates, quills and fountain pens, even mechanical pencils, and went straight to one of the first popular spin-offs of the aerospace program: the ballpoint pen. They were developed for comber navigators in the war because fountain pens would squirt all over your leather bomber jacket at altitude. (I have a cherished example of the next generation ballpoint, a pressurized Space Pen cleverly designed to work in weightlessness, given to me by Spider Robinson. At least, I cherish it when I can find it. It is also cleverly designed to seek out the lowest point of your desk, roll off, then find the lowest point on the floor, under a heavy piece of furniture. That's because it is cylindrical and lacks a pocket clip to keep it from rolling. In space, I presume it would float out of your pocket and find a forgotten corner of your spacecraft to hide in. NASA spent $3 million developing it. Good job, guys. I'm sure it's around here somewhere.)
What we have been taught is that the ancient Egyptians were in posession of only simple hand tools, and that the only metals available to the Egyptians of the fourth dynasty, when the Giza Pyramids were built, were copper, gold, and silver. What is inferred, therefore, is that absent the tools made from these materials, the simple abrasive experiments actually demonstrate the stone-working methods of ancient Egypt. We are told that the ancient Egyptians had not yet developed the knowledge to extract the raw materials necessary to produce iron and steel. It has been suggested that they may have used meteoric iron, because they found it lying on the ground, but they did not mine the ore and smelt it in a foundry. Support for this view is the lack of evidence that they used tools made of any material other than copper, stone, and wood. Yet absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Although sophisticated tools made of iron or steel may not yet have been discovered in the archaeological record, what has been found is not adequate enough to explain how the artifacts were created.
Human tool-makers always make tools that will help us get what we want, and what we want hasn't changed for thousands of years because as far as we can tell the human template hasn't changed either. We still want the purse that will always be filled with gold, and the Fountain of Youth. We want the table that will cover itself with delicious food whenever we say the word, and that will be cleaned up afterwards by invisible servants. We want the Seven-League Boots so we can travel very quickly, and the Hat of Darkness so we can snoop on other people without being seen. We want the weapon that will never miss, and the castle that will keep us safe. We want excitement and adventure; we want routine and security. We want to have a large number of sexually attractive partners, and we also want those we love to love us in return, and be utterly faithful to us. We want cute, smart children who will treat us with the respect we deserve. We want to be surrounded by music, and by ravishing scents and attractive visual objects. We don't want to be too hot or too cold. We want to dance. We want to speak with the animals. We want to be envied. We want to be immortal. We want to be gods. But in addition, we want wisdom and justice. We want hope. We want to be good.