High on any list of human achievements..

Fantasus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
2,381
Northern part of European lowland
Since there are several threads about the "most important..." of many sorts, it is perhaps time for discussing some of the most important human achievements - inventions, innovations, artifacts, of all time. I think it is - at least - as great as anything of the last centuries, if not even more, and can be compared to agriculture, writing, fire or the wheel. It is anything artificial mean of transportation on water, wether raft, boat, ship. I can hardly see anything like human societies as we know them, even less "civilization" could develop without. Is that fully appreciated in most history books?
 
Last edited:
May 2013
14
in a chocolate box
I agree that history books do not appreciate achievements.

As someone who studied the history of medicine at university I would say that in public health the greatest achievement was the separation of water for drinking and ablutions. Closely followed by anti-biotics. I haven't got any numbers off hand in terms of lives saved by both measures. But I would be safe to say that getting rid of cholera as a measure of public health saved more lives than anything else as a public health measure.

From memory was it New York that had the world's first system of water as a separate resource for drinking only? I'd have to check that.
 

Fantasus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
2,381
Northern part of European lowland
Right

I agree that history books do not appreciate achievements.

As someone who studied the history of medicine at university I would say that in public health the greatest achievement was the separation of water for drinking and ablutions. Closely followed by anti-biotics. I haven't got any numbers off hand in terms of lives saved by both measures. But I would be safe to say that getting rid of cholera as a measure of public health saved more lives than anything else as a public health measure.

From memory was it New York that had the world's first system of water as a separate resource for drinking only? I'd have to check that.
I think I failed to make clear that I wanted to stress the importance of water-transport in particular. I think it can be compared to so-called "agricultural revolution", to domestication of animals or "inventing" textiles or houses.