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Civilopedia work

Discussion in '[MAC+WIN] Civ4 - History Rewritten' started by PlaysCiv, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. PlaysCiv

    PlaysCiv Chieftain

    Jun 3, 2011
    Well, once 0.9.4 comes out, we'll be able to know what pedia entries need to be written. I figure a thread dedicated to assigning writers and editing entries might be useful for making a more complete mod (And keeping three people from writing one entry). Just call dibs on whatever you'd like to write and post your entry on this thread when your done.
  2. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Here. :D

    TECHS (some taken from Civ II Civilopedia, some original):

    Architecture is the discipline of designing structures with an eye to specific goals- usually, aesthetic appeal, but also functional features like defensibility. The architect's trade blends that of the ordinary engineer and the artist. On the one hand, all great architecture must be durable enough to stand natural forces and the test of time; on the other, it is often expected to be pleasant to live in and to behold.

    As computer technology advances its capabilities at a geometric rate, the ability of computer software to emulate intelligent decisions grows. Automation replaces first routine, mundane labor on assembly lines, then an increasing share of service and white-collar jobs. As the process continues, it seems likely that computers will become able to sustain true intelligence, at least for a pragmatic definition of the term.

    Some predict that the creation of the first artificial intelligences will lead to a 'singularity' beyond which we lose our ability to predict the course of human development: these AIs will rapidly begin to modify and improve themselves until their capabilities are little short of godlike. Others feel that this is an exaggeration of the possibilities. Regardless, artificial intelligence is likely to play a prominent role in the development of human society in the future.

    As agricultural productivity increased and the demand for specialist goods increased, it became less practical and less desirable to keep control of these industries in the hands of rulers. The invention of currency-based trade made independent life as a merchant or professional easier, especially in urban and semi-urbanized areas. Such trade also contributed to the rising influence of the proto-middle class, and promoted long-range commerce. The availability of rare goods at trading hubs increased, and centers of production where specialist goods were made profited.

    [Shared with Professionalism, till you have a better idea]

    Astrophysics is a specialized field of physics which grew out of the increasing grasp of atomic structure and the improved power of telescopes in the early 20th century. By the 1920s and 1930s, scientists were developing better theories of stellar dynamics, and deep-field observations by major observatories hinted at what we now know to be the expansion of the universe since the Big Bang.

    Astrophysics experienced a boom in the 1960s with the invention of the radio telescope, which allowed detection of a wide range of phenomena invisible to the naked eye even via telescope. Orbiting satellites, thorough knowledge of the general theory of relativity and nuclear physics, and the rise of modern computer data processing all played a further role, giving astrophysicists an ever-better grasp of the large-scale structure and physical principles upon which the universe operates.

    The rise of industrial machine tools in the late 19th century had huge effects on the development of artillery. More precise manufacturing meant ammunition that could be fired at far longer ranges, with more predictable fuzing and gunlaying. Advances in metallurgy made for stronger gun barrels and longer range.

    For the first time, indirect-fire guns were useful for something other than specialist roles. The effective range of artillery increased by as much as a factor of ten within a generation.

    Groping for an explanation of the world around them, the earliest humans developed the first concepts of religion. Gradually, rites of worship grew to include sacrifices, ceremonies, vigils, symbology, sacred items, and prayer. One significant step in the advance of worship was the ceremonial burial, often a ritual preparation of the deceased's body for the afterlife his or her culture anticipated. The remains of ceremonial burials offer some of the most detailed information about past civilizations.

    [Repurposed from Mysticism, and slightly rewritten]
    People of the ancient world were fascinated and awed by the forces of nature surrounding them. Earthquakes, storms and other phenomena were generally regarded as signs from heaven. Individuals and groups arose to formulate explanations for these events, and pass the knowledge along to the tribe. The priests and priestesses of mysticism, often called oracles, claimed union with the divine through meditation and trance-like contemplation.

    Oracles across the world developed complex rites and rituals to appease and interact with gods and spirits. One of the most common forms of supernatural power invoked was divination- the ability to foretell the future using signs and portents such as dreams, the motions of the stars, the guts of sacrificial animals, the fracture lines in a tortoise's shell, visions experienced while under the influence of various drugs, and so on. Divination served the common human need to obtain information about the unknown future.

    The field of electronics deals with the practical application and manipulation of electricity and electromagnetic phenomena. The invention of the vacuum tube in the early 20th century marked the beginning of modern electronics. The vacuum tube was capable of amplifying weak radio signals, allowing them to be transmitted over greater distances. Vacuum tubes also allowed music and voice to be superimposed onto radio waves for transmission. The early study of electronics revolutionized a number of fields, especially the field of communications. Because of the vacuum tube, the technology of radio communications was highly developed by World War II. After the war, electronics research continued to advance rapidly. Post-war advances include the earliest examples of digital computers and, eventually, transistors and integrated circuits: miniaturized replacements for the vacuum tube.

    An explosive is a chemical compound or mixture that undergoes rapid combustion and produces heat, gas, and pressure effects. The earliest explosive compound known was gunpowder, which was first used in the13th century, and was the only explosive known for hundreds of years. The first modern explosive, a compound known as nitroglycerin, was discovered in 1846. Compounds similar to nitroglycerin are the most commonly used explosives today. Explosives vary in brisance, or shattering effect, and in their stability under various environmental conditions. Aside from their obvious use in weaponry, explosives are also used in such peaceful applications as rocket propellants and for mining and demolition work.

    Labor unions arose in the 18th and 19th century in response to the poor working conditions brought on by an intense competition for jobs, and the increasing dependence of the working class on their employers created by the move toward industrialization. Early labor unions, formed by skilled laborers in specific fields, met with opposition from both employers and the government. In the 19th century, laws were passed legalizing trade unions, and by the 20th century unions were formed in semi- or unskilled fields such as mining, transportation, and dock working. Binding their interests together and bargaining collectively, trade unions forced factory and business owners to provide better working conditions and economic status for their workers.

    [Repurposed from Code of Laws:]
    The earliest tribal civilizations were bonded together by mutual needs and beliefs. These groups were ruled by a tribal chieftain, who acted as an advisor, and enforcer of the will of the gods. No formal laws existed in these early cultures, but fear of the gods and a sense of tribal customs and morality kept order in the tribe. As societies became larger and more diverse, the need arose for established rules of conduct. The earliest known codes of laws existed in Babylon, India, and Palestine. The Twelve Tables of Rome, written in 500 BC, and its successors such as the Justinian Code, were the first codes of law to distinguish between public law, which involves the state, and private law, which concerns disputes between citizens. Roman law was the first formalized written system of laws, and went on to influence many of the legal systems of the modern world.

    [Added a paragraph to this and knocked a few sentences off the first para, so that it fits the spirit of the era you want to place the tech in, rather than being a late-medieval tech as in Civ]
    Metallurgy is the study of the properties of metals and the methods used to separate metal deposits from metal-bearing ores. Through the course of history, artisans have switched the materials from which they constructed weapons and tools to harder, more durable metals as they were discovered. Constant improvements in metallurgy led to the discovery of new metals and alloys that were stronger, lighter, and cheaper.

    By the late 19th century, metallurgy was a sophisticated science. The rise of modern chemistry led to the discovery of a vast number of 'new' chemical elements that could be used in alloys, and electric power made it possible to control the conditions under which metals were worked more finely than ever before. Metallurgists developed a vast array of new kinds of steel and other alloys, with different combinations of hardness, flexibility, corrosion-resistance, and other properties. These rapid advances in metallurgy had vast implications for almost every field of engineering.

    [look into using the Civilopedia descriptions of Warrior Code and Chivalry from Civ II, may also use these for the Warrior Code civic]

    Chivalry was a code of rules governing the behavior of an aristocratic class of warriors known as knights. First appearing in the 12th century, the rules of chivalry governed not only the knights' behavior in battle, but in their personal lives as well. The chief chivalric virtues of piety, honor, valor, courtesy, chastity, and loyalty represented a fusion of Christian and military morality. A similar code of behavior known as "Bushido" or "the way of the warrior" governed the behavior of the samurai warriors of ancient Japan. Although the strict practice of chivalry had all but disappeared by the 15th century, the ideals of chivalric behavior became the basis for what is now considered to be gentlemanly conduct.

    The samurai of feudal Japan lived by a doctrine known as "Bushido", or "the way of the warrior". This code of behavior stressed such virtues as loyalty, courage, and politeness. The honor of the warrior could only be maintained if the rules of the code were followed. A similar code of behavior known as chivalry was later developed under the feudal system in medieval Europe. Although the strict adherence to both Bushido and chivalry were abandoned along with the feudal system in the 1800's, certain principals of discipline and behavior inherent in these systems can still be found in the military today.

    In the early days of seafaring, sailors operated solely through a process known as "piloting", in which the position and course of the ship was determined by referring to geographical landmarks. The need to stay in view of the shore severely limited the extent of sea voyages. Through experience, sailors learned to apply the science of astronomy to their profession, noting the positions and movement of particular stars. They realized that even when the shore was out of sight, they could steer by certain reliable stars. This crude, yet practical application of astronomy allowed the adventurous to sail into the unknown with a reasonable chance of finding their way. As a result, ship building technology quickly improved, producing larger, more stable ships designed for longer voyages.

    [Can't you just use the entry for "Printing Press" from vanilla Civ IV?]

    When the demand for oil-based fuels for lighting and other purposes began to soar in the 19th century, scientists began searching for a way to make use of crude oil. This research led to techniques in which crude oil was broken down, or refined, into a number of different fuels, including kerosene and gasoline. As consumer demand continued to increase, commercial refineries were set up to purify crude oil. The new petroleum products produced as a result of the development and perfection of the refining process led to the use of oil-based fuels in many consumer and industrial applications. These include the use of gasoline to power automobiles, and the use of oil for heating and for the generation of electrical power.

    The horse was first domesticated for transportation and warfare by tribesmen on the Asian steppes. These tribesmen used their superior mobility and speed to overwhelm the proto-civilizations just rising in southeast Europe and the Middle East. In approximately 2000 BC, domestic horses were introduced into Babylonia. Within the next several centuries, horses had spread throughout much of Europe and northern Africa. It was not long before nearly every civilization had put horses to work as field animals and as a means of transportation. Horses also went on to play an important role in the military conflicts of nearly every civilization in the world, both as mounts for horsemen and cavalry, and as draft animals for pulling war chariots and heavy weapons into battle.

    The increased waste produced by growing populations over time eventually led to potential health hazards. It then became necessary to come up with systems to dispose of garbage and human waste in a sanitary manner. Plumbing systems designed to remove waste water from dwellings and public buildings became commonplace, as did sewage plants which treated the wastewater before it was dumped into local waterways. Landfills were established, and garbage was collected for sanitary disposal in dumps and landfills a safe distance from the general population. These measures led to a healthier environment, and allowed for further population growth.

    Utilizing the now well-developed science of rocketry, the modern exploration of space began in October, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1. This tiny satellite orbited the earth for 57 days, providing information on radiation and other phenomena in the upper atmosphere. In less than a year, the United States had also launched a satellite, Explorer 1. This started the "space race", years of competition between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to achieve new frontiers in space exploration. Space flight advanced rapidly from the simple sub-orbital flights of the 1950's, to manned missions to Earth's moon in the late 1960's. The rapid growth of space technology led to many practical applications, such as weather and surveillance satellites, and vastly improved worldwide communications. Today, although hindered by severe government budget cuts, the exploration of space continues.

    [repurposed from the Civilopedia Steel entry]
    The iron alloys produced up until about the 14th century were made by heating a mixture of iron ore and charcoal in a forge, then pounding the molten metal to drive out the impurities or "slag". Occasionally, the iron mixture would absorb more carbon, creating steel rather than wrought iron. Because steel proved to be less brittle and more resistant to corrosion than iron, techniques were developed to produce steel. This was done by blowing a coal derivative called coke through molten iron. Most modern steel making utilizes the "blast furnace", developed by Henry Bessemer in 1855, to accomplish this task on a large-scale basis. The strength and other qualities of steel make it the material of choice for warships, planes, and many other vehicles.
  3. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    CIVICS (Some still unwritten, others unwritten on account of already having entries)

    This represents the simplistic and often violent 'legal system' of pre-civilized society. Tribal custom plays a prominent role, but is easily overridden by brute force. Formalized courts or codes of law are completely lacking, and there are few means of resolving conflict other than blood feuds between the offended parties. This makes such societies prone to extremely protracted bouts of feuding and internecine warfare, placing them at a significant disadvantage compared to more settled legal systems.

    As society became more settled, existing customs grew formalized and expanded. Priests and scribes served as guardians of collective social memory by keeping track of longstanding precedents and rituals, often dating back centuries to quasilegendary founding heroes. Rulers sought to empower themselves by following the rites and policies established by such traditions.

    A tradition-based law system is stable and can draw on long, ancient backing. Its authority is difficult to question, since no modern figure can easily claim the right to change what was established by the ancestors. This can be a great weakness of the system when times change, but so long as the basic mechanisms of existence remain stable, the tradition-oriented culture gains a strong sense of its own values, and feels powerful ties to the legacy of its own ancestors.

    Authoritarianism is a long-established form of legal system. Under authoritarianism, all power to make and enforce law goes to a dictatorial overlord who enforces his decrees by raw power, using his army and secret police to suppress dissent and punish lawbreakers. There are many disadvantages to such a system. It is seldom internally consistent, inspires a great deal of fear, and can break down entirely when the supreme ruler is incompetent. From the point of view of the ruler, it has the enormous advantage of permitting him to do as he pleases, punishing his enemies and upholding his friends without regard to any other source of law. The stronger the forces available to enforce his will, the more freedom he enjoys and the more easily he can keep dissent and factionalism from creating problems for his rule.

    As writing became more common and societies grew large enough that local custom could no longer provide a uniform law code throughout the land, rulers found it necessary to write out elaborate legal systems and create a structure of 'meta-law' which established the rights of the nobles and commoners. This made the law system consistent not only in time, but in space- trade and migrants could move more safely through the realm. Moreover, rulers gained the advantage of making the common citizen dependent upon them. Rulers took on the mantle of givers and controllers of law, rather than being forced to defer to customs beyond their control, or to demand that citizens follow their every whim in ways that created instability and alienation among the people. Such written codes of law, and the increasing formalization of government offices that came with them, became steadily more common throughout the civilized world during the ancient and classical eras.

    As a side effect, codified legal systems promote the rise of a 'lawyer' class, who often double as more generalized scholars in pre-industrial societies- witness the Confucian scholars of China, or the rise of the qadis in the dar-al-Islam.

    One natural modification of a code of laws, a popular one in more liberty-loving societies, is the creation of formal constitutions that divide the responsibility of lawmaking into separate spheres. Certain issues are matters to be decided at the national level, others at the local level, and still others devolve entirely onto the citizenry, as a way of cultivating individual rights. Even within a given level of government, responsibility may be divided into separate bodies which cross-check each other's performance, so that no one group of men can take on the power to act as lawmaker, judge, and executioner all at once. This is widely regarded as a useful safeguard against tyranny.

    Of course, such systems come at a price- it's easy for such a system to become deadlocked due to struggle between separate branches of the government, or between national and provincial authority.

    The simplest form of organization for labor in society is the tribe, dating back to prehistoric times. Groups consisting of one or a few closely related extended families naturally assemble to work together for the sake of collective survival as hunter-gatherers or farmers.

    There are obvious drawbacks to this form of organization. Tribal hamlets lack the size and organization to produce effective specialization of labor or to perform major construction. Central governments, which rely heavily on their ability to organize labor to build public works and maintain armies, are generally less powerful where labor is organized along tribal lines.

    The increased population density made possible by agriculture caused humans to gather in larger groups, forming farming villages much larger than the tiny communities of prehistoric gatherers. By default, most of the population in ancient times was part of the agricultural workforce as subsistence farmers.

    Ancient societies were organized around these masses of peasant farmers. They had relatively few legal rights, but had a higher status than outright slaves. Village communities saw to many of their own needs when it came to the production of goods like pottery and metalware, making them relatively self-sufficient and potentially a source of strength for the state. When major projects were called for, rulers would often draft farmers as corveé labor, as opposed to maintaining a large force of laborers kept permanently at the government's expense.

    As steam power and machine tools revolutionized production, the natural result was a shift in the focus of the average citizen's labor. The vast population of subsistence farmers typical of pre-industrial times were steadily driven off their land by property taxes and the use of agricultural machinery to replace hand labor in the fields. At the same time, cities sustained by massive imports of cheap food from the countryside by rail and river showed a massive demand for labor.

    Over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the majority of humanity in the developed world moved from rural to urban life as part of the industrial proletariat, working at the direction of powerful business tycoons or central planners. These people found work as cogs in the growing machinery of the Industrial Revolution- laboring in the mills, the assembly lines, the masses of construction workers who moved mountains and dug canals to build the infrastructure of the modern world.

    It was an unhealthy lifestyle- most employers of the period were more concerned with getting the job done quickly than they were with worker safety. In exchange, the industrialized nations were rewarded with enormous gains in production and economic strength.

    The 'state of nature' hypothesized by Rosseau and Locke is an inaccurate description of primitive economic organization. Tribal societies often made do with relatively simple systems of communal food sharing, while other commodities were exchanged around the group in "gift economies" driven largely by the community's sense of collective obligation to the close friends and family around them.


    "He set a guard on your granaries, securing the weak from the strong;
    He said- "Go work the waterwheels, that were abolished so long.""
    -Kitchener's School, Rudyard Kipling

    Many of the great riverine civilizations of ancient times- particularly around the Mediterranean- were dominated by the economic power of the central government to distribute goods. Grain and other key staples were kept in granaries owned by the elite, and the state taxed property-owners heavily, taking payment in chattel goods such as livestock. Many workers were employed directly by the palaces and the temples.

    This kept a large reserve of valuable property in the direct hands of the government, and served as one of the main sources of a ruler's power. The storehouses' stockpiles could be kept in reserve for times of famine, or used to feed armies or labor battalions as necessary. Other forms of property, such as fabric, pottery, and precious metals, served as a source of income for the monarchs, allowing them to fund public works and pay specialist laborers.

    As agricultural productivity increased and the demand for specialist goods increased, it became less practical and less desirable to keep control of these industries in the hands of rulers. The invention of currency-based trade made independent life as a merchant or professional easier, especially in urban and semi-urbanized areas. Such trade also contributed to the rising influence of the proto-middle class, and promoted long-range commerce. The availability of rare goods at trading hubs increased, and centers of production where specialist goods were made profited.

    The most basic method of organizing an armed defense for the community is that of the militia. In primitive societies, every adult male is expected to fight (with varying competence) to either protect the village or to raid and harass neighbors. In more settled and organized societies, the duty of forming a militia tends to fall on volunteers armed and trained at community expense, or on elite classes of citizens who can afford their own weapons.

    Militia have the strategic advantages of being numerous, cheap to maintain from the central government's perspective, and of having reliable local loyalties that make them difficult to suborn. The large, corresponding disadvantages are that they are often less competent than more professional forces, difficult to keep in the field for long periods, and reluctant to fight far from their homes.

    [From Civ II Civilopedia for the tech of the same name]

    Compulsory enrollment in the armed forces has been practiced for thousands of years. In ancient Greece, before the introduction of a professional militia in about 2000 BC, men between the ages of 17 and 60 were obligated to serve in a civilian militia. The modern form of conscription was introduced in France during the Revolution in 1789. By the 19th century, nearly every industrialized country except for Great Britain and the United States had instituted a program of peacetime conscription. Many of the combatants in both World Wars fought with forces composed largely of conscripted troops.

    Conscription has the advantage of allowing the armed forces to expand rapidly, and continuous peacetime conscription of young men into the armed forces creates a large, well-trained reserve that can be called up during a war mobilization. The obvious disadvantages are that the economy suffers from dislocations after the conscripts are raised, and that the general public is often unhappy about being drafted to fight foreign wars.

    The idea that powerful nobles would fight on behalf of the ruling monarch of the state is extremely old. But in certain societies (medieval Japan, classical Persia, and Europe being obvious examples), this concept evolved into an elaborate, interlocking network of formalized relationships between the monarchy and the warrior-class that served it. Nobles would gain a formally recognized claim to a plot of land, and a guarantee of royal protection, in exchange for pledging their own troops and resources to support the crown.

    Under such a system, the nobles bear much of the costs of maintaining the armed forces, and the realm will unite swiftly to repel invaders even without a particularly powerful central government to mobilize the army- in theory. In practice, the nobles will often be reluctant to follow their oath to launch an expensive war on the king's behalf, and the monarchy must always be careful not to allow any of its vassals to gain enough power that they can feel confident in trying to seize the throne.

    Many societies have a special class that supplies the nation's fighting manpower during war. Such a class usually sets itself apart from the common run of the people, adopting distinct cultural behaviors and attitudes to meet the special needs of men who must be ready and able to fight at any time. Since powerful military figures tend to dominate their societies, this class often has the wealth and power to make its cultural preferences known throughout the land, finding expression in art and poetry that promotes the ideals of the heroic warrior and provides examples of such to the next generation. Even where an elite martial class is not present or not dominant over the mercantile and agricultural classes, military traditions can spill over into common society and come to dominate it- witness the rise of militarism in 19th century Prussia for an example.

    In general, this kind of war-culture promotes military fitness among the citizens and makes for a keen, well-led army. On the other hand, it often leads to the neglect of social or economic problems in favor of fixation on martial virtues. It can also lead to arrogant overconfidence when faced with a foe who doesn't share one's own warrior values.

    As nations grow large and prosperous, it is natural for them to expand their permanent cadre of armed forces into a continuous, professional organization which is paid for service on much the same basis as civilian employees would be. The rise of a professional military is usually accompanied by the rise of a dedicated bureaucracy or staff, which makes management of manpower and the military-industrial complex more efficient. Easy access into a volunteer military from citizens of all classes also makes the military an organ of social cohesion.
  4. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Here's one for the Cruiser unit.


    For centuries, "cruiser" existed as a mission designation- a 'cruiser' was a ship that cruised long distances on independent patrol, searching for the enemy or engaging in commerce warfare. This role typically fell upon sloops frigates, which were less heavily burdened than the massive ships of the line and thus better suited to long range independent operations. The frigates of the Age of Sail survived in recognizable form up through the mid-19th century. Auxiliary wood or coal-fired steam engines appeared to give the ship better mobility than sail alone could offer, but the basic design remained constant.

    The superiority of ironclads over wooden-hulled ships forced a redesign of this intermediate-sized warship. Early ironclads were short-ranged and unseaworthy; in the 1870s steam propulsion had matured to the point where a fast ship could be provided with a useful armor belt to protect it from enemy cannon fire. This gave rise to the "armored cruiser," usually tipping the scales at five to ten thousand tons, powerful enough to fight alongside the largest warships, but sacrificing some of a heavier battleship's firepower in exchange for speed.

    Early armored cruisers adopted the basic 'citadel' concept of other ironclads: a well-armored box covered the ship's steam engines, ammunition storage, and main guns. The main difference between cruisers and battleships was the cruiser's relatively smaller size and lighter weapons, along with a hull designed to allow for higher speed. Armored cruisers and battleships of the same generation usually had roughly the same layout because of this.

    At the beginning of the period, the norm was to equip ships with a small number of powerful broadside guns, with a few very heavy guns forward and aft. Over time, this gave way to lighter broadside guns (mostly meant to engage relatively small, poorly armored opponents) and two to four heavy guns mounted in turrets at the front and back ends of the 'box.' This arrangement was common among cruisers and battleships throughout the last third of the 19th century and into the early 20th.

    However, armored cruisers might be fast, but they were usually short ranged. For a time, unarmored cruisers soldiered on for long-range operations in colonial waters. In the 1880s the invention of lighter but stronger steel armor allowed these ships to be replaced by "protected cruisers" of two to five thousand tons. A protected cruiser had much less armor than a true 'armored' cruiser, but at least provided a solid deck that would prevent enemy fire from penetrating the ship's engine compartments and ammunition storage.

    These ships were mainly powered by steam, but had a limited backup sailing rig in case of engine failure, or for operations far from a coaling depot. As the 19th century closed, the backup sailing rigs began to lose popularity in favor of all-steam propulsion. However, a limited sailing rig can still be seen on some 1890s-vintage protected cruisers such as USS Olympia, which was preserved as a museum ship after serving as the American flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay.

    Moving into the 20th century, the 'broadside' armament concept was abandoned entirely, replaced by the idea of putting all a ship's main guns in turrets in a line along the length of the ship. This left much more room for the heaviest guns. Battleships built according to this principle are famously known as 'dreadnoughts;' the same changes affected cruisers.

    Armored cruisers evolved into 'battlecruisers:' fast ships with guns roughly the same size as those used by battleships of the same generation, but with thinner armor; battlecruisers tended to resemble battleships closely and often performed the same missions. Advances in engine technology and the gradual increase of ship tonnage allowed protected cruisers to carry stronger armor belts in addition to their decks, and to protect more of the ship; protected cruisers evolved into what later became known as "heavy" and "light" cruisers.

    During the World Wars, typical speed for a cruiser was around 30 knots (~55 km/h); main armament for a battlecruiser would be heavy naval artillery of around 15" caliber (~38 cm), while more ordinary cruisers limited themselves to a more numerous battery of 6" or 8" (15-20 cm) guns.

    The cruiser's missions of raiding, scouting, and escort duty stayed more or less unchanged, although battlecruisers were often drawn into intense combat between battleships even though their thinner armor protection made them dangerously vulnerable to enemy heavy guns as illustrated by the unfortunately named HMS Invincible, which was blown apart and sunk in less than two minutes at the Battle of Jutland.

    After World War Two, the cruiser, like all warships, saw major changes in design as advances in air power and missile technology made heavy naval artillery obsolete.
  5. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

    Jul 14, 2004
    Thanks for these Simon, they're excellent.

    I dislike that entry as it pretty much assumes that printing began with Gutenberg and ignores hundreds of years of earlier development in China and elsewhere (as does the BTS tech). With some reworking it will be alright though.
  6. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Chinese development was basically limited to printing off engraved pages, as I recall; in the Muslim world printing didn't catch on until much later. Printing had a huge impact in Europe because of the quirks of the Latin alphabet and other factors.

    Eh, we'll work something out.
  7. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Seriously, it's been four years and you guys still don't have civilopedia entries for some of this stuff? :D

    I still think we should use the vanilla Civ IV civilopedia text for "Printing," but if you really want I can rewrite it a bit.

    Aaaanyway, for some technologies...

    Charity is the virtue of willingness to give, to use one's time, resources, and influence for the benefit of others who need those things.

    Charity has been an ideal promoted by many cultures and numerous world religions throughout history. In the earliest recorded times and simplest known national governments, the charity of leaders such as kings and priests allowed an orderly redistribution of wealth. This served to take place of the traditional 'sharing' behaviors of tribal villages, implementing sharing and mutual protection on a larger scale.

    As the complexity of social systems, and the philosophical refinement of social mores, evolved through the ages, the practice of charity by hierarchies grew more pronounced. In the modern era, virtually all developed societies provide some degree of organized charity to the groups they deem vulnerable, such as children, the elderly, single parents, the unemployed, the sick, workers in economic sectors threatened by social, economic, and technological change, or underdeveloped foreign countries. This practice is augmented by similar charity practiced by private individuals (e.g. the Gates Foundation) and international organizations (e.g. Medicins Sans Frontieres)


    Chivalry comes from the Old French words for "knighthood" and "horsemanship." Chivalry was a European code of rules governing the behavior of an aristocratic class of warriors known as knights.

    First appearing in or around the 12th century, the rules of chivalry governed not only the knights' behavior in battle, but in their personal lives as well. The chief chivalric virtues of piety, honor, valor, courtesy, chastity, and loyalty represented a fusion of Christian and military morality.

    Other, comparable codes existed in many other societies. Out of many examples, a similar code of behavior known as "Bushido" or "the way of the warrior" governed the behavior of the samurai warriors of feudal Japan. Other societies which formed a warrior class subject to religious and moral codes of honor included ancient Persia and India.

    Although the strict practice of the code of chivalry had all but disappeared in Europe by the 16th century, the ideals of chivalric behavior became the basis for what is now considered to be gentlemanly conduct. Chivalry also forms part of the basis for what we now call "the laws of war," because it was in the customs of chivalry that one finds precedent for the idea that war is to be an honorable confrontation between warriors, rather than a predatory confrontation between one side's warriors and the other side's noncombatants.


    "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."
    -Christopher Guest, The Princess Bride

    Health care is the practice of acting so as to preserve or restore the health of the individual patient, although this is normally construed to not include basic sustenance needs such as air, water, and food.

    Health care can be divided into a wide range of overlapping categories. These include but are not limited to preventative care (to maintain health through nutrition, exercise, and hygiene), palliative care (to relieve the symptoms of a patient who cannot be cured by the available means), outpatient care (where the patient is able to function and live independently while undergoing treatment), urgent care (treatment of pressing medical problems that are nonetheless not life-threatening), and acute care (where a patient requires detailed monitoring or complex medical support and so must remain in a hospital with physicians in attendance)

    Since it affects what may be the foremost concern of nearly all humans- their health- health care occupies a large share of the total time and energy of the human race. Many (though not all) of the professionals involved in providing health care receive unusual prestige and wealth within their own societies. This was the case even in ancient times when the practice of medicine was primitive to the point of being life-threatening.

    In modern times, the health care system has become an elaborate and refined infrastructure, especially in developed nations. Not only is it an industry in its own right, it supports various other industries such as the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry. The challenge of working out how to efficiently pay for this vast system that keeps us alive and relatively comfortable is a subject of energetic debate in many societies.


    "And how can man die better, than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?"
    -Thomas Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome

    Heritage is that which, having been created by our ancestors, is given to us because our ancestors willed that it be given to us.

    The concept of "heritage" and similar words with the same root such as "inheritance" and "heredity" are fundamental to the human self-image. Nearly everyone feels affectionate bonds to both their ancestors and their descendants. As a result, there is a near-universal desire to make sure that one's descendants inherit the virtues, resources, and opportunities that made one's own successes possible. Conversely, there is a near-universal belief that one is entitled to practice the traditions, use the assets, and partake of the opportunities that one's ancestors enjoyed.

    More broadly, "heritage" can refer to the collective legacy left behind by the ancestral generations of an entire town, nation, culture, or civilization. This heritage can be material (natural resources cultivated and preserved by past generations), economic (control over property owned by ancestors), aesthetic (works of art that have endured through multiple generations), cultural (practices that protected or enriched the society in the past), or spiritual (the presumed supernatural protection of ancestral spirits, and the idea of following "the faith of one's fathers" as a gesture of unity with that which came before and that which will come in the future.

    How to efficiently preserve one's heritage, to obtain as large a share of its rewards as possible, while passing it down to the next generation in turn, is a preoccupation of most humans and most human societies. Individuals do this with legal procedures such as wills or through the practices of childrearing (intended to instill traditional virtues in the young). Nations fund museums and preservation projects, make laws regarding cultural practices, and sometimes even go to war for the sake of preserving their heritage from that which they perceive to threaten it.


    (quote provided)

    The humanities are the academic disciplines which study human behavior, organization, society, and culture. They include but are not limited to philosophy, history, archaeology, anthropology, theology, classical studies, law, semiotics, linguistics, and the arts.

    The fields collectively known as the humanities are generally pursued by specialized scholars or artists, who work steadily to refine their aesthetic sense, their understanding of the human condition, and their knowledge of the proper order of human affairs.

    While it is generally difficult to point to specific physical benefits garnered from these fields, collectively they make up almost all that motivates the human race. Without art, law, religion, history, and philosophy, human civilizations are at a loss as to how to organize themselves or what goals they should orient themselves towards.

    Individuals may pursue self-gratification or bare survival in the absence of these things, but social cohesion tends to break down rapidly when this is all that people have and share with each other. Thus, the humanities form the mortar, the glue, the nuts and bolts, that hold civilizations together.


    (quote provided)

    Infrastructure is the collective term for all those facilities and systems by which it is possible for human civilizations to carry out productive enterprises and maintain a functional economy.

    Examples of infrastructure assets include but are not limited to transportation facilities, electrical power grids, financial systems, water supplies, waste disposal facilities, flood control facilities, lighthouses, telecommunication networks, and arguably systems designed to provide services directly to the public such as education systems, law enforcement, public housing, and state-funded hospitals.

    Some types of infrastructure are nearly always created, maintained, and administered by government agencies. Others lend themselves better to privatization. The question of whether infrastructure should be publicly or privately owned is often hotly debated.

    The increasingly elaborate nature of infrastructure in advanced, developed societies is one of the main reasons they represent such a vast change in terms of lifestyle and quality of life from pre-industrial times. Industrial-scale projects make it possible to provide basic necessities of life to all citizens with little difficulty, enabling people to concentrate on things other than providing for their sustenance.

    For instance, a public water system that pipes drinkable water into every home saves a great deal of time and energy compared to requiring every individual to operate their own well, or draw water from a nearby river or lake. It is also possible to make such a water system much healthier and safer than individuals could do alone, and to provide quantities of water that would be an immense laborious undertaking in the absence of the general system of waterworks.

    While infrastructure makes us safe and prosperous, however, it can also make us vulnerable. Managing infrastructure with safety and reliability can require complex bureaucracy and confining regulations. And in times of war or natural disaster, large parts of a society's infrastructure may be destroyed, forcing thousands or millions of people to do without essential things which they had never lacked before.


    "Insurance - an ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table."
    -Ambrose Bierce

    Insurance is, at its core, a way of managing risk using contracts and the legal system. An insurance policy guarantees to the individual that, in the event that they suffer some sort of defined loss, they will be compensated for the resulting damages.

    This is widely desired in the modern world because a single accident can cause life-altering, massive consequences for individuals, or even for large organizations. Durable items of property such as complex machines, homes, and workplaces represent the accumulated hard work of years, and can be lost overnight in case of emergency. It is seldom practical for individuals and corporations to store up enough money to replace the losses quickly, so such emergencies can lead to ruin.

    Insurance systems operate by collecting small "premiums" of money from a large base of clients, and then pooling this money to use in case a disaster strikes any one of the clients. Since the disasters are generally highly unlikely, spreading the risk of loss and damage among numerous clients can reduce the cost of insurance to a very manageable level.

    The use of scientific statistical calculations can predict the risk of disaster and allow the insurance provider to tailor their coverage to the individual- those who are deemed 'high risk' typically end up paying larger premiums. This is meant to compensate for the increased danger that the insurer will have to pay to cover the accidents they are likely to suffer.

    Insurance is an extremely complex field morally, economically, and legally. Insurance companies often hold onto large sums of money, and by the nature of their business tend to extract considerable profit from the fear of crises, from those who fear illness, injury, or property damage. Insurance contracts can be immensely complicated in an attempt to limit the insurance company's payout in case the client acts in ways they deem improper.

    However, insurance is likely to remain a permanent part of civilized life, a direct result of the human desire to reduce the risks of life in a dangerous world- and to replace them with steady, predictable costs of doing business.


    (quote provided)

    Jurisprudence is the theory of making legal decisions, and is practiced by judges, juries, magistrates, or other individuals or groups that are empowered to determine the right or wrong in matters of law.

    Jurisprudence can relate to questions about the law in and of itself, such as whether a particular case contradicts some principle enshrined in a particular nation's law, such as a ban on 'double jeopardy.' Or it can relate to questions about whether the laws are just and appropriate, and whether they are being appropriately enforced, in light of their social consequences.

    Many ancient societies developed bodies of law and particular methods by which a case could be judged according to the law. In many cases the law was supplemented by what is called 'precedent-' the idea that if courts have decided in the past that a certain act is legal or illegal, or that certain responses are appropriate to a certain situation, then those same decisions should be repeated in new cases, rather than changed. Observing precedent has the effect of making law more orderly and predictable, making it easier to be certain whether or not one is obeying the law, and minimizing the risk that a judge will make an inappropriate decision for personal reasons.

    Jurisprudence was further developed in the Middle Ages as scholarship spread and legal systems grew more complex- in Renaissance-era Europe, in Islam during the Golden Age, in China during the Tang and later dynasties, and so forth. An immense variety of philosophies of jurisprudence then evolved and continued to flourish, as each society pursued its respective concepts of law and justice, in an attempt to establish a benevolent order throught their lands.


    (quote provided)

    Marketing is the practice of persuading people that an object, idea, or behavior is desirable (and, usually, is worth paying for).

    Marketing has existed in some form since prehistoric times; one may speculate that the first marketing activities were invented within five minutes of the first invention of commerce.

    Common practices in primitive marketing include direct personal approaches, flattery of the customer, praise of the product (intellectually honest or otherwise), and efforts to make the seller appear sympathetic and likeable to the prospective buyer.

    The development of mass media such as broadcast radio, print journalism, and film made it possible to market on a larger scale. The rise of a working and middle class in developed societies with enough disposable income to buy luxury goods made it desirable to do so. The growth of modern industrial corporations that could produce goods in immense quantities made it *necessary* to do so.

    Common practices in modern marketing include direct personal approaches, flattery of the customer, praise of the product (intellectually honest or otherwise), and efforts to make the seller appear sympathetic and likeable to the prospective buyer. The main difference is that all these things are now transmitted from the individual advertiser to the mass of the population through new communications technology such as printing, broadcasts, or the Internet.

    The practice of marketing is often criticized for dishonesty, for misleading people into paying for that which is useless to them, for encouraging people to go into debt, and for discouraging people from thrift and from building up savings for the future.

    It is also criticized for the increasingly intrusive way in which, in the modern computerized era, marketers use "big data" to analyze individuals' purchasing habits and tailor advertisements to them. This is widely regarded as intrusive, and as having ominous implications for the individual's privacy and control over their own life in the future.
  8. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Oh, and here are two more I did a few years ago that got lost, I think.


    (quote provided)

    Meteorology is the science of weather, how it behaves and how it can be predicted in advance.

    Investigation into the structure and nature of the Earth's atmosphere and climate began in the Middle Ages, with investigations into phenomena like twilight and rainbows. Renaissance-vintage instruments and technology sped up the process in Europe. Scientific study of weather benefitted from the rise of instruments to measure temperature, pressure, wind speed, humidity, and the like.

    18th century natural philosophers achieved the real breakthroughs in defining a global pattern of climate. With plenty of data from places around the world thanks to the Age of Colonization and its sea voyages, and with the tools to understand the way that the distant sun warms the Earth coming from astronomy, scientists like Hadley could identify the major wind and weather patterns on the world's oceans, which had great benefits for seafaring.

    The 19th century saw refinement of meteorology and the first organized networks of weather observers that could communicate faster than a storm could travel, using the new electromagnetic telegraph. Radio accelerated this process further yet, but the real breakthroughs were the rise of computer and satellite technology in the 1950s and 1960s. An electronic computer can perform enough calculations to simulate weather in advance, predicting it long before it has any chance of arriving to affect us. Weather satellites can directly observe any kind of weather, no matter how intense, without fear; they orbit above the entire atmosphere and are immune to wind, rain, snow, and lightning. This lets us track hurricanes and project their course accurately, which has saved vast sums of life and property since the first decades of satellite technology.


    (quote provided)

    Nanotechnology is the craft of creating molecular 'machinery' to perform customized chemical and biological operations at a very small scale.

    Up through the 20th century, the sciences of chemistry and medicine relied on naturally occuring substances, or large-scale manipulation and processing of those substances, to produce what was needed. Chemicals might be mixed in a vat and heated up, or exposed to some other substance or condition, but there was no direct interaction between the human operator and the molecules themselves: they are simply left to act in accordance to blind forces that affect every part of the material at once.

    The idea of nanotechnology or 'nanotech,' pioneered by figures like Eric Drexler of MIT, is that we can create complex molecules which act like tiny machine tools. These molecular tools would have identifiable parts like tiny levers, wheels, and 'grippers' made up of varying structures of single atoms. They could then grab hold of a material surface or molecules floating in a solution, and break them up or reassemble them as needed.

    This would have many applications. Nanotech could be used to 'build' materials with unusual or extreme properties atom by atom, to clean up dangerous chemicals, or to enter into the body and attack cancer cells or toxins. Advocates expect them to perform all manner of tasks which cannot be achieved by simpler, conventional means of industrial chemistry.

    One example of successful, naturally-occuring 'nanotech' is the use of biological enzymes in industrial chemistry. An enzyme can take a chemical reaction that would normally happen slowly or not at all (like sugar turning into alcohol in a fermented beverage) and greatly speed it up. Nanotechnology researchers hope to take the potential of natural enzymes and generalize them to do whatever we can imagine, by controlling the molecular structure of matter.

    Some say nanotechnology will totally revolutionize the production of goods and distribution of resources around the world. Others question this, pointing out that nanotech molecular machines will be inherently large, relatively fragile molecules that may not survive well outside a controlled environment. It is also uncertain whether nanotech would ever be more efficient than 'macro-scale' processes for making large objects: nanotech could be a good way to apply a coating to an engine part, but not such a good way to make the part in the first place.

    Still, it seems likely that 21st century chemistry and biochemistry will be greatly strengthened by advances in this field, even if industry and society as a whole are not changed so much.


    Editing in a few more... they're like potato chips, except that I actually can eat just one potato chip.


    (quote provided)

    A "nation" refers to a somewhat flexible concept- the idea of a group of people who, tied together by a combination of ethnic, cultural, territorial, and political factors, form a distinctive unit that is thus separate from any other 'nation' or 'people.'

    "Nationalism" is the ideology which praises, upholds, and promotes the nation as the ideal that should govern the actions of the nation's people. Under nationalism, the people are expected to love and support the nation, and to ensure that its economy prospers, its cultural heritage is preserved, its boundaries are protected, and its enemies are defeated. Rule by foreigners is not to be tolerated, and the people who live within the nation's physical borders are expected to adhere to its cultural values and support its institutions.

    While one can find examples of what we would now call nationalism or patriotism in pre-modern times, nationalism in the modern sense is a relatively new concept- the idea that the legitimacy of a government over a region is directly tied to how faithfully it represents the people of that region. This does not require that the government in question be democratic or particularly just, only that it support the nation and be a reflection of national interests.

    The 19th and 20th centuries have seen a particularly intense rise of nationalism throughout the world, with the result that numerous multicultural empires have broken up into their component 'nations-' and the process is nowhere near complete, as events in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East illustrate.


    "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds... Have no fear for atomic energy, 'cause none of them can stop the times..."
    -Bob Marley, Redemption Song

    During the decade after the first violent, explosive release of atomic energy as a weapon, scientists and engineers continued to work on building structures that could release the energy of nuclear fission slowly, in a controlled manner that could be used to heat steam and thus drive an electric power planet.

    Building nuclear power plants requires great engineering ability and attention to detail, as a large number of different elements of the reactor system have to operate in balance. Should the balance be disturbed, the reactor will either cease to generate any energy, or will overheat and "melt down," resulting in violent chemical explosions and the spread of radioactive debris both in the immediate area of the plant, and over longer distances in the form of 'fallout.'

    Much work has gone into ensuring that accidents at nuclear reactors, including earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks, and tornadoes will cause the reactor to "fail safe" and go cold and dead, rather than melting down. Modern designs are relatively safer, whereas older designs are often less reliable and less likely to "fail safe" rather than "fail deadly."

    The fruit of this labor is, of course, nuclear energy. Powered by a supply of uranium which is expected to last for a period of time ranging from a few centuries to a millenium, nuclear fission is a low-carbon method of generating electrical power. As such, it does not contribute significantly to global warming or produce significant air pollution of other kinds. However, nuclear power has the unique drawback among all known methods of power generation that it creates considerable amounts of radioactive waste. This waste ranges from great quantities of building materials irradiated to near-negligble levels by being part of the walls of the plant, to the intensely radioactive "spent fuel rods" that used to make up the reactor's core until they 'burn out' over time.

    Storage of radioactive waste is very problematic because most people are understandably reluctant to live near a radioactive waste storage facility, and because the more highly radioactive wastes have to be stored in large, heavily armored containers to protect the public from any risk of them being broken open, or stolen by terrorists seeking to take advantage of the radioactive materials inside.

    Nuclear power is used both on land, and to power warships. For warships, nuclear power has several major advantages, among them that it allows a ship to travel quickly for weeks or months at a time without needing to refuel- the reactor only needs refueling every few decades.

    Civilian nuclear power, meanwhile, is considered controversial because of the perception of risk.

    High profile meltdown disasters at aging plants with inadequate fail-safe systems such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have resulted in evacuations of potentially affected lands, deaths by radiation poisoning among plant workers and it is statistically near-certain that at least some cancer deaths have resulted among the public. Because the nature of radioactivity, and means of protecting oneself against it, are widely unknown to the general public, the risk of such meltdowns causes great fear and concern, especially in light of the risk of areas tens of kilometers on a side being rendered uninhabitable.

    Nuclear power advocates argue, conversely, that even including these accidents, the number of deaths caused per kilowatt-hour of energy generated is less for nuclear power than for any other major mode of electrical generation, due to the high pollution levels associated with fossil fuels and the accident risks associated with hydroelectric dams.

    Civilian nuclear power plants, commonly associated with their iconic hyperboloid "cooling towers" are found in 31 countries, generating 13% of the world's electricity as of 2012.


    (quote provided)

    Oratory is the art of using one's voice for public speaking.

    This art was especially vital in pre-literate times, as it was the sole means by which any person could communicate with a large group of people, but it retained great value for millenia after the advent of writing.

    A skilled orator would be exceptionally persuasive, using their control of their voice's tone, pitch, and volume to be more authoritative and convincing. They could also use practiced phrases and imagery to rapidly persuade those around them.

    Using these tools, the orator could convince crowds to do their bidding, or talk crowds out of a course of action they deemed unwise. They could convince armies to show courage, bodies of aristocrats or legislators to approve a law, and flocks of worshippers to donate, labor, or fight for their gods.

    Virtually all political leaders who come into contact with the public were comparatively skilled in oratory, or at least trained by the best available teachers to master the art. This trend continued until historically recent times, and in many cases is still in play today, since leaders still speak to their people even if the speeches are usually delivered by a television.
  9. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

    Jul 14, 2004
    Heh, if I didn't skip most pedia entries you'd all still be waiting for the release of 1.18 or thereabouts! I try to add a few more with every release, though mostly in places where its harder for others to know what I'm intending. Lately I've been updating and adding new articles in the Concepts section.

    It's meant to be used, looks like the link to it got cut accidentally.

    Outstanding work, yet again. Thank you.
  10. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    You are very much welcome. And one more. :)


    (quote provided)

    Pastoralism is a term for the art of raising livestock. It is also used in sociology, to describe a way of life that revolves around herding and caring for domestic animals.

    Pastoral societies are generally most successful on poorly productive land such as large, dry stretches of desert, savannah, hills, or tundra. In this sort of terrain, dense stands of food crops cannot be grown naturally, so farming is impossible without modern irrigation. However, in such biomes there is a substantial natural supply of grasses and shrubs; humans cannot eat them, but sheep, cattle, goats, or yaks can.

    It is often but not always the case that a pastoral people 'follows their herds,' moving from one part of the land they occupy to another to ensure that they have access to the best available grazing, water supplies, and a healthy climate for their animals.

    Pastoral societies present a common alternative to agricultural societies, and were capable of functioning and thriving on equal terms with them up until the rise of modern technology. They could be particularly effective in warfare, especially when leaders took advantage of their self-sufficient, highly mobile lifestyle to create an army of self-sufficient, highly mobile soldiers.

    In modern times, however, the inability of small pastoral communities to manufacture modern weapons, coupled with overpopulation problems, have made it less sustainable and practical for these peoples to live in their traditional mode.
  11. Brytenwalda

    Brytenwalda Chieftain

    Aug 5, 2015
    The Dutch Blue Guard (Dutch: Blauwe Garde) was an elite infantry unit of the army of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The most notable campaigns where they fought included the Nine Years' War (1688–97), these elite soldiers fought in the Dutch army in several battles in Europe. They were pronoun forces in several key battles in the Nine Years' War. They also fought in the War of Spanish Succession and In several other regional conflicts in Europe.

    All royal guards thought of themselves as the elite of their national armies. Sometimes, they were court regiments where a martial appearance was valued more than real soldiering. The Blue Guards, however, have a tradition of fighting, and can shame any line regiment with their discipline and skill. This does not make them popular as they are, of course, all gentlemen and superior to any mere common infantry.

    Historically, the Blue Guards began as the personal bodyguard to Protestant William of Orange (later William III of England and Scotland). They followed him as he drove out the Catholic King James II after the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. They were at the forefront of the attack during the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690, wading across the river to fall upon James’ line. With William’s claim to the throne secure after James’ defeat, the Blue Guards remained his personal bodyguards until his death in 1702: William could not bring himself to really trust Englishmen. After his death the Blue Guards returned to the Netherlands, and resumed duties there, playing a key role in the War of Spanish Succession.

    The Dutch Blue Guards in the War of Spanish Succession (OPTIONAL Line ripped from wiki)
    During the war of Spanish Succession, the 4th regiment, The Blue Guards, saw action on many battlefields in Europe. It was part of the Allied armies under the command of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, a British general. Armies of Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Austria, Prussia, Hanover, Portugal, the German Empire and Savoy were united in an alliance. They fought against Louis XIV of France, who had the support of Bavaria and Cologne. The Blue Guards were not present at the Allied victory of Blenheim, but greatly distinguished themselves at the Battle of Ramillies, under the command of Colonel Wertmuller, storming two French held villages on the Allied left. They also fought bravely and suffered heavy losses at Malplaquet, fighting under the command of the Prince of Orange on the Allied left flank.

    The Allied forces achieved a number of victories over the French, including at Hochstadt, Ramillies, Turin, and Oudenaerde Malplaquet. Only in 1713 began talks that eventually led to a peace agreement. In 1714, Baden in Rastatt and the peace treaties signed.
  12. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011

    (quote provided)

    Patronage is the practice of a wealthy or powerful individual choosing to support an artist, charitable organization, scholar, or other worthy cause. This support generally takes the form of donations of money or the exercise of political influence.

    Patronage is vital to the survival of the arts, even in the modern era when artists can at least occasionally rely on state grants to support their activities- which arguably is itself a form of patronage.

    In the medieval and renaissance eras, in particular, the patronage of aristocrats, wealthy merchants, and even kings and emperors had major consequences for the evolution of human knowledge.

    Emperors and merchant princes funded great voyages of discovery that traveled across continents. Kings and queens adopted radical philosophers into their courts, giving the philosophers the security they needed to publish ideas about human nature, ethics, and political theory.


    [Personally I think the quote provided is a bit undignified for something which has saved so very many lives... I suggest...]

    "Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art. It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters; it deals with the very processes of life, which must be understood before they may be guided."


    "Laughter is the best medicine- unless you're diabetic, then insulin comes pretty high on the list."
    -Jasper Carrott


    "I don't expect to get yesterday's medicine. If I can help it, I'd like to get tomorrow's medicine."
    -Elizabeth Edwards

    Pharmaceuticals are drugs used to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease.
    The use of natural or artificial substances has accompanied the art of medicine since prehistoric times. In ancient times the effectiveness of pharmaceutical treatment varied wildly. Empirical experiments sometimes revealed a substance that would work to treat an illness. On the other hand, in a society almost entirely unaware of the basic principles of anatomy and chemistry, many actively dangerous substances were used as 'medicine' such as toxic heavy metals and poisonous plants.

    As the practice of scientific medicine emerged in the 1800s, it took a considerable amount of time for efficient pharmaceuticals to accompany it. Even as late as 1900, physicians had few reliably effective medicines other than disinfectants and painkillers.

    However, the rise of organic chemistry and improvements in chemical synthesis made it more practical to analyze chemical compounds proven effective against disease, reproduce them, and test artificial variations on the successful themes. By 1950 the list of available pharmaceuticals was growing rapidly and this continues to the present day.

    Thus, modern medicine has a vast arsenal of weapons against disease, ranging from the innocuous to the borderline-lethal, from the cheap to the almost unfathomably expensive.



    (quote provided)

    Photography is the practice of using artifical tools to capture visual images in a durable form.

    Photography relies on optical devices (usually lenses) to focus incoming light onto a light-sensitive surface, which is then altered by the light so that the effect of the light on the surface can be stored for later reference.

    Experiments with photography began around 1800 with efforts to capture images created in a camera obscura (pinhole camera) using light-sensitive chemicals. These efforts began to bear fruit in the 1820s with the development of the photographic plate. Early photography required that the photograph be exposed to the image it was meant to record for a period of hours, making it impractical for any purpose other than taking pictures of landscapes or buildings.

    By the late 1830s, Louis Daguerre had refined the process until the exposure time had fallen to ten minutes, making it practical for an individual person to be photographed. In 1839, the French government presented Daguerre's method, "open source," as a gift of France to the world.

    Meanwhile, other experimentalists worked on promising avenues, such as the creation of photographic 'film' which would form a 'negative,' reversed version of the image (light parts would be dark and vice versa). Further advances in making photographs durable, reproducible, and quick-exposing continued throughout the nineteenth century.

    Around 1900, Eastman and Kodak introduced photographic film- a flexible roll of material that could be used as a backing for light-sensitive chemicals in the camera, removing the need for large, fragile glass photographic plates. Film replaced plates for almost all types of photography other than scientific applications.

    (Glass plate photography revolutionized astronomy, for instance, by allowing astronomers to record observations or gather up all the light coming to their telescope from the same star onto a single plate for an hours-long exposure.)

    Color photography, meanwhile, had been practiced as early as the 1860s based on improved scientific understanding of light. However, it was impractical for normal applications until the mid-20th century, representing a further advance over the previously monochrome photos of the era.

    By the 1970s and '80s, the art of photography had largely stabilized on the standard of film cameras capable of imaging multiple colors on the same piece of film, which would then be "developed" in a laboratory using special chemicals to stabilize and desensitize the film. The resulting film would then form 'negatives' from which accurate reproductions of the original image could be reconstructed.

    However, photography was once again revolutionized by the rise of electronic 'digital' cameras. Today, digital cameras that electronically detect light and send the resulting images into digital storage have largely replaced chemical film.

    Digital cameras have the advantages of requiring no development, storing nigh-unlimited numbers of photos, and being so easily miniaturized that they can be casually attached to a device the size of a pack of cards, as a cheap extra feature.
  13. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011

    (quote provided)

    Plumbing is the practice of using pipes and channels to control the flow of water, generally through populated areas, for human use. Plumbing is normally seen as distinct from irrigation, which is used to provide water for crops.

    Primitive societies generally lack the means to create a plumbing system, which requires careful craftsmanship and large-scale collaboration. More advanced civilizations, such as those of the Indus valley circa 2700 BC, began working on organized supplies of clean water quite early in human history, however. Clean water to drink and bathe in is one of the most fundamental human desires, and is shared universally across cultural lines, driving the independent invention of plumbing in many times and places.

    Typical elements of an early plumbing infrastructure include systems of pipes, channels and ducts to gather rainwater and bring it to central locations, and other such channels to remove wastewater. Such channels were typically made of brick, pottery, or other ceramic.

    Specifically within the Mediterranean world, civilizations known or remarkable for their achievements in the art of plumbing include the Minoans (inventors of the flush toilet), the ancient Greeks (inventors of the pressurized shower for bathing), and of course the Romans.

    The Romans brought ancient plumbing to its height, combining the earthenware apparatus with metallic plumbing made of copper or lead. For their larger cities, the Romans augmented the naturally available supplies of fresh water with enormous aqueducts to bring water from a distance of many kilometers, emptying into large reservoirs.

    In Europe the art of plumbing declined after the fall of the Roman Empire, and public sanitation and health declined with it. Other civilizations, such as those of Persia, China, and the Mayans, retained many of the sophisticated systems alluded to above.

    Major advances in plumbing further developed during the Enlightenment era. With the rise of knowledge about microorganisms and early chemistry, engineers began devising pipes with filters and bends to strain out harmful microbes. The idea of 'waste treatment' emerged, with sewage being processed chemically or biologically so that it would become less infectious- and less smelly. Chlorination of water was introduced to kill germs such as typhus and prevent epidemics.

    Today, plumbing is one of the seldom-contemplated foundations of our industrial civilizations and the vast populations they support. By supplying a fundamental human need to drink water and remain clean, in a highly safe and efficient manner, plumbing becomes indispensible to our lives.



    (quote provided)

    Pneumatics is the art of using pressurized air or gas as the basis for working machinery.

    Pneumatics are made practical by the efficient use of metalworking (to create airtight pipes) and organic chemistry (to create glues, resins, and other substances that can form an airtight seal over cloth or other more flexible substances).

    Among the advantages of pneumatics are that for many pneumatic systems, the working gas is freely available and nontoxic- to wit, air. Other working gases such as carbon dioxide do present toxicity or asphyxiation hazards, but in exchange tend to allow higher performance. Pneumatic systems tend to be rugged, reliable, and safe due to their being subject to minimal levels of shock from the easily compressed gases acting as a 'cushion.'

    Applications include brakes, drills, motors, control systems for ventilating structures, musical instruments, automatic tools such as jackhammers, and automatically-reloading firearms.


    (quote provided)

    Politics, from the Greek for "of or pertaining to citizens," is the practice of influencing people, particularly with the aim of acquiring and using power within a government.

    The tactics and techniques of politics vary depending on the society. In autocratic societies, the key to political success is the personal appeal to the leader and their most trusted subordinates, along with efforts to undermine rivals and make them appear to be threats to the system. In democracies, a massive range of tools and methods are used to appeal to the general public and acquire their support. Likewise, practitioners of politics in democracies also seek to undermine their opponents, generally attacking their popularity- by means both fair and foul.

    The framework that determines what political methods are allowed in a given society can be viewed as a political 'system.' For example, long-established parliamentary democracies have a system that makes violent overthrow of the government unacceptable, such that even if such a coup succeeded, it is likely that the victorious military leader would have difficulty persuading the public to obey orders. Conversely, autocratic systems generally prohibit any form of politics that would involve organizing the masses to express disapproval of state policy.

    Formal theorizing on politics dates back to the time of figures such as Plato and Confucius, and represents a major transition in the history of human civilization- because it represents serious, intellectual reflection on the question "how best shall we organize ourselves?"
  14. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Hm. I suggest as a possible alternate quote for physics:

    “We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow."
    -Pierre-Simon Laplace

    In my own opinion this idea is more fundamental to physics as we know it than Newton's Third Law is. But that's, like, my opinion.

    For the record, Laplace was one of the great physicists of the 'wave' after Newton, who took his basic mathematical techniques and refined and expanded on them so that they were proven to be part of a grand, persuasive context.

    Another major individual, who I'd suggest a quote from if only I could find one, would be du Chatelet. Emilie du Chatelet, who I advertise whenever possible, because she may well have been the first female scholar whose contributions were mainly in the field of physics, and because she frankly deserves most if not all of the credit for the law of conservation of energy. Newton didn't believe in kinetic energy.


    Now, quantum gravity still needs a quote. I suggest one of the following:

    "The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."
    -Werner Heisenberg

    "How wonderful that we have met with a paradox! Now we have some hope of making progress."
    -Niels Bohr

    "Something deeply hidden had to be behind things."
    -Albert Einstein

    "...But underneath the words, at the center, like the center of the Square, it all came out even. Everything could change, yet nothing would be lost. If you saw the numbers you could see that, the balance, the pattern. You saw the foundations of the world. And they were solid.”
    -Ursula K. Le Guin

    As for the text of the entry...


    As of the late 20th century, the art of physics had converged on a set of well understood theories to describe nature. There are several gaps, defects, or vulnerabilities in this universal model.

    Firstly, this set of theories stands on two pillars. One is the nature of gravity, as outlined by Einstein's theory of "general relativity" in 1920 and refined since that time, which treats time and space as flexible things that can be warped by . The other is "quantum field theory," which describes the behavior of subatomic particles, treating each particle as a special instance of a generalized, abstract field of force and probability that permeates the universe.

    The problem is that quantum field theory, otherwise known as the Standard Model, assumes that time and space are fixed, inflexible, and invariant- that they are the constant and unchanging playing field on which particle interactions are allowed to happen. In other words, the Standard Model does not obey the theory of relativity.

    Therefore, it cannot be the whole story. Einstein's general relativity appears to be a solid and essentially complete picture of a key part of reality, the Standard Model is not. It is solid, it explains the behavior of nearly all things that can be seen on Earth or in the heavens... but it is not complete.

    Moreover, the Standard Model explains only *almost* all known phenomena- and some of the ones it cannot explain present very large issues.

    The Standard Model does not explain the nature or origins of dark matter or dark energy... and yet astronomers have reason to believe that these things make up 95% of all substance in the universe today.
    The Standard Model does not explain why the ghostly neutrino particles coming from the Sun appear to randomly reshuffle their nature, in a way the Standard Model deems impossible.

    The Standard Model predicts that in the beginning of the universe, matter and antimatter 'should' have been created in equal quantities, and devoured each other totally, leaving behind nothing but light and radiation in all of space. In hindsight, this appears not to have occurred.

    For this and other reasons, despite the Standard Model providing huge advances in our understanding compared to anything that came before it, it is not the last step.

    Research into these matters is ongoing today. It is hoped that future physics will emerge which resolves some of these contradictions. In particular, it is hoped that these new physics will allow us to create a model of quantum physics that is consistent with Einstein's work on gravity- thus the name, "quantum gravity."
  15. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

    Jul 14, 2004
    Thanks for those. I chose the Heisenberg quote for Quantum Gravity. The Bohr quote was really good too, but we'd already quoted him for Particle Physics. Still mulling over the Physics quote.
  16. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    The Le Guin quote would also suit Physics, in my opinion. She did a good job, there, of conveying what the science is all about.

    However, it would also be anachronistic, whereas Laplace is... almost the perfect example of an Enlightenment-era physicist. Stiffly philosophical, supremely convinced that the universe followed logical, elegant rules, and with the mathematical and analytical skills to prove that it did.

    By contrast, Newton was something of a mystic- prone to reach farther than the evidence justified; did you know that his theory of optics and light basically concluded that it would OH MY GOD EXPLAIN EVERYTHING if only light consisted of little particles shaped like cereal boxes, tumbling end-over-end through the air? And, as noted, he never did quite grasp that kinetic energy was a thing, despite some respectable proofs of that notion existing.


    (quote provided)

    Property refers to the concept that a certain object, idea, or place is solely under the authority of some specific person or entity, and is not available for the use of others without the consent of that 'owner.'

    The most basic Neolithic societies known to us usually have concepts of individual ownership of certain items, such as tools and caches of food. This is often combined with widespread sharing of the goods, usually done for purposes of reinforcing social ties.

    Such a practice results in very cohesive societies. However, such societies often have difficulty organizing their surplus resources to commit to large-scale projects not of immediate use to any one person (such as infrastructure, ceremonial architecture, or military expeditions). Moreover, the system tends to break down in the presence of large numbers of strangers, because it relies on individuals being willing to freely share their belongings with each other.

    For both these reasons, the rise of cities generally went hand-in-hand with the rise of accumulated property in the hands of social elites, a trend which has persisted throughout recorded history to the present day.



    (quote provided)

    Radar is a method of using radio waves to observe one's surroundings by technological means. Derived from the acronym "RAdio Detection And Ranging," radar permits observation to continue at distances the naked eye cannot reach, in conditions of bad weather and darkness the eye cannot penetrate, with machine-like precision the eye cannot duplicate. It is particularly useful for detecting aircraft at long range, although it can also be used from an aircraft to survey the land, or from a ship to detect another ship at sea.

    Innovation in radar technology began shortly before the Second World War, with Britain in the lead and other nations such as Germany and the US following close behind. The British capitalized on their advantage and developed the highly effective "Chain Home" system of early warning stations to detect any enemy aircraft trying to attack their island.

    This proved a very useful defensive asset in resisting the severe German air attacks of 'the Blitz' during late 1940. Combined with other uses of the radio spectrum (such as cunningly mimicking German navigation beacons so that German bombers would get lost in the dark and bomb random wheat fields instead of British cities), Britain used its advantage in radar to wage what Winston Churchill called a "wizards' war" that complemented the air war then being fought.

    When the tables began to turn in 1943, the Germans too found radar a useful means of defending against British and American air attack, although the sheer mass of the Allied war machine caused their defenses to break down by late 1944. Meanwhile, the Germans' submarine warfare campaign likewise suffered from Allied use of radar to detect submarines; and on the other side of the world, the total lack of effective radar on the part of their allies, the Japanese, played a major role in Japan's defeat in air and naval combat from 1942 on.

    Radar became far more advanced and developed in the postwar era with the steady rise of electronics technology, especially after the vacuum tube gave way to the integrated circuit. The military continues to make use of radar imaging as the primary means of tracking aircraft, and also employs it to scan the ground from the air. In civilian applications, radar is used to coordinate commercial air traffic to prevent collisions, and is a common, valuable scientific instrument whenever detailed imagery needs to be taken from a distance.


    (quote provided)

    "Renewable energy" is a term used in industry to refer to methods of generating electrical power that can be 'renewed' indefinitely, rather than relying on some supply of fuel that will run out in the foreseeable future.

    We can predict that at some future time the world's reserves of uranium, natural gas, coal, and (especially) oil will run out. Or, more accurately, there will come a time at which it becomes economically impractical to extract the remaining supply of these materials, due to the extreme cost of doing so.

    By contrast, other sources of power are likely to go on indefinitely. Geothermal power is driven by slow radioactive decay inside the earth, tidal power by the gravitational strength of the moon, and solar power is driven by the sun. All three sources of energy will exist as long as our solar system remains in some recognizable form. Likewise, wind and hydroelectric power take advantage of the Earth's naturally occurring water and air cycles, and are driven by its weather; they will exist so long as there is weather to draw power from.

    Through the 20th century, renewable energy sources other than hydroelectric energy usually went relatively undeveloped. In some cases this was because of the need for computerized design and coordination to make the systems effective (especially for wind power); in others, it was purely a matter of economics, with power from expendable fuel being cheaper and easier to supply. However, in recent times, many nations have seen fit to explore renewable energy. The hope is that renewable power sources will provide lower environmental impact and longer-term, more sustainable energy into the indefinite future, after other sources of power are exhausted.



    (quote provided)

    Representation is the practice of having one person stand in for the interests of another person, or of many people.

    In the context of politics, a government official can be said to 'represent' a 'constituency' who select that official, support them, and hold them accountable for the government's actions. This is a feature of democratic governments.

    Representative democracy began to evolve in ancient Athens and Rome. The working-class Roman plebeians, in particular, played a major role in creating the concept. In the 490s BC, the plebeians went on a mass strike and refusing to do any more labor until the elite patrician class created the office of the "plebeian tribune." The tribunes were elected by the plebeians to protect their interests from the relatively wealthy and powerful patricians. Toward this end, the tribunes were empowered to block any action taken by the Senate, which was called "veto" from the Latin for "I forbid." Likewise, they were legally sacrosanct and any person who so much as touched a tribune or interfered with their duty in any way could be put to death.

    This idea, that the masses could vote not only on policy issues but on the creation of officials to protect their interests and govern the state on their behalf, remained largely dormant in Western society until the rise of the commercial republics of the late Middle Ages. After that time it began to flourish during the Enlightenment era, for a simple reason.

    Direct democracy, in which all citizens vote on all actions taken by the state, becomes impossibly unwieldy when the state contains more than, at most, about ten thousand citizens. It is also impractical if the citizenry is spread over a large area so that it cannot meet regularly. For a republic that is several days' travel across, or which has many thousands of voters, to function, representation becomes vital.

    The first large European state to employ representative democracy in a significant way was England. The English parliament, which originated as a means for the king to gather the representatives of the populace to hear his wishes and agree on ways to fund his plans, slowly evolved into a body which held the "purse strings" of the entire English government. Ultimately, kings became unable to run their government without Parliament's approval. The efforts of Charles I to do so in the 1630s and '40s led ultimately to the English Civil War, and to Charles I's execution by beheading.

    Thus, representative democracy became established as an alternative to, and potentially an antagonist toward, the notion of the 'divine right of kings' then dominant in continental Europe. This conflict between monarchy and democracy was resolved amicably in England after the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688, which created a constitutional monarchy headed by a reasonably popular king- and one who knew not to overstep the limits of what the people would tolerate.

    To this day, this pattern of conflict between representative bodies (legislatures and elected executive officials) and unelected autocrats is a persistent one throughout the world.


    Oh, and one more I forgot


    (quote provided)

    Siegecraft is the art of surrounding a defended area of land, and gradually neutralizing, wearing down, or 'reducing' its defenses in order to make it more vulnerable to attack.

    The practice of building fixed defensive structures such as watch towers and walls around a defensible location or an entire community dates back to prehistoric times. Relatively early on, with the advent of masonry or brick walls, it became possible to construct fortifications that provided a massive advantage to the defender, so great that attacking a position became impossible without great loss of life. Short of some kind of explosive weapons, soldiers have no way of attacking a position defended by a five meter stone wall, without the great risk of being killed by enemy weapons. Attackers could face traps, arrows, thrown stones or spears, or even sheets of deadly liquid such as boiling oil.

    This made a sudden, rash attack against a fortress extremely unwise in classical and medieval warfare. Instead, an army would typically surround the fortress at a distance and set up permanent lines around it, to prevent any reinforcement or resupply from reaching the defender. These "siege lines" would have to be held for as long as it took to compel the defenders to surrender.

    The simplest approach here was to simply wait for the defenders to run out of food or water, or to be exterminated by some disease. This could take an extremely long time, although some of history's more ruthless commanders took steps to accelerate the process. Julius Caesar once forced a Gaulish city to run out of water by using a team of miners to dig into the underground spring that fed their water supply. Mongols under Jani Beg introduced disease to the city of Kaffa on the Black Sea by catapulting bodies of the victims of bubonic plague over the walls of the city.

    If waiting for the enemy to give in due to starvation, thirst, or disease was not practical, more direct means were needed. However, that in turn required that the artificial defenses of the target be 'reduced' to something more manageable.

    The methods used to do this in classical and medieval warfare included but were not limited to use of spring-loaded, counterweight-powered, or mechanical engines to throw projectiles at the defenders' walls, the use of rams, drills, and prying tools to open a locked gate (with or without the use of mobile shelters to protect the demolition team from the defenders), the use of large mobile towers that could roll up to the wall and deploy soldiers directly on top of it, the filling-in of ditches and moats with rubble, the construction of rubble ramps to scale a wall, the use of mobile shields to cover archers and allow them to approach the defenses and snipe at the garrison, and the use of tunneling techniques to undermine the enemy's walls and cause them to collapse.

    The advent of gunpowder altered the rules somewhat. Most mechanical siege engines were rendered obsolete, since exploding gunpowder could propel missile weapons much more effectively. Tunneling warfare took on a new dimension, with sappers digging tunnels under enemy defenses, filling them with tons of explosives, and then lighting the fuse. Even at surface level, infantry could carry petards (heavy demolition charges to destroy gates and structures) and grenades (to drive enemy troops out of a position with blast and shrapnel). At the same time, the defenders altered the structure of their walls and outworks to make them more resistant to cannon fire, and redesigned defenses to deliver heavy fire from their own gunpowder weapons against an attacker.

    The race of siege techniques versus defense techniques has proceeded up into the 20th century, though relatively few innovations on the art have been seen since the Second World War. Siege warfare continues to be seen, though, wherever an attacking army gradually tries to encircle a defended place and works its way inward. Instances include the Vietnamese siege of Dien Bien Phu, or the recent siege of the city of Kobani in northern Iraq by fundamentalist militants.
  17. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011

    (quote provided)

    A ritual is a personal, cultural, or religious practice that has become routine by time, practice, or taboo, and which has significance beyond the obvious direct consequences of the act itself.

    All known religions and cultures are associated with the practice of rituals, as are many secular organizations.

    Some of these rituals are used by all members of society as a way to avert bad luck, seek supernatural aid in some difficult endeavour, or thank divine beings for their generosity. Other rituals might only be practiced by certain castes, or by the designated priests of a particular cause or entity.

    Some rituals are spectacularly public. Others are so private that unauthorized intrusion is punishable by death. Some involve demonstrative physical acts or sacrifices; others are quiet and contemplative.

    The recurring pattern is that rituals serve a role of promoting social cohestion in the face of adversity, providing a means for individuals to communicate their shared values and signal their collective loyalty to the survival of the group.


    (quote provided)

    Seafaring is the art of directing, maintaining, and preserving ships that travel across the ocean.

    The earliest human vessels such as rafts, small canoes, and reed boats would have been extremely unsafe on the open ocean. However, there is extensive evidence for the practice of seafaring stretching back to the Bronze Age, or the Neolithic in the case of Polynesian long-distance sailing canoes.

    In general, successful seafarers must make use of some source of power other than their own muscles (in the early days of navigation, a sail) to ensure they were not trapped by ocean currents. They must know how to construct reasonably sturdy craft that would resist ocean waves. They had to make use of a great knowledge of weather conditions to ensure the craft was not caught by a storm too powerful to be survived- which in premodern times weather could be predicted only by experience.

    All this represented a significant advance over the earliest Stone Age boats and their operations... and yet, all these things were necessary in order for coastal civilizations to make any serious use of maritime travel for trade or exploration.


    (quote provided)

    Shipbuilding is the art of constructing large watergoing vessels for travel on large bodies of water.

    As the demand for larger, safer vessels to cross the oceans of the ancient world grew, so did knowledge of ship construction. By far the preferred method for building such ships was to make them out of wood- preferably the hardest, strongest timber available, even if this had to be imported over long distances. Great strides in the art of carpentry made it possible to assemble large ships that would be strong enough to withstand the forces of the sea, but flexible enough not to break under heavy impact.

    Larger, heavier ships were generally more useful for trade because they could carry a greater volume of goods. They were also more useful for warfare. Ancient naval war revolved around deliberate ramming attacks, boarding parties and sailors firing musclepowered missile weapons at each other. A larger ship would be harder to damage by ramming, would have the tactical advantage of being 'the high ground' in combat, and could carry a larger army with which to capture enemy ships.

    Ongoing advances in shipbuilding continued steadily from the Bronze Age up to the present day in many parts of the world. Nations which enjoyed an advantage in the art at any particular time were usually able to dominate the seas for vast distances around their homeland.
  18. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011

    “Under observation, we act less free, which means we effectively are less free.”
    -Edward Snowden

    “We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government."
    -William O. Douglas

    “The most sacred thing is to be able to shut your own door.”
    G. K. Chesterton

    Surveillance, from the French for "to watch from above," is the act of monitoring others, as implemented by some directing or governing entity.

    With the rise of increasingly miniaturized and refined electronics in the mid-20th century, it became possible to use such devices as "eyes and ears" to spy on persons of interest. Among the earliest such applications was the use of 'wiretaps' to allow a third party to listen in on telephone conversations. Soon after it became more and more common to place small microphones or cameras as "bugs" that could record events in a given area. Automated closed circuit TV systems permit monitoring of public or private spaces through cameras; the rising reliance on wireless communication allows signals intelligence agencies to collect enormous masses of data on who communicates with who, and how.

    This has led to a vast growth in the capabilities of intelligence agencies to target foreign and domestic enemies. The countervailing concern is that with the rise of 20th and 21st century surveillance techniques, we may all become targets- that the state, or powerful private organizations, may use this technology to gain total information, and thus a great measure of power, over our lives.


    "Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance."
    -Ambrose Bierce

    “Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you."
    -Alexander Graham Bell

    “The telephone is the greatest nuisance among conveniences, the greatest convenience among nuisances.”
    -Robert Staughton Lynd

    A 'telephone,' from the Greek for 'distant voice,' is an device that converts a speaker's voice into electrical impulses, transmits them to a remote receiver, permits the speaker to receive other similar signals, and converts them back into voice. This permits conversations to be had between any two owners of telephones on the same switching network.

    There is some debate over who invented the telephone. Many individuals were working to design them, with similar tools, throughout the 1860s and '70s. However, it is clear that within a few years of the first commercially successful telephones being created, systems of the devices were beginning to connect distant cities. The telephone allowed infinitely faster and richer exchanges of information than any pre-19th century mode of communication, and had great advantages compared to the slightly earlier telegraph as well.

    Early telephone technology was highly diverse, but standardized as the 20th century began and as telephone systems became increasingly networked. It was found that while a specific telephone line from one place to another was valuable, a network permitting every user to call every other user was exponentially more valuable. Elaborate systems of manually operated "switchboards" emerged, allowing connections to be made at will between different telephones on the network.

    Networks grew larger and the individual telephones grew more compact and user-friendly throughout the early and mid-20th centuries. After the computer revolution began in the 1950s and '60s, automated switching took the place of manually operated systems, touch-tone dialing replaced rotary phones, and long distance calls became a cheaper and more common activity connecting the world together.

    The next great advance, mobile telephony, came in the 1970s and '80s, reaching maturity around the turn of the millenium. Cellular networks of transceiver towers make it possible for every citizen to carry a miniaturized wireless telephone, permitting near-instant communication throughout the world. Over the past decade, this technology has been further refined and combined with further miniaturization, allowing a single handheld device to serve as telephone, camera, appointment book, a portable device for audiovisual entertainment, and a gaming platform.
  19. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Aaaand as a change of pace, a few entries for new military units.


    Historically, the roles of reconnaissance and patrol in sparsely populated areas were filled by mounted soldiers. With the rise of mechanization, this became unsafe on or anywhere near the battlefield- and also unacceptably slow. Modern armies have increasingly relied since the First World War on motorized vehicles, generally known as 'armored cars.'

    Armored car units were generally sturdy and reliable, capable of traveling through rough terrain, moving fast and hitting hard enough to raid lightly defended enemy installations, but with less of a conspicuous bulk than a force of tanks or armored personnel carriers.

    Today, "armored cars" include a wide variety of armed combat vehicles on wheels. At the lower limit one encounters vehicles like the US military's HMMVV or 'humvee,' which in its default state is little more than an unusually rugged utility vehicle. For patrols in dangerous environments, the Humvee can at least be armed with heavy weapons such as a typical squad might field, and armored against small arms.


    Infantry tactics continued to evolve as the classical Iron Age transitioned into what in the Western world is known as the 'medieval' period.

    The basic forms of the weapons used for hand to hand fighting did not change significantly- men still fought with swords, spears, maces, axes, and so forth. But in other aspects infantry combat evolved dramatically. Iron weapons gave way to more durable steel. Improved techniques for manufacturing iron made metallic body armor more common. And century after century of practice made it possible to develop ever-improving tactics for fighting in close formation and repelling the attack of enemy foot troops.

    Not all civilizations converged on "heavy infantry" as the dominant combat arm... but many did, with good reason. Particularly in rugged terrain where cavalry's options were limited, or in the face of strong fortifications, well armored soldiers with weapons suited for individual hand to hand combat could dominate all opposition.


    While the warfare of civilized states in the Bronze and Iron ages frequently revolved around clashes between large blocks of men with hand to hand combat weapons, virtually all societies made use of lighter-armed forces as well. Infantry with armor and locked into a fighting formation could not move faster than a slow walk, nor could they maintain unit cohesion in rough terrain. Therefore, it was necessary to employ men with lighter equipment and with weapons suitable for striking from a distance, and then retreating to fight another day.

    Such tactics are known as "skirmishing," because they typically involve relatively small scale confrontations between smaller units, rather than massed exchanges of firepower or shock between large armies. Even nations legendary for their highly trained and deadly shock troops (such as the Greek phalanx and the Roman legions) routinely employed auxiliary units armed with bows, slings, and javelins for skirmishing tactics.

    The skirmishers rarely defeated an enemy by themselves, but their harassment forced the enemy army to deploy sooner to meet a new threat, and their swifter movement allowed them to scout the enemy more efficiently. Moreover, their ranged attacks could weaken the enemy's heavy troops or draw them out of position and leave them vulnerable to the heavy troops of one's own side. The best counter to this was to employ one's own skirmishers to fight back, since simply doubling up heavy infantry did not make them more effective at pursuing the skirmisher.

    In later eras, cavalry tended to compete for the skirmisher's role, since a mounted man can generally move faster than a man on foot- and carry more armor and weapons in case he comes into conflict with the foot skirmisher! Despite this, the concept of skirmishing in infantry warfare persisted through the gunpowder age, though. For instance, infantry armed with rifles (in those days, slower to reload than normal muskets) were often employed to snipe, harass, and disrupt blocks of pikemen and musketeers, then fall back upon the main body as the clash of arms approached, just as in ancient times.

    Eventually, after the great advances in the range and volume of fire available to handheld firearms, it became clear that standing in large blocks and relying on sheer volume of firepower to suppress the enemy was not working. As a result, foot soldiers began making heavier use of cover and coordination with inherently more powerful combat arms such as tanks and artillery. Today, virtually all infantry fight with tactics more similar to those of the light infantry skirmishers of three hundred years ago, and far less like the heavy infantry of the same era.


    The rise of the stirrup, advances in horse-breeding, and increased availability of high quality steel weapons and armor drove evolution in cavalry weapons and tactics. In classical times, cavalry were typically limited to skirmishing tactics. The tactical role known as "shock," of striking an enemy force with overwhelming mass, speed, and weight of armament so that it would shatter and flee, was not practical for most cavalry units. The few conspicuous exceptions were generally very select elite units such as Alexander the Great's Companion cavalry.

    However, stirrups made it easier for a rider to keep their seat in battle. Greater availability of metal armor increased a cavalryman's chances of surviving close combat. And as larger, stronger horses became available, cavalry could more easily urge their mounts into a fast trot or a gallop that would allow them to strike enemy troops with devastating, overwhelming force.

    This gave rise to the widespread use of "heavy cavalry:" cavalry typically mounted on the largest warhorses available, with both horse and rider guarded by armor, trained to smash into the enemy and disperse it with shock effect.


    A ram is a tool for knocking or 'battering' down doors that cannot easily be opened by normal means. In its simples form, the ram consists of a large bar held parallel to the ground. One or more people smash the ram into the door, either by swinging it back and forth, or by running toward the door with the ram in hand. Since the ram serves to concentrate force on a hard, durable tool it can be used to easily knock down doors no unaided human could breach.

    Today, battering rams are used mainly on a small scale, such as when small groups of police seek to enter a locked home. However, the battering ram scales up readily for application in pre-modern siege warfare. A ram can be made using the trunk of an entire tree as the bar, and can be operated by up to dozens of soldiers. On this scale, a ram's force may allow it to destroy even heavily, redundantly locked and barred gates. Thus, the battering ram became a common tool used to force entry into defended fortresses and walled cities.

    One of the most common accessories to go with a battering ram in siege warfare was some sort of mobile shelter for the ram operators. The operators would otherwise be helpless against projectiles or deadly substances thrown down upon them by the defenders. The simplest such shelter consisted of a barrier of shields held up by covering infantry units, but could be as elaborate as massive wooden shelters on wheels, which could be laboriously pushed up to the walls of the enemy stronghold to provide cover for the ram. Such shelters might well be protected further with roofs of metal or wet hides to protect them from fire and other attacks.

    Knocking down a strong gate with a battering ram was a laborious and extremely dangerous process, especially if the defenders were prepared to fight back against the ram crew. However, it did give a besieging army at least one option for gradually reducing the defensive strength of enemy fortresses by their own efforts.
  20. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

    May 13, 2011
    Aaaand a couple of leaders...


    Bilqis was a quasi-legendary queen, known to European history by way of the Bible as "the Queen of Sheba."

    The Christian, Jewish, and Islamic versions of her story agree that Bilkis was ruler of a prosperous kingdom at the remote edge of the then-known world (circa 1000 BCE). It is further agreed that she traveled on an extended expedition to Jerusalem to confer or meet with Solomon, the king of the Israelites at that time. Bilqis and Solomon exchanged both words of wisdom, and a variety of gifts, during this state visit. The gifts of the queen of "Sheba" were of such richness and variety as to make the wealth of her kingdom in spices, precious metals, and other trade goods into a thing of legend thereafter.

    While archaeological evidence from Arabia during this time period is relatively sparse, it is generally agreed that the Biblical land of Sheba corresponds to the historical kingdom of Saba in what is now Yemen. Evidence indicates that the Sabaean culture extended across much of what is now Yemen, up along the coast of the Red Sea as far as Aqaba, and across the Red Sea into the Horn of Africa, with other colonies extending well into what is now Ethiopia.

    Thus, based on what is known, we can attribute to Bilqis and the Sabaeans great wealth founded on the Red Sea trade, a farflung network of colonies, and an openness to religious and philosophical ideas from beyond their borders.

    (Berber queen, reigned 680-702)

    Dihya of the Berbers, known as "al-Kahina' or 'the soothsayer' by her Arab enemies for her alleged ability to foretell the future, is a somewhat shadowy figure in the history of North Africa. There are numerous contradicting legends and claims about her, many of them asserting that she was a sorceress. As a result, little can be said about her personally with confidence.

    Her ancestry is uncertain. She ruled as a Christian, but others claimed she was a Jew- while some Jewish groups of the region saw her as a persecutor, and some Muslim accounts claimed she carried with her "idols" that suggest Christian iconography (such as images of the Virgin Mary).

    What is a certainty is that Dihya led Berber war efforts in the 680s and 690s CE. This culminated in her resistance to the advancing Islamic Arab armies for a period of roughly five years, in the area known as Tripolitania.

    She was known for her aggressive 'scorched earth' campaigns intended to delay the advancing Arabs, but also for a degree of scholarship and interest in wildlife, particularly birds.

    Eventually overrun, Dihya died in battle in or around 702 CE, in what is now Algeria. As her birth was uncertain, so was her death; it is disputed whether she died in combat with the Arabs, or by committing suicide by poison rather than face capture.

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