14 11 2011

Fire is inspiring. There is something awesome and mesmerizing about making and watching flames. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being able to control something so raw and powerful when you strike a match. But there’s also something awesome about fiery explosions in films that seem totally out-of-control (but are in fact masterminded by an ingenious pyromaniac, masquerading as an ordinary person somewhere on the set).

Wikipedia poetically defines fire as: “the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heatlight, and various reaction products“. It goes on to assert that 400,000 years ago, fire was brought under human control.

Categorizing fire as an invention took some deliberation – I mean, does anyone own the patent for fire? Interesting thought…

Fire, though, revolutionised human existence in the same way that only writing, the wheel, electricity, iPods and a small handful of other advances have. The ability to control fire enabled early humans to be able to cook food! It helped them to stay warm at night and in cold climates. It also provided them with light and helped to keep nocturnal predators at bay. The ability to control fire truly marked a turning point in human history.

Ironically, the ability to make fire from two sticks, which must once have seemed godly before it evolved to be standard practice for survival in the wild, has once more become a skill that is revered.

The Pyramids

21 10 2011

The Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, are the oldest of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World as well as the only one to remain largerly intact. The Pyramids were built approximately 4,500 years ago. The Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three Pyramids and stands at roughly 140 metres in height (close to 450 feet). For well over 3,500 years it was the tallest man made structure in the world.

The Pyramids are an inspiring testament to mankind’s incredible architectural abilities. What is even more inspiring about them was that they were built so long ago, with only the most basic construction methods. The Great Pyramid weighs approximately 5.9 million tonnes, consisting of an estimated 2.3 million blocks of limestone. These had to be hauled up from quarries (presumably by slaves) and put into place by hand! The Pyramids function as monumental tombs to the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs buried in their chambers.

The Pyramids are among the world’s most visited and most distinctive landmarks.


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