As a kid who loved fireworks I looked forward to this time of year for months. Neighbors used to come from all around to watch my fireworks shows. This year pyrotechnic displays are not limited to the US, they’re lighting up the skies in Egypt , too. The awe inspiring glare of rockets and star-shells don’t just signify independence, they harken back to antiquity, signifying ancient celebrations and, today, act as a potent reminder of the most ambitious and iconic projects ever undertaken by our young species. I speak here of rockets.
The pillars of flame lofting vehicles to the skies may appear at first glance to be the most complex and advanced technological creations ever dreamed up by human kind. But they are the first machines driven by means other than human and animal muscles ever created. What’s more, those mere curiosities led to directly to the engines that now fuel every facet of our modern civilization. And to think it all started with mystics and apprentices over a millennia ago in the Middle East and Asia, who could never not have imagined they were embarking on the first small step in a journey that would lead to the bloodiest wars on record, and the greatest modern marvels of peace and prosperity the world has ever witnessed. [Read more...]