It was the last days of the Iberian campaign of the Napoleonic wars, the Duke of Wellington’s finest hours. Gun smoke from hundreds of rifles hung thick in the air just north of the Tarbes river; Losses on French soil, now, not Spanish. One of the last battles of the campaign, the battle of Toulouse, … Continue reading Why Do Empires Lose Wars?
Warfare is the culmination of a society’s engineering and social technologies in a way that is hard to find elsewhere. You can see a nation’s priorities emerge, too, because progress doesn’t happen in a straight line. Sometimes it even regresses.
The Manhattan project is one of the most fascinating feats of human science and engineering. In a time where science was doing so much, technology was advancing so far, it continued to be thrown into the war machine every step of the way. Every time people said of new technologies; “War is over. No one would be terrible enough to fight, knowing this weapon exists.” At the Trinity test site, a bunch of scientists prayed that this time, this time, they had finally made a weapon too terrible to use, else they had destroyed our species.
What does the building of the first modern sewer have to do with some of our most important lessons in medicine? First in a series of historical articles that will explain the author's love affair with the Industrial era.