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Science in Central America and South America

By |2018-04-11T18:24:13+00:00September 10th, 2017|Central America, Science, South America|

A rubber ball made by the Olmec people (about 1000 BC) With different natural resources available to them, the people of South America and Central America invented different things than the people of Europe, Asia, or Africa did. One early invention was rubber. The Olmec people invented rubber (in fact the word "Olmec" means "rubber people" in the Aztec language, Nahuatl). The Olmec began to [...]

Where do folding fans come from? History of fans

By |2018-04-07T17:05:49+00:00September 5th, 2017|Africa, Science|

Tutankhamon's ostrich feather fan (Egypt, ca. 1300 BC) Chimpanzees use a stick with leaves on it, or just a big leaf, to chase away flies. They can't cool themselves by creating a breeze, because their hair insulates them, but the earliest people who had evolved hairless skin probably quickly started to use big leaves and leafy sticks as fans in hot [...]

Parchment and the history of books

By |2018-04-21T13:19:57+00:00July 27th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

Pseudo-Apuleius, Herbarium (about 600 AD, now in Leiden) Scribes carved the first writing on wet clay tablets, but soon after that, about 3000 BC, the Egyptians invented papyrus, and by about 500 BC most people in West Asia and the Mediterranean used papyrus for writing. They couldn't make papyrus, though, because papyrus reeds wouldn't grow in their countries, and they had to buy [...]