Thursday, April 22, 2004

February (cont.) and March
People living in technology-based cities were often more informed than those living in the country side, and public opinion becomes increasingly significant. National markets are forming and big business is rising. Society is becoming a consumer society. These are a few impacts of technology on society.

Society also impacted technology. There were increasing concerns about working conditions and the rise of unions. More education leads to science-based technology and there was a greater enthusiasm for new technology. A greater demand for consumer goods.

Reading the Jones book was very enlightening. I learned alot about the impact of women on technology and the impact of science and new technology. I learned about home production and demonstration agents. Women had to use their minds to advance in society and it worked. Agricultural research and experiment stations were born, as well as a greater role for government.

The Cold War played a role in shaping the way technology went. There was clear competition between governments for advantages in the war. WWII taught us that technology wins wars, thus new technology was developed. The Space Program was a side effect of the ArmsRace. The Soviet Union changes its system and begins falling apart.

The Marcus bookwas also interesting and very involved. It lead to alot of critical thinking analyzing. The overview is as follows:
-- In the 1950s, we thought that technology could solve all of our problems.
-- In the 1960s, Vietnam War
-- The success of Apollo said that technology can do wonderful things
-- In 1970s, development of Earth Day; environmental movement becomes big
-- In 1980s, the spread of computers
-- In 1990s, high-tech bubble, and fears of genetic engineering

As the class is coming to an end, we have been analyzing the effects, advantages, and disadvantages of technology in general. Where would we be without it and where are we going now that we have it?

Monday, April 19, 2004

I'm back, finally!!! I have really enjoyed this class, but it will soon come to an end. Here is a recap of the semester:

Late 1790s - Mid 1800s
Before the 1830s, the US was a 3rd world country, lacking in the areas of education and technology. Many resources were homemade and improvements in technology were made by trial and error. There was a plentiful supply of iron and improvements in smelting and coal burning helped the iron industry. The steam engine was invented and improvements in spinning wheels increased cotton production. Textile mills employed many women and children, but working conditions were horrible and pay was considerably low.

Improvements is transportation were slow, but upcoming. It was not easy dirt roads, so many waited until winter to travel. State legislators approved roads for private investors, and they charged tolls to travelers. Wooden bridges were also being built. The first canal in the US was the Santee Canal, which was built to take goods from inland to Charleston. The Erie Canal was later built, and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River. It was both economically and technologically successful. But the US was in dire need of steam boats.

Factories were being built in the early 1800s and the first large factory was Lowell. It was powered by water from the waterfall of the Marimack River. Today the Lowell Dam is used for hydroelectric power. The Irish were seen as inferior, so they were rarely hired in factories. Women and children did alot of the work. Women signed contracts to work in these factories and hours were long and hard (approx. 73 hrs/wk).

The railroad was adapted to meet American conditions. It made possible the development of big business, the telegraph, and drove changes in the economy and technology. The first experiment for locomotives as public transportation was in 1825. The first successful locomotive built in the US was built in 1830 in Charleston, SC. Locomotives linked farmers to a cash economy in which they could buy goods like cloth and get goods to market. The creation of swivel trucks made turns around curves much easier. State governments bought stock in railroads for economic reasons and the federal government stepped in for the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Government helped railway companies by giving them government owned land in blocks that were 1 mile apart. Atlanta and Chicago were railway centers. Railroads were the first big business.

The telegraph is the beginning of the electrical industry, and was one of the first technologies to be based on science. The telegraph changed communications very quickly. Morse's system was cheaper per mile. This was very significant for the railroad industry.

Machines were used in various industries. Eli Whitney contracted with the US Army to make interchangeable gun parts, but this idea didn't work. The army finally makes the technology possible and begins the process of interchangeable parts. The "American system of manufacturing" is invented and reduces the need for skilled labor. The first exposition of this was the Crystal Palace Exposition (1851) in England...also known as the World's Fair.

Mid 1800s - Early 1900s
Technological changes were not systematic. There were different paces for different industries. Mass production is a revolutionary step for the American System of manufacturing. Magazines impact technology with advertising. Electricity comes into play in cities in the 1880s and 1890s, but takes longer to expand to the countryside. People are more willing to invest in new technology after the railroads. Technology spreads quickly during the Civil War due to lack of workers and increase in price of crops.

Utopian idea of cities was different. The change in urbanization/population was important because it lead to an increasing number of jobs and an increase in technology for farmland. "Walking cities' changed due to public transportation. Growth in central business districts lead to the increase in the value of land. People of different "status quos" lived relatively close together.

Iron becomes an important building material, and sparks the potential for bigger buildings. Steel revolutionized buildings (skyscrapers, etc.). Architecture was shaped by the idea of modernism. Elevators were needed for these tall buildings.

Industrial districts were also appearing, and were mainly along railroads. Slums were beginning to appear, and thus, the establishment of the Settlement House Movement. Buildings were bought by reformers where people lived to help the people of the slums. Death rates were higher in these neighborhoods and there were severe sewage/waste problems. In addition was the appearance of suburbs with streetcars. These suburbs seemed safer than the city and attracted people who were all the same, unlike the diversity of the city.

Early amusement parks, such as Coney Island, were built at the end of streetcar lines and World's Fairs were temporary amusement parks. Steam engines powered the whole exhibition and there was a great idea of growing technology and modernism.

In reference to radical labor, many factory workers and other laborers looked to radical politics to better the working conditions. The US used WWI as an excuse to get rid of the radicals. The coming of the assemble line made production more efficient, thus increased wages for workers. Laws were passed to restrict the number of immigrants and this also improved working conditions.

From colonial times to 1900s, there was a development of a solid industrial base. Leaders in technology were agricultural research, railroads, steamboats, and mass production. Public opinion becomes increasingly significant and there is an increasing division of labor.

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