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How has transportation changed over time

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Sam Jones

on 12 May 2015

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Transcript of How has transportation changed over time

Modern Day Transportation
Today, practically every human being relies on transportation to go about there daily lives. Starting from waking up lets go through a day in the life of a generic business man living in a first world city like Sydney or New York. He will wake up in a bed that has been transported to him by ship and then truck. He will walk into his kitchen to pour his cereal which has been made in another country, shipped here, and then transported to his local grocery market. After breakfast he will get in his car and drive to the train station, where he will catch a train to the airport. He will then ride a plane to Canberra. When he gets of the plane he will catch a taxi to a hotel where he ends his day. As we can see here in a normal day, an inner city businessman, will use transportation hundreds of times a day when you take into account how many things have been transported to him from other countries. This shows just how important transportation is in our every day lives. Another example of the capacity of modern day transportation is the shuttles and probes that we constantly send out of our atmosphere. 200 years ago humans would not have even dreamt of anything like this.
Global Transportation Process
Transportation is not only exceptionally important in an inner city to one individual. Lets look at the global transportation process. Have you every wondered how a simple grocery like your coffee gets to your kitchen? It all starts off in a country like Ethiopia where underpaid workers work all day to pick beans. They then, with these beans, walk to a trading route where the fresh beans are taken to a warehouse in a truck where they are then shipped to Australia, for example, to another ware house. They are then trucked from that warehouse to another, by truck, where they are treated and packed. Eventually, they are transported to a supermarket or local grocery store, where the consumer, you or I, pick them up and bring them home. Throughout this major process, a number of types of transports are used to get you want you want, on time.
Thresholds Crossed
The main three thresholds that the history of transportation has crossed are the modern revolution, agriculture, and new chemical elements. These three thresholds, covered in Big History are vital to the birth, revolution and lead up to today's reliance and use of transportation in daily life. In the threshold 'new chemical elements' the necessary elements needed to create various types of transportation were created. The birth of Agriculture sees an increasing amount of people and resources that need to be transported, and in the modern revolution we see the need and ability to mass transport the ever increasing population and resources around the world. Here we saw the birth of the modernistic forms of transportation we see today.
About 12.7 billion years ago stars began to die, create supernovae and, subsequently, create new chemical elements including Lithium, Beryllium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Titanium and many others. This threshold was crucial to the history of transport and explaining how it was shaped over time. At this major turning point in Earths history all the base ingredients for making various types of transportation, whether it be simple or complex, were created. The ingredients needed for the forming of new chemical elements were aging and dying stars and very high temperatures, and the Goldilocks conditions were starts running out of hydrogen fuel and stars collapsing.

Agriculture- The need for transportation
The birth of agriculture and agrarian societies around 5000 years ago saw the domestication of animals and the increasing need for transportation of goods and people. Ingredients for this time of increasingly complex transportation include the domestication of animals and our ability to harness more of the suns energy than ever before. The Goldilocks conditions were the warmer and warmer climates on Earth. Besides walking, ancient transport included animal-drawn carts, palanquins and chariots. When humans first began to domesticate animals is when we see the first types of transportation being used. In early agrarian societies people began to use animals for transportation of goods and humans. They put heavy loads of produce in carts hauled by strong animals such as oxen and bulls. Around this time they also began to use animals to ride to get to further destinations at a quicker speed. Early agrarian societies also began to domesticate animals to use for labour. This is demonstrated in a manuscript written and distributed by the Babylonian King, Hammurabi, in 1772 BCE, which states "If any one hire an ox for threshing, the amount of the hire is twenty
of grain" and "If any one hire oxen, cart and driver, he shall pay one hundred and eighty ka of [grain] per day" Another One of the earliest uses of transportation was palanquins. These are a small box with one or two long handles on each side. The person being transported would sit in the living quarters of the small box and two or more slaves would carry the box to the destination. According to Big History Projects article on Agrarian Civilizations "...in South America, people used llamas and alpacas for wool and transport..." as early as 2000 BCE. This shows us just how early civilizations have been using transport in various places around the world.
Modern Revolution- Birth of modern transportation
According to John Green in his video on the modern revolution the early modern period began around 1500 and the modern period, around 1750. The ingredient for this part of history when transportation became increasingly complex was our ability to harness numerous amounts of energy from coal and the Goldilocks conditions were our use of machines for labour, and our ability to connect globally. The modern revolution saw the invention of a huge number of important machines that we still use and rely on today. For the first time ever a large portion of labour was done by machines and set the foundations for the abundance of machines in today's world. Cynthia Stokes Brown, in her article on the industrial revolution states that "Everything changed during the Industrial Revolution, which began around 1750. People found an extra source of energy with an incredible capacity for work. That source was fossil fuels..." Before this, all humans on Earth relied on the immediate flow of energy from the Sun to the Earth. In the early 19th century steam locomotives and steamboats were invented. These inventions changed transport forever by allowing nations to transport a huge number of goods and people in an extremely short amount of time, internationally and interstate. Suddenly, global trade routes flowed faster, people could get to work quicker using steam trains, and information could travel to more places quicker, leading to the breaking down of the barriers between the various world zones, which David Christian describes as one of the crucial factors of the rates of innovation during the Modern Revolution. During this era of innovation, the vehicles and modes of transportation created, set the foundations for the modern day transportation we see today. Steam Trains eventually became bullet trains and steam boats became 100 000 weight tonnage ships. The modern revolution saw a huge leap in interconnectedness due to the ability to travel around the globe. Goods were traded, cultures were integrated and information was shared at an incredible rate. Also, the creation of steam engines, and the discovery of mining coal for energy, allowed civilizations to farm and produce more and more goods, leading to an increase in population.
How has modern day transportation been shaped over time?
From Bipedalism to Space Shuttles-A history of transportation
By Sam Jones
Freight Train
New Chemical Elements- The creation of materials used for transportation.
Through the forming of new chemical elements, the use of early transportation in agrarian civilizations, and the sudden increase in innovation and interconnectedness during the modern revolution, modern day transport was shaped and molded into what we see today. Without these major thresholds of increasing complexity, transportation may not be as abundant and elaborate as it is in our modern day world. Through the use of increasing innovation and connectivity we have been able to create amazing machines to make life much easier than before the age of transport.
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