History of Technology 3: Agriculture Introduction

Want to know more about agriculture? Want to know who invented the waffle iron? Want to know if those two things have anything to do with each other? This video holds all the answers. No waffles included.

LanguageEnglish Language
TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:25

growing food and getting it to people is hard and it used to be way way harder

00:30

[Man working in dirt] we've gone from scratching with sticks in the ground to plowing to irrigation

00:35

having tractors to having refrigeration and it took a lot of crappy and

00:40

tenacious humans to get the job done the heroes of this story are often unsung

00:45

nobody gave a Nobel Prize to the person who invented a pottery wheel or the

00:49

heavy plow and nobody even knows the genius who invented the waffle iron

00:53

crying shame but this is the story of how we use technology to feed ourselves

00:58

and hey we're not going to focus exclusively on the nifty gadgets that [Man cutting crops]

01:02

saved us some sweat and hard work we'll also talk about the way agriculture has

01:07

made human civilization possible and we'll talk about population growth

01:11

leisure time and why anybody ever domesticated sheep believe it or not sheep [Caveman in forest with sheep]

01:16

didn't always follow humans like sheep each new agricultural technology is

01:22

about making food with less effort which is arguably a pretty worthwhile goal but

01:28

all these new technologies did come with a big fat environmental price tag cue

01:32

the ominous music very ominous well done well done humans have been doing this

01:38

whole agriculture thing for a while now no big deal just about 12,000 years of

01:43

work here's a quick rundown of the main points we're going to hit as we take

01:46

this tour of Agriculture agricultural technology is kind of a big deal the [Boy reading the newspaper and eating a sandwich]

01:50

reason there are seven billion people on the planet and the reason we can eat a

01:54

hamburger for $0.99 granted it's not great hamburger but you know 99 cents

01:59

and before agriculture hunters and gatherers used some pretty sweet

02:03

technologies to get their food things like bows and arrows and fishing nets

02:07

[Caveman cooking food] are the only reason our ancestors survived if they'd starved instead well

02:12

we wouldn't be here yammering about them right now

02:15

then came the Agricultural Revolution it was pretty slow you know for a

02:20

revolution very few decapitations - mostly just lettuce heads people had to [Lettuce head sliced with guillotine]

02:25

invent new tools like ARDS and hose that let them domesticate some yummy plants

02:31

when the plow was invented everybody got serious about farming they domesticated

02:36

larger fritters to pull wagons and plow started big irrigation projects and

02:41

[Elephant plowing through the field] built greenery to store their food for a long time agricultural technology stayed

02:46

pretty much the same those folks in the Middle Ages wouldn't give us much they

02:51

were too busy fighting off White Walkers or something like that then the

02:54

[Flying green witch and 3 men screaming] Industrial Revolution started putting machines on the farm ouch that's gotta

02:59

hurt mechanization change the industry - refrigeration meant that frozen meat

03:05

could be shipped long distances without spoiling and barbed wire helped keep

03:09

[Cows by the side of the road] huge herds in the American West yay for frozen dinners and from the

03:15

1950s on the world went through the Green Revolution and no that's not a

03:20

militant environmental activist uprising it's the ability to grow more food than

03:24

ever before using fewer resources and we have some breaking news for you

03:29

[Man holding a waffle iron] Cornelius Swarthout patented the stove top waffle iron yes well okay not

03:36

breaking news it did happen in 1859 whatever all right now you know and our

03:41

work here is done