Leonardo da Vinci – Not That Smart

Historians tell us that Leonardo da Vinci was a bright man. Artist, musician, inventor, botanist – Leonardo did it all. He was the renaissance man during the renaissance. No one called him a renaissance man back then, they just called him “The Right Now Man”.

Perhaps you’ll join me in considering if Leonardo, “The Right Now Man”, was all he was cracked up to be. Let’s examine a few of his inventions.

Machine For Storming Walls

Back in Leonardo’s day, cities had walls. When one city had a beef with the città at the other end of the strada, they’d head over and attack them. Defenders of the city under attack closed their gates and repelled the aggressors from behind the safety of the walls.

Leonardo considered the problem and came up with this:

Leonardo’s “siege machine”, or, “machine for getting all our soldiers killed by the other guys.” (public domain)

It looks like a good idea. A mobile solution; steps like the rolling steps used at some airports, leading to a covered bridge/tunnel that could be lowered onto the wall of a town. Soldiers could climb the steps, then traverse the bridge in relative safety. Read the rest of this entry »

Turning The Dimmer Switch On The Light Bulbs Over Our Heads

Thomas edison glühbirne

Right after this, Edison held the bulb over his head and said, "Dude, take another picture". Then, he patented doing that. (image via Wikipedia)

Since the day after Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb, depicting a person with a light bulb over their head has been understood as a shorthand way of showing that person had a good idea.

In fact, the day after Edison invented the bulb, his publicist wrote a press release that very few people actually read. The release had a cover photo of the great inventor with a light bulb over his head. People intuitively knew what was in the release from looking at the picture. As a result, most who saw the document never bothered to go past the cover. Read the rest of this entry »