Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Today I get this email from Nancy Pelosi ...

Dear Peter,

We’re close -- in fact, we’re less than $4,000 short of a record-breaking January.

Can we count on your support to help put us over the top? Contribute $3 before tonight’s midnight FEC deadline and we'll triple-match your gift >>

With your help we can put an end to the Republicans’ unrelenting war on women, seniors and the middle class.

Let’s prove we have what it takes.


If Obama and the Democrats would prosecute the Wall Street criminals who caused the "Lesser Depression", enact an adequate economic stimulus stimulus to recover from it, and get rid of the corruption under which most congressional decisions are bought and paid for, I would.

"Yes we can", said Obama.

No they didn't.

I didn't either.

Retro Programming Skills

Recently I have received several emails from headhunters with whom I have done business previously, and the nature of said emails nature provokes me to write about this. In recent days I have received the following:

1. Six-month contract for PowerBuilder expert. I don't think I qualify as an expert, but I've spent some serious time wrestling this pig to the ground, and I hate this language.
2. Three-month contract for Access 2003, for the government of Ontario. Who remembers Access 2003? It was so buggy that MS released Access XP a year later, and everyone I know immediately moved to it. Apparently the government of Ontario did not; call it Software Gravity or something; why any organization would prefer to stick to a version known to be riddled with bugs rather than migrate is beyond me. This is not to be interpreted as suggesting an eager adoption of any technology not suffixed by "SP1" or better.
3. Contract for a Clipper developer (6 months anticipated duration, perhaps longer, depending on performance). Ok, I wrote a couple of books about Clipper programming and created a company to sell a few libraries for Clipper programmers, and yes, we sold enough copies to pay the rent and the hydro and the employees, for a few years basking in the sun. But we under-anticipated the adoption of Windows, and missed the boat on transition to this new world, and although we never had to declare bankruptcy, we were forced to close the doors. Although I think that I can claim serious expertise in the world of Clipper programming, I do NOT want to return to the world of DOS, except in a VM and only then for reasons of nostalgia.
4. An offer for a contract specifying a minimum of 4 years' experience in VS C# 2010. Basic arithmetic would deem this requirement impossible, but to mention that is to invite immediate discard into the pile of Rejections.

All this is pretty much OK with me. Most of you may not recognize the name "Jack Layton", a Canadian politician who passed mid-last-year. He was Leader of the Opposition, having won a landslide in Quebec (thanks to his bilingualism and much to the shock of the Parti Quebecois, but that's another story).

Back when Jack and his soon-to-become wife Olivia Chow were City Councillors in Toronto, and the leading software at the time was DOS on IBM-PCs or clones, I wrote the campaign-management software for Jack and OC (that became her nickname). The software was not especially complex; just a couple of dozen tables and a lot of time-sensitive reports. But it did the trick, and in some small way helped Jack and OC hold their positions. I did all that work gratis (free), and took pride in helping, in my small way, the advance of two people who I felt would enhance the political landscape in Canada. I am proud to have made this small contribution to the advance of the NDP agenda within Toronto, and Ontario, and Canada.

The saddest part about this story is that less than a year after Jack's triumph (and the NDP's triumph), Jack passed away from cancer. This might rank as the saddest event in the history of Canadian national politics. Jack redefined the political landscape in Canada, and sadly didn't live long enough to enjoy the fruits of his triumph. This fills me with profound sadness. We go back to the days when he and Olivia were City Counsellors in Toronto. I have known them both since then, even before they were married, and when a departed friend called Dan Heap was still part of the equation.

I began with Jack in the days of DOS. I fondly recall a day in his office. I was the DBA guy and was allowed entry to his office. His DOS computer was passworded. It took me all of three minutes to get past that, and to update his campaign software. When later that day, he arrived at his office and found me working on his updates, he asked, "How did you get in?" And I replied, "Who do you want to keep out? Your average user, or me? Two different levels of protection are required."

This was decades ago, and penetration was easier back then. It remains easy, given certain knowledge, but back then all it took was a reboot from a floppy; now it is (slightly more, but not much) more complicated. Unless you're seriously into computing and programming and security, I venture that I can get in within an hour -- not that I have that intention, but it's not very complicated to penetrate almost every allegedly secure site. Rocket science is not required, in many cases I have investigated.

Most people use immediately-remembered identities such as birthyear, birthmonth+day, surname spelled backwards, nickname of first-born-daughter + initial of one's surname. All such passwords are easily grabbed, knowing even a trite of data about the target. Hence, you are a target. I confess that my own account (too easily deduced) has been compromised, and that's when I learned my lesson; and my lesson is this. Make sure that:

1. Your password consists of at least 10 characters.
2, Your password  includes at least a few Capitals, Lower Case letters, and Special Case characters.
3. In case you forget it, that you can deduce it from a Hint or two (for example, My Youngest Sibling; what is not declared is that this name should be entered backwards, right to left, and prepended and suffixed by some special characters. The point is, that if you forget what the password is, you can deduce it from a relatively simple set of rules, known only to you.


Sunday, 29 January 2012

On Dwarf-Tossing

A strip club in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has recently introduced dwarf-tossing in its list of events, the main other one being T,&A, and occasionally P. This raises several ethical points of view:

1. This is an abomination, an insult to dwarfs and midgets and other short people of various ethnicities.
2. This is a legitimate job, and given the context of a strip club, perhaps more honourable than the main event. As I heard an Aussie interviewed by CBC Radio say, "I am a professional projectile."
3. Said dwarfs typically wear protective padding, almost but not quite guaranteeing their lack of harm.

For more information on the subject, see http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Windsor+dwarf+toss+sends+flying/6068322/story.html. But a Google on "dwarf tossing" will deliver numerous other citations.

Where do you stand on this pressing issue? Inquiring minds want to know! 


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Austerity schmausterity

In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Europe's policy makers decreed that taxpayers must bail out the banks that caused the economic crisis, and at the same time see their social safety nets severely cut by "austerity" programs. Europeans were told there was no alternative. Spending cuts would make markets more "confident", thus offsetting the effects of the spending cuts.

Some economists including Paul Krugman and Brad Delong said there's no such thing as a "confidence fairy", but austerity was music to new British PM David Cameron's ears--a banker-friendly rationale for punishing the poor and further enriching the wealthy with the proceeds. US Republicans and the European Central Bank took up the same tune.

What's happened has confirmed the Krugman view. Austerity is driving the UK and Greece deeper into their economic holes. Bailing out bankers while punishing the voters paying for the bailout doesn't grow prosperity and hasn't restored market confidence. The people of Spain and Italy and Ireland are victims too as their governments reduce themselves to the status of third-world countries having to borrow in someone else’s currency. Austerity has failed everywhere it's been tried.

And there's a demonstration of what works better. Iceland was deeper in economic poop than anybody, but it let the banks go bust, told international banks to get stuffed, and expanded its social safety net. What's the result? Iceland's social safety net is mostly intact, and its economy is recovering.

Even if Angela Merkel, the ECB, David Cameron and the US Republicans once actually believed in the confidence fairy, the results are in, and they can't believe in it now without slipping into delusion.

What's driving austerity then? One thing is continuing belief by the rich that the poor deserve their lot. How convenient it is that such policies make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Austerity is what we get when rightwing ideologues hijack a crisis in the service of their political agendas.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

As Good as It Gets

My list of great movies is not complete without a mention of this one. Winner of two Academy Awards (Jack Nicholson for Best Actor and Helen Hunt for Best Actress, it should have won at least four more: Greg Kinnear for Best Supporting Actor, Shirley Knight as Helen's mom, and Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks for Best Screenplay. It was nominated for these and others (Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Score) but somehow didn't win those.

I've seen this movie at least a dozen times; I have memorized almost the entire script. Typically, a comedy doesn't stand up to that many viewings without inducing boredom. But As Good as It Gets is more than just a hilarious comedy. Its characters are so well drawn they become part of your life. Some of the lines of dialog are simply priceless. Jack as Melvin Udall gets most of them, but Helen and Greg and Shirley get some memorable lines too.

It's impossible to recommend this movie too highly. If you haven't seen it, run to the nearest DVD outlet (assuming there still is one in your neighbourhood) and rent or buy it at once.

File Sharing Services Panic

In the wake of the shutdown of Megaupload, the seizure of its servers and the arrest of its principals and several employees, other file-sharing services have either diminished their services or shut down completely. Here is a brief rundown of such services and their reactions:

  • Fileserve – Stopped filesharing. You can only download your own files. Deleting multiple files. Banning Premium accounts. Closed Affiliate Program.
  • Changed server location Jan 22, 2012. Has taken down its Facebook page. Now using Digital fingerprinting. Files are being deleted as soon as uploaded (as Hotfile did).

  • FileSonic – A red banner on the site's main page now informs visitors that "All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally."

  • VideoBB – Closed Affiliate Program.

  • Filepost – Started suspending accounts with infringing material (as Hotfile did).

  • Uploaded.to – Blocked U.S. access.

  • Videozer – Closed Affiliate Program.

  • Filejungle – Owned by Fileserve (same as above). Testing USA IP addresses blocking.

  • Uploadstation – Owned by Fileserve (same as above). Testing USA IP addresses blocking.

  • 4Shared – Deleting multiple files.

  • EnterUpload - Down (Redirect).
  • Arthur  

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Is Canadian Culture Dead, and If So, Did the CRTC Kill It?

Several recent posts on SlashDot concern the death of Canadian culture, and the perpetrator of said death is attributed to the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Commission). Here is a quote selected from SlashDot's thread on this, followed by my response:
Basically Canada is still going through issues trying to figure out what it means to be Canadian. A large part of how many Canadians seem to define themselves as as "not American" hence the "little brother" syndrome I talk about. They are like a little kid who is saying what they are is the things the big kid is not.
This isn't such a problem for the average man on the street, of course, but it is a big issue for the government and various folks. They have a real issue with trying to decide what it is to be Canadian and protecting that. There are even things like laws requiring a certain amount of content on TV and radio to be Canadian in origin.
My reply:
While I agree with your characterization in very general strokes, I also point out that a significant minority does not have this problem. To this I cite Canadian pop music, for starters.
Music: I have a friend in Florida who has emailed me about the phenomenal female talent coming out of Canada, from Joni to Nelly to Alanis to Sarah. That will do for starters, but let's toss in:
Pop -- Celine Dion, Robert Charlebois, Boule Noir, Lhasa, Robbie Robertson, Leonard Cohen and his son Adam, Neil Young, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Robert Goulet and many more.
Classical -- Ofra Harnoy (cello), James Ennis (viiolin), and a few operatic tenors and sopranos and altos.
TV series sold around the world: "Anna of Green Gables", "Heartland", "FlashPoint", "daVinci" and everything else Chris Haddock created, my favourite being "Intelligence".
Cinema -- David Cronenberg's entire ouevre, James Cameron, all the work of Atom Egoyan, and all the celebrated contributions of NFB, and that's only for starters. Add to this a few films such as Point 45.
"Literature": Margaret Atwood, Mistry Rohinton, Farley Mowat, Malcolm Lowry, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro, Michale Ondaatje, Gabrielle Roy, Douglas Copeland, Dim Unrespected 
S-F literature: William Gibson, Ursula Guinn and  Robert J. Sawyer, , for starters. 
Non-fiction: Pierre Berton, Peter C. Newman, Marshall McLuhan Roch Carier, Douglas Copeland, William Gibson, J.K. Galbraith, Steven Pinker, and the list goes on. 
Comedy:, That list is endless, but it begins with Lorne Michael, founder of Saturday Night Live, who hired numerous Canadian humourists, but let's begin that list with Russell Peters, then include Jim Carrey, John Belushi, John Candy, Dan Ackroyd,and the list goes on. 
Actors: Donald and Keifer Sutherland, Keannu Reeves, Gordon Pinsent, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Alexandra Stewart, and thousands of others.
Canadian culture is no more in peril than Quebecois culture, which is thriving. I daresay that so is Canadian culture. We are not in peril at all.
Back to the intiial point: is the CRTC a protector of Canadian culture or a threat to it? There are several answers to this question. Admittedly, the restriction that ratio stations play a mandated percentage of Canadian artists definitely did help Canadian musicians conquer the world. There is no dispute about this.
But I would argue that the mission is mis-stated: rather than mandate Canadian content, I would argue the other side: that foreign content be restricted by percentage. Arbitrarily choosing a number, I propose that content by nation ought to be restricted thus: the maximum content from any other country be restricted to 20% of the total broadcast.
Canadian culture is not suffering. I daresay that it is thriving! I would also say that the CRTC's mission is obsolete. We are thriving! Everyone knows that Celine and David and Donald and Keifer and Jim and Martin (Short) and Lorne Micheals and John Candy and Denis Arcand and Nelly and Joni and Norah and Leonard are Canadian!
I don't think that I fit into this company, but I have published several non-fiction books, all about database programming, so I fit somewhere, at the lowest levels, in this list.


Saturday, 21 January 2012

The End of DUI

There's a nice piece in Wired, Feb 2012, "The Robot Drive; The autonomous car of the future is here". Google, Mercedes and BMW all have autonomous, auto-driven, cars in the works. The potential up-side is that you can get as hammered as you want in your local waterhole, and then stumble into your car and say, "Home, Jeeves", and thou shalt arrive safely at home, intact and beneath the radar.

Unfortunately, one problem persists: how are you to make it from the parked automobile to the doorway of your house? We're working on it; perhaps a robot equipped for rain and snow, waiting at the front door or the garage door, holding an arm akimbo and waiting for you to catch hold, then gracefully guiding you into your home.

The stairs to the bedroom present the next problem, not in itself insurmountable. You could even install an Acorn Stairlift to get you up the stairs to the bedroom.

But then comes the truly insurmountable problem: upon arrival in the boudoir, what does one say to one's spouse? On that question, technology falls on its face.


Cloud Storage: I wouldn't bet on it

Do you store your data on a public cloud? Would you consider it? Not me, thank you. I've had serious doubts about this technology since it was introduced, and although I hate to say "I told you so", I told you so.

Recently (January 19, 2012), Megaupload was shut down. Its computers and toys (including some monster TVs and a clutch of Mercedes automobiles) were seized, not to mention somewhere around a thousand servers. If you have -- er, had -- any files stored there, color them Gone. Theoretically, they are in limbo, rather than actually gone. But you won't get them back unless and until the seven Megaupload people arrested are eventually found innocent, and given the speed of swift justice, that will take years.

There are lots of cloud-storage companies, some of which are subsidiaries of giants like Microsoft and Google. Their sheer size doesn't make them immune, either to the DOJ or to the whims of malicious hackers, which is why I've refused to board this train. There's no way in the world I would upload anything to such a site without a local backup of said data, and that rather defeats the point. The only valid reason that I can see to do this is to gain access to the files no matter where you are. This does not solve the problem, but merely relocates it. Should you update the cloud-file(s) from anywhere, then you need to copy the updates back to your location. If you're not at home or work, then hopefully you have a memory stick with you. 64-gig sticks are available now, for less than a dollar a gig, so it's feasible, unless the file you're updating is a database.

To the list of Things That Could Go Wrong, we should add Bankruptcy. In that event, you might not even receive advance notice and the chance to migrate your files to some other cloud provider. In the case of intervention by the DOJ or some equivalent, you can rest assured that all your unencrypted data will be inspected, if only to buttress the argument that criminal activity (copyright violations, possession of kiddie-porn, etc.) was taking place. The irony is, even and perhaps especially, if your data on the cloud is encrypted, a closer inspection is warranted. If you have nothing to hide, why bother with encryption? In that light, encryption borders on admission of guilt.

My advice: think very carefully before placing your head in a cloud. Ask the vendor what happens in the event of bankruptcy.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Apple: Digital Feudalists

A few days ago, when Apple announced its new and ostensibly revolutionary iBooks publishing software, it claimed to be on the verge of revolutionizing the publication and distribution of textbooks. After looking over the EULA that comes with the software, methinks NOT.

Check this out:

B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:
  •  (i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
  • (ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or
    service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.
Consider this in a similar light: if you're a public speaker, charging an appearance fee and using a PowerPoint slide show in your presentation. By the clauses outlined above, you would have to give Microsoft a piece of your action.

Lest the above clauses seem too vague, the Apple EULA goes even further:

Apple will not be responsible for any costs, expenses, damages, losses (including
without limitation lost business opportunities or lost profits) or other liabilities you may
incur as a result of your use of this Apple Software, including without limitation the fact that your Work may not be selected for distribution by Apple.
(Their bold-face, not mine.)

Read that paragraph slowly and carefully. Suppose that you spend the next several months writing and formatting your work into a specimen of shocking and brilliant prose. Then you submit it, only to find that for whatever reason, Apple rejects it. What rights is Apple claiming? Here it gets interesting. You can submit the work elsewhere, but not in the form in which it currently resides. First you must strip the document of all its markup language, reducing it to plain text, and then mark it up in another language such as the industry standard EPUB. The agreement states that Apple iBooks uses the EPUB format, but won't allow a 100% compatible export, even using the Save As (.iBooks, then rename the result to .EPUB). Depending upon the interpretation of the agreement, however, even this output might be deemed covered by the egregious clauses.

When we first heard of this new software, my co-author Peter Brawley and I greeted it with enthusiasm. Second and third readings of the EULA have pretty much dissipated our initial take. At this point, our advice to would-be iBooks authors is simple: read and re-read the EULA carefully, and when you are sufficiently dizzied by its language, have your lawyer read it too. And if you still want to walk into this feudal arrangement, we wish you the best of luck.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Digital Detox

I heard a sad but poignant story on a CBC phone-in program yesterday, on the topic of Digital Detox. This is not so much a physical place like a drug-detox centre, but rather a self-imposed withdrawal from Blackberry, iTab and smartphones. Before I get to the story, I want to mention one great idea that a caller mentioned: at a social gathering of friends or colleagues, the first one to reach for his or her Blackberry etc. picks up the tab.

Now the story: The guest of the show was a woman who found her young daughter walking around the house, carrying a doll and her mother's old Blackberry. She asked her daughter what she was doing, and her daughter replied, "I'm playing house. Just like you."

That's when she realized the extent of her addiction. Her daughter thought being a Mommy required a Blackberry. And that's when she went into Digital Detox.

I don't have a Blackberry or an iPad or a smartphone. All I have is a rather stupid cell phone. It does text and email and music, but I've never used any of those features. To me it's a phone, period. I do maintain a list of frequently-called numbers, but that's about the extent of it.

How about you? How long can you go without a "hit" from your smart device? A weekend? A day? An hour?


Chinese Inventions

A while ago I read a wonderful book called The Man Who Loved China, by Simon Winchester. It details the life of Richard Needham, who spent most of his life studying and documenting the history of Chinese culture. Originally from England, he moved to New York to study, and there met a Mandarin-speaking Chinese woman. With her help, he learned to read, speak and write Mandarin in a year (as one attempting to learn Mandarin, I can attest to how formidable accomplishment this is). During World War II, he moved to China, originally to help the Chinese army to fend off Japan by touring the country and finding out what materiel was needed. Said materiel was then shipped to India and from there transported overland into China. Everywhere he went, Needham visited universities, monasteries and technical facilities, gathering every nugget he could about Chinese history and culture. He managed to persuade a publisher to publish what was intended to be a book on the subject, to be delivered within a year. Eventually the material was published -- in a set consisting of 16 volumes! Even today, Needham is regarded as the world's foremost scholar of Chinese culture.

The Man Who Loved China closes with an appendix listing Chinese inventions and their date of appearance (or first mention; in some cases the mentions post-date the inventions). This list is quite shocking to most Westerners, as is the narrow-mindedness of many Western historians. (Fortunately, this is changing.)  Sometimes even the terminology reveals this. For example, see "Pasteurization" in the list below.

I have taken the liberty of typing the list in from the book. I'm quite sure that at least a few entries will shock and surprise you, especially when you realize how many centuries earlier the Chinese invention was than the European "invention". Here it is.

AD 190
580 BC
Advisory vessels
3rd Century BC
Air-conditioning fan
AD 180
Alcohol made from grain by a special fermentation process
15th Century BC
Algorithm for extraction of square and cube roots
1st Century BC
11th Century AD
Anchor, non-folding, stockless
1st Century AD
3rd Century AD
Anti-malaria drugs
3rd Century AD
Arcuballista, multi-bolt
320 BC
Acruballista, multiple-spring
5th Century AD
Asbestos woven into cloth
3rd Century AD
Astronomical clock drive
120 AD
Axial rudder
1st Century AD
Ball Bearings
2nd Century BC
Balloon principle
2nd Century BC
Bean Curd
100 AD
Bell, pottery
3rd millennium BC
Bellows, double-acting piston-turned bronze
6th Century BC
Belt drive
5th Century BC
Beriberi, recognition of
1130 AD
Blast furnace
3rd Century BC
Blood, distinction of arterial and veinous
2nd Century BC
Blood, theory of circulation
2nd Century BC
Boats and ships, paddle-wheel
418 AD
Bomb, cast-iron
1221 AD
Bomb, thrown from a trebucher

Book, printed, first to be dated
868 AD
Book, scientific, printed
847 AD
Bookcase, vertical axis
544 AD
Bookworm repellent

Bowl, bronze, water-spouting
3rd Century BC
Bread, steamed

Bridges, releasable
4th Century BC
Bridges, iron-chain suspension
6th Century AD
Bridges, Li Chun’s Segmental Arch
610 AD
Bronze, high tin for mirror production

Bronze, rainbow teng (camphor still)
1st Century BC
9 AD
Camera Obscura, explanation of
1086 AD
“Candan” suspension
140 BC
Cast iron
5th Century BC
Cast iron-malleable
4th Century BC
Cereals, preservation of stored
1st Century BC
Chain drive
976 AD
4th Century BC
Chimes, stone
9th Century BC
600 BC
Clocks, sand
1370 AD
Clocks, Su Sung’s
1088 AD
Clockwork Escapement of Yi Xing and Liang Lingzan
725 AD
Coal, as a fuel
1st Century AD
Coal dust, briquettes from
1st Century AD
9th Century BC
Collapsible umbrella and other items
5th Century BC
Comet tails, observation of direction of
635 AD
Compass, floating fish
1027 AD
Compass, magnetic needle
1088 AD
Cooking pots, heat economy in
3rd Millennium BC
Crank handle
1st Century BC
Crop rotation
6th Century BC
5th Century BC
Crossbow, bronze triggers
300 BC
Crossbow, grid sight for
1st Century AD
Crossbow, magazine
13th Century AD
Dating of trees by number of rings
12th Century AD
Decimal place value
13th Century BC
Deep drilling and use of natural gas as fuel
2nd Century BC
Diabetes, association with sweet and fatty foods
1st Century BC
Dial and pointer
3rd Century BC
Differential pressure

Disease, diurnal rhythms in
2nd Century BC
Diseases, deficiency
3rd Century AD
Dishing of carriage wheel

Distillation of mercury
3rd Century BC
1120 AD
1st Century BC
Dragon kiln
2nd Century AD
Draw Loom
1st Century AD
Drum carriage
1st Century AD
Diked/poldered fields
1st Century BC
2nd Century AD
Equal temperament, mathematical formulation of
AD 1584
Equilibrium, theory of
4th Century BC
Erosion and sedimentary deposition, theory of
AD 1070
Esculentist movement (edible plants for time of famine)
AD 1046
Ever-normal granary system
AD 9
2nd Century BC
AD 290
AD 950
Flame test

Flame-thrower (double-acting force pump for liquids)
AD 919
Folding chairs
3rd Century AD
Free reed
100 BC
7th Century BC
Furnace, reverberatory
1st Century BC
3rd Century BC
Gauges, rain and snow
AD 1247
Gear-wheels, chevron-toothed
AD 50
Ginning machine, hand-cranked and treadle
17th Century AD
Gluten from wheat
AD 530
Gold, purple sheen
200 BC
AD 806
AD 712
Great Wall of China
3rd Century BC
Gird technique, quantitative, used in cartography
AD 1130
Guan Xien system
240 BC
Gunpowder, formula for
12th Century AD
Gunpowder, government’s department and monopoly on
14th Century AD
Gunpowder, used in mining
681 BC
AD 1128
Harness, boot strap
250 BC
Harness, collar
AD 477
Helicopter top
AD 320
High temperatures, firing of clay at
2nd Millennium BC
110 BC
Holing irons
AD 584
“Hot streak” test
AD 1596
120 BC
Indeterminate analysyis

Interconversion of longitudinal and rotary motion
AD 31
4th Century BC
Knife, rotary disk, for cutting jade
12th Century AD
13th Century BC
Ladders, extendable
4th Century BC
Leeboards and centerboards
AD 751
Lodestone, south-pointing ladle
AD 83
Magic mirrors
5th Century AD
Magic squares
AD 190
Magnetic declination noted
AD 1040
Magnetic thermoremanence and induction
AD 1044
Magnetic variation observed
AD 1436
Magnetism, used in medicine
AD 970
Malt sugar, production of
1st Millennium BC
4th Century BC
Maps, relief
AD 1086
Maps, typographical
3rd Century BC
Masts, multiple
3rd Century AD
Matches (non-striking)
AD 577
Melodic composition
AD 475
Metal amalgams used to fill cavities
AD 659
Metal, to oxides, burning of
5th Century BC
Mill, wagon
AD 340
Mills, edge-runner
200 BC
Mills, edge-runner, water-power applied
4th Century AD
Mining, square sets for
5th Century BC
Mining, differential pressure ventilation
5th Century BC
Mirror, with “light-penetration surface”
11th Century BC
Mold board
2nd Century BC
Mountings, vertical and horizontal
1st Century AD
9th Century BC
3rd Century BC
Multiple-spindle silk-twisting frame
AD 1313
Negative numbers, operations using
1st Century AD
Noodles (filamentous) including bread
AD 100
Nova, recorded observation of
13th Century BC
Numerical equations of higher order, solution of
13th Century AD
Oil lamps, economic
9th Century AD
Paktong (cupronickel)
AD 230
Paper (invention of)
300 BC
Paper, money
9th Century AD
Paper, toilet
AD 589
Paper, wall
16th Century AD
Paper, wrapping
2nd Century BC
Parachute principle
8th Century AD
“Pascal” triangle of binomial coefficients
AD 1100
Pasteurization of wine
AD 1117
Pearl fishing conservancy
2nd Century AD
Pearls in oysters, artificial induction of
AD 1086
“Pi”, accurate estimation of
3rd Century AD
Piece molding for casting bronze
2nd Millennium BC
Place-value number system
13th Century BC
Placenta used as source of estrogen
AD 725
AD 940
Plant protection, biological
AD 304
Planting in rows
3rd Century BC
Playing cards
AD 969
Polar-equatorial coordinates
1st Century BC
Polar-equatorial mounting of astronomical instruments
AD 1270
3rd Century BC
Potassium, flame-test used in identifying
3rd Century AD
Pound-lock canal gates
AD 984
Preservation of corpses
166 BC
Printing, bronze type
AD 1403
Printing, movable earthenware type on paper
11th Century AD
Printing, multicolor
12th Century AD
Printing, with woodblocks
7th Century AD
Propeller-oar, self-feathering
AD 100
Prospecting, biogeochemical
6th Century AD
Prospecting, geological
4th Century BC
Qin and se zither

Recording of sun halves, parhelic specters, and Lowitz arcs
AD 635
Reed on fishing rod
3rd Century AD
4th Century BC
Rocket arrow
13th Century AD
Rocket arrow launchers
AD 1370
Rocket arrows, winged
AD 1360
Rockets, two-staged
AD 1360
AD 880
Rotary ballista
AD 240
Rotary fan
1st Cnetury BC
Sailing carriage
16th Century AD
Sails, mat and batten
1st Century AD
Salvage, underwater
AD 1064
AD 80
Seed, pre-treatment of
1st Century BC
Seed drill, multiple tube
AD 155
“Seedling horse”
11th Century AD
AD 132
Ships, construction principle of
1st Century BC
Silk, earliest spinning of
2850 BC
Silk reeling machine
AD 1090
Silk warp doubling and throwing frame
10th Century AD
3rd Century BC
Sluices, riffles added to
11th Century AD
Smallpox, inoculation against
10th Century AD
AD 178
Snow crystals, six-sided symmetry of
135 BC
Soil science (ecology)
5th Century BC
South-pointing carriage
AD 120
Soybean, fermented
200 BC
Sprouts, for medicinal and nutritional purposes
2nd Century BC
Spindle wheel
5th Century BC
Spindle wheel, multiple spindle
11th Century AD
Spindle wheel, treadle-operated
1st Century AD
Spooling frame
AD 1313
Square pallet chain pump
AD 186
Stalactites and stalagmites, records of
4th Century BC
Stars, proper motion of
AD 725
Steamers, pottery
5th millennium BC
Steel production, co-fusion method of
6th Century AD
Sterilization by steaming
AD 980
Steroids, urinary
AD 1025
Still, Chinese-type
7th Century AD
AD 300
Stringed instruments
9th Century BC
Tea, as drink
2nd Century BC
Thyroid treatment
1st Century BC
Tian yuan algebraic notation
AD 1248
Tilt-hammer, water-powered spoon
AD 1145
9th Century AD
Trebuchet (simple)
4th Century BC
Trip hammers
2nd Century BC
Trip hammers, water-powered
AD 20
2nd Century BC
Water mills, geared
3rd Century AD
Waterwheel, horizontal
AD 31
Weather vane
120 BC
Wet copper method
11th Century AD
Wheelbarrow, centrally mounted
30 BC
Wheelbarrow, with sails
6th Century AD
Windlass, well
120 BC
Windows, revolving
5th Century BC
Winnowing machine
1st Century AD
AD 180