Who first used clocks?

It is believed that the Babylonians fist used a pole fixed in the ground to measure the passing of time. They noticed that the position of the shadow changed during the hours of sunlight. They found that the shadow was long at sunrise and that it slowly grew shorter until it reached a point when it started to lengthen again. They learnt to judge the time by looking at the shadow.

        The simple shadow and pole arrangements were the basis of the various shadow clocks or sundials used by the ancient Egyptians. Eventually sundials were provided with the hour figures engraved on a metal plate.

      The Egyptians also used a clepsydra or water clock. This was a basin-shaped, alabaster vessel filled with water that ran out through a hole in the bottom. The time was indicated by the level of water remaining inside.

      Monks were the first to operate clocks by wheels and weights. Clocks of this type, found in monasteries, date back to the 14th Century. The first spring clock is dated about 1500.

Picture credit: google

Why were the temples of Abu Simbel moved?

When construction began on the high Dam at Aswan, in southern Egypt, it was realized that the temples of Abu Simbel would be completely submerged as the waters to the Nile rose behind the dam to create a much needed reservoir.

       In 1959 Egypt and its southern neighbor Sudan appealed for help to the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization. The first archaeological surveys began in 1960 and U.N.E.S.C.O’s response grew into what was to become the biggest archaeological rescue operation in history.

      Abu Simbel consists of three temples of Rameses II built more than 3,000 years ago. The most important and impressive temple included four gigantic seated statues of the king, each 65 feet high. By 1968 these four enormous monuments to Rameses had been cut out of the rock and reconstructed, exactly as they were, high up on a cliff.

      Six more great statues of Rameses and his queen (about 30 feet high) were also excavated and moved to a dry sanctuary above the old river bed, along with everything else that could be salvaged.

Why was the First World War fought?

               The First World War was fought from 1914 to 1918. It is called a world war for the simple reason that all the major countries of the world were involved in it. In this war on one side were Britain, France and Russia called “The Allies” while on the other side were Germany, Austria and Bulgaria known as “Central Powers”. Later, USA joined the Allies while Turkey participated in the war from the other side. The war fought bitterly for four years resulted in the victory of the Allies. In the history of warfare, the First World War stands out prominently as during its course, battles were fought on land, in air and on sea. Britain used a great military weapon like “tank” in this war for the first time.

               As a background, we can mention that in the Franco—Prussian war of 1871, France was brought to her knees by Prussia (later known as Germany) who snatched from her two important provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. France resented this loss very much and harboured deep bitterness against Germany. France waited for an opportunity to take revenge against Germany. Imperialistic rivalries among the colony seeking powers of Europe, like England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany also helped in fouling the atmosphere and paved way for a war. In addition stock piling of powerful weapons by major countries of the world also created militant feelings among these nations surcharging the atmosphere.

               The immediate cause was however the murder of Austrian Prince Archduke Ferdinand by a Serb at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Austria squarely blamed Serbia for this crime, and sent an ultimatum which was ignored by Serbia on the instigation of Russia. As a result Austria declared war against Serbia on July 28, 1914. This led to the escalation of conflict and gradually drew all the major countries of Europe as active participants. Russia declared war on Turkey on 2nd November, 1914 and Britain and France also followed suit. On 7th May, 1915 Germans attacked and sunk an American ship which later led to the involvement of USA in the war. USA declared war on Germany on 16 April 1917. Interestingly, Japan also fought against Germany in this war. The war ended in 1918 following a treaty known as the “Treaty of Versailles”. 

Turtle Ship

            The turtle ship, also known as the kobukson, was designed by Admiral Yi. It was the first iron clad ship in the world. This armed warship played a significant part in Korea’s victory over Japanese naval forces. Yi Sun-sin used overlapping iron plates like the carapace (hard shell) of a turtle, to give stronger protection against enemy arrows and gun shots. Cannons were placed to give all round offensive fire, iron spikes guarded the ship, and a dragons head at the prow blew out frightening plumes of smoke.

Why is Jean Baptiste de Lamarck a key figure in the history of evolution?

Jean Baptiste Lamarck was a French scientist who developed a theory of evolution at the beginning of the 19th century. His theory involved two ideas. The first was the law of use and disuse, which stated that a characteristic which is used more and more by an organism becomes bigger and stronger, and one that is not used, eventually disappears. The second law was the law of inheritance of acquired characteristics. It stated that any feature of an organism that is improved through use, is passed to its offspring. However, Lamarck’s theory cannot account for all the observations made about life on Earth. For instance, his theory would predict that all organisms gradually become complex and simple organisms disappear. But we know that this is not the case, and that simple organisms still exist. So today, Lamarck’s theory is largely ignored.