The quote “dwell in possibility” by Emily Dickinson means that if we believe in our capabilities and try to do the best we can with what we have, then our lives will be a little more prosperous than they already are.
Emily Dickinson lived from 1830-1886 in Amherst, Massachusetts. She started writing poems when she was young but did not publish them until 1862 when her first collection of poems was published called “Annie Dawes.” Her work became known for its unique perspectives on life’s common experiences such as death, nature, and love.
Let us look in more detail about what we, as humans can achieve when we examine the possibilities and put them into action.
Reached the north pole
The North Pole is a location that has fascinated people for centuries. In 1908, Robert Peary and Matthew Henson traveled to Ellesmere Island by ship. The following year, in 1909 these two brave men set off on their Arctic adventure. When they reached latitude 90 degrees north on April 6th everyone was amazed. However, Dr. Frederick A Cook challenged their distinction claiming he had already been there earlier than anyone else; at this point, the US Congress stepped in and finally determined that the expedition by Peary and Henson was successful.
Built the pyramids
The Great Pyramids in Egypt are one of the most intriguing mysteries on Earth. The Sphinx was built around 800 BC by order of King Khafra, son to Pharaoh Zoser, and grandson to Snefru (the builder who created the necropolis). It’s thought that construction lasted 20 years with 8 architects managing different parts during this time period. The reason why these well-planned and accurate structures were built thousands of years ago is unknown.
What we do know is that the pyramids hold a vast source of knowledge along with secrets about our past that could answer a lot of questions we have about our history and how we came to be. We also know that there are many other ancient structures found across the globe which would suggest a possibility that advanced knowledge from different civilisations existed during this period.
Organised, skilled workers were used as labourers to build the pyramids under the vision of the master builders. Of course, it would have taken a lot of people to do this, but also they would need many beasts of burden too. It’s recorded that 100,000 men were used during the construction stage alone with 8,000-10,000 working on any one day during the Nile Flooding period when the most effort was required.
Splitting the atom to create nuclear technology
The University of Manchester is the birthplace of nuclear physics and 2017 marked 100 years since Ernest Rutherford ‘split the atom’. The Nobel Prize winner became one of many people who discovered artificial nuclear reactions in laboratories during his time there; beginning with an experiment conducted between 1914-1919 on nitrogen gas bombs which led him to eventually win recognition for what we now call “splitting atoms”. However, “rutherford’s discovery” should not be confused with the later process of discovering fission in the 1930s, when several scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Walked on the moon
The Apollo 11 mission was the first to land humans on Earth’s moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed an all-American crew that landed on July 21, 1969; they spent six hours outside their spaceship before returning with 47 pounds (21 kg) of Moon rocks for scientists back home!
Apollo 11 took three days to get to the Moon. After they landed, the astronauts had to figure out how to travel about on the surface of another world! They filmed their trip with special cameras that could stand up to the Moon’s harsh environment. The creation of those cameras is a worth a blog post by itself.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the most awe-inspiring structures in human history. It’s not surprising that at almost two thousand years old and with an estimated length stretching over 5450 kilometers long – it would be hard to find someone who knows what this wall originally stood for! In around a part of Chinese history known as the “Spring & Autumn Period” (770 BC – 476 AD), state Chu started building their protective barriers against invading troops from other states like Han Qi Qin Wei Yan and Zhao
Construction of the great wall continued up until the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) when it was used to defend against Tartar invaders.
The discovery of The Qing Dynasty Great Wall in the 1980s was a great surprise to archeologists. It extended their knowledge about China’s Great Walls from 1614, by 260 years, up to 1878 AD.
The invention of mechanical and electronic computers.
Way before IBM, Apple, or Microsoft, computers were humans. This name was given to people who spent their days performing arithmetic operations—those tedious tasks that took up long hours and created valuable books with mathematical tables for other specialists’ use: from artillery officers deciding where best a cannon could be aimed, tax collectors swiftly assessing an unexpectedly high number of tax returns, to civil servants compiling statistics on crime.
The first computer programmer was named Charles Babbage. His famous invention, “The Difference Engine” enabled mathematicians at Queen’s College Cambridge University to produce more accurate results than ever before by automating repetitive calculations so they did not need writing into multiple copied notebooks by hand.
In 1837, Charles had a vision of a machine that could execute all four arithmetic operations and called it the “Analytical Engine”. The machine was programmed using punched cards, which were thin pieces of cardboard with holes in them. Each hole represented a single digit, and the position of the hole instructed the machine to perform that particular arithmetic operation. This card device is known as the first computer ‘keyboard’.
Built the empire state building in just 1 year
The first thing that had to be done was the site clearing. This process of demolition and stripping down an old building for recycling or disposal can take up a lot of time, as it is not always easy depending on what material needs doing away with. From there on out you may need more than one means of disposal of certain items such as wood (the old Waldorf-Astoria hotel’s construction mainly consisted of wooden blocks) that are still present. There were also other “precious” metals like lead which couldn’t easily find their way into modern-day products so this too ended up being thrown away. Some small parts that were left-over made their way back onto 30th Street afterward.
Once the site was ready, construction could begin!
The first steel contract for the hotel was awarded on January 12, 1930, and excavation began ten days later. Twelve men worked continuously on each section to dig 55 feet of foundation before construction had even begun in earnest! Pier holes were sunk into concrete footing which supported their weight during this period leading up until early March when everything came together beautifully. Workers started building with full force by March 17th so as not to interrupt any progress made earlier than necessary.
By June 20, the skyscraper’s supporting steel structure had risen to the 26th floor and by July 27 half of the frame of the building was completed. On September 10 a cornerstone was laid during an event attended by thousands. It contained a box with contemporary artifacts such as the previous days New York Times and all denominations of notes and coins from a 1930 U.S currency set.
The steel structure of the building was topped out on September 19, twelve days ahead of schedule and 23 weeks after it began. Workers raised a flag atop an 86th floor to signify this milestone; afterward, work for inside construction started in addition to the exterior walls being completed.
Medical engineering has people walking on prosthetic limbs instead of relying on wheelchairs
Although prosthetic limbs are expensive and take time to be fitted correctly, they overcome the limitations of wheelchairs. Improvements in mobility and reach allow people to reach objects and complete tasks to a greater degree. With practice, it is more convenient to walk on prosthetic limbs than it is to use a wheelchair. The improvement in self-esteem is also a measurable effect of using prosthetics.
Arms that do not have the normal range of movement have benefitted from developments in prosthetics. In August 1998 the world’s first bionic arm was fitted to Campbell Aird at Princess Margaret Rose Hospital. It’s a metal and plastic creation that is lighter than natural arms, and more efficient than the old pneumatic devices for everyday use. Its electronic micro sensors detect pressure from the shoulder to control the movement of all joints in one hand or both hands!
Discovered electricity and harnessed its potential
Thousands of years ago we saw lightning and could see that it had enormous potential. It took many people, many years to understand and make use of electrical power.
Ancient Greeks and Romans knew about static electricity and they had no use for anything more than a party trick. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Alessandro Volta created a device that could generate an electric current from different types of metal. Innovation was rife around electricity and in 1820, Joseph Henry discovered how to use a magnet to create an electric current in a wire.
In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction; he used copper coils to produce an electrical current. In 1888 the great leap forward took place. Nikola Tesla invented the first AC generator and this allowed for later developments in technology like radios and TV.
Looking back at the words of Emily Dickinson; ‘dwelling in possibility’ creates action. The innovative thoughts of ancient Romans, through to modern inventors, such as James Dyson and Elon Musk, all begin by entertaining the idea that something is possible. Possibilities are the place in which to dwell, for they guide us forward to ever greater achievements.
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