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How It Began: A History of the Modern World

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Context

6/11/2018
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I’m thrilled to announce the launch of my new podcast: Context. If you’ve enjoyed engaging in history with me so far, I think you’ll continue to find value in the new show. Join me as we explore how other scholars have interpreted the rise of the modern world. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, or search "Context with Brad Harris" wherever you happen to listen and subscribe there. For more information, visit the new website, bradharris.com. I'll see you there!

Duration:00:06:28

Money: From Barter to Blockchain

5/15/2018
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Money is a form of trust. Credit, not coins, has been the heart of financial innovation. Communities that have learned how to leverage credit most effectively and facilitate its transfer between parties most efficiently have sustained the most progress, from the Medician networks that funded the Renaissance to the cryptography companies that are developing the blockchain-based internet of value today. But, how did money evolve as a system of trust? To support How It Began,...

Duration:00:52:08

Measuring Time: The Hidden Mechanism of Modernity

4/10/2018
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Our submergence in the flow of time can make it difficult to comprehend how fundamental timekeeping technology has been to the evolution of our civilization. But, to wind up the mechanism of modernity, our mastery of clockwork was critical. Where did the authority of our clockwork come from? How did the perfection of this mechanism become the guiding force of our age? I give you measuring time, and how it began. To support How It Began, https://howitbegan.com/support. For more...

Duration:01:13:20

The Enlightenment: From a Medieval to a Modern Mindset

3/5/2018
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The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement centered in northern Europe during the late 1600s and 1700s that is largely responsible for establishing our modern convictions concerning the virtues of representative government, religious toleration, and human rights. It inaugurated the very idea that humanity could learn how to make the world a better a place, but why is its legacy so misunderstood? To help support How It Began, go to https://howitbegan.com/support. For more information...

Duration:00:49:19

The Printed Book: Opening the Floodgates of Knowledge

2/5/2018
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We've all heard about how the printing press revolutionized book production. But, the real revolution was in how printed books, as opposed to handwritten ones, obliterated the intellectual barriers between us, leading to the Scientific Revolution, The Enlightenment, and beyond. Witness how the ancient trickle of handwritten knowledge was transformed into the flood of printed knowledge, as we discover the printed book, and how it began. To help support How It Began, go to...

Duration:00:51:08

Mastering Metals: From Sticks & Stones to Cars & Computers

1/8/2018
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The transition from the Stone Age to the age of metals marks the historical arrival of civilization. But, how was it that people first learned to see stone not as a tool in itself but as a reservoir of better tools? And how did we master that material revolution to forge cars & computers from sticks & stones? Discover the triumph of mastering metals, and how it began. To help support How It Began, go to https://howitbegan.com/support. For more information on this episode, go to...

Duration:01:00:38

Coffee: Sobering Up for The Enlightenment

12/18/2017
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Historian Brad Harris reveals the correlations between the spread of coffee consumption and the rise of modern institutions. From science to security, insurance to stock exchanges, and all the way through to democratic liberation, coffee's arrival into Europe in the 1600s helped awaken Western Civilization from centuries of booze-induced slumber, catalyzing an entirely new age of progress that featured revolutionary change on practically every front. To help support the How It Began...

Duration:00:50:07

Refrigeration: From Ice Harvests to Superconductivity

11/29/2017
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Historian Brad Harris reveals what empowered us to wield cold. While most of the achievements of technology seem based on our conquest of heat, the unsung technological hero of modernity is refrigeration. It’s on-demand cold is critical in preserving the unprecedented cornucopia of foods we eat. But refrigeration does so much more... How It Began is supported by CuriosityStream! Check them out at curiositystream.com/howitbegan. For more information on this episode, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:45:17

What Defines the History of the Modern World?

11/20/2017
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In this introduction to Season Two, historian Brad Harris challenges the growing cynicism toward the ideas of progress and modernity, recalling what The Enlightenment was all about. Music provided by Zack Hemsey, "Redemption," from the album, The Way, 2011. How It Began is supported by CuriosityStream. Go to curiositystream.com and use the promo code "howitbegan" when you sign up for a membership to get your first month free! For more information on this episode, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:06:41

The Theory of Evolution: A Triumph of Wonder, from Coal Miners to Darwin

8/3/2017
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In the Season One finale of How It Began, historian Brad Harris reveals the beautiful history of how life came to know its true origins through humanity's theory of evolution. Witness the courage and the brilliance of investigators, from modest coal miners to scientists like Darwin, as they challenged traditional beliefs in their quest to discover where all of the plants and animals came from. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode,...

Duration:00:46:32

The English Language: From a Dark Ages Dialect to Global Domination

7/20/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris takes us back to collapse of the Roman Empire to reveal how the world's most popular and expressive language, English, emerged from the dimmest moment of the dark ages. Hear how English actually sounded a thousand years ago and discover how it evolved through the centuries by absorbing other languages. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:42:33

The Stock Market: How Democratized Investment Changed the World

7/6/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris reveals the surprisingly fascinating history of financial markets and how the development of stock sales since the 1600s powered everything from the age of discovery to the ability of senior citizens to avoid poverty and retire comfortably. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:42:17

The Internet: From Sputnik to the World Wide Web

6/22/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris takes us back to the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and reveals how that moment scared America's best scientists and engineers into inventing the Internet. Discover how a series of brilliant technical breakthroughs enabled us to connect our computers and build a world wide web of everything that everyone everywhere knows. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit...

Duration:00:35:44

Computers: From Charles Babbage to Steve Jobs

6/8/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris uncovers how we managed to advance from building machines for our muscles to building machines for our minds. Explore the history behind the life or death struggle to process information at the speed of light through two World Wars, a Space Race, and a digital revolution. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:37:27

Electricity: The Beacon of Modernity

5/25/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris reveals the incredible story of how humanity learned to harness electricity. From William Gilbert's work with magnets and sparks in the 1600s to Nikola Tesla's establishment of the modern electric grid in the 1900s, discover the history behind the defining technology of the modern age. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:37:30

Surgery: How We Learned to Heal

5/11/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris illuminates the history of humanity's efforts to heal. Discover the origins of surgery 12,000 years ago and follow the heroic efforts of doctors through the ages as they conquered pain and infection first in the home, then on the battlefield, and finally in the hospital. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:29:59

Monumental Infrastructure: From Stonehenge to the Golden Gate Bridge

4/27/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris unearths the history of engineering that has made possible the biggest construction projects of all time, from Stonehenge and the Pyramids to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. Learn how humanity managed to enslave gravity in its effort to defy it and build our monuments to civilization. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:25:01

Wolves to Dogs: The Origins of Our Alliance

4/13/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris brings us back in time over 35,000 years ago to reveal the very beginning of dog domestication. Learn how humanity gained the upper hand in an ancient competition with wolves to enable more friendly interaction and cooperation, and how the subsequent alliance between humans and dogs helped both species to thrive. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit...

Duration:00:26:39

Modern Science: From Belief to Knowledge

3/30/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris explores the origins of our modern methods of scientific discovery. From ancient Greeks who developed rational inquiry to Galileo and Newton who led the Scientific Revolution, the historical process of moving beyond belief to securing real knowledge about the world is revealed. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:28:17

Horsepower: From Stallions to Steam Engines

3/30/2017
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In this episode, historian Brad Harris compares the horsepower of our modern machines to the power of stallions that helped empires rise and fall for millennia. Travel 30,000 years into the past to witness the first cave paintings of horses, and follow the story through James Watt's steam engine of Industrial Revolution and beyond. By Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology. For more information on this episode, including a select bibliography, visit howitbegan.com.

Duration:00:25:22