The things you can do with just water, wind, and wood are incredible.
Even plastic circles with writing on them designed to compute the effects of a nuclear bomb's blast:
The some of the targeting computers aboard the USS Iowa worked in part by the same principles. (The Mk 8 Rangekeeper)
The continuous control mixing of the XC-142 tiltwing (1960's version of the V-22 Osprey) as it changed from vertical to horizontal mode, was all done with cams, gears, and levers.
Whoops: I had conflated trip hammers and power hammers. Power hammers date to the mid 1800s. (Kids this is why you look up citations before you post :) )
I plowed through Quicksilver when it came out and loved it. Some time later I picked up The Confusion and was very excited to get on with the story, until I read the first couple of pages and realized I'd forgotten most of the plot and relationships and would have to reread the first...and the thought of that filled me with dread. I put the whole thing aside and have never regretted it.
Edit: On the other hand I've read Anathem so many times that my hardback copy fell apart!
(edit - beaten to it - see below)
Each village was an autonomous unit of production that traded directly with nearby villages, silk road and through merchant ships with the world. ( In some cases they had their own local currency ! )
A single village could be directly linked to markets in Europe and China, or form part of a supply chain of villages to larger markets. Shenzen is similar being a SEZ, allowing it to trade directly with any unit across the globe.
It is kinda ironic that we went from a more libertarian trade system to a more restrictive one, as technology helped the state exert more control.
Places like the Rust belt can't directly trade with Kenya, they have to go through hordes of middle men.
Same thing happens in inner India, even though its filled with excess cheap labor in close proximity.
> Places like the Rust belt can't directly trade with Kenya, they have to go through hordes of middle men.
"The Rust Belt" can pretty easily trade with Kenya, thanks to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. I'm sitting in my office in the "rust belt," looking out at a shipping channel that accommodates ships from Europe pretty routinely.
If we're using "middlemen," e.g. relying on rail to bring Kenyan products across Africa to one of its western ports, or relying on rail to bring those products from an Eastern US port, it's because that is inherently more economical. There aren't "hordes" of middlemen involved.
I would argue that the trade system is far less restrictive because you can easily trade globally rather than only locally. You also can't get away with pillaging/defrauding your neighbors and calling it 'trade' anymore.
That said, though I strongly suspect that we're very close to each other w/r/t sociopolitical views, I don't think your overall assertion here makes sense. As others have said, someone in the Rust Belt can in fact trade directly with someone in Kenya today.
> It is kinda ironic that we went from a more libertarian trade system to a more restrictive one, as technology helped the state exert more control.
I don't think technology has had much to do with this, certainly not until the last handful of decades. My intuition is that tech didn't start having a huge impact on the scale of governments until mechanization in the early 20th Century, and didn't really take off until the advent of databases for managing entire populations' worth of data in the 1930s. Even now, with the seemingly exponential increase in surveillance power driven by advances in tech, I'm not so sure that a century from now that technology will be seen as a force driving the growth of state power. In fact, I believe the opposite will be true.
Look me up on social media somewhere. I almost always use my real name as a username, and it's very nearly unique. I'd love to have a longer-term conversation about how technology has increased the relative power of the individual - from prehistory (when a faction's military power was measured directly in how many fighters it could field) to today (when a single individual can occupy a populated region's police and military forces nearly indefinitely).
If I'm not knowledgeable about the topic, I read the article. If I feel like I am knowledgeable about it, I jump straight to the comments. There I either learn something, or share knowledge.
It's one of my favorite types of HN posts :)
If I want to read a random Wikipedia article I can use the "Random Article" link on their website.
I don't think it's too much to ask for people posting random wiki links to explain why the article is worth reading about and discussing. Especially in cases like this one, where the linked article (apparently?) has little or nothing to do with the usual content posted.
I have no idea what the poster wants me to get out of this article.
Ah, but that's the thing - it's not "random". It's an article that someone who likely shares many of my interests found interesting. That's valuable enough for me :)
Have you considered adding a user stylesheet that hides or minimized submissions that link to Wikipedia? It shouldn't be difficult.
But that battle was lost long ago and HN's format and conventions go against it.