Dear UK representatives, I've been asked to talk about British culture with students next Monday. They want to know some basic facts about England, things that make it special, customs and traditions, etc. Now I've talked about this before, and I have some research. I know all the biggest landmarks, and I've been to England on a couple trips. But I still feel I'm missing a real British perspective, because I'm American. So, that's why I made this thread. I'm curious how UK members feel about their country, what you feel the differences are between England and America, between England and Europe, things that distinguish your culture, anything your proud of, or not proud of, etc. Does anyone want to share their opinion?
Last edited by TASmith; October 10th, 2012 at 02:27 PM.
It gets slightly complicated, so here is a video presentation with diagrams.
Last edited by Flake; October 11th, 2012 at 09:19 PM.
The Europeans have been complaining about the drunk English since time immemorial.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have costumes, the English don't. We talk about the weather a lot because it can't never make up its mind what kind of day it's going to be. We like to moan, queue and have an odd sense of humour that other countries sometimes don't understand. We mock ourselves and find the US a bit too po-faced about success. We are rude to our friends and polite to our foes, deadly polite.
We have a superiority complex (quite rightly justified) as we invented pretty well everything and once ruled most of the world.
British culture is pretty diverse TA. English, (Northern) Irish, Scottish and Welsh are very alike in some ways but also very different. One of the things I'm happy with as a 'Brit', is the Union. The fact we have a small group of countries joined under one is fantastic. Not without faults, as the Scots blood in me will admit to some extent, but preferable to separatist states.
We are also very pedantic: it's 'existEnce' not 'existAnce'.
"The Europeans have been complaining about the drunk English since time immemorial."
"Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have costumes," - (I assume you're jokingly referring to customs?)
"(Northern) Irish, Scottish and Welsh are very alike in some ways but also very different."
"it's 'existEnce' not 'existAnce'."
Thank you! My bad.
British people are very delusional about the NHS..
had to be said.
"United Kingdom - Justify Your Existence"
heres a few things we invented or discovered you might have heard of
The Jet Engine
The Internal Combustion Engine
the = sign
The electric generator
The tuning fork
The movie camera
The movie projector
The scientific method
The fuel cell
The periodic table
The Big Bang
The microwave oven
The electric transformer
The blast furnace
The universal joint
The harrier jumpjet
The sniper rifle
The stun grenade
The steam turbine (used in all powerstations)
The steam engine
The Diesel engine
Small pox vaccine
The hydraulic crane
Water desalination process
The mechanical reaping machine
The elastic band
the light bulb
the tin can
the mouse trap
the electric toaster
The magnifying glass
Marine chronometer(allowed measurment of longitude)
The postage stamp
The baby buggy
The lawn mower
The Christmas card
The wind tunnel
The flushing toilet
Universtal standard time
The modern Olympics
The steam train
The cat's eye
The worlds fastest car
The first cloned mammal
The cloud chamber
The MRI scanner
Well we totally dumped a bunch of your tea into the harbor that one day in Boston WHOOO! Merica'!
I know, but they're still grateful to belong to the Commonwealth.
Yeah, but we went to the moon. Neener neener neener.
And you didn't entirely invent the internet. A lot of that was us as well.
And we brought you the PC and the GUI.
And chocolate. So there.
(Must... resist... derailing thread by countering with a list of inventions and discoveries by the US...)
Dick measuring contests are stupid.
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as much as I personally love and respect you Velocity (I truely do) you got that mixed up big time in some parts ^^
1.A list of things that are SOLELY UK inventions/discoveries
Flat glass - UK
DNA fingerprinting - pioneer Alec Jeffreys (UK)
the = sign - Robert Recorde (Welsh)
The tuning fork - John Shore (UK)
The fuel cell - William Robert Grove (Welsh, UK)
Argon - Henry Cavendish (UK) John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (UK) William Ramsay (UK)
the electromagnet - William Sturgeon (UK)
The proton - Ernest Rutherford (born New-Zealand worked in UK)
The electron - J. J. Thomson(UK)
The neutron - James Chadwick (UK)
Hydrogen - Henry Cavendish(UK)
Evolution - Charles Darwin (UK)
Uranus - John Flamsteed (UK)
Football - UK
Rugby - UK
Cricket - UK
Tennis - UK
Darts - UK
Snooker - UK
Ping Pong - UK
Netball - UK
Rounders - UK
Golf - UK
Adjustable spanner - UK
The electric transformer - Michael Faraday (UK)
The harrier jumpjet - UK
The stun grenade - British SAS
The steam turbine (used in all powerstations) - Charles Algernon Parsons (UK)
The microchip - groundwork by Geoffrey Dummer (UK)
Fullerenes - UK
The elastic band - Stephen Perry (UK)
the tin can - Peter Durant (UK)
the corkscrew - probably UK but unsure situation
the electric toaster - Alan MacMasters (UK)
Penicillin - Alexander Fleming (UK)
Typhoid vaccine - Almroth Wright (UK)
Surgical anaesthetic - Joseph_Priestley (UK)
Viagra - UK
The magnifying glass - Roger Bacon (England)
Carbonated water - Joseph Priestley (UK)
Marine chronometer (allowed measurment of longitude) - John Harrison (UK)
The baby buggy - UK
The lawn mower - Edwin Beard Budding (UK)
The Christmas card - John Callcott Horsley (UK)
Disc brakes - Frederick W. Lanchester (UK)
The wind tunnel - Francis Herbert Wenham (UK)
Universtal standard time - Sandford Fleming (UK)
The modern Olympics - Cotswold Olimpick Games UK
The Paralympcs - during summer olympics 1948 in London proposed by Ludwig Guttmann (German)
The steam train - UK
Maglev - many US patents (many of them going to Germans) after that the construction was mainly in British hands
Underground railways - UK
The cat's eye - Percy Shaw (UK)
The seatbelt - George Cayley (UK)
The worlds fastest car - non-commercial: ThrustSSC (UK)
Traffic lights - J. P. Knight (UK)
The hovercraft- UK
The lifeboat - UK
The first cloned mammal - UK
Sonar - first patent Lewis Richardson (UK) and Alexander Behm (D) some months later
Hypnotism - James Braid (UK)
The cloud chamber - Charles Thomson Rees Wilson (UK)
Ultrasound - Francis Galton (UK)
2. Now on to the things the UK was just involved in as a contributor along with many other and/or not involved at all ( when it comes to invention/discovering)
The Jet Engine - The first gas turbine to successfully run self-sustaining was built in 1903 by Norwegian Ćgidius Elling.first patent for a gas-turbine to propell a aircraft 1921 by Frenchman Maxime Guillaume,
The Telephone - Innocenzo Manzetti (I) Elisha Gray(US) Alexander Graham Bell (UK) Thomas Edison (US) all of them did pioneering work, given Bell had the first complete patent
Radio - James Clerk Maxwell (Scotland, UK) did large parts of the physical groundwork as did Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (D) and Jagadish Chandra Bose (Indian-Bengali) so at least partly true and UK was Involved.
Television - the basic parts for the first operating system where invented by Paul Gottlieb Nipkow (D) and then refined by Boris Rosing (RUS)
The Internet - a shared effort by National Physical Laboratory (UK) ARPANET (US) CYCLADES (F) Merit Network (US) Tymnet (US) the first public system was in the US
The computer - the Zuse Z3 was the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computing machine designed by Konrad Zuse (D) given it has nothing to do with todays computing systems
Steel - first steel products date back as far as 4000 years (found in Anatolia)
The Internal Combustion Engine - again a long list of combined effort many of that not being citizens of the UK
Software - first groundwork by Alan Turing (UK) but most contributions actually made by US-americans
RAM - first operational systems by Frederic Calland Williams (UK) and Tom Kilburn (UK) but these systems have nothing in common with modern day RAM, most contributions to modern day RAM were made by US-americans ( namely Robert H. Dennard as one of the most outstanding ones)
DNA - first isolated by Friedrich Miescher (CH) Albrecht Kossel (D) determined the chemical composition of nucleic acids, William Astbury (UK) made the first statements about its structure, the first correct modell was designed/discovered by James D. Watson (USA) Francis Crick (UK lived and worked in the US) and the deciphering was made by Har Gobind Khorana (India) Robert W. Holley (USA) Marshall Warren Nirenberg (USA)
Atomic theory - simply to wide of a field to make an correct statement about all of the involved persons and nations ^^
Cell biology - again to wide of a field with dozens of notable contributors many of which werent UK citizens
The barometer - Evangelista Torricelli (I) or Gasparo Berti(I)
The electric generator - groundwork and main priciple done/discovered by Ányos Jedlik (Hungarian)
Calculus - Yuktibhāṣā by many considered as the first text on calculus
Infrared - discovered by William Herschel (German that worked in the UK)
Holograms - Dennis Gabor ( born in Hungary worked in the UK ) made the groundwork, first practical methods of use were developed by Yuri Nikolaevich Denisyuk (RUS, Soviet at that time), Emmett Leith (USA) and Juris Upatnieks (born in Latvia worked in the US)
The movie camera - first patented camera by Louis Le Prince (F)
The movie projector - modern day projectors grew form the Phantoscope by Charles Francis Jenkins (USA) not Edisons design.
The movie - Roundhay Garden Scene is the oldest known film made by Louis Le Prince (F)
The scientific method - again has many pioneers dating back into the middle ages and beyond
Gravity - Newtons precursors were : Bhaskaracharya (11th century India) Nicolaus Copernicus (now Poland, in 1543),Galileo(I)Johannes Kepler(D)
Helium - Pierre Janssen (F) some monts prior to Norman Lockyer (UK)
Geological timescale - first attempts for a timescale made by Abraham Gottlob Werner (D) but even he had many precursors
The periodic table - Dmitri Mendeleev (RUS)
Oxygen - Carl Wilhelm Scheele (German-Swedish) 1773 or prior, in any case prior to Joseph Priestley 1774 (UK)
The proton - Ernest Rutherford (born New-Zealand worked in UK)
The Big Bang - way to many contributors and precursors
Hockey - many different cultures including Egypt and Greece up to 2000BC
The microwave oven - Percy Spencer (USA)
The blast furnace - existed in china from up to 500BC in western europe introduced by Belgium around the 15th century
The universal joint - Gerolamo Cardano (I) reinvented by Christopher Polhem (SWE)
The tank - many concepts at the same time mainly in the US, France and the UK again a combined effort
The battleship - to loose of a term and again many countries at once including France, the US, UK, Spain and the Netherlands
The sniper rifle - confederate troops in the american civil war
The torpedo - first modern prototype by Giovanni Luppis (born in what is now Hungary in service of the austro-hungarian Empire)
Electroplating - Luigi V. Brugnatelli (I) 1805
The steam engine - a long history
The Diesel engine - Rudolf Diesel (German)
Black holes - many contributors
Antisepsis - Ignaz Semmelweis (Hungary)
Small pox vaccine - long history
LEDs - Oleg Losev first LED in 1927
Screws - maybe
The mechanical reaping machine - Romans or Celts
the light bulb - Thomas Edison (USA)
the mouse trap - first patent William C. Hooker of Abingdon (USA) 1894
Stem cells - Ernest McCulloch (CA) and James Till (CA)
Chemical fertilizer - Justus von Liebig (D)
The postage stamp - not resolved
The pencil - Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti (I)
Electromagnetic induction - Francesco Zantedeschi (I)
The LCD - George H. Heilmeier (USA) but many many many many precursors
Stereo - Clément Ader (F)
Radar - first experiments by Heinrich Hertz(D) first patent Christian Hülsmeyer (D)
SMS Messages - many lands and groups contributed to this
The flushing toilet - long history
Geosyncronous satellites - proposed by Herman Potočnik (Austro-Hungarian Empire) 1928
The worlds fastest car - commercial car : Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 (Volkswagen Group Germany)
The bicycle - Gian Giacomo Caprotti (I) first ideas, Karl Drais (D) inventor of the Draisine first practical use of a bycicle
The submarine - first submarine by Cornelis Drebbel (Dutch), first military submarine by David Bushnell (during the American Revolution)
Sonar - first patent Lewis Richardson (UK) and Alexander Behm (D) some months later
The hydrofoil - Enrico Forlanini (I)
Logarithms - Leonhard Euler (CH)
The MRI scanner - basics : Herman Carr (USA) first images: Paul Lauterbur (USA)
There are a few things missing on both lists, in these cases I either couldnt find any valuable sources or I couldnt get my head around it in time or it was just to wide of a field to get to a conclusion in time.
what a ride took me some hours to get this checked (as I only knew that your werent right on many of them ) ^^ but it was fun and worth it .
Last edited by Partisan; October 10th, 2012 at 11:03 PM.
And now im lost in a maze of wikipedia thats way more interesting than my work today. Thanks Parti, thanks a lot. I like how in a lot of them, the invention is ancient, but we came up with the modern name or maths discribing the thing, and so claimed it! Thats how you do it...
You did a lot more research than me mind, youre going to be a monster in pub quizes from now on!
I just grabbed interesting examples from here, the ever reliable Wikifuckingpedia
I notice looking through many of the entries, once an ideas time had come, it was independently arrived at almost simultaneously.
The light bulb, the periodic table, movies, again and again 2 or 3 guys seem to hit on the idea at the same time, and the most vocal (and best at PR, ahem Edison ahem) gets the glory and the Davy Medal.
I could give two shits about showing how great Great Britain is, its a rainy expensive shithole much of the time, but I do love the history of science and technology and this thread is a goldmine of info.
Good work that man what!
[PS for jet engine see Frank Whittles Turbojet, for internet I meant Tim Berners Lee and the WWW, lightbulbs see Swann and the Big Bang see Fred Hoyle, ironically trying to show what a silly idea it wasby giving it a silly name. Joke was on him in the end!]
[PPS we'd've totally justified our existence if our only inventions were viagra and the toaster, so the rest is a bonus]
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; October 10th, 2012 at 11:05 PM.
And all those listed things contributed to the destruction of the planet's ecosystem.
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Its true, we invented spoil heaps, radioactivity and dark satanic mills. Youre welcome, world!
Come on everyone, dick measuring contests are stupid. Lets have a pissing contest instead.
I'll admit this thread did keep me entertained on my lunch break trying to figure out who actually invented/discovered various things, and I came to the conclusion that a lot of things were either arrived at by a multiple people exploring similar ideas more or less simultaneously, or evolved in such a long gradual process that it's impossible to say where exactly they originated.
Like ice cream, to take a random example... Every American school kid is told that America invented ice cream, but a bit of research suggests that practically everybody invented ice cream, with gradual improvements over time. Call it a world team effort.
Don't forget Plein Air Painting in its modern form. John Constable, John Crome and Richard Parkes Bonnington. They were going out and painting finished paintings on location. Sketching outdoors had been around but no one thought to paint everyday scenes of life, from life. They had a big influence on the Barbizon and Macchiaioli painters who were the precursors to the impressionists.
I really should stop looking things up, but it's more fun than what I'm supposed to be doing right now.
Ah,but here's where our pedantic love of order comes in handy in a way difficult to define within "invented, discovered"
"Devised a standard for screw threads leading to its widespread acceptance - Joseph Whitworth"
"The first industrially practical screw-cutting lathe - Henry Maudslay"
other people had the idea, we just figured out how to make it work properly, and make money from it.
if you allow "made commercially viable" to the categories then most of those Partisan crossed out go straight back on there again. And thats why for a rainy little island, we're a nuclear superpower with a UN Veto that designs the worlds buildings, cars, and phones. Sadly, our engineering abilities havent really helped our food.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; October 11th, 2012 at 02:05 AM.
Define "work properly" and "commercially viable"... Definitions will vary depending on whether you're talking about the middle ages or the eighteenth century. Hand-lathing screws in your watchmaking shop in fifteenth century Germany worked fine and was totally commercially viable from a fifteenth-century point of view. IF you want to get really pedantic and nitpicky. (Sorry, I'll shut up now.)
Yes, you need to work on the food thing, what is up with that. One thing I do NOT miss about my one trip to England was the food. We craved edible chocolate chip cookies and all we could find anywhere were inedible "digestive biscuits". (And I simply do not understand the point of toast racks. You... want the toast to get all cold before you eat it?)
But you have the hot beverage thing down, I'll give you that. Until I visited England, I thought tea was lukewarm water with a vague taste of dead leaves. Then the Brits gave me real tea and converted me into a die-hard tea-drinker.
Dunno if you can add the Brown Betty teapot to your list, not sure that qualifies as an "invention". Still, best teapot ever.
The EU doesn't like our chocolate either because of the vegetable fat content and tried to make us change the name. We used our veto. And that's another thing, we tend to follow the rules laid down, no matter how stupid we think they are, because it's the rules, then spend all the time complaining about it. France disregards anything it doesn't like, even if they helped make the law as does most of Europe. They don't understand our strict adherence to fairness at all cost - it's actually more to do with being bloody minded.
We like to celebrate great failures like Scott of the Antarctic, Eddie the Eagle etc because trying hard is more important than winning.