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Explore technological innovations of the Cold War



Transcript

Let’s explore some of the things that were invented because of the Cold War...starting with the most useful.
The Internet
Cold War research and development gave us the Internet’s forerunner: ARPANET, a communication network designed to work on decentralized servers.
That way, if one server went down, the network would still work and communication would still be possible.
RFID Tags
Activated by radio waves, the devices use those waves to broadcast information. During the Cold War, an RFID tag allowed Soviet spying on the ambassador of the United States in Moscow to go undetected.
Today it’s used to authenticate passports, detect credit card information by waving the card above a sensor, and prevent shoplifting by beeping when an activated tag leaves the store.
And here’s where Cold War innovations go a little bit off the rails... U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s pet project, the Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed as a system that would intercept incoming Soviet missiles.
Since Reagan imagined that part of the system would take place in space, the SDI was quickly nicknamed “Star Wars” and was soundly criticized by the public and military officials alike.
The Blue Peacock
The Blue Peacock, a British nuclear project, theorized that keeping the Soviets out of western Europe would take something big—and by “something big,” the British meant atomic bombs buried and made into land mines.
Since the bombs had to be kept warm to function, the British suggested either wrapping them in blankets or placing live chickens inside the casing for insulation.
What were they thinking?!?
The Aerocycle Traveling in cars, trains, and planes is so passé. As an alternative, the U.S. military invented the Aerocycle: a “personal helicopter” piloted by standing on a small platform over the spinning rotor blades. After a number of crashes, development halted.
For more, visit Britannica.com
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