Historians and scientists occasionally agree on certain matters. One of these is the identification of “simple machines” – mechanical instruments that contribute to making mankind’s life easier or successful. While there are often differences, this list usually includes the wheel and axle, the inclined plane, the lever, the screw, the wedge and the pulley. They were first defined during the Renaissance and have been the basis by which many have determined the degree of “advancement” or “sophistication” attained by a culture or society. (Of course, the determination of “advancement” of any culture is purely subjective, since it is based upon another’s own peculiar set of values.)
All the “simple machines” identified above dealt specifically with the transfer of force. In one way or another they helped one move objects from place to place more efficiently. However, the list may be considered deficient in the very fact that it only addresses the movement of items, or the more efficient transfer of force.
Today one might agree that the movement, transfer and storage of information and ideas is as important as the transfer of force and energy. Indeed, some might assert that the movement of information is in fact a form of energy transfer. Therefore, the list of “simple machines” must be expanded to include those machines or methods by which information is retained and transferred. And these obviously include language, mathematics, communications media, and transportation systems. Some of these may include applications of simple machines like the wheel and axle, while others are completely new. Music may be in this new list – many consider it a universal language. And any such a list must include systems of exchange.
Today when we purchase domains from GoDaddy so we can have web space and access we are one of these new “information transfer systems.” And when we use a Groupon promo code to acquire a domain at up to an 80% discount we are taking advantage of methods of information exchange that enable mankind to exchange ideas and information over thousands of miles (as well as over decades and centuries), because a modern website and domain is today’s version of a radio station, telephone number, mailbox address and library all in one. All serve as methods of information storage and transfer essential for the continued growth and development of civilization.