Updated Sunday 15 May, 2011 12:18 PM

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Science and Technology

 

The pure sciences are roughly equivalent to our history in the 1940s: Nuclear fission is near, the Bohr model of atomic structure is current, the first applications of quantum mechanics are moving out of the laboratory. Biology is slightly more advanced; high-energy chemistry slightly less so.

Technology is somewhat more advanced than our 1942, and has developed along rather different lines. For example, vulcanized rubber and the pneumatic tire were developed in the 1820s, for autosteamers; natural asphalt from Angola and Trinidad was used for roads at about the same time. Steam engines of all types, particularly piston engines and small portable turbines, are more advanced than in our history. In this timeline, Africa is a "developed" region; accordingly, tropical medicine and agriculture are more advanced, since they received concentrated attention. Problems such as bilharzia, sleeping sickness, and river-blindness were overcome in the 19th century. By the 1940's the hydroelectric power of the Congo and the geothermal energy of the Great Rift were being harnessed, and the Sahara was in retreat before reclamation and afforestation projects. The Domination is particularly strong in civil engineering, transport, weapons, and large-scale "process" industry, which are accordingly ahead of our timeline.

All this implies certain economic differences as well. The United States reaches far into what we know as Latin America, and the parts of Asia which fell under the Domination in 19141919 have been forcibly modernized. Accordingly, there is less "Third World"; there are fewer and larger states, fewer tariffs, more trade, more surplus available for reinvestment (or war). World income per capita is higher up until the 1940's; urbanization greater; birth- and death-rates rather lower. The world population is roughly equivalent in both timelines up until the 1940's, but the world of the Domination drops behind rather quickly after that. The low cost and early availability of air transport make remote regions more accessible. Tibet becomes a vacation center in the 1920's, for example, and Chinese fruit is air-freighted by dirigible to Europe in the same period.


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