471. Elias Howe obtained the first patent for a sewing machine in September, 1846. How would the world be different if everybody still stitched clothing by hand? What are some of the ways that sewing machines large and small are used today?
472. In the fall of 1900, Orville and Wilbur Wright began experimenting with their first airplane in the beach town of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Imagine that you were in the tiny gliding plane on the first test drive. Would you be scared? Why or why not? What do you think people living in the year 1900 might think of their invention and why?
473. Tools similar to the rake were used in China in 1100 B.C.E. to harvest hay and grain. What do you think it would have been like to deal with outdoor chores over 3,000 years ago? What would your excuses be to get out of the work and why?
474. In the early 1970s, the rake was replaced in some garages by the world's first power leaf blower. Consumers actually modified an insect spray device by removing the tank and the company began to realize they had leaf-blowing gold on their hands. What are some other tools that you think should be replaced by technology? What would the replacements do better and why?
475. Germany became the first country to use daylight savings time in 1916, allowing us to spring forward and fall back. What are some ways in which you could use the extra hour given to us during the fall other than sleeping? Why would this be a good use of your extra time?
476. In the fall of 2008, a team of Oxford University scientists revived an old refrigerator design patented by Albert Einstein in November, 1930. Even though it was created more than 70 years earlier, the design was thought to be more environmentally friendly. What are some ideas from the past that you think could or should be brought back to the present and why?
477. Sir Isaac Newton helped to develop the beginnings of modern mathematics in the fall of 1666 with what would later be called calculus. Why do you think creating an advanced system of math would be important? What are some things that might not have been invented if it wasn't for advanced calculus?
478. The first jack-o’-lanterns could be found in Ireland but they were made of turnips, potatoes, and beets as opposed to pumpkins. What do you think would be the strangest fruit or vegetable to use for a jack-o’-lantern? What kind of face would you carve into it and why?
479. It took over 200 years for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday, after Abraham Lincoln declared it officially in 1863. What other famous events from U.S. history should be made into national holidays? When would they be celebrated and what would some of the celebratory traditions be?
480. The first official fall football game was played in 1869 between the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and the Rutgers University. How different do you think the game might have been from the sport we watch today? How might a star from today do if he or she played back in 1869 and why?Written by Bryan Cohen