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The Romans are credited with the invention of the first smoke-free heating system in Western Europe: the hypocaust. Until recently, historians had assumed that its technology was largely lost after the collapse of the Roman Empire. In fact, however, it lived on in large parts of Europe, and was further developed into the “heat storage hypocaust”, an underground furnace on top of which granite stones would be piled, to then release hot air through vents in the floor. By this means, a room could be kept warm for days with just one firing of the hypocaust's furnace. Continue reading "Heat Storage Hypocausts: Air Heating in the Middle Ages" »

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Full of repeated swipes at Donald Trump from Colbert and almost everyone else on-stage last night, the 2017 Emmys also faced the well-followed Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers over on Sunday Night Football . Kicked off with a dubious Sean Spicer cameo, the awards show also was up against around 30 minutes of the Denver Broncos’ ratings strong pounding of the Dallas Cowboy that spilled over in to FOX’s primetime. While unlikely to have had a big impact on the Emmys numbers, Sunday was the debut of Ken Burns’ new The Vietnam War documentary series on PBS too.

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