Sorry Americans, that was mean of me, and I know it isn't. There are plenty of ignorant people in the UK, Australia and NZ too. We were all pommies once so we share the same invasive, acquisitive, selfish traits. We cannot deny that we 'white westerners' live so well because other people, some still slaves, are poor and go without. We took (at gun-point) and still take their wealth. We should acknowledge the cost, and pay for it.
I wonder how much these inventions have influenced our collective cultural perception and directed our obsessive interest in Space (God and ETs) and our own DNA? Which, if one considers the mix, we are all actually diverse -sans frontiers- cousins!
Perhaps the most potent adaptation was the lens, with which we made the telescopes and microscopes that transformed how we saw the world.