People take the longest possible paths, digress to numerous dead ends, and make all kinds of mistakes. Then historians come along and write summaries of this messy, nonlinear process and make it appear like a simple, straight line.
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Clearly, there are many places where diesel is king or gas-turbine is king, or IC engines will win, but there are many places in the world where, as we've seen, they just won't do the job. The modern version of the Stirling engine has some very, very attractive characteristics, and we're trying to optimize it for some of those applications.
I would argue that education, actual learning - it is hard work. It's very personal. Your parents don't teach you anything. Your teachers don't teach you anything. The government doesn't teach you anything. You read it. You don't understand it; you read it again. You break a pencil and read it again.