A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    The problem is multiple:

    1. Do we know the language?
    2. Where exactly are we in the past? The 'burning people thing' was most definitely not from the catholic church, more like protestant reformation.
    3. The concept of mass printing books includes in problems like copyright, patents, and the desire for people to keep their knowledge exclusive.
    4. How the devil do we find a great patron?
    1. if we don't know the language, there's not much point to this exercise. I think we can assume we speak the local language well enough to be understood.

    2. Okay, maybe 'burning' wasn't always a thing, but execution still happened. See the Nun's Tale from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, dating from the 1300s or so. A child turns up missing so the locals blame the nearby minority community and kill everyone in it. Ironically, the Nun telling the story is described as being so delicate she wouldn't hurt a fly, but that all goes out the window when those "evil babykillers" get involved :.

    3. Indeed. The idea of proclaiming knowledge one finds to the world via publishing is a modern innovation. In ancient Egypt, for example, their own studies were tightly locked up in the temples and were accessible only to priests. Can't have ordinary people making batteries , after all.

    4. You've got to attract their attention somehow WITHOUT tipping off the locals. In our heroine's case, she had a family in the world who made the introduction when they could see her potential. You could also try going into business in a small way, big enough to catch their eye and want to buy you out / take you on, then use that person to introduce you to someone further up the chain, until you're some royal's court magician and can do astronomy or what not to your heart's content, black robes optional .

    ETA: #3 actually points out a problem with inventions , which is if the society isn't already in a position to benefit from them they are only curiosities , they do not benefit society as a whole. The first steam engine dates from the first century CE . The concept of diving bell goes back at least to the 15th century. But because the infrastructure and education wasn't in place, they did not bring about an age of industrialization.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2021-06-25 at 08:28 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Don't you also make lenses by grinding them in bowls of sand? I seem to remember that's how you get the lense shape.

    That said, it might be pointless to try and bring simple lenses back in history, since they are confirmed around the year Zero in Rome and may go back further in India and Egypt.

    Maybe China? They had a pretty scholarly culture and didn't have reading glasses. Reading Stones could be a gamechanger.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2021-06-25 at 09:02 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Don't you also make lenses by grinding them in bowls of sand? I seem to remember that's how you get the lense shape.

    That said, it might be pointless to try and bring simple lenses back in history, since they are confirmed around the year Zero in Rome and may go back further in India and Egypt.

    Maybe China? They had a pretty scholarly culture and didn't have reading glasses. Reading Stones could be a gamechanger.
    No one is quite sure why the Great Divergence didn't occur in China. But consider this. The chinese language. Setting up a printing press will be hell on earth.

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    They had printing presses. No moveable type, though.

    But still, any Country with a class of scholars and clerks who read a lot will appreciate lenses, I'm sure. Especially if they also have great respect for age.
    "In dark times, should the stars also go out?"

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    They had printing presses. No moveable type, though.

    But still, any Country with a class of scholars and clerks who read a lot will appreciate lenses, I'm sure. Especially if they also have great respect for age.
    Yes. But the chinese language is like, horrible for this. They did a lot of good stuff and had some mass printing runs, but really its hard mode.

    Scholars and clerks would like it, yes. Though, hmm...

    I can't actually think of any countermeasure. Though I must say that microscopes are equally important.

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    That said, it might be pointless to try and bring simple lenses back in history, since they are confirmed around the year Zero in Rome and may go back further in India and Egypt.
    Then it is really quite amazing the long interval of time until the invention of the telescope. If you can reproducibly grind lenses of different curvatures, you can build a simple refracting telescope. Grinding glass mirrors for telescopes is a bit easier, this was a thing hobbyists did, but does require the step of silvering the mirror.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidSh View Post
    Then it is really quite amazing the long interval of time until the invention of the telescope. If you can reproducibly grind lenses of different curvatures, you can build a simple refracting telescope. Grinding glass mirrors for telescopes is a bit easier, this was a thing hobbyists did, but does require the step of silvering the mirror.
    Neither reproducible nor different curvatures. From what I can find, they either made glass spheres and cut them in half, or just polished natural gemstones like Quartz into vague lense shapes. Proper clean lenses seem to be a late medieval/Renaissance thing.
    "In dark times, should the stars also go out?"

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    Glass:
    Construction:
    Now we might be getting somewhere. The "Roman Arch" (semi-circular) was used for centuries before people realised that gothic (pointed) arches would also bear loads quite well. I may not have the maths to describe how, but by demonstrating that they work I could enable the architects of the day to work out the maths and have a lot more flexibility in building construction.
    No - I have no idea how to make concrete, other than to ask ancient Roman engineers who did know how.
    Another point: I know that high school social studies makes a point (at least, the books did when I was teaching) of emphasizing the importance of the flying buttress.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Another point: I know that high school social studies makes a point (at least, the books did when I was teaching) of emphasizing the importance of the flying buttress.
    This once again proves that the word 'average' is a misnomer. I know of Flying Buttresses, but only from an architectural book my brother bought. My social studies lessons were on social engineering.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    I was thinking of arches earlier, myself, just that the actual "functional" advantage of them just doesn't catch on until you make significantly sized buildings, and, well, I'm just a guy. If you have keystone arches, it's kinda easy to explain how pointed arches can bear weight better, but that's just not an exciting window of time to be messing with ancient civilizations. Yes, you can build bigger buildings earlier, but... Eh?

    That same note reminds me of Two/Multiple Point Perspective drawing. That'd be an easy concept to introduce to really early civilizations, but you only get to take advantage of it if you got rectangular structures in the area... And I'm having trouble seeing the influence being all that exciting. I mean, more accurate architecture in paintings, awesome, but it ain't kickstarting major advancements.
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Well, that's the difficulty--finding something that's easy enough to explain to an ancient (or even an average modern person) that would have a massive impact. Something like the stirrup, which made horseback riding over long distances a real, practical proposition, for instance--introduce those in 1000BC and it would have an enormous impact.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    3. The concept of mass printing books includes in problems like copyright, patents, and the desire for people to keep their knowledge exclusive.
    What do you mean?

    I think part of the advantage of going back would be that there's less centralized infrastructure for prop those problems up.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Well, that's the difficulty--finding something that's easy enough to explain to an ancient (or even an average modern person) that would have a massive impact. Something like the stirrup, which made horseback riding over long distances a real, practical proposition, for instance--introduce those in 1000BC and it would have an enormous impact.
    IIRC, horses with a suitable build for riding hadn't been bred yet then?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Or get you burned as a witch.

    Before the Renaissance, there was a definite strain of suspicions of any kind of new ideas, especially if they went against the wisdom handed down from the ancients. People in those days really believed the way people learned new things was because supernatural beings had taught them. Demonstrating any kind of 'uncanny' knowledge or abilities was a good way to make people suspicious at best or be invited to a BBQ as the guest of honor at worst. Far better to seek out a rich patron who can put you up in a workshop and benefit from your inventions rather than simply trying to give them out in the town square. Rich patrons are a lot less fussy about dealing with devils, especially when there's money involved. That's the plot of the manga/anime Ascendance of a Bookworm , in which a Japanese librarian trainee tries to introduce mass printed books to a medieval world.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    That is at least 90% myth, derived from later-era "historians" making a lot of stuff up to make the past look more barbaric (see also: the number of famous torture devices that were invented for 19th century museums), and also from the fact that a lot of middle-ages technological advances are invisible to us. The improvements they made to farming and crafting have been superseded by later developments so much that they're invisible.

    Indeed, a great many of the smaller ideas in this thread were invented in this very era.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    That is at least 90% myth, derived from later-era "historians" making a lot of stuff up to make the past look more barbaric (see also: the number of famous torture devices that were invented for 19th century museums), and also from the fact that a lot of middle-ages technological advances are invisible to us. The improvements they made to farming and crafting have been superseded by later developments so much that they're invisible.

    Indeed, a great many of the smaller ideas in this thread were invented in this very era.
    Yup. Basic stuff like the seed drill, heavy plough, using horses and a plough with a twist in it to make sure no soil falls into the furrow is like... incredible advancements for these people. The bar is so very very low. And that's not even including the various socioeconomic issues that screw with productivity.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    What do you mean?

    I think part of the advantage of going back would be that there's less centralized infrastructure for prop those problems up.
    The problem here is this:

    2 minds are better than one
    2 minds working together are better than 2 minds working separately.

    Bad news. There are very few minds working. Most of the life here is spent making sure you don't die. You get great people like Da Vinci, etc, but they're scattered and separate. What you need is to develop an entire society of academia, with a focus on the scientific method (this will do for now), record keeping, data logging, and the meticulous experimentation that defines modern science.

    edit: You need a system that builds upon itself and be greater than the sum of its parts. Scattered heroes and geniuses won't save you. But get them working together and they'll make miracles.
    Last edited by Accelerator; 2021-06-26 at 04:42 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    Yup. Basic stuff like the seed drill, heavy plough, using horses and a plough with a twist in it to make sure no soil falls into the furrow is like... incredible advancements for these people. The bar is so very very low. And that's not even including the various socioeconomic issues that screw with productivity.
    Water and windmills. Which in turn become, grain mills, cloth mills, drainage mills, threshing mills, tanning mills, mills that power bellows to power blast forges, saw mills, and and and.

    Really, the first industrial revolution.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2021-06-26 at 09:34 AM.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    That is at least 90% myth, derived from later-era "historians" making a lot of stuff up to make the past look more barbaric
    Personally I consider even the time period WHEN I GREW UP to have been barbaric and backwards

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Water and windmills. Which in turn become, grain mills, cloth mills, drainage mills, threshing mills, tanning mills, mills that power bellows to power blast forges, saw mills, and and and.

    Really, the first industrial revolution.
    Really now the best thing to note is that 'add oxygen to metal = control the carbon in the steel'. The rest is experimentation. The entire thing is limited greatly by materials science. Good mass produced steel will fix that.

    The creation of the steam engine meant that humanity could get energy, anywhere, as long as they had something burning.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Personally I consider even the time period WHEN I GREW UP to have been barbaric and backwards
    Ever since my Hyundai Sonata hybrid died (RIP), I've had to turn a key in the ignition of my current car. Like a barbarian.

    Or so I am fond of saying.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Personally I consider even the time period WHEN I GREW UP to have been barbaric and backwards
    Yep, and I'm sure many people make up stories to make it seem more so.

    Next question, what things that you do quite willingly and without guilt, or practices that you support, will the next generation decide were barbaric?
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Yep, and I'm sure many people make up stories to make it seem more so.

    Next question, what things that you do quite willingly and without guilt, or practices that you support, will the next generation decide were barbaric?
    Beef. I love me my hamburgers, along with the rest of my western overconsumption.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakaydos View Post
    Beef. I love me my hamburgers, along with the rest of my western overconsumption.
    Good news. They're making artificial meat now. You might not get your steaks, but burger patties should be easy enough.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Yep
    If you wanted to know something in the late 20th century you either had to ask around, or have book on the subject, which would often mean that if you really had to know it you'd need to make a sepcial trip to either the bookstore or the library (and there was a very limited selection of books because in order to get a book published an author had to sell it to a publishing house and the publishing houses were extremely picky because they had very limited resources). You also had to make a sepcial trip if you wanted to buy something; technically things could be mail ordered, but only from catalogs with very limited selections and things often took several weeks to arrive. If you wanted to have a conversation with someone you either needed to both be in the same room or both be at home because that's where your telephones were or else you needed to send a letter that would take a week to arrive. There were only like a dozen TV channels or a couple dozen if you were rich enough to already have cable, and in either case you had to watch the shows according to THEIR schedule. There were several court cases that were more-or-less literally witch trials; the actual charges were conventional crimes but there was an implication that they had been committed by supernatural means in connection with a cult. Women and gays weren't allowed to enlist in the army. and there were much stronger gender roles. The cold war was still relevant. Everything was generic and sanitized because there was no crowdfunding or user-generated content, just corporate schlock designed to be sellable to as many people as possible at the cost of not really being great for anyone. Air-conditioning wasn't nearly as ubiqutious as it is now, it was awful in the summer. And most of all the crushing boredom and isolation, you might have a paperback novel that you hadn't already read or maybe you were lucky enough to have a Gameboy, but most of the time if you had to stand in line somewhere or if there was long car or bus ride or anything like that you had to just sit/stand there doing nothing like a doofus; you couldn't use that time to surf the web or play games (unless you had an expensive Gameboy) or call or text your friends because we didn't have that technology yet. Also the cameras were the size of a brick and could only take twenty-something pictures before they had to be reloaded with ye olde photographic filme, which cost money and took an hour to get developed into actual pictures, which you couldn't really distribute unless you paid extra for extra copies or you had a photocopier, which were also rare. The music players were also almost the size of a brick and could only be loaded with an hour of music at a time. And these were all seperate bricks mind you.

    So ignorance, isolation, societal backwardness, poor record keeping, no music.

    and my biggest fear, other than the inevitability of death, is the possibility that we might backslide back into any of this nonsense

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Yep, and I'm sure many people make up stories to make it seem more so.

    Next question, what things that you do quite willingly and without guilt, or practices that you support, will the next generation decide were barbaric?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rakaydos View Post
    Beef. I love me my hamburgers, along with the rest of my western overconsumption.
    Meat, definitely. Also the internal combustion engine.

    There's a few more changes I can think of that might happen but they half of them are things I actively want to see (not just passively like with the electric cars) and thus don;t count, and the other half are very controversial and would lead to an argument and/or a moderator action for talking about politics.
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-06-26 at 06:29 PM.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Next question, what things that you do quite willingly and without guilt, or practices that you support, will the next generation decide were barbaric?
    All of my input devices for my computer are wired. I don't even need to wait for the next generation.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    If you wanted to know something in the late 20th century you either had to ask around, or have book on the subject, which would often mean that if you really had to know it you'd need to make a sepcial trip to either the bookstore or the library (and there was a very limited selection of books because in order to get a book published an author had to sell it to a publishing house and the publishing houses were extremely picky because they had very limited resources).
    Well, yes. But if you decided to research something, you'd look around for a book or a person or some other source that could tell you where to start, and take it from there, acquiring knowledge from (mostly) clearly labelled, attributable sources. Now if you want to "research" something you spend ten minutes on Google, ten minutes on Wikipedia, and anything up to several weeks on YouTube, and by the time you've finished you have no idea how your "knowledge" was originally generated or where you picked up each piece of information you think you've gleaned.

    Of course it's possible to use these resources to do actual research, in the same way as it's possible to use the keyboard I'm typing on right now to write a great novel, and yet here I am. Most people lack the training or discipline to do that. It's far easier to use them to vanish down a rabbit hole of falsehoods. Then you think you know the subject, but all that means is you have no idea of the depth of your ignorance. Is that an improvement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    If you wanted to have a conversation with someone you either needed to both be in the same room or both be at home because that's where your telephones were or else you needed to send a letter that would take a week to arrive.
    And yet people did it. I know families and friends that stayed in touch over decades with oceans between them, using this technology. Letters worked, and they hardly ever carried viruses or came from an imposter trying to steal your bank login.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    There were only like a dozen TV channels or a couple dozen if you were rich enough to already have cable, and in either case you had to watch the shows according to THEIR schedule.
    Three channels, where I grew up. But VCRs were invented. And fixed schedules, and limited channels, created a common culture. I can't count the number of shows I watched because I knew other kids at school were watching them, and we'd talk about them the next day. Now? - two words: "spoiler warning".

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    There were several court cases that were more-or-less literally witch trials; the actual charges were conventional crimes but there was an implication that they had been committed by supernatural means in connection with a cult.
    "An implication" isn't worth the paper it's not written on. There are a lot of secretive groupings out there that may be called "cults" - some of them certainly deserve the label, others less so - and from time to time, one of them will do something exceptionally heinous, and then the reporting is going to take an intense interest in the cult and its activities - at least for a while until the next sensation comes along. If the cult has religious and/or magical beliefs as its basis (and many do), then the reporting will play that up - because it sells. There's nothing particularly mysterious or irrational about any of that - nor has it stopped happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Everything was generic and sanitized because there was no crowdfunding or user-generated content, just corporate schlock designed to be sellable to as many people as possible at the cost of not really being great for anyone.
    Uh... okay, now I don't even recognise the world you're talking about. Where I grew up there were local amateur groups for theatre, dance, music (of many different genres), many types of sports, rambling, film, photography, books, birdwatching, other kinds of nature studies. I had schoolfriends who were involved in activities ranging from breeding budgerigars to punk rock to publishing fanzines to amateur geology. At school I (with various friends) wrote an original musical, started (though never finished) work on a movie, ran a games club, organised a regional convention. All of this was honest-to-goodness bottom-up creativity, of a kind I don't see any more. Nowadays the kids want to be YouTube stars or, Azathoth spare us, "influencers". That's what your "user-generated content" has done for us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The music players were also almost the size of a brick and could only be loaded with an hour of music at a time. And these were all seperate bricks mind you.
    Flip side of that: it was possible to get away from music. Nowadays so many cafes and shops seem to think they need to have some kind of music playing at all hours. A few years ago I went to a cricket match, and was horrified to hear loud beats blared out at me between every over.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    and my biggest fear, other than the inevitability of death, is the possibility that we might backslide back into any of this nonsense
    Each to their own, of course. Some of your criticisms have merit, but most are either exaggerated or outright wrong-headed. In some cases I'd go back to that state in a heartbeat, if it were an option. Music should be rarer and harder to access. I'd pay to live in that world, if I could.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Well, yes. But if you decided to research something, you'd look around for a book or a person or some other source that could tell you where to start, and take it from there, acquiring knowledge from (mostly) clearly labelled, attributable sources. Now if you want to "research" something you spend ten minutes on Google, ten minutes on Wikipedia, and anything up to several weeks on YouTube, and by the time you've finished you have no idea how your "knowledge" was originally generated or where you picked up each piece of information you think you've gleaned.

    Of course it's possible to use these resources to do actual research, in the same way as it's possible to use the keyboard I'm typing on right now to write a great novel, and yet here I am. Most people lack the training or discipline to do that. It's far easier to use them to vanish down a rabbit hole of falsehoods. Then you think you know the subject, but all that means is you have no idea of the depth of your ignorance. Is that an improvement?



    And yet people did it. I know families and friends that stayed in touch over decades with oceans between them, using this technology. Letters worked, and they hardly ever carried viruses or came from an imposter trying to steal your bank login.



    Three channels, where I grew up. But VCRs were invented. And fixed schedules, and limited channels, created a common culture. I can't count the number of shows I watched because I knew other kids at school were watching them, and we'd talk about them the next day. Now? - two words: "spoiler warning".



    "An implication" isn't worth the paper it's not written on. There are a lot of secretive groupings out there that may be called "cults" - some of them certainly deserve the label, others less so - and from time to time, one of them will do something exceptionally heinous, and then the reporting is going to take an intense interest in the cult and its activities - at least for a while until the next sensation comes along. If the cult has religious and/or magical beliefs as its basis (and many do), then the reporting will play that up - because it sells. There's nothing particularly mysterious or irrational about any of that - nor has it stopped happening.



    Uh... okay, now I don't even recognise the world you're talking about. Where I grew up there were local amateur groups for theatre, dance, music (of many different genres), many types of sports, rambling, film, photography, books, birdwatching, other kinds of nature studies. I had schoolfriends who were involved in activities ranging from breeding budgerigars to punk rock to publishing fanzines to amateur geology. At school I (with various friends) wrote an original musical, started (though never finished) work on a movie, ran a games club, organised a regional convention. All of this was honest-to-goodness bottom-up creativity, of a kind I don't see any more. Nowadays the kids want to be YouTube stars or, Azathoth spare us, "influencers". That's what your "user-generated content" has done for us.



    Flip side of that: it was possible to get away from music. Nowadays so many cafes and shops seem to think they need to have some kind of music playing at all hours. A few years ago I went to a cricket match, and was horrified to hear loud beats blared out at me between every over.



    Each to their own, of course. Some of your criticisms have merit, but most are either exaggerated or outright wrong-headed. In some cases I'd go back to that state in a heartbeat, if it were an option. Music should be rarer and harder to access. I'd pay to live in that world, if I could.
    Hmph.

    Uh... okay, now I don't even recognise the world you're talking about. Where I grew up there were local amateur groups for theatre, dance, music (of many different genres), many types of sports, rambling, film, photography, books, birdwatching, other kinds of nature studies. I had schoolfriends who were involved in activities ranging from breeding budgerigars to punk rock to publishing fanzines to amateur geology. At school I (with various friends) wrote an original musical, started (though never finished) work on a movie, ran a games club, organised a regional convention. All of this was honest-to-goodness bottom-up creativity, of a kind I don't see any more. Nowadays the kids want to be YouTube stars or, Azathoth spare us, "influencers". That's what your "user-generated content" has done for us.
    A rather biased statement stemming from sturgeon's law and narrowed perception. Of course there are many many well made things created originally by lay people. It's just harder to sift them out because now access is to everyone, not just to a few people in your immediate circle.

    Well, yes. But if you decided to research something, you'd look around for a book or a person or some other source that could tell you where to start, and take it from there, acquiring knowledge from (mostly) clearly labelled, attributable sources. Now if you want to "research" something you spend ten minutes on Google, ten minutes on Wikipedia, and anything up to several weeks on YouTube, and by the time you've finished you have no idea how your "knowledge" was originally generated or where you picked up each piece of information you think you've gleaned.
    Well that's nice.

    Anyway back in reality Universities and research labs own speed and efficiency have greatly increased due to online journals and much greater connection to each other via the network. And there's no reason to think that previous times had more accurate research... I have bad news for you. Considering the presence of various New Age books, it's better that the internet exists.

  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Nowadays the kids want to be YouTube stars or, Azathoth spare us, "influencers". That's what your "user-generated content" has done for us.
    That's part of what I meant by the old ways creeping back in. The media is slowly reverting back into mass-market schlock, often of a corporate persuasion.

    And in any case that's not so much an issue with user-generated content as it is with monetization and with the business world's tentacles reaching everywhere.

    We got to the point where you could be a hobbyist or a contributing member of a subculture without having to spend all your money on it but then a lot of people people got greedy and decided they were going to make money from it, with all the problems that that entails, oftentimes including forcing out the weirder and less socially acceptable members of the subculture for fear that they might scare off customers.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    "An implication" isn't worth the paper it's not written on. There are a lot of secretive groupings out there that may be called "cults" - some of them certainly deserve the label, others less so - and from time to time, one of them will do something exceptionally heinous, and then the reporting is going to take an intense interest in the cult and its activities - at least for a while until the next sensation comes along. If the cult has religious and/or magical beliefs as its basis (and many do), then the reporting will play that up - because it sells. There's nothing particularly mysterious or irrational about any of that - nor has it stopped happening.
    No, I'm talking about cases where there was no actual cult and there was little evidence that any actual crime had been committed other than the testimony of a few "witnesses" whose testimony included elements that were blatantly supernatural, such as levitation.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Letters worked, and they hardly ever carried viruses
    No, but there were a couple of them that infamously carried spores.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Of course it's possible to use these resources to do actual research, in the same way as it's possible to use the keyboard I'm typing on right now to write a great novel, and yet here I am. Most people lack the training or discipline to do that. It's far easier to use them to vanish down a rabbit hole of falsehoods. Then you think you know the subject, but all that means is you have no idea of the depth of your ignorance. Is that an improvement?
    No, I mean like BASIC stuff, like "Who won Superbowl XIII?" (the Pittsburgh Steelers) or "What's the official state fruit of Wyoming" (Wyoming doesn't have ANY official state foods (it's state mammal is the buffalo but not in the specific context of sometimes being a farm animal))
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-06-27 at 02:34 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #119
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    While we are on this side-track to "when we grew up" one thing I am very glad has changed hugely is cinema/movie theatres.

    When I grew up most cinemas outside cities had one screen. Films were distributed on film and could take months to get to the local cinema.
    What was worse, when the film got damaged (not if - when) the damaged section would be cut out, the film stuck back together and continue to be used - over time films got shorter and less understandable as segments got cut out, eventually noticably affecting scenes.

    One example of the delay is when my brother asked for a trip to see Star Wars as his reward from our father for getting a scholarship to a new school we drove 20-ish miles to a nearby city to see it - in 1978 - in the UK it was still only at the big cinemas at that point. I'm not sure if it made it to the local cinema that year!

    And although there was far less material published (music/books whatever) due to virtually no self-publishing, this acted far more as a quality gate than a mass sanitization - the corporations were far more likely to take risks than they are now (especially when the creators who want to take risks are less likely to use them).
    But now, a lot of self-published books (and depressingly a fair number of coporate published works) need an editor who knows their job, especially when the needed job is to tell th athor to go and re-write it from scratch. A good idea does not make a good book on its own.
    Older examples of this phenomen were limited to the really big names (e.g. Asimov and Clark) who could publish on the strength of their name - look at some of their later works and it's easy to tell which ones would not have been publsihed when they were younger. Today Amazon is full of books that have an interesting description, and a passable free sample, but turn out to be a mistake to actually buy.
    Last edited by Khedrac; 2021-06-27 at 03:14 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    A question here. Would things like 'gravity flywheel storage' be something that is interesting and useful? It's a method of storing energy using weights like lead or flywheels or water pumps, that lets you store power without things like deadly exotic chemicals or hydrocarbons. Might be useful for something. As far as I can tell flywheels weren't figured out until Leonardo Da Vinci.

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