A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #181
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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
    How much of the slow invention was due to them not knowing it's possible? I mean, we know it's possible. We know what we want. We know the principles. How hard could it be?
    A lot, undoubtedly. If everyone had known five hundred years ago, when people started doing what we would recognise as real science involving, among other things, magnets, that you could use them to make electricity - then the development of quality wire and other prerequisites would certainly have come a lot faster.

    But there's a very sharp limit to what one person, working on their own, can accomplish. So unless they can figure out how to make a whole lot of other people believe what they know to be true - without any way of demonstrating it practically, of course - that sort of advantage won't help them.
    "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

  2. - Top - End - #182
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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
    A lot, undoubtedly. If everyone had known five hundred years ago, when people started doing what we would recognise as real science involving, among other things, magnets, that you could use them to make electricity - then the development of quality wire and other prerequisites would certainly have come a lot faster.

    But there's a very sharp limit to what one person, working on their own, can accomplish. So unless they can figure out how to make a whole lot of other people believe what they know to be true - without any way of demonstrating it practically, of course - that sort of advantage won't help them.
    Look. Do we even know where we are or when we are or even who we are in this scenario?

  3. - Top - End - #183
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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
    Look. Do we even know where we are or when we are or even who we are in this scenario?
    Where and when seem to be up to you. Who is an average person.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    The choice of technology depends on how ancient the times are. The introduced tech needs to be both feasible and a large improvement over what they're already doing. Feasibility of any particular technique generally increases with the existing tech level, but the amount of improvement decreases as the existing tech gets more capable. I'm going to present a list and introduce the first several technologies that the society doesn't already have a workable substitute for.

    Waterskins
    These bags are easy for hunters to make, and address a fundamental need. The benefit is that they can travel days away from any known water source without risking dehydration. They also make it easier to care for the sick.

    Dried, salted and smoked food
    A group of prehistoric people will be greatly weakened if a week or so of bad luck means they skip meals. Any technique that lets them take surplus food and preserve it across seasons will lead to an increased standard of living. These techniques also let the group completely lay off food production in favor of industry after a run of particularly good luck.

    Planting
    While properly domesticating a food crop by breeding will take more than a lifetime, I could at least introduce simple cultivation. Planting useful seeds in a nomadic group's territory, fertilizing them with waste, and perhaps weeding when passing through, will give them a more reliable food source worth the effort even before they complete the path to agriculture.

    Grafting
    However, planting isn't the only way to domesticate a plant. If a single plant with suitable fruit is available, we could rapidly and selectively spread it with grafting techniques, achieving domestication and agriculture within a generation.

    The ultimate goal of both this and the previous is to allow a group of nomads to stay well-fed while contracting their territory, culminating in a permanent settlement.

    Wheels, bearings and carts
    A nomad's possessions are limited by what she can carry between camps. Even without domesticated animals, without roads, and with only crude construction, a handcart greatly increases that weight. The same technologies are useful for bringing resources into a settlement, and trash away from it.

    Vehicle technology has a number of further improvements - suspensions, bearings, engines and transmissions - that can be introduced to more advanced societies that already have the basics.

    Bricks
    Once we have a permanent settlement, we want permanent structures in that settlement. Bricks make very durable buildings and are easy to mass produce. Many different construction techniques could substitute here depending on local materials.

    Military Alliances
    Now that our little clan has invested in making one area really nice to live in, it'd be a shame if a larger clan decided to take it all for themselves. So we need to be able to organize a defense that's stronger than any one clan could. That requires cooperating with other little clans, which we could achieve by helping them set up their own fields/orchards/villages.

    This is roughly the dividing line where the time traveler can start considering civilizations rather than just the people immediately around them.

    Containers
    Glazed pottery and basket weaving, in combination with basic architecture, both allow easy storage and retrieval of the larger quantities of resources a village deals with.

    Hygiene
    Germ theory might get lost in a sea of superstition. But the notion that contaminated food/water/wounds cause sickness should be enough to curb the worst behaviors - for example, by keeping the feces away from the well and eating with dirty hands. This should include soap production for particularly infection-vulnerable occasions such as childbirth, even though soap is too expensive at this stage for everyday use.

    Spinning Wheels and Heddle Looms
    Remember how we already introduced wheels? Well, it turns out that we can use them to make useful things like rope and clothing. As we hunt less and farm more, we have less hide to use for clothing so we need to substitute plant fiber; however, once we have an ahistorically efficient process, we can use thread and cloth for many other purposes.

    Charcoal and Forges
    Even small parts made of inferior metals will improve a variety of tools. And charcoal is the key to all the entry-level metals but gold. A traveler might not know what rocks bear useful metals, but a procedure of roasting the rocks over a wood fire in a partly enclosed structure, then blocking most of the vents and mixing the cooked rocks with burning charcoal, will yield metal for a variety of ores, including for some metals not known in antiquity.

    Pop history tends to focus on military aspects of metalworking; while those are useful, metalworking is good for strong tools in general, ranging from sewing needles to seed drills.

    Proper metalworking requires a trade network to be viable, so it goes below the civilization line.

    Writing
    Writing becomes immediately useful after long distance trade kicks off, both for sending messages and for bookkeeping. It has longer term benefits as well in the form of history-keeping, but should not be introduced over other technology until it can quickly pay for itself.

    Boat Building
    While carts and maybe domestic animals let our budding civilization carry bulk cargo over distances of a few miles, commerce by water is far cheaper and covers far greater distances. If we're hauling hundreds of pounds of food and metal between villages, a simple rowboat will do the job easily so long as we locate our mines/forges/farms within cart distance of a river or large lake.

    Seed Drills
    One of the constraints on an agricultural society is the need to put a portion of their food back into the dirt in order to grow the next crop. Seed drills mean that portion is a lot smaller, in exchange for not very much extra effort beyond the required metalwork.

    I could continue to higher tech levels, but what I have here is useful up to late antiquity.
    The gnomes once had many mines, but now they have gnome ore.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post

    Bricks
    Once we have a permanent settlement, we want permanent structures in that settlement. Bricks make very durable buildings and are easy to mass produce. Many different construction techniques could substitute here depending on local materials.
    I seem to recall that it took Mesopotamians thousands of years to change from sun dried mud bricks (that came apart after several heavy rains and the straw rotted) to firing their bricks in kilns, which are the structure we still see today. So introducing a simple kiln could accelerate things.
    "Sure, Philosophers can say 'But how do we know the sun will rise tomorrow?' to which the correct response is 'Shut up nerd! Stop playing 3D chess against your own brain and find something real to worry about'."

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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    The choice of technology depends on how ancient the times are. The introduced tech needs to be both feasible and a large improvement over what they're already doing. Feasibility of any particular technique generally increases with the existing tech level, but the amount of improvement decreases as the existing tech gets more capable. I'm going to present a list and introduce the first several technologies that the society doesn't already have a workable substitute for.

    Waterskins
    These bags are easy for hunters to make, and address a fundamental need. The benefit is that they can travel days away from any known water source without risking dehydration. They also make it easier to care for the sick.

    Dried, salted and smoked food
    A group of prehistoric people will be greatly weakened if a week or so of bad luck means they skip meals. Any technique that lets them take surplus food and preserve it across seasons will lead to an increased standard of living. These techniques also let the group completely lay off food production in favor of industry after a run of particularly good luck.

    Planting
    While properly domesticating a food crop by breeding will take more than a lifetime, I could at least introduce simple cultivation. Planting useful seeds in a nomadic group's territory, fertilizing them with waste, and perhaps weeding when passing through, will give them a more reliable food source worth the effort even before they complete the path to agriculture.

    Grafting
    However, planting isn't the only way to domesticate a plant. If a single plant with suitable fruit is available, we could rapidly and selectively spread it with grafting techniques, achieving domestication and agriculture within a generation.

    The ultimate goal of both this and the previous is to allow a group of nomads to stay well-fed while contracting their territory, culminating in a permanent settlement.

    Wheels, bearings and carts
    A nomad's possessions are limited by what she can carry between camps. Even without domesticated animals, without roads, and with only crude construction, a handcart greatly increases that weight. The same technologies are useful for bringing resources into a settlement, and trash away from it.

    Vehicle technology has a number of further improvements - suspensions, bearings, engines and transmissions - that can be introduced to more advanced societies that already have the basics.

    Bricks
    Once we have a permanent settlement, we want permanent structures in that settlement. Bricks make very durable buildings and are easy to mass produce. Many different construction techniques could substitute here depending on local materials.

    Military Alliances
    Now that our little clan has invested in making one area really nice to live in, it'd be a shame if a larger clan decided to take it all for themselves. So we need to be able to organize a defense that's stronger than any one clan could. That requires cooperating with other little clans, which we could achieve by helping them set up their own fields/orchards/villages.

    This is roughly the dividing line where the time traveler can start considering civilizations rather than just the people immediately around them.

    Containers
    Glazed pottery and basket weaving, in combination with basic architecture, both allow easy storage and retrieval of the larger quantities of resources a village deals with.

    Hygiene
    Germ theory might get lost in a sea of superstition. But the notion that contaminated food/water/wounds cause sickness should be enough to curb the worst behaviors - for example, by keeping the feces away from the well and eating with dirty hands. This should include soap production for particularly infection-vulnerable occasions such as childbirth, even though soap is too expensive at this stage for everyday use.

    Spinning Wheels and Heddle Looms
    Remember how we already introduced wheels? Well, it turns out that we can use them to make useful things like rope and clothing. As we hunt less and farm more, we have less hide to use for clothing so we need to substitute plant fiber; however, once we have an ahistorically efficient process, we can use thread and cloth for many other purposes.

    Charcoal and Forges
    Even small parts made of inferior metals will improve a variety of tools. And charcoal is the key to all the entry-level metals but gold. A traveler might not know what rocks bear useful metals, but a procedure of roasting the rocks over a wood fire in a partly enclosed structure, then blocking most of the vents and mixing the cooked rocks with burning charcoal, will yield metal for a variety of ores, including for some metals not known in antiquity.

    Pop history tends to focus on military aspects of metalworking; while those are useful, metalworking is good for strong tools in general, ranging from sewing needles to seed drills.

    Proper metalworking requires a trade network to be viable, so it goes below the civilization line.

    Writing
    Writing becomes immediately useful after long distance trade kicks off, both for sending messages and for bookkeeping. It has longer term benefits as well in the form of history-keeping, but should not be introduced over other technology until it can quickly pay for itself.

    Boat Building
    While carts and maybe domestic animals let our budding civilization carry bulk cargo over distances of a few miles, commerce by water is far cheaper and covers far greater distances. If we're hauling hundreds of pounds of food and metal between villages, a simple rowboat will do the job easily so long as we locate our mines/forges/farms within cart distance of a river or large lake.

    Seed Drills
    One of the constraints on an agricultural society is the need to put a portion of their food back into the dirt in order to grow the next crop. Seed drills mean that portion is a lot smaller, in exchange for not very much extra effort beyond the required metalwork.

    I could continue to higher tech levels, but what I have here is useful up to late antiquity.
    So how many of these are in the average person's wheelhouse?
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    Seconded.

  7. - Top - End - #187
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    I see nothing there that you would need specific training to know. Not everybody would have this set, but many average people would have at least some of these skills. Actually providing them would be difficult in some cases (writing in particular needs a degree of abstract thought that doesn't necessarily come easily, for example), but having the skills isn't outlandish.

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    If waterskins are too technical, you can walk it down a step and go to skinning animals (and knapping stones if that's still too much). I'm not going to profess enough instructional knowledge to know the entire leather and tanning tree, but stretching and drying rawhide can be done with heavy objects and time. Is it going to be anywhere close to leather we buy online today? No, not even close, but it's still gonna get you materials you're otherwise not going to have that contribute to clothing, culture, and construction. Do I know the best parts and best pelts? No, but neither did the first person who invented skinning, whatever their name was. Would I live to see it develop into the same stuff my wallet's made out of? No, but I wasn't anyways.

    And I want to say that if the average person doesn't carry supplies for basket weaving, I'll introduce the technology of gathering sticks. But, I'm also from the area where dirt was used to build houses because wood and stone wasn't in supply, so, fine, yes, that is a fair concern, even if I don't like it.
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
    ---
    "Oh, hey, look! Blue Eyes Black Lotus!" "Wait what, do you sacrifice a mana to the... Does it like, summon a... What would that card even do!?" "Oh, it's got a four-energy attack. Completely unviable in actual play, so don't worry about it."

  9. - Top - End - #189
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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
    I see nothing there that you would need specific training to know. Not everybody would have this set, but many average people would have at least some of these skills. Actually providing them would be difficult in some cases (writing in particular needs a degree of abstract thought that doesn't necessarily come easily, for example), but having the skills isn't outlandish.
    No specific training to know how to make a waterskin? Tanning leather so as to preserve it is just something any old person off the street knows? Finding the useful seeds to plant requires almost no specific botanical knowledge? Pick a random person and they can tell you how to make glazed pottery off the top of their heads? John Q Public knows all about how to forge military alliances and teach boatbuilding?!

    I think we define "outlandish" differently.
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    Seconded.

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    We are allowed a few hours of research and reading before going to the past. Figuring out vaguely which animals have suitable bladders and vaguely where the bladder/stomache could be carved out of within a few hours doesn't sound too extreme to me. I was going to say that treating them with rosin might be going a bit too far, but... Looks like I found a rough guide on how to do that in a few minutes. What plants are useful is going to be a factor of where you go, and history is going to mess up one's plans quite a bit (Infamously, bananas are going to be wildly different to what we're used to, and Broccoli and Cabbages as we know them don't even exist), but one could observe which kind of plants local fauna consumes for a rough idea. Just the premise of "bury small hard thing in ground, remove thing that doesn't look like plant (weeds)" is a form of planting, the, uh, fertilizer part, I'm not gonna touch but is sound. Hm... Wouldn't hurt to introduce proto-scarecrows at this point, either.

    Glazed pottery, yeah, I'll give you that one, that's a bit out there. Pottery glazes are easy to make if you have the recipe, separating out which materials you need from other materials that look the same is something I wouldn't want to give merely light research. The recipe's going to change significantly on where you go, and you take the risk of lead poisoning in certain applications. Granted, the whole time period is full of risks, but I'll stick with unglazed ceramics for the time being.

    As far as military alliances go, these are still ancient militaries. Just the concept of "if you don't kill us, we can together have more stuff than if we worked separately" is a form of an alliance. And a raft is a kind of a boat in this time period.
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
    ---
    "Oh, hey, look! Blue Eyes Black Lotus!" "Wait what, do you sacrifice a mana to the... Does it like, summon a... What would that card even do!?" "Oh, it's got a four-energy attack. Completely unviable in actual play, so don't worry about it."

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    So how many of these are in the average person's wheelhouse?
    Honestly, that's really the problem.

    A much better prompt would be what technologies could YOU introduce in the past, justify your choices while we point out difficulties would be a much more effective question.

    Really, we seem to have two problems. 1) People assume things would be waaayyyy too easy. (2) People assuming you have to introduce perfect or at least modern incarnations of things. Both are incorrect. A lot of ideas would be very hard to implement without baseline access to resources or communities to interact with but a lot of ideas would be easy to implement in their earliest incarnations: No one is expecting a perfect steam engine the first iteration. But some people seem to think that if you aren't producing 5 nines products on the first prototype the idea is useless.

    I think removing this from the undefined region of an 'average' person to what you could is a better question.

  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by OracleofWuffing View Post
    We are allowed a few hours of research and reading before going to the past.
    Yes, but cramming is famously ineffective. You could probably get one or two things down well enough to maybe be passable, but by the time you are able to disseminate it to enough people (or just build a proof of concept) you'll be lucky to have most things on that list come out right. Especially for things someone hasn't ever done before - there's a vast gulf between knowing and doing, after all.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-07-04 at 07:53 AM.
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    Seconded.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    All's I wanted was to acknowledge that we shouldn't throw out Bucky's list entirely, and I think if you're acknowledging we can introduce a few things from it, that's good enough for me.

    In lighter-hearteder suggestions, I'mma introduce the Super Rotation System. Yes, they will have absolutely no use for it for, like, a kabillion years, but when they do invent Tetris (which may or may not be called T-Spin), it's gonna save a whole lot headaches and you'll be halfway to Mars.
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
    ---
    "Oh, hey, look! Blue Eyes Black Lotus!" "Wait what, do you sacrifice a mana to the... Does it like, summon a... What would that card even do!?" "Oh, it's got a four-energy attack. Completely unviable in actual play, so don't worry about it."

  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Yes, but cramming is famously ineffective. You could probably get one or two things down well enough to maybe be passable, but by the time you are able to disseminate it to enough people (or just build a proof of concept) you'll be lucky to have most things on that list come out right.
    Well then you immediately scratch it all down on something like the quaternion guy

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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
    Well then you immediately scratch it all down on something like the quaternion guy
    Nope.
    Quote Originally Posted by -Sentinel- View Post
    You arrive naked like a Terminator. That means no books, blueprints or anything of the sort. All knowledge must be in your head.
    That last line means you can't even carve it into your body (which I would hope nobody would try anyway).
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-07-04 at 07:47 PM.
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    Seconded.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Nope.

    That last line means you can't even carve it into your body (which I would hope nobody would try anyway).
    Sure you can; just carve it into your face.
    That's still in your head.
    That's all I can think of, at any rate.

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  17. - Top - End - #197
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    no, I mean that immediately after you arrive you write down everything you can remember usimg whatever tools are immediately available.

    What I was alluding to earlier was that when the mathematician William Hamilton suddenly realized how to make quaternion mathematics work while away from his office he immediately scratched the formula onto the side of a bridge he was passing lest it be forgotten before he could get to a pen and paper.

    As this scenario doesn't give you a pocketknife to ruin I'd suggest scratching it all onto a tree with the first suitably pointy rock you can find.

  18. - Top - End - #198
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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
    no, I mean that immediately after you arrive you write down everything you can remember usimg whatever tools are immediately available.

    What I was alluding to earlier was that when the mathematician William Hamilton suddenly realized how to make quaternion mathematics work while away from his office he immediately scratched the formula onto the side of a bridge he was passing lest it be forgotten before he could get to a pen and paper.

    As this scenario doesn't give you a pocketknife to ruin I'd suggest scratching it all onto a tree with the first suitably pointy rock you can find.
    You do much woodworking? Even assuming you're lucky enough to find pine or another wood soft enough to take to it easily, you're in for a heck of an attempt.
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    Seconded.

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

    I'll introduce the concept of tattooing instructions to advance primitive societies on to one's body, so then when I go back in time, I'll have the instructions tattooed on my body. Unless going back in time removes tattoos.

    I mean, what have linear causality and the stability of the space-time continuum done for me recently?
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
    ---
    "Oh, hey, look! Blue Eyes Black Lotus!" "Wait what, do you sacrifice a mana to the... Does it like, summon a... What would that card even do!?" "Oh, it's got a four-energy attack. Completely unviable in actual play, so don't worry about it."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Cardew View Post
    No one is expecting a perfect steam engine the first iteration. But some people seem to think that if you aren't producing 5 nines products on the first prototype the idea is useless.
    If you try to construct a high-pressure steam engine without 19th-century or better metallurgy, it will explode and kill you.

    If you try to construct an electric motor without being able to produce exactly the right grade of varnished wire, it will not spin. If you come close enough to the right grade of wire but don't know a few crucial steps, not only will it not spin but it will also catch on fire and kill you.




    I've built steam engines. I've built electric motors. I've made black powder. I actually know how to do a fair bit of this, and I wouldn't be able to do it in the past.

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

    You don't have to skip straight to high pressure high efficiency engines. That's kind of my point... The first steam engines were atmospheric pressure. They used copper boilers with steam less than 2 PSI. Even Watts steam engines were low pressure.

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

    Those low pressure engines are nearly useless for anything you'd want to use them for. They generate little power to begin with, and they lose enormous amounts of that power to inefficiencies. They were useful as pumps and nothing else. Watt's engine was only useful as a stand-in for a water or wind mill in driving a factory. In any age where there isn't large quantities of mill-driven machinery, you wouldn't be able to sell it.


    Is it possible to build a lower-pressure steam engine that could be used for propulsion? Yes. Is it possible without an immense amount of study, engineering training, and steam-engine specific study? No. If you try to build one by working from Wikipedia links, it will explode and you will die. If you try to build one with just "high-school basics" you'll never get the thing to work that well.

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

    Indeed, a steam engine was built over 2000 years ago. From what we can tell, it as largely deemed worthless except possibly as a measurement tool. So in addition to being able to remember and correctly build a device in a short amount of time (not simple, since you devoted your study time to planning how steam engines work and not to metallurgy or design drafting and how, exactly, are you going to work the metal into the shapes needed?), you also need to be able to prove why your device is worth anything at all rather than a simple curiosity. Weigh involves even more knowing things and building things that the average person is poorly equipped for. Simply assuming "behold this device!.... Someone'll figure out what to do with it" may very well not cut it.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-07-05 at 07:16 AM.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Have someone linked

    Dara O'Briain explains technology yet?

    AKA We are 3 questions from looking like idiots.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Have someone linked

    Dara O'Briain explains technology yet?

    AKA We are 3 questions from looking like idiots.
    In that skit he's portraying a person who doesn't remember/didn't pay attention to their secondary school science education.

    I think we can do better than that.

    Let's say we pick a person who took two years of wood shop in school. First, show them a video of a Moroccan craftsman making chess pieces with a bow lathe. Then, show them a video of a treadle powered wood lathe, and carefully explain how it works.

    If they can acquire any metal hard enough to make a chisel, they'll be able to work at starting a revolution (ha) in woodworking.
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    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 Eldan View Post
    Don't forget wire. In the middle ages, wire was still made by hammering metal rods through progressively smaller holes. No way are you getting miles of wire.
    Couldn't it theoretically be made by pouring copper into some kind of a mold (I admit it would be very fiddly to keep it from overflowing and just creating a plate, but I'm confident it could be done)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Indeed, a steam engine was built over 2000 years ago. From what we can tell, it as largely deemed worthless except possibly as a measurement tool. So in addition to being able to remember and correctly build a device in a short amount of time (not simple, since you devoted your study time to planning how steam engines work and not to metallurgy or design drafting and how, exactly, are you going to work the metal into the shapes needed?), you also need to be able to prove why your device is worth anything at all rather than a simple curiosity. Weigh involves even more knowing things and building things that the average person is poorly equipped for. Simply assuming "behold this device!.... Someone'll figure out what to do with it" may very well not cut it.
    Yeah, but that was already mentioned. An aeolipile is not a steam engine, because it can't actually move anything except itself. It can't do any useful work in any way, since it can't build any kind of force. There's no pressure involved. It is a useless toy. And it would take another 1700 years or more until metallurgy was good enough to improve on it.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2021-07-05 at 11:55 AM.
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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
    Couldn't it theoretically be made by pouring copper into some kind of a mold (I admit it would be very fiddly to keep it from overflowing and just creating a plate, but I'm confident it could be done)
    Thin enough mold for a wire will obviously cool copper too quickly and it will not be able to fill the mold properly. What I would actually look at is the technology of making gold thread via spinning and adapting it for copper if possible.
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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
    Couldn't it theoretically be made by pouring copper into some kind of a mold (I admit it would be very fiddly to keep it from overflowing and just creating a plate, but I'm confident it could be done)
    Theoretically sure, practically no. You'd have to use a horizontal open mold, vertical casting is right out because the mold will cool the metal too quickly for it to actually fill the form and you'll just end up with a huge mess and molten metal leaking everywhere.

    For an open mold you'll still have enormous difficulty getting the metal to cast into a single continuous whole, instead of a lot chunks and cold shuts. You'd need extremely precise control of how fast you move the crucible over the mold, and how fast you pour the metal. You also need to do this extremely fast, since the metal will be constantly losing temperature. At best you are manipulating the crucible by hand with iron tools, so you will not get this level of speed and precision.

    And you need to produce huge lengths of wire, which means huge molds. Which you will need to heat to very high temperatures themselves, so that the metal doesn't cool too fast. Copper has a fairly high melting point, and is apparently quite difficult to pour, since it's quite think and viscous, further complicating your life.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Theoretically sure, practically no. You'd have to use a horizontal open mold, vertical casting is right out because the mold will cool the metal too quickly for it to actually fill the form and you'll just end up with a huge mess and molten metal leaking everywhere.

    For an open mold you'll still have enormous difficulty getting the metal to cast into a single continuous whole, instead of a lot chunks and cold shuts. You'd need extremely precise control of how fast you move the crucible over the mold, and how fast you pour the metal. You also need to do this extremely fast, since the metal will be constantly losing temperature. At best you are manipulating the crucible by hand with iron tools, so you will not get this level of speed and precision.

    And you need to produce huge lengths of wire, which means huge molds. Which you will need to heat to very high temperatures themselves, so that the metal doesn't cool too fast. Copper has a fairly high melting point, and is apparently quite difficult to pour, since it's quite think and viscous, further complicating your life.
    What could be experimented with is a flywheel with the mold on it. This way you could have a constantly moving and nonending mold with a stationary crucible. There would still be the problem of keeping the temperature, pouring speed etc. The wheel itself would have to be pretty large to give copper time to solidify properly and most likely move very slowly. That being said, it would make the whole design more compact and heating up a single circular mold should be easier than long straight ones for the whole wire. If such a design is even in theory possible, one could maybe set up a waterwheel to power the whole thing - those are actually pretty good at maintaining constant speeds.
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