A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Wire-making is more of a process of pulling the wire through successively smaller holes than hammering it through. The initial taper is created by other means. And, since copper work-hardens, you need to anneal it occasionally. When the wire is too long for your workshop, it's probably narrow and flexible enough to wind on reels, and crank the reels to pull the wire.

    The real world has continuous casting systems, but I doubt whether they could be constructed with pre-industrial era materials.

  2. - Top - End - #212
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    This is such a weird exercise because you are fluent in a language that has been dead for millennia but you can't study technology/engineering for more than an hour or two before leaving. You can take a universal translator/ babel fish with you but you can't take a chisel.

    English is my first language but, if I went back to England 1000 years ago, I would have trouble making myself understood.
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  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    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.
    My limited understanding is that gold thread is made by is essentially plying a very fine strip of gold around an existing thread. I'm not sure how the gold strips are produced, although I'd guess given how soft gold is, one could use some form of specialized cutter.

    Regardless, I can't see the technology behind cloth of gold being adaptable to producing copper wire for electric motors. For one thing the fiber core is a major problem, and copper is much harder and more prone to work hardening than gold. I think this can work for silver, but silver is again easier to work than copper. And even if the technology is adaptable, cloth of gold is an extreme luxury good, and probably rather difficult to procure in large amounts unless one is lucky enough to own a couple counties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    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.
    This could work, although I imagine it would take a lot of tuning to keep the wheel turning at the right rate, and the heat setup would be exceedingly complex.
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  4. - Top - End - #214
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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
    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.
    Kind of my point. Even if you could build, for example, an electric motor, that's no guarantee that anyone would realize its potential usefulness. And even if someone could (eg Archimedes, why not), finding them and getting them to pay any attention to you whatsoever is not guaranteed. Like the suggestion of boiling surgical instruments before surgery - how many barbers do you know would jus tlet a random person come in and do weird things to their tools? Knowing how to do something, actually doing it, and proving it's usefulness effectively are three entirely different goals here and there's a huge amount of assumption that all you need is to do the first one, maaaaybe the second every so often.
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  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Wait. Why are you guys talking about melting and molding them? Why not just use wheels powered by crank or water power to crush, flatten, and draw out the wire?

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

    Because you would need to provide the mechanisms to crush, flatten, and draw the copper, and all this without incorporating the stuff you're truing to use the copper for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    And even if someone could (eg Archimedes, why not),
    Reminds me, anything useful we could do with the knowledge that mass displaces water? I mean, outside of not needing to see a mostly naked inventor run down the streets proclaiming that he's discovered it?
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
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  7. - Top - End - #217
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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
    Reminds me, anything useful we could do with the knowledge that mass displaces water? I mean, outside of not needing to see a mostly naked inventor run down the streets proclaiming that he's discovered it?
    It's foundational to Naval Architecture. If you look up a ship's gross or tonnage, you are actually seeing its displacement, not its actual weight. Understanding the effect of weight, size, and center of gravity is necessary to design a ship that doesn't roll over as soon as it leaves the pier.
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  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Rather than waste our time on steam, how about we invent the windmill?

    The principle has been known since ancient times, but it wasn't until the early medieval period that anyone thought to build them on a big enough scale to revolutionise agriculture. They can be used to grind corn and to pump water, e.g. for irrigation. And they're well within the technical capability of 8th century builders, which makes me think a team from Roman or earlier times could probably manage it too.
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  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Trafalgar View Post
    It's foundational to Naval Architecture. If you look up a ship's gross or tonnage, you are actually seeing its displacement, not its actual weight. Understanding the effect of weight, size, and center of gravity is necessary to design a ship that doesn't roll over as soon as it leaves the pier.
    Case in point, Vasa - when posturing and harmed ego reign over practicality. We got a nice museum out of that, but the Swedish king must have been quite upset at the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Rather than waste our time on steam, how about we invent the windmill?

    The principle has been known since ancient times, but it wasn't until the early medieval period that anyone thought to build them on a big enough scale to revolutionise agriculture. They can be used to grind corn and to pump water, e.g. for irrigation. And they're well within the technical capability of 8th century builders, which makes me think a team from Roman or earlier times could probably manage it too.
    If you come at the right time before the medieval industrial revolution than yes, it is a good idea to introduce. The only problem is, a practical windmill is a rather big structure, so you need to somehow get the funds and manpower to get the first one going. After that it should catch on. On thing to really study here is how to operate a wind-powered machinery in a safe way that will not break the machine itself. There are a lot of details and going by trial and error might be too costly.
    Last edited by Radar; 2021-07-06 at 05:11 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #220
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Case in point, Vasa - when posturing and harmed ego reign over practicality. We got a nice museum out of that, but the Swedish king must have been quite upset at the time.
    He personally approved all the measurements. Resulting in a case of "eerr. I guess none is responsible then kthxby"

  11. - Top - End - #221
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    I haven't seen it mentioned, but a pretty easy one, assuming there's some degree of ironworking: Magnetic compasses. Get a needle, float it on a cork, and magnetize it. All it takes is an iron needle and some lodestone (you can do it with just lodestone, but the needle is a bit easier).
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  12. - Top - End - #222
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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
    I haven't seen it mentioned, but a pretty easy one, assuming there's some degree of ironworking: Magnetic compasses. Get a needle, float it on a cork, and magnetize it. All it takes is an iron needle and some lodestone (you can do it with just lodestone, but the needle is a bit easier).
    On a similar note, sceptic tanks. It might be hard to get people to try them, but any areas you introduce washing the well pump handle and using sceptic tanks for refuse will have a massive advantage. Using copper or brass handles for doors and getting people to wash hands likewise.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2021-07-06 at 02:42 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #223
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Case in point, Vasa - when posturing and harmed ego reign over practicality. We got a nice museum out of that, but the Swedish king must have been quite upset at the time.
    A good discussion for this thread is which is more important for technological development: big scientific discoveries or knowledge gained over generations through lots of trial and error.

    The Polynesians couldn't calculate vertical center of gravity or know who Archimedes was but they built craft that travelled across the Pacific.
    Last edited by Trafalgar; 2021-07-06 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Punctuation and spelling
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  14. - Top - End - #224
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    On a similar note, sceptic tanks. It might be hard to get people to try them, but any areas you introduce washing the well pump handle and using sceptic tanks for refuse will have a massive advantage. Using copper or brass handles for doors and getting people to wash hands likewise.
    Lmao. Sceptic tanks? Who's going to be inside? People who don't believe in the local religion, or those who don't believe in magic?

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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
    Lmao. Sceptic tanks? Who's going to be inside? People who don't believe in the local religion, or those who don't believe in magic?
    Pyrrho, I'm going to clone him and put one in every tank.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Pyrrho, I'm going to clone him and put one in every tank.
    Would he consider that a victory?

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    Seconded.

  17. - Top - End - #227
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Pyrrho, I'm going to clone him and put one in every tank.
    Usually a tank requires more than one person to operate -- at least a driver and a gunner.

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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
    Usually a tank requires more than one person to operate -- at least a driver and a gunner.
    Not sure what use introducing golf to the past would be. Which club is the gunner, anyway?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Misery Esquire View Post
    Not sure what use introducing golf to the past would be. Which club is the gunner, anyway?
    One of the irons, obviously.
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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 Misery Esquire View Post
    Not sure what use introducing golf to the past would be. Which club is the gunner, anyway?
    He's not a club. He's the actual golfer.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Has anyone mentioned musical genres yet? You could introduce any m0dern or semi-modern musical style as long as it doesn't rely on electric guitars, remixing, synthesizers, or gated reverb

  22. - Top - End - #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Has anyone mentioned musical genres yet? You could introduce any m0dern or semi-modern musical style as long as it doesn't rely on electric guitars, remixing, synthesizers, or gated reverb
    That sounds... really quite challenging. Musical tastes don't come out of nowhere, they grow and mutate over generations. People won't understand, and hence won't like, music they're not ready for.

    I think that if you inserted, say, "Hey Jude" or the entire score of "Hamilton" into an 18th century musical programme, where people were expecting to hear Vivaldi or Bach, the audience would first think it was some new way of tuning the instruments. If you persisted, they'd get increasingly baffled and hostile.

    Culture is evolutionary, you can't expect good results from skipping generations. That's why "being ahead of your time" is not a good thing in the arts. Not from the "wanting to make a living, or at least avoid lynching" point of view, anyway.
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  23. - Top - End - #233
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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
    Culture is evolutionary, you can't expect good results from skipping generations. That's why "being ahead of your time" is not a good thing in the arts. Not from the "wanting to make a living, or at least avoid lynching" point of view, anyway.
    But at least you can get unlimited free drinks at any art college bar you visit decades or centuries after your death.

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

    Ballista. Twisted ropes are a fairly easy thing to figure out.

    Geography. You grow up knowing the general shape of the world, even if there's a decent chance you mess it up without a map to consult.

    Simple clockwork and gears.
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    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?
    This is a good point. Look at the atom bomb, it's not like they made that out of off the shelf parts. They had to figure out how to enrich and then precision machine uranium, but they did because they knew they could then make a weapon that could change the tide of the war.

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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
    This is a good point. Look at the atom bomb, it's not like they made that out of off the shelf parts. They had to figure out how to enrich and then precision machine uranium, but they did because they knew they could then make a weapon that could change the tide of the war.
    Very fair, but as the saying goes, there's a vast gulf between knowing and doing.

    I'll never understand how "relevant SMBC" never caught on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post

    I'll never understand how "relevant SMBC" never caught on.
    Less well-known; I've been doing my part to spread the good word whenever I remember a relevant one.
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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
    Very fair, but as the saying goes, there's a vast gulf between knowing and doing.

    I'll never understand how "relevant SMBC" never caught on.
    They also had a fairly large number of the most brilliant physicists in the world (and arguably ever) working on the project, along with the industrial backing of the United States in full war mode. These are, to put it mildly, rather large advantages.


    Now here's an invention I suspect most people could, ahem, pull off: condoms. Birth control in general is a fantastic invention, but unlike the fancier modern hormonal methods, all you need for condoms are some appropriately sized animal intestines, which are readily available the world over. Sure they'd take a bit of work to learn how to prepare, and scraping small intestines isn't exactly pleasant work, but if you're gonna time travel, it's not even like top ten grossest things you'll have to deal with, and the payoffs for peasant families generally teetering on the edge of food insecurity to actual famine of having somewhat fewer children seems pretty large.
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  29. - Top - End - #239
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Not really. They have to have a mess of children in order to be left with any children after all was said and done, because 90% of them were going to die from some kind of stupid pre-industrial nonsense like cholera or the black death or being eaten by wolves or some middling medical condition like asthma or diabetes
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-07-08 at 11:52 PM.

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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
    They also had a fairly large number of the most brilliant physicists in the world (and arguably ever) working on the project, along with the industrial backing of the United States in full war mode. These are, to put it mildly, rather large advantages.


    Now here's an invention I suspect most people could, ahem, pull off: condoms. Birth control in general is a fantastic invention, but unlike the fancier modern hormonal methods, all you need for condoms are some appropriately sized animal intestines, which are readily available the world over. Sure they'd take a bit of work to learn how to prepare, and scraping small intestines isn't exactly pleasant work, but if you're gonna time travel, it's not even like top ten grossest things you'll have to deal with, and the payoffs for peasant families generally teetering on the edge of food insecurity to actual famine of having somewhat fewer children seems pretty large.
    I'm afraid not. You see, with the total lack of anything resembling mechanization, everything has to be powered by muscles. And you know what happens when you're too poor to get an animal? You get human muscles. That's right. From dragging water to digging a hole to harvesting crops, all of them have to be done by muscle power.

    Peasants didn't have many children because they were just boinking like rabbits (ok fine, maybe they were. Not like they had cable tv). It was because each child was the equivalent of taking a loan for a combine harvester. Farming was hard work, and with all the labour requirements and child death rate, you needed more. What's more, with the lack of social safety nets, your social safety net was your family.

    More children = more safety.

    What's more is the terrible child death rate. No sane person in pre-modern times would want less children. Those condoms were made from sheep skin and used by royalty. And yes, they are old.

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