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/sci/ - Science & Math

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16023493 No.16023493 [Reply] [Original]

What's the most useful piece of of knowledge you would give to ancient civilizations to help them advance even faster if you had a time machine? Information a primitive people could actually use.

>> No.16023499

Warn them all about jews and niggers. Show them pictures of mentally ill liberals and leftists.

>> No.16023502

Monarchy is a mistake

>> No.16023509

>What's the most useful piece of of knowledge you would give to ancient civilizations
theres stone age peoples living today
Teach kids practical skills and key industrial technologies

>> No.16023515

nothing, they'd accuse you of sorcery

>> No.16023531

Germ theory is a strong candidate

>> No.16023690

germ theory seems the best. something really useful & really new & widely known today
metallurgy would be nice for old cultures. but i couldn't really deliver it much better than "bronze good. iron even better"
the same for the gun powder
similar for the steam engine and combustion engines
there is more from biology and medicine that is known to a current highschooler and that would be quite groundbreaking few hundred years ago, but the applicability is not so direct

>> No.16023697

you can't just go 1000 years in the past and teach them about combustion engines, unless you're going to sit with some ancient blacksmiths and show them how to make each individual piece of the engine and teach them how to make it work. But they would just end up building guns

>> No.16023701

(iron) Metallurgy boils down to controlling the carbon content. Basically what you need is a way to control the smelting duration and specific steps involved. A way that would be easy to implement is puddling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puddling_(metallurgy)

I'd also say that differential calculus and this understanding of the world in a way more advanced mathematical way would help. Other than that anything agricultural (such as iron ploughs), because that would give the highest economic boost.

>> No.16023709

Algebra. Not the most advanced thing I could teach, but it's arguably the most important.

>> No.16023715

agreed. and once you have the engine, another story is finding, extracting and processing the fuel, which i am also ignorant of.

>> No.16023725
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I would gather all the scientists and show them what a grim future awaits us if they don't cease "advancing", hopefully they'll learn and let mankind remain simple and connected with mother nature to prevent the destruction of our species

>> No.16023726

Assuming "ancient civilizations" means they have writing, the wheel, calendar and basic stuff like that...
Movable type, bikes, telescope and lenses in general, clocks, joint-stock enterprises and double-entry bookkeeping, three field farming, using windmills or waterwheels for different neat mechanisms for industry.

This is some stuff I could build/explain myself given some time, the materials would be available, the use should be more or less obvious and they probably wouldn't burn me for witchcraft like with chemistry, electricity and other invisible magic stuff.

>> No.16023731

If you send me back in time to the ancient greeks who were making clockwork automaton, I am pretty sure I could explain to them how to make a phonograph. I'm sure they'd love that trick.

Barring that, I would show them how to make sandwiches. Putting meat and cheese between bread is pretty much revolutionary before the 18th century, and I think I could manage to demonstrate the principle to people no matter what era I was put into.

>> No.16023736

>Movable type
fyi the real innovation there was the system of molds and suitable casting alloys. Without those it's not really a revolutionary idea. To actually pull it off also requires a substantial amount of craftmanship to make all the equipment to a sufficient degree of precision.
chains would be tough before the industrial era. push scooters would be better.
could you really though? draw a working escapement right now. it's easier said than done, the devil is in the details.
>joint-stock enterprises
the real trick is convincing the ruling government to permit this sort of thing
>double-entry bookkeeping
good answer

>> No.16023748

I think I could explain to a boat maker how to make a Sunfish style sailing boat. These would kick ass in ancient times.
Maybe a Bermuda rig too, but I'm not as sure I could pull that off correctly. But Sunfish rigs are easy, I learned to use those in boyscouts.

>> No.16023761

>Without those it's not really a revolutionary idea
Sure but it would send them in the right direction. You could make a basic model with carved wood. Though the fact that paper was very expensive would bottleneck the actual usefulness.
>push scooters would be better.
I could get there with some tinkering, assuming I'm staying around for a while. But come to think of it, mechanical clocks probably wouldn't be all that significant for antiquity, all else being equal.

Another anon mentioned algebra, I would add coordinate geometry to that, it would really kickstart mathematics for them

>> No.16023770

Eugenics is necessary for the prevention of civilizational collapse.

>> No.16023774

A skilled craftsman would have more impact. You basically need to come up with improvements and inventions based on the education of the people and the access to resources and skilled workers.

Also if you know how to cultivate your own yeast you would have quite the impact on society.

>> No.16023782

They knew that already. It is modern men who forgot.

>> No.16023784

wild "sourdough" yeast works well enough

>> No.16023790


>> No.16023807

Distilling alcohol comes to mind. Beyond the obvious, it’s useful for making medicines and tinctures, sanitizing wounds, and can be burned for fuel, among other things.

>> No.16023827 [DELETED] 
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>> No.16023832
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hidden in there are a few guys who almost look normal

>> No.16023840
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bring a copy of the sports almanac. Imagine all the wealth you could gain and provide by betting on sports

>> No.16023956


>> No.16024055
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This was a surprisingly good read and answers the question well.

>> No.16024080 [DELETED] 
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>> No.16024213

Tell them to buy bitcoin in 2009 and sell it in 2021

>> No.16024384 [DELETED] 

They would probably really appreciate anaesthesiology and penicillin. Medical procedures back then were absolutely brutal. It's pretty much the main reason I'm glad I wasn't born back then

>> No.16024387

They would probably really appreciate anaesthesiology and penicillin. Medical procedures back then were absolutely brutal. It's pretty much the main reason I'm glad I wasn't born back then

>> No.16024403


>> No.16024448

I have thought about this question at length in the past. My best response is the trompe, which compresses air without moving parts:
Compressing air on a scale that could plausibly have been achieved by the Greeks or Romans adjacent to rivers would enable:
>Powered machinery
>The "blast" for blast furnaces
>Production of both water ice and dry ice (via decompressive cooling)
>The ability to dehumidify air & purge it of CO2 via the above (and then the option to recompress it).
There's then a cascade of utility from having newfound access to these things made possible by the trompe. Note that this is particularly well-suited for refrigeration since you can use the flowing water itself to cool the chamber of gradually-compressed air.

This technology is also closely related to the Sprengel pump, which converts some of the potential energy of falling liquid to evacuate a chamber (i.e. generate a vacuum).

Either these or the slide rule.

>> No.16025004

>and suitable casting alloys
Like what? Cast iron? Bronze?

>> No.16025007

Should be possible to pinch a persons neck arteries until they blackout, then a doctor could have a minute or two to do an amputation or pull out a tooth, before brain damage sets in

>> No.16025009

Round 10 of this thread and the answer is the same: have more high IQ kids since all technology has pop requirements for use.

>> No.16025043

does it go into the details of how to make things or is it rather basic?

>> No.16025051

hygiene+chinese medicine is nonsense, it might save some rhynos

>> No.16025222

You literally would be able to produce all kinds of new things if you know a few things about cultivating yeast.

>> No.16025259

If you have a time machine you could do all the research you needed before going, so even if the guy can't randomly say how electricity works on a whim he would probably do all the research nevessary for a full explanation before going.

>> No.16025260

rod of iron high in a storm
twist it to make a solenoid
place a smaller iron bar inside, now you can manufacture magnets
use wrought iron, a common form of iron available before steel was widespread

>> No.16025296

It's technically possible to do with bronze, but difficult. You want an alloy that is hard yet has a low melting temperature so you can easily make high quality casts with fine features. Gutenberg used an alloy of lead, antimony and tin.

>> No.16025298

time travel is for pedophiles. it's an evil practise.

>> No.16025303
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But everyone already knew about jews and their ways

>> No.16025323


>> No.16025397

>Either these or the slide rule.
Trompe idea is good. Slide rule would be of purely academic interest to them. Without a society that requires vast quantities of accurate calculations, there's little use for it. That's why it came about when it did, in the 19th century.
You can't rush development, except in a very few rare cases.

>> No.16025626

like what?

>> No.16025768

Maybe advances in mining technology would also have helped in the antiquity. Gunpowder could maybe have been a very helpful invention. I wonder how much heavy moving equipment would have helped (but they had cranes already).
It seems a bit like the first gunpowders were more on the side of easy burning and not so much exploding, which is not really enough for actual mining operations (maybe you'd need dynamite and nitroglycerine for that). Furthermore I wonder how easy it was to access saltpeter.

While researching this I stumbled upon this neat little book from 1540: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_la_pirotechnia

>> No.16025775
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>> No.16025785


>> No.16025818
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I like this graphic from the book because it conforms to my train of thought. A lot of progress boils down to understanding some weird chemical process or just making stuff very hot. But the devil is in the details exactly there. How do you run this or that process? What actual concrete steps do you take to make the product suffice for further use?
In the last time I came to think of the invention of the printing press as not so important (given the price of paper, leather and the like), but maybe it really was, just as a means of enabling exactly this kind of written communication (although I would have expected monasteries, which I assume were the major mine operators back then, to have communicated about mining operations before the invention of the printing press).
And so maybe what truly lacked for economic expansion in the European medieval ages was the idea of exploiting your environment beyond your own needs. Because why would you develop a more efficient or higher quality process, when all you do with it is cast a nail or an axe with it or whatever you need.

>> No.16025824

How to build a time machine so the primitives can move back in time farther into the past and build a modern civilization several thousand years earlier.

>> No.16025853

This also reminds me of the concept of a community of practice, btw.
Sorry for all the posts.

>> No.16025868

The problem is that they didn't take the threat seriously enough and kept letting them back in.
It's like the monkey ladder experiment, where a bold and ignorant monkey defies tradition and gets them all sprayed, teaching them the hard way why their forebearers hammered in not to approach the ladder.

>> No.16025872

Mechanical accuracy and gas law.

>> No.16025879

In terms of knowledge I have right now in my head? Probably all the shit ik about crop rotation, using clovers to replenish nitrogen, basic newtonian mechanics, analytical geometry, calculus, set theory, odes, a bit of real analysis, etc.
If I could bring any one piece of knowledge I don't know? Probably basic aluminum smelting with a low tech set up

>> No.16025885

Why do they need aluminum? What is low tech about it?

>> No.16025891

It's easy to work with (low melting point), easy to transport (light), corrosion resistant, has a comparable tensile strength to iron that was manufactured back then, and it's extremely common if you know how to extract it with electricity. Would supercharge civilization by a few centuries

>> No.16025896

But doing that before using copper or iron to make electricity?

>> No.16025902

Considering the op pic I thought it was talking about the iron age. If we're talking about stone agers that's entirely different of course. I'm not even sure if they'd necessarily give a shit about metal stuff, stone tools/weapons are mostly fine if you're not sedentary and you need a complex society to harvest/process metal at any reasonable scale

>> No.16025929

Coal tar. It's readily available and can be used to make a purple dye. With everyone going apeshit for the dye, funding would be secured to develop all sorts of other useful coal tar derivatives, such as acetaminophen (tylenol), which shares aniline as a common precursor. Organic chemistry is now born as an entire discipline without forcefully introducing concepts or technologies that are too foreign.

>> No.16026340

Top class beer

>> No.16026364

In 'The Three Body Problem' they use people assembled into a grid, each holding a flag to represent a bit to do basic computations. When you have command over hundreds of thousands of peasants, it doesn't matter if most of them are stupid as long as they can follow a few basic rules about when to flip their flag.

>> No.16026367

If you got dropped into the late 19th or early 20th century, you could probably make a computer with electromechanical relays, a few decades before it was done in our timeline.

>> No.16026390

>Classical mechanics
>Probability theory
>"Precalculus" (Logarithms and solving polynomial equations with complex numbers)

All useful things that were worked out in the last 500 years, that I actually could teach, and that wouldn't get me accused of being a witch

>> No.16026399

We'd need parity nonetheless.

>> No.16026402
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Yes, you could avoid several expensive dead ends that happened during the early days of computing and be more committed to making it happen since you know the potential end result.
Pic related explores the possible world had Baggage completed his Difference Engine.

>> No.16026406

Considering you're going before the time of descartes they're going to think you're a schizo if you introduce most of that stuff. You'd need to memorize a few novel (at the time) geometric proofs like herons formula and the pythagorean theorem

>> No.16026417

>to help them advance even faster
why would I want that? history in its current state has resulted in me having access to a time machine. changing the past risks affecting that. instead I'll fuck off to the future and bang some hot cyberbitches

>> No.16026421

Then you're going to die of future-flu which everyone else's immune system is adapted for

>> No.16026423

I've been meaning to read that book for years. I think I'll do it now

>> No.16026487

People underestimate how important other people are in coming up with things.

>> No.16026488

Even ignoring that the people actually need some degree of understanding what you are even coming, otherwise your electromechanical relays are just expensive toys.

>> No.16026554

Could just distill ethanol to use as fuel

>> No.16027025

It's hard to think of things that they could actually use. So much of scientific knowledge requires a base level of society to make use of.
I could show the medieval society the advantages of anti-scorbutic foods like limes. This is something easy to understand and use, and would enable long voyages centuries earlier.

>> No.16027055

But how do you prove the existence of these germs to them, if you can get the king of a country to follow along and do the necessary steps of washing hands with some form of soap after every shitting trip and before making food and before doing any sort of medical work,

>> No.16027873

most intelligent answer itt

Something we missed until now in this thread is the experiments of Volta etc.. But I don't know how you could "distill" that into one thing. Maybe it would be frog legs. But that still begs the question of how to not fail at seeing the electric phenomena.

I wonder whether ancient civilizations had any kind of laboratory infrastructure. Probably it was just rich dudes interpreting the world. So how do you jumpstart this?

I think it is more of an ideological thing to not make use of scientific knowledge. I mean, maybe you want to elaborate on what inventions you mean.
If you are just talking about applications I'd say the way to drive progress is by putting incentives on what to research.

Experiments. Basically cheap Koch's postulates. You isolate the germ, you put it into a healthy mouse, the mouse gets ill. This way you debunk demons as an explanation for illness.

>> No.16027888

Self-domestication, now they aren't focused on killing each other, they can now focus on progressing as a group which ultimately will flourish as today's world

>> No.16027949

>Something we missed until now in this thread is the experiments of Volta etc.. But I don't know how you could "distill" that into one thing. Maybe it would be frog legs. But that still begs the question of how to not fail at seeing the electric phenomena.
Electricity itself isn't much use without a lot of prior groundwork behind it. Ancient Greeks knew about static electricity. But to make electricity do useful work, you still need machines that are actually doing the work, which requires industrialization, plus you need materials like copper wires, iron, lead, nickel, zinc, etc. And you need to have enough math to describe the laws of electricity to do any kind of serious engineering.

The development of electricity was ASTOUNDINGLY fast in Europe. In the span of about 25 years Europe went from not knowing much more than the Greeks about the phenomenon to figuring out electrical induction, electrolysis of water, batteries, and then the formal mathematical law to express the forces between moving currents was worked out by Ampere. Then waves were theorized (by Maxwell and others), discovered shortly after, and wireless technology was born.

In the span of about 100 years from 1800 to 1900 Western civilization went from knowing virtually nothing about electricity to understanding it essentially the same way we do today.

>> No.16028037

The word of Jesus Christ