What modern item would you take to the middle ages?

Thane Mantis
Thane Mantis
Strike-force Captain
Joined Jul 2017 Posts: 653
edited 27 Jan 2018, 3:15AM
So conversation has kinda slowed down again around O_T again, so I figured in order to get it going again, I'd go back to nicking fun and interesting questions from the /r/askreddit subreddit.

Today's question: If you were forced to time travel to the Middle Ages and could bring only ONE contemporary item with you, which one would you pick to max out your odds to live a long and prosperous life? by EPDT.
Thoughts everyone?
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  • Yard
    Yard
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Nov 2010 Posts: 11,948

    This nicking questions malarkey could be a series of threads really, they could lead to some good discussions, kind of like your old 'Thane Thinks' threads.

    As for this one, I think I'd take back a book of historical events, make predictions, and be hailed as a psychic.

    Another fun one to do would be something that I could easily reversed engineer myself so I could "invent" it. No examples spring to mind here though, as it obviously couldn't be too advanced technologically. There's also the whole "witchcraft" issue I'd want to avoid...

    Failing those options, I'd literally take a set of purple clothes, as purple was immensely rare and expensive in those days and I'd probably be able to convince them I was some sort of exiled/stranded royalty from some far off land.

    If you wanted to mess with future archeologists, you could take something really modern like an iPhone and just bury it. In general I don't think people of the Middle Ages would be that impressed with phones though, so I'm surprised so many people often list it as their first choice (in my experience of people talking about similar topics).

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  • Thane Mantis
    Thane Mantis
    Strike-force Captain
    Joined Jul 2017 Posts: 653
    edited 27 Jan 2018, 1:30AM
    Yard said:

    This nicking questions malarkey could be a series of threads really, they could lead to some good discussions, kind of like your old 'Thane Thinks' threads.

    I almost forgot about those. Yeah, I do think I might make this into a series, since it is fun and leads to interesting discussion. You know, I think I still had a couple concepts written up for Thane_Thinks, so maybe I could also possibly resurrect that old series, if anyone is interested.
    Yard said:

    As for this one, I think I'd take back a book of historical events, make predictions, and be hailed as a psychic.

    Or burned as a witch... :trollface: :trollface:
    Yard said:

    Another fun one to do would be something that I could easily reversed engineer myself so I could "invent" it. No examples spring to mind here though, as it obviously couldn't be too advanced technologically. There's also the whole "witchcraft" issue I'd want to avoid...

    Here, if you did that, and we assume for a moment that any future discoveries that arose from that current invention still happened but at a pace quicker than what we currently have, you could end up accelerating modern society by a few hundred years.
    Imagine where that could put us on the tech tree here in 2018 if we possessed technology that is currently out of our reach by a few hundred years? Assuming of course there is no nasty witch burning business that gets in the way first lol.
    Yard said:

    Failing those options, I'd literally take a set of purple clothes, as purple was immensely rare and expensive in those days and I'd probably be able to convince them I was some sort of exiled/stranded royalty from some far off land.

    Weren't pineapples also rare an expensive in those days? You yourself would already be a valuable commodity if you think about it lol.
    Yard said:

    If you wanted to mess with future archeologists, you could take something really modern like an iPhone and just bury it.

    Someone gave an answer in a similar vein to this, except they said The Bee Movie on Blu Ray.
    Yard said:

    In general I don't think people of the Middle Ages would be that impressed with phones though, so I'm surprised so many people often list it as their first choice (in my experience of people talking about similar topics).

    They might be, depending on how long you can make the battery last. After that you've for all intents and purposes got a block of metal lol, then they're likely to become unimpressed.
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  • Yard
    Yard
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Nov 2010 Posts: 11,948

    This quote was a beeyatch to break down on my phone, so I hope you appreciate the effort lol.

    @Thane_Mantis said:
    I almost forgot about those. Yeah, I do think I might make this into a series, since it is fun and leads to interesting discussion. You know, I think I still had a couple concepts written up for Thane_Thinks, so maybe I could also possibly resurrect that old series, if anyone is interested.

    That would be pretty good, as would those old Thane Thinks concepts. It's been quite a while indeed since we saw one of those.

    @Thane_Mantis said:
    Or burned as a witch... :trollface: :trollface:

    I think I could claim some sort of holy inspiration. Maybe I'd be a new prophet.

    @Thane_Mantis said:
    Here, if you did that, and we assume for a moment that any future discoveries that arose from that current invention still happened but at a pace quicker than what we currently have, you could end up accelerating modern society by a few hundred years.
    Imagine where that could put us on the tech tree here in 2018 if we possessed technology that is currently out of our reach by a few hundred years? Assuming of course there is no nasty witch burning business that gets in the way first lol.

    A lot of really important discoveries, like penicillin and vaccines, wouldn't even need an invention, I could just prove the concept and advance medicine by like 500 years. It'd be interesting to see what society would be like now in such an eventuality.

    @Thane_Mantis said:
    Weren't pineapples also rare an expensive in those days? You yourself would already be a valuable commodity if you think about it lol.

    True, I'd better watch out. I think they'd react worse to a talking mantis though. Hell, if you travelled to medieval Scotland you could even claim your title of Thane.

    @Thane_Mantis said:
    They might be, depending on how long you can make the battery last. After that you've for all intents and purposes got a block of metal lol.

    Not only battery, but a lot of features wouldn't work without WiFi, and it's not like you could even showcase the actual phone part without taking more than one. It'd just be a weird flat shiny light to them, and I think it's more likely to get you burned as a witch than anything.

    What about you, Thane? What would you take?

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  • Thane Mantis
    Thane Mantis
    Strike-force Captain
    Joined Jul 2017 Posts: 653
    edited 27 Jan 2018, 3:22AM
    Yard said:

    This quote was a beeyatch to break down on my phone, so I hope you appreciate the effort lol.

    I do. Don't care the @ thing tough lol, since it tends to break quote chains. Does the mobile site auto apply that?
    I hope you appreciate the effort I put in to repair the chain, so the previous comments by me could be read properly so anyone else reading had context without having to scroll up lol.
    Yard said:
    I almost forgot about those. Yeah, I do think I might make this into a series, since it is fun and leads to interesting discussion. You know, I think I still had a couple concepts written up for Thane_Thinks, so maybe I could also possibly resurrect that old series, if anyone is interested.

    That would be pretty good, as would those old Thane Thinks concepts. It's been quite a while indeed since we saw one of those.

    Yeah it has been a very long time. I'll have to remember to go back and see if I can find the ideas I had written up to reboot the series.
    Yard said:
    Or burned as a witch... trollface trollface

    I think I could claim some sort of holy inspiration. Maybe I'd be a new prophet.

    Our holy prophet Yard. Praise the holy pineapple, he shall lead us to salvation!
    Yard said:
    Here, if you did that, and we assume for a moment that any future discoveries that arose from that current invention still happened but at a pace quicker than what we currently have, you could end up accelerating modern society by a few hundred years.

    Imagine where that could put us on the tech tree here in 2018 if we possessed technology that is currently out of our reach by a few hundred years? Assuming of course there is no nasty witch burning business that gets in the way first lol.

    A lot of really important discoveries, like penicillin and vaccines, wouldn't even need an invention, I could just prove the concept and advance medicine by like 500 years. It'd be interesting to see what society would be like now in such an eventuality.

    That's assuming you could get people to listen. Semmelweiss, the man who originally learned that washing hands was a great idea to stop bacteria spreading and reducing the number of deaths during/after births got totally blanked for his medical theories. It wasn't until 20 years after his death that people took his ideas seriously.

    Lets say for the sake of argument though that your ideas are taken seriously, and we do see advancements such as medicine advance 500 years earlier than what we have right now. In today's times, one possibility I can think off would be our brains being able to survive outside our bodies. Like Ghost in the Shell for example.

    In fact, in an episode of Film Theory which explores this possibility, (if you're interested, you can watch it here if you can put up with MatPat and his terrible, terrible jokes and him being particularly annoying this episode) and in it cited a medical expert called Evan Snider who said this was theoretically possible but we're still a century at least from making it happen. So advance our medical capacities by 500 years in the future and it should be possible for us to do this.
    Yard said:
    Weren't pineapples also rare an expensive in those days? You yourself would already be a valuable commodity if you think about it lol.

    True, I'd better watch out. I think they'd react worse to a talking mantis though.

    I dunno. Pineapples don't have any visible orifices through which they could speak. I at least have a mouth, so personally I think people would be more baffled by this pineapple that can speak without any sort of mouth lol.
    Regardless, just as well I can fly, and blend in without issue, so I should be able to avoid trouble.
    Yard said:
    Weren't pineapples also rare an expensive in those days? You yourself would already be a valuable commodity if you think about it lol.

    Hell, if you travelled to medieval Scotland you could even claim your title of Thane.

    Interesting. I see Lomo isn't the only one who noticed that lol. I just want to take this moment to clarify that the "title" in my name was totally unintentional lol. Kinda like, funnily enough, the whole runaway joke of me becoming associated with mantises.
    When I came up with this nickname with that anagram generator, I wasn't thinking about possibly implications like mantises becoming my calling card, nor did I realise that "Thane" was a legitimate title people once held lol.
    Yard said:
    They might be, depending on how long you can make the battery last. After that you've for all intents and purposes got a block of metal lol.
    Not only battery, but a lot of features wouldn't work without WiFi, and it's not like you could even showcase the actual phone part without taking more than one. It'd just be a weird flat shiny light to them, and I think it's more likely to get you burned as a witch than anything.
    I dunno. If you had some apps pre-installed you could properly still showcase some of its features. You're right about most of the phone being worthless without wi-fi though. You'd also need a bunch of other stuff like cell towers and satellites and whatnot to also showcase the "phone" part where it makes calls.
    Yard said:
    What about you, Thane? What would you take?
    Hmm, tough question. Instinct tells me to take some modern tech, but the issue with that is batteries and whatnot. Inevitably (and probably rather quickly,) any modern tech becomes useless unless you can sell it or find a way to keep it powered. Others suggested things like guns for defence, but then your concern becomes ammo unless you can rely on the people having a general fear of this weapon and conserve the ammo.

    One person suggested something called "Lifestraw" which is a compact little straw that makes just about any water drinkable, even if its filled with filth, thanks to some very clever filters. I'm tempted to say that, but it has a limited lifespan of around 1000 litres if I remember right, so it would also inevitably become useless. Unless some improvements have been made to make it able to filter more water.

    Ridiculously long sidenote:
    As I was writing this, I did go back to the lifestraw website to see if they made improvements to thheir primary product, or see if they had any other products available that might be useful. There is one called the Lifestraw Community, a device that is:
    • Apparently free from needing any sort of power source, meaning it should theoretically function back in ye olden times.
    • Can filter our 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa (whatever that is lol) so that should make it immune/capable of filtering out basically any diseases hiding in the water back then. (I hope...)
    • And it can filter between 75K to 100K litres of water, and filter at a rate of up to 12 Litres per hour, before its filters start failing.
    Now, with all that in mind, I decided to go look up the amount of water the average person consumes in a year. Its 58 gallons, or around 263.6 litres per year, according to this report. Lets round that up to 300 litres both for the sake of convenience, and because its possible days more water may be drank than others, so lets account for that by adding an extra 36.4 litres to the yearly consumption rate. Reasonable enough leeway I think.

    Now, assuming this thing doesn't fail beforehand, and it filters at least the 75K promise before the filters start wearing down and the nasty sh*t starts getting through to the water I actually drink, and that I understand everything correctly here, that means this thing could produce, in theory, up to 250 years worth of water for one person. (Technically this thing is meant to be used/shared amongst people, but Im not accounting for that. The middle ages were brutal, who has time to worry about others lol)

    Now, apparently according to a website (this one here) google pulled up when I searched for "Average life expectancy in the middle ages" people who survived their infancy, childhood and teenage years apparently actually had good odds of living a long-ish life of up to 50 to 60 years. Assuming that's correct, then that means the Lifestraw Community could produce up to 5 lifetimes worth of water.

    So... TL;DR - Maybe the Lifestraw Community? Should last me all the way up til my death provided it doesn't fail on me, and/or I don't pick up a horrible disease some other way.

    Im tempted to follow you and others, and just bring something that would be highly valuable back in those days to elevate myself in society with little effort. Maybe a great big backpack of sugar for example. I remember one person said something similar, but about spices instead, and how its an easy way to climb the societal ladder. So sugar would probably do the trick.
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  • Yard
    Yard
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Nov 2010 Posts: 11,948

    Yeah, it does auto-apply that to the quotes. Never realised it broke the chain. Let me try it without. If this looks horrible, I apologise.

    Thane_Mantis said:
    Our holy prophet Yard. Praise the holy pineapple, he shall lead us to salvation!

    I won't re-quote everything in case it breaks again.

    Anywho...

    I never knew your name was an anagram. What of? Kind of funny how you never expected your profile to have such a strong association with mantises. Kind of like me and my pineapples, but that was more my own doing.

    That lifestraw product is interesting, haven't seen that before. Good way to prevent you getting cholera, especially as our immune systems would probably be worse at fighting antiquated diseases.

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  • Thane Mantis
    Thane Mantis
    Strike-force Captain
    Joined Jul 2017 Posts: 653
    Yard said:

    Yeah, it does auto-apply that to the quotes. Never realised it broke the chain. Let me try it without. If this looks horrible, I apologise.

    Thane_Mantis said:
    Our holy prophet Yard. Praise the holy pineapple, he shall lead us to salvation!
    Hmm, it still seems to break, though that's probably more the forums fault than yours. Breaks the name link thing as well. Damned forum.
    Yard said:
    I won't re-quote everything in case it breaks again.
    Fair enough. I did write a ridiculous amount in my previous post lol.
    Yard said:

    I never knew your name was an anagram. What of?

    I have absolutely no idea. Technically I don't think my name could even function as an anagram, because when I created it, I selected one word (Thane) from a row from the column on the left, and the other word (Mantis) from a different row on the column on the right. So that means that you would likely never be able to find whatever the original words that gave me this name since their both 1 half of two different anagrams.

    Also, sidenote: I did actually mention the fact my name is sort of an anagram before, though you may not remember it since it was around 2.5 years ago. I explained in my old "Explain your name" thread where we all shared our stories of how our names came to be.
    I mentioned the way my name was created back then, and even linked the original anagram creator that gave me this name.

    I kinda wish I noted down the word/s that gave me this name now. With those, I could go back and put them back into the generator and see what my name could have been had I not chosen this one.
    Yard said:

    Kind of funny how you never expected your profile to have such a strong association with mantises.

    Yeah, it is kinda funny. Like I said, I wasn't paying much attention when I picked out the words. When I think back on it, I could have easily wound up with some gibberish for my name, or at least something that didn't make much sense in a ways.
    Yard said:

    Kind of like me and my pineapples, but that was more my own doing.

    Yes, the infamous fruit wars in the off days of the forums was what led you to your association with Pineapples wasn't it?
    While we're on the topic, how goes the revolution?
    Yard said:

    That lifestraw product is interesting, haven't seen that before. Good way to prevent you getting cholera, especially as our immune systems would probably be worse at fighting antiquated diseases.

    Yeah, it would be. Im definitely tempted to say that, because if my maths is right, it should last me up until I die, hopefully of more natural and less painful causes than what people presumably typically died off in those days.
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  • Axel L
    Axel L
    WC Mod
    Joined Mar 2013 Posts: 10,198
    Yard said:

    If you wanted to mess with future archeologists, you could take something really modern like an iPhone and just bury it. In general I don't think people of the Middle Ages would be that impressed with phones though, so I'm surprised so many people often list it as their first choice (in my experience of people talking about similar topics).

    It would actually be truly interesting if we could bring the modern science to the middle age and then compare it to see how the world would look today.

    My guess would also be that they would think that a iPhone any anything similar would be viewed as something truly impressive. Especially if you could bring enough phones so they could be used for communication.
    Video games don't cause violence, lag does.
  • Yard
    Yard
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Nov 2010 Posts: 11,948

    I'll avoid quoting people until I figure out what causes this bizarre issue.

    I forgot your name explanation, Thane, but as you said, it was so long ago. I guess I must have explained the origins behind my pineapple theme before as well if you remember that, but I don't remember doing it myself lol.

    What would you take back, Axel? You seem to think a phone would impress, but is there anything else?

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  • Thane Mantis
    Thane Mantis
    Strike-force Captain
    Joined Jul 2017 Posts: 653
    Yard said:

    I'll avoid quoting people until I figure out what causes this bizarre issue.

    I already have the answer. Its KIXEYE being rubbish at making things work properly lol.
    Yard said:

    I forgot your name explanation, Thane, but as you said, it was so long ago. I guess I must have explained the origins behind my pineapple theme before as well if you remember that, but I don't remember doing it myself lol.

    Yeah, I believe you did a couple times. Its come up every now and then.
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  • No..Beard
    No..Beard
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Jun 2010 Posts: 3,789
    So conversation has kinda slowed down again around O_T again, so I figured in order to get it going again, I'd go back to nicking fun and interesting questions from the /r/askreddit subreddit.

    Today's question: If you were forced to time travel to the Middle Ages and could bring only ONE contemporary item with you, which one would you pick to max out your odds to live a long and prosperous life? by EPDT.
    Thoughts everyone?
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