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  #21  
Old June 21st, 2018, 06:38 PM
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1895 saw electric cars, and the Greek scientist who invented the ball on a hollow rod that spun by steam.

The antikythera mechanism would have been good to, if it had been produced in higher numbers. It might have been, but just one copy has been found.
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Old June 21st, 2018, 08:02 PM
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[QUOTEThe antikythera mechanism would have been good to, if it had been produced in higher numbers. It might have been, but just one copy has been found.[/QUOTE]

Do we know what it actually did?
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Old June 21st, 2018, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrel View Post
[QUOTEThe antikythera mechanism would have been good to, if it had been produced in higher numbers. It might have been, but just one copy has been found.
Do we know what it actually did?[/QUOTE]

There are at least two claims. One is it predicted planet movement, eclipses, things like that.

The other claim is its for astrology.

When x-ray equipment became available, the different encrusted gears were x-rayed and a drawing made of the gears. With the same metals and tools of the time.

Several scientists have tried to make something with those gears. The two ideas above is what they came up with. There might be others as I last read about it around 10 or so years ago.

There was an engineer in England who would make the first one, $4,000, shipping cost not included. I don't know if he is still doing so.

It was originally claimed to be a hoax, but several model workers, who investigate ancient machines from China and Europe, found they could make metal gears of the same type and details.

edit 2: The model makers used the same tools and metals. They came up with the same level of gearing. Same number of teeth on the same size plate of metal. ( I thought I had typed in the edit2 stuff earleir.)
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  #24  
Old June 22nd, 2018, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobby-w View Post
Plenty of other technologies could have been invented much earlier than they really were. For example, pretty much all of the tech available to wet etch integrated circuits was available by the turn of the 20th century. In other circumstances we could have seen a recognisable personable computer on the market by 1900-1920.
I very much doubt it. We may have had the bits that go into wet etching but there was one critical detail missing at the turn of the twentieth century - atomic theory. Many scientists still did not believe atomic theory (and note the proton had not been discovered yet) and there was no understanding of the quantum effects that make microprocessors work. It would require 1905 and Einstein's Annus Mirabilis for the paradigm shift.
It would be like building a radio transmitter/receiver in 1800 without first knowing radio waves even exist.

Hindsight only works to a point - for centuries we worked metals without knowing a thing about what was happening to the atoms within the metals. Now we understand it we can do stuff with metals and alloys that would appear as magic.

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Electric cars have been a technical possibility since the first half of the 20th century, but economics were never in favour of the tech. If it weren't for the cold war we might never have developed rockets large enough to lift a satellite into orbit.
Very little of the technology we have today is anything more than a refinement and miniaturisation of stuff that we have understood for decades. These improvements have been driven by investment and free market economics.

New potential breakthroughs such as mass production and application of graphene, a working city scale fusion reactor, single stage to orbit space interface are all still a way off.

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The old chestnut of the Romans developing steam engines was a possibility but it never happened. They could also potentially have developed gunpowder, industrial chemistry, sailing craft capable of crossing the Atlantic, or a wide variety of other technologies. There were similar golden ages in China, the Caliphates and various other regions.
As I said upthread - the Romans could not scale up their toy to make a useful engine in any case. The stagnation of China scientifically and technologically is an interesting journey into the history and philosophy of science.
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Old June 22nd, 2018, 07:19 PM
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Mike makes an excellent point, but...

Many processes were used but understood only as magic.

Like the Damascus Tempering. It works really well, and better on forge-laminates of iron and steel... But it was only understood in the 1970's... More than 500 years of ritualistic use, then a hundred and fifty of dismissive disapproval, then a realization of what was happening. Now, you can find a more efficient algorithm online which includes optimal alloy sets.
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  #26  
Old June 23rd, 2018, 06:05 AM
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I think what we are discussing is the difference between science and technology. the two are often treated as interchangeable, but they are not quite the same thing, as things like Damascus steel demonstrate.

it is quite possible for a civilisation to utilise technology based on science you don't understand (for example, magnetic compasses, or Damascus steel), and the reverse is also true to a degree (for example, Binary maths was a thing long before computing systems gave it a real world application)


a Lower tech world that was in contact with the interstellar community would have access to very advanced science, but would lack the ability to create devices that can utilise that scientific knowledge. For example, Having a complete understanding of the forces driving the weather is one thing, but being able to collect, collate, interpret and extrapolate weather information into a accurate forecast requires a great deal of infrastructure, and serious computing power, and may would be beyond a world at a pre-stellar tech level.


to use a pair of quotes form one of the greatest Sci Fi strategy games ever made:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, form Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri
Technological advance is an inherently iterative process. One does not simply take sand from the beach and produce a Dataprobe. We use crude tools to fashion better tools, and then our better tools to fashion more precise tools, and so on. Each minor refinement is a step in the process, and all of the steps must be taken.

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Originally Posted by "Col. Corazon Santiago, from [I
Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri[/I]" ]I have often been asked: if we have traveled between the stars, why can we not launch the simplest of orbital probes? These fools fail to understand the difficulty of finding the appropriate materials on this Planet, of developing adequate power supplies, and creating the infrastructure necessary to support such an effort. In short, we have struggled under the limitations of a colonial society on a virgin planet. Until now.
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Old June 23rd, 2018, 09:46 AM
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In any event, were I to depart from CT or other versions' TL progression, I would do it for setting reasons for effect/flavor/unusual situations I want to create, invent reasons why things went that way, and make it internally consistent.


So many of our rules are not simulations but gameplay design effect choices. It's best to keep that in mind with our tinkering.
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