Here’s a hypothetical situation; you’re sucked into a worm hole and transported back to the year 1300 A.D. in Medieval Europe. You didn’t bring back your cell phone, or laptop, or any “more recent” invention. What advantages would you have over society at that time? Would you be able to survive, and would you be able to influence the course of history?
More importantly, could you build anything [from scratch] that hadn’t been invented at the time?
I was thinking about this and it occurred to me that there’s very little I’d be able to do. I’m pretty sure, given enough time, I could generate electricity using magnetite or lodestone as magnets, and a coil of copper wire made from copper ore. This would be something that hadn’t been seen before, but perhaps wouldn’t be useful unless I could harness it for something, perhaps light or heat. Making a light bulb might be possible given enough time, though it took Thomas Edison quite a while to make one that lasted. I’m not sure if I could do it.
How about a steam engine? It’s a simple concept, but manufacturing the parts might take quite a bit of effort. Provided you got the electrical current thing going, creating an electric motor might be the next logical step since it’s basically the opposite of an electric generator. However, for this to be useful to anyone you’d want a way to store energy when you can’t generate it directly. Creating a “wet cell” battery might be fairly easy. What could you build to harness large amounts of current, such as a windmill or water turbine?
What else would be practical?
Mike – Web Dev Guy/Modern Technology Specialist