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Old 06-12-2017, 10:00 AM  
Rain Man Rain Man is offline
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Hypothetical: Get your time travel assignment here.

Here's the situation: you show up for work on Monday morning, and as you're drinking your initial cup of coffee or Dr. Pepper, an e-mail arrives from your CEO with one of those red exclamation points on it. You open it up.

In a surprise move, your company is moving all operations to the Central African Republic. You can relocate there at a wage of 50 cents per day, plus the company will cover the cost of your first 100 rounds of self-protection ammo, or you can get laid off. You take the second option.

You start browsing through the job ads and come across this one:

Local community college seeks documenting historian. Must be open to new cultures, foods, and experiences.

You answer the ad and you get an interview immediately once they see your resume line item about proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite. You go to the interview and they ask questions about how much you need coffee and electricity and indoor plumbing. They seem satisfied with your answers.

A few days later, you get the nice e-mail that you’ve been accepted into the Twin Pines Community College Time Travel Project as a documenting historian. As it turns out, one of the dental technician students wired some machinery together oddly and created a time machine, so now Twin Pines is the world leader in time travel.

Your assignment will be to go back into the past, live for a year, and document what you see. You can pick your landing location anywhere on the earth. The only challenge is that the time machine picks a random year and no one can control it. You’ll arrive on January 1st according to the Gregorian calendar and depart on December 31st, but no one will know what year until you arrive. The machine overweights more recent years, so the odds are 50 percent that you’ll be more recent than the year 700 AD, and 80 percent that you’ll be more recent than 1,100 BC, but conceivably you could go all the way back to the earth’s beginning.

If you accept the job I’ll randomly assign you a year, and you’ll have to report back on where you would go and what you would try to document. Assume that you will be equipped with a translation device and that you will not change history if you interact with it. Any people or creatures will merely see you as an oddity and minor annoyance, kind of like Michael Strahan on TV shows.

Who wishes to enter the Twin Pines time machine? Volunteer in the thread and I’ll assign you a year.
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:13 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
My assignment is 496 AD.

I initially considered going to North Africa to observe the transition from Gunthamund to his brother Thrasamund in the Vandal Kingdom, but who wants to spend a year in North Africa.

Instead, I'll go to Italy and see how things are going for Theodoric the Great a few years after he unified the place and took charge over the Romans and the Goths who lived there.
Good choice. That would have been an interesting time period as the post-Roman era shook out.

You should mind your manners at dinner, apparently.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theoderic_the_Great

In 488, Emperor Zeno ordered Theoderic to overthrow the German Foederatus Odoacer, who had likewise been made patrician and even King of Italy, but who had since betrayed Zeno, supporting the rebellious Leontius. After a victorious three-year war, Theoderic killed Odoacer with his own hands while they shared a meal, settled his 200,000 to 250,000 people in Italy, and founded an Ostrogothic Kingdom based in Ravenna.[4]
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:17 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Wow, this time machine sucked. 18,000 BC is 20,000 years ago.

So, first off, I've been sent off to an ice age. You want climate change baby, I've got it in spades.

This period of time, referred to by geologists as the Quarternary Glaciation, was an ice age lasting from about 110,000 to 12,000 years ago. In fact, about 20,000 years ago is precisely when (give or take a few hundred years) scientists have put for the "Last Glacial Maximum"). For where I will go -- I will choose an equatorial location because much of the northern hemisphere is covered in ice for long periods. It is estimated that in the winter, the ocean would be iced to south of Los Angeles on the West Coast, and to the Carolinas on the East Coast. (image below). Because so much water is locked up in ice (mainly in North America, Europe and Asia), sea levels are much lower -- like an estimated 280 feet lower. Rainfall is also scarcer, and desert areas much larger.

Average temperatures worldwide are an estimated 10 degrees cooler Celsius. Which is, errr, more in Fahrenheit.

Homo sapiens do exist, having evolved approximately 200,000 years ago. Neanderthals also exist, of course, durign this timeframe. They live primarily in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, but only the southern regions of Europe and Asia being habitable.

We are in the stone age. People can make tools and weapons out of stone, bone, animal hide and plant fiber. Fire does exist, but the locals dont' seem able to make pots out of clay or otherwise use the fire to heat and shape other materials.

Writing is not yet invented. While people shape objects using knives, and write pictures on the cave walls, there isn't much else going on. It's pure subsistence living here folks.

There is also "megafauna" at this point in time. Very large versions of certain animals we know now were still alive, up until about 10,000 BC. Megafauna include things like Glyptodon, a 1 **TON** version of an armadillo, mammoths and mastadons, the "short faced bear", which when on all fours would look a man in teh eye, and when "standing" could reach up to 12 feet tall, and weighed a ton, as well as giant beavers, camels, sloths, and an assortment of other animals.

I come back as soon as possible from this frigid, awful, internet=free existence seeking a refund....or another trip to someplace "sooner."



I really hope you go to wherever glyptodons were most common.

I wonder when spoken language developed. If they were drawing pictures, you figure they were communicating with each other. I bet they've got some cool stories for you.
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:18 PM   #123
FlintHillsChiefs FlintHillsChiefs is offline
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I did some google-fu on why the gap between the invention of the saddle and the stirrup was so long.

Here is the answer I found from r/askhistorians -

You need a certain saddle design to make a stirrup work. It needs to have a tree (a firm wooden frame like this) for the stirrups to anchor to, otherwise every time you put weight in one stirrup, the saddle will slip like this. The lack of a tree also creates abnormal pressure points on the horse's back, which will be greatly worsened by the stirrups. That will cause the horse back pain, which leads to an ornery horse that's apt to buck you off (or worse, become crippled).
Most early saddles served only to make riding more comfortable for the rider, so they were treeless. The first saddles to have trees were the Roman saddles that Agrippa911 linked to (those saddles could easily have stirrups attached; it wasn't too long after the invention of those saddles that stirrups came into use).
I should note that nowadays we have treeless saddles that do not cause pressure points on the horse's back and and can have stirrups attached, but they were developed very carefully by vets to avoid putting too much pressure on any one point in the horse's back. They also use elastic to create a tighter girth, preventing saddle slippage.

Picture of a saddle tree:
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:37 PM   #124
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:42 PM   #125
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I'm in.. I hope the Flux Capacitor doesn't break...
I'm showing your landing spot as 85 BC. Rome really seems to dominate the news in this period.
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:43 PM   #126
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:46 PM   #127
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:54 PM   #128
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I ran it for myself and I'll be doing a lot of camping. I got 32832 BC.

Hmm.

At some point in this time someone will actually make art depicting a human for the first time, so that's cool. And while we don't yet have domesticated dogs, the concept may be fermenting in the minds of my peers. For the most part, though, my tribe and I are ruggedly independent. We may or may not have invented musical instruments at this point, so none of these people have heard any Springsteen songs.

Like amnorix, I'm living in the ice age, but I'm in the earlier part of it. Maybe not the peak of the ice age, but we weren't really expecting it so it was hard in that sense.

Cold or not, I might check out these people in northwest Europe. It sounds like they must've had some serious game with the ladies: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...years-ago.html
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #129
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251 AD. I don't think we have that century covered yet, so I look forward to what you find. I know nothing about it.

Uh-oh. Stay out of crowded places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Cyprian
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:58 PM   #130
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I'm in. Beam me up, Scotty.
2015 AD. Your Super Bowl sucked, but that's not a mystery. Let me know where you decide to go and study in this interesting era.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:35 PM   #131
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361 AD. I don't think they had cars then, but you've got some good civilization options to choose from.
Very tempting to go to either of the big empire centers, Rome or Constantinople for some very timely power changeovers, but I think I am going to take a big risk.

I choose Hawaii. The first Hawaiians arrived near that time and lived without politics or defined society for a few years as settlement continued and before the Tahitians showed up in full force and instituted hierarchies and a caste system. The risk is that no one knows exactly when they arrived so I might land on a deserted island, but I hardly think I couldn't enjoy a year marooned there, eating fish and fruit only as the mammals came with the settlers.

I would love to see a settlement free of an establishment. They surely brought customs with them and the initial groups made the voyage together so probably had some inherent leadership but as more settlers arrived, how that translated into a society would be interesting and has not been documented at all.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:06 PM   #132
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Very tempting to go to either of the big empire centers, Rome or Constantinople for some very timely power changeovers, but I think I am going to take a big risk.

I choose Hawaii. The first Hawaiians arrived near that time and lived without politics or defined society for a few years as settlement continued and before the Tahitians showed up in full force and instituted hierarchies and a caste system. The risk is that no one knows exactly when they arrived so I might land on a deserted island, but I hardly think I couldn't enjoy a year marooned there, eating fish and fruit only as the mammals came with the settlers.

I would love to see a settlement free of an establishment. They surely brought customs with them and the initial groups made the voyage together so probably had some inherent leadership but as more settlers arrived, how that translated into a society would be interesting and has not been documented at all.
Interesting choice. Pre-settlement Hawaii would probably be of interest even if you beat the Hawaiians there.

I just looked up Easter Island, and that was right about the time that Polynesians reached that place. They weren't building moai yet, so we wouldn't learn the most interesting stuff about them. But that would be a great place to go back and learn their written language and other stuff. There's all sorts of interesting stuff about this place: http://www.history.com/topics/easter-island
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:18 PM   #133
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:23 PM   #134
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I'm late to the party, but I'm in!!
You get the year 1826, which was a happening year. I hope you'll take a couple of days out to visit Jefferson and Adams before they pass away. It would be nice to hear what they think about the 50th anniversary of the revolution.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:25 PM   #135
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After thinking about it, for my assignment of 691 B.C., I will travel to the heart of Mayan Civilization, which was at the height of its power. With my white skin, I will be worshipped as a God. Perhaps Kukulcan, who the Mayan's described as having white skin (check), blue eyes (check) and white hair (nope, but I could dye it I guess) in his human form.

My mission while I'm with the Mayans is to preserve as many of the Mayan Codices as I can. When the Spanish arrived in the early 1500s they burned almost all of the Mayan Codices, as well as Aztec and Olmec writings, which represents a huge blow to our understanding of the Meso-American cultures today.
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