What would be the hardest invention to explain to someone from the 1700's to the 1800's?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by LogicfromLogic, Feb 20, 2015.

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  1. we have many, many inventions now (obviously), things (obviously) they didn't have in 1700 or the 1800's. Which leads me to wonder; how would they react to some of out inventions now? Like the fridge. How would you tell someone from say 1788 that a fridge kept food cold and good, or a microwave cooked them with just the press of a button?

    Or the bus systems. Just anything technology based.

    What would you love to see a reaction to from someone from 1700 or 1800?
  2. I personally would love to see how they reacted to having a Skype call with family half a world away, like a North American colonist or soldier who still had family back in England or France.
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  3. I'm gonna give the boring answer and say things like the LHC. The thermodynamics of a fridge are easily simplified. You can't really simplify the cray-cray levels of physics and engineering involved in a huge, complicated piece of kit like the LHC. Hell, you'd be hard pressed to explain even why it was built, whereas the purpose behind things like a fridge or Skype are obvious.

    In terms of just witnessing reactions, though, I'd agree with @Dervish. I'd also love to see their reaction to flight - the concept that you can travel anywhere on the globe in a day. That's mind-boggling.

    EDIT: And if we count inventions and developments that aren't just technological in nature, our current political system would be extremely alien to someone from that long ago. Explaining that and seeing how they reacted would be really interesting.

    EDIT2: Holy shit, how did I not think of medical inventions? Like, antibiotics. The concept of germs and infection. Anaesthetic. Surgery. And just for laughs, try to explain cosmetic plastic surgery and watch their disbelief.
    #3 Halo, Feb 20, 2015
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  4. Psychology.
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  5. Widespread obesity in all socioeconomic classes.
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  6. I figure the internet would be extremely hard to explain and would shock the crap out of anyone from 200+ years ago. Even if you discounted the sound and image and video things that are done, if you just focused on the text aspect, it would make them lose their freaking minds. The ability to send messages across the world almost instantly would seem outrageous to people who knew it usually took months if you wanted to send a letter from Europe to the Americas or vice versa.
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  7. I would rather think trying to explain the "upgrades" we see over the years from tech these days. Trying to explain to some of these people the difference between the last two Iphone generations.

    Or hell, even the difference between mp3 and CD players, or VHS and DVD, forget even trying blu-ray and HD TVs.
  8. Quantum-Physics and Meta-science.

    Most people NOWADAYS have problems getting that shit explained to them.
  9. Problem with something like the LHC is unless you understand what it's doing, it's just a massive underground hollahoop that unless you can read the instruments and make sense of it, it would be like somebody handing you the Voynich manuscript. You need a rudimentary understanding of something to appreciate the more complex points. A lot of stuff we learn as common place now was either non-existent 200-300 years ago or heretical. Try explaining an internal combustion engine and how it makes vehicles move to a Pict farmer and you see the problem.

    Even now, I'm sure if someone who was as astronomer got excited about a discovery and showed you two near identical star maps and how the barely shifted star you can only see with a magnifying glass after he points it out is potentially similar to Earth in atmospheric composition because the data in the attached document shows its visible light spectrum has a predominantly nitrogen signature, you might hear what he's saying and understand the implications because you have a scientific education, but unless you studied that field and made the observances yourself, you probably would have a hell of a time trying to make heads or tails of it. Now try to explain theoretical physics to someone from a time not far removed from when it was accepted that the universe orbited the Earth.
  10. Automobiles.

    Because now you suddenly have a reasonably-sized object that, because of magic, possesses the physical power of hundreds of horses---and in the unique case of more powerful land vehicles, thousands.
  11. "In my time. There are about a dozen people from different nations floating in a giant can moving thousands of miles an hour far over our heads. School children send them things to do."
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  12. Come to think of it, I would want to set up a LAN Party with an assortment of games with some 1700s people and start a Youtube Channel called "Colonials React".
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  13. Napoleon reacts to Europa universalis
  14. Or if there's any historical figure period, show them how they're portrayed in the media. Napoleon would be pissed; he wasn't a small man, yet the whole small man complex is named after him.
  15. A particle accelerator.
  16. Tickle Me Elmo...XD
  17. Racial semi-equality.
  18. Selfie sticks.
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  19. Well, here's a few good ones. Make up your own mind which one would fuck with their heads the hardest.
    • That 95%+ of the population can read, irrespective of social class.
    • That we have publicly owned and maintained libraries, parks, health care (if you aren't American), asphalt roadways, welfare programs, and so on, across entire countries.
    • That we can fly anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours for around 600 dollars.
    • That we can fucking fly in giant metal birds.
    • That constitutions and bills of rights are considered sacrosanct in every first world country in the world. That we even thought to depose of the divine right to rule might be maddening to some.
    • That there are first world, second world, and third world countries.
    • That racism and sexism has been largely eliminated in the first world, and that women and blacks are on legally equal footing to their white counterparts. Because laws.
    • That there are over seven billion people across the planet. And that we produce so much food that we could feed them all five times over... And then don't.
    • That crimes committed nearly anywhere are known about, even if the criminal is never caught, to the point that we can make accurate statistics estimating crime activity in any given area, at any given time, for full public disclosure.
    • Public transportation.
    • Plastic. Seriously, the 1700's and 1800's didn't have plastic. Imagine the looks on their faces when you tell them that we invented physical material with which to construct things at a molecular level.
    • Instantaneous communication in multiple forms.
    • The Internet.
    • The cellular phone.
    • That people who live in poverty now are still generally better off than the 1700's middle class.
    • That something as innocuous as political correctness can ruin political careers.
    • That slavery is illegal, in every country in the world.
    • That I can order nearly any product I desire, and have it at my doorstep in less than week if I pay enough money.

    Let it never be said that we haven't made progress. We've made great leaps and strides. We just tend to be a species foolish enough to make them only after blood is spilled and voices are heard. :ferret:
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  20. To program the VCR to record your favorite show at the right time. I still have NEVER figured it out.
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