105

Back in the day before portable electric lights, carbide lamps were used: A mechanism dripped water onto carbide, which then gave off acetylene gas, which burned in a controlled fashion. This was used for headlights on cars and bicycles and for miners' lamps, even for lighthouse lamps. Hence, this is an obvious answer to your question. Another option is to ...


94

This is a pretty interesting topic, and one of the things that makes special relativity so mind blowing. But the answer is: From your perspective on board the ship, the computer will function just as fast as it would if you were using it on Earth. After all, physics doesn't care about which inertial frame of reference you're in, so it wouldn't make any ...


88

The unicorns are symbiotic with a jumping spider species, residing on the horn. The horn is kept at (or can be quickly charged to) a sufficient high potential, and the jumping spiders can be directed to jump on the target while threading a thin wire of cobweb attached to the horn. As the spider or a group of spiders land on the target the circuit is closed ...


84

Last summer, a lightning bolt struck a tree right outside my apartment building (so close that I hit the floor). As you may be aware, lightning creates a small EMP blast. The power went out momentarily and when it came back on, my desktop PC would not boot and my TV no longer had sound (yes, everything was plugged in to a very nice APC UPS). The PC turned ...


59

The first piece of good news is that witch burning is much more an Early Modern phenomenon than a Medieval phenomenon. The second piece of good news is that you can pass for a very respectable alchemist, especially if you have a white beard and know how to make simple explosives such as nitrocellulose, also known as gun cotton (and as fulmicoton in French, a ...


57

Maybe use - A Galavanic cell , which uses chemicals which are available during medieval times . This electrolytes in this case is zinc sulfate and copper sulfate , but it can be also any other thing which has ions in it like maybe urine . Correct Voltage maybe obtained by trial and error method by varying the concentration of the electrolyte . We ...


57

Shortly said: no. Longer said: The latest What If answered a very similar question to yours, stating that it is not possible, for various reasons: In real life, we can't put a metal pole between the Earth and the Moon. The end of the pole near the Moon would be pulled toward the Moon by the Moon's gravity, and the rest of it would be pulled back down to ...


53

You could emulate Volta's pile if you could find some zinc and copper metal, and some acid, however the purity of such items might be pretty questionable. Which means you might get more voltage than you expected and damage the phone, with no possibility of repair. The cells Volta made produced about 1.1V so 5 of them would be about right (perhaps a bit high)....


49

They would die by violent "nuclear" explosion - that is, explosion into individual nuclei. Electrons are what hold molecules together. If they were to disappear, there would be nothing to prevent the positive charges in the nuclei of the atoms in the person's body from repelling each other and flying off in all directions.


49

The first day your hero rabbits score some terrific wins against their shocked enemy. The next day your rabbits notice a peculiar wire running from the each sword blade of their opponents... running down to a spur on their feet that stab into the ground with every step they take. Your hero rabbits then quickly learn a few new concepts.... such as "...


48

On September 28 2003, Italy experienced a nation wide black out. After three hours, energy was restored in northern regions. Electricity was restored gradually in most places, and in most cities electricity was powered on again during the morning. Energy was restored first in the northern region because there is where hydroelectric plants are located, ...


45

If you want to charge your laptop off of mains power, Edison Illuminating Company will be happy to provide you with 110-volt DC power in 1882, provided you're willing to do your work in Manhattan. If a private power source is acceptable, you can pick up a dynamo in the late 1860s, or look for a factory that will let you tap into theirs. If any commercial ...


41

Reverse the War of the Currents. In the late 19th century, Thomas Edison supported the use of direct current, and his company, Edison General Electric, attempted to use it on a large scale. A major competitor, George Westinghouse, supported the use of alternating current, with his competing company. Both tried to corner the market, but doing so would ...


38

It's not that big a deal I'm not sure how you expect 'relatively cheap and abundant (but not free or limitless) electrical energy' generation to change current society... if the solution you propose is not substantially different from existing solutions. At this point, household units in 10 kW and 25 kW rated sizes are available for approximately the ...


38

The solution is Lasers Simply, much like a Narwhal* the Unicorn can shoot lasers out of it's horn. From there, it's not too much of a stretch to allow for the possibility of an Electric Unicorn to discharge it's built up charge along the laser-induced plasma channel immediately after firing it's horn-laser, in much the same manner as an Electrolaser. *...


38

Steampunk Done Right A lot of steampunk stories focus too heavily on the whole steam part of the deal. You got gears and brass tubes and stuff on everything from chairs to pens to steam powered napkins. I think that this is because creating an easily identifiable genre of aesthetic is easy while creating a compelling world and set of characters is hard. ...


37

Yes and No Would you believe this occurs at a predictable time every day in the UK? During the break at the end of popular soap operas a significant percentage of the population of the UK puts the kettle on. Total load spike on the system can reach 3GW, equivalent to approximately 1.8kW load per household for around 1.75 million kettles at almost exactly ...


36

I'll answer these out of order, since the first is much more difficult to address. Meltdown damage A nuclear meltdown of a reactor on our moon would probably not be very noteworthy. Human workers on the moon would be exposed to radiation from cosmic rays all the time. The usual adverse effects of a nuclear meltdown will be less of a problem there, since ...


35

You've hit on the major drawback with solar (or wind) power today: availability factor. It's difficult to predict when these will be unavailable, so you need a backup strategy. Currently, energy sources like this are supplemented in a few ways: Conventional Generation During peak loads or times when the sun/wind is unavailable, many utilities bring online ...


35

The obvious retro answer would be to use carbide lamps which work by dripping water onto a chamber of calcium carbide producing acetylene as was used on the original versions of the Model T Ford: Copyright Royce CaC2(solid) + 2H2O(liquid) -> C2H2(gas) + Ca(OH)2(aqueous) However, since the Calcium Carbide is made using an electric arc furnace, there may be ...


33

I think the key to answering this question properly is off in OP's comment here to Hanko Tanks' answer, empasis original: I meant the implications, as in the long-term results of no electricity – AMACB 2016-01-21 02:43:43Z Because neural transmission uses electrical impulses, brain activity is based on electrical impulses (compare EEG), and muscle ...


33

Don't try to charge the battery inside the phone. Build a 10 cell lemon battery with copper and lead electrodes, which produces ~4.35V with a maximum current of about 1~5mA. Remove the battery from the phone and connect it to your lemon battery with the correct polarity (copper electrode is positive). At this low current there is no risk of damaging ...


29

Actually, DC is superior to AC in almost every way, there's no loss due to induced currents, no frequency synchronization issues, less wiring, etc. And this is totally not counting the fact that all solid state electronics have to be DC. If we had to re-build the electric grid from scratch(or build one on e.g. Mars), it would definitely be DC. The ONE issue ...


29

Maybe yes and maybe no Old-style analog telephones are powered by the telephone network; old-style urban telephone networks (the so-called POTS, Plain Old Telephone System) generally have a power reserve of 48 or 72 hours. Some (most likely old and formely Soviet) hotels may have their room telephones connected directly to the analog urban telephone ...


27

Approach the speed of light with respect to what? Right now there is an electron flying around in a synchrotron somewhere which is moving at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light with respect to you and your computer: which means that you and your computer are moving with an appreciable fraction of the speed of light with respect to that electron. ...


27

Mid Spring Around late April the last freezes will have passed through the U.S.. It will be possible to remain outdoors with little protection for seven months from this time. Farmers will have already prepared their fields (which would have required the heavy equipment) and planted the first crops of the year. Setting up manual irrigation will not be an ...


26

It looks like your primary problem is measuring voltage accurately which is tricky with only medieval resources at your disposal. The actual construction of an analog voltmeter is actually not too hard, if you have measured components. If you look at the Wikipedia page for Voltmeter you can see that you can make an analog voltmeter by just adding a resistor ...


25

What would have to happen to render all of that inert? Heat death of the universe? Seriously, electricity is just electrons moving along atoms. Preventing that would likely change the chemical properties of... everything. Something as elemental as fire would probably not work right since the oxidation involves sharing of electrons between the oxygen and ...


24

This depends on what else your time traveler is bringing. Solar energy should be pretty reliable in this case. It is highly portable, especially for only 5 volts The Sun is always around (even if hidden by clouds, it is unlikely it will be hidden for three weeks) It is getting cheaper Of course, if you are traveling to the Arctic or somewhere around there ...


24

Normally, swords (I'm assuming including your rabbits' own) are insulated at the grip, so just clashing blades shouldn't harm the other guy. Hacking into flesh is going to be generally pretty devastating, but I guess your Stun Sword 9000 will go ahead and ensure that one flesh blow takes out the opponent. Plus, striking chainmail might be effective since, ...


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