Hot answers tagged

69

ouf, hard one. There are MANY ways to obtain this detail, but all of them require in-depth and specialist knowledge by the traveler. There is a well-established local population, though very sparse by modern standards. Iron age technology. Somewhat warlike, hill-forts with attendant settlements. Language Celtic and Germanic, with some Greek along the coasts. ...


37

Lighthouses don't necessarily mean "stay away". They can also mean "you are here". Your setup is fine if: theres lots of ship traffic within a few kilometers. or theres a hazard within a few kilometers. This could be a reef or sand bar out to sea, or dangerous rocks several kilometers up the beach. There are no other night landmarks ...


28

Here is a nautical chart of a random bit of Scottish coast: You see all of those coloured arcs and circles? Every single one of those is a lighthouse or similar (there's also a bunch of smaller buoys with lights on marked - I make it 45 in total between the two categories). You'll also notice that none of those lighthouses have any wrecks at all marked near ...


28

1 it's hard to learn. 2 it's not worth the effort. Technically anyone can learn programming (which is in many ways to a game world what magic would be to the real world), same applies for playing an instrument and for practicing martial arts. If all of these are technically something everyone can learn, why is it that most people don't know how to code an ...


26

How to tell you're in northern France? You're going to need to explore a bit a spot a landmark that you can recognise. You have no idea when you are so this could be either a town name or some writing style or something visually familiar - otherwise you're waiting for information to come to you (which it never does outside of the movies) or giving up. The ...


25

Los Angeles? Salt Lake City? Or maybe even someone local by 1931. The first neon sign in Las Vegas went up in 1928. http://captainhistory.com/wordpress1/2018/02/25/the-first-neon-signs-in-las-vegas-nevada/ If you want there to be some adventure and finagling involved your characters could go on a road trip to Los Angeles, which would be a good contrast ...


25

Whatever you want Scenario 1: Small rural town continuously occupied by rational authorities, war occurs "today". The town keeps itself together and starts repairing key infrastructure and scavenging from areas that were hit harder. Record-keeping may be a bit spotty for the period immediately after the Big Boom, but in 50 years when they have ...


23

He Doesn't First, our hero is an ordinary 21st century man. Gym rat, has had military and police experience though no stated special survival skills. He is basically fit but has travelled into the deep past without the knowledge to survive the first 48 hours of a plunge into the deep darks of any primeval landscape, chances are good your time traveller will ...


23

In my opinon he shouldn't be able to prove his is in Gaul (not France), but he could be able to determne he was in northwestern continental Eurasia fairly easy, if he meets natives and they don't kill him. The first men he meets would probably be hunters or farmers, and so probably be rather tanned, but he could probably tell that they weren't very dark ...


20

Massive Difference (but not how you would expect it) Forget firepower. The difference is computing power. Code breaking suddenly leaps ahead decades so German codes are virtually worthless. Your codes suddenly go to 256 bit encryption and impossible to break. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The real difference is the technology contained in the ship, ...


20

DARPA They're the guys responsible for making a lot of the cool tech we use today, such as graphical user interfaces, GPS systems, and even the Internet. They might not give all the information to the public, but they would "give away" more technology than most other possible people. In addition, as @SirTain so helpfully pointed out, you won't run ...


20

The People Who Came Up With It: This will be the harder option for distribution, but the fairest and in the long term ,the most effective. For scientific papers, find out the addresses of the authors. For patents, the folks who patented it. For blueprints, the companies that generated them. These will be the organizations that are already working on these ...


19

I suggest reading Isaac Asimov's 1941 novelette "Nightfall". It is very similar to your plot, depending on an eclipse that happens once every 2,000 years causing a global catastrophe. Civilization never lasts more than 2,000 years before collapsing. Each time, the eclipse fades into myth and religious texts before the cycle repeats. The story ...


19

Have Britain lose the Falklands War A crushing military victory for the IRA is all but impossible (barring some catastrophe crippling Britain, which would have to be of a magnitude that its legacy would end up dominating your alternate London far more than that of the Troubles would), but they might be able to pressure the British government to cut its ...


17

If you can manufacture modern semiautomatic pistols, you can also manufacture semiautomatic rifles. Or automatic rifles. Or machine guns. You don't get the ability to make one without the other. For that matter, there are conversion kits to add a stock to a pistol, adding a great deal of accuracy. Handguns are more limited by short sights and the inability ...


15

It's very hard to lose knowledge I'm afraid most of the answers you've been given make some serious assumptions that are, frankly, false. It's very, very hard to lose substantial information — even after a nuclear apocalypse. I apologize that this seems trite: but generally speaking, people aren't stupid. Almost everyone who survived the apocalypse would be ...


15

How do you make a pipe bomb? From the name I'm guessing it involves a pipe and, um, bomb stuff? Honestly I have no idea. Technically, anyone could probably learn. But I have no interest whatsoever in learning how to make a pipe bomb. Why not? I can't imagine why I would want to learn that. Making bombs is really really dangerous. It seems difficult. It's ...


13

As soon as you say desert, the obvious answer is water. In this case: The "river" would be underground, so the staff of 15 maintains access to the water. The value is that without this water stop, the trade route could not cross the desert. The reason it doesn't grow: with more people more food would need to be brought in, making the trade route ...


13

Lighthouses are not cheap, quick, or easy to build or maintain. Because of this they are only likely to be situated where they're going to give the most benefit So what benefit does a lighthouse give? It's a big light, that can be seen at a great distance. You can (and usually do) also have shutters rotating around to make it appear to flash in different ...


12

RMS I know someone answered "GNU" already, but if you have to pick one particular person, there is probably nobody else on the planet as radical about the openness and freedom of information as Richard M. Stallman. He is an undisputed zealot on this topic. ESR Another major openness advocate is Eric S. Raymond, head of the Open Source Initiative. ...


11

The old tales aren't taken seriously because science wasn't and still isn't very advanced in your civilisation. The Greeks kept records but they made little distinction between actuality, heroic tales and the activities of gods. The current scientists might say, "Oh well, something might have happened but maybe a volcano erupted and spread ash across ...


11

For location, you basically need him to get lucky. He happens to arrive somewhere that has a world-famous landmark that existed 2,500 years ago. In France, that probably means either the White Cliffs of Dover or the Lascaux cave (which was buried in recent history until 1940, but might have been more accessible 2,500 years ago) (I hope he has a torch/...


10

Escape execution - yes. Form an independent country - highly unlikely From Nicolas II abdication on 2(15).03.1917 to his execution on 17.07.1918 there were multiple opportunities to spirit the former tsar away from his detention, especially early on. For example, in March-April 1917 there was an active plan to let Nicolas leave for England, however George V, ...


9

It will be claimed by the government for unpaid property taxes Property taxes in Germany are assessed annually (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Germany). Depending on the charity of whoever administers the region, it may be one or a few years - but the property will be eventually seized for unpaid taxes. After that, auction or abandoned The ...


9

Simply buy it. Neon was commercially available, although probably not terribly cheap. Linde Air Products was founded in 1907 and still exists as Praxair. They were the main users of Carl von Linde's patents and processes in the USA, and would have been an important supplier to makers of neon signs. You don't need a great deal of neon for signs, which is ...


9

Pistols generally have an effective range of ~50m against a single target. If your opponent is using shoulder-to-shoulder massed-infantry tactics like was seen in the late 1700s and early 1800s, then your likelihood that you will hit a useful target goes up dramatically at longer ranges. A unit of men all carrying modern semi-autos are going to decimate a ...


9

Solar photovoltaic cells such as you propose, are completely impossible with 19th century infrastructure, even if they have detailed blueprints. You absolutely need ultrapure silicon, and vacuum deposition of other ultrapure chemicals, and sub-sub microscopic connections, and... You might be able to cobble together a mechanism that demonstrates the effect, ...


9

4 Generations (140ish years), if electricity went down. Once the people who were around for the Fall are dead, it's mostly over as far as retaining modern-day information goes. If you blast humans off the Grid, all you've got are books. If it takes 30+ years to get computers back into use, even things like CDs and flash drives that survived the apocalypse ...


8

Setting the story in Germany after WWII gives you the opportunity to really complicate property claims. To prevent the government from seizing the house for unpaid property taxes, have it adjacent or on (legal interpretations differ and could keep lawyers busy) a former military base that was expanded in the 1933-1945 era (restitution claims are mired in ...


8

It would be decisive in any (non-landlocked) war prior to 1860/1870 (and quite a few after that). 1859 is when ironclads were first used, and they became all-steel from about 1870. Even with the modern armaments of your patrol boat, I expect a group of them would pose a significant-enough challenge to reduce the impact of its existence. It would still ...


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