Author Topic: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People  (Read 303979 times)

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MerryCat

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2460 on: February 24, 2014, 02:05:53 PM »
No, they didn't often have cancer -- most cancers generally take time to develop, and they didn't live long enough for one to take hold.  If you lived long enough to see your grandchildren (at the ripe old age of 25-30) that was wondrous. 
Just wanted to point out this is a common misconception. When you look at modern day uncontacted isolated tribes (from the Amazon or Papua New Guinea) who have nothing to do with outsiders, and no contact with modern medicine or civilization the average life spans are only about 10 years less than our modern day life spans. They live very long lives and our ancestors did too. The assumption that average life span was only 30 was due to the high infant mortality skewing the average life span with a slew of early deaths. But once you make it past the first 5 years you would have a very good chance of living a fairly long life (on average).

http://ryan-koch.blogspot.com/2009/05/reality-of-primitive-peoples-lifespan.html

The average modal age of adult death for hunter-gatherers is 72 with a range of 68-78 years. This range appears to be the closest functional equivelent of an "adaptive" human lifespan.

Hunter-gatherers who survive infancy do seem to mostly live fairly long lives. But that doesn't generalize to pre-modern agricultural societies: agriculture led to significant population growth, at the expense of individual lifespan. One reason for that is that larger and more settled populations are more vulnerable to disease outbreaks; another is that the settled agriculturalists are committed to staying put in ways that wandering groups of hunter-gatherers aren't. In a drought, it's valuable to be able to walk away and find someplace where it has rained, or go down to the coast and gather clams even if it's not your usual time of year to do that.

Additionally, women in hunter-gatherer societies don't seem to have as many children as those in early agricultural societies, meaning fewer deaths to childbirth.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2461 on: February 24, 2014, 02:44:25 PM »
We didn't start getting a lot of diseases until we became agriculturalists and lived closer to animals.

ladyknight1

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2462 on: February 24, 2014, 02:52:49 PM »
It isn't the animals, it's each other with inadequate sanitation.

Lynn2000

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2463 on: February 24, 2014, 06:03:45 PM »
Kind of on the doomsday-prepper track, remember all the Y2K hysteria when we were approaching the end of 1999? My grandma got really nervous about it and filled her bathtub up with water on New Year's Eve 1999. We all thought that was kind of silly, but hey, lots of other people were doing the same thing, and it made her feel better.

On the subject of bringing things through time to make money, I can't believe no one has mentioned Biff's sports almanac in Back to the Future, Part II! A classic example of a case where the plan succeeded, but changed the world for the worse.
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Tea Drinker

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2464 on: February 24, 2014, 06:55:41 PM »
But I bet you could bring, say, metal tools or other metal or glassworks from today back into the past, and the craftsmanship (done by machine) would be advanced enough for them to be worth something.

I'd consider bringing furniture or other "antiques" from the past when I went to the future.  :)  If in nice condition, they could be worth a lot.

There's a book in which a time traveler, on deciding he is going to stay a thousand years in the past, takes all of his (not very much) money, and spends every penny on good steel needles and bright-colored embroidery floss. Nobody at the other end cares about how it was made: the needles and thread are valuable, in a culture that makes and embroiders cloth, but without modern or near-modern  metal-working or bright, color-fast dyes.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

VorFemme

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2465 on: February 24, 2014, 07:18:57 PM »
I remember an alternate worlds book where the heroine is kidnapped as a bride for a "lord" who has to have a blonde wife to give him blond heirs.  The kidnapper also ends up selling the lord a treadle sewing machine and brings needles by on a regular basis - at a HUGE price.

The lord's mother(?) finds that only the heroine can work the machine without breaking the needles (doesn't like it but those danged things are impossible to make or repair in a pre-Industrial Revolution world and seriously expensive).  The machine is NOT used for utilitarian clothing but to make fancy things for the chapel and clothes for the lord and his family.  Including the future babies that they are planning on the kidnapped "bride" to provide...

Unfortunately, I have no clear memory of how it ended - I might have read a sample and been unable to find the book or I read a novella excerpted from the book and didn't find it compelling enough to go looking for the full book.  I do remember her thinking to herself that she was going to go insane spending all her time in a sewing room while the clothing for the estate was spun, woven, cut, sewn, and embroidered while the priest read the Bible (in Latin) to everyone.  She spoke mostly English and some Spanish.  The alternate universe spoke mostly Spanish (nobility), with Church Latin for some, and the local Indian tongues (Southwestern USA in our universe) and a lingua fraca mixing them - which she was having trouble learning without BOOKS to study.

++++++++++++++++


Not time travel - but a fantasy - gems & gold were a way to transport wealth.  But medicines and dye plants were a way to trade lightweight but valuable items without risking getting killed quite so often - as using the wrong ingredients would NOT get the desired results.  Some dyes (Tyrian Purple) were worth their weight in silver or even gold as dried material even in our universe.  Some especially favored colors might trade for more - and if you didn't know how to get the color right (water soluble?  alcohol soluble?  dry in sunlight?  dry in the dark to avoid a color change?  dye, dry, and then dip in another chemical to set the dye or change colors?  You needed the trader or someone who knew what the dye was, the color it would produce, and how to get it to work properly or it was so much colored paste....or powder...or dried plant material with unknown properties. 

Medicines even MORE SO.

Spices?  That was what was driving the voyages of Columbus - a handful of peppercorns would buy a French serf's freedom at one point and spices were kept under lock & key - just like the silver plates & tableware, the vessels for the altar, or the lace & jewels of the rich.

Lace - thread might be relatively cheap - lace was fantastically expensive in terms of how long it took to make - and lace was another thing that would be relatively lightweight but valuable for the time traveler. 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 07:25:41 PM by VorFemme »
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Elfmama

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2466 on: February 24, 2014, 07:54:09 PM »
Spices?  That was what was driving the voyages of Columbus - a handful of peppercorns would buy a French serf's freedom at one point and spices were kept under lock & key - just like the silver plates & tableware, the vessels for the altar, or the lace & jewels of the rich.
Spices were quite literally worth their weight in gold.  Want an ounce of cinnamon?  Give the spice merchant an ounce of gold.   And THAT, children, is why medieval recipes frequently use so many different spices in combinations that seem odd to most modern palates.  NOT to cover up the taste of spoiled meat, but as conspicuous consumption.  I am the Duke of Whosis -- *I* can afford cinnamon AND nutmeg AND ginger AND pepper in this one dish!   
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Seraphia

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2467 on: February 24, 2014, 07:59:13 PM »
Kind of on the doomsday-prepper track, remember all the Y2K hysteria when we were approaching the end of 1999? My grandma got really nervous about it and filled her bathtub up with water on New Year's Eve 1999. We all thought that was kind of silly, but hey, lots of other people were doing the same thing, and it made her feel better.

On the subject of bringing things through time to make money, I can't believe no one has mentioned Biff's sports almanac in Back to the Future, Part II! A classic example of a case where the plan succeeded, but changed the world for the worse.

I remember my dad first telling us about Y2K in a "Heh, those poor accountants whose software won't work after 1999," way, since he worked on video game chips that sometimes had the same two-digit issue.

When it grew into a giant hoopla where our toasters were going to rise up and attack us, I was bewildered, because I couldn't parse how accounting software had made it into appliances in the first place.
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Morrigan

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2468 on: February 24, 2014, 09:30:40 PM »
But I bet you could bring, say, metal tools or other metal or glassworks from today back into the past, and the craftsmanship (done by machine) would be advanced enough for them to be worth something.

I'd consider bringing furniture or other "antiques" from the past when I went to the future.  :)  If in nice condition, they could be worth a lot.

There's a book in which a time traveler, on deciding he is going to stay a thousand years in the past, takes all of his (not very much) money, and spends every penny on good steel needles and bright-colored embroidery floss. Nobody at the other end cares about how it was made: the needles and thread are valuable, in a culture that makes and embroiders cloth, but without modern or near-modern  metal-working or bright, color-fast dyes.

The Leo Frankowski time traveler book I mentioned previously does something like this - only with seeds.  Modern seeds (vegetable, flowers, fruit etc - hundreds of types/varieties) back to 14th century Poland.

PastryGoddess

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2469 on: February 24, 2014, 10:58:52 PM »
Can the time travel books and stories move to a new thread please?

nutraxfornerves

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2470 on: February 25, 2014, 12:43:58 PM »
From Not Always Right. Would-be pilot misunderstands membership in the Mile High Club.

http://notalwaysworking.com/thinker-failer-soldier-fly/33971

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Paper Roses

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2471 on: February 25, 2014, 10:46:56 PM »
A friend of mine was driving to my house.  She had been several times before, but she's, well, directionally-challenged, I guess.  She seriously gets lost constantly, even with the best of directions.  Anyway, she eventually made it, but told me when she arrived that she thought the house was on the other side of the street, and had driven up and down the street several times looking for it.  I asked her, "You know what number we are, right?"  She said she did.  So I said, "And you still looked on the other side, even after seeing that they were all even numbers?"

She had no idea that house numbers generally go even on one side of the street, odd on the other.
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MariaE

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2472 on: February 26, 2014, 12:50:17 AM »
She had no idea that house numbers generally go even on one side of the street, odd on the other.

Depending on where you live, they don't always. I've seen streets where they go (to take an example) from 1-50 on one side and then from 51-100 back down the other side.

It's very rare, mind you, at least in all countries I've ever visited, so it's safe to assume it's even on one side and odd on the other, but there are exceptions.
 
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Margo

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2473 on: February 26, 2014, 04:22:39 AM »
I live in a street which is one of those exceptions - they go up one side and down the other. It does confuse people, as odd numbers on one side and even on the other is more common here. I had a delivery man who was absolutely adamant that my neighbour's grocery delivery was for me, even after I showed him the number on my doorframe... (although that may have been more that he didn't want to carry the crates next door!)

Carotte

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Re: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People
« Reply #2474 on: February 26, 2014, 04:46:25 AM »
I only just recently found out how they decided, in Paris, how to number the buildings. It's one side even, the other odd, both going in the same direction (with the possible exception of a few streets maybe) but the question was, how do they decide where to start?
The N1 will be on the left side of the street end the closest to the Seine (the river that goes through the middle of the city). So the further you go from the river, the further the numbers go.
If the street is parallel to the river then they went with the closer to the source of the Seine.
I don't know how they dealt with streets close to the river bends, but at least now if I have a map or a basic understanding of where I am I can guess how the numbers goes. Sometimes just finding the dang street name is not easy  ::).
There might be a similar set up in other cities, like maybe from the X monument instead of a river, or from north and east to south/west...