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The Otherworld Project • View topic - The appliance of science

The appliance of science

Collaborative development of aspects of world, continental and regional history.
 
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The appliance of science

Postby Michael-on-Ryde » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:37 pm

I've been mildly irritated during my developmental work that I may not have a clear notion of how science has progressed on Arden, which suggests that some of the ideas I've been working with may not fit properly.

It appears fairly well established that Joriscia took a strong lead, at least in theoretical science and probably on a practical level, from what seems like the late 18th/early 19th century onward - and possibly earlier - given Vaestic pursuit of Knowledge (broadly interpreted) as a religious imperative. The Messenians have been obliged to either play catch-up or come up with their own methods of doing things, which has been done successfully enough that the technological gap now looks fairly minimal. Fair enough; this I can deal with (Helminthasse is supposed to be a bit rustic).

On the other hand, a broad-brush approach may fall down in particulars. To pull some Helmin guesstimates from my own notes: railways - beginning on a commercial basis from the early 1840s, a few years after the Siursk; television - technically feasible from the early 1930s, but not exploited during the Long War period for lack of funding, and becoming commercially viable only in the late 1950s/early 1960s; chemotherapy - not made practical until the mid-1970s, given that non-military uses of radioactive materials may not have arisen until some time after the end of the Long War. I actually have a reference in a draft piece somewhere to the use of forensic entomology in detective work (not used outside Joriscia until 1872). And that's not including things like the whole discussion we had about computing last year.

I suppose what I'm considering is whether there is any virtue in having some kind of OOG reference point as to when particular innovations arose. I'm not suggesting that we merely ape Earth's tech development - that idea's already been thrown aside, and I'd agree that it hampers creative thought (I've actually drafted some material on the development of steam-powered vehicles going even into the early 1920s, on the basis that it takes longer for the internal combustion engine to be made cheaply and reliably on Arden. But that will be mainly a Siursk thing at first) - but put the proposal forward for the sake of consistency. I'm quite happy to collate suggestions if there's a need.

Any thoughts are very welcome...

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Re: The appliance of science

Postby Sébastien » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:08 pm

It is correct that Outer Joriscia took the leadership in terms of technology. This happened because of its "equivalent" of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Prior to that, the two coasts were relatively equal (better in some areas, worst in others). Messenia played catch-up in the 19th and 20th century so the gap today is minimal, at least for some of the most advanced nations. Not all Messenian nations need to be on the same technological level. Savam is only, on average, a few years behind the Joriscian but that's because it's certainly the most powerful (colonies not counted for) Messenian GP!

If you look into Savam's history (now complete!), railway is only introduced there in the 1860s. It is possible that they are not the first to do so, if SK/Helmin have it in the 40s (although to be honest, that might be a bit early, though a maritime powers, you can argue that they copied Joriscian technology earlier...). Savam really introduces major technological innovations in the 50s and 60s. This is why I stated that the Embute war in the 1890s is fougth at a US Civil War technological level. I don't see a problem with the other technologies you mention. The steam-car thing is interesting, although I don't think we should make the internal combustion engine harder to come by on Arden. Rather, you can argue about cultural preference (it happens...) and the possibility that because Messenia is later, there's not much oil available there until later, so other form of propulsion remained in use longer, until cheap oil was available everywhere.

 
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Re: The appliance of science

Postby Michael-on-Ryde » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:47 am

Point to you on the rails, Sebastien; I think I can still justify my own call (perhaps not by use of Watt-analogue engines - there were precursors), but I'll keep it off-canon until more evidence emerges.

More generally, I've more or less come to the conclusion that my original idea was impractical. It's maybe a case of "to do A, you need to have B; to do B, you need to have C and D", etc., etc. Until more of a critical mass builds up from which we can establish a consensus, it feels to me like we may be better served by making the best guess that fits our purposes with Earth-bound tech history as a guide - and wait for anyone to call BS on it. Certainly during the last 200-250 years as Joriscian science makes its Great Leap Forward...

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Re: The appliance of science

Postby Lois » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:34 am

Siurskeyti was slower to pick up railways -- most transport was done via canals, both natural and later, human-made. Railways might have been implemented in the 1870-80s, in order to improve trade, with passenger transportation a secondary benefit?



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