OFF: Re: Civilization without fire
|From:||+ + <spacey845@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, January 4, 2000, 8:06|
Nik Taylor kherkhiprunge"e"t on December 30, 1899:
(Darned Y2K *almost* missed everything! :-)
>BP Jonsson wrote:
>> IMO stone age technology way up to Inca level would have been perfectly
>> possible without fire.
>Stone age is, in my book, pretty low level.
>NYAAAARGH! (and similar noises!)
I've been spending the evening catching up with the list from before christmas
(finally!), and I was going to reserve comments until I'd read the entire
discussion, but I really cannot help myself at this point, as this thought has
been hurtling around my brane at a rate of knots as I've read this thread and
needs immediate release!
Stone-age technology includes the printing press (with moveable type), the Wankel rotary
engine (OK, OK, that's probably a questionable one but I'll do more research
and come back with a yay or nay at a later date if needs be), the Babbage
engine, the aerofoil, the grammophone, the mill-edged coin and the catflap (oh,
and the kitchen sink :-)
BESIDES WHICH... (here comes a rant!)
Smelting is only needed for certain metals.
Metal is only strictly needed as an efficient conductor of electrical power and
electronic signals. There are less acceptable alternatives which can be used as
interim measures, of which read on.
Fire is not needed for smelting. All you need is heat, and as I think abrigon has
pointed out, there are other chemical processes (our good friend calcium
springs immediately to mind) that can produce intense heat in a wet
environment. Those famous undersea vents (and other hot springs) provide a
nifty amount of heat. Heck if insects can mix highly volatile (ie reactive, ie
hot) concoctions and squirt them into their environs, I don't see why
cephalopods can't! :-)
Also, if you can provide any kind of conductor (i.e. any area through which the
conduction of electricity is better than through the surrounding media), and
attempt to pass more electricity through it than it can withstand (there's a
techy term but it escapes me, anyhoo it's all to do with resistance) and it
will heat up, which is how the electric oven and the power fuse work. Finding a
material which is freely available under the sea that conducts better than
seawater is left as an excersize for the reader, and I am assuming from as much
of the conversation that I've read so far that the octopi in question can
generate at least *some* electrical signals.
I'm admittedly speaking as a person who already knows all this listing ways I
would cope if stranded in an entirely fire-free environment, but given a
sufficient amount of time (and heck if a few million years is all it takes for
monkeys for invent the internal combustion engine, we're not talking
astronomical periods here!) I beleive that any inquisitive intelligence will
eventually develop a technology comprable to our own.
I've probably echoed earlier posts that I've yet to read, and if so I appologise,
but I just couldn't keep my big mouth shut any longer.
Once again I appologise if my line length is off, if so could you mail off-list so
I can *try* to fix it. I'll be going back to a real email program soon, so it
shouldn't trouble you all much longer.
(There was also something about pigs and joysticks which nearly caused me to respond,
but that's even older and even further off topic, so I'll save that rant for
the next time the subject arises :-).
No offence intended to anyone, but that was my own personal two penn'orth, and there it stands.
Good fortune to you!
[IIRC - I must find my Wen. grammar!]
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