[LMB] Dark Ages [not], was, What makes ...

Richard Molpus rgmolpus at flash.net
Thu Aug 22 01:00:47 BST 2019

 In my ongoing series "Random Facts about Vorhartung Castle", or "What happens when you set a group of Grad Students to the task of writing a new guidebook for the place?" (1), one thing I have happen when the (smarter) colonists discover that the wormhole is closed is they start printing every text they have. Paper can survive longer than electronics; doesn't need power to be read, and (at the time) multiple copies can be made easily. 

"It's easier to remember, than remake" (3) became a motto; and the printed libraries several families created became the core of their later rise to power. If you know something can be done, it's simpler to create then thinking up something from scratch. 

Simpler technology was already valued; it's easier to rebuild a one cylinder diesel or steam engine in the far outback than repairing a multi-watt Phase-looped turboencabulator  with a base plate of prefabulated amulite. (2)

It took a long time to have volume production of steam engines, and the accompanying farm machinery; but by Dorca's time Barrayar was at a level comparable to the 1890's Great Plains; with some steam tractors for plowing and harrowing. 

The creation of libraries in the earliest times kept the Colony from dropping into the deepest abyss, and a memory persisted of how they had arrived on Barrayar; that spaceflight was possible, and someday would begin again. 

(1) - on AO3; it's still in progress... Professora Helen Vorthys (Ph.D History of Barrayar) is about to slap another Grad Student for verbosity....

(2)The first realization of the Turboencabulator (16mm with Bud Haggart) 

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Turbo Encabulator

"For a number of years now work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea o...



Several of the frames and mounting plates still exist on Barrayar, but none are in working condition. They have been replaced by the Thiotimoline fueled Argive-splined turbine in most of the Nexus. 

(3) How to build effective plumbing and drain systems was an entire engineering library that wasn't saved.....

    On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 6:05:28 PM CDT, Matthew George <matt.msg at gmail.com> wrote:  
 Science and mathematics did not advance under the Romans, and ultimately
died out in the places their Empire incorporated, until the Renaissance.
We've (relatively recently) learned that the Greeks had analog
computational devices and the beginnings of calculus, both of which were
utterly forgotten.  The Roman cultural canon was almost entirely taken
directly from the conquered Greeks and didn't develop beyond them.

Roman society was (by modern standards) absurdly rigid and superstitious,
and was concerned with the practical acquisition of power before almost
anything else.  It's notable that in Barrayar's descent into 'barbarism' by
galactic standards, they not only preserved past culture but expanded upon
it - their development wasn't as wholly directed towards food cultivation
and warfare as a galactic might assume.  The Romans had no such balance.

Physics, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, biology - all was utterly
ignored.  Where might we be today if all progress in those fields hadn't
been lost?

Matt G.
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