Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"Don't use that with which you are unfamiliar of the inner workings" Day.

What year are you in?
  (+25, -2)(+25, -2)(+25, -2)
(+25, -2)
  [vote for,
against]

If you were to travel back in time, say 500 years, how much of the stuff we take for granted would you be able to invent?

Once a week we should have a "Don't use that with which you are unfamiliar of the inner workings" day.

The first time you try it out, you will maybe be able to use a doorbell, ride a bicycle, have a shower and make toast.

Soon you will start using the refrigerator, electric toothbrushes, watching television, using the microwave and perhaps text messaging.

After many months of learning, you will be able to drive your car, use a computer, run on a treadmill and use your cell phone.

So it is a kind of a game, where you evolve and advance to the next level by learning.

You can download our starter pack which guides you through the inner working of the most essential inventions.

danman, Jul 12 2009

Thomas Thwaites' Toater project http://www.rca.ac.u...12&CategoryID=36646
[hippo, Jul 13 2009]

Thomas Thwaites' Toater project http://www.thomasth...s/toaster/page2.htm
"I'm Thomas Thwaites and I'm trying to build a toaster, from scratch - beginning by mining the raw materials and ending with a product that Argos sells for only £3.99. A toaster." [hippo, Jul 13 2009]

Time travel cheat sheet http://www.popten.n...eet-print-zoom1.jpg
A vary good start to get you going [dev45, Jul 14 2009]

Niche market Victorian_20Technology_20Today
This company's sales would go through the roof! [theleopard, Jul 23 2009]

[link]






       Nice. [+] if the title is changed to something less unsettling.
shudderprose, Jul 12 2009
  

       Having mastered all the technology that enables everyday life you qualify for a week's relaxation at the "Hole you're in", err, "The Whole Year Inn" Health Spa and Last Resort.   

       Fantastic idea. There will be a moratorium on TV in my house unless my progeny can tell me how it works...
4whom, Jul 12 2009
  

       Suggested title: "Don't use that with which you are unfamiliar of the inner workings of" Day.   

       [EDIT] "Don't use that with which you are unfamiliar with the inner workings of" Day
4whom, Jul 12 2009
  

       Unfamiliar of? Since when is someone unfamiliar *of* something (unless they're a witch and you're a different cat)? Is this another one of those British things?   

       So "Boycott the unknown" was not ungrammatical and cumbersome enough, hm?
jutta, Jul 12 2009
  

       Well I thought it was funny...   

       I am sure "10 better suggestions or less" will be forthcoming... :-)
4whom, Jul 12 2009
  

       Fair enough.
jutta, Jul 12 2009
  

       OK, enough fun. I fear it will detract from, an otherwise, good idea. How about: "Know it, Use it - Don't Know it, Lose it" Day?
4whom, Jul 12 2009
  

       Whatever you call it, this will soon become protocol in my house! Unless of course I am overuled. It seems I don't know the inner workings of my family dynamics...
4whom, Jul 12 2009
  

       Yes, it's good. It also sometimes comes close to being baked in this house when we can't pay the bills.
nineteenthly, Jul 12 2009
  

       [+] Reminds me of the Golgafrinchans trying to invent fire, or, in fact of Da Vinci playing it is reverse - having the knowledge of how things work, but not the technology to make them.   

       How familiar do I need to be? Do I need to be able to build this item from scratch (starting with nothing but a few rocks and plants), or re-build it from spare parts, or is just having a rough idea that an AC current in a coil is bouncing a magnet around against a bell good enough?
MadnessInMyMethod, Jul 12 2009
  

       I don't see the point unless you want to start from square one. A metal part for instance would require knowledge of geology, mining, metallurgy, mech engineering and fabrication to be able to create it from scratch. The effect of course is cumulative, but still I didn't include basic necessities like design methodologies.   

       For something as simple as a general understanding of how something works, you can watch the TV show "How It Works" or read Wikipedia. [-] Pointless Microsoftianism otherwise.   

       Might be interesting to keep people from using artificial aids until they have mastered the more natural, eg: requiring a child to not only master crawling and walking but have a certain proficiency in dance or gymnastics or a sport requiring running, before being allowed to use roller-skates or a scooter or bicycle.
FlyingToaster, Jul 12 2009
  

       I hardly know how my body works .. whups !
kamathln, Jul 12 2009
  

       Flyingtoaster, you obviously decide how much you need to know about something before you use it.   

       Yes, these would be a good sources of information, but you would need to know about computers before you could wiki ;).
danman, Jul 12 2009
  

       // those British things //   

       No, rather it is one of those English things,as in "the people who developed the English language".   

       Please do not lump the English in with the welsh (who are anyway more interested in singing and spreading unpleasant rumours about their neighbours, preferably simultaneously), the Scots, who either speak Gaelic or incomprehensible giggerish because they're out of thir heads on a blend of Carlsberg Special Brew, Buckfast wine, and lighter fluid, the Manx (just odd ... very odd), or - gods forbid - the Irish......   

       // Boycott the unknown //   

       "Boycott the unknown" is tautology; if something is unknown, it cannot be boycotted, since knowledge of its existance is required before it can be boycotted.   

       "Boycott, the unknown" is equally tautological, since both the original Captain Boycott and the later Geoffrey Boycott (Yorkshire and England) are well known and lavishly documented.   

       Q.E.D.
8th of 7, Jul 12 2009
  

       + I'm in favour of this, in principle, but also require clarification about the extent of ignorance required. For example, if I don't actually fully understand the requirements of this idea, can I participate in the boycott?
DrBob, Jul 12 2009
  

       //Since when is someone unfamiliar *of* something//   

       Well, 'of' is the right word in the wrong location. It decided to play a joke on us by changing places with 'with', and seeing whether anyone would notice.   

       (I assume that the inner workings in question are those 'of' that which we won't use, and not just some separate inner workings that happen to be 'with' what we won't use.)   

       Syntax lessons in the style of John Cleese's centurion in The Life of Brian are available on request.
pertinax, Jul 12 2009
  

       4whom raised a good point. This should be promoted in education systems.
danman, Jul 12 2009
  

       I take it as an exercise to increase one's working knowledge of everyday things. Great for kids, I think.   

       Besides, I have just e-mailled, err, wrote a note to, my boss to say I can't print out the invoices because I am unfamiliar with the workings of the laser printer.
4whom, Jul 13 2009
  

       IMHO 99.9 percent of people, including me are not familiar enough with the workings of the microchip to be able to meet the "conneticut yankee in king arthur's court" standard so all the digital devices are simply out. A lot of household chemicals and pharmaceuticals are not within my actual knowledge (somewhat mysterious and who wants to know) so they would be out too.   

       It is very much a question not of bulk knowledge but the power to rapidly find, comprehend, and apply the research of others to practical application. 99% knowing where to look.
WcW, Jul 13 2009
  

       I wouldn't say digital stuff is totally out, but miniaturisation is, so the problem is i could make an adder or a flip-flop, maybe even a shift register or an ALU, but only out of relays. I couldn't even get as far as thermionic valves since i don't know how to make a vacuum pump.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2009
  

       (link added to Thomas Thwaites' toaster project at the Royal College of Art)
hippo, Jul 13 2009
  

       Quite - would you know how to grow wheat, or where to get yeast from?
hippo, Jul 13 2009
  

       OK, but do you understand how much you probably don't understand? How about the real basics? Gravity, light, sun light, electricity, mains power, florescant lights, the diode, the transistor, how gas pressure inflates a ball, how a frisbee flies, soap, rain, tap water, sewers, plastics, making thread, making cloth, sewing, farming, making paper and don't get me started on the opposite sex.   

       Nice idea, but I think you need some ground rules as most people would need to lay in a dark cave sleeping alone for 24 hours.   

       Though come to think of it, I could use the sleep. (+)
MisterQED, Jul 13 2009
  

       //the opposite sex//
Good one.
I've never figured out how they work.
coprocephalous, Jul 13 2009
  

       //or where to get yeast from?// If you were beset with problems, the smallest of which was the amount of bread you ate, would this be called the yeast of your worries?
xenzag, Jul 13 2009
  

       Mankind is best adapted to go blundering through life without the merest apprehension as to what it is that's going on - why change a winning formula?   

       And if we absolutely, positively *have* to understand the inner workings of our stuff, does starting (for example) a toaster based religion count?   

       (Now, if I just press the sacred OK button, the halfbakery fairy will save my prayer on the bright shiny altar of T'Intohnet)
zen_tom, Jul 13 2009
  

       Yeast is floating around in the air and on the bloom of various fruits. There's a batch of dough sitting here acquiring wild yeast as i speak. Wheat is really straightforward, though harvesting and milling the grain for flour would have to be done with stone, so a neolithic level of flint-knapping might be required. You could maybe pull the ears off yourself. Labour-intensive is the term that comes to mind here.
Another thought regarding flour is, what would you get from various wild grasses? The likes of brome are pretty close to wheat. Hmm...
I might be busy this afternoon now.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2009
  

       ..how can we be reading this on our computers?+
xandram, Jul 13 2009
  

       Well, it depends. Teleprinters or ticker-tape may be an option over a special radio-based peer-to-peer network or something. I'm not convinced something analogous to the internet is impossible. Pianola server, naturally.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2009
  

       //the opposite sex// ... //or where to get yeast from?//   

       Ah! Now, solve one of these and you may find you've solved the other, though not necessarily in the way you intended.
pertinax, Jul 13 2009
  

       I often envy religious peoples' observance of fasting periods (Ramadan or Yom Kippur) or periods of sacrifice (Lent). At least this gives me the opportunity to do without, until I know how it works...
4whom, Jul 13 2009
  

       Tech Knowledgy Day
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 13 2009
  

       Nice one, [BunsenHoneydew].
A mechanical display could be created with mirrors and a spinning disc with holes drilled in it, provided there was a light source which could be turned on and off quickly enough. I would say this could be a shielded gas light hidden and revealed by some kind of shutter. It would be easier to have something like a daisywheel printer arrangement.
Concerning the toaster, i can't help thinking the same effect could be achieved by a fork and a fire. Get a stick, impale some bread, stick it over a fire and you've got toast.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2009
  

       //Get a stick//
easy enough
  

       //impale some bread//
some what ?
  

       //stick it over a fire//
after spending a few weeks running around following lightning strikes I assume
  

       //and you've got toast//
pretty hard won
FlyingToaster, Jul 13 2009
  

       ...or just learn and become familiar of the inner workings of a toaster. We are not focused on not using what we don't understand (or Boycotting the unknown-- as coined by Jutta), rather we want to learn so that we know more about the things we take for granted.
danman, Jul 13 2009
  

       [FlyingToaster], you need grain, possibly from brome but otherwise from escaped wheat grass, which is presumably absent from the pre-agricultural diet because it's not worth gathering, a couple of flat stones. Then you collect rainwater and the yeast falls out of the air. Fire is of course a complete bloody nightmare. You need to start it once only. I think a bow and a stick may be the best method. Once you've done that it gets a lot easier because you can make firelighters with wood ash, vinegar and something like tallow or oil extracted from nuts.
But sourdough is really simple. I don't grind my own flour but i have friends who do. The really hard bit is fire, and i think that would be the case with a lot, as with the toaster.
On second thoughts, i think there are better sources of polysaccharides than bread, such as nuts or dandelion roots. Dandelion roots are a deeply cool thing, incidentally.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2009
  

       ////the opposite sex// ... //or where to get yeast from?//   

       Ah! Now, solve one of these and you may find you've solved the other, though not necessarily in the way you intended.//

Aha, I see the connection. Thank you pertinax! I never realised until now that yeast is distilled from yeastrogen. At last I can achieve a healthy balance between my love life and my baking!
DrBob, Jul 13 2009
  

       [+] Great concept and great idea. I just feel sorry for [Vernon]. He would be all alone on the halfbakery, that day.
MikeD, Jul 13 2009
  

       //"Boycott the unknown" is tautology//   

       No, it isn't.

(but that probably is !)
pjd, Jul 14 2009
  

       I think it might be rhetorical tautology, pjd. That is, it's redundant. Boycott the unknown. Well, if you're boycotting something you're avoiding it, or otherwise not knowing it. All boycotting is towards the unknown.
daseva, Jul 14 2009
  

       On the contrary, boycotting is a deliberate gesture towards an identified target. For example, there's a particular asteroid that I've never visited, but I'm not boycotting it.   

       Before I could boycott it, I would
first need to be able to identify it in some way and
second need to have the means to visit it, so that I could make an explicit choice not to do so.
  

       On the other hand, I do boycott the products of a certain corporation precisely because I know quite a lot about that corporation.
pertinax, Jul 14 2009
  

       Many people don't understand how corporations work, do we have to boycott their products?
RayfordSteele, Jul 15 2009
  

       If the idea was to do this everyday, I'd be dead by next Wednesday.   

       However, my ignorance is no reason why this shouldn't get the 2 and a half buns it deserves, so...   

       <shpoik!>
theleopard, Jul 22 2009
  

       I can describe in pop-sci (lack of) detail how most everything I use works, as can most people. Now ask me to build something... from scratch.
FlyingToaster, Jul 22 2009
  

       <obligatory python reference> Bloody luxury! We never 'ad scratch... </opr>
pertinax, Jul 24 2009
  

       // i don't know how to make a vacuum pump. //   

       That's the second time I've heard you say that recently (but the first time you've said that that I've heard recently). I have a few vacuum pump ideas on my list—maybe I should post them soon so you know how to make at least a few new and unproved kinds of vacuum pump.   

       (After I clicked OK on this anno, I noticed that I'd misspelled "unproven" as "unproved". I corrected it, but then reverted it, because I realized that it kinda works as a portmanteau of "unproven" and "improved".)
notexactly, Apr 22 2018
  

       I am fairly certain that no human being currently alive can be said to truly understand the inner workings of, say, a bacon sandwich.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 22 2018
  

       A bacon sandwich, whilst a near-divine comestible, does not have any internal mechanism as such.   

       The criteria should be that the item under scrutiny should be amenable to a mechanistic and reductionist analysis into component parts, allowing dismantling, inspection, and subsequent creation of a functional duplicate from first principles. This is not possible with a bacon sandwich without the intimate and irreversible cooperation of a pig, which should be deemed "outside assistance".   

       // How many times will you open up the black box and find other black boxes inside? //   

       Until we find the one with the dead cat in it, at which point celebrations commence.   

       Reviewing our own panoply of technical knowledge, we wish to point out that on day one of the experiment we will be fully justified in flying an all-metal propellor-driven* aircraft over the heads of lesser beings and depositing a selection of time- and impact-fused high explosive munitions filled with monocrystalline HMX upon them, while surfing your internet on our cellular telephony device.   

       *Not that we can't design a jet aircraft, and indeed build one, but anecdotal evidence suggests that unless they are absolutely perfect in all respects, first time out, flying them is what is referred to by experienced pilots as "a right bugger".
8th of 7, Apr 22 2018
  

       Ah, the Citröen of the sandwich world.
8th of 7, Apr 22 2018
  

       //This is not possible with a bacon sandwich // I am disappointed. I assumed that the borg would be more capable, or at least would have progressed beyond elementary gastrophysics.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 22 2018
  

       The [linked] time travel cheat sheet explains aerodynamic lift incorrectly. However, the associated diagram is fine.
notexactly, Apr 22 2018
  
      
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