Saturday, August 14, 2010

OUTLANDER Links, Part 11: Science and Technology

Here are some examples of science and technology mentioned in Diana Gabaldon's books. I hope you find these interesting.

1) A video showing how to use a froe to make roof shingles:

2) Printing press, James Ballantyne and Company, Edinburgh, 1796. This is maybe not exactly what Jamie Fraser's printing press looked like, but I like to think that it's pretty close.

3) White phosphorus was used to make matches, starting in 1831, but it was so toxic that its use was banned by many countries by the end of the 19th century. Here's a very interesting video showing what it can do.

4) How to fire a flintlock:

5) How to use an astrolabe:

6) How to make whisky:

7) "Zugunruhe" - the restlessness of birds preparing to migrate does indeed have a scientific basis, as shown by a 2006 study. And here is an experiment that sounds very similar to the one Jamie describes to Claire in THE FIERY CROSS (Chapter 107, "Zugunruhe").

8) Fish falling from the sky (as Lawrence Stern describes in VOYAGER, Chapter 62, "Abandawe")
- Here's an article from the Daily Mail from 2 March 2010, describing an incident in Australia
- And here is a video from the Animal X TV series explaining the phenomenon:

9) How to make handmade paper:
- Step by step guide
- Here's a video showing the basic steps:

10) Electric eels, as shown in the Lord John story, "The Custom of the Army", published in March 2010 in the WARRIORS anthology. According to Wikipedia:
The electric eel generates its characteristic electrical pulse in a manner similar to a battery, in which stacked plates produce an electrical charge. In the electric eel, some 5,000 to 6,000 stacked electroplaques are capable of producing a shock at up to 500 volts and 1 ampere of current (500 watts). Such a shock could be deadly for an adult human.
If you find these links interesting, check out my previous "OUTLANDER Links" blog entries:

OUTLANDER Links, Part 14: 18th Century Clothing
OUTLANDER Links, Part 13: Plants and Herbs
OUTLANDER Links, Part 12: Standing Stones
OUTLANDER Links, Part 10: Weaponry
OUTLANDER Links, Part 9: Historical Events
OUTLANDER Links, Part 8: 18th Century Medicine
OUTLANDER Links, Part VII: Gemstones
OUTLANDER Links, Part VI: Wildlife
OUTLANDER Links, Part V: Castles and Palaces
OUTLANDER Links, Part IV: Native Americans
OUTLANDER Links, Part III: All Things Scottish
OUTLANDER Links, Part II: Colonial North Carolina
OUTLANDER Links, Part I: Culloden
What Do These Things Look Like?

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