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For Book: How to Tell What Eon You're In
Old 11-22-2015, 06:22 PM   #1
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For Book: How to Tell What Eon You're In

Yesterday's Thief is in beta reading mode, and without stopping to think whether I want to write another book, I've started on it.

In this book, Jake will be involuntarily transported to a parallel universe. He's on an Earth that was not struck by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

He lands in the wilderness with only his tablet, his dog (Boondoggle from Contact Us), and maybe the seat of the toilet he was on (don't ask).

He knows nothing more about astronomy than your average person. He sees no signs of man, and the animals are different.

Could he figure out whether or not he had been transported in time?

My guess: No. If it were a billion years, yes, but 70 million, no. The moon is changing and constellations change but not enough to notice.
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:43 PM   #2
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What's the date on the local newspaper?
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:49 PM   #3
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If there are a lot of mammals about, there are probably far fewer dinosaurs extant and it is closer to our own era. If there are hardly any mammals, then it would likely be a long time back.
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:05 PM   #4
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In this book, Jake will be involuntarily transported to a parallel universe. He's on an Earth that was not struck by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

He lands in the wilderness with only his tablet, his dog (Boondoggle from Contact Us), and maybe the seat of the toilet he was on (don't ask).

He knows nothing more about astronomy than your average person. He sees no signs of man, and the animals are different.

Could he figure out whether or not he had been transported in time?

My guess: No. If it were a billion years, yes, but 70 million, no. The moon is changing and constellations change but not enough to notice.
If his tablet (which is now useless without a solar charger) has encyclopedia entries showing fossils of different fauna or animals, he could compare them to what he sees around himself. Might not pinpoint it exactly, but if there were things around that died off long before the 'big asteroid' did in later eras, then he would be able to identify them based off of that.

Due to tectonic plate movement, it might be difficult to identify specific areas, since the world looked a lot different back then versus now. It would be more 'plausible'/easier for him to identify things if he were up in space orbiting Earth, since he could at least see the continents at a glance, and maybe have a pair of binoculars to zoom in on a few geologic markers (like the Grand Canyon, various mountains/volcanoes) to help pinpoint when he is. Then by looking at a few pictures, he could compare the various guesstimates of what the supercontinents probably looked like at various time periods vs what he sees from space.
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:46 PM   #5
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Or you could look at the rotation of the Earth: the length of 1 day has been slowly increasing over time. We don't notice it in our lifetimes...but 70 million years ago, the earth's day was measurably shorter. If he looked up some article on his pad that said how many milliseconds the day is increasing, he could put a stick in the ground, start a stopwatch on his pad when the stick's shadow is at a certain point on the ground, and see how long it takes for the shadow to return to that same point the next day. Do a little math and see how far back in time he is.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:33 PM   #6
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Or you could look at the rotation of the Earth: the length of 1 day has been slowly increasing over time. ....
Sounds good. Since the asteroid did not strike this version of Earth, I'm not sure if fossil records or current stage of animals could be a guide.

But could you measure 'high noon' accurately enough? Depends how close you need to be:


How many hours were in a dinosaur's day? › Ask an Expert (ABC Science)

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They indicate that 620 million years ago the day was 21 hours, says Mardling.

Since the dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic era, from 250 million years ago to 65 million years ago, day length would have been longer than 21 hours and probably closer to 23 hours.
So an hour would be easy to detect with a shadow stick, but that gets you within ~ 65 million years. I would think getting down to a minute ( ~ 1 M years) would be rather hard to measure, that might take a magnifying glass or something to amplify the relative motion? You don't need accuracy for the shadow, you just need it to be repeatable from one day to the next. But your battery better not run down on your tablet, you need an accurate clock.

-ERD50
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:11 PM   #7
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With an Android tablet he can query Google or with an Apple one he could ask SIRI. If he has a Windows tablet, he is screwed.
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Old 11-23-2015, 12:09 AM   #8
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With an Android tablet he can query Google or with an Apple one he could ask SIRI. If he has a Windows tablet, he is screwed.
Cortana won't tell?
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Old 11-23-2015, 12:52 AM   #9
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Sounds good. Since the asteroid did not strike this version of Earth, I'm not sure if fossil records or current stage of animals could be a guide.
It all depends on how close he's trying to get. I mean, I don't know about you and T-Al, but if I suddenly found myself in some strange dinosaur land, I couldn't give two sh!ts as to whether I was in present day alternate universe or 100,000,000 B.C. Give or take a few million years is more than sufficient for me. And if he were far back enough before the "known" meteorite hit (i'm sure there were probably others farther back), the fossil record would be the same since it was the same past up to the meteorite.



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But could you measure 'high noon' accurately enough? Depends how close you need to be:

So an hour would be easy to detect with a shadow stick, but that gets you within ~ 65 million years. I would think getting down to a minute ( ~ 1 M years) would be rather hard to measure, that might take a magnifying glass or something to amplify the relative motion? You don't need accuracy for the shadow, you just need it to be repeatable from one day to the next. But your battery better not run down on your tablet, you need an accurate clock.

-ERD50
The longer the shadow, the more accurate you can get. Put a 6ft tall stick in the ground (or use the shadow of a tall, thin tree....or the edge of a rock in the distance). At the right angle, you could get fairly accurate, I would think. If you're still around 24 hours later, with all those dinosaurs roaming around. Not to mention the tons of foreign microbes.

Hmmm...speaking of microbes....most commercial toilet seats have an anti-microbial coating. Perhaps that toilet seat that hitched a ride along could actually wind up being a life-saver implement for him to use to eat and survive?
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Old 11-23-2015, 07:19 AM   #10
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You could also try and measure the Sun's intensity.

Increases by 1% every 100 million years. Depends on how sensitive the camera on the tablet is.

So I guess that's another no.

Duration of day would indeed be best guess. Although you'd have to assume you are on earth, not another planet.

If he has some geography experience and can walk to several shores continental drift can give another clue. He'd have to know where he is though to be begin with.
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:40 AM   #11
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Easy--he can carbondate his lifetime socks
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:45 AM   #12
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:47 AM   #13
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He lands in the wilderness with only his tablet, his dog (Boondoggle from Contact Us), and maybe the seat of the toilet he was on (don't ask).

He knows nothing more about astronomy than your average person. He sees no signs of man, and the animals are different.

Could he figure out whether or not he had been transported in time?
It does not matter that much, as Jake would not survive for long. Some ferocious animals will stumble upon him, who will try to use the tablet as a shield in vain.

PS. Scratch that. Jake will try to hide behind the toilet seat, while brandishing the tablet to shoo off the attacking animals, while his heroic dog is quickly gobbled up.
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Old 11-23-2015, 12:19 PM   #14
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I sometimes worry about what eon I am in, especially when I read the newspaper.

Ha
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Old 11-23-2015, 12:20 PM   #15
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I sometimes worry about what eon I am in, especially when I read the newspaper.
Me too. I've been told the fact that I "read the newspaper" indicates I'm not in the current one.
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Old 11-23-2015, 12:23 PM   #16
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I sometimes worry about what eon I am in
I'm never in doubt since I borrowed my cat's wristwatch.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:30 PM   #17
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Okay, so he won't have a clue. His tablet will only last a few hours, and won't have any wifi (of course). He'll use that to take some photos.

Since the dinos didn't go extinct, there are unlikely to be any mammals larger than rats (according to this).

When he gets back (after a few years), the scientists will figure out what happened.

This book will help.
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Old 11-23-2015, 02:19 PM   #18
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Since the dinos didn't go extinct, there are unlikely to be any mammals larger than rats (according to this).

When he gets back (after a few years), the scientists will figure out what happened.

This book will help.
But with normal climate cycles, there will be changes in temperature. So things like the ice age 15,000 years ago would probably do in a number of large dinosaurs left that happened to linger about.
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Old 11-23-2015, 03:19 PM   #19
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Okay, so he won't have a clue. His tablet will only last a few hours, and won't have any wifi (of course). He'll use that to take some photos....
The tablet can be turned off or put to sleep until the next noon day. The clock stays active (just like a digital wristwatch last a year or more on a tiny battery).

He should be able to get an accurate time 24 hours later, no problem.

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Old 11-24-2015, 11:34 AM   #20
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Would not the lack of a large asteroid impact make some difference in the rotation rate, vs an earth where the impact took place?
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