War_Hymn t1_jdpqwvz wrote

Guy's origin story was wild. Started rock bottom, born in a poor family out of eight kids. Famine kills his whole family but him and another brother. Didn't know what to do with his life, so he joins a monastery and becomes a monk. Got bored of being a temple monk, so left and started wandering the countryside as a beggar vangabond. Goes back to the monastery, learns how to read and write. Yuan army comes out of nowhere and burns down the monastery. Decides to become a bandit. Gets good enough as a bandit that he starts his own bandit gang. Local rebel faction notices him and his gang successfully robbing Yuan government officials and convoys, asks him to join them. He agrees, eventually levels up to rebel general, then takes over as boss of the rebel faction. Scores victories against both Yuan army and rival rebel factions. Captures the Yuan winter capital and crowns himself Emperor of China at the age of 40 (in comparison, the youngest US president, John F. Kennedy was 44 when he took office).


War_Hymn t1_jcp6vk7 wrote

I mean, stuff like this lives on in the modern age. My wife's side of the family believes in this sort of voodoo. After one of her uncles got violently robbed, her aunt sacrificed a chicken on the altar to "ward off evil spirits following him". On the more extreme side, my wife's grandfather died young in his 20s because of a construction accident. Her grandmother got ostracized by her in-laws and the entire village because they thought the death was a bad omen and she was cursed.


War_Hymn t1_jcm07wy wrote

>I don't imagine ships, when rammers were common, were completely helpless and would go completely underwater if they got rammed once.

Yeah, but kind of hard to fight and maneuver if your rowing section is submerged in water. And I imagine a 1-2 foot wide hole in a 40-50 tonnes vessel won't take too long to reach that point.


War_Hymn t1_jclysif wrote

The bronze ram is hollow in the back, it sockets into a thick piece of timber sticking out forward of the hull.


After ramming, they were suppose to back the ship up with oars to allow water to flood into the holed ship, but on some occasions they could get jammed in with the target - which is why most rams were made as short as possible so they won't get stuck as easily.


War_Hymn t1_jclq3ax wrote

>Ships can float with water in them

Wooden boats and ships, yes - if they're empty or lightly ballasted. Most merchant ships of that era will normally have up to 1/4 of their displacement in dense, non-floating stone ballast for stability. Add weight of crew and dense cargo, etc. most wooden hull vessels will sink with a hole below the waterline if nothing was done. Lightly ballasted ships like Greek triremes would be flooded to at least the upper deck.

Ships during the Age of Sail were even worst since you had up to a hundred tonnes of dense metal ordnance and ammunition on something like a double-decker frigate. And because some guns might be mounted on the upper portion of the ship, you need proportionally more ballast to keep the ship stable. Something like the 32-gun French Hermione that displaced 1200 tonnes had about 200 tonnes of iron and granite rock ballast in addition to her ~50-70 tonnes of guns and round-shot ammunition.


War_Hymn t1_jbsag6y wrote

Yep, they mixed the crushed snails with urine to make the dye. The urine (or the ammonia in it) acted as a mordant to fix or bind the dye to the fabric, so all that expensive purple dye won't get leached out when you washed it.

Needless to say, you probably won't want to live near a dye works back in those days.


War_Hymn t1_jatydnc wrote

>The concept that people ignored their children is asanine and ignorant.

It seems to be a culture thing in certain parts of the world. My East Asian in-laws insist that children should be given as little attention as possible so that they wouldn't grow up "dependent" and weak. Came to a point where I got reprimanded for carrying my infant daughter around when I went to visit them.


War_Hymn t1_j96qqcd wrote

You're comparing natural decay with induced fission.

In ambient conditions, radioactive elements with unstable atomic structure are basically falling apart slowly. In turn, they only released a small amount of energy as they do so.

With fission, you speed up the process by shooting a bunch neutrons at the radioactive atoms so they fall apart much, much faster. So much faster that neutrons in the radioactive atoms explode out, hit other atoms and cause them to break apart too. If the effect is strong enough, you get a chain reaction that produces a lot of energy (but also causes all your radioactive fuel to "fall apart" faster).

Natural decay is a rickety building falling apart slowly over years or decades into rubble. Fission is when you topple that rickety building so that it hits the rickety building beside it, which then also tips over and hits another building, and another, etc. domino effect.


War_Hymn t1_j8tkk77 wrote

I think it's a seasonal response telling you to fatten yourself before winter comes (or dry season if you're in the tropics). Most fruits mature around late summer/early autumn (or close to the end of the wet season in the tropics). So that's when you're going to be hit with a fructose rush, which tells your brain, "hey, tough times ahead, better go out and find food while you can!".


War_Hymn t1_j8tjz4r wrote

Wonder if this is a seasonal biological response? Most fruits (which contain high fructose content) are ripe and edible in late summer/early autumn in temperate climates or near end of the wet season in tropics. Could be the brain telling itself to gorge on as much food as possible in preparation for harsher and food scarce conditions.


War_Hymn t1_j646hrz wrote

I don't see how having bronze tools or weapons would had protect them from germs that they had little immunity to. Before the Spanish even stepped foot in the Incan Empire, smallpox and other Old World diseases had already spread via regional trade network and killed millions of their subjects (including the Incan emperor himself). The reduction in population and the political turmoil it caused was enough to weaken this powerful state to a point where a couple hundred Spanish conquistadors was able to conquer it.

Even if they managed to kill every European they laid eyes on, these diseases would had eventually depleted their population and weaken their political/economic systems enough that the next wave of Europeans would eventually succeed in taking over.

>Presumably because their fires weren't hot enough to reliably cast high quality bronze.

Except they were casting copper or arsenic bronze (they never figured out tin-bronze) before the Europeans arrived. They just didn't have a lot of copper deposits, so stone tools were more economical and widespread.