Would you survive in medieval Europe?

    Realistically, I’m never going to watch an hour-long YouTube video which is mainly a talking head. I mean, I’m into history, but I’m not that into it.

    Thankfully, Open Culture has summarised some of the most important points. If you’re the kind of person who watches a lot of YouTube, then maybe you want to add this to your queue?

    An intricately detailed illustration in the style of a medieval manuscript, depicting a lively street scene with Gothic architectural elements. The image is populated with figures dressed as merchants and pilgrims, in a color palette of light gray, dark gray, bright red, yellow, and blue, capturing the vibrancy of medieval Europe. The borders are adorned with floral motifs, enhancing the manuscript's authentic feel.

    In the new video above, his­to­ry Youtu­ber Pre­mod­ernist pro­vides an hour’s worth of advice to the mod­ern prepar­ing to trav­el back in time to medieval Europe — begin­ning with the dec­la­ra­tion that “you will very like­ly get sick.”

    The gastrointestinal distress posed by the “native biome” of medieval European food and drink is one thing; the threat of robbery or worse by its roving packs of outlaws is quite another. “Crime is rampant” where you’re going, so “carry a dagger” and “learn how to use it.” In societies of the Middle Ages, people could only protect themselves by being “enmeshed in social webs with each other. No one was an individual.” And so, as a traveler, you must — to put it in Dungeons-and-Dragons terms — belong to some legible class. Though you’ll have no choice but to present yourself as having come from a distant land, you can feel free to pick one of two guises that will suit your obvious foreignness: “you’re either a merchant or a pilgrim.”

    Source: Advice for Time Traveling to Medieval Europe: How to Staying Healthy & Safe, and Avoiding Charges of Witchcraft | Open Culture

    Image: DALL-E 3

    Friday feastings

    These are things I came across that piqued my attention:

    • What do cats do all day? (The Kid Should See This) — "Catcam footage from collar cameras captured the activities of 16 free-roaming domestic cats in England as they explored, stared, touched noses, hunted, vocalized, and more."
    • These researchers invented an entirely new way of building with wood (Fast Company) — "Each of the 12 wooden components of the tower was made by laminating two pieces of wood with different levels of moisture. Then, when the laminated pieces of wood dried out, the piece of wood curved naturally–no molds or braces needed."
    • What Did Old English Sound Like? Hear Reconstructions of Beowulf, The Bible, and Casual Conversations (Open Culture) — "Over the course of 1000 years, the language came together from extensive contact with Anglo-Norman, a dialect of French; then became heavily Latinized and full of Greek roots and endings; then absorbed words from Arabic, Spanish, and dozens of other languages, and with them, arguably, absorbed concepts and pictures of the world that cannot be separated from the language itself."
    • Adversarial interoperability: reviving an elegant weapon from a more civilized age to slay today's monopolies (BoingBoing) — "This kind of adversarial interoperability goes beyond the sort of thing envisioned by "data portability," which usually refers to tools that allow users to make a one-off export of all their data, which they can take with them to rival services. Data portability is important, but it is no substitute for the ability to have ongoing access to a service that you're in the process of migrating away from."
    • Fables of School Reform (The Baffler) — "Even pre-internet efforts to upgrade the technological prowess of American schools came swathed in the quasi-millennial promise of complete school transformation."