how far could you travel in time and be relevant

By this I mean you’re thrown into a terminator style time machine, meaning one way trip and you can’t bring anything with you, how far back in time could you go before your skills will be useless. For example a computer programmer could go back only so far as their skills would allow them to program.
I figure as a computer IT person I could survive to the 80s at most.

By “skills” do you specifically mean job skills? In that case, most people couldn’t go back a single generation. But, for example, an elementary school math education would put you among the top mathematicians in the world in the middle ages. If you could learn to speak a medieval language, that is.

I can make telescope mirrors and lenses (I’ve done it as a hobby). And I’m not talking in some fancy optics shop with expensive equipment and sophisticated optical design programs.

I can do it with hardware store and junky garage level stuff. Plus I have the basic knowledge for all sorts of fancy designs and optical tricks of the trade so to speak. With a bit more work and time, I could do all this literally starting with nothing more than being dropped in the woods with an ability to make fire.

So, I figure I’m good back in time until almost when language started. Once the ability to gather ore and make metals becomes reasonably obtainable I’m golden.

So, a few thousand BC probably?

The skills I use for my job fall along the lines of computer skills (useless > 25 years ago) and HR/Employee benefits knowledge. The latter is constantly evolving; I’m not sure how much would be applicable pre-ERISA so I’m probably looking at the 1980s there.

But I know I have the general skills to make it in the 1970s. Heck, last time I did it I was just a kid! But I’d have to find a new career.

I reckon most of us could get to level “da Vinci” or even better if we had the time to think about how to apply 21st century education in a medieval or even classical world. Meaning, if we didn’t have to spend every waking hour just surviving, and were able to somehow get some noble to support us while we develop geared water wheels; demonstrate the presence, avoidance, and control of germs; tie basic nutrition to general health (I can’t imagine one could have too much vitamin C in a world beset with plagues). Most folks know the basics of flight and the importance of replacing lead pipes with copper for drinking water.

So most people I think would be immensely useful through at least 1,000 BC if not earlier. Provided they were in the right place and had ample time & opportunity to develop and apply knowledge. And for the love of all that is holy–remembered to boil their damned drinking water!

I’m a machinist by trade so about the 1860s. There was machining before that but that was when some technologies came together that made the field what it is today. Everything since has been an improvement on the basics, even CNC, CAD/CAM, etc.

I have some rudimentary blacksmithing skills so that would be the Iron Age.

I grew up a ranch. The fundamentals of that haven’t changed much since the first domestication of animals.

For hobby skills, I can spin wool and other fibers into yarn using both an drop spindle and an wheel. I can also knit and crochet, so as far back in history, I guess as they were doing that which is probably whenever they invented clothes not made form animal skins.

For job skills, my most recent jobs have been working with and training dogs. So I guess as far back as whenever they started domesticating dogs.

Both are certainly pre-Biblical times, but I have no idea exactly how far back.

I’m a writer and editor, so I’d be good as far back as whenever I’d stop understanding the language well enough. I think could adapt to older spellings and words that have since fallen out of use and the style being a bit more formal, but eventually I’d get to a time where English bears little resemblance to the language we use today. Perhaps the late 1600s/early 1700s*?

*A total WAG, based on nothing substantive whatsoever.

Not a bad guess. Middle English is quite a bitch for modern folks. Recognizable Modern English would have been around 1550+

Well, I’m no stranger to backbreaking labor, and have been trained to kill people. So, dawn of man? Those are the skills that probably (time) travel furthest. Today I program in Java, that only goes back to 1995. Basic would take me to the 60s. Bartender/waiter would take me further back, but those first two are probably the winners.

Last Thursday.

I thought Java man went way way back…

I’m not relevant now! :mad:

Woo hoo! :cool:

I could draw a pretty accurate map of the globe from memory, so any time before 1700s would make me literally worth my weight in gold.

Also: germ theory of disease, moldy bread=penicillin, malaria is caused by mosquito-transmitted infection. Also: the summit of Mt Everest is marine limestone. Planets revolve around the sun in ellipses with the sun at one of the axes. Because of gravity. Silk is made from the cocoon of a worm that lives in China. Gunpowder is sulphur, charcoal and saltpeter at 16:3:1. Watch out for that Mongol invasion. Rainbows are caused by diffraction of sunlight, here, look at this prism. The Earth is old, really really old, 4 billion years old. I also have some thoughts on the origin of species.

I’m a distiller so that would translate back at least to the middle ages. I could probably go back further but I’d prefer at least a decent culture of preexisting fermentation to pull from since breeding wild yeast is a pain in the ass.

My original career was in drilling engineering and while technically that could take me back to the Drake well (1859) in reality anything before rotary drilling would make me look pretty stupid so 1901 at Spindletop it is.

As a mathematician, I would wow them from ancient Greek times onward. But the demand would be pretty thin. I am a pretty good break baker, which would sustain me at subsistence level back several thousand years. I can also make a couple simple cheeses (ricotta and Mozzarella), which might be useful.

Language would be a problem. Someone said it is more or less intelligible after 1550, but I would make that 1600. The English modal underwent a profound change during the years 1550–1600. They ceased being verbs and the periphrastic modals (about to, able to, have to,…) replaced them as verbs and they settled down to being obligatory auxiliaries (a couple, need and dare, resisted that change). Any further back and you really had to learn a new language. Of course, to be a mathematician before about 1850 or even 1900 you had to speak Latin.

Being a woman, pretty much all of history seems pretty grim to me. No birth control? Enormous maternal mortality? No thank you.

As a programmer, I’d quickly become useless before the 80s.

As an artist, I’d be amazing any time before the Renaissance, thanks to my knowledge of perspective. Post-Renaissance, not so much.

As someone fluent in both English and Japanese, I’d be pretty useful going back to the 1850s.

With my knowledge of modern medicine, I could be useful all the way back to Roman times, but that would assume that I could learn the local language and teach them useful things without getting burned as a witch, thrown into an insane asylum, or falling prey to ancient microbes. Though, I’d be pretty useless getting into the 20th century.


Can a fuel damaged tank be weld in the car with no problems involve, yes, or no?