Tech In ATLA?

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SC

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Tech In ATLA?
« on: July 31, 2017, 08:54:26 PM »
Sometimes, I forget that the Fire Nation is fairly advanced.  We saw motor boats in The Painted Lady, which I  assume were gas-powered.  They also had coolers at the Boiling Rock which means they had refrigeration.  More to the point, it implies that, at least in some places, the Fire nation has electricity to power them.  Or maybe they've figured out ways to tap into the thermal energy that is produced by volcanoes?  Does everyone have refrigeration?  Does the Frie Nation have morgues?  In Ba Sing Se, they had modern newspapers, so we can also assume they also had printing presses.  And I guess the Water Tribes have snow mobiles, now?

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Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 05:18:27 AM »
During the war i always assumed only the fire nation military had that kind of technology. I believe that the firenation civilians we see live quite alot like everyone else, if a bit better off.

After the war however, it seems like Zuko went all out with sharing their technology with everyone else. As you said snowmobiles in the southern watertribe. But they were also working on oil extraction/refinaries built on Northern watertribe schematics, and it seemed like there was atleast one semi automated ore refinary and forge in the earth kingdom.

I don't know how far apart the comics are time wise, but we also have to remember that in 70 years they went from late medieval towns to Republic city which had its own powergrid, i don't think any town in the Atla comics had that.

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Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 09:28:11 AM »
During the war i always assumed only the fire nation military had that kind of technology. I believe that the firenation civilians we see live quite alot like everyone else, if a bit better off.

Right, I agree.  But I also think that maybe the wealthy would have access to something like refrigeration, for example, or they could afford to have the paper delivered to their doors.  So tech could be a class-related thing and not strictly limited to military use.  It would be just a matter of expense and availability. So, in a major city, you could have electric, but for most people living out in the countryside, they'd still be using candles and gas lamps because no one's piped it out to them yet, and they couldn't afford to pay for it, anyway (unless it's free).

After the war however, it seems like Zuko went all out with sharing their technology with everyone else. As you said snowmobiles in the southern watertribe. But they were also working on oil extraction/refinaries built on Northern watertribe schematics, and it seemed like there was atleast one semi automated ore refinary and forge in the earth kingdom.

I don't think Zuko would hoard tech from everyone else.  But let's not forget that it was the Mechanist who developed a lot of the FN tech we see used.  Sokka's the reason the FN has air balloons since he's the person who figured out how to make them fly.  It's just as likely that the Mechanist gave or sold the EK his tech.  And, for all we know, Sokka himself could have invented the snow mobile based off of what he saw in the FN.

I don't know how far apart the comics are time wise, but we also have to remember that in 70 years they went from late medieval towns to Republic city which had its own powergrid, i don't think any town in the Atla comics had that.

Yes, but its powergrid was maintained with bending. Not really that impressive, honestly. In ATLA's time, it was more a matter of just not having that many lightning benders.  I'm just trying to figure out if a major city in ATLA could have had a powergrid.  Like, let's look at Ba Sing Se's Upper Ring.  When Sokka was walking down the street, there were rows of street lights.  Does someone light those things every night?  Or, does Ba Sing Se have a powergrid?  Also, what powered the automation in the Boiling Rock, when a guard flipped a switch and all the doors opened to let the prisoners our for their yard time?

And what of plumbing?  There's nothing in the show that says they don't have that in urban areas.

Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 02:00:54 PM »
Finally guys, some ATLA discussion!

Sometimes, I forget that the Fire Nation is fairly advanced. We saw motor boats in The Painted Lady, which I  assume were gas-powered.

Probably; internal combustion is the only way you could build an engine that small. However, the jet skis are the only kind of machine in the original series that requires internal combustion to work. Everything else is big, bulky, and probably driven by steam.

They also had coolers at the Boiling Rock which means they had refrigeration.  More to the point, it implies that, at least in some places, the Fire nation has electricity to power them.  Or maybe they've figured out ways to tap into the thermal energy that is produced by volcanoes?  Does everyone have refrigeration?

I don't believe the coolers are powered by electricity. We get a good look at the design when Chit Sang tries his initial escape, and the only attachment point is a large pipe for gases. Perhaps they used a large-scale version of an icebox.

In Ba Sing Se, they had modern newspapers, so we can also assume they also had printing presses.

Were newspapers in the original series? I don't see them mentioned in the fan wiki.

And I guess the Water Tribes have snow mobiles, now?

Sure, if you consider those comics canon. ;D

In all seriousness: the snowmobile feels jarring and shoehorned in, as if the writers said "we need these kids to go fast so Katara and Sokka can chase them, so let's give them a water tribe snowmobile." Same goes for the NWT refinery tech, since the water tribes were the least technologically advanced civilizations in the original series.

As bassemand noted, most of ATLA's tech is in the context of war. Rarely does it filter down to ordinary civilians, even wealthy ones.

But I also think that maybe the wealthy would have access to something like refrigeration, for example, or they could afford to have the paper delivered to their doors.  So tech could be a class-related thing and not strictly limited to military use.  It would be just a matter of expense and availability. So, in a major city, you could have electric, but for most people living out in the countryside, they'd still be using candles and gas lamps because no one's piped it out to them yet, and they couldn't afford to pay for it, anyway (unless it's free).

On the other hand, most Avatar societies are fairly egalitarian and have little notion of social class, with the striking exceptions of Ba Sing Se and the Fire Nation capital. As electrification gradually rolled out, local rulers like King Bumi probably mandated electricity for all. If anything, one would expect class differentiation in a more capitalist society like Republic City.

I don't think Zuko would hoard tech from everyone else.  But let's not forget that it was the Mechanist who developed a lot of the FN tech we see used.  Sokka's the reason the FN has air balloons since he's the person who figured out how to make them fly.  It's just as likely that the Mechanist gave or sold the EK his tech.  And, for all we know, Sokka himself could have invented the snow mobile based off of what he saw in the FN.

The Mechanist was definitely a huge part of the Fire Nation's research, but there was plenty of stuff like the Drill and the Tank Train that the Fire Nation invented by itself. And let's not give Sokka too much credit -- he came up with ideas, not inventions. ;) He figured out how to control the war balloon and submarine, not build them.

Yes, but its powergrid was maintained with bending. Not really that impressive, honestly. In ATLA's time, it was more a matter of just not having that many lightning benders.  I'm just trying to figure out if a major city in ATLA could have had a powergrid.  Like, let's look at Ba Sing Se's Upper Ring.  When Sokka was walking down the street, there were rows of street lights.  Does someone light those things every night?  Or, does Ba Sing Se have a powergrid?  Also, what powered the automation in the Boiling Rock, when a guard flipped a switch and all the doors opened to let the prisoners our for their yard time?

No ATLA city has a proper power grid because we never see any wires, as were needed in the early days of electrification (and today in older neighborhoods). Can you link that image of Ba Sing Se at night? I believe all the streetlights are regular gas lamps. Remember, Zuko lit them on his date. (Granted, that was the Lower Ring.)

As for the Boiling Rock -- that would be a rather bulky lever for an electrically operated system. My guess is that the doors are powered by steam or the guard was instead sending a signal to open the doors, like the engine controls on the Titanic.

And what of plumbing?  There's nothing in the show that says they don't have that in urban areas.

That's much more plausible than having electricity, but we never see running water on the show -- except perhaps the fountains.

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Loopy

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Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 07:11:35 PM »
The Mechanist did design the drill. There's blueprints of it visible for a split second in his office. I never would have noticed that without the fandom pointing it out.

And Ba Sing Se had at least basic printing-press technology as of Aang's arrival. Katara outright says, "We found a printer to make our posters." Daily newspapers might have been a bit much for that time period, but I admit I'm not very knowledgeable of the evolution of the printing press.

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SC

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Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 09:38:15 PM »
Finally guys, some ATLA discussion!

Sometimes, I forget that the Fire Nation is fairly advanced. We saw motor boats in The Painted Lady, which I assume were gas-powered.

Probably; internal combustion is the only way you could build an engine that small. However, the jet skis are the only kind of machine in the original series that requires internal combustion to work. Everything else is big, bulky, and probably driven by steam.

Or coal.  Haru's mom told them that [Firelord Ozai] was taking their coal to power his ships. In the finale, we saw that the airships were coal-powered as well.  But the drill was definately steam-powered.

They also had coolers at the Boiling Rock which means they had refrigeration.  More to the point, it implies that, at least in some places, the Fire nation has electricity to power them.  Or maybe they've figured out ways to tap into the thermal energy that is produced by volcanoes?  Does everyone have refrigeration?

I don't believe the coolers are powered by electricity. We get a good look at the design when Chit Sang tries his initial escape, and the only attachment point is a large pipe for gases. Perhaps they used a large-scale version of an icebox.

Pff... Nevermind.  I just now realized that TBR was probably steam-powered.  They likely harnessed the massive amount of steam from the boiling lake. -_-;


And I guess the Water Tribes have snow mobiles, now?

Sure, if you consider those comics canon. ;D

I do but only when it suits my own selfish purposes. >:D

In all seriousness: the snowmobile feels jarring and shoehorned in, as if the writers said "we need these kids to go fast so Katara and Sokka can chase them, so let's give them a water tribe snowmobile." Same goes for the NWT refinery tech, since the water tribes were the least technologically advanced civilizations in the original series.

As bassemand noted, most of ATLA's tech is in the context of war. Rarely does it filter down to ordinary civilians, even wealthy ones.

I agree that civilians wouldn't have access to a tank or a drill or a warship. Althought, some wealthy warlord might have some ships and tanks at their disposal.  But the mechaisms exist to create tech for private use.  Or, private people could build their own airships to ride around in if they could afford it.  Also, it would be plausable that a well-off civilian could have a set of skis or a cooler.  No one is ever going to convince me that there isn't a large cooler in the Firelord's palace the size of a small house where Ozai keeps his favorite homemade ice creams and cakes. :) Reaching further, Sokka asked Fat to grab him a cold drink, implying that Piandao might have had a means of refrigeration.



But I also think that maybe the wealthy would have access to something like refrigeration, for example, or they could afford to have the paper delivered to their doors.  So tech could be a class-related thing and not strictly limited to military use.  It would be just a matter of expense and availability. So, in a major city, you could have electric, but for most people living out in the countryside, they'd still be using candles and gas lamps because no one's piped it out to them yet, and they couldn't afford to pay for it, anyway (unless it's free).

On the other hand, most Avatar societies are fairly egalitarian and have little notion of social class, with the striking exceptions of Ba Sing Se and the Fire Nation capital. As electrification gradually rolled out, local rulers like King Bumi probably mandated electricity for all. If anything, one would expect class differentiation in a more capitalist society like Republic City.

There's obviously a class system in the FN.  Mai brought it up again in The Beach when she was talking about her parent's social climbing.  Yue was betrothed to Hahn just as Kana was betrothed to Pakku, so there's an implied social class in the NWT that's based on something that is causing these people to arrange their kids' marriages.  We've seen both wealthy and poor people in the FN and EK (outside of Ba Sing Se).  Ba Sing Se was just the most over-the-top example of these social and economic divisions. But they're there in every nation sans the Air Nomads and maybe the SWT before the North came to help them "rebuild".  Hahn called Sokka a "rube", and two of the people in the FN town where Aang went to school had bigoted attitudes toward colonials.  Given that there were animosity and bigotry from some people toward other groups within their own nations, it would be hard to imagine there wasn't a class system in play.


I don't think Zuko would hoard tech from everyone else.  But let's not forget that it was the Mechanist who developed a lot of the FN tech we see used.  Sokka's the reason the FN has air balloons since he's the person who figured out how to make them fly.  It's just as likely that the Mechanist gave or sold the EK his tech.  And, for all we know, Sokka himself could have invented the snow mobile based off of what he saw in the FN.

The Mechanist was definitely a huge part of the Fire Nation's research, but there was plenty of stuff like the Drill and the Tank Train that the Fire Nation invented by itself. And let's not give Sokka too much credit -- he came up with ideas, not inventions. ;) He figured out how to control the war balloon and submarine, not build them.

As Loopy said, the Mechanist did invent the drill.
http://piandao.org/screenshots/water/water17/water17-606.jpg It's fair to assume that the FN got much of their big tech from him.  He was the Hiroshi Sato of his time.


Yes, but its powergrid was maintained with bending. Not really that impressive, honestly. In ATLA's time, it was more a matter of just not having that many lightning benders.  I'm just trying to figure out if a major city in ATLA could have had a powergrid.  Like, let's look at Ba Sing Se's Upper Ring.  When Sokka was walking down the street, there were rows of street lights.  Does someone light those things every night?  Or, does Ba Sing Se have a powergrid?  Also, what powered the automation in the Boiling Rock, when a guard flipped a switch and all the doors opened to let the prisoners our for their yard time?

No ATLA city has a proper power grid because we never see any wires, as were needed in the early days of electrification (and today in older neighborhoods). Can you link that image of Ba Sing Se at night? I believe all the streetlights are regular gas lamps. Remember, Zuko lit them on his date. (Granted, that was the Lower Ring.)

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth15/earth15-817.jpg <-- Are those lights...greenish?  I mean, they could be powered by those glowing green chrystals that seem to be in the underground tunnels throughout the EK.  Probably gas, though. There was green fire in the Earth King's library, so probably just some weird green flame. I remembered them as looking like they had bulbs. So I assumed the Upper Ring had electricity while the Lower Ring was still slummin' it like it was the Dark Ages.


As for the Boiling Rock -- that would be a rather bulky lever for an electrically operated system. My guess is that the doors are powered by steam or the guard was instead sending a signal to open the doors, like the engine controls on the Titanic.

Yes, I think they're powered by steam.  I literally forgot about all that steam coming off the boiling lake. :/  It would be cool, though, if the FN had figured out a way to tap into their thermal energy.  How would something like that work without using firebending?


And what of plumbing?  There's nothing in the show that says they don't have that in urban areas.

That's much more plausible than having electricity, but we never see running water on the show -- except perhaps the fountains.

To be fair, I don't think we ever really get a good look at a washroom.

And Ba Sing Se had at least basic printing-press technology as of Aang's arrival. Katara outright says, "We found a printer to make our posters." Daily newspapers might have been a bit much for that time period, but I admit I'm not very knowledgeable of the evolution of the printing press.

Katara learned that Kuei was having a party for Bosco because she read about it in the paper.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-442.jpg
Looks like the morning edition was delivered.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-444.jpg
I assume this thick rolled-up thing was supposed to be a newspaper.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-456.jpg

It wouldn't surprise me if Ba Sing Se had a State Paper.  They were trying to contain and control information to the point of keeping important information from the Earth King himself.  A good way to do that is for the government to distribute the "news" to the masses.  I woldn't be surprised to learn that the FN had a similar paper that continued to pump out propaganda as "news".
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 09:41:35 PM by SC »

Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 01:01:24 AM »
Or coal.  Haru's mom told them that [Firelord Ozai] was taking their coal to power his ships. In the finale, we saw that the airships were coal-powered as well.  But the drill was definately steam-powered.

Oh, to clarify: any coal-fired machine is just burning the coal to produce steam, hence it's also a steam engine. Besides coal, wood is another possible fuel. (Hmm, waterbenders can turn water into steam, but can they pressurize it?)

It's not magic, it's external combustion!

I agree that civilians wouldn't have access to a tank or a drill or a warship. Althought, some wealthy warlord might have some ships and tanks at their disposal.  But the mechaisms exist to create tech for private use.  Or, private people could build their own airships to ride around in if they could afford it.  Also, it would be plausable that a well-off civilian could have a set of skis or a cooler.  No one is ever going to convince me that there isn't a large cooler in the Firelord's palace the size of a small house where Ozai keeps his favorite homemade ice creams and cakes. :) Reaching further, Sokka asked Fat to grab him a cold drink, implying that Piandao might have had a means of refrigeration.

ATLA's technologies could absolutely be repurposed for private use, but there's no hints of it happening throughout the series. Nobody seems interested in machines outside of their military potential, the Machinist and Teo being possible exceptions. Well-off people like Piandao are more interested in things like spirituality and the arts.

As for the cold drink -- note that refrigeration isn't necessary to store ice. For centuries, ice was harvested during winters and stored in ice houses. Cities even had ice deliveries before refrigerators became widespread.

There's obviously a class system in the FN.  Mai brought it up again in The Beach when she was talking about her parent's social climbing.  Yue was betrothed to Hahn just as Kana was betrothed to Pakku, so there's an implied social class in the NWT that's based on something that is causing these people to arrange their kids' marriages.  We've seen both wealthy and poor people in the FN and EK (outside of Ba Sing Se).  Ba Sing Se was just the most over-the-top example of these social and economic divisions. But they're there in every nation sans the Air Nomads and maybe the SWT before the North came to help them "rebuild".  Hahn called Sokka a "rube", and two of the people in the FN town where Aang went to school had bigoted attitudes toward colonials.  Given that there were animosity and bigotry from some people toward other groups within their own nations, it would be hard to imagine there wasn't a class system in play.

You're right about all those distinctions, but do they make a difference in terms of political power? Certainly within Ba Sing Se and the Fire Nation, but I would argue "not really" for the bulk of the Avatar world. Most people live in quaint villages where the wealthiest, most influential leaders have a strong sense of identity with the entire community. Given a huge luxury like electrification, it's hard to imagine an "I'll have mine, but you can't get yours because you're poor" scenario. This is partially due to the original series' generally lighthearted tone.

The Mechanist did design the drill. There's blueprints of it visible for a split second in his office. I never would have noticed that without the fandom pointing it out.
As Loopy said, the Mechanist did invent the drill.

Wow, nice catch! It's neat that the writers were already thinking so far ahead.

You guys are right about the Machinist, but I stand by my assessment of Sokka. ;D

And Ba Sing Se had at least basic printing-press technology as of Aang's arrival. Katara outright says, "We found a printer to make our posters." Daily newspapers might have been a bit much for that time period, but I admit I'm not very knowledgeable of the evolution of the printing press.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth15/earth15-817.jpg <-- Are those lights...greenish?  I mean, they could be powered by those glowing green chrystals that seem to be in the underground tunnels throughout the EK.  Probably gas, though. There was green fire in the Earth King's library, so probably just some weird green flame. I remembered them as looking like they had bulbs. So I assumed the Upper Ring had electricity while the Lower Ring was still slummin' it like it was the Dark Ages.

They're almost certainly gas, as are all lights in the Upper Ring. What gets me, again, is the lack of any visible electric infrastructure. Besides the wires, you also need transformers, substations, generators, etc. You could bury all of that out of sight with the help of bending, but why wouldn't they stick some of it in the crystal caves, where it could be hidden as well as easily maintained? And at this point in time I don't believe anyone in ATLA knows lightning bending outside of the Fire Nation royal family.

Another thought occurs to me -- telegraphs. If you have a power grid, you can also build telegraph communications. That surely would have been very valuable to the Avatar world.

Yes, I think they're powered by steam.  I literally forgot about all that steam coming off the boiling lake. :/  It would be cool, though, if the FN had figured out a way to tap into their thermal energy.  How would something like that work without using firebending?

Geothermal. Extract pressurized steam from the boiling water, and bam -- useful energy!

And Ba Sing Se had at least basic printing-press technology as of Aang's arrival. Katara outright says, "We found a printer to make our posters." Daily newspapers might have been a bit much for that time period, but I admit I'm not very knowledgeable of the evolution of the printing press.
Katara learned that Kuei was having a party for Bosco because she read about it in the paper.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-442.jpg
Looks like the morning edition was delivered.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-444.jpg
I assume this thick rolled-up thing was supposed to be a newspaper.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-456.jpg

It wouldn't surprise me if Ba Sing Se had a State Paper.  They were trying to contain and control information to the point of keeping important information from the Earth King himself.  A good way to do that is for the government to distribute the "news" to the masses.  I woldn't be surprised to learn that the FN had a similar paper that continued to pump out propaganda as "news".

Gosh, there's so little to work off of in the series, but I don't think any nation ever had "modern newspapers." For that, you need a modern printing press with movable type, which was not invented until the 15th century (the earliest newspapers came about in the 16th century). The flyers we do get to see, like the "lost Appa" one and the Ember Island Players poster seem to be based on woodblock printing, which was used for centuries in medieval East Asia. That's not to say ATLA-era periodicals are impossible, they would just be prohibitively expensive for anyone but governments to produce en masse. Maybe bending could help in some way.

ATLA's technology is all over the place -- fully functional airships and submarines, but no printing press. I think it goes to show how much of it was devoted to the sole purpose of waging war.

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SC

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Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 02:03:23 AM »
Or coal.  Haru's mom told them that [Firelord Ozai] was taking their coal to power his ships. In the finale, we saw that the airships were coal-powered as well.  But the drill was definately steam-powered.

Oh, to clarify: any coal-fired machine is just burning the coal to produce steam, hence it's also a steam engine. Besides coal, wood is another possible fuel. (Hmm, waterbenders can turn water into steam, but can they pressurize it?)

It's not magic, it's external combustion!

Gotcha! :D

I agree that civilians wouldn't have access to a tank or a drill or a warship. Althought, some wealthy warlord might have some ships and tanks at their disposal.  But the mechaisms exist to create tech for private use.  Or, private people could build their own airships to ride around in if they could afford it.  Also, it would be plausable that a well-off civilian could have a set of skis or a cooler.  No one is ever going to convince me that there isn't a large cooler in the Firelord's palace the size of a small house where Ozai keeps his favorite homemade ice creams and cakes. :) Reaching further, Sokka asked Fat to grab him a cold drink, implying that Piandao might have had a means of refrigeration.

ATLA's technologies could absolutely be repurposed for private use, but there's no hints of it happening throughout the series. Nobody seems interested in machines outside of their military potential, the Machinist and Teo being possible exceptions. Well-off people like Piandao are more interested in things like spirituality and the arts.

But surely the Master thirsts to crack open a cold with with the boys. ;)

Honestly, I don't think we can assume that Piandao or anyone wouldn't be interested in practical tech just because they meditate or light candles.  There's no reason why a person of means couldn'd enjoy modern comfort and also seek spiritual enlightenment.  I would argue that a person who rejects useful tech that can enhance the quality of their life isn't that enlightened.

As for the cold drink -- note that refrigeration isn't necessary to store ice. For centuries, ice was harvested during winters and stored in ice houses. Cities even had ice deliveries before refrigerators became widespread.

Yes, but in a place that is said to be hot all the time, it seems like refrigeration would be useful.  Do they even have winter in the Fire Nation?

There's obviously a class system in the FN.  Mai brought it up again in The Beach when she was talking about her parent's social climbing.  Yue was betrothed to Hahn just as Kana was betrothed to Pakku, so there's an implied social class in the NWT that's based on something that is causing these people to arrange their kids' marriages.  We've seen both wealthy and poor people in the FN and EK (outside of Ba Sing Se).  Ba Sing Se was just the most over-the-top example of these social and economic divisions. But they're there in every nation sans the Air Nomads and maybe the SWT before the North came to help them "rebuild".  Hahn called Sokka a "rube", and two of the people in the FN town where Aang went to school had bigoted attitudes toward colonials.  Given that there were animosity and bigotry from some people toward other groups within their own nations, it would be hard to imagine there wasn't a class system in play.

You're right about all those distinctions, but do they make a difference in terms of political power? Certainly within Ba Sing Se and the Fire Nation, but I would argue "not really" for the bulk of the Avatar world. Most people live in quaint villages where the wealthiest, most influential leaders have a strong sense of identity with the entire community. Given a huge luxury like electrification, it's hard to imagine an "I'll have mine, but you can't get yours because you're poor" scenario. This is partially due to the original series' generally lighthearted tone.

Yes, they probably made a difference in the NWT. Hahn was moving up because he was marrying a princess.  He even said he was looking forward to the "perks".  There is obviously something to be gained through betrothal.  In Hahn's case, it might have meant that he would be next in line as Chief.


And Ba Sing Se had at least basic printing-press technology as of Aang's arrival. Katara outright says, "We found a printer to make our posters." Daily newspapers might have been a bit much for that time period, but I admit I'm not very knowledgeable of the evolution of the printing press.
Katara learned that Kuei was having a party for Bosco because she read about it in the paper.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-442.jpg
Looks like the morning edition was delivered.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-444.jpg
I assume this thick rolled-up thing was supposed to be a newspaper.

http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth14/earth14-456.jpg

It wouldn't surprise me if Ba Sing Se had a State Paper.  They were trying to contain and control information to the point of keeping important information from the Earth King himself.  A good way to do that is for the government to distribute the "news" to the masses.  I woldn't be surprised to learn that the FN had a similar paper that continued to pump out propaganda as "news".

Gosh, there's so little to work off of in the series, but I don't think any nation ever had "modern newspapers." For that, you need a modern printing press with movable type, which was not invented until the 15th century (the earliest newspapers came about in the 16th century). The flyers we do get to see, like the "lost Appa" one and the Ember Island Players poster seem to be based on woodblock printing, which was used for centuries in medieval East Asia. That's not to say ATLA-era periodicals are impossible, they would just be prohibitively expensive for anyone but governments to produce en masse. Maybe bending could help in some way.

Which is why they might have only circulated them to the wealthy people living in the Upper Ring.

The flyers they had printed up were paper.
http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth17/earth17-13.jpg
http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth17/earth17-69.jpg

So, not only do they have the tech to mass-produce print, but this service is apparently available to private people.


ATLA's technology is all over the place -- fully functional airships and submarines, but no printing press. I think it goes to show how much of it was devoted to the sole purpose of waging war.

I agree that they used the bulk of it for war.  I'm just trying to figure out what they have and what they don't have.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 02:41:04 AM by SC »

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Loopy

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Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 06:53:08 PM »
I always thought that "newspaper" was meant to be mail of some kind, and the top sheet was the invitation. But Katara did seem to be picking it up in the morning, didn't she? Huh. Well, now I need to generate some headcanon about either early-morning mail delivery or the Upper Ring's "newsletter service."


Another thought occurs to me -- telegraphs. If you have a power grid, you can also build telegraph communications. That surely would have been very valuable to the Avatar world.

I introduced telegraphs into my Traitor's Face AU fanfic. However, I didn't want public-access electrical grids, so the backstory I've never revealed is that the Fire Nation military is keeping the infrastructure to itself, and gas lamps have already made enough inroads that no one is really pushing for electric lightbulbs. Plus, other circumstances are keeping things pretty gridlocked in terms of social and technological progress.

Really, it's a lot of mental gymnastics to allow people to send fast messages to each other without changing the setting too much. :D

Re: Tech In ATLA?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 02:18:13 AM »
As for the cold drink -- note that refrigeration isn't necessary to store ice. For centuries, ice was harvested during winters and stored in ice houses. Cities even had ice deliveries before refrigerators became widespread.

Yes, but in a place that is said to be hot all the time, it seems like refrigeration would be useful.  Do they even have winter in the Fire Nation?


They wouldn't have needed winter, either. Ice can also be harvested in mountains or transported from Fire Nation colonies. In medieval times, ice houses like this were used to store the stuff in warmer climates.

You're right about all those distinctions, but do they make a difference in terms of political power? Certainly within Ba Sing Se and the Fire Nation, but I would argue "not really" for the bulk of the Avatar world. Most people live in quaint villages where the wealthiest, most influential leaders have a strong sense of identity with the entire community. Given a huge luxury like electrification, it's hard to imagine an "I'll have mine, but you can't get yours because you're poor" scenario. This is partially due to the original series' generally lighthearted tone.

Yes, they probably made a difference in the NWT. Hahn was moving up because he was marrying a princess.  He even said he was looking forward to the "perks".  There is obviously something to be gained through betrothal.  In Hahn's case, it might have meant that he would be next in line as Chief.


Let me rephase: there are clearly political and social distinctions, but they make little difference in terms of how resources and technology get allocated to citizens. Again, look at Omashu; there's King Bumi, artisans, merchants, and all sorts of different social classes, yet their mail delivery system -- very spectacular, very efficient, and also very expensive -- still serves the entire city. Let's say Omashu suddenly discovers electricity. Would there be electrified neighborhoods and non-electrified slums? Maybe, but there's no precedent for that in the original series.

Now, regarding the newspaper tech...

Gosh, there's so little to work off of in the series, but I don't think any nation ever had "modern newspapers." For that, you need a modern printing press with movable type, which was not invented until the 15th century (the earliest newspapers came about in the 16th century). The flyers we do get to see, like the "lost Appa" one and the Ember Island Players poster seem to be based on woodblock printing, which was used for centuries in medieval East Asia. That's not to say ATLA-era periodicals are impossible, they would just be prohibitively expensive for anyone but governments to produce en masse. Maybe bending could help in some way.

Which is why they might have only circulated them to the wealthy people living in the Upper Ring.

The flyers they had printed up were paper.
http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth17/earth17-13.jpg
http://piandao.org/screenshots/earth/earth17/earth17-69.jpg

So, not only do they have the tech to mass-produce print, but this service is apparently available to private people.

Woodblock printing is printing with custom-made ink presses, not printing on wood blocks. ;) Movable type is much cheaper and more efficient because you can print a different document by rearranging the characters instead of carving another block.


If you look at the Wikipedia history for movable type in Asia (fascinating stuff), you'll notice the works have much simpler designs than the posters we see in the show. I think the writers just weren't thinking through the printing stuff. I still say the Earth Kingdom didn't have cheap, mass-produced newspapers, but I'm going to hand-wave "regularly produced documents for the nobility" as "maybe."


Really, it's a lot of mental gymnastics to allow people to send fast messages to each other without changing the setting too much. :D


Maybe that's why Hawky was a throwaway joke. ;D

 

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