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Questions tagged [alternate-earth]

For questions relating to radically changed Earth. This alternate Earth could be a post-apocalyptic Earth, or Earth with major changes in the current social/political/economical schemes.

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33 votes
16 answers
6k views

How could mankind of ancient times cause significant climate change?

They don't posses any advanced knowledge, their knowledge is in fact irrelevant, just their possible actions (it doesn't matter how irrational those actions might be) that would cause significant ...
user1878648's user avatar
33 votes
10 answers
6k views

How dangerous are animals with no history of human contact?

Wild animals like wolves, lions and bears rarely attack people. They behave as though they know humans are dangerous and generally best avoided. Imagine a group of people traveling sideways in time, ...
rwallace's user avatar
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32 votes
8 answers
5k views

Is there a reason why a country would only use open negotiations?

For plot reasons I need a country that will always negotiate with foreign delegations using open door policy. The media can watch and record the negotiations but they can't participate. Is there a ...
Dajanon's user avatar
  • 997
29 votes
17 answers
5k views

How to explain human life expectancy increase?

What could be most reasonable explanation for rapid increase in life expectancy for all people on earth? Some points: Effect can be increased over time: 100 years in 2020, 140 - in 2030.. and so on,...
Markus's user avatar
  • 528
28 votes
9 answers
4k views

Biplanes landing on top of skyscrapers by means of a wind tunnel in retro-future Earth

In a retro-future version of Earth, one of the main modes of air travel is by gasoline-powered biplane (design circa 1914). I want these to land in places where in real-life Earth only helicopters ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
3k views

How To Make Earth's Oceans as Brackish as Lyr's

Allow me to present Lyr, one of a handful of worlds crafted by artist Chris Wayan: The one detail among a vast many that is important to this question is that its salinity is about 1.5%, roughly half ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
22 votes
11 answers
4k views

Biological duck tape - how does it grow and how did it evolve?

Imagine vast areas covered in sheets of a (preferably grey) biological waterproof material that is stuck to the rocks below it. Humans come along at harvest time and cut these sheets into strips, peel ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
5k views

Finding real world historic examples of cultures/organizations/tribes to represent Orcs

I plan to make this a series of questions to avoid being overly broad. Each question will address a particular fantasy species ("race" in RPG terms). The traits will be based on the content included ...
James's user avatar
  • 32.9k
20 votes
9 answers
4k views

Economic super power with little political clout?

Is it possible for a country to be economic & technological super power but to have relatively little political clout? If its possible under what circumstances it could happen?
Dajanon's user avatar
  • 997
20 votes
4 answers
3k views

How would human civilisation develop with little iron?

Imagine a planet that's identical in pretty much every aspect (including Homo Sapiens) to our own current Earth, with only a single exception - the continental crust has, for whatever reason, much ...
BIOStheZerg's user avatar
  • 1,475
18 votes
10 answers
2k views

Is there a way to have coal but not oil?

Reading this answer I realized that for my purposes I don't really want a fully steampunk world. All I want is lack of cars and planes as we know them, and lack of oil, or inaccessible deposits of oil,...
Mołot's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
2k views

Assuming a flat world and no obstacles, how far could you see?

I know this question has been asked in similar places, but I'm after a specific part of the problem. Assuming the following: Perfectly flat, infinite world Earth's atmosphere Sun directly overhead of ...
Cygnus X-1's user avatar
17 votes
13 answers
2k views

Noah's flood actually happened. When does science prove that it happened?

Plot Noah's Flood actually happened more or less as written. Suddenly appearing flood waters covered the Earth, excepting a few mountain tops, and all land animals had to wait it out on an Ark. The ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.5k
17 votes
5 answers
4k views

Could deliberately induced Kessler Syndrome stop ICBMs?

In a previous question I asked how Mutually Assured Destruction could be made not assured. Most of the highly rated answers focused on political methods, but one answer raised the possibility that ...
walrus's user avatar
  • 3,529
13 votes
13 answers
6k views

Is this state of Earth possible, after humans left for a million years?

It is the year 4056 (or probably later). The rocket with the last residents of Earth just took off, because global warming and pollution couldn't be stopped nor reverted and Earth became uninhabitable....
Gistiv's user avatar
  • 351
13 votes
23 answers
6k views

Reasons why a high tech species does not have space travel

I am writing a story where humanity has advanced technology, but I want to give a justification for why they are still on their planet. Here humanity has advanced ai, superconductors, laser weapons ...
Eddy96's user avatar
  • 169
13 votes
19 answers
4k views

What aspect of planet Earth must be changed to prevent the industrial revolution?

I am thinking of a planet (I suppose one would call it a parallel earth) where the industrial revolution never happens, and people live with 1700s technology forever. What differences in resources/...
Sheikchilli's user avatar
13 votes
13 answers
2k views

In a world of groovy super spies, how would a spy cross a ravine?

I'm developing an alternate Earth where super spies exist. Men and women of extraordinary skill with extraordinary gadgets who act in extraordinary ways to protect the proverbial "King and ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 125k
13 votes
5 answers
1k views

An Inverse Great Dying

252 million years ago, the worst event in the history of life on Earth occurred. 70% of all terrestrial species and 96% of all marine species became extinct through, according to geological records, ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Would it be possible to turn off a small country's internet from the outside? [closed]

Let's say a country is going through political turmoil because a big enough part of the population wants to split off from it and form their own national identity, and they succeed. Let's call the ...
catto's user avatar
  • 121
11 votes
11 answers
4k views

Would human civilization develop at a slower pace if Earth was 5.8x larger?

EDIT: Calculations were incorrect, the earth in my comic is not 5.8x larger, it is 2.4x larger. Its surface area is 5.8x larger but the diameter is 2.4x larger. Anyway I'm working on a comic that ...
JordanTheCynic's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

Could a planet have a naturally occuring moon at one of its Lagrange points?

Would it be possible for a planet to naturally have a moon or large natural satellite at one of its Lagrange points? If so would it then also be able to have a second moon that would be orbiting this ...
Frotzie's user avatar
  • 111
11 votes
8 answers
3k views

What key invention allows the exploration of my hot humid world?

I want to know what key invention would allow my civilization to travel down to and explore its world at sea level. This is similar to my previous question* but this time does not assume metals are in ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.6k
11 votes
4 answers
265 views

Utility of a domesticated dwarf elephant

In prehistoric times, there used to be a dwarf elephant species in many Mediterranean islands. They were about 1.5-2 meters high, but probably became extinct before the arrival of the first human ...
McTroopers's user avatar
  • 7,459
10 votes
11 answers
5k views

Are airships practical in a world without much metal?

Following on from my previous question about airship engines, I was planning to limit the development of the internal combustion engine and much modern technology in my world by greatly restricting ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.6k
10 votes
9 answers
2k views

How to slow and limit the scope of the internal combustion engine in powering an airship

I need to limit the development of the internal combustion engine so that it is only available in small numbers to few individuals and does not progress technically, or at least only progresses slowly....
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.6k
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Could Cats Add Lots of Plants to Their Diet?

Because nature is never straightforward, there are different levels of carnivores. On the lowest rung of the ladder are the hypocarnivores, in which meat can't take any more than 30% of their caloric ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Could humans wipe out all remaining wild vertebrates on Earth in one year, if no effort is spared in doing so?

Humans already exterminated more than 50 % of wild vertebrates individuals since 1970 1, 2. I was wondering if it is possible to wipe out the remaining 50 % in less than a year ? Note that, in this ...
user53220's user avatar
  • 2,137
10 votes
2 answers
694 views

Nocturnal Photosynthesis

It's a basic fact that most plants need sunlight to generate growth. Sure, they also need water and nutrients, but their reliance on sunlight is the one sole thing that separates them from animals. ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
10 votes
2 answers
852 views

What would be the minimum percentage of water for a livable earth?

I am writing a small piece of fiction for a game. I wanted to describe it as much as possible. The setting is Earth, more than a milenia after an event of cataclysmic proportions that made the planet ...
Victor Matheus's user avatar
9 votes
8 answers
2k views

Is it plausible for a tribe to have a standing army?

I'm creating a parallel world inspired by migration period in the dark ages. I have a tribe that has a something akin to standing army consisting of infantry cavalry rangers Wealthier clan leaders ...
migration era's user avatar
9 votes
10 answers
1k views

What factors would limit the size of an ancient wagon and how big could they get?

I would like to create a setting where it would have been beneficial to use very large wagons. You are free to choose the setting, cargo and route, within the limitations below. The wagons don’t have ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.6k
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Could a river civilization develop in a cold desert climate?

There seems to be a trend with the oldest civilizations (Civilizations being urbanized societies with a government and social heirarchy) starting around river valleys surrounded by desert; the ...
Tateran's user avatar
  • 93
9 votes
6 answers
1k views

How could a world develop where it was necessary to mine all soil for agricultural use

I want to create a world were soil mining is a major industry. Imagine a vaguely Earth sized world where almost the entire surface of the planet is under, ocean, ice caps or is a hot or cold desert ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.6k
9 votes
5 answers
513 views

What do I need to consider for a justice system for powered people by powered people?

In one of my stories, there are people with powers. Inherited from parent to child or through accident and experimentation. There's the main government like ours, and a para-military agency ...
SKKennell's user avatar
  • 1,713
9 votes
1 answer
350 views

How large can differences in gravity be without being overly dangerous to humans?

Let's imagine a planet that is 5000 km in diameter but has the mass of the Earth. I'd imagine standing on that planet might feel similar to standing on the Earth, because the gravity would be ...
overlord's user avatar
  • 6,282
9 votes
2 answers
218 views

What geological and chemical changes to the earth's makeup could effectively limit technological advancement

Basically, I want to freeze the technology of earth at a level reminiscent of pre-Industrial Revolution Europe. I'm trying to figure out what substance or material would have to be absent from the ...
John Doe's user avatar
  • 363
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Possible height and size of a giant tree on an Earth-like planet?

I'm working on a story about another dimension of this same Earth but without the same human development and history. The land and natural conditions would be the same except for the ones directly ...
Sombrapluma's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is there dense, non flammable gas that I can cover the Earth in?

This question is related to Deadly, Heavier than Air Gas, and Is a world with two different types of air possible? but has several different criteria. I've also looked at https://chemistry....
walrus's user avatar
  • 3,529
8 votes
5 answers
318 views

A Pangaean civilization has its land split apart by something

I want to write a story that has a Pangaean like world, but human civilization already existed during that era. Basically, the earth just has one giant piece of land while the rest is the sea. People ...
not chocobo's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
167 views

How far across the sea can mosquitoes disperse?

One of the more interesting facts about the biogeography of Hawaii is that mosquitoes were not always present; they only arrived in the early nineteenth century, as stowaways aboard oceangoing ships. ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 4,906
8 votes
1 answer
420 views

Is this a plausible timeline if the United States legalized prior restraint following the Pentagon Papers?

In actual history, the Supreme Court ruled in 1971 in New York Times v. US that prior restraint is illegal, upholding its earlier decision in 1931 in Near v. Minnesota. In my alternate history, the ...
DonielF's user avatar
  • 796
8 votes
1 answer
703 views

How far could you see the Andes from the Pacific on a flat Earth?

Several questions on related subtopics of vision distance on a flat world have been asked before, but this one remains unaddressed. Specifically: The answer from Euclidean geometry would be infinite (...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 4,906
8 votes
3 answers
431 views

Planetizing the World of Jack and the Beanstalk: How Small is Too Small?

We all know the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk--a farmboy sells his cow for some "magic beans", which in turn grow into a mountainously tall stalk that led him to the land of a giant. Now, ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
8 votes
1 answer
429 views

The Great Oxidation Event...Artificially Imposed on a Tharn-Like Alternate Earth

From 2.4 to either 2.1 or two billion years ago, Earth underwent a surge in a waste product that we know as "oxygen". Before that, life thrived in an ocean rich with iron under an atmosphere loaded ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
8 votes
2 answers
321 views

Ice coverage of a horizontal torus planet

How much ice would a torus planet be covered in if it rotated horizontally without a tilt such that its inner region never sees sunlight? It's basically earth but as a torus and a completely '...
Rubrikon's user avatar
  • 1,483
7 votes
5 answers
1k views

How can my fictional race of humans extend the area of their world they can explore?

This world is an alternate Earth similar size, mass and distance from its star to our Earth. The atmosphere is similar in composition to Earth except at 5000m altitude the pressure is two bar and the ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.6k
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can Apes (Including Humans) Be Naturally Patterned Like Felids?

For visual reference: Apes are visual species who rely more on their eyesight than any of the other senses. As a result, they see the world in three shades of color, whereas other mammals see in one ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
7 votes
3 answers
873 views

These Primates Don't Look Like Primates. How to Fix Them

For years, I've been building and rebuilding an alternate Earth. The point of departure is 56 million years ago, when the hottest episode in the last 100 million years, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
7 votes
7 answers
608 views

Could an intelligent worm-like race invent and build computers?

We have a regular Earth as we know it, but instead of humans, there is this worm-like race, intelligent similarly as nowadays humans. Their inner physiology is different from our worms (and not ...
TGar's user avatar
  • 1,388

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