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Questions tagged [communication]

For questions relating to the exchange of ideas and information between beings.

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198
votes
21answers
18k views

How can a Horror from Beyond Reason reliably communicate with mortals?

Jimmy is an Eldritch Monstrosity. Jimmy has a Red Ball. Jimmy wants someone to play with him and his Red Ball. All of Jimmy's friends are busy trying to Overturn the Cosmic Order and bring Chaos ...
177
votes
21answers
21k views

How might modern humans leave a message for 50,000 years?

I recently played my way through the Mass Effect game series, and one of the ideas I found most intriguing was the emphasis placed on "time capsules" sent from one cycle to the next: not only did ...
167
votes
23answers
38k views

If everyone in the world disappeared except 35 random people, how long would it take for one of them to realize they're not alone?

Everyone suddenly disappears from earth except 35 people randomly scattered wherever they were before everyone disappeared. How long would it take on average for 2 or more people to meet? What other ...
147
votes
23answers
16k views

How to take down the internet?

The internet is a mesh or "net" of computers, all constantly establishing and re-establishing connections with each other. For this reason, only temporarily do servers go down, before they are back up ...
119
votes
21answers
19k views

My carrier pigeons have been replaced by spoons: how can I send messages? [closed]

Yup. All my pigeons are now spoons. I knew my court alchemist was a sore loser, but I still think it's inappropriate to do that for a chess game. He vanished and I no longer have any means to ...
110
votes
22answers
15k views

How can a race of eldritch abominations help humanity?

A society of your typical beings from beyond the veil of reality have recently encountered the bounderies of the realm humans call home. They studied our universe, via their own incomprehensible ...
110
votes
8answers
33k views

How far back in time would English be understandable to a modern speaker?

As we all know, language in England has changed massively over the centuries. How far back would someone be able to travel in time and still have a basic understanding of what most people are saying?...
75
votes
5answers
7k views

How quickly and accurately should news travel in a rural medieval setting?

I'd like to have a realistic idea of how, and how accurately, ordinary people in a rural low-tech (medieval-equivalent) setting should expect to hear news from outside their own communities. If you ...
70
votes
15answers
11k views

How can an unimaginably huge life form reliably communicate with mortals?

The Starmakers are vast. Stars are their seeds, supernovae their hatching. Unimaginable millennia pass before they even begin to blink at their neighbours, and they do not die, merely pass along their ...
67
votes
29answers
13k views

How to monetize magical mirrors in today's world?

This is kinda a followup question to my earlier question about magical mirrors: Magical internet - unique addressing system Two months ago, I discovered an ancient house in the middle of woods. As I ...
56
votes
26answers
9k views

FTL travel is impossible. How is interstellar trade possible?

Assume a universe depressingly like ours, in which special relativity holds. No hyperspace, no warp drive, no wormholes, and even the limited get-out clauses offered by real world physics either don't ...
53
votes
20answers
10k views

How would an order of Monks that renounce their names communicate effectively?

In my fantasy world there exists an order of monks known as the Noncara/Non Cara (haven't decided which form looks better). The Non Cara practice a theology based solely on works. By this I mean: ...
44
votes
11answers
11k views

How to avoid the language barrier when there is no time to learn the other language?

In my medieval world, population A and population B have not had any contacts for thousands of years. But pressing events will make them look for each other. However when they meet... how are they ...
44
votes
6answers
6k views

How Could A Time Traveller Communicate With Neanderthals?

Context: Your spaceship encountered a Grade III Anomaly (now you really wish you'd have read the darn safety manual to figure out what that would be -- too late now). Structural integrity of the ...
39
votes
13answers
9k views

What Time is it IN SPACE?

So, let's assume you've cobbled together an interplanetary empire without using transportation methods that violate causality or have the power to blow up stars. You may feel pretty proud of yourself, ...
37
votes
11answers
11k views

How would two ships travelling at light speed communicate with one another?

Supposed we have a ship travelling at the speed of light, or very close to it, or over. A second ship is travelling behind it at the same speed. The second ship wishes to communicate something to ...
35
votes
21answers
12k views

Lying is illegal. How to make joking not an offence?

In the society I am building it is illegal for a government official to lie (this isn't a reaction to real world politics; I've been building this world for a while), while speaking/acting as ...
34
votes
18answers
5k views

Lighthouse Alternatives

In my pre-electricity world, fast communication is achieved by means of lighthouses, each being able to direct strong and precise beams of light towards distantly visible lighthouses. However a ...
34
votes
19answers
4k views

Which current networking protocol would be the optimal choice for very small FTL bandwidth?

Possibly a dumb and outsider question, but my knowledge in the basics of computer networks is terrible. Imagine the possibly not too original concept, that humanity somehow manages to transmit data ...
33
votes
20answers
7k views

Could a Universal Translator be used to decipher encryption?

This question:Why would a language be untranslatable by universal (machine) translator? inspired me to consider, if one possessed a universal translator, is it reasonable to consider that it could be ...
31
votes
25answers
8k views

Aliens are on their way. What can cause them to not understand us?

This question continues the premise set in my previous question, but do not worry, I will try to tell the most important bits: There is intelligent alien race about 30 light years away from us. They ...
31
votes
16answers
6k views

Why would robots use verbal communication?

Robots (intelligent machines using some form of artificial intelligence), are central to the plot in a snippet I'm working on. These robots do not have to interact with humans on a regular basis: ...
30
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a scientifically plausible faster-than-light communication system?

In series such as the Hyperion Cantos and Ender's Game, there exist fictional faster-than-light communication systems allowing either instantaneous, or near-instantaneous transmission of information. ...
29
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10answers
10k views

How far back in time would Maths be understandable to a modern mathematician?

Shamelessly inspired by this question (sorry), but I got this question after Michael gave a answer - my mathematician would essentially have to relearn maths, as mathematics in Ancient Greece is ...
29
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7answers
6k views

How far away could two countries be to have a relationship in ancient times?

Nowadays distance between countries doesn't matter too much. One of the United State's worst enemies is on the other side of the world! There have been wars that are fought thousands of miles away ...
28
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12answers
4k views

How would interstellar internet work?

When there are spaceships in our solar system, we receive data in intervals, depending on how far they are. Problem is, internet has to be faster. In an intergalactic union, how would a person play ...
26
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12answers
8k views

Humans meet a distant alien species. How do they standardize? - Units of Measure

Humans meet some distant alien species. They are mutual first contacts. After learning the languages of each other, they begin to share scientific and engineering knowledge with one another, but here'...
26
votes
10answers
7k views

How could you create a 95% effective global emergency broadcasting system?

THIS IS A TEST of the Galactic Emergency Alert system No action is required. Type: Milkyway Empire The World In the near future: we discover FTL we run into some friendly aliens that are ...
26
votes
11answers
5k views

Recognizable natural numbers for alien message?

It’s rather cliché that an alien message would use a value like π (actually I expect it to be 2π because Earthlings are weird), but in my story the message which contains the bootstrap information for ...
25
votes
20answers
8k views

Self-destructing messages

I need a way to send messages that can only be viewed once, and then become permanently unreadable (physical media destroyed, encrypted, any method as long as the message cannot be feasibly recovered ...
25
votes
17answers
7k views

Need a way for Earth not to detect an extrasolar civilization that has radio

The exposition is that a civilization exists about 200 light years from earth and has been capable of radio communication for several thousands of years. They are not trying to hide from detection but ...
25
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10answers
7k views

How would the software industry react if Stack Overflow was no longer available for use? [closed]

Nowadays Stack Overflow is a common place for programmers to solve their problems. Most of the companies such as Microsoft, Telerik, etc. encourage discussion on Stack Overflow about coding relating ...
25
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9answers
3k views

Can we have a meaningful cultural exchange with aliens if we never meet?

Humans have finally made contact with aliens! We've just received a signal from a civilization somewhere in the Orion Nebula. It contains a message from their civilization, talking a bit about their ...
25
votes
2answers
53k views

Are ravens a genuinely realistic way of carrying messages?

In many fantasy worlds people send messages using ravens, they're often portrayed as being intelligent birds. To the best of my knowledge, on earth only homing pigeons have been used to carry ...
24
votes
14answers
6k views

Is it possible for a planet’s climate to block, or at least make wireless communication irrelevant?

So, I’m writing a sci-fi story, which has a setting which involves human colonists crash landing on a massive, icy hellhole. The weather is extreme on the surface, and because of it, wireless ...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

How to improve TCP/IP for an interplanetary WAN?

Background It is the near future. After a major world war and limited nuclear exchange, the nations of Earth have consolidated into a few blocs. The threat of further war and the cumulative damage to ...
23
votes
13answers
6k views

Most bit efficient text communication method?

What would be the most efficient text communication method for a spacecraft operating on a super low bit rate (I'm talking something like 5 bits an hour, excluding error handling)? As you want both ...
23
votes
10answers
6k views

How would a very large, sentient spider communicate?

I am world building/culture building for a story that I'm writing and one of the races/sapient species is patterned after spiders. I'm willing to take a lot of liberties with the physiology (for ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

How (if at all) would being able to speak and listen simultaneously alter the structure and development of language?

Spoken communication requires human beings to be able to do two separate things: The first is to understand what is being said to them (including isolating the sound of the other person's voice from ...
22
votes
21answers
11k views

How long can my small American city be without Internet access? [closed]

Let us say that I want a somewhat isolated farming city to lose Internet access for an extended period of time. The requirement is that all Internet access into the town have been cut off by some ...
22
votes
12answers
4k views

Is it possible for a large pre-electricity empire to stay in touch?

Background Information In my world, there is one spherical world that is 2,000,000 miles in diameter and has the same land-to-sea ratio as the earth. On this world , there is a civilization of elves ...
22
votes
11answers
4k views

How would an advanced civilization have constant communication between planets?

In this universe humans have advanced far enough to be able to colonize planets in our system but not enough to do interstellar travel. Earth is united and they have moved beyond countries and borders....
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Living Planet Possible?

Although a question about how large a living thing could be has been asked and answered, would a being such as Mogo from DC's Green Lantern series be possible? Mogo is the size of Earth roughly can ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

Looking for a soft substance that doesn't dissolve underwater

I'm writing a story that takes place entirely underwater, mostly in a deep sea town and shallower city. Both are underwater and populated by beings who can survive underwater. My thinking is that ...
21
votes
12answers
5k views

Summoning A Technology Based Demon

I have a world where the "supernatural" is all sufficiently advanced technology. With examples like Gods, Demons, and Angels are AI's whose physical forms are swarms of nanobots/nanites. This being ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

In Space, how can they hear me scream?

One property of life is communication. In particular sound is very useful due to it's non-directional nature. An alarm call is heard by every member of the pack and warns them immediately of the ...
20
votes
17answers
5k views

How to make a language evolve quickly?

Imagine a world in which the language barrier is a means of propaganda defence. In this world, one of the primary concerns of each country is the migration of natives, since they know their native ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Alien message: arrows and sequence order

This is part of my Alien Message series: Recognizable natural numbers for alien message? Alien message: “Invitation” I recall a TV show featuring a discussion on the design of warning messages for ...
18
votes
9answers
5k views

Non-visual Computers - thoughts?

TL;DR Let's say that computers were invented at a school for the blind in mid-1800s. How would today's technology, based on these non-screen-based computers, be different? ETA: To clarify and ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

Ancient-Roman-type Postal Service with Rats as Couriers

Background In the Great City the underground sewers extend to all but the most impoverished households. Most dwellings have an outside privy for their needs as indoor toilets are relatively new. The ...