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Questions tagged [electricity]

For questions regarding the generation or flow of electrical charge.

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87
votes
12answers
15k views

Building a phone charger 500 years ago

Imagine a theoretical scenario where I am transported backwards in time 500 years with nothing but a mobile phone containing all of human knowledge. Clearly I want access to this valuable resource but ...
57
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12answers
12k views

Charging phone in medieval times

Let's say I somehow got transported to medieval times. I have my phone, laptop or other devices with rechargeable batteries, but I forgot to take my solar chargers. Luckily, my every device is powered ...
53
votes
10answers
11k views

Does my shipboard computer slow down as I approach light speed?

This question about time dilation got me thinking. The speed of an electron through copper is a whole heckofa lot slower than the speed of light, but if I understand the limits of relativity ...
40
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11answers
9k views

How do I explain a unicorn discharging powerful electricity at a distance?

I am thinking of copying the design of an electric eel to create the horn, however as air is not a good conductor of electricity it cannot discharge any electrical shock unless there is a physical ...
40
votes
10answers
9k views

Do all devices go out at the same time in an EMP attack?

Is there an order in which different kinds of (unshielded) electric devices go out in the event of a high altitude EMP? For example, first small gadgets, then electric vehicles, then grids. Or do all ...
40
votes
7answers
11k views

I was thrown into the middle ages, how do I power my time machine?

I forgot to charge my time machine and now I'm sitting in medieval Europe and need to recharge the batteries. Luckily, those are only car batteries and not the old plutonium powered ones. What's the ...
35
votes
7answers
8k views

How far can a time traveller go into the past before his electrical equipment becomes unchargeable?

My time traveller has a maybe 20-minutes-into-the-future smartphone and laptop. They can store large amounts of data, on the Petabytes level or higher. The time traveller can effectively store the ...
32
votes
9answers
5k views

How useful would a hydroelectric power plant be in the post-apocalypse world?

The details don't matter, just that a large fraction of people have died (let's say 90%) and society has completely collapsed. It's only a year or two later, and people have started to gather ...
32
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8answers
6k views

Can we 'beam' energy from the moon?

Really can't believe I have to edit this in, but this question has no bearing on our current use and generation of nuclear energy on Earth. There are dangers to nuclear energy generation, or we would ...
26
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10answers
10k views

Advantages of an electrified sword?

So I want my rabbits to have lightning swords. Well it's not literally a blade of plasma but just a metal sword that has a current flowing through it. What kind of advantages would the weapon bring ...
26
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8answers
4k views

Extremely compact nuclear reactor?

Realistically, how small can a nuclear reactor get (fission or fusion)? Truck sized? Table top? Mr. Fusion? AAA Battery? Are there other physical limits when we include human safety issues? Let'...
26
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5answers
2k views

Solar flares: “the week the earth stood still”

I've been hearing and reading about that solar flare in 2012 that could have sent us back to the 18th century, by causing huge geomagnetic storms which would have prevented (every?) electricity-based ...
25
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16answers
8k views

A fruit that electrically shocks you

I want my world to contain a fruit that electrically shocks you to the point where it's painful, whenever you bite into it. Now, there are many organisms in nature that produce sensations similar to ...
25
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11answers
4k views

How would relatively cheap and abundant (but not free or limitless) electrical energy at an up-front cost impact society?

A group of scientists has been slaving away largely in obscurity for two decades, with very few publishable results. Suddenly, one of them has an epiphany, which turns out to be instrumental to ...
24
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16answers
5k views

Why would we use direct current instead of alternating current?

What could be reasons to use direct current in the distribution of power? I know that it is more efficient to distribute current at high voltages to reduce heat loss and that it is easier to step up ...
22
votes
8answers
9k views

Metal Armour vs lightning strikes?

So I'm thinking about having my race of lightning wielding rabbits wear metal armour. The first one that came to mind was gold. And then a quick Google search later told me gold is one of the best ...
21
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7answers
5k views

Would a large number of people simultaneously turning on a load of 3 kW be sufficient to bring down the electricity grid across 500 sq km?

Sabotaging the electric network is kind of a well established scheme: find a node of the network, put some explosive on the pole and take it down (or the like). The network is gone for a while. Now ...
19
votes
8answers
12k views

Car headlights in a world without electricity

In a world like ours in the 1980s, but which for whatever reason does not use any form of electricity. (Either it does not exist or batteries and generators etc have not been invented.) For purposes ...
19
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6answers
35k views

What would happen if electricity stopped working?

Blackouts happen all the time locally, but what would the implications of a world-wide, indefinite blackout be? Here is a spark from the fire of what could happen: (obviously) lights go out no air ...
18
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8answers
5k views

How can you justify a steampunk society in which electricity exists and the understanding to use it (though rudimentary) is present?

In most modern steampunk settings you see rudimentary use of electricity (a good example is Dishonored) however, no one seems to be too interested in advancing electric technology beyond very crude ...
17
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10answers
5k views

Electric power system connecting the Earth and the Moon

It’s year 2050 and within 10 years, all fossil fuels will be used up. All countries signed an agreement to approve an international construction, described as follows: A track will be built on the ...
17
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5answers
3k views

What would happen to a human if he steps inside a zone that strips electrons?

PREMISE The zone will make all electrons disappear. QUESTIONS If a person walks in that zone with his whole body, would he die from heart failure? What happens if he just sticks his hand in? Hand ...
17
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5answers
2k views

What's the most convenient time of year in the USA to end the world?

This is a question I've been wondering about for a while. If I wanted to give my characters the best possible chance of surviving my story's Armageddon, what time of year should I schedule it for? ...
17
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5answers
1k views

Would solar cells last?

Post-apocalypse how well would photo-voltaic solar cells hold up? They are solid state so I expect they would do okay for a while, but would they remain functional for 100+ years. I know that dust ...
17
votes
1answer
542 views

Electricity without electrons

The universe so far: If charged lepton fields are eliminated from the universe, charged pions become stable (having no decay path that preserves charge), replacing electrons to form bound "atomic" ...
16
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11answers
10k views

What production of power would be most efficient in a zombie apocalypse?

In a zombie apocalypse scenario, power is important. It charges your lights, powers your communication, along with the possibility of defensive use as in tasers and electric fences. Electricity can ...
16
votes
10answers
3k views

Imagining a Solar-Powered Economy

For a writing challenge, I'm trying to create a near-future world (2030 or so) where the major Western nations have transitioned to a fully solar economy. Hence the rub. The realist in me is aware of ...
16
votes
11answers
5k views

How to harness electricity from crystals?

One of the features in my world is a crystal cave. The crystal is mined to be used as a source of electricity. I want this electricity to power up simple electric devices, some sort of light bulb. I ...
14
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10answers
2k views

How does the Ash Manor get electricity?

Previously on the same setting (: How close is too close for a human habitation to be near an erupting volcano? What factors could delay the rescue of a small group of survivors on a Pacific volcanic ...
13
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10answers
4k views

What power plant is the easiest to reboot and run by Average Joe?

Question inspired by questions about best power source for zombie apocalypse and mine question about rebooting the nuclear power plant: Setup: Deadly virus wiped out 80% of population. We are ...
13
votes
9answers
5k views

What kind of event could stop electricity?

I know things like bombing the major power plants and things like that could temporarily stop electricity production, but I'm talking about changing the way it works. Like we can no longer use any ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Does the sun being blocked affect electricity?

I feel like this is the most noobish question ever. Anyway, imagine an asteroid hits Earth and the atmosphere is now full of particles, successfully blocking the Sun from Earth. There are people still ...
13
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3answers
2k views

How do you power a cyborg?

In this answer about how to design the ideal cyborg, I said: ... Use electric tissue to power the machines. Cyborgs need some way to generate electricity when mechanical parts are involved. ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Would it be possible to use geothermal energy on mars?

If we were gonna develop a colony on mars would it be possible to explore geothermal energy and would it be viable? (Assuming we could transport the required equipment) Edit: Recently I found this ...
13
votes
1answer
915 views

Would it be possible for a non-aquatic species to exhibit bioelectrogenesis?

This is my first post on these forums, sorry if I've accidentally overlooked any rules or etiquette. Please let me know if more detail is necessary or would be helpful. This question is about a ...
12
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7answers
4k views

What size EMP device would be necessary to wipe all data in a Google-sized server farm, without major physical damage?

I'm not sure if it's even feasible, but I have a server farm in my book, of a size that puts it on par with Google's. I want to wipe out all the data stored on the hard drives, without destroying the ...
12
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6answers
3k views

What would be the state of society without semiconductors? [closed]

So let's say that we never figure out how to purify silicon and germanium to the levels required to make transistors. This would readily happen in a technical culture that wanted clear and quick ...
12
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5answers
799 views

Lightning-Powered Renaissance Golem Army

The massive Golems are nearly impervious to harm. Thanks to the New Golem Army, the nascent Dutch Republic's castles and forts are now safe from harm. The century-long external threat has been finally ...
11
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7answers
4k views

How to make a superhero with electrical powers fly?

I'm writing a novel in which one of the characters has the ability to control, manipulate, and produce electricity. I'm having issues working about scenes which require him to fly around without ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How could an underwater civilization develop electricity?

Electricity pervades our daily lives, and makes possible a lot of technological achievements. Harnessing it helps the development of any civilization. The thing is, water - especially sea water - is a ...
10
votes
7answers
940 views

What's a plausible way prove the existence of the “electron” to the doubters? [closed]

So, at many colleges in the North American region, most famously the New Jerusalem University and Chicago Collegium, much old world, pre-apocalyptic information is often taught at schools, including ...
10
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5answers
2k views

How can I generate electricity inside a cave network?

After a particularly large bombing raid during a war, a mountainous rural region is left mostly destroyed. Villages are in ruins, bands of survivors look everywhere for food and shelter, and all hope ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Arctic Airships, Part 1 - Generating Electricity

This is the first question in my Arctic Airships series of questions. The second one is Arctic Airships, Part 2 - Navigation. The premise: An Earth-like planet plunged into an ice age roughly 2,000 ...
10
votes
2answers
285 views

Electric Universe: can an object be pinned at a solar pole with magnetic flux?

In an Electric Universe, where space is plasma soup and electromagnetism is the "magic" that can defeat the laws of physics, all stars are connected by invisible Birkland currents. Picture the rope ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a biological creature detect and absorb electricity from power sources?

Is it possible (either through genetic engineering or evolution) for a biological creature to be able to detect and absorb electricity from power sources like batteries or other animals? I know that ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

For how long would electricity and internet be avaliable if all but one human on Earth were gone?

In my story all humans except one vanished suddenly. This one received the gift of immortality and is now alone in this world. Considering that the world is identical to ours. How much time does this ...
9
votes
5answers
248 views

Are handheld electric weapons realistic?

I want to use Teslapunk weapons in my semi-realistic science fantasy RPG that behave somewhat like flamethrowers, in the aspect that they fire out a branching arc of raw electricity. It would ...
9
votes
4answers
309 views

A character suffers little to no injury from channeling electrical energy. What would voltage and amperage feel like?

In a world where magic exists, a specific character can channel electricity in whatever way you might imagine. They are relatively immune to suffering physical injury even for high voltage or current. ...
9
votes
2answers
133 views

How to design an electrical grid for a flare star planet?

The most popular type of stars are red dwarves, which regrettably tend to be flare stars. Yes, I know that geomagnetic storms and power lines do not like each other. Technology level: More or less ...
8
votes
10answers
2k views

Can a society with no electricity develop modern weaponry?

If electricity didn't exist or behaved differently, would a society be able to develop and reliably produce modern-level guns and other weaponry, like assault rifles and missiles?