Questions tagged [humans]

For questions about humans as we know them or slightly changed, their physiology, psychology, politics, society and goals.

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154 votes
20 answers
108k views

What is the minimum human population necessary for a sustainable colony?

How many humans are needed in order to sustain and grow a steady population in a habitable area? Assume resources are adequate and the environment is favorable. To further refine this question, let'...
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134 votes
23 answers
28k views

What could people notice about someone who is two times as dense as a regular person?

I've got a group of magical people living mostly incognito in an ancient society. They look and act exactly the same as regular people, but they are really magicians, and a side effect of having those ...
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127 votes
15 answers
11k views

Why would characters spend time answering imaginary questions to fictional hypotheticals?

I'm developing a simulation where characters, "users", are interacting over a virtual communication network. "Users" have the option to engage in any activity they want at any time, as long as the ...
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125 votes
23 answers
20k views

How can a Dragon keep humanity in check?

I am a Dragon and I have an infestation problem in my world. Currently, I am the single one of my kind and your representation of a dragon in movie Desolation of Smaug is fairly accurate only there's ...
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118 votes
17 answers
15k views

How many humans can I abduct without getting noticed?

Humans as Pets is now a thing. But not for AI (as in the linked question) but for the aliens. This celebrity was seen with their human pet and now every alien kid is begging their parent to get one ...
78 votes
12 answers
11k views

How does the government cover up alien crash landings?

One night a spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin crash-landed in the densely populated city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The force of the impact leveled the entire city within a radius of 1 ...
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76 votes
9 answers
18k views

If the insects declared war, who would win?

It is the near future and insectoid aliens pass our planet. They are shocked and dismayed to find that disgusting fleshy creatures seem to be in charge. Using their alien technology they imbue all of ...
73 votes
32 answers
21k views

Why Would Aliens Enslave Humans?

Often in science fiction, we see aliens enslaving humans for one reason or another. This is a trope I'm attempting to repurpose, but before I go any farther, I'd like to ask: what possible motive or ...
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65 votes
30 answers
10k views

How can humans coexist with an intelligent carnivorous species?

This is about a world which is quite similar to Earth in many respects. It has continents, oceans, mountains, fjords, humans, and every other property Slartibartfast might be more or less proud of in ...
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63 votes
14 answers
12k views

What is the minimum radius of a circular corridor for the walls to appear straight?

Where am I? It is so dark around here... Hopefully I have a torch. It looks like I am in a very long corridor. Time passes What? No this couldn't be! I walked straight in front of me during the whole ...
63 votes
15 answers
40k views

Would the human body support living on planets with a greater gravity than Earth?

I once read a novel about a prison-planet which was chosen to make the prisoners suffer. One of the different "tortures" was a gravity three times higher than that on Earth. Would the human body ...
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61 votes
30 answers
14k views

What is the least expensive way to annihilate humanity?

Suppose an evil genius (in 2015) wants to kill as much of humanity as possible. But he's on a budget; despite his years of stealing priceless historical artifacts, and despite having been selected for ...
58 votes
12 answers
8k views

How can an organ that provides biological immortality be unable to regenerate?

After Cain killed his worthless brother Abel, he was unjustly cursed by God to wander the earth forever. On his travels, he met a sympathetic woman named Lilith. They discovered that they had a mutual ...
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58 votes
6 answers
38k views

If we put humans on planets with atmospheres different from Earth's atmosphere, but still containing oxygen, would humans be able to breathe?

From Wikipedia: By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. For example, would humans be able to survive in ...
57 votes
18 answers
17k views

Could a joke be funny enough to kill?

(This Monty Python sketch got me thinking) Could a joke be funny enough to actually kill a person? By "joke", I'm referring to the written/typed and narrated types of "jokes" (videos, pictures, ...
55 votes
30 answers
15k views

Reasons why healthy people would intentionally want to get infected?

What would be a situation in modern times where normal, healthy people would want to get infected by a non-curable, but non-lethal, virus? A virus that would have pretty nasty symptoms. There is ...
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55 votes
14 answers
36k views

Why zero tolerance on nudity in space?

Set in the immediate future, mankind visits Titan, moon of Saturn for the first time. A manned space station goes into orbit around the moon once every 4-5 hours. Actually there have been many people ...
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55 votes
11 answers
15k views

If an FTL spacecraft entered Earth orbit, how long would it take for humans to build a FTL spacecraft?

It’s just another average day in the life of modern day earth. Suddenly a transmission from orbit washes over the planet! Oh no! An alien race, calling themselves the “Thull”, has suddenly arrived in ...
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55 votes
12 answers
14k views

Is roof-hopping through a city realistic?

A common trope across multiple mediums and genres is roofhopping (WARNING! Tv Tropes), where individuals are seen rapidly running and jumping between buildings as a form of travel. For the setting, ...
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53 votes
11 answers
17k views

How long would it take to “domesticate” humans?

If aliens came down to Earth and enslaved humanity, how long would it take to selectively breed the humans to make them more docile and less resistant to their alien captors? For example, if they ...
53 votes
15 answers
20k views

Where on Earth is it easiest to survive in the wilderness?

In which wilderness area on modern-day Earth would it be easiest for a lone human to survive year-round? What resources are available there and what tools and skills would be necessary? What is the ...
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53 votes
21 answers
7k views

How would humans adapt if low-wage labor was done by robots?

Background: Nearly all low-wage labor is done by humanoid robots (retail, factories, transport, sanitation, construction, mining, and similar fields). These robots have all the physical capabilities ...
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52 votes
19 answers
19k views

How to conceal my immortality without hiding for a hundred years?

In my story, I have this character that cannot die and cannot grow old. She got this from a curse. When ordinary people see her, she probably looks like 20 or so. How can I make it so that nobody ...
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52 votes
5 answers
9k views

How long would people live in the US if an immortality treatment was available?

Very narrow question: assuming an immortality treatment keeping people at a biological age of a fit 30's, free of infections and cancers & ruling out death by aging, how long would people live (in ...
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50 votes
12 answers
7k views

How would a Martian colony be able to celebrate Christmas?

Accept that we had a reason to go to Mars, managed to build a colony there, and what we found on Mars is valuable enough to ship back to Earth. There is now a self sustainable colony living under the ...
50 votes
3 answers
9k views

How early was the Earth liveable for today's humans?

Say you were to drop a (bunch of) human(s) at some past era of our Earth. I'm assuming they might encounter a few problems such as the composition of the air not being breathable, the water being too ...
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49 votes
8 answers
11k views

Is it harder for an intelligent octopus to live on land, or a human to live in space?

I have a race of octopodes with the same intelligence distribution as humans. I want them to “colonise” land to a similar extent as we have “colonised” space; have regular transport between the ocean ...
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48 votes
7 answers
34k views

If accelerated natural healing were to occur, what would happen to the human body?

The Details: The human body is capable of impressive acts of self-repair, but such processes take a lot of time, and can take a toll on the body. Infection or other complications can also develop, and ...
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47 votes
28 answers
10k views

How do I explain that an interstellar spaceship still requires risky spacewalks?

It is the mid 22nd century A.D. Twenty men and women signed on a ten year space exploration trip to the nearest star system. There are robots to do ship maintenance and a powerful A.I. to monitor the ...
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46 votes
13 answers
12k views

A person with no magic in a magic dependent world

In the story I am writing has a person, let's call him John Doe, who has been transported to an alternate reality/parallel universe. This world is very magic dependent (he doesn't know this yet of ...
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46 votes
31 answers
10k views

How can I make humans NOT WANT to investigate how a supernatural ability works in an intelligent, non-human creature?

We've had a few questions where answers state, to a lesser or greater degree, "humans would investigate this ability to figure out how it works" in another creature with abilities not readily ...
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45 votes
29 answers
7k views

What is my malfunctioning AI harvesting from humans?

The scenario described below is for a role-playing game. The setting is Earth-like but with a healthy dose of sci-fi. Even though the setting is sci-fi I would prefer answers be largely based in real ...
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45 votes
13 answers
9k views

Would the principles of Stack Exchange work in a real-world utopia?

Following on from my previous utopia-based question (Could compulsory experience-sharing make a utopia actually work?), I'm wondering whether a website could ever be a utopia. Firstly, are there any ...
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45 votes
16 answers
11k views

A pill to make you think faster: Side effects?

OK, so scientists have found a great new substance: That substance makes you think ten times as fast! The advantages are obvious. However, as every medicine, this pill will have side effects. There ...
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45 votes
4 answers
8k views

How many people would have to be killed to make the streets 'run red with blood'?

For example, a street this wide to have enough blood run down the length shown in this photo? Assume that the blood isn't going down storm-drains for whatever reason and assume the stretch of road is ...
44 votes
23 answers
11k views

What were the machines really doing with humans in the Matrix? [closed]

This isn't a film trivia question - I know the canonical answer is 'use them for power'. But it's a plot point that always bothered me, because Thermodynamics Says No. Humans aren't an energy source, ...
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44 votes
15 answers
13k views

Would a horse be sufficient buffer to prevent injury when falling from a great height?

I'm writing a sci-fi story with some fantasy elements, and I'm trying to keep even the most outrageous moments grounded in the laws of our universe. This is one of those moments. The Situation A man ...
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44 votes
13 answers
15k views

Could humanity survive if all except a few males died in a plague?

Tomorrow, a sudden airborne plague comes around that kills nearly all human males - women are unaffected. The UN and different nations try their hardest but fail to find a cure. There are riots and ...
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43 votes
11 answers
12k views

What happens to a human who receives more information than the brain can process?

Often in films and television shows when a person's brain is 'injected' with more information than it can handle, they suffer from immense pain. What would actually happen if you did supply a human ...
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42 votes
11 answers
8k views

Clothes in a vegetarian society?

Two of the societies in my world are supposed to be vegetarian/vegan. Society 1 lives in a temperate climate, similar to central/eastern Europe. I've thought of cotton-like plants for clothing and ...
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42 votes
11 answers
17k views

How would a human livestock facility run by aliens operate?

The older man looked at the younger one. He took a deep breath and began to tell his tale, just like he was told before when he himself was that young. I've been here way longer than you, let me tell ...
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41 votes
5 answers
7k views

Could you do acrobatics and long-distance running in an ankle-length dress?

So this should probably belong on clothes.stackexchange.com, if there were such a thing, but here I am with a question that I hope is not too complicated or specific for this site. My situation: I've ...
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41 votes
7 answers
6k views

How long would human immunity last in space?

I won't claim to be a biologist, but I'm fairly certain that it's really hard for disease to survive in space because most bacteria and viruses need a host in order to survive for long periods of time....
40 votes
13 answers
9k views

Scientific/biological basis of someone with unlimited willpower?

Meet Greg. Greg was born with pretty average genetics. It seems like he was destined to have average intelligence, average strength, and be average at everything. There was one particularly though: he ...
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40 votes
18 answers
8k views

The world is ending, how to convince/force chosen ones to come quietly?

The apocalypse has come - nuclear war+asteroid hitting+alien invasion+Skynet+vampires. Doesn't matter which, the world government/s knew this was coming (lets say, a year in advance) and they have a ...
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40 votes
8 answers
7k views

Cartoon vs Real Life Bores?---(Pointy vs Flat kind)

Yes, I know that this is quite a BORING question (get it ;) ), but I really DIG this kinda stuff (no really). If you have watch an action children's show or a cartoon of some kind, we have all seen ...
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38 votes
8 answers
10k views

How to modify the human eye to see into the ultraviolet and infrared bands?

If I'm writing a sci-fi story and I wanted to include humans with modified eyesight that see into the ultraviolet and infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, what would I have to change about ...
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38 votes
19 answers
16k views

How long would it take for a new intelligent species to evolve if humans disappeared?

If all humans (but no other species) just suddenly disappeared, leaving all of their structures standing, how long would it take for an intelligent species as dominant as the humans to evolve? Would ...
  • 2,203
38 votes
10 answers
5k views

How will survivors of a global plague find each other?

I'm considering the following scenario: Over the course of a couple of weeks, a global plague wipes out 99.999% of humanity, leaving just 75,000 people alive. These people are spread out evenly; in ...
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37 votes
11 answers
10k views

Would humans be able to derive nutrition from foodstuffs found on alien planets?

Suppose humans have developed the technology to travel between star systems. This might be some science-fiction method like warp drive, jump drive, peanut butter drive, hyperspace drive or whatever, ...
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