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For questions about the basic facilities and structures used by a society, such as roads, bridges, power plants, and airports.

3
votes
2answers
79 views

Batteries and resource restrictions

I've prefigured a specific setting as being middling in technological progress when compared with its neighbors. This setting does not have access to hydrocarbons, has severe cultural and political ...
7
votes
3answers
236 views

Feasability of plasma based garbage recycling into pure constituent elements

Is it possible to build a garbage recycler that turns residues into its constituent elements using plasma and accelerating it through a magnetic field? The technology level is around that of the ...
13
votes
13answers
4k views

Can there be a long-range railway system without industrialisation?

Consider a civilization with pre-industrial, possibly even pre-gunpowder technology, but the economic incentive to have continent-spanning railway tracks. Would it be possible for them to build those ...
38
votes
14answers
6k views

In a post-fossil fuel economy, what could natural gas pipelines be used for?

The United States (as well as many other countries) is covered in a vast network of tubes: These tubes vary greatly in diameter. Some could hardly fit a baseball, while others are large enough to ...
4
votes
7answers
584 views

Death toll of a week without technology?

So the climax of my urban fantasy story, long story short, involves a supernatural event taking place in the modern time sometime around March on a Saturday, 12:00 PM EST, that renders guns and ...
7
votes
5answers
777 views

Infrastructure design considerations in a war torn world?

Suppose that a company is charged with building a communications network with contemporary levels of technology in a country with lots of perennially war torn rural areas (an ongoing asymmetric, armed ...
1
vote
7answers
197 views

How would one design infrastructure in a world where people can disable technology with their eyes?

So, the central conceit of my story is that one day in the modern times, everyone on Earth over the age of 13 starts getting superpowers. While some of them are possible to remove (but only if ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Medieval Setting - Castles Per Capita

I'm creating an rpg medieval setting, and I want it to feel pretty real. Castles make fun locales, so I'm trying to figure out how many castles I can plausibly cram into a 5,000 mi² region. The ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

Deep Space Communication Infrastructure

What kind of technology would be required for a space travelling civilization to have an effective communication system or network that is similar in speed to the telegram? How would it work? This is ...
4
votes
5answers
280 views

Electrical grid based on devices in series using constant currents, not devices in parallel using constant voltages

Mains power electrical systems on Earth supply a fixed standardized voltage to a number of devices, which are all wired in parallel with each other. However, on the planet I'm writng about, they do ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

When my city is miles high, where do the utility lines go?

Various futuristic novels and movies have posited the existence of the mega-city; a city in the clouds built up hundreds if not thousands of meters above the surface area below. Examples are Coruscant ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Designs for residential and office buildings if human - like creatures had flying capabilities [duplicate]

A few moons ago I came up with an idea for a planet in my universe where the inhabitants are very human, with the only exception that they have flying capabilities (whether magical or wings, I know ...
1
vote
3answers
124 views

Most ergonomical city shape & design [closed]

I'm designing a city, I want to know what the most efficient city design/shape would be, I think square would be bad because the people in the corners would take too long to get to the city center, ...
-1
votes
2answers
66 views

Repurposing a reactor from space to surface

A colony ship is sent to Enceladus. It has a nuclear reactor to provide power to life support, electric engines etc... Upon arrival, the colonists also need a reactor to melt holes into the ice and to ...
2
votes
5answers
237 views

Defending against 100-year flood

The city I'm designing had a 100-year flood in the year 1907. The city has a population of 90,000 inhabitants and is situated on a confluence of two navigable rivers. River "Q" is about 400m wide; ...
24
votes
9answers
7k views

How can one empty a cesspit with medieval technology?

I'm building a town that only has access to medieval technology. Nevertheless, the town has its own sewage system that ends in a large cesspit. All inhabitants' wastewater goes into this cesspit. Of ...
7
votes
2answers
167 views

How to calculate maximum altitude difference between metro stations?

For story purpose I am trying to design a mass transit system for a perfect city. Right ... maybe not so perfect, if you look carefully into the details, but actually the mass transit system is ...
6
votes
3answers
209 views

How to efficiently protect a city from constant snowstorms?

Sort of an extension of With minimal terraforming, what features/structures would need to be built to protect a 25mi radius city from wind? but with some more items to consider. For whatever ...
2
votes
4answers
262 views

Is it possible to make high voltage cables hard to detect?

The tech level is roughly comparable to contemporary. There is a loosely populated planet, where any realistic power grid system should span over continents, with on average a few thousand kilometers ...
3
votes
3answers
123 views

Which crucial ore (deficit or abundance) could plausibly dramatically change modern-like civilization?

I need a bit more flavour to my setting. If it's just Earth like - it's boring. If all technology (in spite of comparable tech level) is too alien then there is a risk that it is simply impractical to ...
2
votes
6answers
313 views

Would an aircraft that uses assisted takeoff and water landing be realistic?

Assisted takeoff is one of several technologies that can possibly boost efficiency of aircraft, as said: Listen to the changing sound of engines during flight and it’s obvious: an aircraft draws on ...
53
votes
10answers
4k views

Is there any organization to a shantytown of storage containers?

What is the layout (or physical arrangement) of a shantytown made of storage containers? It is meant to be chaotic, but are there any organizing principles I should be aware of? The cargo containers ...
-1
votes
3answers
168 views

Possibility of transferring power to train through rails [closed]

(I'm designing setting where technology is modern like, but quite a few technologies are simply different) I know that train can be powered through overhead wire or third rail. For practical ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

The Information Desk provides all sorts of Information; how did it work?

I am wanting to build a world with a strong retail presence, and became interested in the Information Desk at Selfridge's. This was not the simple standard store information desk, where you ask ...
13
votes
5answers
697 views

Considerations for a Dwarven Volcano City

Related: Could a Dwarven Civilization Exist? Background: A Dungeons and Dragons world (for all intents and purposes, Tolkein lore is close enough) in which a group of colonists far from home are ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Could Carbon Nanotubes Even Be Used for Metalwork?

Last time, I had asked if the science of carbon nanotubes would be realized at an earlier date than in our timeline. It seems that there were plans to insert carbon nanotubes into concrete, enhancing ...
1
vote
1answer
282 views

How much space is needed to feed 30,000 people? [duplicate]

also how much space is needed for 30,000 people? I need to build an orbiter that will feed and make sure 30,000 people survive on Jupiter.
5
votes
3answers
262 views

How do you keep magical creatures trapped in a closed village while allowing for expansion?

Magical people such as trolls, vampires, and nopperabou have had a complicated relationship with nonmagical folk. They were mostly sworn to secrecy, but not everybody followed that oath. Nonmagicals ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

A “philanthropic” businessman

My story is set in the modern world. A businessman sets up shop in a developing nation, using wealth he obtained from business in his own country to run a profitable business in the developing ...
2
votes
0answers
181 views

How would the Golden Gate Bridge collapse without maintenance? [closed]

All maintenance and repairs stop for ever on the Golden Gate Bridge. It doesn't get much traffic either— only about 20 cars a day. Assuming there are no major natural (or unnatural) disasters, how ...
-1
votes
1answer
66 views

How to realistically show results of high gov spending invested in infrastructure and human capital? [closed]

Setting: partially rebuilt post apo world Technology: comparable to early XXIst century Afluence: first world equivalent Mixed economy, semi-authoritarian system, low level of corruption Resources ...
5
votes
2answers
215 views

Underground Cities Vs. Sewage

Today, one of Earth's many overbearing problems is overpopulation. The solutions are many. One of them is building new cities underwater. Sub-Biosphere 2, one of the proposed underwater cities of ...
0
votes
3answers
150 views

The Sewers—300 Feet Down

In this alternate metropolis, the sewers of the United States are interconnected via a central sewage hub (probably in New York, Chicago or Omaha) and of uniform size—32 feet from ceiling to base, 160 ...
3
votes
2answers
203 views

What is the minimum industrial infrastructure required to colonize Mars?

There's resources on Mars but the environment is completely inhospitable so sending colonists before the requisite infrastructure to support them is established is doomed to fail, at least that's what ...