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Questions tagged [modern-age]

For questions based in contemporary Earth, current technology and social norms.

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202 votes
24 answers
26k 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 ...
Nerrolken's user avatar
  • 3,568
45 votes
17 answers
16k views

What are the enabling factors for melee combat in modern or future settings?

Swords are neat. Unfortunately, they aren't very practical with guns around. What sorts of technologies, social circumstances, environmental factors or magics would allow for people who train to fight ...
Saidoro's user avatar
  • 2,062
52 votes
7 answers
6k views

Dragons and aviation bureaucracy

Once you do the handwaving needed to explain a modern-day world with flight-capable dragons in it, how would said dragons interact with the bureaucracy surrounding flying in the modern world? What ...
Shalvenay's user avatar
  • 11.3k
22 votes
9 answers
8k views

Fighting a dragon with modern military units (or Smaug vs. a MEU)

First off -- this differs from our history questions on this topic in that we are dealing with modern assets here, not historical ones, and from this question in that our military units are out to ...
Shalvenay's user avatar
  • 11.3k
42 votes
32 answers
35k views

Most effective long-term zombie killing weapon

So I asked this question a few days ago, with excellent and certainly useful feedback. I've decided I'd like to build upon that question with some ways to combat our 'new and improved super zombies'. ...
wposeyjr's user avatar
  • 1,200
39 votes
7 answers
6k views

How long can an abandoned, semi-sheltered computer remain bootable?

Simply put, what's the expiration date of a computer? The reason I ask is for the sake of a society recovering from some sort of cataclysm and trying to reclaim lost technology. However, I could also ...
Emmett R.'s user avatar
  • 1,391
16 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is non-manmade pandemic a realistic threat to modern first world?

Inspired by this question, and my own answer to it: Avoiding galactic pandemics. World ending pandemics are a common disaster/after-the-end story trope, I'm trying to determine if plausible, and how ...
dsollen's user avatar
  • 33.6k
57 votes
12 answers
12k views

Would gorillas with human-level intelligence make effective soldiers?

Suppose I take a troop of gorillas and modify them to have human-level intelligence. How effective would they be in a war when compared to modern human soldiers, when comparably equipped? Aside from ...
ckersch's user avatar
  • 46.4k
55 votes
18 answers
19k views

What US states are most likely to rebel?

A Little Explanation I have come across many books and trilogies based on the premise of a war torn United States. The latest of these is Burning Nation (link to Amazon page) in the Divided We Fall ...
Jax's user avatar
  • 11.9k
44 votes
13 answers
16k 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 ...
Grollo's user avatar
  • 4,147
15 votes
10 answers
2k views

Defeating the revised Snakebot of Doom

In Weapons for a civilisation-destroying giant robot I asked about what weapons might be placed on a sixty-billion-ton fusion-powered snakebot 9.27 km long and 1.19 km in diameter, armoured with 224 ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62.2k
109 votes
28 answers
28k views

How fast can I flood the Netherlands entirely and permanently?

I want the Netherlands to be flooded entirely, and I want the event to be of such a scale that it goes faster than hydroengineering can keep up with. This will mean that I need a sea level rise of ...
Tinkeringbell's user avatar
98 votes
18 answers
17k views

Great Old Ones Limited, or Why does Cthulhu need a Company?

A world much like our own. A city like the one in which you live. A corporation whose doors you pass every day. Maybe you notice the subtle sans-serif fonted words adorning the entrance, maybe you ...
neophlegm's user avatar
  • 1,178
45 votes
18 answers
11k views

How would modern naval warfare have to have developed differently for battleships to still be relevant in the 21st century?

So basically, battleships are awesome. I am interested in creating a setting where they were never superseded in their role of long-range command vessels and fire support by aircraft carriers, ...
Cloud Striker's user avatar
39 votes
17 answers
18k views

How to realistically create a bow that's also two one-handed swords?

In the anime RWBY most characters have crazy weapons with multiple forms, like a scythe, that’s also a gun, or a gauntlet, that’s also a gun or a sword, that’s also a scythe AND a gun! But the ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 17.7k
32 votes
7 answers
8k views

How do the zombies win when they're so weak?

I'm writing an autobiography of my life in the post-Zed world. Now, I think the effects of the Zeds have been obvious – total obliteration of any worldwide infrastructure, severe depopulation, turning ...
user avatar
31 votes
17 answers
8k views

Could we still plunge modern civilization into another black death?

Many thought it was the poor hygiene and inadequate medicines that laid waste to the entire world -- particularly Europe -- as millions of lives were lost, although the death toll only subsided but it ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
8 votes
4 answers
678 views

Dragons and aviation bureaucracy, the sequel: Dragons on Instruments!

Starting with the background provided in this question, how would a dragon outfit himself/herself (avionics, power systems, etal) for operating under the Instrument Flight Rules? How would the ...
Shalvenay's user avatar
  • 11.3k
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

How would California Child Protective Services deal with a feral humantaur child?

For the last thirteen years, Kerner Syndrome children, known colloquially as humantaurs (as in the image below, having a fully functional second abdomen and second pair of legs, plus a horse-like tail ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62.2k
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Dragons and aviation bureaucracy, part 3: Plopping a Dragon into Today's World (or Papers, please, big fella)

Given the context of my previous dragon questions -- slow, but fairly high-flying dragons (say FL250 or so for a service ceiling), capable of flying under Earth's conditions and growing up to RJ or ...
Shalvenay's user avatar
  • 11.3k
5 votes
9 answers
2k views

Best gun to modify into a monsterhunter weapon?

In my post-apocalyptical-urban-fantasy setting, the main character is a mercenary mage who uses a gun with a big bayonet as his main weapon. The blade is supposed to be some kind of a glaive. The ...
TheDyingOfLight's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

What would be the main societal changes if we invented a free and unlimited energy source tomorrow on earth? [closed]

In this setting, a scientist invents a method for free and unlimited energy that is accessible to each and every one (open source, easy to manufacture...). This happens on nowadays earth. What would ...
Sheraff's user avatar
  • 12.5k
0 votes
3 answers
199 views

Earth mages in modern war? [closed]

Is there a place for earth mages in modern war? Mages' range: 50 meters Cost: physical strain similar to what you would experience doing mild to heavy exercise. Abilities: Beginner level Launching ...
Bryan McClure's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
836 views

The sexy zombie outbreak [closed]

Tomorrow hordes of zombies will invade the streets around the world caused by an airborne fungus. The disease is incurable and the symptoms are similar to rabies. These zombies try to infect and ...
Seraph Myrmidon's user avatar
76 votes
11 answers
9k views

Can a human colony survive on a 'hot' world?

A colony ship headed for its new home countless light-years from Earth suffers an unfortunate malfunction on the final part of its descent phase and crashes onto the planet. Thankfully, the ship ...
Razmode's user avatar
  • 2,458
42 votes
18 answers
14k views

What would an Earth with no timezones be like?

If we abolished the system of time zones, and everywhere followed UTC (or another arbitrary timezone), what would the possible advantages or disadvantages of this system be? If you can think of any ...
kairavichahal's user avatar
41 votes
10 answers
9k views

In modern day combat, what would warrant singing during battle?

Cicad the singer is having a downtime in his career. Over the millennia, Cicad sang anywhere from royal courts to farmers' cottages and have been rewarded with many, many hand-claps. But to keep ...
Nahshon paz's user avatar
  • 6,078
33 votes
20 answers
6k views

How can my town be public knowledge while still keeping outsiders out?

My story is set in the early 1990s, and it's about various races of immortal humanoid mythical creatures living amongst humanity in secret. The main setting is a town in America that's been around for ...
Cyrus Drake's user avatar
  • 8,165
30 votes
8 answers
5k views

How far away could Earth detect a projectile travelling at relativistic speeds?

Suppose our alien neighbors woke up on the wrong side of the bed and decided humans would be less annoying if their home planet was hit with a giant artillery shell travelling at half the speed of ...
Joshua Snider's user avatar
27 votes
6 answers
3k views

Ergonomically correct eagle riders in the modern age

Since Tolkien put people riding on giant eagles in his books (or maybe even before that), the imaginarium of riding the winds on the back of magnificent birds has generated a plethora of images and ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
27 votes
12 answers
4k views

How would the constant presence of an affable, undemanding immortal affect a society?

There are lots of books that explore immortality outside the context of society. Either they live alone or in a heaven/palace of one sort or another, or they drift from place to place to avoid ...
Emmett R.'s user avatar
  • 1,391
26 votes
12 answers
9k views

Would we notice ridiculously healthy birds?

Consider the following situation: Over the last 2 to 3 years, all the world's birds and bats outside of those in human captivity or domestication have stopped getting sick; sick - even terminally sick ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62.2k
25 votes
10 answers
3k views

What would it take for Jane Doe to craft a book from scratch?

Background Say hi to Jane Doe. Jane is a writer and, after years of writing and rewriting, has finally achieved what she believes is her greatest, most personal piece of writing ever. And she has a ...
user avatar
23 votes
14 answers
7k views

What could dragons do in modern-day combat?

As I mentioned before, dragons are really hard to adapt to modern-day settings, when warfare is concerned. For every other race, even centaurs, it's fairly easy to find some kind of strength and the ...
Mephistopheles's user avatar
22 votes
7 answers
4k views

How would a city police department handle a super-hero joining as an officer?

Inspired by some of the comments on How to safely capture someone when you have super-strength I am wondering how police departments would handle a super-hero entering the police academy and joining ...
Zan Lynx's user avatar
  • 746
19 votes
13 answers
9k views

How to keep apartheid alive?

For my story, I need South African apartheid to still be alive in the 1990's. Everything else is more or less the same. For example, the Eastern block still collapses in 1989. What would be the ...
sovoi's user avatar
  • 193
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Would this underground city be noticed by seismologists?

The setting is current day Los Angeles... except for the goblin city that exists beneath it. Its chambers range from about 500-2000ft underground and has a population of several thousand. A lot of ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
  • 95.9k
14 votes
27 answers
6k views

Why would guns not work in the dungeon?

In my setting I need to have a dungeon where people cannot use guns or other gunpowder weapons. The reason can be anything: it's impossible to bring guns in, guns don't work inside the dungeon, ...
hrsidkpi's user avatar
  • 323
14 votes
7 answers
2k views

Implications of a world where mercenaries are more capable than most militaries?

I have been working on an RPG (a video game) where one of the key plot "themes" is the prevalence of mercenaries, of very varied capabilities and fame/infamy/secrecy. After lurking answers on here ...
HC_'s user avatar
  • 253
13 votes
21 answers
5k views

Spells that would be effective against a modern day army but would NOT destroy a fantasy one [closed]

I'm developing a story about a few hundred modern day US Marines who are transported to a fantasy world and must do battle with an army of Orcs and dragons. I know they will be extremely effective at ...
Bert Haddad's user avatar
  • 3,569
13 votes
19 answers
6k views

How to prevent criminal gangs from making/buying guns?

TLDR: What can modern governments do to force criminal gangs to use melee weapons instead of guns. So I am writing a novel where the main character is pushed out of society, and is forced to join a ...
Sam Joseph's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
10k views

Modern Body Armor for Medieval Style Weapons

Imagine an alternate history, where weapons types didn't advance past "medieval" type weapons. So like: swords, maces, flails, crossbows, bows, polearms, mauls, etc. I'm intentionally excluding "gun"/...
Byran Zaugg's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
890 views

A supermassive black hole is coming our way. When's the latest that we would notice?

I'm trying to build a story around a supermassive black hole, which is ejected from a merger of two galaxies, that is hurtling our own way. What is the smallest realistic distance at which the black ...
bantu's user avatar
  • 113
10 votes
3 answers
554 views

Is it plausible to make human gametes from different parent chromosomes?

I'm creating a near future world where laboratories could create human gametes (sperm & ova) using chromosomes from different people. So theoretically we could take 1st chromosome from a 1st ...
DoubleHelix's user avatar
7 votes
13 answers
837 views

How to make rich have more children? [closed]

My country has a problem with concentration of wealth, rich people have few children and they tend to intermarry with other wealthy people. The wealth concentrates in less and less hands and soon we ...
TheOtherWill's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
1k views

Killing a mind controller [closed]

Bill has a special power: he can create any kind of sensory hallucination on anyone that gets near him (about 1 km range). The hallucination can be as complex as he wants it to be, and it doesn't ...
BgrWorker's user avatar
  • 522
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to keep secret societies with super technology from taking over the world?

There are a lot of fictional settings that have some sort of elite peacekeeping organization that is tasked with keeping people safe or keeping things "normal" and are frequently depicted as ...
user2352714's user avatar
  • 13.9k
6 votes
6 answers
934 views

Defeating the Snakebot of Doom

In Weapons for a civilisation-destroying giant robot I asked about what weapons might be placed on a sixty-billion-ton fusion-powered snakebot 9.27 km long and 1.19 km in diameter, armoured with 224 ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62.2k
6 votes
5 answers
698 views

How could my secret societies of immortals take over rival-clan-controlled towns without breaking the masquerade?

In a previous question, I brought up the concept of sanctuary towns, towns populated entirely by people who know about the population of immortal (as in they can't get old or sick; they can still be ...
Cyrus Drake's user avatar
  • 8,165
6 votes
8 answers
1k views

What would a modern fortified castle look like?

Assume that paramilitary siege weapons were proliferated to the general public after America fell. Details below, but basically short of multi-billion dollar tactical weapons such as advanced fighter ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 8,169