Questions tagged [technology]

For questions about the creation, use, and application of all types of technology.

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29
votes
19answers
5k views

Design a non-computerized biometric door

Nowdays we have biometric doors that can scan your eye, palm, fingerprint, ear, etc, etc... But all of them rely on electronic readers and computers to match the sample against the stored pattern. ...
29
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14answers
6k views

Would 'cheap' FTL make powerful telescopes obsolete?

Imagine we have a faster-than-light drive which costs ~$250,000 USD per drive and can propel an ISS-sized craft at 1000 times the speed of light. It is reliable and has safeguards that stop it from ...
29
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8answers
6k views

Is my plasma cannon concept viable?

I’ve developed a concept for a plasma cannon, and I need it reality-checked. The cannon would gather ammunition by pumping air into the gun through an external fan. The air would gather inside a ...
28
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29answers
7k views

Why would an alien race have developed space travel and yet not have other technology?

I have a race of humanoids who live on two planets in a binary system. This planet is mostly a water world, with some swamps and about three Australias. The other planet is very dry. But, I have a ...
28
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18answers
20k views

A method to cause maximum pain to a human

I am currently searching for a new execution method to be used in my fictional psychotic dictatorship. After introducing methods such as decompression, boiling, surgical torture (being dissected alive ...
28
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16answers
4k views

Cooking underwater

How would an omnivorous civilization of merpeople prepare food? Their diet would be like humans', but naturally seafood-centered. They would have typical medieval technology. How would they "fry" or "...
28
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1answer
2k views

How could Golems best be used to defend a modern day city of Prague?

The Situation: The year is 2014 and the city of Prague is under siege. Cut off from supply, the city prepares to defend itself with whatever is at hand. The Jewish community offers the services of as ...
27
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19answers
9k views

How can you build cities without cement?

Modern cities are built from concrete with steel rebar because it is abundantly available and provides enough tensile strength. Concrete requires cement. Cement is made from limestone. Limestone is ...
27
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16answers
8k views

How do I make a server of a virtual world indestructible?

Imagine if we would hit a point in time where we would accept that living in a virtual world is better for being happy and would make us near immortal. And then we would build something like the ...
27
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9answers
7k views

Why would alien vehicles be tripods?

In The War of the Worlds the Martian fighting machines are tripods. Aliens are also moving around in tripods also in The Tripods. Let's assume that there are good reasons to build legged vehicles to ...
27
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9answers
6k views

The Anti-Santa: Dealing with the Naughty List

Old Nick is Saint Nicholas' elder brother. He sees his brother's good work at Christmas and wants to help in his own way, and sees a gap in the market (he really can't compete with spreading good). ...
27
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8answers
5k views

How do massive starships levitate?

This scene is commonly seen: A huge starship levitates over the surface of a planet or a moon, staying effortlessly in one place, or moving slowly around at the fixed height. But how? Required ...
27
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12answers
5k views

Is there any way to truly hide a spaceship?

Space is two things: empty and (mostly) dark. This makes it really, really hard to hide in it, because to do anything in it, chances are, you'll be shining a big bright light through it. Even if you'...
27
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5answers
3k views

Medieval Vacuum

Given a Medieval or Middle Ages level of technology - leather bellows, etc how close could craftsmen come to achieving a near total vacuum in an enclosed space. In context, I'm trying to create a ...
27
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7answers
3k views

What city and town structures are important in a low fantasy medieval world?

I've been working on a procedural map generator that draws cities and towns on continents and islands and I've gotten to the point where I'd like to add lists of structures to the settlements. I know ...
27
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12answers
5k views

What would be the most extreme form of a surveillance state? And what would living/working in it look like?

For a story, I try to create a perfect Orwellian state with the current state of technology. The government controls every aspect of its citizens daily life via constant automated surveillance (CCTV,...
26
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19answers
11k views

Can I send S.O.S in space with just a conventional cellphone?

The year is 2109 C.E my friends and I were caught in a space disaster when the spacecraft we're in broke apart during a daring escape from a patrolling spacecraft. We stole an antique cellphone (from ...
26
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18answers
9k views

Building a bridge from one side

Your people have been displaced by war, and have wandered for many months looking for a new home. Yesterday, you came across something truly marvelous. You are camped at the edge of a huge ravine, ...
26
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18answers
7k views

Can spacecraft defend against antimatter weapons? How?

Here is what we know: We have the means to create stable antimatter We can direct it in a beam It can travel nearly as fast as light with ease Antimatter and matter combine in dangerous ...
26
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20answers
7k views

How to limit magic mirrors so they're not overly powerful?

Based on a set of questions by Pavel Janicek about how to address and then monetize magic mirrors in today's modern world. The short version of these magic mirrors is that any one magic mirror can ...
26
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14answers
8k views

Is a land-based aircraft carrier possible?

Is it possible to have an aircraft carrier that travels on land instead of water? Assuming that the land aircraft carrier is the same size as a regular one the shape can be different but the overall ...
26
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18answers
5k views

How could ghosts be explained without an afterlife?

I've always loved well-done ghosts. However, I've always hated the afterlife-speculation that they engender if used in a story. So I need a way to get ghosts without the fluffy spiritualistic bits. ...
26
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11answers
4k views

How to make the development and use of Steam Engines preferred over that of Combustion Engines?

Intro: I have gone some way to make airships more preferable over land-based transport in my beautiful conworld. E.g. making tunneling harder & making flying easier. Though there's plenty left to ...
26
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7answers
4k views

How could a simple submarine be built using 100 BC technology?

I have some ideas, but I'd like my fictional Roman (100BC) General Mikey (ha) to build a submarine(s). This should be able to navigate in lakes and calm shores of the Mediterranean, succeed in ...
26
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17answers
5k views

What would make adventuring mainstream?

Setting: Generic medieval fantasy world, suited for a game Mainstream adventuring In the real world, adventurers appear during times of new technology. The most adventurous period on Earth was the ...
26
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3answers
5k views

Can you forge a sword using just one piece of metal?

I thought it might be visually and thematically interesting for a character to have a sword made from just one piece of steel, like those knife sets you can buy. Something like this, but obviously ...
26
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12answers
2k views

How can spacecraft manufactured on the moon be powered?

Background: The moon has been selected as the base for human space exploration. Rather than ship tonnes of material out of earth's gravity well, interplanetary spacecraft and space stations will be ...
26
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9answers
3k views

Computer that lasts for centuries?

So, somewhere around one hundred years from now, a terrible - and unexpected - disaster strikes Earth, most of humanity dies off, yadda yadda yadda. Luckily, secret-lab-dwelling scientists had ...
25
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21answers
5k views

Moving between levels in a gigantic tower-world?

In my sci-fi setting, people live in a gigantic metallic tower. For the sake of simplicity, let's say that each floor, or level, is a circle of around 200 km radius. Levels can be either empty, full ...
25
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12answers
7k views

Could a civilization without access to computers have cryptography?

There's a person who has enough working knowledge of our current real-world methods of cryptography (e.g. knows how a few modern algorithms work and could implement one or two from scratch). That ...
25
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27answers
8k views

Is it possible to have battery technology that can't be duplicated?

I'm creating a near future world where one faction is using high energy density batteries that enable their vehicles to outperform gasoline based technology. Like cold and silent aircraft and ...
25
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10answers
8k views

What can I do to make my son's snowman survive, using medieval technology?

What my son likes the most with winter is making a snowman. What my son hates the most with winter is melting of his snowman. I really would like to make him happy and make the snowman survive for ...
25
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14answers
6k views

What would drive people to risk death in the deep?

Dateline: 2067 Setting: A research base at the bottom of the Marianas Trench Depth: 10,000 meters. Mission Duration: Thirty days A research base lies at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, housing ...
25
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7answers
7k views

Could a 19.25mm revolver actually exist?

I'm working on writing a story wherein there is a revolver inspired by Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy's samaritan. My question is; can such a gun, as described below, work? Or would it be a bone breaker ...
25
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14answers
4k views

“Shields at 10% one more hit and…” What?

How do force field work in many sci fi fictional universes? I remembered the last time I checked the strength of the electromagnetic field a.k.a force field is proportional to the power output from ...
25
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6answers
3k views

What are the feasible means of keeping a space station existing and operational for thousands of years?

In my space western setting, I went nuts with the time scale, so now I have a faction living entirely in space stations (with planets used for transit and agriculture, but that's irrelevant for now), ...
25
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10answers
6k 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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3answers
2k views

Assistance to fight off a silicon-based lifeform

I am a survivor of the United Nations Space Corp's 2nd Exploration Fleet. On our travel to the distant Epsilon Canares system, our scouts encountered a strange lifeform. We call them 'shapeshifters'. ...
24
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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 ...
24
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9answers
7k views

Uranium block house heating

I'm thinking of building a very long term heating system for a housing complex. I want it not to rely on sunlight, wind or other fuels. And I just need the heat. The surroundings are pretty cold, so ...
24
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13answers
8k views

Can there be a single technologically advanced nation, in a continent full of non-technologically advanced nations?

The run down here is that there's this continent, and there is a lot of unclaimed land where countries haven't formed yet and a lot of tribes but there are some actual countries like kingdoms, (where ...
24
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11answers
5k views

Alternate universe: Possibility of a small country as the world's third super power

Background: A near future world very similar to our own, with two large power blocs (like USA vs USSR back then) in cold war situation, with many proxy wars and small conflicts. The third power is a ...
24
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11answers
3k views

What are the advantages of exposed bridge on spacecraft?

For most sci-fi movies/tv series ship bridge/main control room is exposed (external part of ship). Examples: Star Wars Star Destroyers Stargate Dedalus/Destiny/Atlantis(top of main highest tower) ...
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14answers
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What are the social implications of discovering a formula for immortality?

Here is a hypothetical, but not entirely plausible, scenario: An organization or company (likely pharmaceutical) discovers the formula to develop a drug that stops aging (the human body's cells are ...
24
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13answers
3k views

How would a user interact with a direct neural interface?

Assume humanity has developed a cybernetic implant technology which allowed humans to be "advanced". The technology would be surgically implanted and provide a range of functionality (I'm not ...
23
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16answers
7k views

Fantasy alarm clocks

In my fantasy story, it has come to a point in which it is completely necessary for lead to wake up at a certain time that his body is not accustomed to, however, this made me stop. It is crucial that ...
23
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14answers
6k views

Would a galaxy-wide civilization have any reason to build a solar probe?

For my sci-fi world, which spans the entire galaxy, I was wondering if an advanced civilization would build a space probe to explore a star. Would it be necessary and have any scientific benefits, or ...
23
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12answers
8k views

How does a super-power salesman not get shut down for legal reasons?

I am in trouble: my boss, a multi-millionaire, has just come up with a scheme, but it has problems and he wants me to solve them. The whole thing started when he saw this picture: This gave him an ...
23
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15answers
5k views

Magical internet - unique addressing system

Inspired by recent watching of Shrek 2 and by Lord of The Rings: When talking about magical Orbs or Mirrors, we have mostly in mind above picture. Skilful mage operates hard to obtain device. But ...
23
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2answers
6k views

Would Vantablack hide planes from radar?

Vantablack is very dark, absorbing 99.965% of light. I've also heard it absorbs waves beyond the visible spectrum. Does this mean planes painted with Vantablack would be invisible to radar? If yes, ...