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57 votes
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Is there a reason why a country would only use open negotiations?

Internal politics. There was a period where the politicians made bigger and bigger messes and the voters grew more and more impatient with them. It seemed like everybody was corrupt. A new party ...
Stig Hemmer's user avatar
47 votes

How could mankind of ancient times cause significant climate change?

Large scale albedo changes Albedo is the reflectivity of solar radiation off the surface of a planet or moon or something. It represents how much of the solar radiation is sent back into space as ...
kingledion's user avatar
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45 votes
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Is this state of Earth possible, after humans left for a million years?

•98% of all the landmass is wasteland/desert •The two poles are some big chunks of ice, each covering about 20% of earths area This is rather confusing. Yes, I get that there are also cold deserts, ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
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44 votes
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Could deliberately induced Kessler Syndrome stop ICBMs?

Not possible TL;DR In order to ensure that an ICBM had only a 5% chance of surviving for 20 minutes in space, you need to launch at least 5 orders of magnitude more mass into space than has been ...
kingledion's user avatar
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44 votes
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How dangerous are animals with no history of human contact?

All of these are true, so it depends on the animal. First, you have a lot more to worry about than predators; herbivores are often more dangerous than carnivores. Carnivores may hunt you when they are ...
John's user avatar
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41 votes

If Earth's Core had ALL Of the Heavy Metals

How would this difference affect Earth's overall chemistry? Not much (but see below). Here's why: Let's start with some background The core–mantle differentiation event was the melting event which ...
Gimelist's user avatar
  • 3,858
41 votes
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Finding real world historic examples of cultures/organizations/tribes to represent Orcs

The various Celtic cultures fit pretty much all of your Orc needs. More specifically the Gallic tribes which had mostly been dispersed/assimilated by the 3-5th century CE under Roman rule. ✓ Big and ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 17.3k
39 votes

Biological duck tape - how does it grow and how did it evolve?

Barnacles. Barnacles make glue and stick themselves to substrate. It is serious glue. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/researchers-develop-groundbreaking-process-to-study-barnacle-glue-could-...
Willk's user avatar
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38 votes
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How to explain human life expectancy increase?

Cure for cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease These three are the big natural killers. Cheap, clean, ubiquitous and plentiful energy sources Air pollution is the biggest non-natural killer. The ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.9k
38 votes

Biplanes landing on top of skyscrapers by means of a wind tunnel in retro-future Earth

The bush plane STOL records are your friend here. No additional external technology or infrastructure, just carefully designed STOL light aircraft. The current record for landing is 9ft5in (2.87m) and ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
35 votes
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Biological duck tape - how does it grow and how did it evolve?

Ok, so this is slightly on a tangent ( but I like it and you might too) What if you had a tree (not a rock), which rather than bark which grows by adding a new concentric layer of bark each year, ...
DarcyThomas's user avatar
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33 votes
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How To Make Earth's Oceans as Brackish as Lyr's

Less land It's actually pretty easy. There are two ways to make an ocean less salty. The first way is to remove salt, and the second is to add fresh water, both of which are possible, but takes a lot ...
Halfthawed's user avatar
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28 votes
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Economic super power with little political clout?

While there are already some good answers, it should be noted that for exampled Germany, South Korea and Japan are not economic superpowers, but mere great powers. (Germany and Japan lost political ...
Chieron's user avatar
  • 701
28 votes

What aspect of planet Earth must be changed to prevent the industrial revolution?

Limit the availability of raw materials, in particular fossil fuels and iron. Without fossil fuels you are limited to wood burning as a power source which is far less energy dense and a much more ...
Tim B's user avatar
  • 77.1k
27 votes

Is it plausible for a tribe to have a standing army?

War IS the tribe's business: In ancient times, everyone knew how to fight if they could afford weapons. The standing army part is the hard one to swallow, as labor is wasted if you're just standing ...
DWKraus's user avatar
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27 votes
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How would human civilisation develop with little iron?

You'd barely notice a difference ... mainly because iron is so incomprehensively common. Iron is about 1000 times as common as copper and 20,000 times as common as tin in the Earth's crust. SEE: https:...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
  • 95.9k
26 votes

Biplanes landing on top of skyscrapers by means of a wind tunnel in retro-future Earth

It's even more simple* than a wind-tunnel: simply set up the runway as a steep ramp on top of the building. The aircraft land into the wind, and the uphill nature of the runway will rapidly kill ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62k
25 votes

Could Cats Add Lots of Plants to Their Diet?

Meet the red panda, Ailurus fulgens. A red panda at the Cincinnati Zoo. Photograph by Greg Hume, available on Wikimedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 91.1k
25 votes

Biplanes landing on top of skyscrapers by means of a wind tunnel in retro-future Earth

Too complicated If something goes wrong, it would be difficult to abort. Just imagine a plane trying to land and the fan breaking. The pilot also then needs to watch two walls and a roof as well as ...
Thorne's user avatar
  • 47.3k
24 votes

Could This Sort of Castle Defense Work?

It's a terrible defensive structure. Once you're close enough to the walls, you've eliminated flanking fire coming from the towers because the walls themselves block line of sight. This would allow ...
Keith Morrison's user avatar
24 votes

Reasons why a high tech species does not have space travel

Their planet is too big! Their home contains a mass much greater than our Earth. Getting to orbit is spectacularly expensive and energy costly. That's just for satellites. Crewed missions require ...
GB540's user avatar
  • 704
23 votes

Noah's flood actually happened. When does science prove that it happened?

With the advent of genetic engineering First a bit of background... Two of each "kind" Young Earth Creationists concede that — no — Noah did not bring two of each species because it is simply not ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.9k
22 votes

How could mankind of ancient times cause significant climate change?

Both Iceland and Easter Island were deforested by people who settled there. The Vikings let their farm animals loose and they probably used a fair bit of wood for keeping warm, boats, huts and ...
userLTK's user avatar
  • 1,459
22 votes

Finding real world historic examples of cultures/organizations/tribes to represent Orcs

Tolkien's Orcs were based on the Mongol conquests. So, to keep his tradition, I'd choose the Scythians (9th century BC-4th century AD) Scythian women trained with the bow and they fought along men, ...
Alberto Yagos's user avatar
22 votes

How long would it take for Earth to be eaten to its core?

The limit will be when poop is high enough that people cannot dig through it to get to food. They can dump poop into ocean or rivers, but that leads us to second limit: They eat away dry land (till ...
Bald Bear's user avatar
  • 10.7k
22 votes

Could a planet have a naturally occuring moon at one of its Lagrange points?

Yes it could The Wikipedia article on the subject is quite detailed and offers the exact answer to your question. The L4 and L5 points are stable provided that the mass of the primary body (e.g. the ...
TheDyingOfLight's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Assuming a flat world and no obstacles, how far could you see?

Here's a first-order approximation based on a fundamental limit: diffraction and angular resolution. How far someone can see of course depends on the size of the object they're looking at, because ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
22 votes

Are airships practical in a world without much metal?

Trees and wood in the past has been a strategic resource. If you look at ship building, forests and trees like oak were protected by the King. The shipwrights would look at the branches and forks, and ...
UVphoton's user avatar
  • 6,912
21 votes

Reasons why a high tech species does not have space travel

There's nowhere to go Our solar system has a whole lot of potential targets of space travel, from the asteroid belt to various planets and moons (and Moon). Those targets also act like potential ...
Darth Biomech's user avatar
20 votes
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Could a river civilization develop in a cold desert climate?

Ancient civilizations flourished around rivers in warm (Mesopotamia) or hot (Egypt) climates because the combination provided excellent conditions for agriculture. But we do have ancient(-ish) ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 91.1k

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