70

As salam alaykum! I think it's wonderful that there would be a portrayal of Islam in sci-fi. I'm not a shiek by any means, but given the tenor of the answers I think I'm the only Muslim to actually reply. As others have pointed out, Muslims in prayer face towards the Kabah, which is kept in the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. (As a side note, it's also polite/...


63

The simplest solution would be to apply the existing fatwa of 2007, which was a response to Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor's flight on the ISS. The practical problem is that although the direction of the Kaaba relative to the ISS is (obviously) accurately known, the direction many be changing too fast to obey the traditional directions for prayer. Several Muslims ...


48

The Black Death - bubonic plague - has a mortality rate of 50-70%, so even with no other measures there's a pretty good chance of any two people surviving at random (about 25% if you take the lower end). However, population-wide statistics are misleading. The mortality rate will be very much lower for fit, healthy people who are well-fed and have no ...


47

No They would all die upon discovering fire. To quote: "Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him, and he's warm for the rest of his life." - Sir Terry Pratchett, Jingo Thus, the only reasonable thing to do is to light all of themselves in fire so that they would indeed be warm for the remainder of their lives.


44

Case dropped for two reasons. There is no law enforcing Santa to give anyone anything therefore anything of value is a gift that is given to anyone nice. Second reason for dropping the case is that it's not Santa's obligation to describe the value of the gift to the recipient. For some, a broken guitar is worth nothing. For others it's worth 52 thousand ...


35

Black plague (and hopefully any disease which closely copies it) is carried by fleas. Fleas hate citrus fruit, especially lemons. The woman and her husband own the only citrus grove near the town and normally make their living selling lemons. So their home and grove would be a natural safe zone from black plague. If only her husband hadn't joined the death ...


30

I may be wrong here, but I don’t think this case would ever make it to a court. Santa is a private entity. Any expectation of gifts being given is just that: an expectation. There is no written contract to say Santa must give any gifts to anyone, and the vast resources Santa has at his disposal are his to employ however he chooses. Sure, we can disagree with ...


19

No. The way we define latitude and longitude is based on the planet's axis of rotation. You can certainly (AFAIK) have a planet with a 90° axial inclination, or (probably) a planet that is identical to Earth except with all the land masses rotated 90°, but unless you completely change the definition of "pole", the poles will, by definition, be stationary w.r....


19

You don't need magic to explain pre-industrial airships, just more abundant and accessible sources of naturally occurring helium than real Earth has. Hot air balloons are (arguably) pre-industrial; certainly they require only Renaissance-level technology to manufacture. Your limitation there is the fuel; to get a big enough hot-air balloon to consider it an ...


17

You have created the ultimate urban assassin. It is impossible to keep these people out. Even if you build an entire bunker with 50ft walls of electric razor wire, they just have to stand 5 miles away from the bunker, wait until someone opens the door, then run the 5 miles in half a second and they're in. Note: In your example a person can walk a mile in 20 ...


16

This was the original purpose of chastity belts. Example usage: Anyone in public without a functioning, locked, chastity belt is assumed to be an adulterer and promptly stoned. Spouse holds the only key. A responsible relative holds the key for unmarried adults. You can see that this makes family politics and individual freedom all tied up with sexual ...


16

The gift of coal includes carbon credits for burning it. After the passing of Assembly bill 32 carbon credits are required to offset coal burning in the state of California. Santa is of course, familiar with all local laws and regulations. Santa has gifted the carbon credits as well with the coal, allowing the children to burn it for warmth this winter ...


16

N.B. I was debating whether to add an answer to this but I disagreed with the (now previously-accepted) answer that stated the Malaysian fatwa would be used, and wanted to give a more detailed reason why from the perspective of Islamic law. Looking back on this, I realise it's a bit of an information dump with no real references, but unfortunately it's the ...


15

Sticking to the good old tradition: we are not punks who fight with laser, plasma annihilators and all that garbage used by these honor-less two legged beings who dare calling themselves men. Our ancestors, those were real men, defended their land and honor with guns and lead, and so we will do.


14

They live in the trees. She knows that the Death can jump from person to person. And she knows that even without the Death, people have become dangerous. Even among the uninfected, people are desperate and some are insane. Before he went away her husband told her some of the things he saw in the houses of the dead, and would not tell her about some ...


14

In the matter of Pickles et. al. v. Kringle, this court finds for the defense. Kris Kringle (aka Santa Claus, aka Saint Nicholas, aka Father Christmas) established a verbal contract with Ms. Pickles and similar plaintiffs that established that in order to receive desirable presents, that the plaintiffs must behave in a manner that he characterizes as "...


13

Yes and no, and possibly "it depends on what you mean by "civilization". As L. Dutch already noted, technological development is more a function of available resources and population density. On the one hand, it's quite believable that population density could increase at least as quickly as on our Earth, and indeed, perhaps faster given how much more ...


13

Sniper rifle. That is my choice because I want to conserve all my precious life and I don't like to get blood and guts on my hot weather linen suit, which I also hope to conserve. Maybe I can cash in a few hours of life for super sniping powers for the second or 2 I need them. I probably would have been pretty old for those hours anyway. I hope. If drones ...


13

There is no defense for his behaviour: Santa will not need to be taken to trial, as the only court that really matters in 2020 is the Court of Public Opinion, but he will be thoroughly excoriated: The forces of wokedom will ensure that the story gets properly spun on all the usual social networks: the twats over over on Twitter will find their knickers in a ...


12

One solution is to have them come very, very close to death, but then just barely pull through. It's easier to believe "these two people almost died of the plague" than "these two people were immune to the plague" or "these two people never got the plague". Sometimes people do simply recover from even the worst conditions.


12

Naughty kids are not a protected class. Santa is free to discriminate against them under freedom of association. ... unless someone can prove a disparate impact on some protected class.


11

The mother is a cat hoarder. She adores cats, and cannot have too many of them. Any rat looking for living quarters takes one sniff near her house and decides it would not make a good home. The cats are kept mainly indoors, well fed, and groomed regularly. She does not like them getting fleas. If she sees fleas on a cat she combs it thoroughly. She insists ...


11

It sounds like you're looking for an accurate way to find an adulterer... I'd say, a court system like ours might be in play. Witnesses, testimonies, etc. If you're leaning more on the "doesn't have to be accurate" side of things... I'm thinking, what did they do in witch hunts? It was all manner of irrational things. They were assumed to have magic, so ...


10

I'm going to assume that the question you're asking is 'Can the Earth additionally rotate up-and-down?', because, Matthew's answer has pointed out, we define 'up and down' based on the planet's already spinning axis. The only way this question makes sense is that you're asking whether the Earth can additionally spin up-and-down. And the answer to that is a ...


10

Yes, it could be consistent. For each of the fundamental forces, we have a certain conserved quantity, which we refer to as a charge. The converse of a result called Noether's theorem tells us that in most cases, a conservation law leads to something called a symmetry$^{\dagger}$, and each symmetry is associated with a mathematical structure called a ...


10

Escape execution - yes. Form an independent country - highly unlikely From Nicolas II abdication on 2(15).03.1917 to his execution on 17.07.1918 there were multiple opportunities to spirit the former tsar away from his detention, especially early on. For example, in March-April 1917 there was an active plan to let Nicolas leave for England, however George V, ...


10

Depending on the size of the Earth-Shattering Kaboom, they would likely orient to face The location of Earth/Sol. The more interesting question is how they will complete Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). I am aware that Islam does allow for followers to not follow certain tenets if they are dangerous or physically impossible (For the Hajj, if you are unable to ...


9

No electricity is available and neither is magic, but I still want the court to be certain that they are punishing the right guys. With human biochemistry, that is impossible. You must make do with "reasonable belief" and the possibilities of missing, mistaken, hateful and bought witnesses. Even keeping everything under lock and key would not be enough, ...


9

If we read your question carefully, the answer is clearly Yes. You ask, "Can a population of humans who evolved to be utter morons survive to this day" Well, if they evolved to be utter morons then clearly that was an adaptive strategy for them at some time and some place. Therefore your current question boils down to "Can a species of morons ...


9

I'm going to presume that there is still bacteria. You need something to break down dead plants and release carbon. Otherwise all the carbon gets locked into the forest floor and plant growth dies for lack of carbon. Pollinating Plants There could still be pollinating plants. They would just depend on wind instead of animals to transport their pollen. Many ...


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