248

Fran is a naturally subterranean boring worm-like creature. Her cilia enable her to move forward and rotate. On her homeworld, the tunnels are bored with ridges or grooves that serve as affordances for forward locomotion, allowing her species to progress along the intended direction of the tunnel (forward) more easily (and conversely, making it more ...


107

Consider a mountain pass. In short, you need a small village located on a major road. Possibly, your village is located near (on the only road leading to) a mountain pass. You mentioned the mountainous location, so it fits geographically, and such location will result in quite a bit of traffic (merchants, travellers) passing through. At the same time, the ...


94

Simple, make the language Oligosynthetic. Oligosynthetic languages are languages that have 50-200 words and simply combine words to create new concepts. For example; Let's say I want to say hell, in English I would say hell. In an oligosynthetic language, I would say: Inverse-help-place or hurt-place. In an oligosynthetic language, the word that inverses a ...


90

There are a few languages on earth that don't have words for relative direction. Instead of they use absolute the directions North, South, East, and West to describe the positioning of things. For example; speakers of these languages when facing East, would refer to their "North foot" and "South foot", and if they turned 90 degrees would refer to their "East ...


89

Bob could end the war. Keep in mind that ending the war is different from winning the war. Also remember that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. All he has to do is fly into the middle of a space battle and let fighters from each side blast away at his ship for a while. As their most powerful weapons don't even damage his ship's paint job, he can ...


84

The body shape of the aliens makes it difficult to pull doors open, but they can easily push doors open (or vice versa). Have you ever tried to get through a door with both hands full? The aliens' body shape has the same effect. So doors are generally designed in pairs for both directions.


66

High levels of automation you say? Sounds like you want some metal-on-metal action. The natural evolution of video gaming, virtual reality and sporting events, MetalBowl began as American Football, but with robots replacing the fragile humans. The visceral, brutal nature of the game as a spectator sport was preserved, but the safety of the people involved ...


66

Your society has a hypermartial warrior culture. The double-doors eliminate the problem of accidental rudeness and slaughter. If you were to attempt the use of a door at the same time as me, one of us must either retreat for the other or turn their back to walk out of the way. One is a dishonour to me: retreat is never acceptable. The other is an insult to ...


66

I'm not convinced that 18 is too old at all; in point of fact, if ALL the 'adults' left at once, society would be ruined in many different ways. What we call civilisation is really a very delicate balance in this world. Let's start with something as simple as food distribution. Without people who know how to drive trucks, most of humanity will starve ...


65

I believe mechanical means of transportation would still be developed. As a basis for prediction, consider the case of the horseless carriage. Why bother inventing a car when you already have horses? The answer comes from the cost of ownership (space, feed, water, manpower/expertise, equipment) and the significant time investment needed to raise, train, ...


64

Why does Hinduism not meet your requirements? From Hinduism.SE, neither the monotheistic nor polytheistic labels properly fit Hinduism. You can read the various answers yourself; some answers say it is strictly monotheistic, some say it is both, some say it is neither. However, from an 'outsiders' perspective, one in which all religious practice can be ...


64

I'm going to respond to this with a framing challenge, because as it stands I think you're asking the wrong question. The issue is that the modern industrial world is a product of population DENSITY rather than total population. This may seem semantic but in a post-apocalyptic environment it's very meaningful. Modern industrialism depends on and benefits ...


62

The textbook University Physics by Sears, Zemansky, Young, and Freedman is going to be far superior to Isaac Newton's work. For one thing, it's designed as a textbook for people who are not familiar with the current state of the art knowledge. Newton was writing for other people like him, who already knew up through everything before him. So he really ...


61

Because God or Gods are actually real. Just because some people assume in our modern world that objective proof is lacking, does not prove (or dis-prove) the existence, or lack thereof, of a God or Gods. Also, in your proposed society, there may be reasons for faith, or even proof(s) discovered which are not available to a modern-day type society.


59

This is actually easier than you think, and represents a major shortcoming of our modern civilization - specialization. First and foremost, it's safe to say that all traces of human civilization on Earth are now well and truly gone. In other words, no one is going to find caches of technology or resources just lying around. Second, consider that the ...


57

It's unrealistic to expect a single person - or ship - to end the war. One Man, One Ship First of all, Bob and his ship can only be in one place at one time. He can't stop every conflict in the universe from happening, and he certainly can't intervene at a "local" level - for example a fight on a planet surface, or to protect a politician who is being ...


57

Terrain objects I imagine these nomads are following the same paths every year as they perpetually circle the planet. In that case, since there are no seasons or months, each group's time cycle would be based around terrain objects they pass. This is the month of the Blue Woods, next month is the Snow-capped Peaks, next month is Dust Plains, etc. Once ...


52

Here's what goes wrong. The more honest "everyone" in a society is, the more they trust each other. The more they trust each other, the easier it is for someone who is not "everyone" (i.e. a dishonest person) to prosper. So an excessively honest society has no societal immune system against being taken over by liars and cheats, and is destroyed from within ...


51

How advanced can they get? Very. The most advanced non-metal using cultures known where those of Meso-America culminating in the Aztecs/Mexica. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan is estimated to have had a population of 200,000-300,000 right before it fell to the rebellion. The city was built on manufactured ground, in the middle of a lake. It's fresh water ...


51

No kurwa Lower classes often have a curse word that can mean anything from agreement to joy to disagreement. In Polish, one word ("kurwa") can also mean, with small modifiers, drunk, angry, thrown out of a bar, and many more. If you are creating dystopia, using curse word like this can be your way. Nice to read: https://workout4brain.wordpress.com/2015/...


50

I don't know exactly about the other two, but one would be the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. This is a monster of a book is ~2600 pages of very small type, weighing about 8.5 pounds, listing physical constants and properties recorded to the best know decimal places. It is literally the product of hundreds of years of scientific experiments and ...


47

Not very long A Metropolis consists of a lot of people in a small area. Unless we're talking about a science-fiction high-tech metropolis, they don't produce their own food, and they don't produce their own power. Otherwise, food is continually brought in from surrounding areas, and the power stations powering the city are somewhere nearby but outside of ...


47

Feng Shui! In the traditional Chinese Architecture: The main gateway entrance into the courtyard house had two red doors; it was located on the eastern part of the south side conforming to the rules of feng shui. Immediately behind the entrance was a solid wall '照壁 zhào bì' that denies direct view or access to the courtyard, in Feng Shui terms it was to ...


46

Of course Until the last 150 years, every nation, government, and condition of rulership was enacted without the benefit of swift transportation and/or instantaneous communication. In the really big empires, like the Romans, Alexander, Genghis Khan, travelling from edge-to-edge could take months. People on trading missions took years. And yet these ...


45

I think the question is not so much what we can do without zero, but how zero could remain undiscovered when humans begin to advance. One of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite contemporary mathematicians (Roger Penrose) is that it's always possible to create an equations from numbers of a given type whose answer falls beyond that type: Positive ...


43

Single-line answer: Oook the librarian of the Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork. In Terry Pratchett's books about the discworld, there is a monkey orangutan, working as a librarian in the Unseen University's library. He had his own language, consisting entirely out of "ook", "oook" and "eeek". Though his language has only 3 words, some people from the ...


42

Dinosaur fossils are dug up all of the time. Including things like fossilized teeth. I wonder what researchers would say to a gold nugget embedded in a tooth. Things like clothing, watches, ... might leave impressions in the stone, just as there are fossils with skin or feather impressions (wikimedia link to Archaeopteryx). What happens to ceramics in ...


42

The easiest Problem to deal with is quite simple: they're wrong. A civilization like that presumably has some direction they believe they are going along. They're hopefully not just wandering aimlessly among the stars, using up the full energy of a galaxy here and there. They have to have some plan that's guiding them. What if that plan is wrong? What ...


42

Reverse osmosis. from Aristotle, Meteorilogica. There is more evidence to prove that saltness is due to the admixture of some substance, besides that which we have adduced. Make a vessel of wax and put it in the sea, fastening its mouth in such a way as to prevent any water getting in. Then the water that percolates through the wax sides of the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible