121

They don't actually need names. Names aren't used that often in everyday communication. Body language is very effective for indicating which person in a group you're talking to. And to get somebody's attention, simply call out "brother!" in their direction, and look at the person you're referring to. The only other situations where you use names are when ...


97

If your group renounces their personal identity in favor of their work, the obvious thing to call them by is profession. If a particular brother is responsible for the monastery gardens, he's Brother Gardner. If he's responsible for their walls, he's Brother Mason. If he's responsible for their horseshoes and swords, he's Brother Smith. You'll note that ...


67

Youngsters. The first computers read and wrote punched cards or punched paper tape; they did not have any kind of user interface where being blind or sighted mattered. It was perceived as major revolution when some smart technician adapted a typewriter to be able to print computer output; electric teletypewriters were then adapted so that operators could ...


59

In all likelihood, there is no forcing one society to adopt the other's system, instead, people would likely adopt a local market approach to measurements. Let's say you are on Earth building spaceship parts that will be used to make ships on Farawaynos, you manufacture to the other society's system of measurements. If they want to sell parts to Earth, ...


56

The most efficient communication is probably a command set. Since you contemplated Morse code, I assume that the communication is done via a fully defined interface - both sender and receiver know what a bit sequence is supposed to mean. A command set is no more that giving different codes predefined meanings. With one singe bit you can define 2 commands: |...


51

What you described is an old invention:the wax tablet. Spermaceti from sperm whales is just one of many waxes your underwater people could use. Some of the fishes also contain significant quantities of wax. If you need only a short-term solution, animal fat would also do the job. I couldn't find any seaweed that secretes waxes, so I hope your underwater ...


45

Bells. A large (hence deep-toned) bell can be heard for many miles. Couple with a reflective sound concentrator as in @L.Dutch answer, and bells should be audible for about as far as you could see a lighthouse. "Wait, you can't hear individual sounds over a great distance!" Well, you can't now -- but the world was quieter before there were cars and ...


44

There are two kinds of summoning, when you really get down to it. There's the summoning where the summoned wants to be summoned, and there is the summoning where the summoned is compelled to be summoned. Define your demon, and its behaviors, and you define how to summon it. It may want to be summoned, in which case this is extremely easy to explain. The ...


35

We are a good halfway to that. You just need to increase the communication rate, so that language mutation happens more often. Also give a generous spread of technological advancement. Take a simple sentence as example: Lol, I have been pwned. Ping me on WhatsApp. I get it, you get it. Should my grandparents be alive and should I tell them that ...


34

Already Exists Behold, the Submarine Cable Map! A wide network of underwater cable that connects the major coastal population centers. In fact, I believe you may be using it to view this page, or even if not you, someone else. (By the way, don't use solar power. A nuke-fest that destroys the Earth and forces everyone to live in bunkers will cause a nuclear ...


33

Generate a constant stream of scandals that make common expressions politically incorrect. Add aggressive prosecution of people using oldspeak because you want to avoid offending the party that phrase now insults and you have a built in way to root out spies.


33

I'm kind of surprised that no one has mantioned the obvious time tested method of long range communication: Drums Lots of people have brought up using sound, and even the very clever use of acoustic reflectors, but Drums avoid many problems associated with things like guns (ammo ain't cheap, and how much bandwidth could you get out it). They are lighter ...


32

Don't forget the Pioneer plaque The radial pattern on the left of the plaque shows 15 lines emanating from the same origin. Fourteen of the lines have corresponding long binary numbers, which stand for the periods of pulsars, using the hydrogen spin-flip transition frequency as the unit. Since these periods will change over time, the epoch of the launch ...


30

Some thought has gone into this issue with regards to deterring future humans (over a 10000 year timescale) from radioactive waste dumps. Obviously this isn't quite the same as your situation, because although future humans may well be completely different to us socially and linguistically, they're still likely to share quite a lot of traits with us. There'...


30

The question is inconsistent. If you know that you are in the Milky Way, and not in Andromeda or whereever, then you have navigational data. Either you know not even that much, or you know much better where you are. A starship would not have star charts which are dots on paper. There would be databases with size, color/spectrum and orbit, and then it is "...


27

Minimal handwaving is done with a single big lie rather than little ones. If you try to tell the little lie, there's constant follow up, but what about this, but what about that, but what about the other. The big lie tells not about the technology but about the timeline, not about how it was done but about who did it. Make it a story about the person who ...


26

Braids of seaweed. The ancient Inca used knotted fibers, or quipu, to record events and information. With enough effort, seaweed could be manipulated (slicing then braiding) into thin cords, which could then function in a similar way as quipu. I wouldn't be sure about the lifespan of these cords -- it depends on the manufacturing process -- but these ...


26

Humans have already solved this problem. There are many useful universal numbers that can be used. mostly atomic phenomenon such as the mass of X atoms of a particular isotope or natural atomic oscillation. You may want to checkout the current definitions of all SI units. which are defined in such as way as to make them universal. That is they are based on ...


25

This isn't as hard as it might seem It would be harder to work out the semiotics than the conversion and/or adoption. After that it's just software. Why? Because a substantial amount of science involves relationships. For example, the value of 𝜋 is unitless (3.14159...) That relationship would be the same no matter what mathematical base was used, or ...


23

Precise Pseudo-Pronouns In addition to developing a system along the lines of Cadence's answer, they seem to be a good candidate for developing a pseudo-pronoun system based on deeds or locations known to the residents of the monastery. E.g. Resident of the Second Kitchen-Adjacent Cell, One Who Fell Into the Well Once, Late Night Copier etc. These are '...


22

Why do they need to standardize? Humans haven't managed to do it amongst themselves. All they need is a conversion process like we already do for imperial to metric.


22

You already mention homing pigeons. Another alternative is to use sound and a suitably shaped reflector to focus the sound beam toward the receiver, who will in turn use a similarly shaped receiver to listen. Something similar was used during WW1, where acoustic mirrors were used to detect enemy planes flying toward England over the Channel. Since you are ...


19

You Can't. Language evolves to be sure; there are words in the English language today that weren't in it when I was in school, and we pronounce (and even in some rare cases spell) some words differently to what we used to even in my lifetime. The thing is, even disregarding the anchor point that writing provides to a language by its very existence, the ...


19

Morse code and syllable length - that is, use syllable length to encode a message in Morse code so a long syllable for a dash, a short one of a dot. Easy to decode if intercepted - yes, absolutely. But you didn't mention the possibility that anyone was listening in to find a hidden message, just that it needed to be encoded. Without any training, it'll be ...


18

This makes the Order very personal Renouncing one's name for the sake of monkhood means giving up all the things that are personal: including privacy. If embraced, it would create an incredibly strong and trusting bond between the brothers. If you need to speak with someone, you must walk toward them such that they can see you speaking directly to them, ...


17

Yes... and no... Is today's communication fast enough and capable enough to manage a planetary empire? Absolutely. The Internet alone could do it. That's not your problem. Let me suggest a frame challenge: Your problem is establishing such an empire in a believable way, because the technology that allows massive, instantaneous communication also allows ...


17

According to Schneier the entropy of English text is below 1.6 bit per letter. Given a difficult constraint such as yours I would expect people to come up with compression algorithms getting close to that. If you don't need the full power of English you might get much better compression if you can pre-define a small set of words that would be sufficient. ...


17

Tachyons are detectable. Fortunately, I believe your question is based on a mistaken premise. Tachyons, if they exist, would likely indeed be detectable. In fact, since they were initially theorized, there have been several experimental searches for tachyons, though very few in recent years. I'll talk about a couple experiments noted in Status of ...


17

You don't have to go back in time very far to reach a point where marine-derived hydrocarbons pretty much made the world go round. The catch being that you have to kill rather intelligent, large and dangerous predators who share your environment. Enter the sperm whale, whose head is filled with an extremely useful collection of waxes and oils which may be ...


17

You need a trigger word. Right now, I can summon a big red round demon with the trigger phrase "hey Siri." My parents summon a materialistic demon with the trigger word "Alexa." Your demon bots (and nanites, etc) network with each other and if the summoning is done within earshot of any one of them, the message will go to the right demon who can respond, ...


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