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179

Blue Hole In the waters near your island, there is a place where no merfolk dares swim. It is an underwater sinkhole. Legend says that at the bottom dwells the god of death. Any merfolk who attempts to swim down to the bottom finds that, less than halfway down, their gills can no longer bring them enough air to breathe: they either drown, or frantically ...


129

Get out I mean, literally. As in "get out of the universe". The heat death of our universe is by definition not a survivable event. That's the bad news. The good news is that it takes a very, very long time to happen. So a technological society has time to develop technological solutions to the problem. Some things that might work are: Cross over ...


98

No. By definition the heat death is the state where you could no longer do anything. Any actions you do before it only makes it come sooner. Best strategy: Sit still, do absolutely nothing. (I kinda like this strategy) For high-tech civilizations I recommend you put out the stars. They produce entropy really fast. In general, stop things from changing. ...


97

The point of burial halls is not so much for the dead, it is for the living. It's a place where people go to 'visit' the dead, gives them a means of 'talking' to them, and a sense of comfort because they are 'laid to rest'. As such, I think it's possible that people in your world would erect statues in reverence to the fallen -- memorial statues, like we ...


91

One day. Few at most. In most modern countries death reports are passed to government agency on daily basis. Clerk responsible for them would be surprised that there are none in his area. He will notice sudden drop, and 0 in one category. At least some clerks would call their counterparts in adjacent areas to chit-chat about this impossible coincidence, and,...


79

Hard physics answer I think the question is fundamentally ill-posed. As long as there are humans alive somewhere, the universe is millions to the power of millions of years away from the "heat death" (which is not at all an agreed-upon or well-understood thing). The heat death (if we assume it is well-defined) is definitely not "when the last star fades ...


68

Sky Burial (or rather the undersea equivalent) Certain cultures in south Asia have a practice which is termed sky burial. Basically, the dead bodies are taken to a remote location (normally high on mountains) and left for scavengers. In contrast to Western culture where scavengers are viewed as evil and unclean, in cultures with sky burial the particular ...


67

Set them in concrete Very simple. You dig the grave, place the deceased at the bottom but not in any notable coffin. Instead of pouring in earth you pour in concrete. Expense: Cost of a few dozen square feet of concrete. No ongoing expense. Security: Your corpse is not completely secure but anyone who wants it will need to dig through several feet of solid ...


64

Fantasy solution: The bridge to Heavens is above the pit to Hell. Anyone pushed over just vanish into its bottomless abyss. Just rule out accumulation. Biological solution: Scavengers. Some scavenger nest near the duel area and clean the corpses once sun has set. They learned to be afraid of the guardians after centuries of getting their butts whooped, ...


62

Your former projection will be in for a hard time, even if they've faithfully served their summoner for decades. Why? The calcium in bone (and more so teeth, especially the enamel) is relatively permanent -- it doesn't get replaced rapidly or frequently. This is why, for instance, Strontium 90 in nuclear fallout is such a problem -- because it replaces ...


60

Several ideas what would be different: Better murder cases: You can ask a person who did murder them. And possibly you could use it as evidence in court Different inheritance rules You can summon recently deceased person and ask them who should get what. And obviously, you could make sure the deceased person can decide about conditions (like: You get my ...


60

Can people die from laughter? Yes. There is a wikipedia page about this. However, such incidents are far and few between - I found three in the past century, and one of them was exacerbated by a heart condition. Are some of those cases from a joke? Only one incident I found confirmed the cause of death to be a joke as defined in the question (Wesley Parsons)...


59

The CDC estimates 187,000 people in the USA die from "injury" every year -- basically that includes homicide, suicide, vehicle accidents, and other forms of accidental death. This works out to a chance of about 1/1600 of an individual dying from injury in any given year. So the chance of survival is 0.999375. After 300 years, your chance of remaining alive ...


54

My wife has a degree in criminology, and she wrote a paper about how you could poison a huge percentage of the population in a couple days by putting botulism in the milk supply. If I remember correctly, it was something like 2/3 of the population within 2 or 3 days. If you had something that you could put into municipal water supplies (you are the ...


54

Our entire idea of the afterlife is wrong. Instead of an entire soul going to a good place or a bad place, The soul is sundered and the good and bad portions are split to their prospective realms. This ritual unknowingly only calls back the evil soul. The reason that we only call back evil souls is because it is actually a voluntary thing and the good ...


52

Family tree shrines A variation on themes already visited in other posts, families or clans have a tree where they bring all their dead and dying members, to be absorbed into the same tree. Clan councils are held in the presence of the ancestors and individuals make offerings and pray for guidance at the foot of the tree. The tree provides some real or ...


49

You use centralized version control The problem is akin to copying computer programs around - you must dissociate the physical substrate from the program. It is complicated by the fact that the program modifies itself, i.e. consciousness could be thought of as an executable database of some sort. However, we have lots of tools available to deal with this. ...


47

No. The mass of a proton is about $1.67\times10^{-27}$ kg. Therefore the total maximum energy released by its annihilation with an antiproton is $2mc^2= 2\times1.67\times10^{-27}\times9\times10^{16} = 3\times10^{-10}$ Joule. This is not much. Even if all this energy would be deposited inside the victims brain, it is a very small amount. But it would not. As ...


47

If they're actually drowned there will be mercury in the lungs, because drowning, in general, is the inhalation of a liquid (though the term is occasionally used, loosely, for inhalation of heavier-than-air gasses). Even if the mercury golem is able to reclaim the mercury that was forced into the victim's lungs, the "losses" will be detectable as traces in ...


46

Contagious infection is the most likely reason such a belief/ fear would arise. Even if the plague was a long time ago, these stories are pervasive and would be passed down through the generations (think of all the superstitions humans held for thousands of years prior to the advent of modern science). A fear of illness from the dead bodies that has become ...


40

Hack the Universe The universe is just a simulation running on a super computer somewhere. Exploit a bug so that you can get more energy/matter.


40

how could they dispose of the many corpses? Don't. A giant pile of rotting corpses floating on their own goo may be a nice deterrent against stupid adventurers trying their luck. If the sight doesn't scare them away, the smell will. They will get sick. Any adventurer who escapes will die from infection far away from the site and scare others even more. ...


38

Impossible. I am working on a close earth-analog. History has progressed into a modern-equivalent age. For purposes of the answers, current earth may be assumed. That's your basis and in this world there is no way that such a run of zero death would go unnoticed. For a period of about two weeks; death stops. Everywhere, for all humans. Accidents that ...


37

There are some issues with this, but let's handwave the deadliness part for now (we'll get there). The first issues you need to deal with is spread: If knowledge of the joke can only be gained by reading or hearing it, then everyone who hears or reads it will die from the lethal joke. In theory, it cannot be written down in the first place, because the ...


36

I think the question implies a paradox that can't occur. The heat death of the universe is not when the last star goes out, it's when the universe reaches maximum entropy. By definition then, there's no way of 'surviving' the event, because you'd have to be dead in the first place for the condition to have been reached. Dead, decomposed and the energy you ...


35

Alien nanotech solves this simple enough. Strictly speaking "nano" is a misnomer here, maybe "microbots" might be better? In anycase, the pactite is composed of these "very small" alien robots, which have following abilities: to communicate with each other and form ad hoc communications and computation networks with each other, to listen, record, and parse ...


35

Wouldn't sinking the bodies in waters around the island have negative effects on local marine life? Quite the contrary. While dead organisms release potentially toxic amounts of nitrites and phosphates in a closed ecosystem such as an aquarium, larger marine ecosystems actually depend on this circle of life-- like trees do for our air, algae feeds off of ...


35

It won't last a week. You are basically providing an ideal environment for normal decay. It takes less than 7 days for insects (mostly maggots) to basically skeletonize a human body (not counting some stringy bits), with the presence of larger scavengers it is unlikely to last even that long. On a normal tree it is unlikely to still be on the tree within a ...


33

Design a paperclip maximizer. If you are really a genius and can develop such a software, all you need is a computer with an internet connection.... A paperclip maximizer is one of the simplest examples of an AI which would destroy humanity even without a malicious goal. You only have to create an AI capable of self-improvement, and give it a simple goal ...


32

Even if they survived Zeiss Ikon's way, there's not a hope of surviving this: The neurons in the brain don't get replaced over this sort of time period. It is widely understood now that new neurons can grow, but when a nerve cell dies, it is gone for good. The nerve cells in your brain today have the same molecules of DNA that they were initially created ...


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