37

A year isn't going to cut it, you're looking at about a generation at least for any noticeable progress. The problem is the lack of industrial base. Medieval society is a hair's breadth above subsistence farming. Technology is largely driven and supported by population pressures, without that they don't have the need to progress nor to maintain anything you ...


32

The situation you describe is almost exactly (part of) the plot from the book "A Fire Upon the Deep". Which in my opinion presents a very plausible level of success. In fact the specifications you offer (1 year-ish time period, lack of homeworld contact for the high tech people) match the conditions in the book very closely. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


20

Absolutely. During the Messinian Salinity Crisis the 'sea level' in the Mediterranean Sea was THOUSANDS of meters lower than that of the Atlantic ocean, for thousands of years. The important thing for your example is that there would need to be a large enough surrounding drainage area to keep sea level in your archipelago stable relative to evaporation. ...


14

Basic sanitation, including the germ theory of many diseases. Animal husbandy and plant improvement based on Mendelian genetics. If they have the data and sensors, mid-term weather forecasts. Imagine a serf knew that there would likely be two more dry and sunny weeks before the harvest is due. Food preservation technologies like canning (this requires jars ...


14

The Great Lakes, Lake Baikal, the Caspian Sea, and the Dead Sea are all reasonably large bodies of water that are not at global sea level. The Great Lakes are hundreds of feet above the global sea level. The Dead Sea is not very large, but it is relatively close to the Mediterranean and Red Seas.


13

An example: the Pannonian Sea The Pannonian Sea was an inland sea which existed for about 10 million years; during the last part of its existence it was isolated from the ocean. It covered most of the territory of modern country of Hungary, and large parts of Croatia, Serbia and Romania. I would say that this qualifies as a "very large lake". The Pannonian ...


12

Not an original starting point, I recognize it, but Randall Munroe already covered this answer in one of his What if. What you see above here is how Earth would look like once you drained the oceans (and made the Netherlands much bigger). To use Randall's words: There's a surprising amount of water left, although much of it consists of very shallow seas,...


9

How About Glaciation? Northern Canada, Greenland, and Iceland are a series of HUGE islands that don't have a directional alignment. Not being a geologist, I assume most of these islands were carved by the weight of glaciers over time, basically wearing down the land until it met the sea. Since the islands in your map are pretty far north, you could say ...


8

There are parts of Earth's oceans, never mind landlocked sea-size lakes, that have differing sea levels. The Atlantic and Pacific differ by a couple meters, as measured from the center of the earth -- this is measurable across the Strait of Magellan (off the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Tierra del Fuego). There is a constant current in the Bosporus ...


7

If you wish for more UV light to reach the poles, you can deplete the ozone layer over them. This is exactly what happened on our world - ozone depleting chemicals reached the upper layer of the atmosphere and due to wind currents they concentrated over pole over the decades, specially the south pole. The hole over the south pole is shown as the blue-ish ...


6

when warhead size increases it derives higher and higher share of its energy from fusion, thus it becomes relatively cleaner and cheaper (per megaton) Although this claim has popped up before, it isn't strictly true. Whilst there is a lower size limit for a fission device, it isn't necessarily possible to scale up a fission-fusion device to arbitrary sizes ...


6

If the goal is truly technological transfer, nothing meaningful is going to happen in a year. There is a saying I've encountered while working in sales-related capacities, which is that you never sell a product, you sell the lifestyle that a product makes possible. I think that that's an important element here. Early interactions will be largely gifts, as ...


5

The other answers are excellent and thought provoking, but I’d argue that you need to invent the printing press almost immediately. Without reasonable speed of instruction, it will be difficult to teach the necessary skills to bootstrap many of the other improvements. Of course, this does require a significant push for literacy, but I'd argue that many of ...


5

Hawaiian style! https://www.marinebio.net/marinescience/02ocean/hwgeo.htm Hawaii is geologically a unique place on Earth because it is caused by a 'hot spot.' Most islands are found at tectonic plate boundaries either from spreading centers (like Iceland) or from subduction zones (like the Aleutian Islands). There are few 'hot spots' on Earth ...


4

It depends on your definition of sustainability. If you mean it in the sense that the natural ecology remains in balance, the answer is probably less than we have now. I think I saw someone cite 3.8 billion once, but it's anyone's guess really. I personally think that number is a little low, because current production expects growth, not stasis. You don'...


4

Geometrically speaking, you need the moon to have its rotation synchonized with the planet's revolution around the star (thanks to David Robie for the vocabulary clearup). I believe this is possible, but highly improbable, in a story I would probably perceive it as too improbable and deux-et-machineous, unless there is some hand waving explanation involved (...


4

It is an interesting question. Firstly, because of the science-based tag, it is unlikely that any planetary body could rotate at anywhere near the limiting rotational velocity. Most planetoids in the solar system have a period more than about 2 hours - anything faster is generally very small (sub 1 km) although there are a few exceptions (one object 400 km ...


4

Short answer, no, this is not possible. The column depth of an atmosphere is based on the gravity of the planet and the total mass of the atmosphere. A gas will expand to fill its container (that's the prime definition of a gas), and in this case the container is the extent that gravity can hold it to the planet. However, all is not lost if you're willing ...


3

Not so much of an answer, but I'm not allowed to comment yet. Anyway there is an Anime currently airing called Dr. Stone featuring some guy who seems to know basically everything from todays science. The plot is, that every human was petrified for several thousand years and thus every piece of technology is gone. So he wakes up and finds some other humans ...


3

The fireball of a nuclear explosion develops roughly along a spherical pattern, before it starts interacting with the shockwave bouncing back from surfaces it hit. When the nuclear explosion happens underground, it produces a bubble of vaporized rock, surrounded by cracked rock. Once the vaporized rock cools down the pressure cannot sustain the load and ...


3

A gas giant satellite will most likely be tidally locked (which kinda defeats your purpose) or will at best have, for just a few millions of years, a rotation period equal to its orbital period. I think similar (but not duplicate) questions have been asked before, and the conclusion is always that no orbital arrangement would allow for it. Let me propose a ...


3

Your planet is in a close orbit around a rapidly rotating supermassive black hole. Not so close that the CMB is blue shifted into a source of permanent daylight, but close enough that gravitational lensing causes the image of the event horizon to fill most of the sky in one hemisphere. That's your permanent night. A small companion star provides a day/night ...


2

It is possible to set up such a situation, at least temporarily. Probably not long enough for life to evolve. But maybe it hopped across somehow from somewhere more stable. In the Jupiter system there are a lot of big objects a lot closer. Maybe it's easier. You will need to be thinking about relative size of the gas-giant planet and the moon's orbit around ...


2

There's always "room for one more", but why would you want to push the envelope? The real question should be: given a world with a long-term stable population, is there any justification or advantage for this population to be greater than 1 billion? Larger populations mean less room to accommodate emergencies and even long term environmental changes. ...


2

SHORT ANSWER: This is really difficult, but I think there might be one or two reasonably plausible natural situations, and at least one artificial situation created by an advanced civilization, where one part of a world has alternations of light and dark and another part has only eternal darkness. LONG ANSWER: To appreciate some of the problems with such ...


2

From a technology point of view, aliens can create and study a set of independent (advanced weapons required for negotiations with authorities) small closed guilds a-la "free masons" which would be able to keep (and develop very slowly) technologies on semi-religion basis in generations. The technologies should be a set of precalculated tables and some "...


2

The 1632 series is a many-book-long exploration of this topic. In this series, a 1999-era West Virginia town transfers technology to early-modern-era Earth. The premise that that the Americans arrived via time travel implies that faster-than-light travel is possible, even if the Americans have no idea how. The first technologies that the Americans seek to ...


2

Many answers so far identify the primary issue as social/cultural, but none feel like they hit that aspect squarely. I started thinking about it, then realised that the book "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" was actually the prototype for a good answer. So I'll draw freely from that book, below. Your problem is that your aliens are a small group ...


2

There are two sides to the problem. The first is technical and it's easy--if you can get the training tools and information to children, the next generation will have the full level of understanding and knowledge the race is capable of receiving, you are done training them and they will be as advanced as your children of the same age (assuming the same ...


2

Some basics which are freebees (as in, teachable immediately): The wheelbarrow Iron plow Oxen yoke The stirrup Some slightly longer-term (but simple): The flying buttress in architecture Punctuation Standardized spelling The caravel in ship design The printing press Utensils for food Crop rotation Calculus Watches CPR Emergency medical procedures An ...


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