# Tag Info

156

It slowly kills the animal in order to spread over larger distances across soil with poor nutrients. So if your fruit kills the host 1 meter away, not much gain. Let the host migrate for days. Now if you kill the host while inside the digestive tract, the seed can spawn a large plant using the decomposing host's body. Nature is full of examples. Wasps ...

124

Simple: Mandatory public meat-eating. A somewhat related historical example occurred in Spain from the 16th century onwards. The Jewish and Muslim religions were banned, and eating of pork was a common way to demonstrate that one was an authentic Christian.

121

It just doesn't add up if you only consider real world nutritional chemistry. The most calorie-dense food available is fat at 9 calories/gram. That's 220 grams to hit 2000 calories, nearly a quarter of a kilogram or half a pound. The volume of a closed human mouth (a clear upper bound on the meaning of "a bite") is around 45-90 cm$^3$. Lembas bread is ...

121

Status symbol. Plain and simple. Doing a carbon copy is easy and cheap. But if you can afford the original one it means you have a huge load of moneys at your disposal. And those moneys are no good hidden in some bank account. Impress your guests with what they can buy. P.S. In a less sci-fi scenario, there are people on Earth who like to have golden ...

115

Starting from the ground up: how much caloric energy even exists in the things orcs eat? Energy metabolism for aerobes involves combining oxidizable with oxygen - in essence burning them. One can burn things in a bomb calorimeter to see what the caloric value is. I looked up caloric values for fats, ethanol, protein and conventional carbohydrates (e.g. ...

112

The rain is actually the blood of billions. A species on a nearby planet is being harvested by a technologically advanced alien civilization and the specimens are drained of all their internal fluids and then the filtered fluid with only the sugars are deposited onto your planet. The specimens themselves are made into powder to be consumed by other ...

89

Just like so many of our creature-design questions, the answer to this one is: "nature beat you to it." Presenting the Lämmergeier, or Bearded Vulture, a species of vulture that specializes in consuming bone marrow, just like your fictional bird! These vultures leave the hard work of breaking open the bones to our old friend, gravity. By simply carrying ...

85

In the books there is a bit more wiggle room : (Farewell to Lorien; last few pages) 'Cram', he [Gimli] said under his breath, as he broke off a crisp corner and nibbled at it. His expression quickly changed, and he ate all the rest of the cake with relish. 'No more, no more!' cried the elves laughing. You have eaten enough already for a long day's ...

80

It is a common misconception (likely spread by crafty, older dragons) that only young dragons are tasty. Much like their avian relatives (related via the dinosaurs), mature dragons develop a depth and richness of flavor much prized among those fortunate enough to survive to the tasting step. Their flesh has toughened during those centuries of survival, ...

79

The dwarves can keep the bees in the caverns, but provide them with suitable exits. You have your beekeepers on the upper levels of the cities. You'll need ventilation somehow to allow for your city to breathe, so these vents can be plenty useful for the bees to exit and re-enter. The beekeepers don't need to ever leave the caverns (Except, perhaps, to get ...

76

The hexagon is an efficient way to mass-produce identical loaves Following a period of widespread bread alteration (think allum) the king has given a list of decrees to control the bread market. Apart from limiting the ingredients to flour, water, yeast and salt, he has demanded that all 1-penny loaves be identical. A 1-penny loaf on this side of the ...

74

Water The idea that medieval people drank beer because they did not have access to safe drinking water is a complete and unfounded myth. To quote Steven Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby in their book Misconceptions About the Middle Ages: “There is no specific reason then to believe that people of the time drank proportionately less water than we do today; ...

68

That's not too hard. There are plenty of real-life animals that want to be eaten. They're either parasites, or the hosts of parasites, whose behavior is modified by the parasite that they carry. Of course, since you want the interaction to be mutually beneficial, your animals won't technically be parasites, but their ancestors could have been. It's also ...

67

No. To regenerate requires more energy than the part itself will supply. To eat the part you have to break it down chemically and then those chemicals are transported through the body and recombined to make new cells. All of that requires energy. You started with a severed limb. It cost you energy to digest it and for your body to "build" a new limb ...

65

Cockroach Farming is the future! They feed the roaches wheat shavings and vegetables for four months. Then they're boiled, dried and some are crushed to put into pill form, which is much easier to stomach. Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers and will consume any organic food source available to them. Although they prefer sweets, meats and starches, they ...

62

The creatures eat rocks. The excreta from this is fertile loam that is ideally suited to farming. They can be trained to eat from rock formations in such a way as to create walls and fortification. If they eat a metal ore, the metal part is not digested and can easily be separated from the loam to produce pure gold/silver/iron etc. A problem is of course ...

61

Brew a nice cup of tea. People all around the world found and used all kinds of herbs and other plants with antibiotic properties since prehistoric times. Popular examples for Europe and North America include sage, mint and blueberry. Adding parts of the plant to cold water not only flavors it, but also kills bacteria in the water. But the antibacterial ...

61

There is a huge number of delicious fruits that are rarely eaten outside the regions they grow because they either don't transport well or go bad way too fast or both. Examples Cherimoya : a fruit with a taste that is hard to describe. Citrusy strawberry vanilla pudding does not do it justice. Also called the ice cream fruit for how well it is served ...

60

This is the basis for the real world economic theory of Comparative Advantage. The aliens can produce any of a large number of products with their industrial capacity. Similarly, Earth can use its capacity to produce any of a large number of products. Let's assume that the aliens can produce anything more cheaply than humans. The theory of Comparative ...

60

It makes no sense, as the attackers will obtain all the gold of the besieged anyway, as soon as the defense has fallen. Selling food to the defenders is the worst possible action, as it increases the losses of the attackers who need to resupply, keep their troops healthy and motivated without being able to do much. Time is essential in a Siege. The longer it ...

59

The simplest answer is that the delayed poisonous effect is a secondary (and from the plant's perspective, inconsequential) effect compared to the primary evolutionary purpose of the compound in question. For example: Let's assume that the poison in the berry kills by initiating a chain of biochemical reactions in a human who consumes it that causes renal ...

58

In all cases, suppose that cooking properly will take care of infection. But the skeletal muscles are rotten in the classic zombie: Perhaps you harvest just the (high-calorie) bone marrow, which is not rotted. More generally, some parts may still be edible, depending on the age of the zombie. But all the “off” meat does not go to waste. Many animals can ...

58

Fungiculture Below the buildings and streets of your beset cities, farmers cultivate fungi in tunnels, basements, catacombs, and mines. Organic scraps and other biological waste is sent here to feed the 'shrooms. Hunter-gatherer Small teams of hunters and gatherers risk life and limb beyond the walls, spending a few hours each day hunting game and ...

57

As a Matter of Fact, You Can Survive in a Cemetery! Definitely don't eat the corpses, but... You carry a blunt, heavy metal object. Cemeteries, especially in relatively urban areas, are frequented by mourners and kin. There was just a funeral an hour ago at the cemetery you're stranded in... First order of business will be to stalk the place an keep on ...

55

A (local) population of about ten thousand people should be enough. In my opinion there are three factors here. Is there enough need for a restaurant? There seem to be around 14.000 McDonalds restaurants in the US, which is roughly one per 23.000 inhabitants. Assuming that the first one on Mars will be on the smaller size and have less competition, 10.000 ...

54

Conventional Farming According to this source, the highest caloric density food is sweet potatoes, which provide 70,000 kcal/ha/day. (with potatoes providing 54,000 which is roughly in line with what ArtOfCode calculated.) This involves fairly intensive farming, so we'll need to let the land lie fallow for about a third of the time, reducing our long-term ...

54

The House Vegetarian Activities Committee Many answers have been given, most of them pretty practical and uninvasive (considering). But practical and uninvasive is not what governments are going for with these kinds of laws. Sure you can instute mandatory public meat eating, but that's like making a communist salute the flag. They'll eat the meatloaf to ...

54

¿How do you tell if a person is vegetarian? Test the microbiota. The population of microbies in the gut is a function of diet, drug treatments, etc.(See, for instance, this article.) The procedure would only require a stool sample, from where the DNA would be extracted and analysed. Given the volumes you have to process, the whole procedure can be fully ...

54

I think for this we'll need to look at real life. Carnivorous plants tend to be adapted to grow in places with high light where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings. So the soil where the bonegrass grows could be very nitrogen poor. The important thing to remember is that carnivorous ...

54

Santa and his reindeer have to move at fantastic speed to fulfill their yearly duty, this has been solidly established. Moving at that fantastic speed requires a lot of energy, and all the cookies Santa (and the reindeer) eat at each stop are barely enough to cope with the energy demand. Long story short: you can't develop diabetes if you have no excess ...

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