Hot answers tagged

28

1 it's hard to learn. 2 it's not worth the effort. Technically anyone can learn programming (which is in many ways to a game world what magic would be to the real world), same applies for playing an instrument and for practicing martial arts. If all of these are technically something everyone can learn, why is it that most people don't know how to code an ...


27

Shorter lived humans have outcompeted those with longer lifespans, appearing to make us less fit. What explanation could be given for this occurrence? Shorter lead time of new features and consequent faster adaptation. The math is easy: if a species takes X years to be able to reproduce, no mutation will spread with a pace faster than once every X years. ...


26

How to tell you're in northern France? You're going to need to explore a bit a spot a landmark that you can recognise. You have no idea when you are so this could be either a town name or some writing style or something visually familiar - otherwise you're waiting for information to come to you (which it never does outside of the movies) or giving up. The ...


25

Whatever you want Scenario 1: Small rural town continuously occupied by rational authorities, war occurs "today". The town keeps itself together and starts repairing key infrastructure and scavenging from areas that were hit harder. Record-keeping may be a bit spotty for the period immediately after the Big Boom, but in 50 years when they have ...


23

He Doesn't First, our hero is an ordinary 21st century man. Gym rat, has had military and police experience though no stated special survival skills. He is basically fit but has travelled into the deep past without the knowledge to survive the first 48 hours of a plunge into the deep darks of any primeval landscape, chances are good your time traveller will ...


22

In my opinon he shouldn't be able to prove his is in Gaul (not France), but he could be able to determne he was in northwestern continental Eurasia fairly easy, if he meets natives and they don't kill him. The first men he meets would probably be hunters or farmers, and so probably be rather tanned, but he could probably tell that they weren't very dark ...


19

Have Britain lose the Falklands War A crushing military victory for the IRA is all but impossible (barring some catastrophe crippling Britain, which would have to be of a magnitude that its legacy would end up dominating your alternate London far more than that of the Troubles would), but they might be able to pressure the British government to cut its ...


18

2-3 years Israel is a country that has mandatory conscription that lasts 2 years minimum for women and two and a half years for men. Israel is a developed country that is very nice to visit. There are great universities, stunning historical sites, and clearly marked bomb shelters in the case of missile attacks. Israel straddles the line between first world ...


16

Resources Survival of the fittest doesn't mean having the most copies of that species/lifeforms. It is having the most stable way to keep this subset of lifeforms to stay alive. This is important. Humans for example used to get a lot of children. This is a strategy in times with high child mortality. With many children you have more that might make it, as ...


15

It's very hard to lose knowledge I'm afraid most of the answers you've been given make some serious assumptions that are, frankly, false. It's very, very hard to lose substantial information — even after a nuclear apocalypse. I apologize that this seems trite: but generally speaking, people aren't stupid. Almost everyone who survived the apocalypse would be ...


15

How do you make a pipe bomb? From the name I'm guessing it involves a pipe and, um, bomb stuff? Honestly I have no idea. Technically, anyone could probably learn. But I have no interest whatsoever in learning how to make a pipe bomb. Why not? I can't imagine why I would want to learn that. Making bombs is really really dangerous. It seems difficult. It's ...


10

For location, you basically need him to get lucky. He happens to arrive somewhere that has a world-famous landmark that existed 2,500 years ago. In France, that probably means either the White Cliffs of Dover or the Lascaux cave (which was buried in recent history until 1940, but might have been more accessible 2,500 years ago) (I hope he has a torch/...


9

4 Generations (140ish years), if electricity went down. Once the people who were around for the Fall are dead, it's mostly over as far as retaining modern-day information goes. If you blast humans off the Grid, all you've got are books. If it takes 30+ years to get computers back into use, even things like CDs and flash drives that survived the apocalypse ...


9

Lack of selective pressure for longevity Shorter lived humans have outcompeted those with longer lifespans, appearing to make us less fit. What explanation could be given for this occurrence? This is a misconception, although one that has been quite pervasive in ageing studies. There is no evidence that humans have a genetic "kill switch" that ...


8

Depends what the country prioritizes Contemporary research ships come in all sizes. According to Wikipedia, many Liberty ships were converted for non-military duties after WWII, and Liberty ships were fairly big and clunky. However, those were cargo ships (as pointed out in comments) and I can't find large-scale examples of combat ships being converted to ...


8

Japan as we know it and its broader cultural impact wouldn't exist today. Plan B if the atomic bomb wasn't dropped was Operation Downfall: an amphibious invasion of Japan. This invasion would have been mostly U.S. personnel with limited support from the U.K. The U.S. military dreaded the idea of invading Japan. The battles for Okinawa and Iwo Jima showed ...


8

The culture considers it too dangerous to be weilded by common people and it is punished accordingly History has a lot of examples of people being kept away from political power that can serve as a template. Mostly it works through lies and stigma. Your culture will be full of cautionary tales about peasants who know nothing but the farm, getting magic ...


7

Assuming that you are speaking of medieval western and central Europe... Medieval armies did not occupy cities, or anything else. They took cities, sacked cities and villages, conquered territory etc. But occupation forces they were not. Medieval armies were very small; 5000 men was a very large army: such small forces cannot occupy much. And... Medieval ...


7

The loyalists regard themselves as British, not Irish. Reunification would force them to become Irish, the same way nationalists in the north are currently forced to be British and the Irish prior to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, were once regarded as being British. Emotions on the issue still run very deep on both sides. It's took close ...


6

Technologically, it would probably be sonar. Sonar is when humanity really started to look around underwater, rather than just dredge the bottom opportunistically or using sounding ropes to measure depth. Sonar really took off during World War Ii, and the ocean-going technology developed during World War Ii eventually led to things like the Alvin and the ...


6

If your traveler realises that he has moved in both time and space, but is still on the same planet, all of which you've already either implied or specified, he's already in a better position than someone without that knowledge. If he can survive and remain unnoticed for two days and the skies are cloudless, he can at least determine the compass directions, ...


6

We'll presume the traveler carries a smart phone -- even six years ago in our timeline, these were pretty remarkable devices. Even with zero connectivity, most installed apps will still work, at least as long as the battery charge lasts. If he's thinking, he'll put the device in "airplane mode", shutting down all the radio hardware to extend ...


6

In 1982 UK fought a successful war against Argentina for the Falkland/Malvinas. And if they fought a war for some small islands far away from home, it's gonna be hard that they let something go away right on their doorstep. Therefore you need a huge crisis for the government and monarchy to make them weak. What can happen to do so? Based on my memory, the ...


6

Culture adapts to region. Your immigrants find themselves in very different circumstances. Some are in hostile areas with productive oceans and make their living from the sea. Some are in a dry steppe and become pastoral herdsmen, moving their herds from place to place. Some find themselves in agricultural land and turn into farmers. One of these farmer ...


6

Answer flavored by talking to a startup founder from the Phillipines who showed us how much educational material is lost due to cyclones and big storms. The usual assumption is, even if we lost the internet cloud, libraries persist. However, if there was a weather side-effect of continual, hellish cyclones and overall extremely humid climate, almost all ...


6

Magic is Power and those with Power like to keep it for themselves. If your magic is used for FTL, of course those who know the spell don't want to share. It is more money for them. More importantly, if most people don't know magic exists, they can't even try to research and learn it. Or if they do, they will seem crazy to their colleagues and the ...


6

Lifespan was not the trait driving selection. There were other traits that gave our ancestors a selective advantage over more long lived forebearers. Smarts, disease resistance, efficient metabolism, patience with kids, better alcohol tolerance might be some. These fit mutants happened to be short lived. But they left more children whom themselves lived ...


5

I will focus on the main question: the easiest way, from a storytelling perspective, to have the time traveller identify his location, is to have him accidentally stumble on a relevant landmark. For Northern France, two come to mind: the White Cliffs of Dover as seen accross the English Channel (already mentioned above, and a very iconic landmark, that I ...


5

With the development of a shell based writing system, someone will eventually get tired of lugging around a bag of differently coloured seashells just to take notes, tired of gluing them down so that their notes don't scatter when moved and so on. Instead, they decide to find some kind of medium - be it a piece of leather, a cloth or whatever else - and ...


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