New answers tagged

4

It depends very much on the specifics of the tool. On something like a smart-phone the structure might be just ad dexterous as a human hand for tweeting, swiping etc. Might be reasonable to drive a car, as onl;y a moderate 'friction' grip is needed to handle a steering-wheel. Would probably be OK for some mechanical tools - spanner, hammer, screw-driver. ...


2

While it is possible to create boneless structures that are dexterous enough, being boneless is going to create problem the amount of force they can exert for holding something, especially in a place as tight as the palm of one's hand.Skeleton + muscles in general is a wonderful example of how tensegrity works - compression elements (bones) maintained in ...


3

Thyroid Eye Disease: Related to Grave's disease, thyroid eye disease isn't just grist for bad drug company commercials. It's an autoimmune disease involving chronic inflammation and swelling around the eyes, including chronic bloodshot eyes. Since it's autoimmune, it would be very tricky to treat without advanced medical technology, but the symptoms could be ...


3

Your character has a red eyeball tattoo. You may have heard about a new frontier in body modification: eyeball tattoos or scleral tattoos. You can easily find photos online (some real, some fake) of people who have had the whites of their eyes colored black or any color of the rainbow. You're also likely to run across stories of people whose eyeball tattoos ...


2

Pigment. There are conditions where melanin appears in the eye and turns parts of it brown. A slight mutation to make this appear red would get your effect without harm.


7

Borrowed from my answer here: Membrane impermeable to $N_2$ but permeable to $CO_2$ and $O_2$? Your red sclera person has blood under the clear conjunctiva that covers the sclera. The conjunctiva stops short of the iris and pupil so the blood does not occlude vision. Subconjunctival bleeds can happen under circumstances of increased blood pressure - ...


2

Chronic redness in the sclera is a common symptom of glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of chronic eye redness. Moreover, there would need to be a reason (given this is the cause of the redness) that the alien's eyes are going through drastic changes in eye pressure, on a consistent basis. You mention they are amphibious. Research shows ...


1

Being on an island that does not support extensive agriculture fish is the first thing that comes to mind. However fish is missing something otherwise scurvy would not have been such a problem in the age of sail. You will need some kind of algae to complement the diet. Better would be a floating type of algae brought by a constant sea current from warmer ...


6

Given the climate zone you have selected you will almost certainly have to increase the size of the island chain's land mass or decrease the size of your population (or both) - significantly. For example by the end of the middle ages just before the great famines and black death episodes demographers estimate the population of Britain (including Scotland and ...


11

Fishing There's many islands and areas in the world that can't survive on agriculture, hunting or gathering. Still they can survive. Iceland comes to mind, but I've been also to rocky, sandy or otherwise harsh environments of which you can tell the same. All are difficult to live off the land. These examples often still had water in the form of oceans or ...


2

If we're just trying to distinguish between frogs, lizards, and salamanders, then this question is relatively straightforward. Lizards have tails like salamanders, but they also have scaled skin, making them easy to distinguish. Frogs have smooth skin and no tails. Salamander people would simply have both smooth wet skin and long tails to boot, and that ...


3

Axolotls are a type of salamander, all you need is the iconic gills for 'hair' or something and you're set.


0

The novel Kren of the Mitchegai describes a species that practises cannibalism. Juvenile Mitchegai are herbivorous, but if they don't get eaten by their carnivorous seniors, they switch to being carnivorous themselves. A juvenile or young adult Mitchegai isn't all that smart, but when an adult eats another Mitchegai, it adds its meal's brain mass to it's own ...


0

I can't imagine how evolution wouldn't quickly fix it, but: Your ephemeral species has a hormone that is essential for it's continued existence. Unfortunately, sexual maturity repurposes the system that produces it, from that point on the body relies on stores and when they're gone it dies. Unlike most such complex molecules this one can be obtained from ...


5

Not As Described This is a great question! Sadly, I don't think this creature will function given the description. Essentially, this is a human with a horse torso sticking out of ids bum. In order to see why this won't work, let's take a quick look at why normal centaurs do work. Normal centaur anatomy is a horse body with a humanoid torso & head that ...


2

If you think just a little adjacent to what you're describing, there're tons of examples of sort-of-similar things in nature that could be used. Start with reproduction. There're tons of biological organisms that can only reproduce in very specific environments - including the parasite that causes malaria for example. That reproduces only in the gut of a ...


1

You could just have and enzyme or mineral that occurs in the environment in exceedingly minuscule quantities. Evolution has enabled this species to sequester any excess of this essential substance in fatty deposits throughout the creatures body. The very young would need smaller amounts, but ever increasing as they approach adulthood. I would pay careful ...


16

How about an inverted/slightly altered version of Kuru disease? Kuru disease is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), which is famous for being transmissable and becoming deadly due to cannibalism (Wiki here: 1) Inspired by KEY_ABRADE's answer when he mentioned the immune system: What if your species makes a form of antibodies that are stored in a ...


5

I do not believe that any such mechanisms exist in nature in real life. However, let me make one up. Speciesus lemminginus has an exceptionally weak immune system, and members of this species tend to die of disease frequently. This is why their average lifespan is around twenty years. However, they are exceptionally robust in every other aspect of their ...


0

Instead of making it hard to break make it improbable(?) to break? The dinosaur Triceratops, oddly has a ball and socket joint in its neck, with beefed up muscles, making it very flexible, yet very strong at the same time.


0

HORNS TOO BIG The horns are so large and bulky that they restrict the range of motion of the neck. So even if your enemy grabs your horns and twists really hard, you just end up bashing your horns into your shoulder with a nasty bruise.


2

Given that the bone anatomy of a bird wing and the bone anatomy of a human arm are very similar in structure, but differ in range of motion and muscle structure, it's difficult to find ways to combine them to the same location. The real problem is that of the shoulder joint. It's a very different bone structure in birds than it is in humans. Like so: Fusing ...


0

It the Thomas Covenant series, there was a Sand Gorgon named Nom. To say the name was to invite Nom to race across the world and kill you. The unspeakable words are tied to magic incantations which will summon a demon with that name. He then kills you and everyone nearby. Before long, no one is going to say it because anyone who knows the word will know not ...


3

Bird + Lizard = Solution A simple solution to your problem could exist by combining and altering two different shoulder-types into a single girdle with 4 joints Specifically, you would first take the coracoid and scapula of a bird and a lizard and put them together on the same ribcage. The arms would go on the bird shoulders, and the legs on the lizard ...


2

This answer will use active magic, but only for a period at the start. After that, the entire situation will be controlled using non-magical means. Assumptions: A1. There is some kind of government or organisation with a huge amount of power whose members can exert control all of the people in all realms like a government. It doesn't have to be a single ...


1

Make the attempt deadly "Redacted" literally is rather a short word. But let's suppose it was a long one, say "Om-po-gra-fan-to-bliz-zun". Now, Adonim takes am unkind but necessary action. He casts another much lesser spell, which makes "OmPoGraFanTo" immediately bring about the instant death of the being which spoke it. An ...


0

Forbid any utterance of The Word, by the penalty of death. And have a Quick Response Unit, just in case! Option 1 (boring): the Quick Response Unit monitors the tear, and if it opens, utters The Word to seal it again. Unfortunately, it this option has been ruled out by your comment to Willk's answer. Option 2 (temporally exciting): the Quick Response Unit (...


0

Remove spoken language entirely. Use magic to remove spoken language entirely. no ongoing effect that triggers, immediate permanent removal. Everyone communicates via sign languages and visual cues. Whether this is an individual level, universal level, or something else, complete prevention of speech is the only thing preventing that particular combination ...


1

Hide it in plain sight Let's say (for the sake of argument) the (to be) redacted word is "aybicee". Very quickly introduce into language and general practice (perhaps via mass media) the concept of censorship (but calling it "the practice of aybiceeing" (not strictly the same word), and official(s) doing it "aybiceer(s)" (also ...


2

** Words convey meaning within a conceptual framework - so erase history ** Simply put change the meaning of the word. The survivors of the apocalypse, warned by 'Adomin' of the consequence of uttering the the 'word' decide to change its potential meaning. They swear to never speak the syllables Redacted in that order and never convey their original meaning ...


5

Automatic tongue removal at birth You say that even a baby babbling will trigger this. Since there is no way to stop a baby practising vocalisations, this is basically inevitable. However... The word "redacted" contains the letters "d" and "t" which require a tongue. Workarounds exist which can almost replace those syllables ...


2

Modify all intelligent organisms to communicate via radio waves or microwaves instead of sound. Since your problem is the sound being uttered, just have everyone communicate with electromagnetism instead. Eliminate the vocal cords, and any way to evolve them back. That way, no one has the ability to utter the word, even if they know the meaning of it. Have ...


2

What you mostly have is a statistical problem. You'll have a hard time preventing a short word from turning up in multiple languages with different meanings. However the longer the word the less likely it is to show up and be used again. [Redacted] is a relatively short word. Even if you start with, for example, a Khoisan language and then proceed to drop ...


1

Attempt #1: Pop off with the phoneme loss! Drop that phone[me] wherever and whenever it occurs. Memory modification, censorship, etc. Functional? NO. What changed once can change again—what was lost can be regained. Language changes, sometimes with surprising rapidity. Most likely, you've bought yourself centuries, tops. Attempt #2: Change the biology! ...


Top 50 recent answers are included