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638 votes

How can Santa keep his lists when the GDPR is around?

Santa's data collection has always been compliant with GDPR, so he has no need to change his ways. The nature of his data collection is more transparent than most companies, and he is open to updating ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 17.3k
487 votes

Is there a single historic event which could be changed to cause the USA to use SI units?

Stop one ship from either sailing into a storm or (later) being taken over by pirates. In 1793, Thomas Jefferson ordered a set of instruments from France that would let the US calibrate to SI units, ...
SRM's user avatar
  • 25.5k
467 votes

What's the smallest change to physics required to allow magic?

Tl/Dr: the smallest change isn't one to the laws of physics. It's a small change to the definition of magic. This is a favorite topic for me. I could talk for hours about it. Not kidding. Find me ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
333 votes

Russian Dolls - How do they reproduce?

Through selective breeding and misplaced import laws, we only ever get to see Russian dolls that are "aesthetically pleasing". In the wild, it is relatively common to get a "double-yolker" - that is, ...
SpoonMeiser's user avatar
  • 3,375
268 votes

If time travel is possible in the future, no matter how distant, why haven't they come back to tell us?

In all probability, we, 21st century barbarians, will not be very well loved by our 23rd century descendants. Non-historians of that age will probably group us together with the generations of the ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 69.2k
256 votes

Would a robot really need to use a heads up display (HUD)?

Yes, because QA Source: I have been tester for about 9 years. Before you let your robot to run into the wilderness letting him kill help humans, you need to know if the robot knows what is a human ...
Pavel Janicek's user avatar
244 votes

How to safely check if you are immortal?

Start with the simple stuff Well, you have written a list of rules and most of them are non-fatal if tested. So you can start with the simple and "safe" stuff, and then move down the list. ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.9k
231 votes

You can control a Demon by knowing its True Name, but why?

Use of their name forces them to be aware of the one truth they can never know. TL;DR: If demons seek permanent power but trust no one, they put themselves in a strange position where mathematical ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
201 votes

How can Santa keep his lists when the GDPR is around?

Santa is Christian priest (bishop as far as I remember). As you can see here he is covered by exemption: The new Regulation will maintain the existing exemption which allows churches and other ...
Mołot's user avatar
  • 33.3k
193 votes

If time travel is possible in the future, no matter how distant, why haven't they come back to tell us?

In the film Primer, there was a time travel machine that could only jump as far back as when it was first turned on. This puts a practical limit to how far back you can jump to the point where time ...
Cody's user avatar
  • 3,407
192 votes

How can I build a door to repel a horde of zombies?

Human engineering can, 100%, keep out a horde of zombies. In The Walking Dead things fail because if they didn't the show would be boring. In real life, there exist castle gates hundreds of years old ...
AndreiROM's user avatar
  • 34.7k
188 votes

How to safely check if you are immortal?

If all the rules have been explained to the hero I would suggest he goes out and gets a piercing. If I understand your rules correctly he would absorb the part of the piercing that is encased in his ...
Mara's user avatar
  • 2,349
177 votes

What's the most reasonable way to fit Monsters in your Pocket?

You don't... exactly. The Poké Ball—er... hollow sphere—isn't actually containing the monster. It is merely the user-interface for a teleportation device to transport the monster from its nice (and ...
Ghotir's user avatar
  • 4,591
174 votes

If the Romans found one working steam engine would they have been able to copy and use it?

If a civilization finds an example of advanced technology, can they learn to duplicate the technology? You have two variables: The current technological state of the civilization. Call this "A." ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 125k
170 votes

Why would a Dystopian government promote education to its citizens, instead of ignorance?

Well they wouldn't want them to be "educated" in the classical sense, but they would want them to be "schooled" in the 20th-century sense. Taking children away from their parents and making them ...
workerjoe's user avatar
  • 6,629
168 votes

Can I reduce the crime rate by penalizing criminals' children socially?

Well, there is at least one country operating that way (pp. 24, 27, 35 of the report). Perhaps it stops some crime, but that country is not a nice place to live. Most criminals do not believe that ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 117k
165 votes

How do we tell if we're living in a virtual reality world?

So Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy speaks on this. How would you determine that a perfect deception is a perfect deception? If all of your senses are lies and constructs, perfectly ...
Ranger's user avatar
  • 17.5k
165 votes

Releasing a T-Rex into a modern ecosystem wouldn't be that bad, right?

A young Tyrannosaurus Rex would be eaten If you've ever looked at collections of dinosaur fossils, you might wonder about why there are really big predators (like T. Rex) and really small ones (like ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.5k
165 votes

Why would people bury their dead in tombs when they might become zombies?

The alternatives are worse Burning the corpse brings back the dead as a incorporeal wraith (that is also pissed that you desecrated the body.) Dismemberment causes something similar, except the ...
Gene's user avatar
  • 3,251
161 votes

Why would a healing factor superhero still be afraid of things?

Logan might have a supernatural healing factor, but not superhuman pain tolerance. Having suffered the horrible pain caused by injuries no other human ever survived could have been a traumatizing ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 48.8k
157 votes

How could an ancient race warn the future in a universally understandable way?

This problem has actually been considered very seriously by very serious people, in the context of warning future generations of the dangers associated with long-term repositories of nuclear waste. ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 91k
154 votes

How Long Could an "Eternal" Fire Last?

Yes. Wikipedia has a good article on eternal flames which are fed by underground natural gas deposits. Those deposits can be immense, as we now know because we suck the gas out and use it for our hot ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
153 votes

Why Would Aliens Enslave Humans?

You are misunderstanding the nature of our abductions of your people. We are not enslaving humans. That's gross! Did you really used to do that to your own species? Maybe you aren't as intelligent ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 69.2k
148 votes

Why Would Aliens Enslave Humans?

Humans are particularly suitable for a certain kind of labor that the alien race is not: As methane-breathers, mining the vibranium on our oxygen-rich 2nd moon has always proved too difficult and too ...
BradC's user avatar
  • 1,486
142 votes

What's the smallest change to physics required to allow magic?

The problem is mostly one of semantics. You can't "do magic for real", because all of the things that you can do for real you consider to not be magic. You can have a conversation with a person on ...
Steve Jessop's user avatar
  • 4,159
140 votes

How can guns be countered by melee combat without raw-ability or exceptional explanations?

This is not possible within your constraints As others have mentioned, the main benefit modern firearms have over melee weapons is accuracy, fire rate and range. Thus, under your constraints, a ...
Kyyshak's user avatar
  • 8,093
138 votes

What are the most salient aspects of a decaying world caused by the disappearance of everyone?

Go to StackOverflow and see if a question was posted in the last minute.
CJ Dennis's user avatar
  • 955
135 votes

Russian Dolls - How do they reproduce?

In the deepest, darkest, hidden places in the forest dwell the Queen Dolls. Rarely seen, these creatures resemble a normal Russian Doll only at the tops of their vast, misshapen bodies - their lower ...
Matt Hogan-Jones's user avatar
132 votes

If time travel is possible in the future, no matter how distant, why haven't they come back to tell us?

Because the earth orbits the sun at 30km a second, the solar system is moving at 20km a second and the galaxy is moving at 230km a second! Any time travel will result in the people being dumped out ...
Chris J's user avatar
  • 5,523
132 votes

The 10,000 year skyscraper

Build a Pyramid The Pyramids are halfway to your desired 10,000 year life span already. They are a little worse for wear, but they are definitely still standing. First, lets assess the criticism ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.5k

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