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95 votes
Accepted

How long would it take until we realise that people stopped dying from natural causes?

One day. Few at most. In most modern countries death reports are passed to government agency on daily basis. Clerk responsible for them would be surprised that there are none in his area. He will ...
Mołot's user avatar
  • 33.3k
90 votes
Accepted

If I went back in time, how could I handle being among the Black Death and survive?

If you have European ancestry, are aged between 19 and 45, physically fit, and are able to maintain a healthy diet, the chances of you being brought down by the plague would be very little. Read this ...
Youstay Igo's user avatar
  • 20.6k
70 votes
Accepted

Poison which constantly needs to be treated by antidote to not get killed

This is actually pretty straightforward. The toxin is targeted at a critical organ or function, and the "antidote" is not actually an antidote, but rather provides the same effect as the now-missing ...
WhatRoughBeast's user avatar
68 votes

If I went back in time, how could I handle being among the Black Death and survive?

There are three forms of the plague, bubonic (famously from fleas), septicemic (as much from other infected people, like those with bubonic plague) and pneumonic (also from other infected people). If ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
65 votes

How to give a rationality-inducing drug to an entire software company?

Luckily for you someone has already developed a large scale system to deliver performance improving chemicals to all the staff employed within a premises, you just need to piggyback on it. The ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 287k
64 votes

Would time travelling to the present be lethal to a person from the 1200s?

She would likely need a full round of vaccinations, just like everyone else in the modern world. If anything modern sanitary conditions would be less likely to spread diseases to her. I would ...
Josh King's user avatar
  • 24.9k
53 votes

My Medieval kingdom has birth control, why is the population so high?

A Lack of Birth Control Wasn't the Cause of Large Families As one commenter already pointed out, the reason people had large families in the Middle Ages wasn't because they couldn't avoid it; rather, ...
jdunlop's user avatar
  • 32k
51 votes

How can a modern medic help medieval patients

Cleanliness This one's a big one. Getting people to just wash their hands and bodies will go a long way, as the medicine of the time was often not helpful at all, if not downright harmful (leeches, ...
Skyler's user avatar
  • 1,997
48 votes

What would a corpse of a person who drowned in mercury look like?

If they're actually drowned there will be mercury in the lungs, because drowning, in general, is the inhalation of a liquid (though the term is occasionally used, loosely, for inhalation of heavier-...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 45.9k
47 votes
Accepted

Disease that requires regular medicine

There are many, many diseases that require 'maintenance drugs': Heart disease Requires beta blockers, diuretics, statins for cholesterol management. Risk of death due to heart attack or stroke is ...
John Feltz's user avatar
  • 3,848
47 votes

How do I ensure that two characters survive the black death without making them naturally immune?

The Black Death - bubonic plague - has a mortality rate of 50-70%, so even with no other measures there's a pretty good chance of any two people surviving at random (about 25% if you take the lower ...
David Hambling's user avatar
43 votes
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What disease could my time traveler find a definitive 'cure' for, without recognizing the specific disease

Cholera. If you want to emphasize methodical scientific method you could do worse than to copy John Snow, one of the founders of modern epidemiology. 150th Anniversary of John Snow and the Pump Handle ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
42 votes

Poison which constantly needs to be treated by antidote to not get killed

What about Decompression Sickness? Joe could be kept in a prison kept at a high air pressure - both the toxin and the antidote against the effects of ambient air pressure - (needs not be underwater, ...
frIT's user avatar
  • 1,384
40 votes

Poison which constantly needs to be treated by antidote to not get killed

I'm not sure if this one meets your rules or not: Instead of a poison/antidote, how about something addictive with lethal withdrawal symptoms? (Note that there are things close to this in the ...
Loren Pechtel's user avatar
40 votes

Create a disease that can easily be cured by adopting a custom from another culture

Smoking. This was the plot of a science fiction story back in one of the pulps during (I estimate) the early 60s. In this case, the organism is a slow-multiplying pneumococcus bacterium which itself ...
WhatRoughBeast's user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

Why costly time released shapeshifting drug is more popular than fast acting ones?

The cheap one doesn't last as long. You want a quick rush of being a falcon for a few hours? You can just go for the cheap one - but you run the risk of it wearing off unexpectedly at an inopportune ...
Darrel Hoffman's user avatar
39 votes
Accepted

Where to place an artificial gland in the human body?

Art Imitates Life Lucky for you, the implantation (or rather reimplantation) of endocrine glands is already a thing. During parathyroidectomy, it is common practice to perform autotransplantation of ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 40k
39 votes

How to give a rationality-inducing drug to an entire software company?

It's too easy. There's a kitchen or lunchroom or some such. One day, a lot of trays of food show up. Little signs have a message like so. The meeting didn't happen but the catering order could not ...
puppetsock's user avatar
  • 9,591
39 votes

I can shrink myself to 3 mm and teleport into someone else's body. How can I make them die of a "natural" cause?

Syncope on staircases Syncope, or fainting, happens when blood or oxygen stops getting to your brain. A very nasty time to get it is while walking down a staircase. If you pass out mid step, the ...
Daniel B's user avatar
  • 19.2k
38 votes
Accepted

How long could a human survive completely without the immune system?

Within 24-48 hours you'd start feeling the effects of skin conditions from unchecked staphylococci and the like, such as eczema and erythrodermatitis. It is difficult to come up with a hard, reliable ...
LSerni's user avatar
  • 55.3k
38 votes

What disease could my time traveler find a definitive 'cure' for, without recognizing the specific disease

Scurvy. It spreads mostly in ocean going navy, but not necessarily. The time traveler kind of suspects the disease, but does not remember the symptoms (can you?), apart from teeth falling out. He also ...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
37 votes

Why would an incredibly long lived race not be known for their scarring?

The ability to live for extremely long times without death generally implies the ability to heal from most damage. Given a long enough time, even humans can remove most minor scars. Animals like ...
Landon Powell's user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

Without modern medicine, can somebody survive a third degree burn?

Assuming no inhalation and it is just the victim's back that is burned, it is completely possible for them to survive, especially with care. Some form of care is important as the victim will not be ...
John's user avatar
  • 81.2k
36 votes

If I went back in time, how could I handle being among the Black Death and survive?

Convince everybody the plague is spread by rats. You know what causes the plague. It's caused by fleas carried by infected rodents, or by inhaling pathogens exhaled by infected individuals. The most ...
ckersch's user avatar
  • 46.3k
36 votes

Would a wound from a monomolecular blade instantly heal?

Severed molecular bonds should reattach even more quickly due to Van der Waals interactions. I doubt there would even be enough of a wound for a drop of blood to leak out. Am I wrong? I think you ...
LSerni's user avatar
  • 55.3k
35 votes
Accepted

Create a disease that can easily be cured by adopting a custom from another culture

Necator americanus (Hookworm) and latrines. Up until the early 1900s, people in the Southern United States would just go #2 by going out to the field and squatting. The problem is that there are ...
Nick T's user avatar
  • 1,167
35 votes

Is surviving this (blood loss) scenario possible?

The Scenario is UNLIKELY As the query stands edited & clarified: Your character should actually be in relatively good shape when her friends reach her! She will almost certainly survive, no RL, ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 40k
34 votes

Create a disease that can easily be cured by adopting a custom from another culture

Scurvy from Lind's A treatise on the scurvy. The following relation is no less curious. A sailor in the Greenland ships was so over- run and disabled with the scurvy, that his companions ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
34 votes

How do I ensure that two characters survive the black death without making them naturally immune?

Black plague (and hopefully any disease which closely copies it) is carried by fleas. Fleas hate citrus fruit, especially lemons. The woman and her husband own the only citrus grove near the town and ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 69.2k
33 votes

How can a modern medic help medieval patients

There are actually several areas where she can help. Germ Theory. She can educate them about the Germ Theory, and how important it is to disinfect stuff. This is a huge life-saver in many areas, the ...
In Hoc Signo's user avatar
  • 10.6k

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