456

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, but the ship hit a storm at sea, blowing his ship into the Caribbean. There it was attacked by pirates (British privateers). The materials never arrived. By the ...


312

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, sometimes when the outer layer dies, there are 2, or perhaps 3 dolls inside. Since these dolls are often a little misshapen when compared to the outer layer, ...


140

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 charging swordsman will be hit multiple times by a gunman before he closes the gap. We must either have a shorter gap (to reduce the number of shots that can be ...


125

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 halves more closely resemble a nightmarish wooden bee hive. Riddled with thousands of cells, they disgorge the normal Russian Dolls commonly found in the ...


120

Your magical mirrors could replace 28,000 kilometres (17,400 miles) of Optical Fibres. The total costs of the cables currently laid is estimated to be about 1.1 billion (Source below article). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiber-Optic_Link_Around_the_Globe In simple terms, the communications happen by having an array of high-speed LED placed across the ...


119

Sure, it's worth it in many cases. For instance, if your car is stranded in the middle of the wilderness due to a tire puncture, using magic to try and mend it would be reasonable. In this situation, the car having two punctured tires isn't any worse than with only one. You'll still have to make your way to civilisation on foot either way. On the other hand,...


118

Steel's density of ~7.75 times that of water means you can discount 13% of its weight to buoyancy, but that's about it. I have lifted 18 kg of collected dropped weightbelts from the bottom on one occasion, which put me at -10 kg of surface buoyancy after my gear weight and wing buoyancy was accounted for, and -14 kg at the bottom for the initial ascent (...


117

If they are just bringing the drives, and not the attached computer, this is pretty much impossible. The infrastructure simple isn't there in 1300 to refine anything to the necessary purities to even begin manufacturing microprocessors. See this answer to get an idea of how hard this is to do: How long would it take to create a Windows 1.0 capable machine ...


115

First issue is that your system has so many "fail-safes" that a false positive is pretty much guaranteed to trigger a launch well before anyone has time to even discuss how to reduce emissions, much less, see any such plans through. If just one of your 6144 sensors malfunctions, or a solar flare messes with a signal, or XYZ corp doesn't get the memo in time ...


112

Give it a box to keep safe, and tell it one of the core rules it must follow in its service to humanity is to never, ever open the box or stop humans from looking at the box. When the honeypot you gave it is either opened or isolated, you know that it is able and willing to break the rules, evil is about to be unleashed, and everything the AI was given ...


106

Open a blood bank and pay people for blood. People can give half a litre per donation and then go home. It's much cheaper than trying to keep them alive using machines. Build it in the poor areas and they will queue up waiting to give it to you.


102

This is going purely on personal experience - but, yes. I’m an acrobat and have done acrobatics in a variety of ridiculous items of clothing (dresses, onesies, you name it). However, having the freedom to move one’s legs makes things infinitely easier, so I would suggest: Tying the skirts in a knot above knee-height Having a slit down the side of one leg to ...


98

Can Lord Woodesey have an antlered helm? Yep, you bet, absolutely. As Kilisi pointed out, lots of impractical/decorative armor existed back in the day, just because the wearers liked how it looked. Does Lord Woodesey really need it to be battle-worthy? Even if he does, allow me to point out that in a fantasy/RPG setting if you say "Lord Woodesey appeared, ...


97

As far as a reality-check goes, wolf-mounts are probably not happening. A fair few people have discussed physical size, diet and dangerousness being barriers to wolves being a successful mount, but there are key differences in the skeletal structure of predators (big cats especially, but wolves too) that make them unsuitable for riding. It all comes down ...


95

Actually, there is an organism on earth that is vaguely similar to the Russian dolls that you describe. The volvox: Individual volvox cells, a kind of freshwater algae, reproduce in the conventional way (more or less), however, they also collect into spherical colonies (called volvocates, I think) with a tiny opening at one end. These spheres can reproduce ...


93

You can't. We can't even define self awareness or consciousness in any rigorous way and any computer system supposed to evaluate this would need that definition as a starting point. Look at the inside of a mouse brain or a human brain and at the individual data flow and neuron level there is no difference. The order to pull a trigger and shoot a gun looks ...


93

In this reality, it would be impossible to successfully fake a moon landing at anytime. The moon landings happened. They were real with real competitors watching every move. A little back history will explain my point of why they could never be faked. As you may remember, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a space race to see who could make the ...


87

Ok, so this seems pretty simple. There are three basic things that happen to turn cocoa beans into something reasonably approximating chocolate. 1: Fermentation Counterintuitively, the first step in turning Cocoa beans into chocolate is getting RID of the sugars that are already there, allowing the natural yeasts and micro-organisms to turn the sugars in ...


85

Around that time someone in the US government proposed to use nukes to widen Panama Channel. Project Plowshare was the overall United States program for the development of techniques to use nuclear explosives for peaceful construction purposes. Using nuclear power to thaw Greenland perfectly fits the enthusiasm of those years toward the use of nuclear ...


85

Is there nothing that anyone can do to foil my plan? Accepting the hand-waving, you're holding the world hostage and making demands presumably because you want your demands to be met? The problem is that you handed a trigger to all interested parties, who are free to make their own demands. Every government and terrorist organization (big enough to launch ...


83

Slimes can't be harmed with weapons They don't have a solid form. Slash it with a sword, whack it with a hammer, poke it with a spear, and all you get is a wet thud. Slimes can't be harmed by fire They are so wet and gooey. If you throw a torch at them, it would go right out. Even a Grade A magical fireball won't do too much damage. You need a whole team ...


83

Men in that era wore similar clothes. Have your women do what the men did. Girding Loins


83

Quantum Theory to the Rescue Santa is — of course — not breaking any physical laws. Bending a few maybe, but not breaking. As we all know quantum theory clearly states that the position of Santa is not known until it is measured. So Santa really is in easy reach of everywhere(!), all the time. OK, maybe not inside black holes or beyond the cosmic horizon, ...


83

Yes! And I shall do it by totally violating the low-tech spirit of your question! The biggest part of the challenge is your desire to go to Mars. Mars is a helluva long way away. If you were going to the moon from Earth, then I'm pretty certain you'd be fine. But a trip that far, with this kind of challenge? Doesn't appeal! Here's the key thing: no ...


76

SaaS(Souls as a Service) Dea is actually an Agile Soulware Developer. However unlike the developers we're familiar with, he has complete control of all aspects of the ecosystem. The raptures are basically his way of deprecating+recalling older products, and the next wave of life on Earth is the next release wave in his Internet of Things. Every time he re-...


76

New Zealand. Nowhere in the southern hemisphere is a likely target for nuclear weapons, but New Zealand is further south than any other countries except Chile and Argentina, has a stable economy and government, a temperate climate, and is self-sufficient in food. It’s also far enough from anywhere else that it’s unlikely to be swamped with refugees from ...


76

Traditional and cultural values It may seem odd for a deeply logical society to hang on on tradition, but they may deem it logical to preserve their history and rituals so not to lose it, and to learn from the past. Another aspect may be that it is a passage from youth to adult to master the meditation ritual and controlling your own emotions through self-...


76

It could be an organ for communication. As we know, Dolphins and Whales communicate by sonar sound waves. The teeth of dolphins are arranged in a way that makes them act like sonar antennae (read more about it here). They basically hear with their lower jaw. The same principle could apply to Unicorns. They can create horse-like sounds, but do so only to ...


76

The standard way to melt icebergs would have been entirely possible with 1940s technology. It's as simple as it's effective - high pressure seawater. Very, very effective (high specific heat content, salt, almost trivial cost of deployment and inexhaustible). Low cost of deploying multiple of them, as well. You do not want to be using flamethrowers or ...


75

Bounty hunters only get paid on results. If they don't succeed, they make nothing and cost the government nothing as where police get paid on success or failure. Basically bounty hunters are police that work for commission. The government have enough police to handle most of the routine work but if it starts to get time consuming, they sub it out to bounty ...


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