Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

# Tag Info

1

A geodesic sphere would be one of the best structural shapes. Depending on the strength of the materials used and the size of the airship required, internal struts could then be run from any node through the centre of the sphere to a corresponding diametrically opposite node. Graphene would be a good choice of material. Made into tubular form for the struts ...

1

A single envelope is inherently dangerous. One single pop and everyone is sky diving - minus the parachute. Even the great airships of yester year worked around this by not having a single compartment filled with hydrogen/helium, but by having many smaller bladders organised for easy maintenance and attached to the airframe. The outer skin was for aero ...

0

As others have said, Jupiter has no surface so you will never “land” on Jupiter or construct a building. But this is good news for you! This means that if you are living in Jupiter’s gravity, you are in an airship of some kind. And in that case, you can just pick whatever altitude you want to live at. There is a sweet spot in the atmosphere where Jupiter’s ...

0

Expanding on my comment on Renan's fine answer, as I think there is more to that story... many sources cite untrained people can sustain forces of up to 4 to 6g before passing out, which is more than Jupiter's surface gravity Quote from Renan's answer The Caveat It should be noted the "4 to 6g before passing out" is specifically for an acceleration ...

0

Aside from the other answers. In the current global warfare state nothing. But hypothetically. Different terrain. Basically urban close quarters and more limited ranges would make the armies think that a rifle that can shoot up to 800 meters is important. It seems limiting but makes sense. This also includes stuff like boarding operation, city fighting,...

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Kugelblitz. If your weapon is mass/energy then yep you are in the right territory. If it's matter in a particular configuration (a complex piece that took hundreds of thousands of work-hours to make) you may be out of luck. Black-holes can be used as energy storage, using magnetic fields to spin them up and releasing energy through electromagnetic ...

7

Could this work in any scenario? Unfortunately not. If you are looking for a scientifically sound explanation, even in purely theoretical terms what you're asking just is not possible. As others have stated, nothing can escape black holes. And even if the black hole were to evaporate via Hawking radiation, there is no possible way to salvage anything that ...

1

Can I introduce you to the recognised concept of a Highly Sensitive Person who has: "an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli". The trait is characterized by "a tendency to 'pause to check' in novel situations, greater sensitivity to subtle stimuli, and the ...

1

If by 'inside a black hole' you mean beyond the event horizon of the black hole, there's no way out at that point. The escape velocity of a black hole is greater than the speed of light. Since nothing can go faster than light, it doesn't really matter what you use to push or pull the thing. If you have some sort of FTL drive, sure. You've entered the ...

12

I wasn’t sure how the weapon could be pulled back out, and I was thinking perhaps magnets? Nothing can get out of the event horizon of a black hole, not even light. And light is made of electromagnetic waves. The only thing you can get out of a black hole is Hawking radiation, but that's completely unrelated to what fell into the black hole.

0

There are many possibilities. The people might well excrete a chemical signal from their skin as you describe. This might take the form of a distinctive smell, an odourless pheromone or simply be a chemical that the “mutant” humans use for one purpose that the dragons use for another. It is also possible that the people have mutant vocal cords and their ...

6

Pheromones. These are chemical agents similar to hormones, but are excreted from the human body and used externally on other creatures of the same species, rather than internally. The thing is that humans have very weak pheromones, if at all, though numerous online retailers will do their best to convince you otherwise. That said, it's very easy to say ...

1

There's precedent for animals which can detect medical problems by scent, for example dogs which are trained to identify the smell of malaria. There are also plenty of genetic mutations which could cause a difference in scent. For example, the ABCC11 gene can differentiate if a person has underarm sweat or the consistency of their earwax. It wouldn't be ...

1

Railguns Also, scarcity of resources. But that's so we get to railguns in the first place. Bullets are made of metal, which is a relatively abundant on Earth. But suppose that metal wasn't so plentiful, so the army needed to ration their bullets. At that point, instead of laying down fire so the air is thick with lead, they decide to make shots count. ...

1

If both sides have extreme difficulty in supplying their troops, they will be forced to rely on low RPM weaponry. The Germans had this problem in WW2, their MG42's used ammunition at high rate, even compared to other LMG's. This put even more strain on their already-struggling supply lines. So lets say civilization on both sides has collapsed, such that ...

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The current state of affairs is driven primarily by two factors: First, ammunition is cheap, so there's no reason not to use as much as a soldier can carry. Second: Modern armed combat is chaotic and hitting an enemy soldier is generally an exercise in statistics rather than skill. Video games provide an astonishingly unrealistic perspective of what ...

3

One answer could be: Smart/Specialized ammo The military is already on the cusp of highly advanced personal munitions, including "smart rounds" which are capable of limited self-guiding. In the hypothetical future, these rounds could not only be self-guiding but also carry specialized payloads such as the ability to airburst near targets or be re-targeted ...

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what would make armies intentionally choose to equip their soldiers with pistols, bolt-action rifles, and small-magazine automatics? Better armor on opponents. A breakthrough in carbon fiber that makes bullet-proof cloth lighter and cheaper. So you need explosives (like M203 under-barrel grenade launcher) or armor-piercing rounds (like Barrett M82). Both ...

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When it doesn't use discrete ammunition. The inconsistency you've noted is because the 'stopping power' of a weapon is (mostly) defined by its ammunition: a bigger cartridge/bullet does more damage, and a weapon that fires more bigger cartridges per second does more more more damage. Any sort of weapon that has a 'continuous' ammunition (ie any sort of ...

0

From one of my comments, though I like several of these answers. If we develop such a material to make advanced body armor that somehow negated the kinetic effect of the rounds fired upon it, then we will have surely developed sufficiently fast acting epoxies to glue the armor stiff, shut, or to the ground. Immobile Soldiers incapable of firing weapons ...

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Superglue Just spray the joints with fast drying glue (maybe a mix of glue and sand) and the armor will now be a trap Banana skin Because it will Always work

1

I think you are biased against No-nosers while it would be the Blackendwaiters who are in the serious disadvantage. Not being able to recognise colors means eating a lot of wrong things during "Hunter-gatherer" stage or even at scavenging. What worse is that it stop the ability to gather and share/pass knowledge about dangerous food items. You cannot make ...

0

One of the best robots on Robot Wars was called Wheelie Big Cheese. It was a wedge shaped robot (rather like a cheese wedge). It drove into the enemy robot and flipped explosively, sending the other robot flying and often into a pit or upside down. It was one of the most powerful robots in the end, and I believe it won the series. There are plenty of ...

3

Consider a moon that orbits a planet above its equator. As an orbit's altitude increases, its period increases. That is, it takes longer to make one full orbit. If the moon is always above the equator, then it experiences a solar eclipse once every orbit. Given the right size of planet, at the right distance from its star(s), you could get those eclipses ...

1

Just gonna try and throw an idea that isn't what you don't want. How about recording data of past events where there was previously no observer? Sending back a data recording device one second so it could record from past events that were missed by the interested party. This could have forensic applications. But what is 1 second to forensic scientist? Not ...

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Use high powered rifles and explosives. If normal bullets don't do the trick, we've got plenty of weapons with more stopping power. Modern high powered rifles like the Barrett M82 would be the standard, if they can penetrate upgraded body armor. If that's not enough, we'll use even bigger rifles, like the Anzio 20mm rifle. If that's not enough, we'll ...

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Thus you begin the race for effective Energy Weapons. In the mean time, you want to defeat the common rounds of the day If the Armor tech is good against 5.56 rifle and 9mm handgun it may be good enough for the most common rounds of right now. Here is the problem, there are plenty of more powerful rounds out there. Consider it as a race of armor vs. ...

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Yes, it's possible. As the comments have mentioned, this not only exists in our solar system, it even happens right here on Earth near the north and south poles. For the sake of completeness, I will enumerate varying reasons for this phenomenon: Axial tilt - causes one side of a planet to face the sun while the other side stays in darkness. The amount and ...

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The planet would have a period of rotation of 6 months. I can't think of a real-world example for a planet with this long a period of rotation. Some rotate much faster than 24 hours/revolution (the gas giants), some are tidal-locked with the Sun (Mercury, Venus), while the larger planetary satellites are likewise tidal-locked with their primary planet, ...

1

Volcanoes tend to be situated in lines (not necessarily straight lines). Some volcanoes (like along the west coast of the US) follow the edges of tectonic plates. So the volcanoes will follow the general mountain chain. There is a formation called the Ring of Fire. It is a series of volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific plate (Western US, Eastern ...

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Volcanic craters can be very close. Craters often have multiple vents and outflows from the same magma chamber and fissure vents can produce linear series of volcanic cones. The oceanic crust can move over the magma hotspot and a line of volcanos is the result as in the Hawaiian islands. One limiting factor is the steepness of the cinder cone slope which ...

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The main issue with a sound based system is that at sea, sound may not be heard. A ship can get very loud between wind in the rigging and and the rushing of the water. Horn signals will carry downwind, but upwind may be completely inaudible. Even on the same ship you soon need to resort to shouting to get understood. Sound being an active signal is also a ...

3

Yes, and it is in use today. Foghorns are still used in both static installations and aboard ships; as an example, this is the identification pattern used on the Golden Gate Bridge: Some buoys are also equipped with bells, for similar reasons. Cadences are more commonly-used in the real world than tonal differences, but they both could work.

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There is no limit set in stone, and the marking line tends to be fluid (pun intended). When two eruptive craters are really close, they tend to be classified as the same volcano, e.g. look at Etna in Italy, where the experts talk about new eruptive craters instead of new volcano. While with Vesuvius and Phlegraean Fields, though they are about 30 km apart, ...

1

I really like @anaximander's answer since he both answer how the warframe would change and how would guns compete (throwing napalm grenade isn't a « gun » in my opinion) i would like to complete his answer by looking at how science-fi is looking at it. In Starcraft, for example, the "bullets" from marines are higly innefective against even the lowly armored ...

1

Frame Challenge: You cannot keep that ship right side up. IN order to be stable, the center of mass of a ship has to be below the water line. This is generally accomplished rather easily, having a hollow ship means that most of the weight is in the hull, and therefore the right way down. Some ships use weights to ensure stability. However, your hull is a ...

1

Dolphins (or Whales) Train a few pods of dolphins to wear special dolphin harnesses which allow them to collectively pull your fighting barge where it needs to go. Of course, you power the dolphins with feed fish buried deep in its hold. Also, the barge has fishing gear so you can replenish your fuel at sea.

2

What about a spring engine instead? There is a novel called The Windup Girl which is set in a post-peak-oil world where the world no longer has access to petrochemical products, no alternative power sources have been developed, and biological warfare between competing agricultural firms has left the vast majority of the planet unable to grow safe food crops....

0

Antimatter You have said Elemental Transmutter. Down there somewhere you can find how to make positrons and related stuff to produce antimatter OR you can keep it vague so that your audience can focus on story and not get too much into "technical" stuff which is handwavium anyway. Coming back to the meat of your question, antimatter is the most expensive ...

2

First of all, you would have large losses in the form of heat, resulting in the rubber warming up. That energy is lost, so your "rollercoaster" maneuver wouldn't take you very far. Then, as opposed to toy aircrafts where the propeller is largely oversized with respect to the plane and you don't care about any specific flight plan, real airplanes need to ...

2

Winds will be slower, but there are a lot of second-order factors The oxygen content is irrelevant but the pressure has a significant effect. Let's start by analyzing wind. In general, there are four forces: The pressure gradient force, which is defined as $\frac{1}{\rho} \frac{\Delta P}{\Delta x}$. Note here the density term: a higher density reduces ...

2

You mentioned the graeco-roman period. Galleys had hortators or keleustes who would set the pace with a drum. It would be conceivable that different nations use different instruments and that they are loud enough to be heard at usual engagement ranges. This would work mostly for warships under oars, of course.

0

Think outside the box. Or rather think about when your targets are going to be outside their boxes. Massed units charging at each other is going out of style given that army units are close to invulnerable, so special forces are coming into their own. You can't sleep in you armour after all.

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I think a system like this could work, if the object that needed to be identified could have some kind of structure that was identifiable under sonar. Just like bats use echolocation to orient themselves and detect their environment, so too could a sound-based system, suggesting a means of discovery of the technology. Sounds like a cool idea!

2

Aircraft Your carrier is stupidly light. It also has space for a large amount of aircraft, all with very powerful turbines... When aircraft are stored in a real carrier, they are locked to it with things such as holdback bars: Just bind enough jet fighters on the main deck through such bars, all pointing the same way, then turn the engines on. And as your ...

5

The benefit of the flag system is that you don't have to memorize every nation/entity. The flag is persistent, so you can look it up, ask around (the captain has to sleep sometime), or hazard a guess. Sound is ephemeral. It happens, and then it's gone. Having a complicated system of notes would be extremely hard, especially when you take the doppler effect ...

1

Your drones should be electrically powered. The aircraft carrier is nuclear powered, with oodles of small reactors dispersed throughout the ship. Since you already have a ton of drones and a ton of power, efficiency isn't a concern -- stick some of those bad boys under water and have them push the ship (your drone propeller design may have to be somewhat ...

4

Sails Your vessel is stupidly light. It is also very large. So it can have thousands upon thousands of sails of all kinds and shapes. They would be very redundant and replaceable. It could also pick up a hell of a speed depending on how it's built, once it builds enough momentum and if the ocean current helps.

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Tugs This isn’t a vessel. This is a platform. Much like an oil rig you should move it to wherever it is you think needs that much UAV support, then anchor it (Anchoring is a stupid idea, keeping this ship moving is pretty essential, thanks to @ MorrisTheCat for pointing that out!) To that end you don’t want it to move under it’s own power: that would be ...

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Many vessels in history have had two or more methods of propulsion. Galleys have both sails and oars. Most 19th century steamships had both steam engines and masts and sails. most large modern sailboats have both sails and motors. The Great Eastern (1858-1889) had two side paddle wheels and four steam engines for the paddle wheels and another steam ...

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