109 votes
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How would society react if the existence of a god was scientifically proven?

If science proved that there was a God, the first thing everyone would try to do would be determine if he was their God. Depending on the nature of the God and how it's proven that he exists, this may ...
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76 votes

How to explain centuries of cultural/intellectual stagnation?

Space Generation ships are huge, but they aren't designed for experiments; they're built to move from point A to point B. Just like airlines don't have a dedicated science lab, your ships may not ...
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66 votes
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Most useful knowledge from the 30's to understand current state of computers & networking?

The best starting point would be knowing about Turing Machines. Alan Turing thought these up in 1936, so your human-vampire hybrid could have learned about these shortly before entering hybernation. ...
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  • 19.6k
66 votes
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Crucial and unlikely discoveries in history

You don't really need some speculative alternate reality, our own history is full of such events. Two "missing inventions" are for example the wheel in pre-Columbic America, or the computer ...
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  • 3,502
64 votes

What kind of Alien artifacts or minerals could advance the human race?

If We are talking Strictly Materials There are a ton of options, it just depends on what you are trying to do: Of the kinds of advanced fuels humans could figure out how to exploit today, anti-matter ...
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62 votes
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Everything Joe says is true. How can he most help humanity?

Joe should become the ultimate research assistant. He can't say, write or otherwise communicate any untrue information. At all. This includes information about fundamental physical laws, past events (...
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58 votes
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Efficient way to transport a Stargate

Rockets Rockets are the fastest means of acceleration we have but it's just not efficient but for a stargate, this isn't a problem as you can open the gate to refuel. You effectively build the ...
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  • 43.2k
51 votes

Most useful knowledge from the 30's to understand current state of computers & networking?

Math. It's the basis for computer languages and would give a good starting place to learning modern languages. The first low level programming languages where created in the 40's, and high level ...
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46 votes
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What scientists would go on an research expedition to an alien world?

There are two different questions here: First question: Which scientists are needed on the expedition? Clearly, competition for space on the exploration ship will be intense. Expect battles, ...
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  • 9,358
44 votes

How would society react if the existence of a god was scientifically proven?

Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains." From this principle it is clear to a Christian that God's behavior is ...
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41 votes

Most useful knowledge from the 30's to understand current state of computers & networking?

My great-grandfather headed an Electrical Engineering department from 1946-1956, just as the important transitions into electronic processing were being made and WWII computing technology became ...
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  • 84.2k
40 votes

How to explain centuries of cultural/intellectual stagnation?

All of their resources are carefully controlled. Technological advancement generally requires the utilization of large amounts of resources to construct advanced laboratories, build novel materials, ...
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  • 45.5k
37 votes

How would society react if the existence of a god was scientifically proven?

The real answer By definition, you can not prove a supernatural god with science. This is why religion operates on faith rather than scientific evidence. This is not a definition of faith, it's why ...
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36 votes

How would a magician trick scientists into believing he is using science?

Props The easiest and simplest way for your Magician to use his magic is simply to use it with various props he may have. He doesn't need to explain anything, scientists will work VERY hard to ...
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  • 2,267
34 votes
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Can singularity be achieved in a PC without any external information?

The abstraction that a computer is a von-neumann machine, or that it "runs unix", is an abstraction, and all abstractions leak. The computer is actually a physical arrangement of atoms and has ...
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  • 13.3k
33 votes

Everything Joe says is true. How can he most help humanity?

20 questions becomes a really useful game. Crime: Is the murderer male? Yes. Is the murderer her boyfriend? silence. Is the murderer one of her co-workers? Yes... Is Jimmy Hoffa dead? Yes. Is he ...
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32 votes

Can singularity be achieved in a PC without any external information?

No, the computer cannot do science Science is the following process: Observe reality Make a hypothesis about how reality works Create an experiment Perform the experiment Compare the results of ...
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32 votes
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How might a Professor of Mathematics Change History?

I think the knowledge would simply be lost in time unless they actually have use for it. A tribe of post-neolithic settlers have very little use for differential equations and stuff of that level. ...
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31 votes

Most useful knowledge from the 30's to understand current state of computers & networking?

Anything that involves processing data Computers are all about... well... computing. So first option would be some kind of profession that deal with collecting, collating and computing data. ...
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31 votes

Which is easier to develop: a piston prop engine or a jet engine?

With the all knowing AI at hand, anything would be possible, so you could handwave this as you see fit, surely? The issues are probably ones of fabrication... people have made piston engines for ...
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30 votes

Instant reloading bullets

If you have the ability to accurately teleport handgun cartridges, why not send the project directly at the victim with the appropriate kinetic energy? http://animagraffs.com/how-a-handgun-works-1911-...
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  • 96.6k
27 votes

Everything Joe says is true. How can he most help humanity?

Joe can use his power to figure out how to best use his power. Joe starts by trying to make the following statement: If the optimal one thousand character, general strategy for best using my power ...
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27 votes

Can singularity be achieved in a PC without any external information?

At the start the AI knowledge is blank. And let's say that the only interface it has is the terminal. Discovering the World Since the AI has no knowledge, it also means that it doens't know language....
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  • 6,300
27 votes

Crucial and unlikely discoveries in history

If there are any miraculous events, I am not aware of them. Technology, science and society don't exist in vacuum, as you noted, most discoveries are a logical next step. While it's important to ...
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  • 5,859
26 votes

How would a magician trick scientists into believing he is using science?

Let himself be exposed... as a fraud All he needs to do is visit Randi and use a magic trick rather than actual magic and then use some mind manipulation to get as many media as possible to write ...
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  • 1,323
26 votes

What technology would mermaids excel at?

It seems quite obvious, but fish farming and fishery should be the obvious answer. We landlings have had a few thousands of years for developing domesticated animals like chicken, sheep, cow, horse ...
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25 votes

Most useful knowledge from the 30's to understand current state of computers & networking?

The 1930s had the battle grounds where the formal mathematical definitions of computation were hashed out, there's a random internet find timeline here with all the popular names, but I think that's ...
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24 votes
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What technologies and sciences are needed to detect a star going supernova?

When people think of supernovae, they often only think about the visible light emitted during and after the explosion. However, if you restrict yourself to observing in the optical part of the ...
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23 votes

Instant reloading bullets

Maybe ammunition is fabricated on the spot by some wearable equipment, out of abundant, mundane, raw materials, and only energy is required. No teleportation is even needed, but you'll need to ...
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  • 381
23 votes

How might a Professor of Mathematics Change History?

A math professor is not a math exercise book, then why would he limits his help to math? He most likely also knows a good amount of physic and informatic. He could obviously store some of his ...
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