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I cannot remember the title of the story, but there was a story about a spaceship landing in the USA. We surrounded it with troops and when the doors opened out came soldiers with swords and spears on horses. The battle was short and one sided. The plot twist was that space travel involved a primitive technology that we never discovered, but most other races ...

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I am assuming a few things here, As you said that the species became spacefaring, but you didn't explicitly mention that they developed the advance rocketry on their own. Maybe some advanced spacefaring aliens came along their planet, saw them as allies and gave them the technology and made them a part of their covenant. If you have read halo, the ...

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An aquatic species would be unlikely to develop firearms. Their notion of chemistry would likely evolve from much different needs. They could conceivably develop biological based knowledge sooner than humans did since the sea, like the rainforest is a fast bio reactor generating new genotypes at fantastic rates. If they did need thermal energy to smelt ...

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No Spacefaring implies advanced rocketry. Rocketry implies a long history of tinkering with different propellants. If this race is not particularly peaceful, they would have a lot of military applications for combustive propellants before they achieve their first space flight. They may not discover black powder the first, and weapons development may take a ...

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Biology first Human technology began with fire. Once we learned to make fire, we learned how to melt and shape metal. Chemistry, too, stems mainly from fire; heating and burning things to figure out what they were made of. An aquatic species is going to have a hard time going this route, but they have an advantage that land-dwellers lack - the richness of ...

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Your aquatic species could develop any level of technology we Telurians (People of Earth) have developed using the same processes we've developed but they might have different motivations. How they interact with their world will determine the form of their technologies. Do they have two arms or twenty? Do they have fingers or suckers? Assuming they have ...

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When it comes to worldbuilding, these differences and variations SHOULD be a part of that world. Erasing them says just as much about the world as letting them be--it says something about who leads in trade, about differences in culture, about government and far, far more than you would think. The takeaway is this: instead of asking how you can have ...

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Lots of good answers here, but one point missing is the patterns of trade. Weights and measures start with trade. Initially you are going to have things like a trader using his own arm to estimate one yard. Where humans trade with humans this works fine. It also works fine when dwarves trade with dwarves: the fact that a human yard and a dwarf yard are ...

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There are some natural quantities that are fairly constant. If your society has a modern understanding of physics, it could use some of these constants. $g = 9.807\ \rm{m}/\rm{s}^2$: A pendulum 1 meter in length swings at 0.5 Hz1. Given the number of seconds in a day, the monarch could figure out the right pendulum length. And, in one second, a dense object ...

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We're in this exact situation on this planet right now: Within one part the planet, the one type of aliens use one system, whereas in the other part the other aliens use another system. So the answer to your question is: Wherever the aliens do not talk to one another, they use their own system, but if the one alien tries to sell something to the other ...

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The 'Problem' and the Answer If you're disallowing body parts as the foundation unit, even if they're the body part of a particular individual, then that leaves other physical objects, and repeatable physical phenomena. For example, one culture might use a {unit} defined as the length of the shadow of some famous monument, taken at local noon on the ...

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You are chasing a non-issue. Variation among races doesn't matter. By the time the variation of other races matter, your culture isn't using natural measurements anymore. handspans work fine even with a wide variety of races because by the time the difference in hands matter you are not using real handspans anymore. First nothing in nature is consistent ...

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Why not use the size of the Earth itself? This is, after all, how real life got both the nautical mile (conceptually one minute of latitude, or 1/21 600 of the circumference) and the meter (1/40 000 000). It can be measured with good-enough accuracy using the knowledge available to Eratosthenes (276-195 BCE). Of course, as technology improves, more ...

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How about reinforced concrete? If you can introduce other material into the mix (like steel rods), you have a much more flexible range of substances to work with. Is silica rock? You can make lenses, mirrors and all kinds of interesting stuff. Also: elegant stone boats.

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Use circles. The angles would be consistent regardless of the size of the circle, especially if you make them concentric to evaluate them. Then use the distance the stars move in a particular time frame. Perform a few calculations and you can come up with latitude and longitude and from defining a unit of measure as the set fraction of the distance ...

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Look at the Holy Roman Empire. Basically every city and principalia had its own units. This shows us two things concerning your question: Firstly that people could life and trade with different units of measurement and second that those units supposedly based on body parts lost their reference after a while. For example the Hessian Klafter was 2.5m, ...

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Measurements were originally derived from things aside from the human body. The acre was originally the amount of land that could be plowed by a yoke of oxen in one day, and eventually became defined as a strip of land a furlong in length and a chain wide, with the furlong the length of a furrow said oxen could plow in one go before having to rest. What's ...

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If the wizard can alter crystalline structure of the stone or yet better, purify it, this could lead to ceramics made from natural minerals with interesting properties. Alumina, which is very widespread in nature, allows for metal/ceramics composites used in modern armour. Zirconia (found in nature as mineral Baddeleyite) is used for ceramic knives. Both can ...

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Measurement units have followed a fairly standard pattern. Originally things are compared to something that both parties recognise. It could be a specific thing (the Washington monument) or a general thing (a banana). No one is really measuring anything accurately, so this is good enough. Next people start to measure things against their own standard. ...

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If you already have standard measurements for, e.g. time, you could base things off of that. E.g. a candle that is tall enough to burn in one hour is a candle-length. Sure, some one-hour candles might be taller than others, but the same is true for the body-part measurements that would otherwise have been used. If a certain type of candle has been around ...

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We have used non-human body parts for measurement before. Roman roads were just broad enough to allow for two horses to go side by side on them. If anything, though, the usage of body parts from onespecies might make the other feel misrepresented. This may lead to tensions which will hasten the adoption of some sort of universal, scientific measure. The ...

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You give your own answer! When that size variation was a problem, they could standardize, somewhat, by using the body part of a ruler/monarch/lord/etc. instead of just some random individual. There is some historic individual who has made a big impression on all of these involved races. Measurements reference body parts and famous exploits of this ...

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The reason people used body parts was its something everyone could reference. Given that's not the case with multiple fantasy races, then they'd likely use some other common reference. Perhaps they'd measure lengths in bananas. Or Elephant tails. How much is that rope? Its 2 coppers per Narwhal tusk.

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Well, for one, it's unlikely that having multiple races would affect using body parts for measurement; humans come in varying shapes and sizes after all, and that's why we moved to more objective forms of measurement as our technology allowed for it. At most, you'd wind up with a situation where they say things like "that's an orc-foot long" or "that weighs ...

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They could continue to use their own body parts, and simply be aware of conversions and other rules of thumb. If a human and a halfling are negotiating for some number of feet of cloth, they should establish which culture's "feet" are being used. (Or, maybe they don't and this is one way unscrupulous vendors try to swindle people in your universe.) In pre-...

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Different races world most likely still use their own body parts among themselves. When interacting with other races they would learn to change between units. If the races have been in contact with each other for a long time, it would be easier to use measurement units taken from elsewhere in their nature, from animals and plants common enough that ...

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There are two parts that need to be invented which do exist today but aren't integrated into a rifle and would pose serious ethical problems to do so. The first component would be an electronic fire control system. Basically a "fly-by-wire" all digital trigger group that isn't mechanically linked to the trigger at all. Instead, the trigger is an electrical ...

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Focus not on the target but where they are shooting If you had a smart gun with a GPS system, the gun could be locked to only work in permitted locations. A "home defence" pistol works only in the home. Hunters can shoot in set hunting areas. Sports shooters can shoot in gun ranges. Gun won't work in schools, movie theaters and malls. It's possible but ...

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Yes, but it won't solve the problem. At that point, it'd be less of a gun, and more of a wide bore camera which has a gun attachment. Facial recognition is getting better all the time, and just recognizing a human face it pretty easy. You need wide bore, because guns, especially rifles, are aimed at one person at a time, not groups, so you have a wide bore ...

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The USA currently is just over 300 million and is essentially self sufficient and technologically advancing. Yet even in the US there is tons of useless activity from fuzzy dice to monster trucks and celebrities. A lot depends on how controlled, focused, directed the population is. Sure they engage in trade for raw goods they don't have but if they were the ...

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In principle, this setup could run with some tweaks (already addressed in other answers and comments). But the showstopper here is small radiator surface area, especially on the cold side. It wouldn't help you any to concentrate heat with a parabolic reflector on the sunny side, if the dark side lacked the capacity to radiate it away. The system would get ...

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No, it won't work. What you have put in the picture is just a fancy version of a moka pot, therefore it's not going to work to produce energy. If you want to set up a power generator using a Rankine cycle, you need to have a pump to compress the liquid water. There are four processes in the Rankine cycle. The states are identified by numbers (in brown) ...

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There will be limits on this. The solar flux on Mars is about 43% that on Earth. The Mars day is 24.5 hours. So you need to have corresponding amounts of surface area. You need area to absorb the heat. Possibly you could set up some kind of system such as SEGS to collect the heat. This is a large collection of mirrors that concentrate heat on a central ...

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They could, but there's no real need to. You can just focus sunlight on a static boiler that generates steam to run past a turbine, through a condenser, and back (in liquid form) into the boiler. Just like closed-cycle turbine engines on Earth. That lets you limit thermal cycling of the components, which will increase lifespan, and better specialize the ...

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Creating a special metal as mentioned in one of the comments, and your hunch about Vibranium-like substances is probably the best way to go. I'll elaborate. A substance which provides something like nuclear energy. This can be categorized as a special metal as well, so having a special metal with any properties that you desire to generate an economy as ...

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That depends on your definition of high-tech. Do you consider 21st-century technology high-tech, or do you need something fancier? Or something low-tech, compared to 21st-century, but high-tech compared to high-medieval technology? I'm going to focus on fuel Two most obvious candidates, in my opinion, would be coal and oil, as they form(ed) a backbone of ...

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which substance has the higher possibility to be the spinal cord of their technology? In our world such a substance is oil, because it allowed us to have cheap and widely available energy. In your fantasy world it can be whatever substance is at the base of their technology: it can be oil, it can be fantasium, you define it when you shape their technology.

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