72 votes

How would a mermaid jail work?

I present to you, the most feared and inescapable prison of the merfolk world: The Fishbowl There is an island in the middle of the ocean. And in the middle of this island is a massive saltwater lake, ...
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  • 5,545
40 votes

How would a mermaid jail work?

Just build the jail at the surface, so the cells are partially submerged but still have access to air. I imagine this would be required for all buildings in which merpeople are expected to spend long ...
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34 votes
Accepted

Energy sheathed bullets: What's the point?

Armor penetration Conventional bullets all work the same way: by applying kinetic energy directly to a small area on the target and punching through it. This is relatively easy to armor against: hard ...
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  • 32.5k
26 votes

Why would a desirable technology remain forbidden despite progress of time and civilization?

The methods to make magitek are not obvious at all. source Technological methods get lost. An analogy is ancient architecture. Medieval persons 1000 years later could bake a brick, and stack them ...
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  • 272k
26 votes

If all humans of this era suddenly became fast enough to dodge bullets, how would this change the military's choice of weaponry?

It'd change less than you'd think. Bullets aren't the only kind of weapon out there, and there are plenty of weapons designed explicitly to be hard to miss with. Volume-of-fire would be king. Contrary ...
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  • 10.3k
24 votes
Accepted

How would a mermaid jail work?

You don't need prisons "I'm not sure how I would have a system of detainment without drowning them to death." Well, don't have a system of detainment then. Public drownings are the social ...
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19 votes

Can the 1980s US government recreate a smartphone?

Below picture is taken from an infographic made by Intel to celebrate Moore's law's 50 years in 2015. As a ballpark figure will tell you which huge leaps has technology made. In the 80's it was ...
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  • 237k
16 votes

What would this combination lubricant/cleaning solution smell like and taste like?

It would smell like chlorine Of the three substances, bleach is the one with the strongest and most distinctive smell, and it would easily overpower the relatively delicate smell of ethanol and the ...
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  • 1,622
16 votes

If all humans of this era suddenly became fast enough to dodge bullets, how would this change the military's choice of weaponry?

Who Needs Guns? A gun is a machine that uses chemical energy to accelerate a projectile to (usually) above the speed of sound. When this projectile hits a target, it transfers that energy to the ...
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  • 1,156
14 votes

How would a mermaid jail work?

If you don't want cages to breach the surface, just chain the mermaids to the ocean floor. That way, they can come up for air as they please. Of course, keep guards handy to fight off whatever sea ...
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13 votes

Energy sheathed bullets: What's the point?

Ammunition Bullets weigh a lot and need to be carried. An energy weapon really is limited by it's battery capacity. Currently our battery tech is rubbish so any sort of energy weapon simply isn't ...
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  • 43.2k
12 votes

Why would a desirable technology remain forbidden despite progress of time and civilization?

The disaster left a lot of demon code. While the full details may be lost, one thing that is known is that a lot of magitek was corrupted with viruses and corruptive spells on them. Anyone who builds ...
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  • 23.5k
11 votes

How would a mermaid jail work?

Any of the above as suits plus Salmon Farms A frame supported by buoys or floats and/or ropes & chains anchored to the sea floor. Then you cover this with layers of stiff netting. The walls rise ...
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10 votes

Storing bulk metals for centuries

Airless Chambers The atmosphere is artificially generated. Some pockets of the structure have no atmosphere. Or perhaps they have a different oxygen-free atmosphere. For example pure nitrogen like ...
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  • 37.5k
10 votes

If all humans of this era suddenly became fast enough to dodge bullets, how would this change the military's choice of weaponry?

They never saw it coming: Just because your people are a lot faster doesn't mean they think faster or sound travels faster. A lot of the same weapons would still be used - they would just go through ...
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  • 51.9k
9 votes

Energy sheathed bullets: What's the point?

Carry capacity and weapon handling. The recoil of a weapon quickly goes up the more powerful your bullets become. A .50cal mounted machine gun would bruise your body if you fired it by hand. But if ...
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  • 39.5k
9 votes
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Viability of solar furnace/smelter in pre-industrial society

As you point out the concept that solar could be concentrated was well known for a long time, so there is some potential to explore an alternative time line where it could have been developed. The ...
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  • 3,152
9 votes
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Storing bulk metals for centuries

Two keywords here: pigs and cosmoline. First, pigs are large ingots, typically close to the size of the smelter crucible that originally produced the pure metal. This (as suggesed by L.Dutch) ...
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  • 36.2k
8 votes

Can the 1980s US government recreate a smartphone?

There would be tremendous time saving involved from reverse engineering the materials. A lot of progress of semiconductor technology was driven by the ITRS roadmap. There were a lot of wrong turn and ...
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  • 3,152
8 votes

How would a mermaid jail work?

Caves Whether because the exit is too small for the mermaid to crawl through, or too far off, a cave can have air pockets that are fresh enough to breathe without offering an actual chance to escape.
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  • 20.6k
8 votes
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Aluminum in a renaissance era civilization

How could a civilization that has not discovered electricity yet reliably mass produce aluminum and what uses would such a civilization have for it? I will only address the first part of the question. ...
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  • 1,258
7 votes

What would this combination lubricant/cleaning solution smell like and taste like?

Raspberries I mean, why not? Aliens made it. Its actual composition probably has nothing to do with bleach, oil or alcohol, even though it has the same properties. It doesn't have to smell like any of ...
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  • 275
7 votes

How to justify guns being advanced earlier

Byzantine gun tech Secrecy, Technology, and War: Greek Fire and the Defense of Byzantium, 678-1204 The question is secrecy. At the heart of the Greek fire story is the legend that this ultimate ...
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  • 272k
7 votes

Energy sheathed bullets: What's the point?

They're plasma projectors These guns fire a short jet of superheated gas, that on impact vaporizes armor and kills by sending the body into shock from the combined explosion, pressing the molten armor ...
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  • 11.8k
7 votes

Energy sheathed bullets: What's the point?

Shield Harmonics The plasma envelope allows the bullet to penetrate energy shields. This works because the shields are made of the same sort of plasma. Two possibilities. The plasma envelope pushes ...
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  • 37.5k
7 votes

Viability of solar furnace/smelter in pre-industrial society

Maybe, if they had the idea of Fresnel lenses When Bottger and Tschirnhaus made porcelain, they used solar furnaces because European furnaces were not up to the task. 100 years earlier, lenses simply ...
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  • 2,660
7 votes

How to Sneak Von Neumann Probes Past the Enemy?

Mechanically accelerate the probes. A look into railgun physics and design Railguns, however, do not have these limitations. Since the force on the projectile is proportional to the current applied, ...
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  • 272k
7 votes

Static Floating Objects in Zero Gravity

Dynamic position keeping: you define a position for each object, give it a mean to check it and means to keep it against external influences, probably something similar to rockets. In this way when a ...
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  • 237k
7 votes

Static Floating Objects in Zero Gravity

What if you just made them REALLY heavy to minimize movement from students? And reset their position at the end of each round? It would be less resistant against rotation but that is easily solved ...
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  • 8,002
7 votes

If all humans of this era suddenly became fast enough to dodge bullets, how would this change the military's choice of weaponry?

Different guns have different bullet speeds. BB guns are the slowest, comparable to paintball shots. Most guns nowadays however shoot bullets that come out of the barrel faster than sound. If everyone ...
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