New answers tagged

1

Look at countries that didn't have ready access to wood. Greece, northern Africa, the middle east, west coast of South America, the American Southwest. The Anasazi (cliff dwellers) moved roof timbers tens of kilometers. During the British colonization of North America, certain trees were blazed with the king's broad arrow, marking them as owned by the king, ...


2

As another answer said, the "display of wealth" option seems to be the most striking one. But it might be interesting to have it used in more ways, not just the most oblivious ones. Furniture is definitely a great idea that must be kept. It's often the most striking wealth factor after the house itself. Jewelry : If your wood is particularly hard ...


2

Orkney (a group of islands off Scotland rich in prehistory) always suffered a severe shortage of wood. They got by pretty well with stone, whale-bone, and antlers: and they used driftwood that found its way onto the beach from distant lands. But I suspect the biggest problem they faced without wood was boat-building.


0

Nuke delivers far more energy per pound and that's the important thing here--a deflection mission is going to be limited by how much we can throw. Nuke also has the advantage that if your guidance system is good enough you don't have to expend delta-v to rendezvous--the relative velocity between bomb and asteroid makes no meaningful difference in the impulse ...


12

Display of wealth. Any hard to acquire material can be used to show either how strong/brave you are or how rich you are to pay other strong/brave people to get it for you. Sure you could build your house out of bamboo like those common poor people, but imagine the sight (in you society) to see a house made of wood. Then you make all your furniture out of ...


1

Magic. Trees have an innate ability to collect or focus magical energy, and because they grow slowly over a long time and stay in one place, their wood becomes inherently more conductive to magical energies. Specific kinds of wood could have affinities for specific kinds of magic. Items made from wood conduct or enhance magic in ways that improve the quality ...


1

There is no "one solution fits all" scenario, much depends on the size and composition of the asteroid. For example: explosives (nuclear or conventional) may create a more dangerous situation by splitting an asteroid which then multiplies the problem of trajectory prediction. NASA and other organizations have created a range of Collision Avoidance ...


0

Since there is no time for a proper deflection the hard decision would be to try and break it up. With many smaller fragments you can't avoid a meteor shower hitting the Earth, but the damage would be less than a full big impact. Piercing missiles can burrow deep into the rock and the heat of the explosions would turn the ice trapped inside in hot gases that ...


2

Yes, a stream of nukes would work. https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/how-to-stop-a-killer-asteroid They did the calculations. You could send a stream of Saturn Vs with nukes on to detonate 20 meters above the surface. “The experiments show, first and foremost, that we can generate X-rays at a level sufficient to deliver the equivalent of a ...


10

Musical instruments. I can't really give a logical reason why, but that's the way it works in the real world. The same optimal woods (and materials in general) continue to be used despite being endangered, even when it is just aesthetic and not functional, because there's no substitute for subjective quality. Ivory is one of the few traditional materials I ...


1

Conventional explosives would work better. Consider a nuclear explosion on Earth. Matter turns into energy and lots of it. The consequent destruction is because the radiant energy heats the atmosphere into a hot fast moving wall of gas that wipes out everything in its path. In space, the energy has nothing to heat up and just "expands into the void of ...


21

For some historical perspective, ancient Greece is known to have suffered from serious shortages of wood. The rocky terrain of Greece didn't really grow anything but squiggly olive trees which are more like shrubs anyway. That didn't really match with its seafaring ambitions, and it had to import wood for that reason. They had far-reaching trading networks ...


4

Incense Depicted: the frankincense tree. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/frankincense-trees-declining-overtapping Trees are the source of many types of amazing incense. Frankincense and myrrh (also from a tree) have been valued since ancient times and there are many more - sandalwood, palo santo, rosewood etc. In your world, wood of ...


21

we can look at real world examples from deserts, islands, where tree wood is very rare and cultures were bamboo is extremely common. what is wood used for. Ships, you can make a raft out of bamboo but you can't make a large water tight ship out of it without modern composite technology. Axles, hubs, and bearing, even in places where bamboo is common and most ...


42

Bamboo fills most "wood" niches. Bamboo makes perfectly good charcoal, it just requires more processing of the plant compared to wood charcoal. Bamboo makes great structural material, beating wood by quite a good margin for small and medium projects. Only for something like a large oceangoing ship is bamboo less that ideal, it does not scale up as ...


10

Nothing: In our world, wood is easy to obtain, easy to carve, easy to burn. But cultures without wood do okay for themselves with workarounds. THIS question goes into some of the options, and with bamboo available, I doubt there would be a practical imperative to use a rare commodity for anything essential. What I suspect is that wood would be a rare ...


6

One potential use is for the production of iron. Before the 1700s, when coke was discovered, ironmaking furnaces exclusively used charcoal in production. This charcoal is generally produced by burning wood in a low oxygen environment. While in principle you could use bamboo or other organic sources to produce the charcoal, given the strategic importance of ...


1

Assuming that you are writing a near future history set in a fictional world which starts exactly where our real world starts now... Create a new government entity empowered and funded to purchase critical bottleneck technology and usage patents from the corporations and individuals who created and/or currently own them. Train up an army of technical ...


4

Let's not forget, there are other alternative tech trees to explore as well, even in a society without iron (or metal, for that matter)- some of which the Mesoamericans did already have a head-start in IOTL. Remember, the world’s first natural plastics were discovered and used by them, after all; and incorporated into tools, weapons and for other purposes. ...


1

Hive Minds Aren't Free The raw map of all synaptic connections in a human mind takes up about $1 \times 10^{18}$ bytes (1 hexabyte) of memory. To send this whole data package across a fiber optic cable using red light (405 THz) takes about an hour (61 minutes), using a single channel. You can use more channels. Of course, if you are wireless, you won't want ...


0

It is unlikely to have a significant effect, if robot's body is electrically conductive. Hitting the robot will just cause the electrons to travel along it's body to be grounded (either into ground or it just may fly off the robot and continue its travel). If sustained long enough, ie. if the charged particles themselves caused the robot's body to heat up ...


2

Hard to implement - easy to overcome So unfortunately electron beams have some difficulties: In an atmosphere, air particles interact with beams and dissipate the effectiveness very quickly. This is why cathode ray tubes are in vacuums, and also why tasers need a wire to 'channel' the electrons. The range of an electron beam through air therefore is ...


8

IronEagle's answer explains that the cylinder would have a linear speed of about 440 mph (708 km/h). Driving spinward or "east" (which is to say, in the direction of rotation) would cause the occupants of the vehicle to feel heavier, and driving antispinward or "west" would make them feel lighter. I've calculated just how much heavier or ...


4

It can't work. Sleep isn't just a physical thing. Sleep is for processing the days events too. Things are filed in long term memory and things forgotten. It allows the mind to relax and unwind. Without actual sleep, people would go insane. Personally you've gone the wrong way. You don't want a hive mind. What you want is a secondary brain. Frame Challenge ...


0

About years idk, but here's my best guess with growth starting in 2040 For hypotheticals let's say that a neural link which works to that degree is widely distributed to the market in 2040. So, if were to then go on the basis of smartphone growth, assuming the same level of accessibility with regards to the technology(which is, a given a bit an of a shaky ...


2

how long before 100% of the world population will own alternative bodies they can control from afar? Knowing human nature, forever. There will always be a small percentage of body purists, religious fanatics, the ultra-squeamish, and the plain old stubborn-refusing-to-change who will resist the adoption of such a radical new lifestyle. Example: There are ...


18

As long as your car stays on the same radius from the axis, it can do what it wants with very little effect. Driving north/south along the axis is exactly just driving on flat road. Driving spin/antispin will encounter an apparent upwards curve in the road, that the car somehow never reaches. Spinward will increase gravity a bit, Antispin will decrease it a ...


0

I'm assuming you mean "ball shaped canon ball canon" for this question. First some background: We get conditioned with stories and media that fights were brutal affairs with every slash of a sword against the body killing someone and every canonshot ripping through half a dozen bodies. In truth relatively few people died on the battlefield and most ...


3

The surface and car only move in reference to the axis they're jointly spinning around so as long as the car maintains surface contact it will behave as a car on Earth would. O'Neill cylinders are small enough that people could detect the difference in spinward/antispinward direction by turning their heads, without feeling sick or other I'll effects, so the ...


23

The Wikipedia page for an O'Neill Cylinder indicates that they would revolve at a rate of around 2.8 degrees per second – at a diameter of 5 miles, that would be a surface speed of about 0.12 miles per second, or ~440 mph. If the velocity of the surface is 440 mph, then ±40 mph would be about 90–110% of Earth gravity. Not enough to float, but probably ...


11

Canning in jars was discovered completely by accident in 1809 some 50 years before germ theory was understood. Nicolas Appert, a french brewer and confectioner, experimented with jarred soups and foods for sale as ready cooked meals to the public. He discovered that by cooking the soup in a sealed jar it would not go bad unless the seal was broken. Napoleon ...


1

lack of ability to move large objects/make large metal objects could cause cannon artillery to not be very popular, as a large block of heavy cast iron is very hard to move & make. With rockets the platform of launch can be a simple as a large frame as there is no need to contain a large instantaneous explosion or deal with recoil forces. It would even ...


1

As far as I understand, as long as you can make a magnet spin fast enough you get an electricity. Knowledge of an electric field being generated by a moving magnet field will move you a whole epoch forward. First obvious implementation of electricity is a lightbulb, and then you get electric fences, powerful electric furnaces to smelt serious metal alloys, ...


2

Two things stand out to me: pendulums and clipper ships. Pendulums are basically just weights on a string, something that there is no reason to invent way earlier in history. This would result in early invention of clocks, which made navigation by longitude relatively easy. (The proper gear manufacturing was observed already in 100 bc in the Antikythera ...


2

Particles flitting in and out of space There is a theory that (virtual) particles can flit in and out of space. This is due to some fluctuations in the quantum field or the like. It creates a particle and an anti-particle, which near instantly collide and destroy each other. This can happen anywhere at any time, so also in atmosphere. The idea of these ...


2

I'll proffer an opinion; the factors that would need to be overcome historically are: Accuracy: unguided rocket artillery was and still is notoriously inaccurate. Against the close-packed troop formations of the era, the answer was to use them in large quantities to saturate the target area. However, for hitting individual targets at range, e.g. hitting a ...


5

A guidance system The age of cannons is over. The age of RPG's, ICBM's and Air-to-air missiles is not. What caused this? A cannon projectile is a stable system. Once launched from the muzzle of a gun, it's flight path is relatively predictable - it follows a parabolic arc. Sure, it's not 100% accurate due to tolerances between the bore and projectile, but it'...


3

The bow and arrow were never invented in Australia, but obviously could have been tens of thousands of years ago.


14

The classic ancient example is the stirrup. Horses bred to ride (instead of haul or use as pack animals) possibly started appearing around 3500 BCE, and certainly existed (due to appearing in art) somewhere between 2000-1500 BCE but the earliest depiction of a stirrup is from around 200 BCE in India. So that's somewhere between 1200 to 3300 years before ...


0

Information flow will be much faster As pointed out quite a few experiments will be much easier to conduct, but I think the more important is the speedup of the flow of information and ideas. Before the internet and modern society information flow was slow. Scientists had to converse slowly by letter if they conversed at all. This leads to slow progress and ...


0

Model them after Natufians The oldest known cities, such as Jericho, were founded by the Pre-Pottery Neolithic people c. 10,800 – c. 8,500 years ago. They had agriculture. However, this was not their first foray into settled life - around around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago, the presumed ancestors of the PPN people, known as Natufians, began living a settled ...


1

Having different amplitudes, frequencies, and phases. The least consequential of the bunch is phase. Magitech operating in a phase different than intended would merely mean that it would be at a lower efficiency (i.e. a fireball producer creating smaller fireballs). The next least important is amplitude. While commercial products are very carefully made to ...


5

This isn't fiction, the effect is known as cold welding. From the link: Cold welding was first recognized as a general materials phenomenon in the 1940s. It was then discovered that two clean, flat surfaces of similar metal would strongly adhere if brought into contact while in a vacuum.


0

This question would be easy to answer, were it not for this little bit: humans also have mana and can pass through these realm gates just fine, as well as use magic with no issues. So, a antarctic car doesn't work in North America, but Tod can cast his Antarctic fireball in America just fine. It can't be that they can't move between regions like in ...


1

You're trying to put a sail on an iceberg There's no need to freeze water in a bag - we find ice on the sea all the time, and towing icebergs to thirsty cities has been a perennial proposal for at least half a century. The problem with trying to do this "free", with a sail, is simply that you'd need a lot of sail to move that ice. Also, you can't ...


4

Economics The main problem is in the economics. Whether a solution is possible or not does not make it profitable. In this case you have a lot of issues hampering your profitability. Speed is of the essence. All machines have owning costs and operation costs. Since you only get profit once shipment is delivered you want as many deliveries as possible from a ...


7

The problem is one of scale. Current container ships can usually carry loads of up to 24,000 TEU. That's a unit for a standard container, but such containers are usually loaded with up to 24 (metric) tons per TEU. So a cargo ship could transport... Carry the three... 576,000 metric tons of cargo, which in pure water would give you that same amount in cubic ...


1

Have the populace do it for you Population control is difficult, unless you can let the populace do things for you. This can be out of fear, respect, culture or mixes of those, but in the end the populace will assist. Extreme examples can be found easily. For example, the deportation of Jews was aided by the populace in many countries. Some out of fear, some ...


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