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1) Scale: the technofantasy engine doesn't scale well when miniaturized, with the power it generates becoming smaller faster then the volume. Below a certain size it can't generate enough power to propel itself. With this you also get rid of planes (cars and planes go hand to hand), so no me109 killing your dragons. 2) Weak industrialization: your society ...


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How do you remote the device using your body?


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Your world is but a single supercontinent with zero biodiversity, geologically homogeneous, and inhabited by peaceful people who are generally self-sufficient. That's the only real reason that the 'shipping industry', which wouldn't exist, hasn't invented the automobile. No spices, no exotic lands or peoples, no war : no reason to bother your neighbor ...


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Don't go down the steam path at all, unless the steam-magic-punk aesthetic is crucial. Have an enchanted rail with an enchanted thingamajig on the train that acts as a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_induction_motor. That way you don't even have to explain away why people haven't tried putting 2+2 together and tried heating water with wood to create ...


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There are no rubber trees in your world. Tires are metal or wood. Nothing else is possible with the materials on hand. Metal wheels must stay on reinforced tracks. Taking metal wheels on cobblestones or dirt roads tears up the roads and renders them unusable. Metal wheels have a difficult time stopping on wet or frosty cobblestones. Therefore, metal wheels ...


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This magic has a strange requirement to work, so that it can be used only on a mass transit vehicle We know that one of the main features of magic is that sometimes it works in unintelligible and irrational ways. Basically, the magic somehow can sense the number of people carried by the object it is casted upon. If it contains less than - say - 50 people, ...


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Sheer Size. Steam engines simply do not work at a small scale. You can get big, beefy engines that pull heavy loads, but if you try to shrink them down too small, you get the this bit of the magic too close to the that bit of the magic and the warding scheme can't hold and the entire thing explodes.


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Here's an idea from me: Maintenance The steam engines require regular tuning up to maintan efficiency and safety to prevent violent disasters, to a point where either the nation or the association responsible for their creation refuses to invest manpower and take on the risks inherent in the existence of personal carriages.


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The rails are the key. Magic requires the flow of the energies from the air to the earth. Iron rails, and the iron wheels that ride on them, and the safe conduit for that flow. Many times before, people had build engines atop wooden or rubber wheels. They even tried iron tyres around wooden wheels. In every case the energies were blocked, resulting in ...


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Efficiency of building large or small engines (different than the already mentioned answers). You build a magic steam engine for a train. Its large, its powerful and useful. The runes and incantations are numerous and require space to make. If you scale this down then you dont cut down on man hours but increase them as now they have to make the runes ...


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I've got what I think is a nice easy answer - you NEED the rails. Yes, you need the fire, you need the water to create the steam, but unless you are running on the enchanted rails, you aren't going anywhere! Perhaps the rails provide the magical "oomph" to turn a normal fire into something that can provide a high enough steam pressure, perhaps managing ...


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Cost. As you state in the question, these engines are expensive. A car engine transports four people. A train engine transports several hundred people. If they cost the same, there won't be very many cars. Maybe a few buses. (Many people have mentioned this, just repeating it for completeness) Public safety. These things are dangerous! After a few ...


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Make it so that an engine requires a magic person to be there to steer it. Perhaps a priest is needed at all times to refill the water. Perhaps a magic person is needed to maintain the enchantments, or they need to make minute to minute changes? Perhaps in the future they can innovate this need away, but right now every engine needs a skeleton crew of '...


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No assembly lines for magic It sounds like you've already solved the problem without realizing it. You said that magic requires individual enchanters building the object. You can also make it that the entire enchantment must be done by the same person or group of people - you cannot have one person create one part and another person create another part. ...


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The International Association of Horse Breeders and Carters is very politically powerful. They object to paving roads because of the extra wear on horses' hooves. The rather heavy steam cars get stuck in the ruts in the unpaved roads, and have to be pulled out by teams of horses, for a not-so-small fee.


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Cars, as we know them, require paved roads. So prevent paved roads from becoming common. Paved roads grew to solve three problems: Dust control from dirt surfaces Sanitation issues caused by large numbers of horses and oxen mixed with storm runoff Smooth travel surfaces needed for bicycles. So your cities must remain small towns: Low density of horses ...


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The effort to make a magic-engine doesn't have to scale linearly, so to make a small magic-engine still takes a long time to do. You could justify this in many ways. For instance that every engine require certain base enchantments to support the main power generating "burner" and these base enchants aren't affected by size because they're simply the magical ...


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That's what happened in 19th century. As soon as there were steam engines, steam buses started to appear. But they were heavy and amount of damage that car does to road is proportional to 4th power of its weight. It quickly become evident that those buses profits were based on unpaid externality - broken roads so they were shut down.


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To make cars you need more than a steam engine. For Otto cycle motors you need to understand how to create a spark, and that requires understanding electromagnetism. For Diesel cycle motors you need suitable fuels. As long as neither of the two things above are available in your world, cars are out of the picture. Since in your world enchanting is time ...


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Can the rails be replaced with plasma instead? The wear and tear in a railgun is largely due to bits of the rails being replaced with plasma. Such is the result of striking an arc and running that much current through it. I had a think about a plasma-rail gun a while back and more or less discarded the idea, because what you end up with is the need to ...


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Yes, it could, but the question is why. Plasma either destroys whatever it touches, or cools and stops being plasma when it touches things. So you need to do what fusion reactors do, and contain the plasma with powerful electromagnets, not just a durable container. But then you could just use the same magnets to push the projectile. Remember, whatever ...


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We can discover batteries before the industrial revolution. But we can't build electric infrastructure before the industrial revolution. Lead-acid rechargeable batteries are probably the only type of batteries which could be designed before the industrial revolution. For more advanced types (Nickel, Lithium) there is no way to shortcut their development and ...


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The best form of modern battery tech that could feasibly have been discovered before the Industrial Revolution is primitive lead battery. Without all modern fetures they would require a lot of maintaince, would be dangerous (a lot of early subs were destroyed due to hydrogen expolsion) and rare (there is no enough leed in the world to keep energy even for ...


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I'd say mechanical batteries, such as dams (i say 'such as', but i don't know of other examples as of now that are used as much as hydro, but i will add other hypothetical examples later). Pumped-storage hydropower is one real-world example of currently used low-tech solutions. "all you need" is a huge dam, a few of them, dispersed. they are often used ...


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Conceptually, batteries have been around for a very long time, some of the earliest forms that we would recognise coming into existence around 1749 but that would certainly not be a battery in the kilowatt storage range, and that is unlikely to be developed because electrical storage was not the limiting factor; it was electrical generation. In 1861, the ...


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I don't know if you've watched Sword Art Online but that it has a similar plot line. I know it's an anime so it's not 100% real but you can get some ideas from it if you want. Besides watching a show for research is one of the best. (If you're interested it's on Netflix and Hulu) In SAO the exit button is taken away by the creator after everyone has put on ...


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Why do Third World countries not have the infrastructure that is prevalent in the First World? Whilst the analogy is quite flawed, seeing that I'm referring to normal humans, but then again, the human mind is a super power on its own. Truth be told, the entire triad world situation is more than black and white and a whole different ball game. To answer ...


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Years ago in the Second Life - a game/simulation which heavily relies on user-created content - someone let loose an object which simply replicated itself. In short order it replicated to the point of consuming significant server resources and thus causing problems. Now one could say that any new games since then can and should protect against such things. ...


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Cut the power at the server farm for the game and you're done- no one can get map data.


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Perhaps to understand this one perplexing thing their science cannot explain, the human mind. How do such species (humans), so primitive in their technology, reason the way they do? We humans are quite a fascinating occurrence.


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It's a kink. Dressing up as alien species, let alone actually making out with them, is abhorrent to the majority and/or ruling class on their home planet(s). So, they have to sneak off to alien worlds to get their fix. But then it gets kinkier. If it's really abhorrent to their race/government, they will feel compelled to stop them, and that means ...


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Why not just go down the modern route, and coat your drawn copper wire with cresol lacquer, derived from coal tar or creosote? These substances are reasonably commonly available, and have been known for thousands of years, from the pre-Christian era. Having worked (albeit briefly) in quality control at a factory producing copper transformer wire - exactly ...


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You need a MIX of solutions. Your solenoid needs to have many windings, which means multiple layers. Traditionally, wax-paper was used between layers, and I believe still is. The next insulator is spacing. On your innermost layer, use a slightly larger diameter wire, not for conductivity, but to set the spacing of all subsequent layers. Now they won't be ...


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the Moon exploded and a planet about the size of Mars appeared If N'valdir is further away then the moon; but both the earth and N'valdir are caught in a gravity well with the moon. The moon then breaking apart due to tidal forces. That could have left both communities time to wonder if the result has a stable barycenter. If stable then I would expect the ...


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If the planets are on a collision course, they can't be stopped Simple physics, really. A planet has mass, and it takes force to move that mass. The more mass, the more force. How much mass does the Earth have? 5.9 * 10^24 kg. Mars is slightly less, 6.4 * 10^23 kg. So if we were to move one of them, we'd have to move the Mars one. The problem is that we don'...


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Dredging through long-ago memories of my time in a laser lab... One critical reason for pulsed beams for cutting or weaponry lasers is to allow literal physical detritus to exit the beampath - there's a nontrivial outpuffing of small particles, splinters and fragments, and vapour of the target material at the beam impact point as the surface reaches a boil-...


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Use varnish to coat the wire. You can get it from a cabinet maker. I've done this before and it works.


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What does it mean to be human? In some sense the majority of sci-fi stories address this question. A super-hero is, by definition, super-human (except for the odd one like Batman). He is capable of mastering technology that, as of now, is unavailable to humanity on a mass scale. So what does it mean to be super-human, and what does that say about being ...


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Send me the technical details of your temporal communicator and I'll make one and relay your message for you to your original time and they can send a rescue party to you with a spare solenoid... and it doesn't matter to you if it takes me a few years to complete the build as you'll still be rescued shortly after you send me the details! Alternatively, you ...


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What I'm asking for, is what, when, and where could there be a situation where we as humans are able to create a Dyson Mega-Structure around the sun to Catalyze and Collect the Energy of a Cosmic Fission/Fusion Device to keep Humanity Alive for millions of years to come. Let's assume the mega structure is in fact a swarm, since that is both more ...


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A Dyson sphere with a thickness of 10m has a volume of about 650 Earth volumes. So to build it you need far more rocky material than exists in the solar system. Because a Dyson sphere is a very thin shell rather than a massive body, you will need to provide artificial gravity by rotating the sphere. In order to provide 1 earth gravity (at its equator) with a ...


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Realistically, a Dyson Sphere would be unlikely to start deliberately, unless everyone decided they really, really want to do surgery on the Sun. More likely would be a swarm composed of co-orbiting habitats and satellites, which would slowly grow to envelope the Sun. While there are a variety of uses for building the smaller structures that will eventually ...


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This information cannot be guessed. There are some problems that we know we can find solution to, given enough time. There are some problems that we already have solution too, they just take too long. However, a Dyson sphere is the concept of building a device around the sun to trap and contain all the energy within it. ALL the energy of a Sun is a lot of ...


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I think you could use grape juice thickened with flour. Both materials should be available in a medieval context (and long before that). It dries to a rubbery texture and you could run the wire through a trough of it a few times to ensure full coverage. To get an idea of the finished appearance, consider Georgian Churchkhela. You would want it thinner, of ...


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This exact question was addressed in the Aberrant (a Superhero themed RPG) universe. As a tabletop RPG, answers like scale, IP laws, unwillingness to share, and so on aren't good enough, because the players could choose to overcome whatever hurdles those pose. ("I release my arc reactor plans for free online, then spend the next six months finding all the ...


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These technologies are still experimental... that is, they are potentially very dangerous. In other words, the technology just isn't ready yet for the average Joe. But your superheroes have two attributes that make this not matter so much for them: Being super, they can take a punch. If their super-jet explodes mid-air, they'll not only survive the ...


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If you remember televisions before they were flat, those had electron beams which created your picture. The secret to making the beam hit an extremely precise target on the screen was by shooting the beam in a vacuum. In any atmosphere, you won’t get a charged particle to go anywhere you want it to. It’s going to find it’s way to the nearest oppositely ...


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Accuracy. If you want to get all your electrons to arrive at the same place, you need to account for any interference from magnetic fields. Pulse would fire a discrete projection alike a burst. The accuracy would be better since the deviation from impact is stable. Now a beam would get whacky. A human has a pulse, which is why snipers are trained to fire ...


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You can fabricate a crude form of cellulose acetate which is a form of thermoplastic. It can be created with cotton and other natural fibers and concentrated vinegar aka acetic acid. Both of these substances would be relatively easy to obtain. If the solenoid can be activated by mechanical means instead of electrical. That is moving the piston by another ...


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Mentioned before leather. Intestines (small-large) best leather for a wire coating. Already a tube just pull it tight and let it dry. Smaller animals smaller tube.


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