Hot answers tagged

71

We're boned. You described a virus that is... air, fresh, and saltwater borne destroys plants and their seeds in two days can survive in all terrestrial environments can go dormant, presumably in some sort of spore does not affect anything but plants has been in the wild for a few months Normally a virus which kills its host in just two days would burn ...


47

The virus is a strategic mistake The virus was released into the atmosphere, so unevenly and dependent on winds, the carnage will spread, quickly, but some survivalists, politicians, military, etc with bunkers with air filtration will get into their bunkers and wait it out. Not many, but there will be a few uninfected ready to come out 2 weeks later at full ...


47

Only for SOME types of illnesses. Even then there are problems. Some illnesses are not infectious. That means quarantine does nothing to slow them down. (a) Genetic illnesses. For example autoimmune diseases such as Crohns, MS and ATP. (b) Cancer. (c) Chronic side effects of past injuries. (d) Mental illnesses and associated physical comorbidity. (e) Self ...


43

The nanites use IPv6 for communication. Source of the image above: https://xkcd.com/865/ They are limited therefore to 2128 bots operating at the same time. Any extra nanobots are unable to communicate with the network and self-destruct themselves. Edit: I love this comment: You need to use IPv4. The Earth has a surface of 1.48 $\times$ 1014m2. That ...


38

A virus cause genetic mutation in the parents. A virus-induced mutation in the germ plasm of the parents. It does not alter their own bodies, but it does edit the DNA in the eggs or testes (thus in the sperm). This mutation is dominant, and manifests in 100% of the offspring of post-plague parents. It affects the function of the Pituitary gland in their ...


30

Yes A nuclear sub can spend six months underwater and have 135 crew. There is about 150 around the world. You then have the virologists and other scientists working sterile labs would work out what the issue was really fast and protect themselves You have the military personnel working in bunkers with filtration designed to resist biological attacks. You ...


28

Multinational corporations have been in the business of bending unwilling nations to their corporate will to allow for the extraction of resources, for a very long time now. They have a considerable arsenal of tools at their disposal to bring even the most unwilling nation to heel. Diplomacy and soft power: It's an American corporation, so surely the ...


27

Nothing is impossible. Science will never definitively prove anything (nor does it have to). However, it can bring up some very solid evidence to support or refute the hypothesis that it is a man made virus. There is a big difference between how man-made products work and how evolved products work. The man made product has a purpose, and it is tailored ...


23

Slim. Superbugs seem to come in roughly two flavours... things resistant to treatment, and new diseases our immune systems aren't familiar with. The former comes from places where large numbers of people get together and use antibiotics excessively and/or incorrectly. You end up with new flavours of old favourites, like totally drug resistant TB. The ...


23

This is known as an Asymptomatic carrier - someone who never shows signs of the infection. This is distinct from an incubatory carrier (not yet showing signs of infection, but does later) or a convalescent carrier (no longer shows signs of infection, but has done so previously. Often incorrectly consider themselves to be "cured")


20

That approach might work for eradicating most illnesses, however it poses a strong risk for developing autoimmune diseases and allergies. As I explored in a previous question, there are suggestions that the lack of usage might drive the immune system out of its intended mandate. Segregating people alone, with no contact with unclean objects, apart from the ...


19

You wouldn't even need to kill all the plants, if you just killed rice you'd end up doing in most of the human race, a lot through direct starvation but mainly because of the mass migrations and wars that would result. If you killed all the grasses (sorry your idea is not new) humans would get pretty close to extinction, if you also killed off the ...


17

Step 1: Use a Retrovirus Retroviruses clone themselves from RNA instead of DNA. RNA is less stable than DNA; so, virus that use it for replication mutate MUCH faster than those that use DNA. This means that you will not have a single virus you can just vaccinate against, but an ever growing family of viruses such that you will already have new varieties ...


15

Assuming that the virus was completely successful in wiping out plants, no, we would have no chance at survival. In reality though, plants are fast adapters and would quickly gain a resistance to the virus. This would happen even more quickly because a large number of insects would also be under intense evolutionary pressure to keep the plants alive. Not ...


15

Good idea, but there are some issues You did say "99.9%", I'm not sure exactly whether my issues are 0.1% or not, but here are the ones I found: Some people have poor immune systems: First - I'm going to direct you to a chapter of the book "What if" in which Randle Monroe delves into this exact topic (was written pre-covid even). The ...


14

Real biological systems are precise, but not that precise. You won't be able to do this simply. You could take a lesson from Stuxnet. Stuxnet is one of a family of new hyper-advanced computer viruses that's been released over the past few years. It was designed with cryptographic keys, some of which were believed to be files present on the target ...


14

The nanovirus can be hacked Since the foundation has figured out how to hack their communications signals, they can purge the homicidal nature from the infected nanites just by getting close to it with a wireless device. So, it is just as dangerous for the bots to go into a city full of routers and cellphones as it is for man to go into an undeveloped ...


13

(1) Ebola Changed one doctor's eye color from blue to green. Although in this specific case his eye color did change back, the article notes: Though it is quite rare for eye color to change so dramatically, this does happen from time to time as a result of viral infections and is usually permanent. Changes in color are usually due to the viral infection ...


13

I'm not an epidemiologist, but I do a lot of computer science and at a high level, infection in computer networks and in humans have a lot in common. Ultimately both come down to two factors - transmissability and payload. Let's discuss transmissability first. In epidemiology, there is a factor called R0, or R-nought. This was made famous in the movie ...


13

Yes And No As L.Dutch pointed out, retroviruses routinely insert their RNA into the DNA of the host cell. If such a virus were carefully engineered, and targeted germ cells (sperm and eggs), it could introduce some scattershot mutations that could result in much more rapid evolution in the progeny of the people infected by the virus. (And result in a lot ...


13

One. It just needs to affect human thought patterns to drive them into an ecocidal rage... it probably wouldn't be very hard, looking at the current state of things. Think of it as The Screwfly Solution writ large. Humans are clever enough engineer suitable ways to get rid of everything else, thus avoiding the issues that mu and L.Dutch have raised. Keeping ...


12

Obvious naming aside, this is an awful insane movie styles plan. Honestly. The more complicated the plan is the more likely it will fail. Also you can't, not in a million years, cover up something as this. It will be known within a matter of weeks and oh boy are you in trouble. That is also a huge huge diplomatic crisis. Imagine England finding out that an ...


12

Firstly, when the host is affected, their body will grow bigger than it would have originally been, but not much bigger, only about being 1/2 times bigger. Depends on the host, but if the animal species was one with indeterminate growth then obviously it is set up to get bigger, only there's a reasonable chance it would get bigger anyway. Maybe the virus ...


12

I can think of several, but here is my favorite. Fever. Headache. Nausea. Vomiting. Agitation. Anxiety. Confusion. Hyperactivity. Fear of water. An airborne version of rabies would be especially horrifying. It would result in extremely (almost 100%) lethality once you had symptoms and it would have a fairly large number of reservoirs amongst animals. ...


12

28 Days Later: This virus has a distinctly familiar sound to it. Like that virus, there are several exceptions that need to be looked at. First, your virus is extremely lethal. That means it will have a hard time spreading. A sick person on a plane will start attacking people immediately, and the plane would be quarantined (if it even made it to the airport)....


12

Anthrax spores have been known to survive in the soil for as long as 48 years But perhaps you're asking only about viruses. These survive better in water, I think. In cool groundwater at 4 degrees C, 10% of MS2 bacteriophage viruses can survive for 83 days, and if we can assume that survivability is linear, a year would reduce the levels to 1/1000th. (I'm ...


11

What you propose is totally reasonable virus strategy and happens all the time. Your description of a stormy viral infection is one edge of a spectrum. Chronic stable viral infections, heritable viruses partly integrated into the genome, and ancient viral fragments all exist. This paper calls ancient viral fragments in the host genome "viral fossils" ...


11

The reality is that landfills are not places we dump our trash and then leave alone (or maybe move around with machinery). People live on landfills. Not just former/covered ones, but real live ones. People scavenge there. Children run around barefoot and play in piles of garbage. People eat food they find in landfills. (People in garbage landfill. Mexico) ...


11

It's a retrovirus A retrovirus is a type of RNA virus that inserts a copy of its genome into the DNA of a host cell that it invades, thus changing the genome of that cell. Such viruses are either single stranded RNA (e.g. HIV) or double stranded DNA (e.g. Hepatitis B virus) viruses. Once inside the host cell's cytoplasm, the virus uses its own ...


11

Living in Shadow Nanotech has something of a reputation for being hard to kill and hard to contain. It's mostly unfounded. Nanotech in reality is quite fragile and limited in capability. A swarm of nanomachines could feasibly disassemble a person, but once they did, UV radiation from the sun would quickly destroy most of them. Nanites are vulnerable to ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible