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Tactics to prepare for an alien invasion when nobody will believe you
19 votes

Stealing a little from @DJClayworth's answer, this answer is probably too self-insert-fan-fiction-y to make a good story, but it is exactly what I would do: Tell Carl Sagan On September 28, 1980, ...

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How to survive the heat death of the universe?
17 votes

Learn to control time. While another poster suggested "jumping back" to previously stable points in time, it is worth mentioning that we don't really know what time is. Therefore, there are ...

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What could cause humanity to migrate from land to water?
16 votes

Land is barren while the seas are bountiful Desertification spreads across the lands while the seas remain untouched by the scourge of the Gods. Those who make it to the shores are pushed out to the ...

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How would a vagrant civilization evolve?
12 votes

The Mongols were "vagrants" - even as a large empire Let's step back a bit: the ice age warms up and humans are able to domesticate plants and animals and use agriculture as a means to make food ...

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Could the Industrial Revolution be delayed indefinitely? Or is it inevitable once a certain point in development is reached?
9 votes

Labor is cheap enough; new machines are expensive Something to think about... records from the Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt, show that "industrial" devices such as steam engines were not only ...

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How could I make a secret lab subtly noticeable?
9 votes

Overheard Bar Chatter The lab had to be built by someone, whether the island lab is remote and out in the open, or hidden underground. Presumably the dwarves that built it also go out for a drink ...

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How would humans adapt if low-wage labor was done by robots?
8 votes

That depends on what you call "low-wage." It also depends on the limits of what robots are able to do. If a robot can 100% mimic human form and actions, Fallout 4-style, then yeah, 99% of us are ...

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What effects would an utter lack of interest in politics have on a government?
7 votes

Fans of Adam Curtis' award-winning BBC documentary Century of the Self know that this is currently the case with most Western democracies and has been for quite some time. Without delving too deep in ...

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What would our knowledge of physics look like without astronomical observations?
7 votes

There is a lot you can learn about physics with just the information available within this solar system. Lots of planets, moons, asteroids, pretty much everything you would need to explain basic ...

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What kind of food would be common in a culture that tries to avoid fire as much as possible?
6 votes

Ceviche? Last time I visited Miami I ate my weight in ceviche. For those who don't know, it's a way of preparing "raw" fish by "cooking" it with the acid in citrus juice. It's absolutely delicious ...

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What would make airships viable economically?
6 votes

Excessive and wasteful subsidies A horribly corrupt government that showers the airship industry with ridiculous subsidies would make airships competitive to other forms of transportation because the ...

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The cost of switching to electric cars?
5 votes

Electric cars will happen on their own. The real problem... Fossil fuels are a huge portion of US energy consumption, but transportation only covers 27% of energy use. That's because most energy is ...

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In a World Where Gods Exist Why Wouldn't Every Nation Be Theocratic?
5 votes

The Gods Don't Care To the immortal, mortals and their societies are little more than an ant farm, an amusing distraction between the pondering of beings of vast comprehension. Indeed, the gods may ...

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How could deities on the same world be divided into regional pantheons?
5 votes

Most polytheistic religions have gods for specific parts of life and the universe, like bringing the sun, the rain, wealth, reproduction, and so on. Often there are temples dedicated to one or a few ...

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What are the disadvantages of a long living race?
5 votes

Stewards of the Stagnant Planet Perhaps the long-living species have already experienced problems like overpopulation, resource depletion, infectious disease, and so on. Their technology/magic has ...

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Why would a country make a declaration of war instead of just invading?
4 votes

Many countries, especially democracies, require both in law and social norms for a public debate to occur before going off to war. A ruling party or coalition government that hoodwinks the general ...

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Is a species' advancement set in stone?
4 votes

The Great Library of Alexandria featured several designs for mechanical devices like steam engines, and it is widely speculated that the Industrial Revolution could have begun in Ptolemaic Egypt, ...

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How much memory is needed to record a human thought?
4 votes

Maybe you should instead be asking: how much memory is needed to record a human thought that is minimally intact. As an example, how would one record the thought "the sun is hot."? Upon thinking of ...

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How can I explain a world where everything is working together to kill the protagonist?
3 votes

Sounds like Silent Hill 2 to me, where everything in the game is hostile to the protagonist, but it's also implied that the horrors he experiences are creations of his traumatized mental state, and it'...

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Is there any set of circumstances in which having 3 hearts in an organism would be beneficial in a species?
3 votes

In the Mass Effect games, the Krogan species is often mentioned having several redundant organ systems, developed to survive an astonishingly hostile home world. From the Mass Effect Codex entry on ...

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How imagination would work as a magic source?
3 votes

It would probably work like Bitcoin Bitcoin is a crypto-currency that is "mined" by performing complex calculations to come up with a string of characters that match a valid bitcoin value. Because ...

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What recreational drugs can be produced with limited resources and technology?
3 votes

DMT is an astonishingly common and powerful hallucinogen. Many, many animals in their death throws experience a natural DMT trip. When people go through a near-death experience and say things like ...

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What is stopping terrorists from creating a super virus to wipe out all of humanity?
3 votes

I'm surprised that everyone is thinking about ideological terrorists and disputing why they would or wouldn't introduce a super-virus, when the people with the motivation and the know-how are plainly ...

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A method to cause maximum pain to a human
3 votes

Buliding on @Josh King's answer, one needn't use neural interference to cause pure pain, as there are plenty of other ways to break people once you have complete access to their central nervous system....

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Logical reason why dystopian government controls what people wear?
2 votes

The Goku Uniforms in Kill La Kill were issued to students at Honnōji Academy based on their merit. The uniforms not only were a measure of status - which influenced where you lived, the food you ate, ...

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How would Martian and Earth societies synchronize themselves regarding time?
2 votes

I recommend reading Paul Krugman's quasi-famous paper, The Theory of Interstellar Trade. It may not directly answer your question (as it focuses on the interstellar instead of intrastellar) but it ...

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Combat in age of swords and railguns
2 votes

I'm surprised nobody mentioned Dune. In that story, personal shield generators made firearms useless, which meant combat was often hand-to-hand or with swords. Perhaps you could craft a handwavium ...

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Kingdom with helpful bands of mercenaries; avoiding devolving into bandits
2 votes

One example might be the Varangian Guard of the Eastern Roman Empire. These elite mercenaries were recruited from Germanic tribes to protect the Emperors and their families. Why recruit barbarous ...

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What would be the value of gold and jewelry in a post-apocalyptic society?
2 votes

Very little, and then a lot In the immediate aftermath, currency is useless. People need food, water, clothing, medical goods, and weapons to survive. It is unlikely that people will trade away any ...

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Is there any conceivable way that we could survive an AI uprising?
2 votes

Creations take after their creators Let's say you are a hedge fund manager and you want to create an AI that will reasonably predict the risk and reward from the investment options available to you. ...

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