mjt
  • Member for 6 years, 11 months
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How would a preemptive crime fighting group prove they stopped a criminal?
101 votes

Arrest that newborn baby? I think you mean give that newborn baby a college scholarship. If the AI so so omniscient it can predict crimes decades in advance, even knowing the rippling effects of the ...

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How can I keep my kingdom intact when the price of gold suddenly drops?
32 votes

Charlie's suggestion of switching to a silver- or fiat-based currency is a good one. Another thing you might want to do is control when the court mage's discovery becomes well known. You could offer ...

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Simplest explanation for societies to know about only one kind of magic of the two existing ones?
30 votes

I have heard it claimed that because China learned to make really good teacups really early, they never needed to make drinking glasses; and therefore from the 14th to the 19th century they missed out ...

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Can one guy with a duplicator initiate a nuclear apocalypse?
16 votes

Simply throw the gateway into a river. Let's say there's 2000 cubic meters of water per second flowing out the river. After 12 seconds, there's 4000 cubic meters of flow, after 24 seconds there's ...

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How to keep my bipedal mech from falling over on its side every time it takes a step
13 votes

Easy but inelegant static stability Your feet are C shaped, so they can be lifted over one another while keeping support below the centre of gravity This model is exceptionally simple, and might be a ...

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How plausible is it for nuclear power to be invented but not nuclear weapons?
10 votes

Nuclear bombs were deemed irrelevant after an underfunded project produced a series of unimpressive fizzles. In real life, the Manhattan Project was absurdly well funded - to the point they used an 80 ...

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How to make a metal with extraordinary property worthless?
9 votes

The properties aren't that much better Sure, it's lighter than aluminium and stronger than steel. But it's only 20% lighter and 20% stronger. The metal has some disadvantages too. It's got, say, ...

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Could machine guns be produced in the 14th century?
8 votes

Depending on the needs of your story, you might consider... The volley gun: A bunch of single-shot guns joined together. According to HyperWar designs like this appeared as early as 1339, and that ...

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How can a mute cast spells that require incantation during medieval times?
7 votes

Wikipedia tells me in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, spinning wheels with prayers written on them has much the same effect as orally reciting the prayers. Perhaps mutes have discovered something ...

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Protecting Seals from Forgery
7 votes

Supplement the seal with secondary authentication How do you tell if a Banksy painting is authentic? You might check for a signature, sure, but fakes can copy the signature too - so you check Banksy'...

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Security measures that could plausibly last 150+ years?
7 votes

In europe 75-year-old unexploded bombs are found on a weekly basis. Once or twice a year one will explode on its own, sometimes creating a 30-foot-wide crater. Thankfully, usually in farmland rather ...

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Is it possible to have a wealthy country without a middle class?
6 votes

You might enjoy reading The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith which, among other things, attempts to explain why dictatorships in resource-rich countries seem so ...

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What could be the the consequences in this world if nuclear bombs didn't release radiation anymore?
5 votes

You're the author - what do you want to happen? If you want the status quo of MAD to be maintained, stix's answer gives a good argument that it could be. If your story needs a world without MAD clean ...

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How would a society isolated by monster attacks get food?
5 votes

Just make the monsters less powerful I've seen post-apocalyptic TV shows where, for reasons of plot and their contracted number of episodes, it's preordained that any time the characters are safe, a ...

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How would the ancient aliens leave an instruction manual
4 votes

I know you've already linked "How could an ancient race warn the future in a universally understandable way?" - I'd encourage you to read through the "Expert judgment on markers to ...

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What is a realistic time needed to get a properly trained army?
4 votes

Switzerland has a militia of some 33% of the total population - while only 0.1% of the population are full time professional soldiers. If the 6 months training figures Frostfyre mentions are too long ...

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How far above the pole would you need to be for constant sunlight?
4 votes

Because of the tilt of the earth's axis: In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August. The extreme sites are the ...

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Earth was suddenly teleported away from the sun. Can we recover?
3 votes

You want to be optimistic? You need a generation ship (or the earthbound equivalent of it) - this science fiction mainstay is a spaceship that's self-sufficient in power, food, population, medicine, ...

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What could dragons do in modern-day combat?
3 votes

Dragons' low maintenance makes them a great option to hand out when you want to support resistance/insurgent forces. It would be pointless to gift an F-35 to Kurdish or Syrian forces who don't have ...

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What caused the end of cybernetic implants?
2 votes

The bio-cyber implants can only interface with someone infected with the otherwise generally asymptomatic Handwaveosis, which makes the brain's neurons particularly sensitive to Macguffin fields. And ...

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Supers as political refugees?
Accepted answer
2 votes

Would (B) object to the supers departing for (A) if (A) is willing to accept them? I'm not an expert on holocaust history, but Wikipedia's page on Jews escaping from German-occupied Europe makes me ...

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What would happen if humans can no longer make standard / high performance computer processors?
Accepted answer
2 votes

I cannot find a reasonable way to obtain such a scenario If you're willing to use a bit of artistic license: Pick an important-but-obscure chemical like Germanium or Gallium. Say the entire supply ...

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Where in Europe can I detonate 100 kt (non-nuclear) not to harm anyone?
2 votes

If you want to avoid going out to sea, this nuke simulator estimates a 100kt ground detonation wouldn't kill anyone and would only injure about 10 people if performed in a mountainous national park, ...

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What could substitute coffee in a modern post-apocalyptic society?
1 votes

If the property of coffee you want to emulate is stimulant/addictiveness (rather than taste or similar) you could consider nicotine, amphetamines or cocaine. All of which are pre-cold-war, and can be ...

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What transfer of goods would require a large military escort these days?
1 votes

The convoy was going that way anyway The army base was planning a convoy anyway, to train guards / move equipment. Maybe the MacGuffin could have been transported with an armoured car and a few guards,...

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How can I help to verify somebody is from future?
1 votes

A one-way hash of the lottery numbers. The time traveller tells people the results of the Powerball draw on Jan 22 2020 will sum to 222. For Jan 25, 2020 will sum to 149, and for Jan 29, 2020 will ...

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How can a society ensure farmland is not concentrated in the hands of the wealthy?
1 votes

Your country could have an explicit commitment to the ideals of Jeffersonian Democracy which opposes aristocracy in any form, and ascribes virtue to the modest, self-reliant "yeoman farmer". ...

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How to make being a mage so cutthroat that generally only power mad become mages?
1 votes

The answers so far are good - but if mages were naturally cut-throat, but it was better for a ruler/army to have two mages rather than one, a ruler/army would stop them fighting. For example, by ...

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Why do military only use consumable portal scrolls to rather than reusable ones?
0 votes

A tradition of boat- and bridge-burning. There are a variety of ancient accounts (and even a quote from the art of war) of military commanders burning their own boats, or the bridges behind them. The (...

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What would it have taken for navies to control air forces historically?
0 votes

By chance, the navy got there first, and did such a great job changing things was unthinkable. Perhaps in your world the navy was the first to equip and train military aviators - maybe the first wars ...

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