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Q&A

General Q&A about worldbuilding and other speculative developments that can be extrapolated from science.

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How fast can a large animal knuckle-walk?

Start with a silverback gorilla, make it roughly three times bigger, assume it's bone and muscle structure is capable of compensating for the increased size: how fast can a thing like that reasonab...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Nous the Space Alien‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Nous the Space Alien‭

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What effects would large-scale hydraulic mining have on the landscape?

Premise/question Hydraulic mining is the process of spraying high-pressure jets of water into the ground to dislodge sediment and rocks. The muddy water from this is directed into sluices where va...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by pg4919‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by pg4919‭

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Entropy, enthalpy, and energy through rapid mitosis

So I'm pretty new to chemistry and all this, but my world involves superpowers, which of course involves immense energy to have the characters use these powers. However, I want to stay consistent w...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Strivs‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Strivs‭

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Could life similar to life on earth exist and evolve in a large enough region of timespace?

Is it possible for a planetary system to form and support life similar to earth-life inside a region of 'timespace' (which is the space within a black-hole), assuming that there is enough space/tim...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Ichthys King‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Ichthys King‭

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Would it be possible for humans to fly with mechanical wings?

This is something I'm thinking about. Now, these would be wings that are not powered by the person themself, since we do not have the strength for it (and I don't want to use legs). They'd be power...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Jenny‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jenny‭

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Are 'tree waterfalls' possible?

Something like the above (Natural Springs by Ellie Cooper) - either where the water originates from atop the tree through regular rainfall, or is directed up and into the tree via the spring (or ...

15 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Vigilant‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Vigilant‭

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Is it possible to retrofit white blood cells with neural network technology to fight infection?

I have been toying the idea of fusing our white blood cells which search and destroy malicious foreign bodies with artificial intelligence to fight various disease causing pathogens, my worry is th...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by user6760‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user6760‭

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questions about my screeching wyvern?

OK, this how it goes for my wyvern (they're called scaled howlers) in my story: my wyvern are not very large, almost the size of a Haast eagle They mate for life, forming strong monogamous pair b...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by user3556983‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user3556983‭

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Why would a person be predisposed for joining an animal hive mind?

Imagine a supercolony of bees (I'm using bees as a metaphor; they're not really bees) which are the constituents of a massive globe-spanning hive mind. The government wishes to exploit this superco...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by pg4919‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by pg4919‭

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Could a metal be indefinitely stained by human blood?

Say there's an in-universe weapon so odd looking that it is rumored to have been stained by the blood of a "holy" mortal, so much so that no amount of water can wash it away. Is there a chance hu...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Felix Icarus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Felix Icarus‭

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Is radar better than visible light in deep space?

On the earths surface, radar is pretty sweet. It apparently penetrates the atmosphere well and bounces back and can be detected. I think this has to do with the wavelengths absorbed by our atmosp...

8 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Willk‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Willk‭

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Would Chemosynthetic plants have any reason to grow tall?

I have a planet too far away from its sun for photosynthesis to work well, so the plants use chemosynthesis. But since they don't use sunlight, would they have any reason to grow above ground? Some...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭

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Anatomically Correct Yara Ma Yha Who

This is a submission for the Anatomically Correct Series Residing in Australia, the Yara Ma Yha Who is a creature of Aboriginal folklore being depicted commonly as: being 3-4 ft tall having re...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by icewar1908‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by icewar1908‭

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How and Why Would a Species Evolve This Hand Structure

I have a mental image of a humanoid species with hands possessing three fingers and two thumbs, on opposite sides of the hand: *note: it could be animalistic or reptilian, it doesn't need to be ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Capillary Cumorah ‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Capillary Cumorah ‭

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Could cilliates evolve into multicellular creatures?

Would it be possible for a cilliate, such as Stentor, to evolve into a large multicellular organism similar in form to the original unicellular body-plan?

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Ichthys King‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Ichthys King‭

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Weather with extreme seasons

Assuming the axial tilt of the Earth was increased to roughly 30°, and the orbital eccentricity roughly doubled(0.03 as opposed to 0.016) so that the average temperature stayed the same, but the s...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Jack Foisy‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jack Foisy‭

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Can mercury compounds be used in chemosynthesis?

While watching Biblaridion's Alien Biosphere series, an interesting point came up: in Biblaridion's fictional world, atmospheric hydrogen sulfide is used as an energy source for chemosynthetic bact...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by pg4919‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by pg4919‭

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Evolutionary adaptations in sensory organs among wildlife in sandstorm?

What possible evolutionary adaptations could you foresee in the sensory organs of wildlife in an environment beset by a nigh-permanent sandstorm? e.g. in the case of vision, ways to protect the ey...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Delirium‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Delirium‭

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How would the Politburo respond to Project A119?

In 1958 the United States Air Force considered a mission to detonate a nuclear device on the surface of the Moon. The endeavour was framed as a booster to American public morale in the wake of the ...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Jem‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jem‭

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What would days and nights look like on this cylindrical world?

This is yet another "literal worldbuilding" question, as in, building worlds. Inspired, in part, by this question. What if this world is a very long (effectively infinite) hollow cylindrical cavit...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Yuriy S‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Yuriy S‭

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What's it like to be an uploaded human with limited computing power?

In most science fiction where humans are simulated or uploaded onto computers, the humans are simulated with perfect fidelity. But this seems unlikely-- humans are very expensive to run. In Robin H...

10 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by lirtosiast‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by lirtosiast‭

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How can a massive ship be partially destroyed in reentry, but have the top part still intact?

In my world a giant ship attempts to land on a planet, sadly it fails. Fortunately the top half is intact but the bottom is ripped up, holes all over it, basically destroyed except for some lucky s...

7 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Topcode‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Topcode‭

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What adaptations would a tree need to survive an area with monthly fires?

Imagine a plain made of tall grass that sways in a gentle breeze. Everything is a deep green and there is a riot of life sprouting from the black ground. A few days later, the grasses turn brown an...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by chase leffers‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by chase leffers‭

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Is it possible for a moon to stay on the same side of its planet relative to the sun?

I'm building an earthlike world that has a moon orbiting a gas giant. Is it possible for the moon to always be between the planet and the sun? Also, is it possible for a moon to rotate around its o...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by LonelyCryptid‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by LonelyCryptid‭

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The economics of laser sails vs fusion rockets

What would be the economic trade offs of building fusion powered rockets vs building laser relays across the solar system? What assumptions would you need for each one of these to be the superior o...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Adam Reynolds‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Adam Reynolds‭

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Artificial oxygen oasis in an otherwise CO2 atmosphere

I wonder if it is possible to install artificial equipment that would exhaust oxygen into air in otherwise CO2 atmosphere so that locally people could breath in open air without any kind of tent or...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Anixx‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Anixx‭

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How do my plants trap so much carbon?

The boom-bust cycle answer I took for my question: Sustainability of Regular Global Wildfires due to Oxygen Rich Atmosphere pends on the atmosphere being rich in oxygen but poor in CO2. I, however,...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Aezyc‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Aezyc‭

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Adopting a new calendar for a multi-generational space journey [Generations Novel]

This is a mixed physics and conceptual exercise: In my story, we are aboard a multi-generational mission to resettle Humanity on a new planet in our galaxy. In the internal life of the ship inhabi...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Noam Josephides‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Noam Josephides‭

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What is the best form of powered vehicular flight within a McKendree habitat?

Background A McKendree cylinder is a spinning space habitat in the style of an O'Neill cylinder (below), but orders of magnitude larger. McKendree habitats are hundreds of kilometres in diameter a...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by rek‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by rek‭

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Euro-American Maglev Railway - Transit without stopping

I have a maglev train starting in Paris, going through Siberia, bridging over the Bering Strait, and running down the West Coast to San Francisco. There are other major lines splitting from this on...

9 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Prahara‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Prahara‭

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What could some alternative eating utensils be like?

I know it's not really all that exciting, but things like eating will be very prominent in the cultures and show up a lot in my story... In my world I want my race to have at least two different t...

17 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Jester Gleeful‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jester Gleeful‭

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Spacewalking in 0.3c - is it feasible? [Generations novel]

Imagine a spacecraft travelling at very high speeds, say 0.3c. While a crew member could theoretically suit up and perform spacewalking maintenance on the outer body of the ship, will they be expos...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Noam Josephides‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Noam Josephides‭

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Advantages of Bowlegs in Humanoid Species

In an Earth-like planet filled with humanoid creatures (upright, two legs, two arms, head, etc.) the inhabitants have evolved to grow bowlegs. The question is why? What advantage would it bring...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by bio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by bio‭

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How can a rogue planet get energy for plants to use?

This rogue planet is a cold rocky world where liquid methane replaces water, hydrogen is used in place of oxygen, and a large moon. I was thinking the large moon would have a large tidal pull that...

8 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Chickenpeep Chickenpeep‭

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How can my dragons follow your movement with their eyes?

So, dragons. They're omnivores and, while they would be potentially formidable hunters, mostly scavengers. This requires them to be more sparing with their energy. Still, they fly and flight needs...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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Why are my caves warm with nobody heating them?

The continent is split apart by a dense area of mountains, covered in glaciers. Any travelers who with to go from one part of the continent to the other would either have to cross the mountains, or...

7 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by MechMK1‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by MechMK1‭

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What does a timeflow-doubled superhero see?

I was just bitten by a radioactive stopwatch, gaining the voluntary ability to experience time at twice the usual rate. While doing so, for every second of real time, two seconds occur within my bo...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Foo Bar‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Foo Bar‭

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Is there a plausible way to have a Gas Giant with two or more earth to mars sized moons orbiting it in the Habitable zone?

A hypothetical scenario I'm batting around in my head is a Habitable Gas Giant system consisting of a roughly Saturn sized body orbiting a sun like star at a comfy goldilocks zone distance. Orbitin...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Khwarezm‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Khwarezm‭

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Space station scenario feasibility

I have settings with orbital colonies around the earth. First off my idea is, if it is not profitable we would not fund it en masse. Therefore I came up with the idea that in the future we discover...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Prahara‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Prahara‭

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Is knuckle walking possible in a cursorial animal?

In an alien world, due to changes in the ecosystem animals that were once mostly arboreal started having to spend more time in open plains, adapting to fill a new niche of grasslands/bush eaters an...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by ProjectApex‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by ProjectApex‭

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Augmentations - Jumping high!

I am trying to make a reasonable augmentations. The settings is post cyberpunk, so the tech is little more advanced. For coolness I would like to have ability to jump around 5 meters high ground-le...

5 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Prahara‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Prahara‭

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How would a biological brain be updated with its digital memory?

In my story characters can go into perfectly simulated virtual worlds where their memories have been replicated down to the individual neurons and their protien structures. In these worlds time pas...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by RandySavage‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by RandySavage‭

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Weather and climate of Massive Grass Plains?

In my world I want a massive region (7 million mi²) to be as flat as the Great Plains. There are no trees or hills; basically it's just a grass sea. I am trying to figure out what kind of weath...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Gray9‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Gray9‭

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Reasonably tougher humans against falls, concussions etc

My question is, how do we make humans more able to resist falls(not just free falls, also normal ones and from a "medium" height, 2-10 meters) and be able to move afterwards, at least for the jumps...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Blirk‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Blirk‭

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Exploring a world with chiral biochemistry: chirality detection

Space explorers have landed on an Earth like planet and, to their surprise, the place is luscious and covered in life, to the point of resembling some earthly tropical atoll. What they don't know ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica‭

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An Earth with a permanent winter state with drastically reduced temperature, dark skies and mass extinctions

I had posted a question a couple of days ago asking if it would be possible for an artificial satellite/cosmic body at the L1 orbit to block out the Sun, but the logistics of that is a little too e...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Space_Cadet‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Space_Cadet‭

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Space-based black hole weapon effects

For the fluff of my story one of the space-ships is equipped with what I hope is one of the biggest F-you weapons in ship-to-ship combat: a miniature black hole launcher. The launcher fires a whop...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Demigan‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Demigan‭

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Infinite endurance

What is one factor or ability a creature needs to sustain infinite work? By work I mean physical activity, and to make it more specific running I want a creature that can output work, or run until...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Kyu‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Kyu‭

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How can a powerful acidic substance not break down inorganic material?

A Gelatinous Cube is a massive, slime-based jelly that haunts underground dungeons, and is composed of an acidic substance which breaks down material. These creatures are unintelligent and crawl ai...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Incognito‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Incognito‭

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A Seafloor of Ice and Rock: Ice VI / Water Boundary

Many planets out there will be water worlds. Those generally come in two flavors: either the oceans are so deep that the water turns into high-pressure ices like ice-six, -seven, -ten and -eleven o...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by TheDyingOfLight‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by TheDyingOfLight‭

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