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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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Durability of materials in ideal conditions

How long can objects made of hard material last at room temperature in otherwise ideal conditions? If left outdoors on Earth, over the course of millions of years, any material will be eroded by w...

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

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Acid-spitting dragons

I did a lot of research and asking questions about dragons' breathing ability: if there was a dragon that spits pyrophoric liquids like a spitting cobra A tiny fire-breather can any animals (exam...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user3556983‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user3556983‭

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Is it possible for a planet to have an area saturated with lava but at the same time is still habitable to humans and other lifeforms?

An area of my planet is very saturated with lava. Being quite similar to the Siberian Lava Traps, it is essentially a lava sea. This lava "sea" area isn't necessarily all lava however, as there are...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by In the name of the story‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by In the name of the story‭

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Does the humanoid body plan necessitate sapience to be viable?

in most science-fiction stories that include alien races, said aliens have a roughly humanoid appearance (being an erect bipeds). now while it's likely that the vast majority of sapient life (being...

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

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Genetics and Population Dynamics of a 7-sex system

One of the respondents in this thread suggested a 7-sex system with the following features: An idea I came up with years ago was a variation on the male/female/carries-offspring idea. This spec...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Ettina Kitten‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Ettina Kitten‭

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Genetically engineered bionically enhanced insects in lieu of robots

For context, I was reading about various research groups installing implants and cameras onto insects to use them as reconnaissance drones in high risk areas. I'm wondering how feasible it would ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Rusty‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Rusty‭

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Giant caves. How do they form?

In many fantasy works, the world typically has giant caverns that house entire civilizations and ecosystems that are (mostly) disconnected from the world above. However, this concept, at least in ...

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

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The Serina Series: Episode I: Cats

"Serina" is a popular speculative evolution project in which, apart from a long list of fish, invertebrates and plants, the only terrestrial chordate to colonize this terraformed moon is the canary...

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

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Do dead human bodies have a particular smell?

I'm working on a story where there is a crime scene where the protagonist (who has a superhuman sense of smell) notices a scent that smells like human corpses due to their abilities. I'm wondering ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user2352714‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user2352714‭

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I'm formulating a planet that has silver dust on its surface, and ideally has rivers of mercury flowing on it, possible? Human survival not necessary

I'm new to this and my scientific knowledge is massively lacking in this area (so please take it easy on me!) I'm writing a historical science-fiction novel. Parts of it set in the past (1977) and ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by RJ0001‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by RJ0001‭

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What would a house, designed to accomodate a dragon, look like?

So, when you use a dragon for military purposes, it's probably for the best to keep them close and keep them happy. Which means building them a place they can call home. Now, housing a dragon is q...

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

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Could a centaur eat something that is poisonous to humans but not horses?

I know theoretically the human stomach is above the centaur's stomach so the obvious answer would be no. But seeing as centaurs aren't real and we don't know what their internal biolody would look...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by AshaC33‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by AshaC33‭

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Giant planet renders one side of its moon deadly, the 'shadow side' habitable. How?

My project concerns a world "A", that is a moon of a gas giant "Jovi", in a solar system with no other planets to speak of and a host star much like our own. "A" is Earth-sized, has no magnetic fi...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by N. Bleac‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by N. Bleac‭

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How Would I Believably Wipe Out an Entire Planet's Population and Culture Without Destroying Said Planet?

In my story, there is a planet. The planet's name is not really important for the sake of this question, so we're going to refer to it as "dead planet". Background: Dead planet is entirely hot d...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by The Weasel Sagas‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by The Weasel Sagas‭

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Life develops on a moon left in darkness?

In the deep, outer reaches of our galaxy, there is a rogue gas giant which, due to an unfortunate event, was flung from its native orbit into interstellar space. It has a mass 12 times that of Jupi...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica‭

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How would three small moons, rather than one large one, effect an earth-like planet?

Let's say you have a planet about the size of Earth. It has three moons, each roughly the mass of one-third of the Earth's moon. Would this cause tides of different magnitude than those on Earth? A...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Puck‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Puck‭

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How can a "magic" mirror flash blind people?

My "magic" mirrors are purely technological and are only able to transmit light. More precisely, they can display the visible and infrared spectrums, and communicate via radio waves. They're basica...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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Technological "dungeon" designed to last for millennia

You are Alien McGee. For some reason ( don't ask why ) you need to hide an artifact in our solar system for roughly 20,000 years before coming back and taking it. Said artifact is a magical vase ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Bogdan 705‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Bogdan 705‭

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A Mammal with Electrical Defenses

I'd like to create a land-based mammal that uses its electricity NOT for navigation or hunting, but only as a defense (enough to stun creatures approximately its own size or marginally larger, with...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by user3556983‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user3556983‭

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Would serial killers be a thing In a world where duels to the death are perfectly legal?

In this world, people have the legal right to fight anyone to the death, for any reason, as long as the fights are done before an official whose sole job is to regulate these duels. The officials i...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Jordy McCroquette‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Jordy McCroquette‭

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Can cherenkov effect be used for telling how fast FTL spaceship moves?

Imagine an alternate universe where FTL do happens, let's just say the inhabitants discovered a hypothetical particles that allows ordinary matter to temporarily be in superposition of any amount o...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by user6760‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user6760‭

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If Earth had a smaller second moon, what would the sky look like?

I am creating a fantasy world in which Earth has a second moon with an orbit between Earth and the current moon. The orbit of this new moon is faster because it's closer to earth. I'm not much co...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by RobotPQ30‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by RobotPQ30‭

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Language that cannot be divided into words?

For the purposes of this post, "word" is defined as a unit of language such that Has some meaning on its own, often relating to the real world. Complex utterances can be formed simply by transmit...

20 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by lirtosiast‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by lirtosiast‭

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I need a spacecraft to be pulled into the sun's gravity!

So, as I understand it, the spacecraft would need to move in the opposite direction to the orbit. Are there any calculations I could make to attach a clicking-tock onto this? If the spacecraft were...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by zengun309‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by zengun309‭

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Could ocean and wind currents form on a tidally heated body

The moon is similar to earth but orbits around a gas giant, the sun has ended its life cycle and so the only energy received on the moon comes from tidal interactions heating its core. On earth an...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Samantha Clark‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Samantha Clark‭

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can spacecraft heat be 'vented' with entangled particles?

Basically, the title. Trying to figure out how reasonable stealth in space would function, and while I have mitigated it, I am looking for methods to improve it. But mainly, is creating a sort of h...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Daikael‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Daikael‭

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Where can you find berries that eat people from the inside out?

My low-fantasy setting features the deadly plant known as the wormberry. It produces small berries of a bright-but-overall-undecided color, all of which contain a small, edible seed. They have two...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Clockwork Parzival‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Clockwork Parzival‭

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What is the minimum and maximum gravity level that nearly all humans can sustain over a 5 year period?

There are several questions related to effects of different gravity levels on the human body, but none adequately answer a fundamental question: What is the maximum and minimum gravity that nearly ...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by galactic_analyzer‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by galactic_analyzer‭

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Evolution of flying skulls?

We may all have some familiarity with winged skulls - from Avenged Sevenfold's album covers to bikie shirts. However, for my science-fiction/horror story, I am curious about how these creatures wou...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by bio‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by bio‭

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A tiny fire-breather

My postulated creature will look something like this: or like this: Its description is as follows: it's a non-obligate carnivore its height is, on average, about two feet it lives in arid h...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user3556983‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user3556983‭

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What would happen if a black person used genetic modification to turn off the MC1R gene?

The MC1R gene turns pheomelanin into eumelanins but there are another kind of pehomelanin called pheochromes. So if a brunette or black person used a cosmetic gene therapy to turn off this gene how...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Sabrine Crystal Santos‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Sabrine Crystal Santos‭

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Adjusting to the Sound of a Waterfall

Suppose, for instance, you lived in a world filled with nasty monsters and other creatures of the night, all of whom wanted to kill you and eat you in various ways. Now, the good news here is that ...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Halfthawed‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Halfthawed‭

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Werewolves and sense of smell, what is reasonable for them to accomplish with it?

I was thinking of a story with a Werewolf as a detective, using mostly conversational skills and his sense of smell to solve crimes similar to many of the UK types of detective stories (Morse, Lewi...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Demigan‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Demigan‭

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Hematophagic Organism Body Size

So how large of an organism can a diet of strictly of blood support? In a modern Earth setting it might be a bit hard for a large hematophagic organism to find a suitable group of prey that it won'...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Thalassan‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Thalassan‭

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How could Ice Spikes naturally occur?

Working on a medieval setting I thought of the idea of a biome similar to Minecraft Ice Spike Plains where this ice structures naturally occur. These structures in particular are tall and sharp tow...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by DigiAB‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DigiAB‭

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Possibly of achieving prolonged immortality

Death, most if not all of us fear it. However, it may be possible to postpone death for a while, and hopefully entirely. One major way of postponing death for awhile is through the biological route...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by RotNDecay‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by RotNDecay‭

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So, how do I put the extra muscle, needed for flight, into a large flying creatures like dragons?

I've been thinking about this the whole day. At first I thought it was an easy fix, given my dragon's bones have a tensile strength of 3-6.5 GPa and an elastic modulus of 50-140 GPa, depending on t...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭

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What's the largest a canine could realistically get?

Giant dogs aren't uncommon in works of fantasy. Sif from Dark Souls comes to mind. What I want to know is: what's the largest a canine could realistically get, what differences would they need c...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by icewar1908‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by icewar1908‭

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What aquatic life would utterly deplete the soil of a specific nutrient?

In my story an area was formerly beneath an ocean or lake. Some form of life leeched the soil of a specific mineral or substance. Technology level is that of ~1700 Spain. Now that the water has ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user72058‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user72058‭

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How do I calculate the total time dilation experienced by an accelerating ship?

My advanced human civilisation often has high-acceleration ships travelling at near lightspeed. I know that time dilation would have a significant effect on the time experienced by the crews, but I...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Starsong67‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Starsong67‭

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How/why could dragons develop six limbs?

In many fantasy worlds, dragons are depicted with six limbs: four "legs" (two front limbs and two hind limbs) and two wings. In the real world, we don't really see vertebrates with more than four l...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Puck‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Puck‭

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How can elves prevent specialization among their species?

Genetic chimerism is a condition in which a single organism is composed of cells with more than one distinct genotype. Elves inhabit this world, but do not possess magic in this reality. Instead, t...

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

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Building an interstellar starship during transit

Would it be feasible to have an interstellar vessel be constructed in flight after smaller sections are boosted up to speed? The idea here is about using laser sails which would be easier to use wi...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Adam Reynolds‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Adam Reynolds‭

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Could my Triclops exist?

Around 5 million years ago, a group of primates diverged from early Baboon ancestors migrated into Sicily becoming Triclopes (here's a rough mock up of what a Triclops skull might look like): som...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by icewar1908‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by icewar1908‭

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Effect of Prolonged Egg Diapause on Species

I have a species of megafaunal carnivore that are extremely mobile with territories spanning hundreds of square miles and lifespans of 120-150 years. They lay clutches of 2-3 eggs every 20-30 years...

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

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Could a red tree exist?

I recently started to wonder what a tree would be like on an alien world, and one thing that popped in mind for these trees was their color. The hosts star and environment would have a effect on sa...

6 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by RotNDecay‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by RotNDecay‭

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Could Long, Dense Walls of "Megamangroves" Deflect The Deadliest of Storms?

This is the world's tallest tree--the coast redwood. It can grow as high up as 115.5 meters. Any taller, and the transportation of water in its vascular tissues would not climb all the way. Bu...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by JohnWDailey‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by JohnWDailey‭

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Time reversal by the means of lightspeed

In Star Trek, going faster then light will take you back in time (Possibly in real life too!). But I've noticed one inconsistency. Ships, even when going faster then light, have a finite speed. By ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by El El‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by El El‭

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Can we safe FTL from paradoxes by using a Multiverse?

As we know, bi-directional faster than light (FTL) travel can cause paradoxical situations. One possible way to resolve this would be a multiverse theory: Whenever a paradox could arise, the univer...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by mart‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by mart‭

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What conditions would be necessary to have all of the world's mainland animals be subjected to island gigantism?

Most of the humans on my alternate universe's Earth have gone extinct due to a global war, leaving a handful of survivors and the buildings to serve as a reminder of how great they once were. This ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Niobium_Sage‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Niobium_Sage‭

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