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Q&A

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Q&A Could Sharks Survive a Longer PETM?

First things first, a little backstory: Sometime between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, there was a mysterious, sudden, dramatic rise in global temperature. This moment in time was known as the...

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

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Q&A 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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Q&A Would a Longer PETM Save the Creodonts and the Mesonychians?

Some 55.8 million years ago, Earth underwent a really dramatic heat wave known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. What happened, exactly? We don't know how it happened, but we do k...

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

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Q&A How can I prevent the invention of skyscrapers?

Introduction I want my story, set in the modern day, to have a unique architectural feel. Part of my strategy - no skyscrapers. Wikipedia: The term skyscraper was first applied to buildings o...

27 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by subdermatoglyphic‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by subdermatoglyphic‭

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Q&A Could Meridiungulates Colonize The World Before the Opening of Panama?

The last time I asked something similar, I asked if it would be possible for xenarthran mammals (armadillos, sloths and anteaters) to be thrown off of South America from life-giving rafts to other ...

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

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Q&A How CAN a Wyvern be a Scansoriopterygid Dinosaur?

It's become a popular speculative evolution trope for the likeliest candidate of the mythological "wyvern" to be a Cenozoic family--if not superfamily--of scansoriopterygid dinosaur. Now the first...

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

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Q&A Plausible reasons for a whole planet to have a temperate oceanic climate?

In my book series, I'm worldbuilding a planet whose culture is based on Celtic mythology and history, and in order to be consistent with real life I feel like the whole planet's environment needs t...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by The Weasel Sagas‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by The Weasel Sagas‭

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Q&A How Different Would the Outcome of the Fall of the Dinosaur Empire Be if Chicxulub Hit at a Different Season?

After 150 million years, the most successful empire in the history of Planet Earth finally collapsed 66 million years ago. A five-mile-wide space bomb--there's still disagreement as to whether it ...

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

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Q&A How do I stop Megalodon from going extinct?

A long time ago, the 60 foot long Megalodon roamed the oceans. Fast forward to 2.6 million years ago and they went extinct. In the story I'm writing Megalodon hasn't gone extinct surviving at least...

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

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Q&A Would human civilization develop at a slower pace if Earth was 5.8x larger?

EDIT: Calculations were incorrect, the earth in my comic is not 5.8x larger, it is 2.4x larger. Its surface area is 5.8x larger but the diameter is 2.4x larger. Anyway I'm working on a comic tha...

11 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by JordanTheCynic‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by JordanTheCynic‭

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Q&A Could a Greater Relative Abundance of Tin Extend a Bronze Age?

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and copper is a significantly more abundant metal in the Earth's Crust, at about 70 PPM compared to tin at 2 PPM. Because tin was the limiting factor in bro...

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

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Q&A Earliest viable modern battery

I'm building a world where high-density, low cost batteries are discovered far, far in advance of modern times, leading to a decentralised power grid. It has become convention for homes and buildin...

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

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Q&A Fantasy and the germ theory

When developing a medival fantasy realm, especially one with no known healing and restoration magic, one may need to develop the people's understanding of science and medicine. A unique example of ...

6 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Austin Trigloff‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Austin Trigloff‭

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Q&A How do I preserve the Megafauna in my world?

Over 100,000 years ago giant megafauna roamed the earth such as mammoths, gigantopithecus, and giant sloths. fast forward to today and most megafauna are extinct (with the notable exception being i...

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

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Q&A Would common people in central Europe in the 15th century notice that the whole Asia disappeared?

We have earth at the beginning of the 15th century, and suddenly the biggest continent disappears. There is nothing left of it, no animals, people, lands, anything. I don't think the details of th...

19 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by TGar‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by TGar‭

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Q&A Would it be possible for neanderthals to not go extinct, and perhaps build their own nation?

Let's say that somehow, enough Neanderthals survived after the last ice age to be able to form a centralized government, economy, etc. Would this even be possible? What events could lead to this?

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

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Q&A What did the night sky look like 63 million years ago?

I'm working on a comic which is essentially alternate-history fiction, and a big upcoming part of it involves the formation of the Chicxulub crater 63 million years ago. As I am a stickler for acc...

3 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by fluffy‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by fluffy‭

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Q&A What would Europe look like if Chernobyl exploded?

In a scenario where the Soviets didn't manage to stop corium from reaching the water reservoirs underneath the plant, causing a detonation equivalent to a nuclear explosion, what would life in the ...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Marcello Fabrizio‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Marcello Fabrizio‭

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Q&A Clear Waterproof Material in the Dark Ages

A traveling scholar during the Dark Ages, with full knowledge of how precious books were, decided to keep his rolled up in a scroll. He's fashioned a clever case for it that allows him to turn a no...

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

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Q&A what essential material or ingredients in modern gunpowder that if changed to be expensive or rare, can ruin the evolution of advance/modern gun?

as the title, what materials or ingredients in modern gunpowder that if change to be expensive or rare to get, can ruin the evolution of advance gun or can turn modern gun obsolete or undesirable ?...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Li Jun‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Li Jun‭

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Q&A How Could a Scientist Intentionally Discover Penicillin

In our timeline Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin by accidentally leaving petri dishs out over a long period of time. If a person from an earlier time, e.g. ancient Rome, woke u...

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

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Q&A Can agriculture and megafauna coexist?

Some say that one of the reason humans developed agriculture is because megafauna (specifically the Pleistocene megafauna) were hunted for food to extinction and humans were forced to develop agric...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by M Arif Rahman Winandar‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by M Arif Rahman Winandar‭

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Q&A How would a lack of smokeless propellant affect WW1?

Gunpowder, also known as black powder, is some nasty stuff. It's extremely corrosive, it produces large amounts of obstructive grit and fouling, and using it creates a cloud of obscuring smoke. So...

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

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Q&A If humans evolved on Mars instead of Earth, how quickly would we have detected life on Earth?

Suppose that both Earth and Mars was booming with life in a similar way. Except that, on Earth, there was no hominid family, and no humans evolved. Instead, humans evolved on Mars. Assuming we ha...

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

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Q&A Will the Dinosaur Empire Still Stand Strong If Chicxulub Hit Earth at the End of the Jurassic?

66 million years ago, the dinosaur empire was in its death throes when its final nail in the coffin came hurtling down from the sky. A clump of rock the size of Mount Everest smashed into the Gulf ...

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

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Q&A What are the most important factors in determining how fast technology progresses?

What are the most important factors in determining how fast technology progresses? And roughly how fast might that be under optimal circumstances? Innovations have to be dreamed up, but there mus...

12 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Slarty‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Slarty‭

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Q&A Would evolution happen the same exact way if Earth restarted?

If Earth instantaneously reverted back to when the only organisms were small microscopic creatures in the sea, would evolution happen the same exact way creating the same animals and species? Was c...

18 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Braeden‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Braeden‭

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Q&A Iron-age tools, is there a way to extract heavy metals out of a creature?

Assume a location which is heavily polluted with dust of several types of elemental metals (copper, silver, nickel, cobalt etc) or their respective oxides and salts (whatever is stable in humidity ...

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

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Q&A Would a steam powered plane be able to cross the Atlantic ocean?

In a world where the development of internal combustion engines had been seriously delayed (for whatever reason), would it have been possible to power heavier than air aircraft by steam propulsion?...

15 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Slarty‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Slarty‭

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Q&A When is the earliest in Earth history when Grade 5 Titanium alloy could be made, assuming one knows the formula and has the feedstock?

Bob the time traveler has a problem. He went to 75,000,000 BC to get some dinosaur eggs (don't ask) and his time machine re-combobulator broke and a big chunk is missing. Fortunately he can still ...

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

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Q&A Maintaining a Moon Suit

The Apollo-era A7L Extravehicular Mobility Units were used for less than eight hours at a time, within a few days, with a maximum of three moonwalks per mission. Assume a fictional moonbase with 1...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by o.m.‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by o.m.‭

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Q&A Could we use telescopes and mirrors in space to see crime in the past via analog?

Could a perfect mirror/s be made to reflect one side of the Earth from the edge of the solar system and viewed with an optical or radio telescope that is in orbit? The targeting mirrors and telesc...

4 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Muze the good Troll.‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Muze the good Troll.‭

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Q&A Preserving the mammoth steppe

During much of the Late Pleistocene stage, the world's most widespread biome was the so-called "mammoth steppe" - a cold, dry grassland which spanned eastward all the way from Spain to Canada. It w...

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

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Q&A The North Star in the ancient world sky

Question: Would a modern-day teen, trained in using the north star for directions when camping/hiking, notice a difference in how the "north star" (Polaris) works when transported suddenly to 1350 ...

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

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Q&A Could Bamboos Evolve Into Trees In the Past?

This question is based on a scenario on DeviantArt. The presented image is here: The description is as follows: By the start of the Cryocene, bamboo has become one of Serina's most successf...

4 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by JohnWDailey‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by JohnWDailey‭

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Q&A Could a split cycle intercooled flamelicker have been a viable power source?

Flame lickers work by sucking hot air into a cylinder and then relying on the cooling of the air by the cylinder wall to create a partial vacuum to pull the piston back. see video In an alternat...

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

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Q&A Could Xenarthrans Be Ferried Outside South America?

Right from the beginning, the xenarthrans--armadillos, sloths and anteaters--have been at a disadvantage. For the longest time, their home was an island continent, which made them extremely vulner...

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

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Q&A What is the earliest time a pulsejet could be built?

Let's assume that some wealthy characters somehow find the plans for a valveless pulsejet. How is not important. Maybe there was a time travel incident, or some Atlantean book was unearthed, or som...

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

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Q&A Could the Tower of Babel actually stand?

As recorded in Genesis 11:1-9, the ancients allegedly built a tower to the skies in a valley in Babylon (near present-day Baghdad), and God scattered them across the Earth as a punishment. Accordin...

1 answer  ·  posted 5y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DonielF‭

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Q&A Minimum tech level to invent core memory

Magnetic core memory was a critical innovation in the development of computers. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic-core_memory it was the most advanced form of memory from about the mid-fif...

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

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Q&A Anal Retentiveness in a tribal nomadic society - why would it be advantageous?

Please note: This has no relation to any real persons on this site or elsewhere and should not be taken to be such. In my world there is a human nomadic desert tribe. They have a long-standing cus...

4 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by chasly from UK‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by chasly from UK‭

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Q&A What items from the Roman-age tech-level could be used to deter all creatures from entering a small area?

Please assume the following: There is a item on the ground and I want nothing but bare earth touching it. I cannot move the item myself. The item is impervious to fire. I cannot afford to guar...

7 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Aliens englobed the Solar System: will we notice?

Around 100 million years ago, the Solar System was instantaneously encased in a massless, magical sphere centered about the Sun. The boundary is about 10,000 AU (.158 ly) in radius and behaves abno...

8 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by BMF For Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by BMF For Monica‭

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Q&A In the late 1940's to early 1950's what technology was available that could melt a LOT of ice?

In my story I've devised lore where Greenland becomes a US territory, and they begin populating the region. It initially just served as the hub for numerous military bases and airbases, but eventua...

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

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Q&A Alternate aircraft configurations - would any of them be valid substitutes for conventional tailplanes?

So I'm incubating a few alternate histories in my head. Many of them will butterfly away the Wright Brothers and many other familiar parts of history, and at least one has aircraft development as a...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Thesaurus Rex‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Thesaurus Rex‭

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Q&A Ideal Time Period for a Global Pandemic

I'm trying to figure out what period of time in human history gives an influenza-like virus the best chance of exterminating 80% of human life within the span of no more than 2 years. Basically, ...

4 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by John Doe‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by John Doe‭

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Q&A Can-and-String Telecommunications Network - Repeaters and Amplifiers

Background We know about the can-and-string telephone. There are various claims about the maximum distance over which this is effective. Let's say 100 feet is possible without too much loss and...

5 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by chasly from UK‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by chasly from UK‭

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Q&A What kind of engine could the 14-15th century world create?

If someone in the 14-15th century world had the knowledge required to build an engine for use in locomotives and ships, what kind of engine could be made using technology that already existed back ...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Eric clifford‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Eric clifford‭

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Q&A Ancient Roman Pneumatic tube Postal Service

The Romans had pumps, aqueducts, water wheels (which were used to grind flour, saw wood &amp; stone etc), valves &amp; pipes (they are known to have used stone, clay, lead &amp; copper for pipes). ...

4 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Pelinore‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Pelinore‭

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Q&A Is a Selective Breeding Program to Create Enhanced Humans Plausible?

The idea is that the concepts of DNA, inheritance, and micro-organisms were discovered significantly earlier in history. Roughly 50 years after the founding of Alexandria as a city state in 332 B.C...

7 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Obelisk‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by Obelisk‭