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5 Answers 5


In accordance with http://meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/1728/sandbox-overflow, answers containing graduated questions will be deleted. This is designed to be a repository for all those questions that have graduated. It is a community wiki answer, so add in your question here, at the end of the list once it is posted on the main site!

  1. Steam Powered Hammer
  2. Can I have droplets of fluids that aren't... well... droplets?
  3. Resources For Building A Fictional Language [DELETED]
  4. How to modify bee physiology to be able to produce firehoney given nectar that is (magically) flammable?
  5. How can I realistically make a worldwide government that works with my fictional world with different magical races?
  6. How To Make an Earth with 27 Suns Work, Attempt Two: Orbital Stability
  7. Best material for windsilk
  8. How can humans retain the benefits of sleep through meditation?
  9. Mosquito Armageddon
  10. Ringed planet: Reality check on ring-shadow visuals
  11. Sailing without wind, but with strong currents
  12. Traffic using personal airplanes?
  13. Metal-Feathered Macaw Viability Part 1: How Can It Fly?
  14. How can a single clergy rule over a religion that has different interpretations of its deity?
  15. Sugar-bomb tree mechanics
  16. Slowing or Averting Global Warming With the Help of Elemental Powers: Part 1 (Fire)
  17. How could an acid-cow make a barrier against acidic milk by synthesizing PTFE, and what would it line?
  18. Metal-Feathered Macaw Viability Part 2: Best Wing Shape?
  19. Anatomically Correct Siren?
  20. How would a humanoid need to change to sleep upside-down?
  21. The flying state, estimating an "ideal" size
  22. How can I use magic to make childbirth easier?
  23. Weaponry made from extreme light-weight steel: swords and daggers
  24. Designing venom glands for an elephant: misting
  25. Can using zombies for labor be more cost effective for an employer than a living worker?
  26. How dangerous is someone who can make volumes of air act like immovable solids, measured by how expensive an army they could defeat?
  27. How long should an elven generation be?
  28. Music Dragonfly via Perforations in Wings
  29. What required secondary powers does my speedster need in order to be able to accelerate at 2,250 ft/s^2 without harmful effects?
  30. Restricting antimatter - practical rather than legal measures
  31. Radiation Levels and Effects on Planet with 27 Suns
  32. Regrowing body parts: What are the costs?
  33. How can chi be used to preserve a man's fertility? [DELETED]
  34. Kidnapping Fire-Slugs
  35. Natural barriers around medieval towns
  36. Quick solutions to a modern warning placed on the surface of a planet for future generations
  37. I travel back in time: how could I know when I landed?
  38. To Conquer the Earth by Appearing Ship
  39. Worse than zombies, part 1
  40. How to build a Blood Gun?
  41. Aftermath of a Midas-weapon war - what to do with all that gold?
  42. (Porcu)pine tree needle firing system?
  43. How could a medieval army defeat Sauron's army?
  44. How to combat magic as science?
  45. How high could a Lego tower be?
  46. Should certain tags automatically require answers to use SI Units rather than other, more traditional, systems of measurement?
  47. Extinction Equilibrium: 50%
  48. Fastest way for an invincible young immortal to make $1 million USD?
  49. https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/121447
  50. How many dead bodies are required to stain a river red?
  51. https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/121573
  52. How to design an advanced deadman's switch for the "vitality impaired"?
  53. Ringstadt: How sensible is my topography?
  54. Humans as repair drones
  55. Are competitive sports an effective way to change my Spartiates' life perspective?
  56. What is a usable formula for determining the necessary strength of a planet’s magnetic field for it to be habitable?
  57. Making the 'Master Swordsman' fantasy realistic?
  58. Would planets be cubic in my "cuboverse"?
  59. For how long can I hide the discovery of a new continent?
  60. Ringstadt: Getting sulphur into my water
  61. Ringstadt: Can my mountains be what I need them to?
  62. Taxing the superhero industry
  63. Could deliberately induced Kessler Syndrome stop ICBMs?
  64. In modern day combat, what would warrant singing during battle?
  65. Long-term effects of leaving everything you know - the aging issue
  66. What event would cause a huge, dominant nation to adopt the language of a smaller, inferior one?
  67. What Would a Reptile with Facial Muscles look like?
  68. From a software testing perspective, what quality-analysis tests would justify using a single world-war simulation?
  69. What would be the pros and cons of a merged military and police?
  70. Would interplanetary transmissions in the Wolf 359 star system be detectable by Earth?
  71. Alien Senses: Active electrolocation
  72. Beings in Amnesia occuring after sleep, how to help them?
  73. Feasibility of a Crystal Ecosystem
  74. What mandates travel in an interstellar society?
  75. How would a world power create an artificial winter?
  76. The Underdown, part 1: Size issues
  77. How can I test to find the continent's "best" young mages?
  78. How many years could notebook computers and phones be stored in a closed bunker/vault and still operational when found?
  79. Safely exiting zero-tau capsule
  80. Why isn't my superhuman always hungry?
  81. How can I prevent a human sacrifice from dying before a ritual is complete?
  82. How to accurately detect children with super strength?
  83. How could I market beauty products to a species with a mating season?
  84. How long would a flat Earth last?
  85. Why would a religious person extract the hemoglobin of those who failed to survive his spiritual healing ritual?
  86. How can I avoid accidentally killing my mages during a ritual?
  87. How would a matriarchy rationalize infanticide?
  88. What (modern) weapons could be used to destroy skeletal enemies as completely as possible?
  89. The Dark is strong in the light! Why?
  90. What can a bunch of American kids teach ancient Egyptians?
  91. Economically feasible hard sci-fi non-microscopic wormhole
  92. How tall can you built a mountain chain of bricks?
  93. Is a coral-based planet possible?
  94. How quickly and accurately should news travel in a rural medieval setting? (this link appears to be incorrect)
  95. How can the church stop the Mass media from spreading throughout medieval Europe?

World-splitting Wall: Impact on Weather


The question

I asked recently in this question how paranoid aliens afraid of going the way described in "War of the Worlds" would sequester native flora and fauna in a preserve.

One of the coolest answers I saw was for the establishment of a wall, around my nature preserve, to preserve most native wildlife in its natural form. What climate anomalies could occur on the edges of the dome?


  • The moon itself is slightly larger than Mars, and orbits a Neptune-sized planet. It takes about 50 days to complete a roughly circular orbit.
  • The moon's planet orbits at 0.63 AU, making for a 230-day orbital period
  • The wall splits the moon directly in half, and is 10-15 miles tall
  • The wall is covered/painted with a dirt-like material, and has psychological deterrents to any would-be wall-crossers.

Sandbox Questions

What issues would you have with this question?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi JavaScriptCoder, good edit! It's much clearer and more answerable. The biggest things I think we'll need to know are 1) whether the moon has an Earth-like environment or whether we're deriving climate effects from basic physics and 2) how large the moon is $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ Some comments as far as clarity goes: you only mention a "moon" in the notes on the question - I'd introduce that information earlier and provide some additional info about the world. Also, you say in one place that the wall goes all the way up to space, and in another that it's 10 miles tall. Finally, you've still got some references to a "dome" in there - maybe take those out or replace "dome" with "wall"? $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Also, random thing I thought of while ruminating on this - does the wall split the world north/south or east/west or some other way? That'll change the answers a lot, with an equatorial wall having the least impact and a meridianal (meridinal?) wall having a much larger one. $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 22:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Op are you still working on this? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, just waiting on more commentary $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 2:45
  • $\begingroup$ Cool, I'll read it and see. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ I see that the moon's orbit round the planet takes roughly 50 days, how long does an eclipse last (ie. how long is the whole moon in the planet's umbra), does the moon have a day night cycle - ie what's it's rotational period? What's the nighttime brightness of the planet (say relative to Earth's moon, I don't need to know sky subtended, albedo etc.). when the planet is as Earth's full-moon? What dome? What direction does the wall run with reference to the axis of rotaton? Is that 10-15 miles above crust or above sea level or above land? Is there sea? Are there ice caps? Again, what dome? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 3:18
  • $\begingroup$ @JavaScriptCoder As I see it, the bigest issue here is that you don't respond to people's comments. Dubukay's comment about the direction of the wall on the 16th January - nearly 4 weeks ago, and the weird reference to "Dome" that's been there and asked about for over a month without response. What's up, how can we help? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ @FaySuggers sorry, I've been really busy between school, coding, chemistry, and other activities. I've just gotten back from Scouting, and am about to be AFK working on something else. The issue is that I have very little time... if you noticed my last question was from a month ago. I will try to reply within a week, but anything beyond that I cannot guarantee, as I usually have barely enough time for these comments. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JavaScriptCoder I understand, if the question disappears into the system, I'm sure that you'll be able to ask it again anyhow. Best of luck. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I’ll delete ASAP, no longer worked on $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 17:55

how can scientists prevent their advances in technology from making it into the mainstream society?

Reed Richards is a brilliant scientist who regularly tangoes with external threats to the planet Earth, where a race referred to as "humaniti" reside. He, along with a team of scientists, operate out of a metropolis city called New York. They regularly develop to advanced technology that is beyond anything this species has seen, and has access to offworld tech due to their repeated trips to outer space. Flying cars, teleport devices, etc, are just some of the kinds of tech they create and have access to. Because they sometimes defend earth from aliens, they get billions of dollars in tax breaks from the city. However, this has begun to provoke the ire of many New Yorkers.

A congresswoman named Alexandria Oscoria Cortez has recently come to prominence in the media, and has used her platform to attack Richards and his team. She argues that for decades, this group has kept their discoveries and advances to themselves. These developments have yet to make their way into mainstream society where they can benefit the common people. Instead, these well-paid elitists selfishly hoard them, neglecting to improve their city or humanity in the long term while still taking large tax breaks from the government. This shameful behavior is indicative of the wealthy 1% who have more power and control than the other 99% of society.

She has begun to make waves among other new yorkers, and has garnered a large amount of support, which has raised trouble for the superhero community. She is currently running for president of the U.S., and has proposed legislation called "The Green New Deal". This proposal will, among other things, end dependence on fossil fuel emissions, fix infrastructure in the country, and provide new jobs. This would be accomplished by forcing Richards to share his discoveries, and use the government to take control and regulate this company.

A wealthy billionaire by the name of Tony Stark has come to the defense of the scientists, and has joined forces to take on AOC and her followers. I need to maintain the status quo of only the superhero community having access to these advances with tech. How can this group continue to legally keep their technology to themselves without sharing them?

  • $\begingroup$ "They get billions of dollars in tax breaks from the city": this is not how tax breaks work. Tax breaks are a reduction in taxes to be paid; they just reduce the amount paid by the scientists to the city. So the question is who pays those scientists. If they are paid by the city of New York, then their discoveries belong to the city, unless some special agreement is in place. The presidential candidate may or may not have a strong position for arguing that the scientists committed fraud by withholding their results from their employer. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ What rule of your world is this about? If you are only asking, "what laws can be passed..." the question will be on-topic, but likely too broad. If you're opening it up to "what legal actions can be taken..." then this is too story-based. Does all that narrative boil down to: I have scientists in 2019 New York who want to keep their inventions out of the hands of the public, how do they do that? Or are you asking how to counter legislation in the U.S.? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ And... Is it still being worked on? Should it be promoted? Or should it be deleted? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Incognito. As luck would have it, we're in need of closing this sandbox and opening a new one. This is occasionally necessary as the web pages get too big. May I recommend that you either wrap this post up or delete this post per the above instructions and re-post on the new site? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:14

Can I put my potato into orbit?


The agricultural industry on Luna has been undergoing a boom of late, so much so that First Minister Boris Sonsson has decided a potato must be launched into lunar orbit to commemorate the hard work of the Farmers of the Moon. A popular vote (taken via completely tamperproof voting booths, of course) confirmed that this plan is what the Lunar public wants, regardless of expense.

Everyone in the lunar civil service knows this is ludicrous, and to make matters worse a series of long and complicated treaties with Earth and Mars mean that launching the potato with any form of onboard engine or guidance will be a process that could take decades or risk starting an interplanetary trade war.

As such the Technical Minister, Theresa Maybe, has come up with a plan.

First: A series of laser base stations with remarkable telescope arrays and accurate laser actuation will be built along the equator.

Second: A suitably large (and well pricked) potato will be loaded into a large pneumatic cannon and fired skywards.

Third: The base stations will track the potato and, at appropriate points, blast it with lasers. This should cause steam (and possibly roast potato chunks) to vent from the holes created by pricking the potato. By doing this the hope is that sufficient delta-v can be generated to put the potato into orbit.

If successful this will be used to launch all manner of vegetables, root or otherwise, as a show of strength and unity to ensure Luna gets good trade deals from the other spacefaring nations. The government don’t seem to have considered how to avoid intersecting orbits, but avoiding being peppered with de-orbiting mashed potato is a problem for future generations (like those lazy bimillennials, they need a good crisis).

Now, Theresa knows that this plan is pretty much unworkable, but the lunar government is scrabbling for ways to shore up the appearance that they know what they’re doing, so the question is this:

Could this plan, or some variation on it, be used to put an unpowered potato into orbit?

If not, why not, and can the Lunar government make it seem to their gullible loyal citizens that the plan is workable?

Answers will be ranked based on the number of factors considered and the potential for A: getting the potato to orbit or B: resolving the issues with getting the potato to orbit.

And as always remember: Porbit means Porbit.

A quick note: Vegetable themed humour aside, the core of this question is whether any organic, unpowered projectile can be launched into a stable (even on a short timescale) lunar orbit, but the world I’m building is almost unbearably satirical in nature. ———

I think this question is probably OK to go, but I’d like a second opinion as the tone is quite satirical in nature.

  • $\begingroup$ The only with this question is that the answer might just be a basic yes you can do it. It feels very scenario specific and I don't know if we close questions based on that (maybe too story based?). You could make it more generic using a general unpowered object rather than a potato. But I don't see any big issues. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee: Time to alter it to a generic vegetable moon-orbit launch system! $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ One-specific-question/one-best-answer. I count two: (a) is X feasible? and (b) how do I convince X of Y?. The question could use better organization (clearly separate background from the TL;DR actual question for ease-of-reading). Otherwise, pick one question, (a) or (b), and you're ready to go. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Joe. As luck would have it, we're in need of closing this sandbox and opening a new one. This is occasionally necessary as the web pages get too big. May I recommend that you wrap this up or, if you believe it needs more attention, re-post on the new site? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:14

How can you link a plague or virus to a specific genetic signature?

A domestic terrorist organization has come to light due to recent terror attacks that they claim responsibility for. This group has developed a biological weaponized plague that attacks the nervous system of an individual. If released, and has the potential to kill millions. The terrorists blame a particular minority group for what it sees as the nation's social and economic woes, and seeks to commit genocide by spreading this plague in the name of national defense. The intent is to only make this minority group susceptible to this weapon, killing them off while leaving everyone else they see as worthy unscathed.

All populations are genetically diverse, and racial categories are based on subjective evaluations of traits. All humans share the same genes, which exist in a variety of alternative forms called alleles. Since the relationship between ancestry, genetic makeup, and phenotype are so complex, there is no specific gene that can be used to determine a person's race. This makes it difficult for this group to limit the effects of this virus to one group in particular without killing anyone outside of it. How can these terrorists develop this weapon in a way that it would exclusively target one group of people only? Would this be possible with advanced tech?

  • $\begingroup$ It is not possible with complete accuracy. It is possible with less then perfect accuracy. You need to establish (1) how many people are in the target subpopulation, and what this target population is (so that the respondents can look up the genetic characteristics); (2) what proportion of them can escape; (3) how many people in the general (= non-target) population can be killed. Inserting these parameters would make the question answereable. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Incognito. As luck would have it, we're in need of closing this sandbox and opening a new one. This is occasionally necessary as the web pages get too big. If you feel this Q needs more work, may I recommend that you delete this post per the above instructions and re-post on the new site? If not, please graduate it per the instructions. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I will delete it. $\endgroup$
    – Incognito
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 15:40

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