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14 Answers 14

up vote 11 down vote accepted

In accordance with, 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?
  34. Kidnapping Fire-Slugs
  35. Natural barriers around medieval towns
  36. Quick solutions to a modern warning placed on the surface of the earth 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?
  50. How many dead bodies are required to stain a river red?
  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

Ringstadt: Which of my streams are spring-fed, and why?

Aside from that ghastly thing behind the abbey, yeah. No need for iodine in this city, unless you feel like drinking from the harbour basin that is.. haha!

Quartermaster of the Foreign Casern to Hans M'wambe, Lance Corporal Aspirant Mechanic, after the latter proclaiming disbelief about people drinking directly from wells on the streets.

[SANDBOX NOTE: This question will remain in the sandbox for a bit longer due to, as mentioned in the comments, the need of a proper (or at least partial) weather map to know where precipitation happens and where not]

This question is a spin-off to this question about the topography in the below map. Please refer to it for general questions or observations about the map & area.

This spin-off is about determining which of the streams marked on below map could & should be spring-fed. Or, alternatively, which of the streams can absolutely not be originating from a spring.

Streams & Springs:

From my reading up on springs on wikipedia I understand that I can have a spring at I5, fed by the seepage of the peat bog further north and above it.

But how would springs further up work, e.g. some of those feeding into the upper lake, or the into the river? Do I need to have lakes/ponds further up that have no direct outflow or are there also other ways?

Ringstadt topological map

 brown                ->  topological lines, 10 meters each
 light blue -line-    ->  streams, rivers
 light blue -shaded-  ->  bodies of water
 turquoise            ->  peat bog
 olive                ->  reed marshes

Each grid-cell is 400m by 400m.

Q: Which of my streams are spring-fed, and why?

Answers should go about either explain which streams would be springs, and why or go about the inverse and explain which streams would not be spring-fed, and why.

A good answer will, in either case, at least address the following topics:

  • What kinds of springs are feasibly encountered in this mapped area?
  • Are there any parts of the map that are obviously missing streams?

Sandbox Questions

This question is designed as a follow-up in a series of questions accompanying me during the process of designing and mapping out my fictional city 'Ringstadt' (fancy German title based on the fact that the city has a circular wall with a 2 mile diameter).

This question will be one of a bunch exploring different details of the topographical map I drew in the series' primer. The features being explored in this and other questions have originally been decided as being distracting from the main problem and thus been marked as spin-offs.

  • Information I would like to get from asking this question:

    • Which of the streams I marked on the map could/should be fed by springs?
    • What kind of spring would be best for each of these and why?
  • Standard Sandbox Stuff:

    • Is this question feasible for the WB format?
    • Any better ideas for the title?
    • Any better ideas regarding the tags?
    • Is the partitioning of the question contents making it easier or harder to read the question?
  • To make an informed judgement on this we're going to need to have a look at the prevailing weather, springs are only required in rainshadows, elsewhere it's "it could a spring but doesn't have to be." – Ash Aug 19 at 17:57
  • @Ash that is a very good point; this question is now likely to remain in the sandbox for a month; unless I manage to find very easy to comprehend material about weather patterns – dot_Sp0T Aug 19 at 18:01
  • Also we need to know the underlying geology to understand where, if at all, springs are possible, springs need permeable material (rock, sand, or gravel) for the water to flow through and usually impermeable layers as well. – Ash Aug 19 at 18:04
  • Agree with @Ash’s comment, to which I’ll add that springs and aquifers normally form above small faults in areas where a cap on the water table is cracked. Without a detailed geologic map it’ll be hard to make accurate predictions. – Dubukay Aug 25 at 15:21
  • Seems like a better questions is: where are the springs? But with the geological information asked for by Ash. – kingledion Aug 29 at 15:44
  • @kingledion the part about propose geological information is that i don't understand geology enough to provide that data. I am planning on writing to geology questions following the resource q. But that'll take time – dot_Sp0T Aug 29 at 16:07
  • Just a tip about tags: while it's only about the process itself and not about creating the geographical features, you might be interested in the map-making tag, since you seem to be working on such things a lot lately. – FoxElemental Sep 4 at 13:23
  • @FoxElemental i am aomewhat sure that the proposed tag is about processes and techniques to represent features and things. While this question is about understanding the stuff how it works with an example (basically it could evolve into a second run of the 2014 series) – dot_Sp0T Sep 4 at 15:37

What sort of development test would require a software developer constructing a simulated universe to start a war?

The Premise: Hardware and software has advanced to the point that accurate simulation of large numbers of human minds on common desktop computers is possible. As with any software, the AI simulations have preprogrammed memories and personalities. They are therefore unaware of the "real world."

For testing purposes, the developer has created a simulated world war. He has access to a single avatar controlled by him, it is the only interaction between the simulation and the real world.

Question: From a software testing perspective,1 what quality-analysis tests would justify using a single world-war simulation?

The best answer will consider the following:

  • The solution needs to be compact: as many issues are tested and resolved as possible.

  • The solution needs to be credible: stress-testing the simulation framework to prove the most robust operation over the shortest period of testing time.

  • In an effort to avoid being too broad: only the software framework is being tested, not the hardware or any other aspect of the software.

1Software testing is the process of setting up one or more tests to determine whether or not the software works as intended and handles normal user or system interaction. For more information, please follow the link.

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    OK, let me pass on the same request as before: remove everything not directly related to the question. Your narrative has a lot of stream-of-consciousness writing that makes the Q very hard to follow. – JBH Aug 31 at 5:41
  • @JBH There are things that aren't relevant? :-/ – The Great Duck Aug 31 at 5:43
  • The developer's age. All of the 3rd paragraph IMO. Also, you're asking your question from different points of view, "What sort of development test would require..." is different from "What about that sort of war would in some way be more..." At the moment, I don't know what it is you're really trying to ask. – JBH Aug 31 at 5:46
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    There's an old engineering axiom: Keep It Simple. What are you trying to ask? It sounds like, "In my story I can simulate actual human-like AI on a personal computer. A large world-spanning simulation has been started and I need help finding a reason for the developers to start a war. What aspects or consequences of war would be good reasons for testing software?" – JBH Aug 31 at 5:49
  • @JBH no if anything the third paragraph is more important. The question is how they would actually convince that character that that is a required course of action. – The Great Duck Aug 31 at 5:58
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    OK, then we have a problem. This site is about the rules of your world, not the actions of individual characters. The question becomes off-topic as too story-based. – JBH Aug 31 at 6:51
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    From what I can tell (and like Dubukay I too had trouble reading such a huge wall of text) this is an entirely story based question. – walrus Aug 31 at 13:42
  • @JBH ok suppose I just made it a hypothetical question. What prevents someone from claiming I am not actually writing a story and therefore it is off topic? Don’t I have to prove that this is for a story of some form? – The Great Duck Sep 1 at 4:32
  • No. Indeed, many questions are asked outside the context of writing a story. Think of it this way. We build worlds to be the framework of many stories. The moment your question is about the story and not the world, it's off-topic. – JBH Sep 1 at 6:55
  • @JBH oh ok. I thought if one wasn’t attempting to build a world for a story then they are not seeking actual help and are therefore abusing the site. I’m probably overthinking it. – The Great Duck Sep 1 at 15:56
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    Not at all. People build worlds for many reasons, not the least of which is for fun. – JBH Sep 1 at 15:58
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    @JBH well then in that case while the experience level of the developer is important the scientist can probably just be distilled down to there just needing to be a decent scientifically justified reason why war is necessary. – The Great Duck Sep 1 at 23:06
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    That's a complaint you'll need to ignore. A child or someone not involved in any technical profession won't understand software or software testing. I've added a bit more to help with this, but there will always be someone who won't understand due to the specific nature of the question's premise. I'd roll it out and let's deal with the comments as they come. – JBH Sep 5 at 4:47
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    I think i'm one of the people who is having trouble understanding what you want. I'm having trouble with figuring out whether you are asking how to test a war simulation, or what one tests using a war simulation. To me, it feels like the question alternates back and forth between those two questions. – Cort Ammon Sep 5 at 5:24
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    The comments here are getting pretty long, might want to delete any you don't need. – John Locke Sep 6 at 22:26

Alien Senses: Active electrolocation

In the course of designing fictional species I often find myself wishing to use exotic senses which we humans lack. This poses a unique and interesting challenge as without possessing the sense myself I find it very difficult to understand what they can perceive. For the same reasons one can’t describe a color to a blind person or a sound to a deaf person I don’t expect an explanation of what this sense feels like, but rather what it is capable of.

Electrolocation is the ability to detect nearby electrical fields. It is observed primarily in fish as water is much more conductive than air. It comes in two different forms, passive and active.

Fish possessing passive electrolocation are capable of detecting the weak electrical fields that all animals produce by the action of their muscles and nerves.

In active electrolocation, however, fish produce their own electric field which allows them to detect differences in conductance and capacitance in their surroundings.

In order to make the question more answerable let’s focus on active electrolocation. My question is what is an organism possessing this sense actually able to perceive? I'll provide some example questions but don't feel the need to answer them all or limit your answers to them.

  • Can they detect the distance of an object or merely its direction and magnitude?
  • How precise is this directional sense and can it work in all directions?
  • Can they determine the size of an object?
  • Are there any blind spots to the sense such as the poles of the generated electrical field?
  • What substances would block the sense?
  • Can it penetrate insulating materials?

As further guidelines for what I’m asking for, I’ll give an example. If I were asked to describe the capabilities of our sense of hearing I could say that we can distinguish a wide range of frequencies from each other although frequencies too high or too low are imperceptible to us. We can roughly determine the distance and direction of the source of a sound as long as it isn’t straight in front of or behind us. We have difficulty hearing through insulating materials and we can hear sounds reflected off of other objects which may confuse our sense of direction. I’m asking for an equivalent description of the active electrolocation sense.


I'm considered making this a series of questions that explore senses which humans do not possess such as echolocation, x-ray or radar emission, magnetoreception, etc. So any advice on this question or for the general concept is appreciated.

How to bring order to an infinite-dimensional telepathic ability?

The ability to telepathically communicate with and control any of your infinite other-dimensional selves is rare, but exists!

Rules for how this works:

  • Although dimensions and possibilities are infinite, there is somehow a constant. Those born with the telepath ability in one dimension, have the ability in all dimensions that person exists in.
  • Communicating with another you consists of essentially taking a back-seat in their mind and speaking thoughts at them. You receive all senses but only one person at a time can control the body.
  • You can fight mentally for control of the body but with a massive advantage to the person who is in their own dimension.
  • Doing "something" in one of your other bodies establishes neural pathways and teaches that thing to them remarkably fast.
  • As you can only telepath with yourself, there exists a sense of self that is loosely defined, try and think of it in a spiritual sense. There are some dimensions where you don't exist and thus, are not able to "travel" to. You may be dead, never conceived, there may be a boy in your family around your age who isn't you. Twins are not both you. There is only one or none you's per dimension.
  • There is an infinite number of dimensions but you can interact with just one additional dimension at a time. You can multi-task fairly well with telepathy and are able to complete ordinary activities and conversations in both dimensions at once.
  • Other dimensional selves can and do spontaneously enter your mind and talk about/ask/demand various things as an approximation it happens about as much as you do to them.
  • Travelling to a new dimension is 100% random, you can not pre-emptively search for specific characteristics
  • Dimensional selves you have already made contact with exist in your memory and you can choose to travel to those dimensions at will

As a young child, telepaths often travel a lot forming relationships with their like-minded selves in other dimensions and using pooled knowledge to learn new skills. However, every new dimension you travel to forms the connection both ways and it becomes increasingly chaotic the more new worlds you visit. If someone were to know 5000 other selves, then when they need to fly an escape helicopter it would all be a jumbled mess and they wouldn't remember which of their selves took flying lessons. Because of this, telepaths are predominately limited by their mental, organisational capacity.

A certain character knows A SOLUTION that will allow telepaths to better use their ability. Somehow, this solution allows any given telepath to notably increase the number of skills they have access to via their other selves. What is this miraculous solution and how did this character know about it?

Answers may vary from entirely mundane to extra-ordinary. Answers will be judged based off how specific the solution is (I want to be able to describe exactly what it is they are doing), and how clear the reasoning is for it improving the number of dimensions you can handle.

  • You may be interested in Dunbar's Number, the theoretical maximum number of people that a single person can know well. It's between 150 and 200. Human minds don't have the space required for infinity. On real Earth, in relation to a single person, there are effectively infinite other people on the planet. You run out of time long before you run out of people. I suspect these telepaths will only care about other bodies that are "close" to them. – Green Sep 10 at 13:42
  • By imposing memory limitations on these telepaths plus making it so that some dimensions are more expensive to visit than others; these constraints should drastically reduce the effective number of dimensions from infinity to say, 100. – Green Sep 10 at 13:43
  • I'm not sure where the second comment is coming from? Yes there are memory limitations and you can't possibly know every self from every infinite dimension. You have a limited life-span/memory and can only visit one at a time. This is the entire point of my question? – Jesse Sep 10 at 14:45
  • There is no "expense" for visiting another dimension. – Jesse Sep 10 at 14:46
  • You ask for optimization of a number of other selves. I don't see any criteria that I could use to create an optimal number as an answer. I see a limitation on other selves based on mental capacity but that merely forms an upper bound, not an optimal. – Green Sep 10 at 17:00
  • @Green ahh I see the misunderstanding now. I am not asking for a number. I am asking for a personal method of increasing a person's number IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT EXACTLY THAT NUMBER IS. Maybe you keep a diary, create a personalised siri databse to where you write down details, apply some diplomatic theory to form agreements between your other selves to do something that will allow you to better keep track of who is who. I am looking for answers of this nature... – Jesse Sep 10 at 17:20
  • I'm looking for ways one might improve. – Jesse Sep 10 at 17:28
  • Ill make a heavy edit to focus from a characters perspective, let me know if it clears up my questions intention – Jesse Sep 10 at 17:34
  • Thank you, that's much clearer. – Green Sep 10 at 17:45
  • You may want to read up on Vinge’s principle, as relating to your last edit. It’s the proposal that for a character in a story to solve a problem, you as the author must be at least as smart as the character to come up with what you’re doing. Now, I’ll admit that outsourcing to Worldbuilding makes “an author” a heck of a lot smarter, but there are still impossible problems that no human mind can solve. – Dubukay Sep 17 at 16:33
  • @Dubukay I think Vinge's principle (I have promptly read up on it) is actually the exact reason I am asking Worldbuilding. See, I am not looking for an impossibly intelligent reason. Asking Worldbuilding is allowing me to potentially write about a solution with more variety than what I personally understand but that some other person with some different interests might be able to understand well. This variety of perspectives is exactly why I asked Worldbuilding, but it also seems to be the chief reason my question is on hold. I don't really know where to go from here. – Jesse Sep 18 at 0:14

How can a magical "Dark Age" occur?

I'm currently working on the background of my fantasy story, but I can't came up with the right events for the history of my world.

Here is what the situation is like at the beginning of my story:

  1. The magic government go house by house forcefully taking newborn wizards.
  2. The magic knowledge is mostly unavailable, destroyed or banned.
  3. The wizards in the government are nowhere near as powerful as a wizard can be.
  4. The spells that the government wizards can't use are considered illegal.
  5. Magic studies not sponsored by the government are also illegal.

What events can lead to a similar situation?


Sandbox Question:

  1. Is this question too broad?
  2. Should I add the events that I thought about?
  3. Does the question need some more details in general?
  • Tags: magic and government sound like viable options. Here is the full list of tags if you want to browse them. – FoxElemental Aug 20 at 18:30
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    Thank you, for now I add those two and when I got time I'm going to look at the tag list. – Giacomo Garabello Aug 20 at 19:24
  • Welcome to WorldBuilding Giacomo! For the moment I removed the last sentence. Basically there are two ways to ask a question: either you ask others for a solution to your problem or you present a possible solution and ask for problems people see in that solution. Simply stating that you have a solution without giving it is confusing as people will ask themselves what's wrong with it and why you are not going with that solution. You could also write a self-answer with the solution. – Secespitus Aug 21 at 7:49
  • A problem with your question is that there is no way to judge which answers are better than others because you are simply asking for a chain of events in a magical world. A big war, continuous witch hunts, only a small number of magically talented children, horrible curses that crippled the magical society, fluctuations in the magical energy of the world, .... all of those sound exactly equally valid and like you are asking us to write a big part of your story for you. – Secespitus Aug 21 at 7:49
  • What would be a good chain of events? Such a question can be difficult on WorldBuilding. You might be interested in the Worldbuilding Chat, which is better suited to open-ended discussions (depending on how many people are currently online when you have some time). – Secespitus Aug 21 at 7:49
  • @Secespitus Thanks for the feedback, I'm going to make a big rethink about this question. I asked this way since the background history of my world is not influencing the story in a big way and I would have liked to see what sort of thing a large group of people can come up and the what the crowd prefer. Maybe i should ask a more specific question about my solution to make it better. – Giacomo Garabello Aug 21 at 10:10
  • I agree with Secespitus on many of the above points and concur that it would likely be closed as primarily-opinion-based as is. However, I'd like to invite you to revamp your question by giving us the specific schema you've already come up with and then reality-check it. You'll get a lot of useful, specific feedback that way and it's quite possible that your idea is more feasible than it sounds to you - we've got some darn clever people on this site who are really good at fixing seemingly impossible problems. – Dubukay Aug 26 at 17:09
  • Sorry, because I like this question and would love to answer it, but I think it is too broad in scope, I thought of a dozen reasons, all of them based in historical precedents, to create such a societal structure while typing this so it falls in to the "can write a book about this" category. Ping me when you've done the edit you mentioned I'll help if I can. – Ash Aug 27 at 12:52
  • Related, if not duplicate (also closed as too-broad):… – Dubukay Aug 28 at 23:57
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    This is a reminder about keeping the Sandbox clean: are you still working on this draft? If so, please edit it to show how we may further help you. If not, please edit your draft to shorten it to something like "Not posted: title" and delete it. The current guidelines are that a draft is eligible for deletion after 30 days without an edit from the OP and a comment like this one for at least 7 days. – Dubukay Sep 3 at 22:45

using this slower than light 5th Dimension for Interstellar travel

The premise is that we have the three-dimensional universe as a sphere expanding in a tesseract`. As the sphere of the universe has filled up the tesseract it has crumpled and folded in such a way that if you could open a direct fourth spatial dimensional pass between point A and point C it would be considerably shorter than going A B C. By now universe is not folded in one or two places, it is folded so many times it would look like a crumpled foil ball and that means if you get a little bit off course you will not end up at C at all but a completely different point. Also gravity would propagate through the 5th dimensional zone so dark matter can be both a star at point C or objects adrift in the 5th dimensional void.

I think this will allow

  • Travel across the inhabited part of the Galaxy in weeks or months.

  • Ship portable jump drive.

  • A solid explanation for how normal matter acts in alternate dimension.

  • Cool special effects for ship jumping to "other space"

  • Unable to jump close to gravity wells (maybe).

  • Limited stealth in space.

  • Questions

  • Does this solve the problem of orbits being unstable in four spatial dimensions?

  • Does this cause any additional problems?


  • hard-science or science based;

  • faster than light;

  • space time dimensions;

  • Astrophysics;

Questions for the sandbox

  • Is this ready to be posted?

  • Which tags should stay?

  • Is it clear?

  • Does it need to be formatted differently?

  • 1
    We don't answer questions here. We just give feedback on how to improve them. The title sounds nice. I am excited to hear the question. – The Great Duck Sep 5 at 0:18
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    Okay finally added question. Okay edited to show what I am trying to accomplish. – Diamond in the rough Sep 6 at 0:50
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    I don’t think I understand your universe well enough to be able to answer your questions about it. A sphere expanding in a tesseract? Im not sure what that means, or how the hypercube “contains” the universe. An analogy would be a circle expanding within a cube - no matter how big the circle gets, it can’t fill the whole cube because it doesn’t have a third dimension to it. When the circle expands to the edges of the cube, it wouldn’t “crumple” into the third dimension - it’d simply stop growing, afaics. – Dubukay Sep 17 at 16:44
  • I apologise for being so long to get back to you my phone died – Diamond in the rough yesterday
  • Answering your question I was assuming that any three dimensional object in a four spatial dimension universe would in actuality be a flat hyper object in the same way as a piece of paper is not truly two dimensional in a three dimensional world . My brother reading this pointed out that this does not follow. – Diamond in the rough yesterday

Can a Rogue Planet be Recaptured?

Let's start off with The Setting.

A super-earth, about 24% more massive than Earth, gets a gravity assist and is slung out of its solar system due to massive external disturbance, IE a passing star. After drifting for millions of years in the blackness of space, it encounters another star system drastically different from its birthplace; a red dwarf and brown dwarf binary. The red dwarf weighs 0.35 M☉, and the brown dwarf 60 MJ. I don't care much about the orbital distance, just that they're not very close; 33 AU seems like a good semi-major axis and I'll stick with that for clarity.

Now, The Question and Details:

1. Is it possible for this planemo to enter into orbit around the red dwarf via non-artificial mechanisms? Sentience and high-tech should not be at play. And if you are aware of it, I already know about Asteroid 2015 BZ509, but this case is different. An asteroid is negligible mass to Jupiter and the Sun, so capture and maintaining orbital stability is easier; a super-earth to a red and brown dwarf is not.

2. Ignoring the already massive odds that seem to be present in recapture and stability, could this settle into the habitable zone? I may have this partly answered through the Lidov-Kozai mechanism rounding it from an initially eccentric capture orbit, but this could periodically bring it too close to the star for life to take hold, which is the goal of being in the habitable zone.

It also may screw up 3. If possible, I'd like to avoid tidal locking, so I looked to Mercury's spin-orbit resonance. However, it's only possible because of Mercury's relatively high eccentricity. The Wikipedia page on tidal locking has a link to an article about spin-orbit resonance which states the minimum eccentricity needed is around 0.2. Number 3 may instead screw up my self-proposed half-answer for number 2; it's hard to tell.


science-based    space

Sandbox Questions

(EDIT: Is this actually related enough to world building to qualify? If so,)

What can I add for clarity?

What tags could I add?

Hard-science seemed a good tag at first, but I don't want to discourage answers nor cause myself any potential confusion. Which way do I go, and how do I change the question accordingly?

  • 1
    Hi GJC and thanks for using the Sandbox. Please take a peek at the several questions that have been asked about how to move planets, especially this question that might be specifically on-topic. If your question is answered by them, follow the sandbox's deletion instructions. If not, please use them to refine your question. Thanks! – JBH Sep 6 at 23:17
  • Thank you for giving feedback already! Sorry, but I added a piece of information that clarifies what I mean. Looking through nearly all of the questions didn't yield what I was looking for, but further editing and thinking makes me realize that this might not be a world-building question-just a physics or astronomy question. – GJC Sep 7 at 23:50

Question: Helping beings from another planet track their daily life when they tends to forget everything that they did on this when they sleeps later this night?


A planet is in the brink of destruction with constant wars and chaos. To somehow save their world a group of scientists launched a nuclear warhead all over their planet to release a gas that would make everybody forget all destructive emotions.. But somehow their plan backfired. Affected individuals forget everything after they have slept.

Here is one account of a individual affected by the gas:


Let me introduce myself... Well, call me Bob. I know my name, my age and where I live. I work as a programmer on a software industry, and I pretty much now how to code.

But my problem is... I forgot what I did yesterday, I know today is my birthday. I think yesterday I ordered pizza, but I have 30 boxes on my garbage bin and garbage collection should be done tommorrow. I hope they come early because I have all of my garbage cans at full.

There is also a note on my desk that today I have to buy my groceries, I wonder why because I have a stockpile of food on the fridge, but I'll buy it anyway because I might have forgotten why I need to buy food.

Later this day, I have a schedule to get a haircut. I have no hair left on my head, and I wonder why I am doing this. But well, its free!

I also sent a letter to Earth inviting a friend to come here in our planet, but he keeps on saying I already sent 30 invitations to him already.




META QUESTION: Is this kind of question valid? Is my overall way of telling the question clear enough? Any other details that I might have missed? What tags should I use?

  • I would like to ask if this question is acceptable in WB SO. Thank you! – Mr.J Sep 14 at 3:37
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    This definitely feels like a Worldbuilding question, but I don’t quite understand why something as simple as a diary or journal would work, one that includes checklists. It appears that your individuals are aware of their amnesia, so that’s the first step I’d expect them to take. Beyond that, I think the example day is illustrative but unnecessary - we already have a good sense of what forgetting yesterday would look like. – Dubukay Sep 17 at 16:20
  • @Dubukay I would like to ask, is there anything that I need to add? – Mr.J Sep 19 at 0:47
  • Is this acceptable as a question in Worldbuilding? – Mr.J Sep 20 at 7:30

Engineering a butterfly to withstand supersonic speeds


In the atmosphere of (one of) my planet(s), for reasons as yet unexplained, at certain altitudes close to the surface of the earth (within 1-3 miles of the surface), wind travels past the speed of sound. There seem to be zones where particles simply accelerate, and although they at some point can't go faster, they don't slow down very much. This presents the problem: migrating butterflies might have some . . . difficulties. Assume that the butterflies need to steer but that they are good enough at steering to avoid any and all obstacles (99.99% of the time.)


How might the butterflies have evolved to withstand gliding through the air at speeds past 343 meters/second?

Looking for structural components of wings that rely on organic, currently existing materials.

Sandbox Notes

I know this is quite underdeveloped, and I need to work on research for this, but I wanted to post it here just for advice on which way I need to build the question as I go along. Any and all feedback appreciated.


No idea. Please suggest.

  • Seems like the effects on the rest of the world are much more significant than the effects of butterflies. I would cut out the introductory material, since it distracts from the main question which is well stated in the question part. Just specify that you want a creature shaped like a butterfly, but able to withstand those winds. – kingledion Aug 29 at 15:43
  • Hm. I think we’ll need to know more about what’s causing this supersonic wind to handle it well. For example, it’s the shear stress of being half in non-moving air and half in supersonic air that’s problematic, but if you transition slowly enough to gale-force winds you’ll probably be fine. In essence, we need to know how the supersonic wind interacts with both normal parcels of air and how it interacts with the ground/other objects. – Dubukay Sep 1 at 4:20
  • Indeed. Unless you are dealing with general relativity or quantum mechanics traveling in a moving medium at the same speed as that moving medium is indistinguishable from simply being in still air. It is the acceleration that is the real concern. F = ma – The Great Duck Sep 4 at 6:03
  • Are there objects the butterflies might run into? Rocks hurled through the air? Do the butterflies have to steer? – John Locke Sep 6 at 22:29
  • You may want to do some investigation into fluid dynamics and boundary layers. In a regular world like our own, it’s nearly impossible to get very fast flow across a surface. Rather, the really fast flow will occur a distance away from everything where there’s no friction from nearby objects, and there’s almost always a patch of calm along the surface itself. This makes it difficult to envision a scenario where the butterflies experience an abrupt change in velocity (and thus high acceleration) that they’d need to be designed against. – Dubukay Sep 17 at 16:07

Vampires and antiquated habits - swords

Following on with the vampire lore I started filling out with How to design an advanced deadman's switch for the "vitality impaired"?, I'd like to examine the trope of vampires, and vampire hunters, using antiquated weapons. In this case I'm particularly asking about swords, so my question is simple; apart from a sense of tradition why would a vampire born in the modern era favour a sword over a firearm?

Answers should use assume vampires:

  • are allergic to garlic, silver, and sunlight.

  • require a stead blood diet, not necessarily human but that is preferred.

  • heal very rapidly from any but the most grievous injuries (decapitation and catastrophic heart damage being the only permanent injuries known).

  • only breath when they wish to speak.

  • have no detectable heartbeat, but do have circulation.

  • remain at room temperature at all times.

  • are at least twice as strong and twice as fast (both in terms of their ability to move and their reaction time) as humans.

  • have effectively infinite stamina.

Good answers will examine in details how these differences in vampire physiology lead to them favouring swords (being defined as one or two-handed long bladed melee weapons) in an age that generally prefers firearms.



  • I feel like I'm missing a tag.

  • have a given enough details on the vampires I want to examine?

  • am I going to get hit with the POB hammer even if I have gone into enough detail to make the question clear?

  • I think you will get hit with some POB votes because no matter how well-defined your vampires are, you’re still asking about what is essentially a personal preference. I mean, what do you think an excellent answer to this question would be? I’ve thought of several answers already and don’t have a good way to distinguish “best” among them. – Dubukay Sep 17 at 16:04

If the genus Poa went extinct, would we still have lawns?

So my super-secret biological warfare division is working on a project of creating a weapon that can kill enemy (non-modified) food crops but not kill ours. Before starting work on actual grains, they work on developing a super-fast spreading, super-deadly GMO to kill grasses, specifically bluegrass and others in the Poa genus it can detect. Before completion of pre-trials, the GMO escapes from labs and succeeds in killing almost all of the good ol' kentucky bluegrass that grows on our lawns, and severely impacts others in the Poa genus (~80-90% dead, whoops).

I'm looking for something a little silly: what will replace the grass on our lawns? Don't worry, our government will cover up the fact we run biowarfare tests...


Meta questions: Is this likely to be closed? Should I change the title? And what, if any, better tags should I add?

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    The title does not match the question in the body. Also please note that you are asking about a mostly esthetic thing: whats will happen to our lawns. That's not answerable. It will depend on culture, fashion, personal preference and purpose (e.g. city park, soccer pitch, suburbia ...) and that will change over time on top of it. – Raditz_35 Aug 23 at 8:34
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    I think this is likely to be closed as primarily-opinion based. As I see it, there are really two options - one, generate a new strain of grass that's resistant to the GMO and sell it at high prices to those who desperately want lawns, or two, give up on the whole lawn thing and xeriscape the place. Distinguishing between those is a matter of opinion, not rationalization. Perhaps you could ask specifically about the economy of it? I.e. "is it more expensive to xeriscape the dead lawns of the world or engineer a new grass strain?" That'd be more quantitatively answerable. – Dubukay Aug 26 at 16:54
  • I do think you should change the title, because as Raditz points out, you ask about extinction in the title (which gives it a clickbaity vibe) but then only 80-90% loss in the question itself, if I've understood it correctly. Maybe "without normal grass, would we have lawns?" would be more accurate. Although that specific phrasing sounds very opinion based and hard to answer. – Dubukay Aug 26 at 16:56
  • I'm really glad you limited this to the one Genus otherwise see The Death of Grass. Which is why I would suggest that you do change the title because currently it implies all, as opposed to a small subset, of the grasses. – Ash Aug 27 at 13:02
  • This is a reminder about keeping the Sandbox clean: are you still working on this draft? If so, please edit it to show how we may further help you. If not, please edit your draft to shorten it to something like "Not posted: title" and delete it. The current guidelines are that a draft is eligible for deletion after 30 days without an edit from the OP and a comment like this one for at least 7 days. – Dubukay Sep 17 at 16:47

how could I use a wartime tribunal to maintain my hold on power during the French revolution?

History will forever regard me as the "incorruptible". There has never been another whose honor was more unquestionable, morality irreproachable, and sense of justice unquestionable. It was n as tubal that destiny would choose me to help overthrow the tyrant king Louis and bring democracy to France. My cohorts and i ended the divine right of kings and established the committee of public safety, a measure aimed at protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion.  We were to establish a new age where our nation would be governed by the will of the people.

But it was not to be. France continued to be plagued with numerous problems that put a halt to our revolution. Members of the royal family and their cohorts aimed to regain their power, an increasingly corrupt and decadent church more concerned with maintain their lands than the good of the nation, counter revolutionaries made up of citizens who were unable or unwilling to embrace my vision. These issues sadly forced me to enact many harsh policies as the head of the committee in order to protect the revolution and it's ideals.

The greatest snub came from the treachery of my own allies. Men that I thought were with me, who i fought with, ate with, who proved to be too weak to follow through with our cause. Now that I am dead, I have had time to reflect on my decisions. France would have been a bastion of enlightenment and prosperity had it not been for my betrayal. How could I have directed the committee to maintain my grip on power?

How do I create the largest possible space habitat for humans?

Tags: Astrophysics, Physics, Space, Biology, hard-science

So I'm making a post-FTL world in which humans are the first, and so far only, species to explore the stars. It's thousands (if not millions) of years in the future, and we've become post scarcity. Antimatter, Antienergy, Fusion, Fission, genetic engineering, molecular 3D printing, and FTL travel have all been developed and perfected. Basically the only thing we can't do is manipulate gravity freely. What form does my space habitat take to house the largest population of humans?


  • No Handwavium material, but feel free to create structures completely out of carbon nanotubes, gallium, gold, or any other material provided it won't decay fast enough to hurt structural integrity or irradiate people to death.

  • Structure should be made to last 1,000 years minimum.

  • Any given enclosure need to be connected to another enclosure with a walkway that can be walked through in a manageable amount of time, like an hour or less. It's a quirk that future humans have, wanting to be as closely together as possible.

  • It should be expandable when possible.


  • Logistics such as food, water, and electricity are all self contained in any given structure using '(S)ignificantly (A)dvanced (T)echnology [that it] appear[s]to be magic.' No need to worry about it I'll work around whatever.

  • Any size planet, black hole, or other astronomical body can be found and moved or made using S.A.T., so long as the body can exist at all. I.E.: Any star with enough mass to collapse into a black hole will, but any star below that size can be found and used.

  • Radiation coming from space is neutralized. However, if you use something radioactive like a sun in your design, you need to account for the mass of appropriate radiation shields.

  • Construction time is no object.

Given these parameters, how do I make the largest livable habitat possible?

Possible forms the station could take:

  • An orb that encircles a black hole to use for gravity.

  • A series of super dense planetary cores that creates gravity for each consecutive floor building outwards in layers that encircle the entire planet until gravity is too weak, and then the outermost layer is connected to the outermost layer of another structure build around a planetary core.

  • A hollow cylinder surrounding the barycenter of a series of planets that all give off ~1g.


  • Does this question make sense?
  • Is it too complicated for WB?
  • Should I add/remove information? (What information?)
  • Should I offer an award?
  • Any other notes?
  • So good to go? I'll post if I don't have a response in before twenty four hours pass. – Clay Deitas Sep 5 at 21:46
  • Maybe the question is too broad. How will you decide on the best answer? – John Locke Sep 6 at 22:28
  • @JohnLocke Its a physics problem so there's a mathematical solution. – Clay Deitas Sep 7 at 0:47
  • How so? Unless you are going to somehow calculate the density of humans in each case, how will you rank the solutions? – John Locke Sep 7 at 0:55
  • @JohnLocke The habitat that can hold the most humans is the best. I don't get what's so confusing? – Clay Deitas Sep 7 at 2:47
  • Isn't the best method cramming humans into a giant expandable sphere then? – John Locke Sep 7 at 10:40
  • @JohnLocke Maybe, I don't know. That's why I asked. – Clay Deitas Sep 7 at 11:45
  • It looks like you’ve posted this question to Main - that’s awesome! Remember to keep the Sandbox clean by shortening your draft to something like “Posted: title”, deleting it, and editing the community post at the top of the page. – Dubukay Sep 7 at 14:39
  • @Dubukay Unfortunately it's been put on hold, and I'll most likely need to publish an edited version. So for now I'm leaving it up in sandbox. – Clay Deitas Sep 7 at 21:52
  • Okay, then please edit your draft to let us know what feedback you’ve already gotten and what your specific problems are. Then we’ll be ale to give you the best possible recommendations. – Dubukay Sep 7 at 21:54
  • Ditch the Hard-science tag, here and in the already asked version of the question. – Ash Sep 11 at 14:10
  • @Ash Why? I want actual calculations. – Clay Deitas Sep 11 at 15:18
  • @ClayDeitas No you don't, you're dealing in Clarke's 3rd Law levels of technology, the only number involved in proper answers is going to be ∞. – Ash Sep 11 at 15:26
  • @Ash Clarke's third law doesn't apply to material strength nor gravity in my proposed question, which are the forces required for calculations. – Clay Deitas Sep 11 at 15:28
  • @ClayDeitas No they're not, "molecular 3D printing" means you can create chemically, and in fact baryonically, impossible structures with unknowable physical properties, just read Hacking Matter some time. So once again let me state that the only number in any real answer to this question is ∞. – Ash Sep 11 at 15:33

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