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14 Answers 14


[Note for sandbox: I asked this question already on the main site, but I got some premise challenges right away. One thing that stood out is the need to give a technology level of both sides, as they may have technology that could detect it in other ways. Also, lasers may not be the best idea in general, but I would like to stick with that, so my new question will most likely need to focus on how to make it work, rather than if it could. Below in italics is my original question, and below that will be my new proposed question]

Can a Laser be used to tunnel silently under the enemy

I was reading about tunneling in WW1 and how noise often gave them away. So my wonder is whether a sufficiently powerful laser could be used to form a tunnel. I assume significant issues would include the gasses needing to escape, the noise of the laser generator (not sure of the term for it), the dust making the laser ineffective, and the need to still enter the tunnel between bursts to add supports to prevent cave-ins (which would probably be noise in itself).

So, to sum up, is it realistic to use a laser to tunnel when the goal is silence?


How could I use a laser near-silently tunnel under an enemy?

Considering a technology level equal to what we have today, how could you use a laser to tunnel as silently as possible under an enemy? Some issues I have to consider are that a powerful enough laser would have "deleterious effects" to my side, expansion as the laser dumps heat into the surrounding earth, needing to allow gas to escape to prevent explosions, dust scattering the laser making it ineffective, and the need to enter the tunnel to add supports.

So, to sum up, how can I make this idea realistic, considering these significant issues?

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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Hey, I thought you'd be interested in this. Thanks again for your help, and sorry again for my perhaps too quick reaction! (No hard feelings from me, I was just preoccupied at the time). I basically just changed the premise from "could it work" to "how can I force this to work" $\endgroup$ – Aethenosity Apr 13 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ (a) does the enemy know to look? Is it SOP to listen for tunneling? If yes, what devices would they be using? If no, continue. (b) Are we looking to tunnel without it being noticeable by noise or vibration above ground? People don't see their glasses of water dancing and can't feel it in their feet? (aka, what's the "failure" critera?) (c) How big must the tunnel be? (d) do you know what kind of rock/soil we're working with? Or, what location on Earth would reflect the soil type you're looking for? Given all that, asking what laser tech can be brought to bear is a good question. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 21 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ What JBH said but I think it would be better to define the laser tech being used as well and ask what other technologies and machinery you need to put in with that laser to get the results you're looking for. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 1 at 17:52

I've only had one person respond. I'd appreciate input from others, thank you.

I'm considering a question as a spin off to How to calculate rate of axial precession?

I knew constellations and star position changed over time, but was not familiar with the term axial precession or how it worked. After reading up on it, I realize that I do have a question that relates to it. The background to the question is mostly in place but I'm not sure how to ask the question.

Basically: what is different and confusing and how would it be resolved? I don't feel I understand the problem well enough to know what to ask, though I know what I want my characters to go through. The title will change once I have a stronger question in place. I'll also add in the background of axial precession.

My concern is this question may be off topic. Please help me formulate it better so it's on topic. Or let me know nothing will get it there. Thanks!

What would the 1350 BCE sky look like to a time traveler from the present?

My novel has children (up to age 14) from the Southwestern United States in 1995 time travel to Ancient Egypt (and later the Sinai Peninsula) around the time period 1350 BCE. Basic constellations are common knowledge among American schoolchildren, especially ones like mine who do not live in an urban area. And I expect most of them will know about the North Star (with at least a couple of them knowing how to find it). Some of my characters are boy or girl scouts and, speaking from my own childhood training, would have learned how to find and use the North Star for directionality and travel. Others may have learned from family campouts, summer camp, or just plain from other children/adults.

A consequence of the precession is a changing pole star. Currently Polaris is extremely well suited to mark the position of the north celestial pole, as Polaris is a moderately bright star with a visual magnitude of 2.1 (variable), and it is located about one degree from the pole, with no stars of similar brightness too close.

The previous pole star was Kochab (Beta Ursae Minoris, β UMi, β Ursae Minoris), the brightest star in the bowl of the "Little Dipper", located 16 degrees from Polaris. It held that role from 1500 BC to AD 500. It was not quite as accurate in its day as Polaris is today. Today, Kochab and its neighbor Pherkad are referred to as the "Guardians of the Pole" (meaning Polaris). (ref)

This picture shows the Little Dipper constellation with the current North Star, Polaris, just past the end of the Little Dipper handle and the former North Star, Kochab, in the left bottom corner of the dipper (when rotated to "hold water"). An enlargement of the graphic is here.

enter image description here

The name Kochab may come from the Hebrew word for star, kōkhāv. This works well for me as my Ancient Egyptian characters are Hebrews (the Hebrew language didn't exist as such yet, but its predecessor, Canaanite, did...just handwave the language bit). I don't know what constellation the ancient Egyptians or Hebrews had for either Polaris or Kochab, but I know it wouldn't have been the shape or name of the Little Dipper.

The night sky is a huge big deal in low-artificial-light areas, so everyone will notice it and talk about it. It will become an even bigger deal when they leave Egypt and enter the Sinai Peninsula and people are trying to figure out where they're going. So no way will my characters (ancient and modern) not talk about this.

Looking through the eyes of a modern teenager from the Northern Hemisphere trained in how to find and use Polaris for directions, and with basic knowledge of the constellations and so forth, how would the sky appear different and how would confusion over the "North Star" manifest?

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    $\begingroup$ The stars themselves move veeeeery slowly; this is called "proper motion". Axial precession by itself does not change the relative position of the stars -- it just moves the entire night sky so that (1) it is tilted with respect to how we see it today and (2) it looks like it would look to us on a different date of the year. For example, about 3300 years ago the sky in March would look like it looks to us in May, and in addition it would rotate around β Ursae Minoris (roughly) instead of around α Ursae Minoris. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 5 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Yes, and the North Star would be a completely different star. Wouldn't that throw someone off or cause confusion? $\endgroup$ – Cyn May 5 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ "Throw someone off"? How so? 3,300 years ago the north celestial pole was sort-of near the star β Ursae Minoris (Kochab), but the distance was very much greater (some 10°) than between the current North Star and the pole. In those times people didn't really use precise celestial navigation, and in general avoided sailing their ships out of sight of land for more than a few days; and they did not have charts good enough for precise navigation. On land, of course, people "navigated" point-to-point from town to town. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 5 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP in modern times even kids learn that if you find Polaris you'll always know which way is north. Useful if you're lost in the woods and can't wait until morning or it's too overcast during the day, and you don't have a compass. That's not precise navigation but it's something you use the stars for. $\endgroup$ – Cyn May 5 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ So maybe the answer to the question isn't "the stars are different in this way" but rather "you mean where you come from there's a star that always shows you which way is north? How utterly bizarre!" $\endgroup$ – Cyn May 5 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ Well, in those days they didn't. And "our" Polaris would still be not that far from the north celestial pole anyway, maybe 20° off maximum. And yes, it would throw off the astronomers of the day if the time-travellers told them about "our" North Star; the precession of the equinoxes was not known in those times -- it was discovered by Hipparchus in the 2nd century BCE. (That's because it is so slow; only after centuries and centuries of observations it became apparent that the north celestial pole is moving.) $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 5 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking us to create a star map for 1350 BC? That's a tall order. And precession is a very small detail in that very tall order. Although few (if any) will take full advantage of all astronomical knowledge, have you tried using any of the sky mapping software out there? E.G., 1, 2, 3, 4. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 12 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ As for confusion over the north star. That's probably POB. You'll have sailors with specialized knowledge and beggars without. Exactly who are you asking? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 12 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Creating a star map is either easy or very difficult. Your link #4 allows me to enter dates but won't go earlier than 1 CE. But I'm not asking for a full star map. Just, will 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 BCE? Is that a reasonable question in your eyes? $\endgroup$ – Cyn Jun 12 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ If that was all you were asking, I think we'd be good to go, but your question includes the clause, "how would the sky appear different and how would confusion over the 'North Star' manifest?" which makes the question POB and too broad. Are you willing to reduce the question to what you just asked? Because right now you're asking for a complete sky map. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Of course I'm willing to cut the question down. So if I make sure it's just about the North Star, you won't VTC? $\endgroup$ – Cyn Jun 13 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Will 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 BCE? I wouldn't VTC that question. Someone will, thinking it's POB (how can we really know the perspective of the teen?), but I believe that would be erroneous. Edit this Sandbox entry to what you think is its final form (it has info that's superfluous to your Q, like the Hebrew language stuff). I think you're close. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 14:18

Electrokinesis, direct, and based on technology

Superhumans in my setting works based on advanced technology (but not clarketech; no violations of physical laws, no FTL); my question is, how can a superhuman direct electricity? From my understanding of electricity, it moves in the easiest path it can take; air, for instance, retards the motion of electricity until the energy level reaches lightning level. But I need electrokinetics to be able to move electricity at their command. No psychic powers exist, but nanotech and neurological modification are two paths I can see possibilities in.

  • $\begingroup$ What tags would you use for this? Also, I would check out this electricity magic question - its not a direct dupe but would be good to reference it with a line like "My question is similar to the electric mage question but I am looking for answers with more scientific basis/evidence" $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell Mar 30 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ @JGreenwell I'd probably use science-based, superpowers, and reality-check $\endgroup$ – Ushumgallu Mar 30 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ Please add those tags to your post. Never assume people will read through comments to find clarifications. Use this markup: `science-based'. I would recommend specifying how the electricity will be manipulated. "Anything they want" means you don't have a science-based answer. Create the (short) list of exactly what you expect them to do in your story and add that as a bullet list. The shorter, the more likely we can give you an answer. Note that what the superpower does (the answers you get) may have little to do with electricity. They may be manipulating magnetism, for example. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 3 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean add tags to this sandbox post, or when I ask in in the main worldbuilding? $\endgroup$ – Ushumgallu Apr 3 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Please list the tags in the sandbox so those, too, can be discussed. I note that my attempt to show you the markup failed. Let's try this: [tag:science-based] There we go, that worked. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 6 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ "Electricity" (by which I suppose that you mean electric current) moves through all the paths it can take. All of them. If a path through which current can flow exists, then current will flow thru it. How much current flows thru each path depends on the impendance of the path and of all the available paths. This is how it is and it cannot be otherwise. (If it helps you, you can visualize electric current as a flow of water; water flows thru all the available downhill paths.) Therefore, if you want to direct current flow you must create a suitable low-impedance path. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 9 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP the question thus becomes, how is that done? $\endgroup$ – Ushumgallu Apr 10 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP makes a very good point. If you have a wire in water, grounded on one side and you electrify the other, you'll have electricity in both the water and the wire. How much depends on the resistance difference between the two paths, but you'll have some in both. Having said that, it seems you're asking for behavior like a Van de Graaff generator with your "superpower" being able to (a) source the electricity from somewhere and (b) identify a target. Is this what you're looking for? $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 21 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH you are correct, that is what I am looking for; how to make the electricity strike the intended target. $\endgroup$ – Ushumgallu Apr 22 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ OK. Please make that clear in your question. Note that "advanced tech" and "clark tech" are the same thing, especially since you're asking to do something that only lightning can do naturally. I'm an EE, and off the top of my head I can't think of how to answer your question. It takes a sizable voltage difference to force electricity to go where it doesn't want to go. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 23 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, rereading they do seem similar, though I meant one as technology within the laws of physics, and the other that violates of physical laws. $\endgroup$ – Ushumgallu Apr 23 at 21:46

Humans separated by two close terran planets one 0.8g, other 1.4g, over 10k+ years, questions

I'm writing the lore for a mod I am making, and want to make an interesting background history for a trio of planets that orbit possibly a binary-star. The first two main planets rotate very closely to each other that "primitive" space-ships like solar sails and chemical engines can escape rapidly theirs and enter the next planet when they come into close orbit. I don't know anything about planetary rotations. I'm not going for great realism but plausible realities.

The novel idea is that long ago and recordings lost, inter-planetary civilization collapsed so bad, that one of the planets that could gravitationally distort time and space nearby disappeared, and with massive warfare, sent both planets receding to the bronze age in the societal crash. That special planet in its absence made space travel between both homeworlds temporarily almost instantaneous when few conditions were met periodically without the need for 20th century equipment, which is no longer the case after several millenniums. Which immediately afterwards many people exploited, maintaining limited but extraordinary space-flight regardless with what was left to exploit that gravitational phenomenon. These vehicles sustaining upwards thousands of settlers or ten-of-thousands of raiders for numerous two-way trips, greatly affecting the developments on both planets.

The 0.8g planet is an arid planet with oceans and signature flat savanna's with some tropical regions naturally about. This planet frequently sent aggressive war parties to the other in recent history before the advent of industrial warfare and melee was mainstay, being historically more centralized.

The 1.4g planet was originally going to be a sea-less world with high elevations. Now, to broaden its depth, it consists of small seas and great lakes, with "continents" being entire valleys, grand canyons, massive Nile-esque rivers, and endless hilly Virginian terrain, often isolating tribal states and civilizations like China and Britannia was.

Most people on both planets have completely acclimatized to their native gravity, perhaps even genetically, to the point births on the 1.4g world are 2/3rd's lesser but their people are shorter and much more stronger and reflexive, whereas the 0.8g human's are naturally taller and weaker. Is that correct, plausible, good?

The third planet to appear is a barely colonized 1g planet basically like Earth's conditions. How would Human's almost genetically adapted to 0.8 fair invading a 1.4g planet, and vice versa, and dwelling on a new 1.0g planet? And the third planet doesn't have its gravity affect the rest of the solar system, implausible?

The military lore at present, is mostly musketry, bolt-action rifles and limited melee, thus would ballistic weapons develop and behave different manufactured at low and high gravity, and then subsequently used on the next radically different environment? Would capital-ships and transports produced and used in the opposing atmospheres/gravity have great difficulties?

Lastly, the 1.4g planet has an unusual development of four-legged-mechs like Ring-Of-Reds due to its terrain demands,Ring of Red, grouped into platoons complementing brigade-sized units. Would they fair well in a high-gravity world that often resembles the transition from Virginian hills, Korean mountains, to Tibetan Plateaus frequently? Or is the regular development of armored vehicles the better solution?

I know I am asking many questions, but just curious of what everything I've said is an issue, contradictory, or actually different than what would occur scientifically? Really appreciate it for any answers, great website by the way.

I gotta find a way to break this down better, wish it could all be answered at once, alas not.

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    $\begingroup$ You're right, too many questions. SE's model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer. The problem with too many questions (making the post too broad) is that #1 may have an excellent answer but #2-#7 may not. Another respondent may give you a great #2, but #1,#3-#7 are bad. So, how do you choose the one best answer? Therefore, you need to choose what you want answered first. It's OK to ask multiple questions here, though we suggest one at a time as the answer to one may impact others. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 8 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Naga, is this question still active? How can I better assist you with it? $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 21 at 20:41

** Naga Speech Ability **


In my world there are snake people (aka Naga). They have a snake body and head with their humanoid characteristic being arms. (Side note, this is a quick post from phone. I'll be doing some research later to see if there's a specific type of snale head I want to use. I'm guessing I'll go for something like a cobra's. Either that or closer to python as my snake people are non-venomous.)

Would these snake people be able to effectively speak human language? (My guess is this is too broad, so specific language would be English.)

Are there any other things I meed to consider to make this a good question?

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    $\begingroup$ You might be asking the question from the wrong point of view. As written, the answer is "no" because no snake mouth/throat can make all the sounds humans make (or they would be taught to talk like parrots). Among other tags, you will be using creature-design and what I suspect you're asking is, "what would I need to do to a creature with a head like X to allow it to vocalize like a human?" Please be sure you search this site, too, to avoid closure as a duplicate (this sounds familiar). $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 24 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ Firstly, does your Naga race have either a human-like larynx (or maybe a syrinx)? Secondly, are you familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet? You could approach their phonetic inventory by considering the anatomy of their mouths. The first example I think of is that snakes don't have flexible lips, and therefore would be unable to utilize bilabial noises. $\endgroup$ – Tristong May 31 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Are you still working on this question? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 12 at 14:40

Why would non-kinetic weapons be used for orbital bombardment?

At the moment this is more a stub I'm working on than a fully formed question.

The space borne planetary invasion force is a staple of many Sci-fi genres

Most space invasions face the need to destroy some, or all, ground based infrastructure in order to take over a world. One of the things that often puzzles me is the depiction of lasers or particle beams for targeted ground attacks. These weapons would seem to tend to be dispersed or deflected by atmospheric gases and planetary magnetic fields.

Assuming that you have access to accurate "dialable damage" kinetic weapons for attacking ground side infrastructure Assuming that you want the planet you've gone to the trouble of invading largely intact, so no cobalt bombs or other long-term area-denial weapons.

Kinetics are, potentially, highly accurate and can easily have "dialable" damage output, simply adjust the size and aerodynamics of the round.


  • $\begingroup$ Please ping me with a comment when the question is ready for review. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 25 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ To me this sounds as if you are thinking the wrong way around. I don't know if that's the case because it's not "fully formed", but I think it's already a decent enough question. The thing is: Many things can be done. Why do we have dvds when there is the internet? To quote a now disgraced comedian, some things are and some things are not. It's smart to think "Why don't they choose the better alternative" you assume they've perfected, but sometimes there are multiple options and you've got to pick one or perhaps many. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Apr 29 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ PS: I hope the final form is more along the ways "what other options are there?" and not "why isn't one out of many alternatives chosen and why isn't the answer trivially 'because those particular space aliens just have more effective&efficient weapons of type A' ?" $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Apr 29 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 More a matter of why would you use a less efficient and/or excessively destructive option if you have the choice. $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 29 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ I am still working on this, I know its been a while. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jun 9 at 18:27

Landscaping on this odd-shaped planet

I'm creating some kind world map of this pear-shaped planet for my alien race, but I need to find some ideal land-to-water ratio for this planet, and some axial tilt that smaller side of planet doesn't get shadowed by larger side of this planet, which this planet spins vertically.

About my alien race, Zefussian, who are much larger than average humans and they can inflate themselves into massive walking blimps, so plants and animals can get massive sizes too. Maybe their homeplanet gravity is bit lighter than Earth's gravity.

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    $\begingroup$ The part about your alien race doesn't really add much to the question. You could add in that gravity is roughly earth like, but it would be better if you moved the "About" part before the actual question and added some labeling so readers know its background info that doesn't really relate to the question. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee May 9 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Shadowzee - the part about the aliens does not seem relevant to the question about the land/water ratio on a planet. If this is the aliens' home planet, then it might make sense if you focus on how much water they need. They might have evolved with more or less water around and might be more suited to one. Although we humans are land creatures on a planet where the majority is water... However, if the aliens are terraforming the planet, then they might add more water or reduce it to suit their actual needs. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jun 4 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ I don't believe "ideal" is definable. Earth's ratio of 71% water to 29% land obviously works. But could we survive with 60%/40%? probably. So, (a) what do you mean by "ideal"? (b) Are you only asking about that ratio, or are you also asking about an axial tilt? (Probably should ask about those separately). (c) What goals can you give us to help determine an answer? What weather goals or land quality goals? It's impossible to solve all the equations at once without you setting some limits. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 12 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I was watching Artifexian's worldbuilding videos about map making, Especially about albedo, placing biomes, atmospheric circulation, and climate changes.Also I'm thinking does this planet be better with one massive pangea or multiple continents? $\endgroup$ – Leonard Greenland Jun 13 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ I hope these gigantic plants and animals will live happily on this planet without most catastrophic natural disasters. $\endgroup$ – Leonard Greenland Jun 13 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @LeonardGreenland, I see where you're going, but Stack Exchange asks that we follow a pattern. Should I use a pangea? is a question that cannot be asked (primarily opinion-based) unless you can assert enough criteria to no longer make it an opinion-based question, by which time you've basically answered it. In other words, SE is great for asking "did I do this right?" but is stinks for asking "what should I do next?" If you think about it, you tell me, Pangaea or continents? It's your world and without knowing all the rules I can't comment on which is better for you. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ To that end you might consider reviewing the reality-check tag. It's purpose is to skirt this problem by inviting you, the OP, to give us a complete scenario. Tell us the choice you make and the rules of your world (I chose Pangaea and here's why...). The reality-check tag asks the rest of us to evaluate your choice based on the rules of your world to see if you've applied your rules consistently. Perhaps that would be the best format for your question. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 23:04

How can a fascist regime manage opposition in its government while maintaining its power over society?

The chaos god slaanesh has sent its minions to the mortal plane, declaring war on nations and sowing discord among countries. When the dust settled, only Mussolini's fascist regime was left standing, as it was able to pull together quickly to repel the daemonic invaders. Due to its centralized government and totalitarian control over all walks of society, subjugation of individual rights to the benefit of the state, and emphasis on constant war, it inspired a feeling of intense nationalism and allowed for quick decision making rather than the inherent chaos of competing interests in democratic societies.

However, The fascist regime has inherent flaws and weaknesses. Fascism is a philosophy that exalts nation and race above the individual and stands for a autocratic government, sever economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. Such centralization requires a lot of bullying, subversion, and backstabbing. This leads to dictators becoming very paranoid because of not knowing who to trust, causing them to lash out at enemies and allies alike. While this may make them feel secure, it prevents them from getting complete facts about certain matters. People intentionally hide things from the leader, military blunders, shortages, and so forth, forcing them to micromanage. A fascist regime can't trust anyone because it sees enemies from inside and without, eventually collapsing in the long run.

To prevent this, some form of responsible opposition must be maintained. This allows the state to notice when things are going wrong and nip them in the bud before they become worse and cause the regime to make a mistake. Is there a way that the government can foster a limited form of this while maintaining their grip on power?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm personally coming to the conclusion that any question that asks, "what action should X take?" is 100% off-topic, regardless of what X is. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 12 at 14:33

After submitting a question elsewhere, it has been suggested that I move my question here.

How would planet formation within an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy impact its solar systems and planets?

From the research I've done, this is what I know, but other's may have more insight into what these data points mean on a more granular scope. Any resources and opinions are appreciated.

Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxies

  • Formed relatively soon after the formation of the universe.
  • Created from pristine gas(?) containing 0.1% to 10% metallicity. Contains 10,000's of stars.
  • Contains older redder stars due to lifespan of larger stars.
  • Contains White Dwarfs as remnants of main-sequence stars.
  • Stars tend to have 100 to 10,000 times fewer metals than the Sun. Low metallicity results in fewer planets and favors gaseous planets over terrestrial ones.

Reference Galaxies

  • Boo I
  • Com Ber
  • CYn II
  • Hercules
  • Leo IV
  • UMa I

P.S. I'm not completely familiar with sandbox and I'm on mobile, let me know if I need to be doing something different. Thanks.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, I gather (from your original post) that you've some familiarity with astronomy's quirks regarding "metalicity", and there only being the first 9 elements of the periodic table to play with there. In your first post you suggested that there've been supernovas, to make the others - is there a particular (newer) star system you're interested in making, or is your civilization broader, encompassing the more ancient systems? Or are you looking to create life with the simpler chemistry available, what's your objective here? $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm May 29 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't given age too much of a thought and there's a lot about metalicity that I feel I'm missing. I would like there to be as many familiar elements available for the focal solar system, even if they are present in small amounts. With that said, I assume I would need a younger star. I do have a preference for K,G, and M with that order of preference. $\endgroup$ – Tristong May 29 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ It's my bed-time, I'll look into this tomorrow to see if I can be of help. $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm May 29 at 22:26
  • $\begingroup$ This looks like it has the potential to be a good question, but I have some clarification requests: 1) When is this planet formation taking place - now, or (more probably) when the population of stars in the galaxy first formed about 10-12 billion years ago? 2) What sort of impacts or effects are you looking for? I'm not really clear on the second point. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 May 30 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ The planet formation should probably occur several billion years ago, but I'm not completely committed to that. I would like there to be as many elements available as possible within the realm of scientific plausibility. As for the impacts: I'm thinking planet composition, would there be a lot of asteroids and other junk yet fewer planets, relative closeness of neighboring galaxies. $\endgroup$ – Tristong May 30 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Just to say I'm still pondering how to narrow it down. Would I be (reasonably) correct in assuming that you're trying to create a system containing a planet (somewhat) Earth-like, in a system with a star (maybe class M) and other planets (which would be mostly gas planets), plus some asteroids, not all made of just the light elements - in a (low luminosity) galaxy with similar stars (ie, mostly dim-stars by this time)? Is this roughly the scenario you wish to see if it's possible? Have I missed anything out? $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm May 31 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not trying to be flippant, just trying to establish parameters of what could be an excellent question. I suggest that you focus - at present - on figuring out how you might want your solar system to function, then we can figure out how it might be possible in your chosen galactic setting - and work from there. $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm May 31 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you want someone specific in the thread to reply to comments, you'd need to place an @ before their name which means that we/they get pinged. $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm May 31 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Hoyle'sghost The original design of my system was K type star, a hot jupiter, terrestrial planet 1 (approximately ~2x Earth's radius), and terrestrial planet 2 in the L5 Lagrange point of planet 1. Most of which I'm willing to change for scientific accuracy. $\endgroup$ – Tristong Jun 1 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, we're getting somewhere, this could lead to a separate question about stability of systems - timescale too. It's coming up to 2 in the morning here, see you tomorrow. $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm Jun 1 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868, it's been a few days since you commented on this post. Any further thoughts? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 10 at 0:53

how can I represent independent individuals as part of a hivemind?

I posted this on writing and wantwd it to get transferred to worldbuilding. How can i do that? And does this question qualify to be posted here?

The demigods of this world are avatars of the one true God known as Dea and built in the image of humanity. These avatars hold within them souls, which are tiny pieces that have broken off from the main god and put into physical form, but remain a part of the original host. These demigods are independent and have their own opinions from each other, but are connected by a universal consciousness that operates similarly to a hive mind. This "super-consciousnesses" underlies their actions and governs them according to a set of universal laws and principles, which they are instinctively aware of. This prevents them from interfering with the mortal plane in most cases. These gods exist in the hundreds, and can be male or female.

These demigods are literally smaller pieces of the main god, similiar to branches or limbs connected to the same body. I want to represent these gods as beings that are connected to each other as a hive mind, yet still retain individual qualities and personalities like "normal" people. What would be the best way to showcase this?

  • $\begingroup$ Brainstorming questions (aka "fishing for ideas") have always been a problem on worldbuilding because they do not fit in the Stack Exchange mold. The methods we've developed to accommodate them are embodied in the infinite list of things, finite list of things, primarily opinion-based, and too story-based. In this case, the question is POB. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 6 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ POB is a common problem that's easily resolved. The problem: the OP is brainstorming on a site that can't handle it. The resolution: the OP must provide criteria for judgment in the form of restrictions and limitations that reflect the rules and systems of his/her world. In other words, you must replace the word "best" with an explanation of what can and cannot happen in your world as a consequence of the answers. If you feel that this means you're answering your own question, it's actually meant to do that: to force the OP to evaluate their problem before presenting it here. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 6 at 14:16

How can religious figures discourage acts of evil when hell has been confirmed not to exist?

God in this verse is similiar to a super-computer, a very large power source that continuously feeds on human souls to sustain itself. All human souls come from God, and remain connected to it through a metaphysical umbilical cord. A person is born with this cord, as it is transferred to them from its mother. When that person dies, that cord draws that soul to God, allowing it to eternally feed on it like a living battery. Every human instinctually feels this connection to their god throughout their life, confirming his existence to all.

This presents a problem for religious authorities when it comes to defining evil. Religions have an alternative counter to whatever deity it is based on, a "devil" that is supposed to be evil. This being is usually represented tas a being who would punish evil doers sent to its realm if they do not follow the tenets of their religion. With people automatically knowing that there is no hell and that everyone who dies will be absorbed by God, there is little reason not to commit evil acts.

How can religious authorities discourage evil without there being a hell after death?

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    $\begingroup$ Even given the open discussion about cultural world building, you're asking for the decisions and/or actions of characters in your story. Without more input from the community, I'd consider this question too story-based (you're asking us to write your story, not build your world). $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 10 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ You could perhaps rephrase it to ask if there were any real-world religions that didn't have a hell, but as I don't think there's a "right" answer there either it might still be too open-ended. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jun 10 at 11:19

How long can region be cut off from the outside world before noticed

Currently I am collecting reasons for and against the possibility that an entire region is cut off from the outside modern world. What I'm especially interested in is the duration of such an event going unnoticed.

The situation:

(If you played Far Cry 5 or know the game's premise from somewhere else, feel free to fast forward to "Reasons For and Against")

Imagine a small county (about 625 km² or 240 sq mi) somewhere in the god forsaken wilds of the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains (i.e. Wyoming or Montana). A few people live there, farming some crops, hunting for game and generally prefering to stay by themselves. A handful of little villages with a few inhabitants are scattered around the county. It's mountainous landscape is mostly wooded. There exist only two or three tunnels through the mountains that connect to the outside world. Some kind of clichéd backwater.

Now there is this doomsday cult that fortified a farm, hoarded like a million weapons and indoctrinated it's members like hell, all in secret. Someday they leave their hiding spot and try to overtake the county. They managed to shut down the tunnels and cable-based long range communications, invaded the villages and farms and killed, abducted and otherwise terrorized the locals. After a few days, a resistance group was formed to take up the struggle against the cult. (Enter Player One :) )

Reasons For and Against

I imagine in an area as sparsely inhabitated as Montana or Wyoming, it can take some time for the outside world to even realize what happend in our little county. If there ain't valuable resources (i.e. meat, grain or some ores) and/or tourist attractions, hardly anyone will go there. So for some days everything stays unnoticed. But someday someone will hear about it and maybe inform the authorities.

Factors favoring a long time of silence:

  • no need or reason for tourists or other outsiders travelling there
  • the people there tend to themselves and have little to none connections to the outside
  • most of the towns are somewhat self-sustaining, so there is a neglected flow of goods into the county (less chance of discovery)

Factors favoring a fast discovery:

  • mobile communications (sending a tweet in mere seconds is absolutely possible) -> could be mitigated by capturing base stations
  • CB-broadcasting (I imagine such devices are commonplace in those backwaters) -> jamming?
  • just fly away (there must be people with access to helis) -> this is a tough one; does the cult have access to SAM equipment?

The question

Do you see any further aspects to add to those two lists? Did I forget something critical? How long could the period of silence possible extend?


I must confess that the premise is somewhat far-fetched and that I don't know enough about the US to identify the inevitable stereotypes (I'm european and thus susceptible to stereotypic european views of the US). Please bear with me on that regard :)

Sandbox questions

Although I hope that the question is not too broad (e.g. too many factors can be identified), I somewhat tried to adhere to the framework here. This question could be sorted into the category 4 ("Is this plausible?"). I'm still unsure if it stays on-topic enough.

Another point is that I fear that this question is too much of "story/plot" and less of "world-/situation-building".

New contributor
martin is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Martin! Thanks for using the Sandbox. You might want to read through this Q which asked a similar question on behalf of a continent. It's obviously not a perfect match for what you're doing, but it will give you more ideas about the pros and cons of the issue of hiding in plain sight (as it were). Next, the format of your question doesn't work well here. "Here's my list, what's missing?" is an open-ended question on a service that (*continued*) $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ is specifically designed NOT to accept open-ended questions. Further, our help center states "To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where … your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers." that's exactly what you've done, provided your answer and you're now asking for more answers. Can you help me understand why you're asking the Q this way? How does fleshing out those lists help you build a specific, fictional world? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your comments, JBH! They made me think a little bit more about the possible outcome. My overall target is placing stories inside this confined region that can last at least for a couple of weeks, better months. But at first, I wanted to identify possible disturbances of the setting per se. The lists were my part of doing research. I made the mistake of not considering them as answers (and thus violating the principle you mentioned). (continued) $\endgroup$ – martin Jun 13 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ Because I'm not very good at identifying logical flaws, I wanted to know what things I missed that are obvious to others. The more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that even if I somehow manage to reduce the open-endedness, I might find myself in the dreary waters of POB (if not even further away from WB). Better to take some time and think about a more precise question. $\endgroup$ – martin Jun 13 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ Cool. As you might imagine, hosting imaginative and creative questions on a service designed to host objective, systemic, well-bounded questions (e.g., programming) is a challenge. Check out the difference between an infinite list of things and a finite list of things. We love answering questions about a finite list of things, and this question could easily be turned into that. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 13 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ IMO, this could be improved just by changing the two factor lists to: "Given the following factors which slow discovery".... "How could I address the following factors which speed up recovery (mobile, CB, internet/social media, Helicopter)" and adding a limiter or criteria for answers to be valued on (like saying answers should: "using technology that would be possible for civilian groups to get" or even "as low tech solutions as possible" or just "must last a week with low tech solutions"). As now - this is less open-ended (answers will need to address the concerns you already have). $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell Jun 14 at 3:11

How can absorbing energy be made dangerous for a leech?

Mana is the life energy present in all humans. It allows the body to sustain itself and perform its necessary functions to keep us alive. It also gives us the ability to use magical spells and rituals. Mana content increases as we get older, and determines the strength of our magical abilities. This leads to the strange fact that the demographic with the highest amount of mana are the old and decrepit.

Despite having more life energy than others, their bodies become weaker and frail with age. The reason for this is that aging works differently from oir world. Mana also doubly operates as a symbiotic spiritual parasite that slowly drains you of life while bolstering your magical ability. As a person gets older, the metaphysical barrier separating their physical body from their life force weakens. This causes their youth/vitality/health to be leeched away by their spirit-self, bolstering their mana. However, due to the age of the individual, it becomes harder to access their mana in order to use it in spells.

When a person dies, their soul, containing all of the mana they have gathered over the course of their lifetime, ascends to the spiritual plane and absorbed by God, fueling it with energy and bolstering its power.We are essentially bottomless receptacles for gathering energy, fattened up on mana to be harvested by our deity.

A leech is a derogatory name for an evil sorcerer who steals the mana of others to bolster their own supply, making their magic stronger. This is done through a magic ritual in which the person's mana is sucked out and consumed by the sorcerer. unfortunately, these rituals are dangerous to do alone. Trying to absorb a person's energy solo could lead to the sorcerer fulling themselves up with more than they can contain, exploding them from the inside.

If we humans are unlimited jars for collecting mana, why would the ritual for a sorcerer be dangerous?

  • $\begingroup$ (a) Are humans "unlimited jars?" Humans die an earlier-than-otherwise death thanks to mana. It sounds limited to me. (b) You've already answered your question by saying it's dangerous and requires multiple sorcerers. Remember the help center rule: don't answer your own question then ask for more answers. (c) We need to better understand your magic system to help you define the risks of using your system's magic - remember, raw brainstorming is no bueno here. $\endgroup$ – JBH yesterday
  • $\begingroup$ JBH added more to question. $\endgroup$ – Incognito yesterday
  • $\begingroup$ If I got this right, mana increases with age, but drains "life." The action of draining life is greater than the action of increasing mana, resulting in age and death. Due to aging, mana is harder to access, but when you can, there's more of it (suggesting that if you could cast a honking powerful spell, the price would be your life, a bit like a cap gun). If that's OK, then the next paragraph about god absorbing the mana is actually irrelevant to the Q (although humanity being treated like fattened turkeys is clever). (*continued*) $\endgroup$ – JBH yesterday
  • $\begingroup$ However, my original point (b) remains. Your "leech" definition paragraph answers your own question (there's the danger of exploding from absorbing too much mana), you then ask for more answers. Are you simply asking for more ways for it to be dangerous (which is off-topic w/o proper limits and guidance as to a best-answer) or am I misunderstanding what you're asking? Finally, you'll get people hung up on the first clause in the last paragraph ("unlimited jars..."). I'd just remove it as it's irrelevant. Your previous paragraphs explain it better. $\endgroup$ – JBH yesterday
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I'm asking why should it dangerous for a leech to absorb this mana by thenselves. Why would it make them explode if the human body has potential for unlimited mana. $\endgroup$ – Incognito yesterday
  • $\begingroup$ Than I can think of no way to ask that question that would remain open. Frankly, godlike abilities are always a poor choice for anyone other than gods, which makes the only sensible answer trivial: they don't have an infinite capacity. If your world's rules require that humanity has an infinite capacity, then you need to explain your magic system in much more detail (how magic is used, what limits its application, what prices are paid for its use, etc., etc.) for us to have a shot at answering it. (*continued*) $\endgroup$ – JBH yesterday
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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that you have a dichotomy. Mana ages faster than it builds. The more you gain, the faster you age. Unlimited potential means 0 life expectancy - and since life expectancy diminishes faster than mana is gained, you've already created a system where it's impossible to have unlimited mana (you're dead before you get there). $\endgroup$ – JBH yesterday

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