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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have locked the previous sandboxes as "obsolete". This should avoid confusion with the duplicate, since they hardly have the same content. For future reference, just flag the to-be-closed sandbox for mod attention requesting it to be obsoleted. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 18:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Reminder to readers : Please do not vote on proposed questions. At least 2 persons/accounts skipped the sandbox's rules recently. For everyone's sake please read them and apply them carefully. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ Maintenance question: is it appropriate to up/downvote a proposed question to get it to zero? $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas I do. People aren't supposed to be voting and bias of any kind isn't the point here, but it's hard to break a habit. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 1:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas :-) Your edit is the third time "please don't vote" is mentioned in the post. I'm OK with it... but I doubt anything will change. Based on how users use the Sandbox, very few of them read the instructions. C'est la vie. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH --- I didn't see the third one! (oops!) I figured that if the message were closer to the top, it might get seen and processed early on. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ Question : What should be done when no one comments under your post? Should the question follow the sandbox procedure (->adding it to the question list, etc.), or should it be discarded silently and posted on main, without any link to the sandbox? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 7:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena You've discovered the weakness in the system. The Sandbox only works when a bunch of people are regularly participating. That was once true - but today few have the time to participate. I'd hate to suggest that the Sandbox's time has come and gone, but were I a querent with an unaddressed question in the Sandbox after 30 or 60 days, I'd post it on Main - and if anybody complained on Main, I'd post a link back to the Sandbox with the question, "where've you been?" $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I'll follow your advice ^^. This also implies I can't get my own questions reviewed, since it looks like I'm kinda the last one here 🦋. I can almost hear the tumbleweeds rolling, western movie style 😅. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena It seriously hurt the value of the Sandbox when our Stack Exchange Overlords decided to discontinue the community ads. That was how we kept people reminded to stop in. Those ads were very effective. I assume SE wanted the space for monetization purposes, but that's only a pessimistic guess. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 15:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I concur: if a query has sat here uncommented on, the OP is well within rights to post it on main, and if anyone there complains, put it back on them that they didn't help when help was sought. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 17:39

11 Answers 11


What qualities would an AGI need to gain legal protections today?

Sandbox notes:
This question was closed as "opinion based" however it is important to my many other AGI questions. I need this world built. Any help is great.
- Related question for this world
- What are the parenting options available to species that reproduce by fragmentation?
- What faith do my AI follow that is most belligerent to human traditions and beliefs?
Per the Meta reference on "stoy based closing", this question is on topic, as it asks: "What could cause a government [English common law] to pass such-and-such law [AGI rights] given these societal conditions [an AGI of X definition is created]"

First: assume society is as it is today, British common law; United States might be easiest but any government will suffice.

My story has an AGI species interacting with humans and their definition needs to snub any qualms about, "The police wouldn't do that because legally..."

A good answer provides the "what" portion of the on-topic example question in the Meta about "Why is my question too 'Story-based'"; which is formed as:

What could cause a government to pass such-and-such law given these societal conditions?


  • What Is the answer you give, narrowly defining qualities of an AGI
  • government is English common law government
  • such-and-such law is, specifically, the Bill of Rights principle of "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" classifying these fictional AGI as "men" in the same way it now classifies women as "men" in modern interpretation.
  • The societal conditions are that a new artificial species has been created and propagated throughout society.

A good question avoids

  1. changes to society
  2. relating this species to current AI or its methods
  3. simplistic "just write a law" answers (laws don't protect anything under common law; blind protections of the law works only in dictatorships)

The Common Law principle that applies here

This is an aside for clarification
Laws of society can only grant rights if there is some means to remedy the violation of the right. For example, a law that protects a human’s right to breathe water can’t be tried in court even if some human finds out they can’t breathe water. The law simply can not possibly “fix” the thing that’s been “taken” from you - an impossible ability to breathe water. That is a ridiculous example, I know, but ridiculous laws do happen. The point is, simply saying you have a “right” to this or that doesn’t create any legal right unless you're in a dictatorship. The common law principle originated in Roman law as ubi jus ibi remedium, “where there is a right, there is a remedy”, and remains in effect today when our courts decide if you have been violated.

But this principle applies to my problem through its logically equivalent contrapositive: Si nulla remedium existit, tunc nulla ius existit. Thus the existence of rights is contingent upon the availability of remedies to enforce and protect those rights. Without a remedy, any purported rights become meaningless and unenforceable. Ergo; we do not put dead murderers on trial, punish insane felons, or sue dead offenders, or punish people who safely shoot their own computer. What could the judge take from one and give to the other to remedy your loss?
A real-world example: we have a right to have our credit information accurately reported. This law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). But even if the credit company gives false information about your credit, the court can’t and won't give you anything. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (2016) ruled that even though misleading figures were published by the credit card company, the plaintiff could not show that they actually lost anything from inaccurate or incomplete information in their credit reports. There is no right to relief until you have actually “lost” something.
thought experiment
This is about designing a fictional Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), and answering what “ingredient”—for lack of a better word—would afford it rights under existing common law: Let’s assume we invent the asked fictional AGI, and we put them into a mechanical body. Now let’s assume a group lobbies and passes a law that makes it illegal to willfully dismember and destroy the AGI, and treat such an act as a “wrongful death.” They classify this as a crime just like it would be for a human (because again, no laws are changed)

When an AGI is destroyed, someone claiming a relationship to it wants the system to prosecute for wrongful death. Well, there clearly exists a “wrongful death” law in the books because it was passed. But the judge’s first job is to decide if some remedy exists to what was “lost.” This means the judge has to be convinced that at first, the AGI even had a right to life before asking if a life has been lost.

So the question came to me: If an AGI is a computer program, and computer programs can be and are backed up and saved regularly, so effectively they can only be lost by deliberate manipulation of the server; does a computer program have a “right to life?” This doesn't work! Something has to be different about these AGI.

What about our world (specifically, about the qualities of an AGI in this world) needs to be changed

to give artificially generated algorithms and programs a right to life, that could be recognized and fairly remedied in a human justice system? (Answers do not need to fix the problem, the question only asks what needs fixing)

Emphasis again, I don’t believe our real world could possibly argue for the right of an artificial construct to exist, as they currently exist. The question tries to pin down what prevents this, and removes that quality from what we call an "AI" (by changing the AGI, or maybe the environment - anything except the basic principles of jurisprudence)

I can’t state this enough. This question is NOT asking about current AI or anything existing today.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So you came to the sandbox ^^. I'll be sadly honest, not many people come here, so you probably won't have much help besides mine. I'll try my best though 🐶. If we sum up a bit your situation, since you accumulated a good chunk of small edits and clarifications, it'd be wise to make a brand new V2 to start on a new leaf. However, you mustn't invalidate existing answers, and at the same time I guess you do wanna ask this exact question... We're in a kinda tough spot 😵. Guess the best thing to do right now is to improve it then check whether it should be an edit or a new question altogether. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ The first thing I'd do is to focus on what this question is about rather than what it isn't about. The main topic should take at least half of the question : This will help people understand what you're looking for and prevent undesired topics to indirectly stain your question. Still, I believe it'll be useful to keep one (and only one) paragraph telling you're not looking for a change of law but a change of A.G.I., if I understand what you want correctly. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ To improve directly on the "opinion-based" part, the classic thing to do is to tell as accurately as possible what your criteria for a best answer is. This often goes with superlative, e.g. : "What's the safest way to carry and throw marble sized high-explosive grenades?". Note this "superlative" should be defined as clearly as you can : "efficient" and "best" are commonly used, but they often are thought to be too blurry. Might be hard to pull off here, but if you do that it'll definitely win you some points 💯. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ For the resting rest, I guess we'll have to see how it goes and work from there ^^. I'm not confident enough right now to tell you whether the two things above will get your question reopened, yet I don't have many advices at this point that will ensure whatever you do it'll get better. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ The entire question is the last sentence; which is a less specific wording of the title: "It’s a fictional AGI that can fit into our society; why does it fit?" (e.g., because it can reciprocate?) i.e., why is it legally protected in existing law. A good answer shows what quality the AGI has that makes it fit (e.g., because it can reciprocate?). I could move all the negatives to a "a good answer avoids.." block at the bottom, The risk is people scanning the first bit & hastily posting answers that invalidate rearranging the question. So the "DO NOT" is critical to avoid crippling non-answers. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ When you talk too much about "it's not X", it means you haven't clearly defined "it's Y". I know you can describe something about what it's not, like "dogs are not insects, not birds, not fishies...", but you'll never really get to the core if you don't define what it is : "a dog is a carnivorous mammal". This will make your question much shorter (so easier to read and understand) and clearer (people will not as easily bind themselves to some off-topic questions just because they were written). This is why this part should be summarized ^^. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Updated. The "It's Y" is stated as "artificially generated algorithms and programs," and that's the only unchangeable aspect of them. The other "It's Y" is: "compatible with modern legal protections without changing the law." $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ There are many legal systems which all operate differently. Within a legal system each government has their own set of laws which operate differently. Even within a specific legal system and set of laws there can be differing precedence depending on the court that hears such a case. The scope of your question is far too broad without this. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ I cannot think of any system for determining whether a non-person shall be granted the same rights as a person under the law. If such a system exists then that system will have your answer. If such a system doesn't exist then any petition of personhood under the law will require some controversy requiring the adjudication of the courts. This will include persuasive arguments on how to interpret and extend existing laws to cover a novel situation, both for and against the granting of personhood in this specific case. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ In other words in the absence of explicit laws on the subject the traits necessary to grant an AI legal rights will be the result of how a judge chooses to rule based on the competing actions of at least two individuals. Keep in mind that these arguments will be focused on the specifics of the case. The judge, if convinced will then establish an appropriate standard. That much character motivated action has nothing to do with any fact of your world and everything to do with hoy you decide events within your world will play out. Such a question is unsuitable for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ IOW the case would resolve to Virginia v. Loving or State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes in determining personhood. I agree, it would do that. I need the question to steer away from the assumption the answer has to win a Supreme Court ruling on one case. The world needs a definition of a being that could have standing in that court and nothing more. With standing, there is protection; standing isn’t a choice, it’s constitutionally defined - federal in the case of “men created equal”. I chose those tags for that reason. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ "The world needs a definition of a being that could have standing in that court an dnothing more." You don't understand that your problem is a failure to understand the underpinnings of law and how it came to pass. I have a family full of attorneys and it's been fascinating to discuss with them over the decades the "rights" or "needs" of the poor, the homeless, the wealthy.... most of whom aren't treated as "people" today, but as a "class," disassociating and disenfranchising them from the basic rights of "people." That's why I agree with the initial closure reason of ... (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 16, 2023 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ ... opinion-based, but it could just as easily be closed for violating the book rule. The problem is that you're looking at law today with a snapshot view and believe that all you need is a paragraph of text to solve your problem. This, despite what paragraphs we have having been developed after millenia of blood and centuries of debate and experimentation. You're asking us to put the cart before the horse and you're expecting some form of definitive answer when, in reality, the development of the legal structure you're looking for would be a novel (and an interesting one) ... (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 16, 2023 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it is still waiting for a suggestion or nod. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Nov 5, 2023 at 0:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm still having a hard time seeing this as anything other than a story-based question. Here's my problem: I come from a family full of lawyers. Lawyers do their job by making decisions (prohibited in the help center about how to craft arguments and about what laws to challenge - and this presupposes that such an argument could win against the "court of public opinion," which decision can only be created by narrative necessity. But, worst of all, law is NOT objective. It's hugely subjective, based on assumptions ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 3:10

Title: Is this time travel mechanic plausible?

I was trying to ask a question for a novel I am trying to make, but it was closed for many reasons. I need help making it ask-worthy. This is my question with various revisions that I made after it was closed, but with some parts remaining in hopes that they can still remain in the finished question.

I am trying to make a novel, and I wanted to know if this is a good hard science theory for time travel. Given that (as far as I know) white holes are theorized to have negative mass; and that anything with negative mass travels faster than the speed of light*, would that mean that white holes can travel faster than the speed of light? If not, why? This is disregarding causality, I already have a workaround.

*1 : This is due to the same principle that makes massless particles travel the speed of light. I believe it has something to do with inertia, in which case this would make sense, but either way, this was used in a theory for tachyons and was not criticized.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (a) There is no such thing as hard science in regard to time travel. There is not even a suggestion of proof for time travel. Asking this question in any context other than science-fiction will raise the risk of closure and down votes. (b) You start by saying you're trying to set a rule for time travel, but you don't describe one. Your question is if the supposition of negative mass (ficitonal) justifies FTL (fictional) of white holes (fictional). (c) Tachyons are also fictional, so upholding them as the rationale for treating your question as hard science fails your intent. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your biggest problem is that you're missing about three years of college-level classes in astrophysics and mathematics. You want us to provide, not just a realistic solution, but a real solution to a problem that you don't know isn't real due to the lack of that education - and Stack Exchange is not the place to get it, even in the form of sound bites. If you step away from insisting that all this be real and ask the question as "In my world negative mass exists, which leads to white holes ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ moving FTL, which leads to the following detailed explanation for time travel, is this consistent?" then we have a question we can work with for this Stack. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ Plausible is a subjective quality that has nothing to do with the facts of your world but the knowledge of your audience and how receptive they are to how you present your world. We're here to help you establish facts about your world not determine how people will feel about your presentation of them. Remember that magic and FTL are both physical impossibilities and yet their existence in well written works of fiction does nothing to detract from our enjoyment of them. Similarly there is no level of plausibility that will salvage a poorly written story. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH The only reason that tachyons and faster-than-light travel are believed to be impossible is because they are believed to violate the laws of physics (specifically causality), but if the fifth dimension were brought up, (comprising of many timelines) then causality can be avoided, as changing the past is impossible, you just follow along in a branch. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ And as I have explained in another thread, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Plus, even if there were not any theorized ways to create these things (there are), it is a science fiction novel. Any part the author can’t explain just gets ignored. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ I am not using tachyons to prove my idea, I am using the accepted parts of the theory, which is unrelated to the actual tachyons. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ I provided the solution, I want you to tell me if it makes sense. And because positive mass exists, negative mass must exist as well. Which means that ftl must exist, and wormholes could exist. Also, I am not insisting that these things exist, they have never been proven, yet they have never been disproven either, which is perfect for a hard science sci fi novel. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ Your turn, @sphennings. Magic, which has a variable definition, usually means something that violates the laws of thermodynamics. That is more than likely a physical impossibility. FTL, however, is already possible with negative mass, and we have no good evidence that it is impossible, at least with the fifth dimension. So as long as negative mass is impossible, true FTL is too. So before you say it is impossible, you have to disprove negative mass. Feel free to do so. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ I wanted someone to tell me if this was formatted right. Save the criticisms for the actual question. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ The sandbox is used to help you improve your questions, this includes ensuring that you are asking questions that is appropriate for this site. There are more significant issues than formatting with your question. Asking "Is X plausible?" is not a worldbuilding question and should not be asked on this site. Please remember that not every question about worldbuilding is suitable for this site. Questions that are too broad or opinion based are also not permitted and will be closed. We don't want to waste our time addressing formatting issues on questions inappropriate for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ @WhatsYourIQ192 Sorry for the delay. As elements gathered from another post indicates... Some viewpoint about new users, I'd like to first tell you I'm sorry about the way you're currently being received in the sandbox. This isn't probably not what you were looking for when coming here. Relativity theory is not my forte, but I'll try to help you reach your goals and improve your work anyway. Just give me some time! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, the first thing I can easily suggest is to remove notions of hard-science in your question. Don't worry, it will not affect your work. As the other two said, hard-science is... Harder than you think. Hypothetical objects (like white holes) rarely have a place there, as no one have managed to prove their existence. It's more some kind of mathematical thoughts. Removing this term will effectively reduce the ire from people who expect something ultra-hard. [...] $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ I provided the solution, I want you to tell me if it makes sense. It doesn't make sense from a Real World perspective, which is what you're asking us to accept. You're really fighting this. Per the help center, our goal is to help you develop the rules of an imaginary world. You can set those rules as you wish. You have not explained time travel, so there are no rules for us to judge. You are asking of a hypothesized Real World condition can exist. What are you expecting? The answer is "we don't know." Now, if you want to set a rule for your imaginary world.... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 3:02
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ And before you get going on that last comment, please try to remember that validating a "good hard science theory" is not our job. We will gladly help you develop and consistently use rules of an imaginary world of your own creation. We're not going to let you ask on Main if your strong belief in a hypothesis is "good hard science." $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 3:06

I have posted this question in sandbox because:

  1. I'm not sure whether this is more suited to worldbuilding or the math stack-exchange site.
  2. This question, while simple to me, may feel convoluted because it's asking for a general algorithm as opposed to a single answer to a single query.

Title: "Simple model for trait propagation in a population"

In a worldbuilding project of mine, humans can have a pseudo-magical trait that, if present in either mother or father, is 100% of the time passed on to a child (unlike genetic traits, which are generally more complicated than that).

In order to be able to estimate how quickly this trait is propagated in a given population of humans, I'd like to have a simplified model that I can apply to different sizes of populations.

I have the rules I would need to run a simulation of this model, and I could probably program it if I have to. But I suspect that there's likely to be a mathematical/probability-based way to do it without needing the simulation, and thought I would ask if anyone here would be able to point me in the right direction.

The model

Suppose we have a fixed population size of 2n, consisting of n males and n females. Associated with each member of the population is a simple true or false value indicating the presence of the trait.

Each generation, the males and females are randomly paired off and each pair produces exactly 2 offspring - one male and one female. These offspring are the (exactly 2n) members of the next generation, and each is given a value of true if and only if either or both of their parents had it.

With the above model, I could run simulations to answer questions like,

  • "For a population of 1000 with 1 trait-positive individual, how many generations would it take (on average) for the whole population to be trait-positive?"
  • "For a population of 500 with 100 trait-positive males and 250 trait-positive females, how many individuals (on average) would be trait-positive after 3 generations?"

The question

Is there a mathematical algorithm or approach I could use to answer these kinds or questions, using this model, without needing to simulate it generation-by-generation?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi Qami! Just on the surface of things, I would say remember that WB.SE is for the rules of your world: how things are the way they are, how they work, what might be done with them. Since you've already got the world and have already determined a specific rule of your world, I would argue that WB is not the right forum for this question. That said, I'm sure you would get an answer here! I think math.se would be the better choice, though. At least at first: if they have a conniption about your scenario, I would not complain if they exported the question to WB. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 21:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Cool problem. At it's core you're asking a straight math problem and will probably get better mileage asking mathematicians about it. While I wouldn't recommend asking it on the main site I've definitely been nerd snipped by this problem. I'd love to see what comes of this if you post it on a math or statistics focused exchange. You could also post it in the worldbuilding chat and see if anyone wanders by and gets distracted. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 22:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Past the first generation there will always be an equal number of men and women with the trait. The maximum growth of the trait in a generation will be a doubling, with the average being a function of how likely it is for there to pair off two trait having individuals each generation. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings You've hit the nail on the head with the second comment, about the initial doubling and diminishing returns as the proportion increases. This is exactly what I want to get the math for. I'll wait another day or so to see if I have more input, but otherwise I'll post on math.stackexchange. $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ While it's technically worldbuilding (you're indirectly asking how the world is at some time "t" because of that trait), you've contrived the problem so much to a math model it will not be accepted here. So indeed maths.SE it is. Let's just hope that they are not seeing only the world, not the maths (some on other sites have tunnel vision on that), because the worst thing that can happen to you is get migrated to WB:SE, then closed here for being off-topic and migrated back to never be reopened again... $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ Do note that because eventually everyone will have the trait, it will probably not be considered the best worldbuilding question out there. Indeed, and that's what Elemtilas showed, people tend to think the world in absolute terms, rather than something that evolves over time. That's a lot due to the fact worlds are made for stories, and stories are set in a specific point of time, giving this "absolute" feeling. Most changes to the world are then made by the story, rather than an ominous, unwavering world rule. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to have more prior research, there's a youtube channel called Primer which focuses a lot on evolution of traits within people, with funny looking blobs and a bit of Unity Engine. I'm not sure you'll find the formulas you want there, but it can really help understand the various cases of evolution. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ To be clear - and using my starting conditions rather than yours - we might have 500 magic people in a population significantly larger than 500. Those 500 are guaranteed to have two and only two offspring regardless who they're paired with. Both offspring are guaranteed to be magic so long as one parent is magic. So, best case first gen result is 2500 and worst case is 1000 and since a a random number is involved it's a random result between those two limits (for the first gen). Did I get that right? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ I expect respondents will complain about the offspring condition of your model. If no couple can have more or less than two offspring, you have zero population growth and decline other than the first few until your average max age begins removing non-breeding pairs, in which case this is a model that will only answer the question "how many generations until my population is X% saturated?" $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Frankly, I'd research virus propagation in populations. There must be a statistical estimator for that purpose - whole games have been made based on the concept. In other words, this problem is fundamentally solved. You'll need to reword the question to remove the magic part of it ("I have a trait that propagates according to the following rules...") but I recommend you ask on Biology or Medical Sciences. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ Final advice: the problem with random numbers is that they only work statistically over large groups of something: people, time, etc. In other words, a software program would likely churn out the same result for your first bulleted result if asked multiple times... but it'll churn out a different result each time for the second bullet example because three generations isn't long enough for the effects of random initial conditions to wash out. Virus propagation estimators work because propagation works randomly within the space of hours but the simulations are looking at weeks or months. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 16:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena Thank you for your feedback! The fact that everyone will eventually have the trait is indeed by design and is part of the evolution of this world. I'm planning many stories that take place in this world, at different points in its history, and the purpose of this mathematical model is just to help me maintain consistency over the timeline and the different populations that are exposed to the trait at different times. $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Thank you for your feedback! There are of course many considerations - biological, cultural, demographics, and more - that will need to be factored in to get more useful estimates. This model is very deliberately simplified and unrealistic by itself. It's simply intended to be a baseline upon which to apply these other considerations. I like your idea of trying on medical sciences - I'll check there if math.se doesn't pan out! $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Is this question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 2:58

Species that never became immune to its own venom - is it plausible?

Tags: Science-based, creature-design

I am developing a fictional species for a video game I want to develop for a personal project. The biology that is relevant for this is that the species (called Rinans for now for the sake of convenience) is humanoid. They have a venom gland where the paritoid gland on a human is, along with a duct leading to the upper canines. As one of the game mechanics, Rinans produce venom when stressed and in pain (not all the time). They are also at least partially affected by their own venom if it enters their bloodstream. How can this lack of immunity be plausible?

Some important things to note:

  • Rinans have been around for about as long as humans.
  • They are omnivorous but they only use their venom when defending themselves from danger.
  • They can start producing venom from childhood.
  • They are physically capable of biting their own toungue.
  • Venom cannot stay in the duct forever. It will need to be released or it will eventually have to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, Spirit. Can I ask what research you've done on your own on this? For instance: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0044523106000416 seems to answer your question. In the natural world, such creatures have mechanism (like folding fangs and specifically shaped tongues) to make biting their own tongue nearly impossible. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 26 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ There are two problems with asking if something is plausible. (a) Per the help center, our goal is to help you build an imaginary world. Therefore, at best, we'll help you build something that's believable. (b) You don't seem to have an actual problem to solve. We haven't worked out how to ask a "review my idea" question because that type of question breaks Stack Exchange's expectations for question structure. Do you have a specific problem to solve? Or are you simply asking if your idea is good? The former we can help you with. The latter... not so much. (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Feb 26 at 22:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ... Bear in mind that people will happily suspend their disbelief for almost anything if the story is good. Therefore, while a creature not immune to its own poison seems dangerously irrational, it's by no means unbelievable - so long as your story makes sensible use out of the idea. Finally, though, (c) You're asking two questions: is it plausible and how can it be plausible are very different questions. Are you asking if it's a good idea, or for help with the physiology of the creature? The latter we can help you with, the former... not so much. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Feb 26 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ Is this question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ No, I've lost interest in it. Feel free to remove it. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30 at 18:38

What techniques can be used to keep magic weapon technology secret?

In a previous question I had asked how I could ensure that they would not wish to go all imperial and stay isolationist despite the military might granted by them and an answer I really liked and plan to use is that others could steal the weapons and take the advantage. However, I don't know much about how they could try to limit the spread of that information to other countries because then they could lose the advantage regardless.

I don't need a way for the knowledge to be completely hidden but I would like some advice about what techniques or methods they could use to hide it like how some real world nations managed to keep trade secrets that could still be applied to magic technology.

One constraint with this question is that it is impossible to learn without weapons or a mentor as the weapons are made with a divine language forged into it that was gifted to the dwarves by the deity that created them. As an additional note he language has no effect when inscribed on anything else and may or may not have a spoken form. (I plan on actually making the whole language later after I finish a different language for that universe.)

Does this version look better?

  • $\begingroup$ (a) Throw in a link to the previous question (e.g., [In a previous question](http:...)) (b) Can a magical weapon be examined to "reverse engineer" the magic? Or must the process be stolen like a recipe from the manufacturer? (c) Keeping a perfect secret isn't impossible, but it's whomping hard. What, then, do you mean by "indefinitely?" (d) We've had similar questions like this, but they often suffer because you're not asking for help solving a worldbuilding problem. Rather, you're asking for help developing a story plot. (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 1 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ ... From that perspective, you could (1) ask that answers be restricted to non-story solutions (e.g., the god won't allow the language to be used by anyone but dwarves) or (2) you could ask for help developing the nature of magic use for the dwarves (what's the magic system and how could it be crafted to make it ethnically keyed?). It's a skill to learn to separate the story from the world rules. I think this Q can be made to work, we just need to focus on rules vs. plot. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 1 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ I find questions in absolutes to be not great. For the cases where an absolute is just unrealistic. Could dwarves completely control all information and no other outsider be able to glean it? Yes. But it'd be extremely hard and would basically mean no dwarf ever interacts with anybody else. If they do, sooner or later some information would leak out. However, dwarves can still maintain hold over the technology while others know some stuff about it. Dwarves can limit what others know and how useful it is. That's a lot more natural development that doesn't require author fiat. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ Thus a lot more realistic scenario would be that other groups may be able to replicate some of what the dwarves can do. But in limited capacity - less quality, drastically less quantity (e.g., 1 magic sword for every 100 a dwarf can create), excessive cost, etc. And dwarves can keep their secrets so that nobody can really come close to rival them. Even if other magic weapons do exist in the world. Makes for way better setting, too with more potential stories to tell and other consequences where a world is not in absolutes. I'd recommend thinking about changing your world thus your question. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think I'll probably just lax like like what @VLAZ suggested since I don't think itd work well for my world for it to be hard wired to be ethnically keyed, but in response to b.), since later I'll make an actual language (I'll refer to it as a conlang) it could be reverse engineered but it would require either trial and error or some way of learning the language from the weapons like a Rosetta stone. Currently I'm working on making a different language that's used among the gods, but later I'll move onto the magic weapon one. $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ And also I can definitely see how this is kinda more of a story question, thanks for pointing that out $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Oh and by indefinitely I hadn't quite meant literally but as of when the story would start it would have to have be at least past living memory of the dwarves when they had received the language without it yet being common. $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 1 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ A non-story based question can focus on what tools and techniques would be involved to keep the technology of magic weapons secret. Acknowledging it doesn't need to be completely sealed knowledge but what factors would limit the information that propagated outside to be as useful. This can have answers that point out how real-world trade secrets are kept. And how knowledge and skills were historically held by a given group. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Mar 1 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, but what parts would I have to tweak to remove the story based part of it? You don't need to tell me exactly what to write (I'm aware this is a learning process) , I'm just not used to this sort of thing Edit: Wait I think I know what you mean now, I'll tweak this later this weekend when I have more time since I'll have to leave to go camping in a couple hours before returning on sunday $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 1 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ By the way real quick, I edited it to have a hyperlink and clarified on indefinitely, I'll try revamping the whole question later this weekend $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 1 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ Does this look better? $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 4 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ bump to show this isn't abandoned $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 11 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ So the weapon must be a specifically made weapon, the magic imbued by a specific person, and the magic can only be learned via a mentor? Does this boil down to "how do I protect the individuals who know the secret?" Please keep in mind that per the help center, we help build worlds (rules independent of all stories) but don't help write stories. Specifically, we don't help you with choices made by individuals or groups. Thus, the question must be seeking a systemic answer. Is, e.g. "build a secret city and guard it to within an inch of its life" the type of answer you're looking for? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH It's not a specific person per se, ideally it would be a whole field of work to create magic weapons and commonplace only WITHIN the kingdom (practically just a city state though), now that I'm reading this rephrasing though I'm seeing how it might cross the line into story building since it is technically just that nations decisions $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Commented Mar 25 at 11:53

If 30% of global military spending for the next 30 years were instead spent on an "intelligent life" backup colony, where should we site it and why?

Originally posted (and subsequently closed) question.

Some discussion in this meta post.

Notes about the question (not for the description)

The plot of the story is 1) AI near-miss happens, 2) There is agreement to spend big on a solution, 3) Then debate on the best solution occurs, 4) Colonize Venus wins, 5) Earth colonizes Venus with solar powered aircraft.

I'm looking for help with (3). I want the debate about alternatives to be as realistic as possible, so I need some more creative and well-supported counter proposals. It is the brainstorming and exchange of perspectives from the proponents of different ideas that I'd like the community's help with.

Question Description

Some industry leaders have proposed that AI poses a risk of extinction. Suppose some kind of an AI-related incident occurs that really scares humanity into action, and that this causes the world's governments to come together and agree to reallocate 30% of the many trillions of dollars that they spend on defense to developing a single insurance policy megaproject called "Plan B". Plan B must ensure that, even in the event of civilization-on-Earth ending calamity, intelligent life will nevertheless persevere.

What would be the best place to site this backup colony?

Keep in mind that whatever "Plan B" is, offering better natural immunity to AI-related threats will be an acceptance criterion. If it's a backup plan in case of other existential threats, such as nuclear war or an extinction-level comet or asteroid impact, that would be a bonus.

It would be valid (not necessarily the best site) if the colony was sited in an underground bunker on Earth or in orbit around the Earth. If the best site is off-world, assume that the cost of going to Mars, Venus, or the Moon is 1B per metric ton (MT). Global military spending in 2022 was 2.24 Trillion USD/Year. We can assume that somehow we will lower the cost-per-kg by a factor of 100 for such a large project, so if the entire budget was spent on interplanetary transportation, our mass budget would be around...


Of course, the mass budget for a giant orbiting habitat or an underground bunker on Earth could be higher, and it is unrealistic to spend the entire budget on launch. Perhaps a 50/50 split would be more reasonable.

I'm looking for the best site when using an approach grounded in present-day physics, materials, engineering, and medical knowledge. The answer does not need to provide a detailed plan, it just needs to explain enough to illustrate the key advantages of the proposed site and establish why it is the best alternative.

JBH's Proposed Edit


A story event occurs that causes the Earth's nations to unite in the effort to colonize another planet in our solar system. They have dedicated 730 Billion U.S. dollars annually (approximately one-third the global military budget to achieve this goal.

I have chosen Venus to be the planet for colonization.

  • The project will take 30 years (22 Trillion USD total investment from concept to occupation of Venus).
  • It will cost $?.??/ton to move the ship and its cargo to Venus.
  • A maximum of 30% of any ship's total mass is payload.


What are science-based reasons why Venus would be the superior choice compared to other planets?

Please note that this is the first of two questions. The second question will ask for scientific reasons why Venus is not the better choice. If you're tempted to provide a frame challenge to this question, it should instead be submitted as an answer to the second.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm glad you put this here! I have some questions. First, just for perspective, US military spending is about 40% of world total, so theoretically, the US could fund the project alone and still spend the usual amount on its military. The vast majority of countries spend almost nothing on military. The bottom 30 countries each spend less than a billion, the bottom 20 less than half a billion. The bottom 70 spend less than about 5 billion each. A question that arises here is: why are we focused on the money angle that you chose? Does it matter if Zambia cuts a cheque for 12 million? (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 21 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ The reason why I ask about the money focus is that a) your plot doesn't mention money or funding at all and b) your underlying query doesn't seem to be money focused either. Your question seems to be about location. You might consider keeping the economics out of this question because it might lead to some confusion or might hamper the answers you get. Second, since money will eventually be part of the story, are we to consider the limitations of budget when determining the location for this colony? To me, it seems like a very small budget for a colony on another planet. (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 21 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ Especially Venus which seems to be particularly hostile to human people and their machines. I'd therefore suggest splitting off the economics and making a follow-up question. So, my plan would be: Q1 --- "If money were not at issue, where should this colony be sited, given the overall world constraints and plot layout?" Q2 --- "Given the global nature of the solution, what would be a sensible total budget for the project? Either a lump sum, or spread over x years." Q3 --- "Bonus! Would this be feasible if spending is limited to 30% of world military spending over 30 years?" $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 21 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ I think this plan would take your overall query and give the underlying factors the focus they deserve as well as the focus we need here for SE. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 21 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! The question was modified based on early "not focused enough" comments to include a budget and to focus on an AI incident. Are you proposing to put Q1-3 in the same post? I also received several answers along the lines of "You can't outrun an AI so what's the point?" which didn't really address my question. I'd also like to make sure people don't waste their time providing that kind of answer. $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    Commented Jan 21 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ To summarize what I just wrote on your Meta question: as written, (3) is storybuilding, we don't allow debates or discussions, and brainstorming is hugely limited. We can help explain why Venus is a good spot, but we're not in the business of helping you write your story. Thus, the question must be written from the perspective of, (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jan 22 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ ... "my society has X resources to work with and I want Y to be the result. What about X and Y can I use to rationalize decision Y?" With your permission, I'll gladly edit this post to show you a version of what would be acceptable. You can always roll the edit back to the original if you don't like it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jan 22 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ Permission granted! $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    Commented Jan 22 at 8:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, I'm suggesting that Q1, Q2, & Q3 be separate queries. I figured you probably got a comment about the budget. The reason I recommend splitting that into its own question is that it really doesn't help us with the location of the project, especially when so much money is being spent over a long period of time. I agree with you about the AI comment. If those were actual answers, you can certainly downvote them! You can add a comment saying something like "this has nothing to do with the question at all." But never fear! We here at Worldbuilding are experts at wasting our time on all (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 24 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ (cont) kinds of answers! The best way to do this however, at least in my opinion, is to think of your title question as the main thing you want answered. The body of your question should always support your title. So, extraneous considerations, like budgets and like AI itself, are best left out, or put into a subsequent question. Generally, well written questions have four parts: 1. is the title; 2. is a short background / description of the world or setting; 3. is the main points you want us to consider (this could be your goals, things that you're not interested in, etc) and (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 24 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ (cont) 4. is a recapitulation of the question, usually with a bit more detail that is placed in the title and 5. is a short section where you tell us the measuring stick by which you'll measure our answers - what makes a good answer, what makes a bad answer. (NB: I couldn't edit my previous, so read "five" in stead of "four".) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 24 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ I've made a proposed edit and I apologize that this too so honking long. Please remember to use @*name* to ping people. (e.g., @phil1008) I produced an edit that reflects the objective one-specific-problem-to-solve format Stack Exchange requires. To be honest, I don't know if you're going to get altogether useful answers as I find it difficult to believe Venus would ever win out over Mars. But that's the purpose of the question. I do have some concerns. (a) You're not using "mass budget" the way the space industry does. ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ ... I tried to convert that to something sensible like dollars-per-ton to move payload to Venus, but there are a lot of variables that people will complain about not knowing, like exactly how much mass we're talking about. Expecting us to figure out how much payload over the entire project will be expected is way, way, way out of scope. I'm not even sure it's possible. Therefore, this is really a "money is no object" question looking for purely scientific reasons why Venus is good/bad. (b). OK, (b) was "you'll have a hard time beating Mars" issue. Got ahead of myself. Ah! ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ ... (c) You might have a problem with on-topic finite list of things vs. off-topic infinite list of things perspective. We really don't like brainstorming questions. However, this kinda isn't brainstorming but is, IMO, a finite list of things question. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ I like your draft question. Question: Since I already have a number of good reasons for picking Venus, should I provide my justification and ask if it is solid or if there are any other good reasons that I might not have thought of? $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    Commented Mar 25 at 5:27


Scientifically plausible way to bring the Earth to a 28- to 30-hour solar day

Doomsday clocks are sort of a common theme in my stories. When I saw @eHaraldo post the sandbox question about slowing down earth’s rotation to create a 30-hour day, and then apparently abandon it; I am now adopting it. Because it’s a good question.

I'm worldbuilding a post-apocalyptic story set in the near future (~200 years). In my story, the Earth's rotation speed has been slowed down to 28- to 30-hours per day. I'm trying to explain how this happened. Note: the 200 years is approximate, and it allows for the day to be slowed down less abruptly. i.e., **there is no need for a single, abrupt event **.

The scale of the event, given the above numbers will require an input of 30.014 billion zetajoules of energy applied against the earth's rotation through that ≅200 years. It won't all go to slowing the planet, figure something bigger to offset waste.

My research suggests that it may be possible through several events though I will need the confirmation of an expert opinion before considering it an answer.

  • A barrage/trail of asteroid impacts
  • A neutron star flyby
  • The moon doing something horrible
  • A disruption of the Earth's core

My setting requirements

Given: the cataclysmic event has wiped out most of humanity, and will have caused a series of major geophysical disasters, including tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, and weather tragedies.

Some humans and enough of a biosphere to keep them alive must have survived, but mass devastation of the planet including extinction of many species is acceptable and expected.

The Earth's orbit may or may not have been affected, but tidal locking did not happen.

The above consequences are acceptable side-effects to the alteration of the solar day.

The expected consequences will be:

  • Food shortages and famine
  • Water shortages and drought
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Social unrest and violence
  • Economic collapse
  • Environmental degradation

Q: What cataclysm might create this world within 200 years?

I assume the tags for this will be [planets] [apocalypse] [solar-system] [science-based]

  • $\begingroup$ 1. Suggest that the "My setting requirements" can be condensed down to "Some humans and enough of a biosphere to keep them alive must have survived, but mass devastation of the planet including extinction of many species is acceptable and expected." 2. Heading is saying "scientifically plausible" but there are no tags for level of realism. 3. Suggest specifying whether it can be done deliberately by very, very powerful aliens, since I can't see a way to leave any biosphere if the change results from a single event. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055 I've incorporated those suggestions and added some research. I had a very similar question a while back, this might fit that plotline. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is this Sandbox question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 18:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is for me. Still awaiting feedback on the last edit. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Nov 5, 2023 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet It's been a long time. (a) Providing your own answers and asking for more is prohibited in the help center. That all needs to be removed. (b) Asking for "the most realistic" anything is off-topic because that's an impossible-to-judge criteria. What's realistic to you? What's realistic to me? What's realistic to my little sister or a Tibetian monk who likes reading scifi? How will you objectively judge a best answer? (c) The "Obvious Things" section should be deleted. It's irrelevant to the question as they're all implied by requirement #2. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ Otherwise it's a perfectly reasonable question for the site. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 25 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ Is this question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 4 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ I believe I have incorporated your last recommendations as best I could - last edit 2 days after you responded. It would be nice to have another set of eyes on it, that's what I was waiting for. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Jun 15 at 0:24

How can universes be connected to others by limited numbers of exits and entrances?

How could universes that appear at least as infinite as ours (so either have some kind of looping topology or infinite scale I guess) still have gateways in them wide enough for inhabitants to pass through to other universes?

  • $\begingroup$ (a) We've had questions like this before. There's no evidence for parallel universes (much less proof), so there's nothing in the Real World we can draw from to rationalize an answer. This means that as asked every answer is equally valid an that's prohibited in the help center. I.E., this'll get closed fairly quickly. (b) Further, the help center discourages brainstorming. That's due to the nature of Stack Exchange, which isn't a discussion site (see tour). Questions are expected to be specific and narrowly focused. (c) The question in your title is not the question in the ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 4 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ ... body text. The title seems to be asking how you can limit the quantity of portals and the body text seems to be asking how to have physically large enough portals for a specific action. You need to be sure both the title and the body of the post are asking the same question. (d) Non-physics speculative questions like this are a lot of fun, but you need to help us out by explaining what your problem is. What's stopping you from saying only five portals can be opened at a time and moving on? Why do you think there's an issue with opening a portal large enough for someone to walk through? ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 4 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ ... in short, what's the real problem, since in an infinite universe there's plenty of space to open all the portals you want and in the empty wastes between solar systems there's plenty of space to open one as large as you want. (e) Finally, to reiterate (a), parallel universes are a mathematical thought exercise. They don't exist until proven otherwise and until that proof exists there aren't any rules to work with. That means you're creating rules for a fictional universe. Cool! We love that! But it helps if you're prepared to embrace that truth. Cheers. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 4 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ One more thing, please list the tags you would like to use for the question. If you type them as [tag:tag-name] they'll appear as tags in your post. Thus [tag:space] becomes space. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 4 at 16:11

**Would a creature that shoots fire from its mouth be able to take in air properly **

I've had an idea where there's this humanoud based lifeform that has no real origin other than bring found on some remote island kind of like skull island and seems be a complete anomoly in the natural world supposedly being the only one of his kind and among his traits he can shoot fire from his mouth. The way it works is that he has specialized organs that produce acetylene gas that's pumped through a valve pipe with a bone like lighting mechanism and his fire has so much heat and pressure going on that it's enough to blow away a car a good distance while shattering the windows (before melting them). Along with this he also a little organ that produces oxygen that when pushed through either another pipe valve in his throat to generate a oxy-acetelyne based stream that can melt steel girders. This all limited however since using these abilities is the human equivalent of spitting at someone, eventually you run out of saliva. Now the heat isn't a problem since I've figured I set where through a combination of fire resistant dermal skin layers, reactive blood cells design to cool down blood when using his fire or just in a particularly hot environment and warms up his blood when in cold environment, and dense muscle layers to insulate said temperature, which in turn allows for higher survivability in just about any environment.

The problem while I was designing this creature I did initially set it up where he had a set of standard nostrils above his mouth like any other life form, but it occured to me one day that the amount of fire and heat he'd be producing would definitely burn a good chunk of oxygen molecules in his path and the organ thar produces oxygen is not connected to his lungs and are strictly for his oxy-acetelyne attack so he can'tjust use that for addional breathing. So now the problem I'm facing is would he be able to breathe properly with how much heat his fire is producing. I have a few ideas on how to fix this issue, but that's only if the level of heat he produces actually has negative affects to the air he's breathing. Now he does travel about from jungles to cities to open plains so I'm barring variables like ashes and embers and such, I'm really just looking to see if I need to fix the way he breathes when he does his fire attacks or if just having standard nostrils will be fine since even though biologically speaking he is an entity that requires suspension of disbelief he's still bound by basic physics.

[Tag: physics] [Tag: functionality]

  • $\begingroup$ (a) Asking for best/worst is always bad on this site. Superlatives are subjective. Specifically, they're subject to your story, which means asking for them is an invitation to be closed as too story-based. The only way to get away with a supurlative is to give us all the conditions. In this case, the entire current physiology of the creature and the specific environmental conditions of the test. (b) Are you really asking how a creature can breate in while breathing out fire? Kinda by definition that requires something like two sets of lungs. You'll need to explain why ... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 7 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ ... that somewhat obvious solution doesn't work. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 7 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH ok so unless I go into full detail about his physiology and what environment he's initially in then the question isn't too good ok. Also yeah I know it sound silly but I have no idea how else to word out since he's emitting fire from his mouth through a series of sepcialized organs and throat pipes and just saying "emitting fire" sounds too much like he just generates fire altogether so yeah if there's a way to word out him shooting fire from his mouth so there's no confusion I'd like to know, but yeah I recently realized that with how much heat he'd be causing it would definitely... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ (Continue) vaporize the oxygen molecules in the air making it harder to breathe and that concept of just having basically on his is a random idea I came up with but I'm concerned it might be too much of a weakness unless there just big enough to let air in, and I don't know if breathing through his skin would be sufficient enough, or even if the air itself actually unaffected by the fire meaning he can get away with regular nostrils and just breathe through his nose basically, that's just what I'm trying to figure out $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ To be honest, that was a pretty good analysis, although I don't understand why it hasn't led you to an answer. But I am worried about the nature of the comments. They're stream-of-conciousness. That's cool as a writing style, but it's a real problem when it comes to problem solving. You're not analyzing what you're thinking about. If there's too much heat at the mouth, then put the second set of nostrils behind his wings so they're not affected by the heat of the blast. Or put them ahead of the rear... $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 8 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ ... legs. Good worldbuilding isn't really about scientific accuracy, it's about consistency and good suspension of disbelief. From the perspective of asking a good question, you need to think through the problem so we can understand why you have it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 8 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Jbh oh yeah I know that much I mean he's totally realistic and does require some suspension of disbelief since one other power he has is that he has a horn that can emit and receive radio waves via special glands in his brain, so yeah biologically he is pretty absurd but is still bound by basic physics meaning if he's deprived of breathable air then game over, and I just wanted to know what the best approach was, also side not I should've mention no he's not really a dragon per say (though it is a pretty good comparison though) but rather a humanoid biped who has no wings so no flying, I... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ (Continue) was really thinking like the upper shoulder area but I'm worried that it'll be too exploitable a weakness or even look to much like some turbine intake while he breathes fire and take away from the fact that he has a organ that naturally produces oxygen, just not for breathing since it's not exactly connected to his lungs (once suspension of disbelief is required) and I know breathing through the skin is possibly but it would it really be enough to bypass the aspect of the air in front of him being scorched up $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ Your edits have improved the question, but I still have two concerns. (a) You're question is still unclear, mostly because you're still asking for the "best method." "Best" is a terrible word to use here unless you explain in your question the conditions that define what "best" means. You need to be specific, as in use-a-bullet-list specific. (b) "Method" doesn't seem to describe what you're looking for. Some frogs breathe through their skin. That's a "method." It's much more systemic than the placement of nostrils and therefore very broad, which ... (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 9 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ ... is against the rules. Try to be as specific as you can possibly be. Some users in days past have admitted to intentionally asking vague questions because they wanted as much brainstorming as possible. That's contrary to Stack Exchange's rules (and structure, and goals, and purpose...). Specific, objective, and focused. You need to be all three. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 9 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH so when it comes to breathing through the skin be specific on which form I'm thinking and then be more specific on what describes the best method $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10 at 19:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I recommend you stop looking for "best" anything. It's a subjective question asked on an objective site. Be as specific as you can about the problem you're trying to solve - and remember that brainstorming is discouraged (to the point of being forbidden). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 11 at 20:58

Title: How can my particle be separated/manipulated?

I have a particle that allows a bunch of cool(And plot-relevant) effects in my world, but I can't figure out a way to make it able to be isolated and manipulated. It acts very similar to an electron and can replace electrons in atoms, while also having various other effects by virtue of existing partially outside of the three spatial dimensions of our universe.

I’m wondering how I can make it work in such a way that a person could isolate the molecules/atoms containing the particles, and transfer the particles from one object to another. More specifically, I want a way to have the particle able to be transferred from a substance containing a high concentration of these particles and have them swap with the electrons in another object or substance. An example is if I had a block of metal with half of the electrons replaced with the new particle, I want to be able to take another block of metal of the same weight, and swap the particles so that the second block has half of the electrons replaced and the first has only electrons.

Additionally, I want to avoid changing the particle from an electron enough to change how basic chemistry and physics work, other than my specific requirements. I have a way to be able to handwave some parts of the process, as long as they are small and don't require much energy. I want to avoid using it as much as I can, though

Objects also need to be able to hold on to those particles under normal circumstances. The process also needs to be reasonably achievable by a society with medieval-level technology and science. They don't need to understand the process, but they need to be able to perform it relatively easily. I don't want to add a new particle just for this purpose, but co-opting a real-world particle would work.

My goal is to have material containing the particle able to be mined, and used in a couple of ways. The first use is in the creation of "magical" objects that can be created to have specific effects. the particles need to be transferred into materials that the objects can be made out of. The second use requires the particles to be digested by a person. For this the particle needs to be transferred into a non-toxic, digestible food or drink and consumed.

I have an idea for how this could work, it has potential issues. My main idea was to simply change the charge slightly, enough that a magnetic field would be able to selectively affect the particles, but not charge-neutral atoms and molecules. However, I'm worried this might change how atoms and molecules assemble. I also have a more hand-wavy explanation in case I'm unable to find a good answer. I want to avoid using it, though, if at all possible.

Above is my updated question. I've changed it to include more clarification and a potential solution I thought of. I don't know what tags I'm going to include yet. I'm posting to the sandbox because I've asked a few questions before and they've been closed/downvoted. I want to make sure that my question is good before I post it, and I'm also wondering if there's something specific I'm doing wrong when asking questions. Thanks!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I honestly don't know what you're looking for. The electron was discovered in 1897 (I'm fond of telling people that 99.9% of all human technology was invented in the last 150 years... I'm not kidding), so nothing about your particle will be known or could be known by anyone during the 1,000-year-long medieval period. Are you trying to work out how basic chemistry would work when your particle is involved? As in, if oxygen has 4 of its 8 electrons replaced by your particle, what happens when you try to make H2O? Or how it might work in basic electricity? Help me out here. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 5 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH The question is about a way that an electron-like particle with the same mass and electric charge could be separated from normal electrons. For example, if you had a block of metal containing these particles in place of some electrons, what is a semi-scientific and internally consistent way that the particles could be transferred to another object. $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 6 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how to make this question acceptable. The issue is that you're inventing physics, so you get to pick how the difference works. You're asking us to tell you how to make things up "realistically" in an area that's outside of most of their background. You could have your magitron have a slightly higher mass, or more charge, or quasi-integer spin, or have it be a companion ghost for electrons, or...or...or... The only limit is your creativity. This site isn't good for asking people to be creative for you. I'd have to start with "why did you eliminate mass and charge?" $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ A second issue is how deep you want to go with the math. When creating "thaum" for the Thaumechanical Man, I started with the idea that thaum-charged materials are attracted to each other instead of being repelled, as with a high electrical charge. The effect allowed me to extrapolate the mathematics. What effects are you expecting the magitron to exhibit? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I'll add to @RobertRapplean's comment. Moving electrons from one object to another is just an electric arc between anode and cathode. Frankly, I love the idea of substituting electrons with another hitherto unknown particle. That might be a great way to explain Dark Matter. But asking us to explain how to move them around whithout you explaining what they are is a guaranteed closure. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 7 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I hadn't actually decided on many of the specific properties yet, so I'll do some research and come up with some more specifics. Should I edit this question or just post a new one to the sandbox and abandon this one? Thanks for the help! $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 7 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertRapplean The reason I wanted to avoid changing the mass and/or the electric charge is because I was worried it would break the way that molecules and atoms assemble and interact. I want the particle to be able to be replaced in an average molecule without any obvious macroscopic effects. If I could change the charge enough without having to recalculate all of chemistry, I would be perfectly fine with that. $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 8 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @le_chat, Ok, that makes sense. What difference do these particles make in your story? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 8 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertRapplean Basically, they're a replacement for this particle. The main difference is that it will work in any atom, not just carbon. Any other parameters, such as charge and mass, are fine as long as basic chemistry still functions the same and the particles can be manipulated as stated above. It seems like if I can get away with a slight change to electric charge, that might work quite well, but I'm worried about the physics and chemistry it might break. $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 9 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ Also, to clarify, the new particles would be moved from one molecule to another, while the electrons are moved into the original molecule, with each particle maintaining the same number of total particles. $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 9 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ What keeps you from using energy absorption as the way of identifying it? If they had a lump of coal that could do this, and a lump that didn't, they'd subdivide the coal until they were down to elementary particles. They'd conclude that some electrons do this, but other electrons don't, and the difference would be a long-running mystery, but they could test for it and collect them. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertRapplean It's not just identification. The premise assumes that identification is already performed, but I need a way to have the particles transfer from one atom to another. Keeping your analogy, what I want to do is after identifying the coal through that method, I want to be able to transfer the particles to, for example, a bucket of water. $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 10 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ If they act like electrons, then you have to use something like a Van de Graaff generator to pull the electrons out of the water, then put it near the coal. At that point, you're just asking how electrons work. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ I've edited the question to make it more clear, but tell me if I need to add more clarification. $\endgroup$
    – le_chat
    Commented Jun 13 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ The question is better, but I'm still not sure what you're trying to achieve. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle expresses the simple truth that we can't track a single electron - or even a specific group of electrons. And yet you seem to be asking how to do exactly that. We can cause electrons to move (or the holes where electrons could be... there's quite an argument about that), so are you asking how to make your particle move? As in, if a electrical potential difference causes electrons to move (battery) or a moving magnetic field (generator), what property would (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 15 at 2:41

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