11
$\begingroup$

The Sandbox works best if you sort posts by "active" (click here to do so).


Welcome to the Sandbox!

This "Sandbox" is a place where Worldbuilding.SE users can get feedback on prospective questions they wish to post. This is useful, because new and experienced users can have trouble writing a clear and fully specified question.

  • There is a much better chance of your question being well received if you post it in the Sandbox first.

If you're here to help mentor Sandbox questions (THANK YOU!), jump to the "Helping in the Sandbox" section. If this sandbox has grown too full, jump to the "Maintenance" section.

  • Please don't vote on any of the proposed questions in the Sandbox. Votes don't mean anything here and you could inadvertently bias others who might help, or worse, make a new person feel like their question writing skills are hopeless. Or worse yet, much better than they are. If you think a question is good, leave a note of encouragement and a helpful tip. If you think a question is bad, leave a note of encouragement and offer your help to make it better!

Posting to the Sandbox

Please take the time to read through the Help Center > Asking pages. We know it's a lot to read, but those pages contain the rules our mentors are using to judge your proposed question. If you have not taken the time to read through them, we ask that you do. It would also be beneficial to read through our Meta posts about high concept questions, open-ended questions, and what "primarily opinion-based" means on a creative site like Worldbuilding.SE.

To post a question to the Sandbox: Post an answer to this post with the content of your proposed question. You can create as many answers as you have proposed questions, but it is recommended that you only work on one question at a time. The content of the post should be as close as possible to the format you would use when asking on the main site. If you would like, you may add a section at the bottom explaining what parts of the proposed question you are most worried about (See the Sandbox FAQ for more information on suggested syntax).

Once you have posted your proposed question, users will be able to comment on it with feedback. You can then respond to their feedback with comments of your own, or make edits to your post to attempt to address their feedback (after editing, be sure to notify the user via a comment of your own, use @username in your comment to make this happen). The feedback/edit cycle can go on for as long as needed until either you are confident that your question is ready to be asked on the main site, or you've decided the question just won't work.

  • Please be patient. While most sandbox reviews can be completed in a couple of days, some questions may require a week or more for review.

Finally, please ignore votes. We've asked mentors to not vote for Sandbox questions because questions change here too frequently. Nevertheless, those index fingers hovering over left mouse buttons are trained to vote, so votes occasionally appear. Please completely ignore votes that happen to appear for your proposed question.

When your question is ready

  1. Post it to the main site.
  2. Add a link to your main-site post to the bottom of the "Graduated Questions" list. The list is the accepted answer to this post.
  3. Edit your Sandbox post so that it only contains the title and a link to the main-site post. Delete everything else.
  4. Delete all of your comments.
  5. Finally, delete your Sandbox post. Users with enough rep can still see the post, but it will be moved automatically to the bottom of the answer list, making this Sandbox easier to use.

If you abandon your question

Occasionally a Sandbox question is abandoned. While crafting the question, you may discover the answer. Or you may realize that the question's basic premise can't be expressed within the rules of Worldbuilding.SE. You may also simply forget that you have a question in the Sandbox. If you decide to abandon the question:

  1. Edit your Sandbox post so that it only contains the title and a notice (e.g., "Abandoned question."). Delete everything else.
  2. Delete all of your comments.
  3. Finally, delete your Sandbox post. Users with enough rep can still see the post, but it will be moved automatically to the bottom of the answer list, making this Sandbox easier to use.

Please be aware that questions without activity (edits to your question or comments left by you) for more than one month may be judged abandoned and removed. We'll leave a comment or two to get your attention, but eventually, forgotten questions will be cleaned up and deleted.


Helping in the Sandbox

We are sincerely grateful for the many users who help mentor questions and new users here in the Sandbox. Sharing your experience adds considerably to the quality and enjoyment of the site. We invite you to help us by adhering to the following policies.

Keep the Sandbox clean. In order to keep the Sandbox clean users are encouraged to look out for questions that have not seen any activity in some time.

  1. If you notice the OP has not edited his/her proposed question or left a comment in 2 or more weeks, please tap the OP on the shoulder with a comment (e.g., "Are you still working on this question? This draft might be deleted if there is no further activity.")
  2. If you notice the OP has not edited his/her proposed question or left a comment in more than a month, please flag the question for moderator attention (e.g., "This Sandbox question has been inactive for a month."). Please do not take it upon yourself to delete the OP's question.

Delete your comments when they no longer apply. Please make it easy for others to see which comments are still relevant to the discussion by removing your obsolete comments. In addition you can ask a mod to purge comments under graduated posts or move them to chat under abandoned posts to make it easier for users that can see deleted posts to use the Sandbox.

Please do not vote on proposed questions. Questions in the Sandbox frequently change (it's why they're here) — and the moment they change your vote may no longer reflect your beliefs. It's unreasonable to expect mentors to constantly watch Sandbox questions and there is no automatic way (indeed, there's no way at all…) to notify voters when a question is edited. It is better to use comments. If you feel the question should be downvoted, explain the problem in a comment. If you feel the question is ready for the main site, say so in a comment. The dates on the comments allow other people to judge the relevance of your statements.

Please do not answer questions here. We know it's tempting, but answering the question in a comment will clog the comments and may not even be relevant to the final form of the question. If you have an answer for the proposed question, simply wait for it to be posted to the main site, and answer it there.

Please do not edit a proposed question unless you have the OP's permission to do so. The purpose of the Sandbox is two-fold: (a) to perfect a question and (b) to help users learn to craft good questions. If you jump in and fix a question you've subverted (b). Whenever possible, let the OP edit their proposed question. Exception: If a question has been deleted but not properly cleaned up, help us out by editing the question to remove everything but the title. Thanks!

See the Sandbox FAQ for more information on how to use the Sandbox.


Maintenance

This section is referred to when a new sandbox is created. In order to make the Sandbox easier to use, a new Sandbox question will be posted when the old one becomes too full (between 75 and 100 sandbox questions).

Whomever creates the new page: be sure you want to be actively involved with the Sandbox, because until it gets replaced in the future, you'll be notified of every proposed question and every comment.

(A) Update this previous sandbox list:

The previous sandbox post should be locked as obsolete by a moderator and renamed to "Inactive Sandbox [Date]." Please add a link to the top of the old sandbox page to the new Sandbox.

If there are active questions in the old Sandbox, leave a comment for the users indicating that the old sandbox is closing and they either need to wrap up (preferred) or re-post the question in the new Sandbox.

(B) Update these links after the new Sandbox is created:

(C) Create the "Graduated Question List" answer and mark it a "Community Wiki."

$\endgroup$
11
  • 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
    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. $\endgroup$ 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
    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
    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
    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
    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? $\endgroup$ 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
    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 😅. $\endgroup$ 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
    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
    Jun 1, 2023 at 17:39

9 Answers 9

0
$\begingroup$

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?

Where:

  • 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.

$\endgroup$
26
  • 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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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 💯. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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
    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 ^^. $\endgroup$ 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Sep 16, 2023 at 14:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, it is still waiting for a suggestion or nod. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    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
    Mar 25 at 3:10
0
$\begingroup$

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.

$\endgroup$
24
  • 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
    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
    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
    Nov 1, 2023 at 16:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 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
    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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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
    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! $\endgroup$ 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. [...] $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2023 at 17:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 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
    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
    Nov 3, 2023 at 3:06
0
$\begingroup$

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?

$\endgroup$
14
  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    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... $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Nov 22, 2023 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Is this question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Mar 25 at 2:58
0
$\begingroup$

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.
$\endgroup$
5
  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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
    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
    Feb 26 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ Is this question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Mar 25 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ No, I've lost interest in it. Feel free to remove it. $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 18:38
0
$\begingroup$

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?

$\endgroup$
14
  • $\begingroup$ (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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Mar 1 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ Does this look better? $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    Mar 4 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ bump to show this isn't abandoned $\endgroup$
    – Informer
    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
    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
    Mar 25 at 11:53
0
$\begingroup$

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...

MassBudget=(30years)(0.3)($2.24T)(100)/($1B/MT)=2,160,000tons

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

Background

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.

Question

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.

$\endgroup$
15
  • $\begingroup$ 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Jan 22 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ Permission granted! $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Mar 25 at 5:27
0
$\begingroup$

Title:

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]

$\endgroup$
6
  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ 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
    Sep 15, 2023 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is this Sandbox question still active? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 26, 2023 at 18:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is for me. Still awaiting feedback on the last edit. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    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
    Mar 25 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ Otherwise it's a perfectly reasonable question for the site. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Mar 25 at 3:30
0
$\begingroup$

What type of vibrations would it take to break through solid rock and cause granulation and how many hertz or megahertz would it take

I had an idea for a character that can generate powerful vibrations and I found that when you use vibrations on stuff like metal or wood it breaks at least with the right frequency, but I want to know how many hertz or megahertz of vibrations would it require for vibrations to actually break through rock and granulate it entirely

-physics -vibrations

$\endgroup$
23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Most of this post is focused on talking about your character not your core question. For the sake of clarity try removing everything that isn’t necessary for us to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 16 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ Ok yeah sorry one of the problems I keep running into is people I'm not putting enough information to work with my questions, so what do recommend removing because clearly I don't know what's parts are relevant vs irrelevant and is an issue I keep running into $\endgroup$ May 17 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ In one sentence what is your question? Then evaluate whether everything else is in support of that or not. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 17 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ Basically what kind of vibrations would be needed to break through solid rock and how many hertz or megahertz (this did not give me the option to do a title for some reason) $\endgroup$ May 17 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ Please don't take this the wrong way, but your research is insufficient. There aren't different types of physical vibrations. There are different ways to create vibrations. Vibration is nothing more than a cycle of force, high to low, to high. In the case of trying to break stone, the goal is to vibrate at a frequency that resonates with the lattice structure of what you're trying to break. Hit that frequency with enough amplitude and rock shatters. Every material has a different resonant frequency. (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 17 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ ... However, the biggest problem here is that you're trying to crowbar a Real World consequence to a magical event. Your super power is entirely magical and that means you need to set rules governing the magic. Is the power only omnidirectional? Then vibrations at the resonant frequency of concrete would shatter concrete in every direction for the distance you allow the power to propagate. If you care about the Real World consequence of using the power, are you caring about the Real World consequence to your super? The amoun of energy needed to ... (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 17 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ ... shatter a brick is more than the energy that can be produced by the human body. Every time you shift forms of energy (human body creates atmospheric vibrations that then shatter stone) you lose energy because there's no such thing as perfect efficiency... unless you attribute it to magic, but then you can attribute shattering stone to magic, too. Thus, there is no single frequency (measured in Hertz, megahertz is just one million hertz) that shatters all stone, much less all things. And it gets worse when dealing with aggregate structures ... (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 17 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ ... (a building made of brick, mortar, metal, wood...). So, why do you need to know a specific frequency? Knowing that amplitude matters, why do you need to know that? Why do you need to know how vibration is created? Finally, I think this question as written would be closed as opinion-based due to everything I've explained. So, what are you really trying to achieve with this question? Why are you asking it and what do you intend to do with the information? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 17 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ One more thing, since you're using the answer process to post questions, remember that you need to explain in the answer what your title will be and what tags you intend to use along with the body of your post. Thanks for using the Sandbox! It's the easiest way to learn how to ask questions. Cheers! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 17 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ Do we need to know anything your character to answer what kind of vibrations will shatter rock? Does it matter how he generates them or what the limitations of his powers are? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 17 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ sphennings according to everyone on the site apparently yes, see this one of the problems I keep running the claim I don't add enough detail and leave out stuff like conservation of energy or the limits of the character or something like that, so the fact that you're telling me otherwise just makes it confusing and makes me wonder how I'm actually supposed to write my question, am I actually supposed add details like conservation of energy or how the power works or not because I'm being told two very different things entirely and makes even more confusing on how I'm supposed to ask my question $\endgroup$ May 17 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ JBH yeah no I get what you're saying, the problem is I'm not using magic for my character since my story is more science fiction than magic and the people I'm writing about are more like secret organization, it's hard to explain without going into full detail which I'm not gonna bug you about but long story short yes real world consequences actually do apply to certain extent, I do understand that fiction isn't supposed to be realistic and my character no different, I mean he's powerful enough to kill entire nations so yeah realism isn't entirely my aim, but I do want to be able to explain... $\endgroup$ May 17 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ continued how the powers work so its at least believable and makes some level of sense, I read up on vibrations and stuff like hertz and got me wondering about it, and I guess in a way you kind of answered it, in anycase I appreciate your feedback $\endgroup$ May 17 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ JBH also yeah I didn't realize any of that I'll keep that in mind next time I practice, frankly I was happy to find out the sandbox, it definitely would've been nice if someone recommended this a long time ago before I had to get flagged for like tenth time and definitely would've saved a lot of irritation, and it's weird that it's not recommended before you start writing actual questions if you're new to the site, seriously I had be told about this meta I'm actually a little annoyed mention this option when it came to my actual question $\endgroup$ May 17 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain how whether your character needs to concentrate or not has any bearing on what kind of vibrations will shatter rock? Last I checked any source of vibrations will have the same impact on an object regardless of source. Is it different in your world? If so you will need to describe how your “special vibrations” work on a functional level. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 17 at 8:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .