The Science and Sci-fi Questions Thread:

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51 Twentington3rd Mar 2013 08:30:23 PM from Somewhere , Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Getting back to my idea, one thing I had thought of is that the menus are iPad-like tablets. Given that they'd be used by several hands, how would one ensure that the screens stay clean?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

52 MajorTom3rd Mar 2013 08:32:28 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
Waterproof/washable casing. Failing that, disposable screen protectors.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
53 Twentington3rd Mar 2013 10:04:30 PM from Somewhere , Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Also, what tech advances could exist in preparation of real food? Ovens that cook faster? I rarely set foot in a kitchen, so I don't even know what the hell's there now.

edited 3rd Mar '13 10:16:55 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

54 MajorTom4th Mar 2013 06:50:18 AM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
Food preparation has kinda hit a plateau. Mostly because "ovens that cook faster" is mostly a myth. Sure ovens in the future might heat to a specific temperature more quickly but cook faster at that temp they will not. What you'd potentially see in the future of food preparation is a lot more automation in some aspects such as cutting and storing ingredients.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
blop
Alternatively, 'smart' appliances or pantries that can keep track of food stocks, tell you when something in your cupboard is about to expire, adjust certain drawers in your fridge for produce and others for leftovers, help you decide what to cook based on what you have- or just place a takeout order for you... the list goes on.

I doubt home gas ranges will be going anywhere soon, though. Cooks, home and professional alike, laud their preciseness in heat and flame control.

Ooh, what about knife blocks for home cooks that keep your knives maintained? Or expansions on those Kitchenaid all-in-one things? Molecular gastronomy? What if the gourmands of the future were obsessed with juice drops and foams? Think about the home cook and ways haute cuisine techniques can be simplified for them.

edited 4th Mar '13 8:18:12 AM by CrystalGlacia

"SILVER-HAIRED DREAMBOAT IS BEST HUSBANDO"
56 MajorTom4th Mar 2013 08:22:03 AM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
I doubt home gas ranges will be going anywhere soon, though. Cooks, home and professional alike, laud their preciseness in heat and flame control.

People still cook over a wood fire. Very Stone Age method.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
57 Wolf10664th Mar 2013 10:11:52 AM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Strange Kiwi fella
[up]And the best part of summer, IMNSHO evil grin
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
58 MaxwellDaring5th Mar 2013 08:37:44 AM from Beyond the Event Horizon , Relationship Status: Singularity
Bring On The Singularity.
I'm of the opinion that if a society had pretty advanced developments in nanotech, then it could be reasonable that they could use nanodes to assemble food out of basic ingredients. Sure, if it gets it wrong then the effects could range from the taste being slightly off to instant lethality, but it's a lot less boring than cooking the food yourself.

My query is on the field of xenobiology: One of my stories involves a planet that's pretty much a death world. In its history, human colonists belonging to a corrupt megacorp find this world and immediately detect a gold mine of minerals under the swamps. As opposed to finding an asteroid belt that probably contain just as much metal, they drop a bunch of prisoners and debtors on the planet to mine its riches while suppressing its existence due to the lack of alien life in human observed space.

Anyhow, the megacorp sets up massive arcologies and manufacturing facilities on the planet since the atmosphere is a bitch to fly through and there's no room on the equator for a space elevator. The resulting pollution, combined with some sloppy terraforming, would normally drive the wild life to extinction, which was sort of the plan. Instead, the ecosystem adapted to the new conditions at an alarming rate. Anyhow, the megacorp decides it's more trouble than its worth to keep the world running and cut it off from the rest of Human Occupied Space. The rest of the story is rather inconsequential.

My question is how could such rapid adaptation occur? I would like the reason to be at least a little plausible since it's somewhat of a significant plot point, and I don't want to resort to Applied Phlebotinum like a good chunk of the technology in the story. I suppose if the story has psychic powers, then scientific plausibility is already half-way out the window.

edited 5th Mar '13 8:38:42 AM by MaxwellDaring

Never underestimate the adapting ability of nature. as an example there are fungi colonies that live off the radiation from Chernobyl. it wouldn't be out of the question for the bacteria that live off the noxious fumes of that swamp you mentioned to adapt naturally to eat whatever chemicals the production plants are spewing out.

as for botched terraforming I'm not sure what you mean so i cant really offer any help.sry
60 MaxwellDaring5th Mar 2013 05:24:11 PM from Beyond the Event Horizon , Relationship Status: Singularity
Bring On The Singularity.
Terraforming in this setting is a very complex and difficult process, just like in real life. Not every planet in the Goldilocks Zone is fit for being made habitable, and even if all the conditions are met there is still room for error, or just bad luck. Just like in real life. The plan was to make the planet uninhabitable by making it habitable for us, but one too many corners got cut to speed it up. I have yet to study very thoroughly into the subject, but it ends with the atmosphere becoming just barely bearable to both natives and colonists, and caused severe meteorological instability. In other words, really bad weather.

I suppose instead of scouring the interwebs for a plausible reason I could simply have the ecosystem run on natural selection on steroids, or maybe have numerous "Green Zones" where pollution isn't as bad.

End of query.
61 TairaMai5th Mar 2013 11:17:28 PM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: Owner of a lonely heart
rollin' on dubs
Alien Planet from the discovery channel would be a good place to start.

Radiation is energy and can promote mutations, if it doesn't kill you outright.

And pollution tends to be mitigated by "green zones": the bayou around New Orleans does soak up heavy metals and chemicals (and it would work it humans would stop spewing out more than it could handle).

Natural selection would shape plants and animals to live with pollution in "bio-stasis". Chemicals build up in a plant or critter. Bio-magnification occurs when the organism is eaten, so the survivors build up a tolerance.
62 Alma11th Mar 2013 02:32:46 PM from Coruscant , Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
The Harbinger of Strange
Hypothetical question:

If a moon were somehow dragged closer to a planet (as by attaching a cable and pulling it), would there be any other effects besides (probably) increasing tidal activity?

This is just a tentative idea; I'm thinking of having a villain use their extreme Reality Warper powers to literally crash the moon into the planet. Suppose they were stopped at the (not quite) last minute, leaving the moon much closer to the planet than it originally was.
You need an adult.
63 MajorTom11th Mar 2013 08:14:19 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
^ How close? Because if you put the moon closer than its Roche limit the moon will break up and/or collide with the planet.

If you moved Luna half its current distance (which would more than triple its apparent size in the night sky) to Earth, apart from the initial jolt to the tides the main things you'd have happen is some instrumentation would read (until accounted for) anomalous gravity readings. Beyond that, you're mainly just looking at slightly higher tides, a brighter night sky and some serious disturbance of the Lagrangian Points scattered across the Earth-Luna body system. (They'll eventually reach equilibrium again but anything in those points will be disturbed out.)
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
64 MaxwellDaring6th May 2013 06:07:55 PM from Beyond the Event Horizon , Relationship Status: Singularity
Bring On The Singularity.
CLEAR!

-revives thread-

So my inquiry is on the subject of material science and energy.

I have an idea for a substance known as Diamod. Diamod is basically diamond constructed by nanobots that incorporates buckminsterfullerene and carbon nanotubes into its structure, and is built by the nanobots to act as a hydrogen cell and battery as well as an absurdly strong substance. The question is how feasible is this? This is a diamond structure that can break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, release the oxygen, store the hydrogen, burn it of as an electrochemical cell, and store the energy, all on a molecular level, yet can still be used as components to a structure and be built by nanobots. So how feasible is this?
65 DeMarquis6th May 2013 06:21:32 PM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Aggregated diamond nonrod- absurdly strong, but doesnt seem to be used as a battery.

“There’s room for all of us here... But there’s no middle ground between ‘We belong here’ and ‘No you don’t.’
66 TairaMai6th May 2013 06:52:53 PM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: Owner of a lonely heart
rollin' on dubs
If you're willing to accept some bulk, you could build a nano-battery in layers:

  • graphite-metal sandwich

  • insulation

  • repeat as needed

  • Diamond outer shell with electrodes poking out

  • stack batteries as needed

The nanites "build" the batter to whatever size needed. From "watch battery" to car battery, it would be a matter of time, power and materials.
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