Counter-factuals

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Theonefreeham
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Counter-factuals

Postby Theonefreeham » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:50 pm UTC

Inspired by the lastest episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Whoever comes up with the first justifiable answer chooses the next question.

In an alternative universe where pandas are not endangered, which country would experience the greatest increase in manufacturing capacity?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby LucasBrown » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:11 pm UTC

The United States--the US seems to be the country most concerned with saving endangered species, and a lot of that effort seems to be directed at pandas. If pandas were not endagered, then the people concerned about them would be freed up for jobs in, among other things, manufacturing.

Suppose that squirrels suddenly became sentient and able to communicate effectively with humans. What effect would this have on penguins?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby KrazyerKate » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

It'd probably help penguins out. If human-rights apply to all sentient beings and not just homo-sapiens, then squirrels are going to expect the same rights to participate in the world economy as humans, and that means that there's going to be a huge upswing in the demand for live oak trees, not just for their acorn yield but also for living-spaces (I doubt squirrels would want to live in a house built from dead trees like us monkeys do). More trees means more CO2 being taken out of the atmosphere to be made into Oxygen. Less CO2 means less Global Warming, meaning less melting in the polar ice caps: home to the world's population of penguins.

Suppose earth's gravity were slightly stronger. How would this change the internet?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby felltir » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:15 pm UTC

The internet would be non-existant. An increase in gravity means smaller creatures and smaller trees. The primates never gain dominance due to their inability to climb away from danger as effieciently, and as a result octopi become the dominant species. As it is established by their ability to predict sports results that octopi are psychic, they have no need for an internet for communication, so it never develops.

In a world where right angles are considered abhorrent, what is america's all time highest grossing movie?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Scyrus » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:16 pm UTC

Ninja'ed

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby KrazyerKate » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

Silly Felltir, movies were banned in 1915 due to the outrage over the rectangular screens and block-shaped cameras.

Okay, new rule. if it's mentioned in the question, it exists.

Due to the distrust of anything rectangular, people are uneasy about riding on boats due to the fact that early versions used many rectangular planks. By the time iron steamships are invented, dirigibles--with their round, bubbly appearance--have already become more mainstream. Thus, when James Cameron writes a screenplay about a man and a woman of different social classes that fall in love on an ill-fated maiden voyage, it takes place on The Hindenburg, not The Titanic.

In a world where everyone rides motorcycles instead of cars, who wins the 2000 election?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Poochy » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:12 am UTC

Al Gore, of course. Due to motorcycle engines generally being louder than cars, hearing loss is much more prevalent in senior citizens, forcing them to become much more reliant on their sense of vision. With more seniors in Palm Beach, Florida having up-to-date corrective eyewear, they have an easier time reading the ballots, leading to fewer mistaken votes for Pat Buchannan. By a small margin, Al Gore wins Florida, and by extension the whole election.

In a world where the knowledge contained in the Library of Alexandria was never lost, what are the most popular modern-day personal electronics products?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Max2009 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:24 am UTC

The iProphet.
Modern science was derived from the texts contained in the library, and hence relied heavily on astrology, which became the mainstream science. All laws of physics, and hence the way we build electronic gadgetry was conceived from that. The iProphet automatically fills out your appointment calendar, gives you restaurant recommendations based on where you will be when you get hungry, lets all your friends know what you think about them and also makes phone calls.

That question had a much too direct line of reasoning.

In a world where oil exists, but is non combustible (even after being refined), what is Isaac Asimov's greatest work of fiction?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Theonefreeham » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:36 pm UTC

Hmm, I fear my original question wasn't quite in keeping with the spirit of the game either. Oh well, I rushed. :P

Anyway, here goes...

With oil not being used to create petrol, there is less competition for feedstocks, therefore plastic production is increased exponentially. Unable to conceive of any advanced civilisation creating large structures out of metal because of its high cost, Asimov pens "The Caves of Plastic", to universal acclaim.

If the steam engine had been invented before the sail, which ancient civilisation would still exist today?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:22 pm UTC

Counter-intuitively, it would be the Vikings. While they were great sailors of their day, had they had steam power available to propel their vessels, they would have been able to spread throughout the globe effortlessly.

If a space elevator had been built 100 years ago, who would have won World War 2?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby snowyowl » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

The British Empire. One of the first things that would happen in the war would be the sabotaging of the space elevator so that it cannot be used for orbital bombardments. It collapses, and destroys a massive swathe of the Earth's surface, starting at the equator and moving out. Only countries at very high latitudes would survive. This would mostly include Canada, Australia, a little bit of Africa, and Siberia. Of these, Canada, Australia and several African states belonged to the British Empire, so they would ally and start reconstruction efforts.

In a world where the Moon is made of solid 18-carat gold, where is the world's largest city?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:06 pm UTC

On the moon. With such a huge hunk of precious metal up there, there would be a massive exodus of prospectors to the moon looking to make their fortune. Their settlements would merge to form towns and the towns would merge to form cities. By the time gold becomes valueless, most of the moon's surface would be covered by a single huge city made of gold.

If Venus was similar enough to Earth for humans to be able to live on (like they hoped back in ye olde days), what would be the current exchange rate between GBP and USD?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Duban » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:16 pm UTC

The same as it is now. We aren't able to colonize venus yet anyways. Only in the near future would it affect anything.

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby JoeyJo0 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:54 am UTC

Dinosaur.

If the government was to be taken over by beer-drinking hobos, what would happen?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:59 am UTC

They'd launch all the nukes at France just for a laugh, and nuclear holocaust would ensue.

In a world where non-alcoholic beer tastes better than alcoholic beer, who would win the 2012 Olympics?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby krucifi » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

Well with nonalcoholic beer being safer to the community that alcohol, then governments would effectively be able to make alcohol illegal. As a result less drink related deaths and as such a over-population will result. This will cause the UN to harvest ALL alcohol for the production of clean bio fuels now that the price of alcohol is so high being noone actually needs it to drink and stopped making it resulting in it becoming a rarity and the price shoots up when too many people being alive use up the world resources of oil within mere decades. more over population will result in the immigration policy being void when governments have to bargain with other countries to allow their citizens in. As a result, africa will be debt free, after their crops become worth more and slowly exceed the gdp of US and UK combined, and be able to open training facilities allowing their athletes to win them the olympics the marathon the common wealth, even sports such as football basketball etc. Kenya will lead them all in this respect

In a world where Jesus never existed, who invented electricity?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Duban » Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

Ala Abdul Ack Quasa'ar. It's the same person, he just goes by an Islamic name.

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby krucifi » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:05 pm UTC

um... the foundation of islam is based on the teachings of jesus aka the messiah. meaning no jesus then no christianity or islam. so i find my question unanswered.
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:00 pm UTC

Nobody would have invented electricity. Someone would have discovered electricity, just as they did in our world.
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

krucifi wrote:um... the foundation of islam is based on the teachings of jesus aka the messiah. meaning no jesus then no christianity or islam. so i find my question unanswered.
Well, there was a current of messianic thought in Judaism at the time, and so there could have been a different messiah. A less-well known Jewish messiah could still lead to a leader such as Muhammed uniting the Arab tribes and leading an islamic invasion of the Sassanid Empire. Indeed, without Christianity's influence, there would not be a competing monotheistic religion in Europe, meaning that Islam could have spread further and faster. Which would mean that an Italian with an Arabic name could have discovered electicity/ invented a generator of electricity.

Which leads to my question: in a world where Coca Cola still contains cocaine, how large is the United States of South America?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Duban » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:29 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Well, there was a current of messianic thought in Judaism at the time, and so there could have been a different messiah. A less-well known Jewish messiah could still lead to a leader such as Muhammed uniting the Arab tribes and leading an islamic invasion of the Sassanid Empire. Indeed, without Christianity's influence, there would not be a competing monotheistic religion in Europe, meaning that Islam could have spread further and faster. Which would mean that an Italian with an Arabic name could have discovered electicity/ invented a generator of electricity.


I was thinking more along the lines that Islam could have been created off of Jewish tradition rather than that of a specific messiah. Islam does only recognize Christ as a prophet rather than the messiah after all. It might have been a bit different but many of the basics are still laid out in the old testament and who knows what would have happened to Judaism without Christianity.


bigglesworth wrote:Which leads to my question: in a world where Coca Cola still contains cocaine, how large is the United States of South America?


The United States of South America was destroyed in the war on drugs as it was Coca Cola's primary supplier. The heads of Coca Cola are still being hunted for their drug dealing crimes.

In a world where physics was never created what is the largest prime number ever discovered?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby coolguy5678 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:32 pm UTC

Without physics, computers aren't invented, preventing large-scale prime searches. However, many of the would-be physicists end up in mathematics, allowing new methods for finding primes by hand to be developed, nearly (but not quite) cancelling the other effect out. The largest prime is [imath]33.2^{1813526} - 1[/imath], discovered by Richard Feynman.

In a universe where the gravitational and electromagnetic forces are 1/r instead of 1/r^2, with the fundamental constants changed so that life is still possible (bear with me here) what is the world's most popular sport?
Last edited by coolguy5678 on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:46 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:33 pm UTC

Duban wrote:I was thinking more along the lines that Islam could have been created off of Jewish tradition rather than that of a specific messiah. Islam does only recognize Christ as a prophet rather than the messiah after all. It might have been a bit different but many of the basics are still laid out in the old testament and who knows what would have happened to Judaism without Christianity.
Fair enough, but there were (not so widely followed) messiahs before Jesus, and even a few afterwards, it's just that Jesus was so popular that other ones found it a bit harder to get support. Messianic thought was a Jewish tradition. But we are only playing with counterfactuals anyway.

And you need to put forward one for us to create.
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby KrazyerKate » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

While Coca-Cola was definitely a North American invention, South America obviously has the greatest supply of Coca, so the soft-drink company was bought out soon after its commercial success in the 'states. The United States of South America (ratified shortly after the small countries started becoming more economically powerful than the United States of North America) spans the entire South American continent, and one-third of the way up the North American one, with strong cultural ties to the middle east through coca-colonization. While there aren't any problems with immigration in this world, the state of Mexico still has an uneasy relationship with the United States of North America due to the gap between the two cultures.

In the future when all public spaces are watched by webcams whose streams are uploaded to the internet, what will my 12-year-old niece do for fun?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby krucifi » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:09 am UTC

Duban wrote:
I was thinking more along the lines that Islam could have been created off of Jewish tradition rather than that of a specific messiah. Islam does only recognize Christ as a prophet rather than the messiah after all. It might have been a bit different but many of the basics are still laid out in the old testament and who knows what would have happened to Judaism without Christianity.


No, islam recognizes Jesus as the Messiah as well as a prophet. In fact he is one of the most important people in the religion.

i will answer both questions



Spoiler:
Firstly due to the forces being so erratic after the big bang and creation of the solar system, Earth continued to circle many suns bouncing form one to another. as a result the seasons were extreme and life was barely able to keep up but managed to persevere. People eventually emerged with the same ability to withstand the extreme pressure temperatures etc as bacteria. now with this in mind they developed techonologies more suited to them, super carbon nanotubes (several billion times stronger than our current ones) now that humans can withstand unbeleivable circumstances this developed the sport similar to paintball but with supremely high powered cannons. i beleive they would call it bombardball



Spoiler:
The internet now becomes common place for social contact. the world is permanently policed but also available to see by everyone. tourism becomes null as anything worth seeing is online. TV becomes redundant as does the radio. kids are forced to turn to the internet for education. however with the internet being home to many other things, this will cause an extreme boost in underage delinquency, and pregnancy. the world changes it's policies to include children as full citizens and age laws are thrown out. 12 year olds are given legal status and are to get jobs and such. so for fun i guess just relaxing and sitting on the couch



in a world where the speed of light is equal to mach 1, what animal would be the common household pet??
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby samk » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:10 am UTC

coolguy5678 wrote:In a universe where the gravitational and electromagnetic forces are 1/r instead of 1/r^2, with the fundamental constants changed so that life is still possible (bear with me here) what is the world's most popular sport?

Presumably space would be two dimensional, so peopletetris.

If seawater was usable for crop irrigation, what country would have the best cakes?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Lopsidation » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:26 am UTC

If crops could be grown on seawater alone without affecting the taste, water-plentiful fruits like watermelons and strawberries would become vastly more available than (for example) potatoes and avocados. Thus, the most selective delicacy of the pastry world will be the water-deprived chocolate soda-cracker cake, produced only in landlocked countries. In addition, with the mass-shipping of saltwater, Gatorade will become the most common drink in the world, and Switzerland- holding the incredibly dehydrating sport of tennis- will become rich, and the only country able to produce pastries at a high level of quality.

If the mail was delivered weekly instead of daily, what would popular music sound like?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby BurningLed » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:45 am UTC

Thanks to less frequent updates on what qualifies as "mainstream" music, and the updates being focused on only a single subject each time, our music would still be 70's disco. It'd also have less variety, due to lower newspaper numbers, and be more comedic thanks to the Sunday funnies. Lastly, there would be far less environmental messages in music due to a decline in trees used to create newspaper.

If our clock ran on 50 hours rather than 24, how would it affect burger consumption rates?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby KrO2 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:22 am UTC

I suspect they would go down, since if everyone was used to a sleep cycle slightly longer than two solar days, it would be easier to obtain actual food as opposed to fast food during hours where on our current clock just about everything is closed.

If the craters on the dark side of the moon were discovered to clearly spell "YHWH made this" in ancient Hebrew, how would the average strength of duct tape be different?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Platypodes » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:48 am UTC

NASA gets a boost from support by religious groups excited about the discovery. As often happens, NASA work leads to improvements in materials, & stronger duct tape is one result.

In a world without pigs, what is the current trend in interior decorating?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Badion » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Due to the lack of protein in the human diet we greatly value the meat and skin of cows, this prevents the use of leather entirely and we lean heavily on artificial fabrics. The current trend in interior design is therefore the neoprene hammock.

In a world where trees are sentient beings, how has the geopolitical atmosphere changed.
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby samk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

A slow (not cold-tree speed) war between the pine alliance of Canada and russia vs the jungle group of brazil and indonesia would have been the defining axis of world politics until recently, albedo and transpiration based climate war common. The development of consumer electronics for plants is however speeding up communication, the consequences as yet unclear.

If a golden retriever was elected president instead of GW Bush, what time signature would be in fashion now?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Sean Quixote » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:39 am UTC

The only universe that this theoretical happening that you propose could ever possibly exist in is one with the opposite "polarity", if you will, to ours --up is down, left is right, etc, and time signatures... well, the numerator is actually the denominator... ugh, don't even get me started-- so it is quite impossible to tell.


If I gave you a dollar, which one is more awesome: tits or bacon?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby mathgeek17 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:41 am UTC

Let's see. That dollar can go to ether a strip club, where I can watch people in underwear dance around, or bacon. The way I see it is, I can watch people naked online for free while I'm eating my bacon. Therefore, I decree bacon to be the winner.

If Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann were running against each other for the presidency, what color is the bear that walks by?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:09 am UTC

Clearly Brown. Hell has frozen over, so all the polar bears went there.

If the sun set in the east instead of the west, which musician would be the most popular today?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby ibgdude » Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:52 am UTC

If the sun sets in the east, we are clearly on Venus, and so the most popular musician is John Lennon, with his amazingly popular song, Imagine No longer, Venus is Here.

If interstellar travel was invented as part of the space race, who wins WWIII?
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Sean Quixote » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:52 pm UTC

The Borg. They will add our biological and technological distinctiveness to their own. Resistance is Futile.

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby blademan9999 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:45 am UTC

ERROR! ERROR! NOT A COUNTER FACTUAL! NO DIFFERENCE SPECIFIED!

In a world where Penguins breath fire, who wrote Hamlet.
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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby Lorenz » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:12 am UTC

Well, that's easy. Penguings slowly melt the polar caps by breathing fire, and by the 1600's, London is completely underwater. Shakespeare DID indeed write Hamlet, but it got lost in the same way that many beautiful stories were lost in Atlantis. About 350 years later, E. Lee Spence finds it, and takes credit for it. So for all we know, E. Lee Spence wrote Hamlet.

In a world were Isaac Newton decides to devote his life to horse racing, what is the first game console invented?

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Re: Counter-factuals

Postby blademan9999 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:02 am UTC

As Isaac newton goes horse racing, he discoveries gravity when he falls of his horse. This creates a new sport of falling if horses. Thefore the first game console was a horse.

In a world where camels and donkeys fight a war, who discovers relativity.
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