Random notes and whatnot

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:36 am

Two quick SDN threads which may be worth reading:
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=125130 On ion engines. Features a Sikon post.

http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=125212 My thread about antimatter reactor design. Also features a Sikon post.

=======

There's been an alien discussion on the sfconsim-l mailing list over the last week or so, and it has been fairly interesting. Even the "kill them before they kill us" which is brought up in almost every damn alien debate for some stupid reason (yes, I lambaste it despite actually using it in my own storyline. At least I shot it the hell down in universe, but not really to the extent it deserves. I'll probably fix that in the rewrite.) had some interesting counterpoints:
Isaac Kuo wrote:The basic problem with the "laws" is that they can be equally applied
on a national level--or even an individual level. Consider the laws
as applied to your next door neighbor. Why don't you murder your
neighbor before he gets you first? The gaps in the argument become
blatant and obvious.

Isaac Kuo
I love ripping those stupid arguments apart. Even the game theory argument that is often brought up to say shoot first is best doesn't actually work - the way to actually maximize your points in that game is to cooperate by default! If you assume the aliens know this too, then you have nothing to worry about.

And of course, the cost of launching an interstellar war is absurdly high, and the benefits are non-existant. There is no really good justification for actually attacking someone in another star system in the first place.



Anyway, moving on to the more interesting stuff, some of the posters there suggested doing exactly what I've been doing: try to think about an alien race's evolutionary history. Let me copy a few key quotes:

Beth Fulton responding to Rick Robinson:
> But an interesting question lurks here. How different 'should'
> aliens be, and in what ways? Presumably their sex lives
> (or however they reproduce), eating habits, and such will
> be as different from us as their biological characteristics
> and background are.

Yes and I think this is in part where novel writers would benefit from
sketching out an ecology even if they never actually use it in the
novel. They need to explore the full potential of methods seen on Earth
(some of which are so bizarre the vast majority of the readership would
never guess they're not completely fictional), make alien landscapes,
evolution, history etc to get to where the species is now, before
running with it. They needn't put all that detail into any story, but it
needs to be there to build fully fledged 4D (physical and developmental)
aliens.
I completely agree, which is why I spend just as much time talking about A'millian history and evolutionary development as I do modern technology and such.


Speaking of Rick Robinson:
I haven't read any Cherryh (tried Downbelow Station once; didn't
click), but if her aliens are so human-like that they have sex with
us, for all practical purposes they are humans of a different culture.
This is something I also love attacking: aliens wanting to have sex with humans is pretty damn unlikely. Hell, I don't want to have sex with you - why would someone from another planet? :P

Isaac Kuo responds with saying that he thinks most aliens would actually be artificial - we'd meet their robot representatives instead, and gives an example of a hypothetical alien race living in Neptune, which would need high pressure to survive, so it is easier for them to send out robots and AIs than go themselves.

More from Mr Kuo, still responding to Rick Robinson:
Life in a world with much lower power input may plausibly run at a
much lower metabolism. Conversely, a much higher power input may
allow for a much higher metabolism. This may have implications on
lifespan and practical learning capacity, as well as communications
rates.

Think about how much of human mental capabilities hinge on lifespan
and learning rate. It doesn't make sense to have oodles of mental
capacity that you won't have time to fill up.
Lower metabolism might be like the plant like aliens I intend to do - they respond to things, but on a time scale completely unlike our own.

Also mental capacity is something you might remember me discussing before: A'millian mental capacity is also related to their lifespan, but not quite in the Mr Kuo is suggesting would happen.

Continuing from the same post:
>But what about their politics and philosophy?

I think these will be extremely different. Libertarians and
communists like to think of politics/economics as scientific
absolutes. However, the reality is that they are intimitely
dependent on the specifics of human psychology, technology, and the
resulting organizational practical realities.

Consider how much of our human activity essentially amounts to
various forms of mind control. There's advertising, there's
propoganda, there's education, there's religion...all things which
are specific to the way human psychology works. Why would mind
control of aliens be similar to mind control of humans? It wouldn't,
except perhaps for the broadest strokes.

I expect that the overall "altruism level" of aliens may be very
different from humans, and the ways this "altruism" may be
manipulated and/or expressed will be very different. This will have
profound effects on wealth redistribution policy and even if such a
policy is necessary.

[...]

However, aliens in an environment promoting short lifespans
may evolve "brain mitosis"--the ability to copy memories into the
offspring. Conversely, aliens in an environment promoting long
lifespans may evolve much greater mental capacity.
The paragraph about mind control is most fascinating. He makes a very good point that I've considered before myself: you really can't do anything without someone trying to influence your mind. Advertising is done the way it is because they know how to nudge ideas in someone's mind to change his opinion without him realizing it. Political speeches are about rousing our emotions. What is moving to a human wouldn't be moving to an alien at all - something I try to show in my story (though my poor writing skills don't help much there; hopefully, the rewrite will make it better).


The final paragraph is just an interesting idea.


From another post by Mr Kuo responding to Winchell Chung:
>[3] The tendency for individuals to engage in behavior
>that maybe advantageous to the individual but
>detrimental to society or the species. Being
>self-centered and selfish, in other words.

This is more obviously an inherent problem--far moreso than either of
the above. However, it's not clear that this problem exists for all
species. The worker members of the great insect colonies seem to
just robotically do the bidding of the colony.
An insect species would be a lot of fun to play with. Loads of biologicial specialization including throwaway workers. The kind of culture that if it was humans, would be horribly repressive and arguably evil, but perfectly normal and desirable to the insects.

I really want to do additional alien races at some point. I think it'd be a blast. Insect like creatures would certainly be among them. As would avians (though the A'millians are already pretty much based on birds in a lot of ways, it'd be fun the go all the way.)
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:04 am

I just got out of a flamewar on the D Programming Language newsgroup over copyright. I argue that it is an evil, and while it might be a valid way to achieve a goal, there are better ways.

I then went into business plans on how art might be funded without copyright, something I think is going to be very important in the coming decades, as the battle against piracy seems to be a losing one.

I've said before that copyright doesn't exist in A'millian society, and I stick by that, but now, I have some fairly good ideas on business models that might fit into that society. The one I like most is making people pay up front through an escrow agent to have a product be created. It is like a kind of large scale commissioning, and while many people in the thread called it absurd, that is only because they lacked my superior intellect. It is a solid plan, far more than trying to use force to control people in order to shape the market in a way that favors you, which is what most music, movie, and software companies today do.

One good counter argument (which I raised myself...) is that freely being able to copy existing stuff might lead to less original stuff being made. If you can just grab an existing piece of art, why reinvent the wheel?

This, I think, is a comparatively strong argument. It wouldn't be true in a great many cases - emperical evidence shows that artists love creating their own stuff anyway, even if they don't have to. But in some cases, it would surely hold true, and this might stop some creation a bit.

But, on the other hand, without copyright restrictions, it will be easier to add all new stuff to the pool of existing art - if you want to make a computer game, for example, you only need to make the parts of the game you're interested in (like just do the programming) and take the rest of the stuff from elsewhere, saving time.

The only restriction I would place in this area is not misrepresenting the source of something; outright plagiarism or forgeries would still be not permitted, but anything else is fine.

So this is something I can briefly explore in the background and perhaps history.


A somewhat related subject is patents. Patents are actually pretty good at what they do, and I had to think for some time to find a good alternative.

What patents do is give someone an incentive to release his idea to the public instead of keeping it to himself all the time. Since you can't force it out of him*, getting him to release it willingly with an offer of money is a pretty good plan. But you can't just give money to everyone who has an idea, so the patent simply gives him an opportunity to get to market to make his money.

* My two laws of information:
1) You cannot force someone to divulge anything. (This is a practical matter too: you can try to force him, like with torture, but it has no guarantee of working. Maybe mind reading can do it, but, still I'll keep this as a generally true ethical statement.)

2) You cannot force someone NOT to divulge something. This statement puts the burden of proof on pro-copyright to show the good outweighs this big negative. (and the burden of proof is on pro-NDA, and other things.)
***

Back to patents.

This is a good deal, and I think there might be patents in utopia. But the ASE verse isn't quite a utopia, and I wanted a different approach. Still, the problem had to be solved: how to get someone to give something up without using force to make him tell.

The answer is fairly simple: manufacturing licenses. Suppose that nothing can be legally manufactured without a license, and to get that license, you have to give all your plans to the government. Boom - you have incentive to give the idea up (it is the only way to get your manufacturing license to make money off it), and it doesn't really force something - he can still keep it to himself if he wants, he just can't actually exploit it if he does.

This also lets the government inspect and reject things that would be dangerous. This is a beautifully double edged sword - it can be used for good or for bad, which makes good plot material.


But, what about the other thing a patent does: grant you a limited monopoly so you can make back your R&D cost without being immediately outcompeted? Well, again, the manufacturing license system incorporates that option. They can simply deny the license to the competitors for a short time. Furthermore, the reveal of the idea need not necessarily be public for the first few years; the government can keep it to itself too. This way, you get to be the only one in the market to make your money back, the idea goes public eventually, guaranteed, and finally, if someone independently comes up with the same idea, he too can exploit it, despite not getting the patent first.

It looks like everyone wins.




Finally, I used the phrase above: X in Utopia. This is something I borrowed from an essay discussed in my first philosophy class in uni, intro to ethics (taught my a mega D&D nerd who talked about the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition and Slashdot in class. Hilarious.). The essay was "Whoring in Utopia" and discussed prostitution in otherwise perfect world in an attempt to show if it was moral or immoral. It concluded it was moral based on a generally rule-utilitarian argument, which I found reasonably convincing, but most the class didn't. (Most the class didn't find consequentialist ethics convincing at all, whereas I buy into them entirely, you know, because they are actually right and make sense... but see the god man thread here.)

This, taking place shortly after I joined SDN, led to my first real life flamewar, with me actually saying bullshit and fucktard in class [!], one of the very few times I actually spoke aloud at that university at all in public. It was a lol.

Anyway, I like the idea of putting something in utopia to help judge its inheriant worth, so I've been taking that here.

But the history of utopia is also fascinating. What kind of things were acceptable on the road to utopia, but are unnecessary once you actually get there? What kind of things were good in the past, but become evil now? What kind of hacks would utopia have to get people to buy into the vision in the first place?

Those are all fascinating questions, and answering them would give a much more fleshed out and realistic utopia than most that you see. You'd have one with vestigal laws!


Anyway, that's enough for tonight.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:08 am

Minovsky particles: let's say it absorbs energy from low energy photons but scatters high energy ones.

It absorbs stuff like radio waves, which causes the particles to gain more energy and thus disperse. High energy stuff is absorbed too but immediately re-emitted.

Infrared might just be the half way point. Some of it is just plain absorbed so you don't see it, but the rest is rather uselessly scattered. Visible really should be scattered; this means you can see a dense field of particles because it would look really blurred.

What does all this mean?

Lasers are reduced in usefulness. Stuff like xray lasers lose their awesome focus pretty much immediately when hitting the minovsky particle field (henceforth MPF).

Radio communications are pretty futile; your message just is absorbed by a sufficiently dense MPF. But radio doesn't interact with it as often, so a more dense field is required than the one that counters xray lasers. Hitting an MPF with lots of radio waves will eventually disperse the field, but this takes a while too due to the same reason.

Minvosky particles can be moved and shaped with magnetic fields. They only disperse from a ship when they absorb too much energy and fly off; when they start to hit the escape velocity for the magnetic field holding on to them.

M Particles out at random slowly disperse by themselves as they absorb more energy.



The effects here would be most interesting:

1) Long range radio communication becomes difficult, but interestingly, long range refers more to the MPF density rather than actual range, but still, range makes it difficult simply because the waves would have spread out more by the time they hit the field, and thus are more likely to actually be absorbed.

2) Ditto for microwaves. A microwave laser might be a decent weapon for punching apart MPFs - pump energy into them to be absorbed, separating the particles. Then you can send a message through or a weapon laser beam or whatever before the field is reestablished.

3) Infrared and visual scanning becomes hard to use for pin-points thanks to the scattering. You should be able to tell something is there in most cases, but it would be hard to tell what it is or exactly where it is due to the interference. I'm tempted to go ahead and say infrared is also absorbed, since this would give some kind of stealth in space. Not quite there, but close.

Problem: if they absorb it, this means they are a good heat sink, but that still doesn't get rid of the energy. What's really going on there? Why don't they reemit it? Well, maybe they eventually do. But if they do, this implies a ship hiding in particles for a long time would eventually be seen - the result would be a delayed scattering,

I'm not a big fan of that; let's say the particles absorb it and keep it. If they keep it and spread out, this shouldn't rape thermodynamics. I think.

Of course, as time goes on, you'll be shedding your particles as a result of your own heat.

You have awesome stealth.

4) I like the emp they do in the show, but don't think it would actually make that much difference. Battles are probably still going to be between computers most realistically. But some handwaving here might be warranted for the Rule of Cool.

5) Lasers are probably dethroned as Weapon of Choice. Nukes are rendered a little ineffective too for the same reason. This might let kinetics come back, a wee bit anyway.

6) Long range lasers almost certainly are rendered useless.


Realism problems:

1) How are they created? If it is He3 fusion, why don't we see them coming out of the sun? Possible answers: He3 is sufficiently rare that those particles produced by it in the sun are simply trapped inside for the most part; not enough escape for us to have noticed yet. Seems fairly believable.

2) How are they made in sufficient quantities to fill a relevant volume to adequate density? This is the biggest problem. Fusion simply doesn't use that much fuel in realistic settings, so you can't expect that many M particles made from it. Handwaving is probably necessary to get past this.

3) How does this interact with my existing technobabble shields?

4) Unintended consequences surely still lurk.



Still, sounding pretty fun to play with.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:47 am

Sikon on rare Earth:
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic. ... 88#2881488

He quotes a guy from MIT saying he hopes that we never discover life elsewhere, because if we do, the thing that kept others from going into space is still ahead of us. If we don't, that thing is just the improbability of life.

This has very fascinating implications on the ASE-verse, since they discover life to be quite common. So what is their solution to the Fermi paradox? Fascinating... I'll need to ponder that extensively at a later time.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Ford Prefect » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:19 pm

On lunarians and fall problems, I remember the daughter of the American moon-base director in 2OOI saying something along the lines of 'why would I want to go to earth? Don't you get hurt when you fall over?' :D
FEEL THESE GUNS ARCHWIND THESE ARE THE GUNS OF THE FLESHY MESSIAH THE TOOLS OF CREATION AND DESTRUCTION THAT WILL ENACT THE LAW OF MAN ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:22 pm

Hehehe, that's awesome.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Ford Prefect » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:16 am

I recently whipped out my compy of the book to get a feel of what things would be like on the moon, for a minor project I've been working on. I like the book from beginning to end, but the parts about Heywood's trip to the moon is very informative.
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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:20 am

Quick before bed: would people in space habitats small talk about the weather? There wouldn't be much to talk about, since it can be pretty well controlled in there.

and

"What gives you the right to play God?"

"What gives God the right to play God?!"
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Ford Prefect » Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:06 pm

Weather in habitats may well just be on random, just to spice things up. Can it even rain in an O'neill?
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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:55 pm

Ford Prefect wrote:Weather in habitats may well just be on random, just to spice things up.
Hmm. I wonder if people from such habs would say stuff like "they made it rain today, fucking bastards" and get used to The Man being in control of the weather...
Can it even rain in an O'neill?
Yes, interestingly enough. There is enough room in there and enough air variations from the rotation (coriolis effect, just like on Earth) for clouds to form and develop some kind of weather pattern. I don't think this can happen in the toruses (not wide open enough) nor the smaller cylinders and spheres, but Island III is beefy enough for some natural weather.

However, it wouldn't be nearly as random as it is here on Earth. Where I am, it was up in the 80's (F) at the beginning of the week, then over night it was windy and dropped down to the 40's. In a more uniform environment of the habitat, there would be no cold air for those strong winds to bring it (or warm air to cycle in for that matter), nor even such a huge pressure difference to make those strong winds, but the rotation might do something similar anyway.

So while there would be natural variation, it should be small scale; it rained or didn't rain, maybe even a thunder storm day to day, but no wild, outrageous changes - it should be quite mundane all year.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Ford Prefect » Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:40 pm

Destructionator wrote: Hmm. I wonder if people from such habs would say stuff like "they made it rain today, fucking bastards" and get used to The Man being in control of the weather...
Depending on how much of an asshole the adminstration is, of course. :D
So while there would be natural variation, it should be small scale; it rained or didn't rain, maybe even a thunder storm day to day, but no wild, outrageous changes - it should be quite mundane all year.
That's rather interesting, and gives me some ideas for characterisation in a certain project I'm working on. Thanks D. :D
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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:29 pm

I said mundane all year, but it should be noted that there can be seasons still; just close the mirrors on a different schedule during different parts of the year. The season changes are under complete control - they would be caused artificially but changing the length of the day.

I think natural snow should be possible too in a cylinder - there can be enough temperature change in the miles from the middle to the surface of the habitat.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:45 pm

You humans are hilarious.

I was just over at a friend's house and she was going on and on about what to wear to a birthday party she is going to tonight. She must have spent at least half an hour just deciding what to wear, and will spend another half hour getting all dressed up for it later tonight. This is no special occasion; she tends to do this when going just about anywhere.

Why spend so much time doing this? Just in case there are some cute boys there, of course!


Driving places with guys is even more absurd. Every damn male driver I know always has to look - sometimes quite extensively - at every female along the road. How absurd; there's no point to that and it is rather dangerous. Yet it seems to be common practice.


Virtually every commercial on the tele includes stuff trying to be 'sexy'. Every damn magazine cover at a store has 'omfg sex tips!!11' on the cover or similar nonsense.


The list goes on. You guys spend so damn much time being concerned about your silly mating rituals that it is amazing that you ever get anything else done.


Why am I posting this here? Well, for a species who only worry about mates 10 days out of the year, you can expect virtually every part of their lives to be different than what you'd expect from humans. I spend a lot of time discussing little things like that already, and I think these observations justify spending some time talking about it.

The lack of a constant (and public and promiscious) sex drive is what I think makes A'millian society most alien out of anything else. So much of human base behaviour is based around sex that ripping it out or tweaking it really changes things.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Dakarne » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:33 pm

Yes because having a reproductive drive is in no way an evolutionary benefit, no sir... ;) Massive evolutionary drawback of the A'millian Star Empire number one... little-to-no sex drive. Though you've already mentioned how nigh-extinct they are.
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'For the moment, mortal, they find the thought of killing me more desirable than that of killing you.'
'And what are their chances?'
'The answer to that is evident in how long they've been hesitating, wouldn't you think, mortal?'

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:51 pm

Actually, it isn't that much of a benefit. The reproductive drive I've explained for my aliens is based on real animals, and it works for them. Humans are actually the weirdos; most animals do not have the constant drive.

In fact, to be accurate, I should probably say 'sex drive' since sex != reproduction. One can want children without wanting sex. (It is also important to note the distinction between a sex drive and a want to be in a relationship.)

Furthermore, something I find most ironic is A'millian population growth outstrips human growth for some time; human population growth is negative for a long while, whereas A'millian growth remains about constant throughout the modern era and is expected to always remain about the same in the future. Slow and steady wins the race...

I discuss this trend in humans in a recent post on SDN here.

Another interesting fact is that the act of copulation is a dangerous one too, which is why it tends to be quick in most animals. Fucking puts one in a vulnerable position, so best to finish it off as quickly as possible before you are attacked. Again, humans are the weirdo in the animal kingdom for taking so god damn long doing it.

edit: I also need to be careful in writing conclusions based on the self insert and his wife. They are both weirdos to an extent among A'millians as well for several reasons, so we should be careful not to base the entire species upon just their personal behaviour.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Ford Prefect » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:44 am

Destructionator wrote:Again, humans are the weirdo in the animal kingdom for taking so god damn long doing it.
That's because it's fun. ;)
FEEL THESE GUNS ARCHWIND THESE ARE THE GUNS OF THE FLESHY MESSIAH THE TOOLS OF CREATION AND DESTRUCTION THAT WILL ENACT THE LAW OF MAN ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Dakarne » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:22 am

It improves social relationships for that very reason, and in a species that requires its social networking to properly function, this is a bloody important sort of feature. Sex serves two major roles in society; reproduction and recreation, and both happen to be moderately important to human existence as we'd be a whole species of fundies or at least very irritated people without the latter and little bit extinct without the former.
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'And what are their chances?'
'The answer to that is evident in how long they've been hesitating, wouldn't you think, mortal?'

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:26 pm

Dakarne wrote:It improves social relationships for that very reason, and in a species that requires its social networking to properly function, this is a bloody important sort of feature.
However, you can have a perfectly functional social structure without constant sex. See wolves, for example. They only mate annually, but have a rather complex social structure all around - a social structure with enough in common with humans that we easily usurped it in the past (during the domestication of dogs).
Sex serves two major roles in society; reproduction and recreation, and both happen to be moderately important to human existence as we'd be a whole species of fundies or at least very irritated people without the latter and little bit extinct without the former.
This is assuming that humans are the way they are; obviously a generally (there are of course variations among individuals) valid assumption for the real world, but isn't valid when discussing other species.

Reproduction of course is a evolutionary necessary feature (though humans are inefficient at that too. Did you know no birth control at all is over 80% effective at avoiding pregnancy? Seriously; on average, IIRC it is less than 1 in 100 unprotected sexual encounters that actually lead to pregnancy (so the 'effectiveness' should probably be higher, but I'm being conservative with the percentage, read on). The reason is timing - the sex drive is pretty constant, but fertility isn't; the human female is only fertile a bit less than 1/5 of the time - around 5 days, at most, out of her 28 day menstrual cycle (excluding times when she is already pregnant, which would increase the "effectiveness" above even more). Interestingly, the sex drive in the human female does seem to increase when she is most fertile, but nevertheless, we still have an absolutely huge amount of reproductively pointless sex.)

Though, A'millians are more inefficient at it, even though their hormones help get the timing right, as I've discussed before (and am considering revising, since it isn't really necessary with my new numbers), remember that tu quoque is still a fallacy :P


Recreation, though, is a different story; it isn't evolutionary necessary, and the lack of it doesn't need to lead to irritability. If you are being denied something you want, then, yes, it can lead to many varied problems (which Christianity, Islam, and Judism exploit the hell (pardon the pun) out of). However, if you never wanted it in the first place, you aren't going to care at all when you don't get it. When you go get it, you may or may not care; probably up to the individual and his circumstances. Hell, you might even like it, but that doesn't mean you'll actively seek it out again; it just isn't a big enough of a deal to you.

Some people might even be rather annoyed if someone kept assuming you did want it and tried to push it onto you, but if the whole of society was like you, this shouldn't happen.

Note that not caring in the first place is different than caring, but not getting it, so telling yourself that you don't care. The latter can lead to resentment and such, whereas the former simply, well, wouldn't care.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:10 am

Christ this thread is getting long.

BORING BULLSHIT AHEAD

BEWARE

BEWARE

Anyway, I attended a marriage ceremony today, for the first time I can ever recall (though obviously I've seen some fictional ones on TV and attended my own fictional one in my mind). It was difficult to hear the participants (oh how I wish I actually had A'millian ears), but I still caught quite a bit.

The bride was a Russian girl, but sadly she seemed to sound nothing like the Terran battlecruiser from Starcraft. If I was marrying a Russian, I'd just want to have her say the following... at the wedding:

"Here, I am janitor. In former Soviet Union, physicist."

"Good day, commander."

"GOOD BYE, MR BOND!"

oh yeah have I ever said here how awesome it would be to be named bond?

me: "honey I'm off to work, cya"

her: "GOOD BYE, MR BOND!"

...

me: "sweetie i just dont understand why youre mad"

her: "Since you are going to die anyway, Mr Bond, I might as well tell you."

...

*ring ring*

her: "god just pick up the fucking phone"

me: "do you expect me to talk?!"

her: "NO MR BOND I EXPECT YOU TO DIE!"

...

Oh jesus I'd love it. anyway i so digress... wtf was I gonna say

oh yea


So I'm not a big fan of just what generally happened there. But first a quick lol:

marriage dude: "The woman takes the life from the man and gives it back to him."
me: "sperm?!"

oh btw:
lol (v): to laugh
lol (n): something that is funny

the final random lol:

marriage dude: "the ring is round like the eye and the shape of a hug"
me: "and the pussy and the asshole and the tits and the areolas...."

----------


So the first thing was "who is going to give this woman to this man?" and of course a dude steps forward.

Like seriously, wtf. Women aren't objects to be passed around between men. The whole bloody ritual seems to be centered around this lame idea; I reject this.

There was no song at this particular ritual, but the default wedding march spews chunks. The one from Phantasy Star III is like so way much cooler.


But the whole thing seemed like a boring, sexist, outdated ritual. There were no sword fights between the groom and some random suitors, no helicopter gunships mowing down the guests who no one actually liked, no octopus royalty dropping (or attempting to...) a heavy load on the bride. Not even an arch of swords.




My own wedding in the real world is going to be like a million times more awesome than this. By God's name, I'll fucking have Ultros show up!

ULTROS! I SUMMON YE!

ULTROOOOOOSSSS!

And sword fights. And AIRWOLF ITSELF mowing down the unliked guests.

Image

Oh hell yes.




So how is this relevant here? Well, hopefully before terribly long I'll have meaning to post a comparison between author insert me's wedding and the leadup to it and real life me's wedding and the lead up to it, but it isn't time for that yet.

So the ceremony in general will be all I discuss here. The A'millian ceremony is something more like this:

Darmok at Tinaga.
Jilad at Tinaga.
The beast at Tinaga.

Darmok and Jilad at Tinaga. VS ULTROS!

Darmok and Jilad on the ocean.


The bride and groom come in separately, but equally - none of this giving nonsense, are joined by some mutual stuff, then leave together.

I'd also leave off the gross kiss. God, get a fucking room. I don't want to see that shit.

(oh jesus guys it is revealed im a giant prude)

And then while passing through an arch of swords on the way out, each pair would drop down, sealing off the path behind, showing that marriage is a one way street.


That is so much cooler than the lameness of the common weddings I tend to see.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:09 am

I asked on SDN why real life militaries have haircut regs:

http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic. ... 5#p2924375

That is a Star Trek thread, but there are some interesting notes I'd like to make on the subject in hard sci-fi, so they are going here.

Long hair is something that might be a pain in the ass in freefall. Two reasons:

1) The obvious one is it will be all over the place without gravity holding it down. (Though long hair is all over the place even with gravity!) This is trivial to counter by tying it, likely in two places: toward the base, and again at the end of the hair. For example, you might see very long hair tucked into a belt to keep it from flopping around.

This isn't strictly necessary, just an annoyance most the time.

An arguably more important problem is 2) Long hair tends to shed all the time. Go to a house with long haired people and you'll find their hair everywhere. (Hilarious story here, see note at the end.)

This is a potentially big problem in a spacecraft since this random hair would tend to accumulate around the air filtration fans, and may block them rather easily. Again, tying the hair down would help a little, but anything short of a full hairnet wouldn't completely prevent the problem.

I'm sure NASA has to deal with this, and when I have more time, I'll try to find their solution to it, but it seems to me that the only way to take care of it is either a) require short hair (bah!) or b) regularly clean the air filters, which you probably need to do anyway, but with long hair being around, it would surely need to be done more often and would be harder to do; hair is small enough that it can conceively get inside a grate or cover and clog up the insides more easily than many other substances.

Maybe there is a c) use some electrostatic filter that grabs it and automatically cleans it. I'm not sure if this would work though.


Just yet another job for the astronauts to remember: cleaning up the hair before it clogs the air fans.





That story about long hair: a few weeks ago, my fiancee went to the bathroom and came out with a piece of my hair (which is indeed fairly lengthy right now; I have pretty girl hair. My beautiful brunette locks as I call them.). Anyway she is like "WTF I GOT THE HAIR VULVA" (when we find a piece of hair in something, which happens daily, someone says "I got the hair x" - if a piece of hair ends up in the cookie dough, you get the hair cookie, etc.).

This was hilarious; everyone looked at me and was like 'htf did ur hair get in there today' and I was like 'lol'.

Related story - one day we were babysitting for a friend's baby, and she changed his diaper. And he had the hair penis! It was wrapped all around, and I was like 'wtf' that time. It was weird, but hair falls out and it tends to stick to things and curl, so such is just one of those things that happens.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Nekomata » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:17 am

I can relate, I also have long girly hair, and have found it in equally weird places. I remember a character in one of stories had waist length hair, and he was a navy fighter pilot. Never came up with a decent reason for him not getting shaved.
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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:24 pm

I was just pondering the procedure for civilians going onto a starbase, and a pretty cool piece of tech came to mind: visitor badges.

When you go onto the base, you have to go to check in with the guards. They'll give you a little clip on ID thing that shows you are authorized to be there.

At first I was thinking to just make a new one for each person on the spot: fetch his info, snap a pic, then print one out.

But an easier way might be to use some fancier tech: get the info and snap a pic of the person, but instead of printing it out, you just store it in the computer.

The guest then gets a generic visitor badge that has a RFID chip in it.

On the way out, he returns this badge to the guard and it can be reused.

If someone wants to read your ID, he'd need a reader device. This can be just a hand held mini-computer with the chip reader and a wireless connection to the base's network built in. When it gets close to the badge, it reads the ID off its chip, then looks up the person's id info from the network and displays it on the screen.

The ID number could also just be printed on the front, but that lacks the cool automation. It would probably use both methods.



The downsides to such a scheme is it might be easier to break; without the card reader device, you can't actually read the name on the badge. On the plus side, it would be harder to forge a badge; you could make the physical item, sure, but without an entry in the base's computer, it would be obviously invalid.

The big plus side of course is convenience at the guard checkpoint (no waiting for the printer) and the ability to reuse the badges over and over again. It could also store more info than could actually be printed on the card - maybe detailed access lists or stuff like that, so you can use it as a key to rooms inside too. (METAL GEAR SOLID = reality. Or more likely, you present the badge to the door's chip reader and it unlocks for a few seconds.) Heck, it could even record your location with the central computer. You'd present the badge at every door you pass and hidden readers could be scattered about so the computer knows if you are snooping around. Star Trek = reality.


The final option is to keep the rfid chip and its cool benefits and print the info on the card. You'd wait on the printer, but it would be cheap to do - just print it on regular paper and slip it into a transparent sleeve on the badge.

Easy to forge or alter that one part, but then it won't match up with the computer's data, so anyone with a card scanner still knows you aren't supposed to be there.


The final option is probably the best one.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:33 am

I wrote this on 15 December 2008, but never posted it here. It discusses a plot revision in great detail that I ended up liking a lot and still has changes being calculated in my brain.

It was meant to be a short post, but ended up being giant. I told myself I'd edit it down to size, but never did. Nevertheless, I'll post it anyway the way it is. Several names are used here, some of which may be obsolete or unfinalized, but it shouldn't detract from the discussion.

----------


The ASE verse has had many plot revisions over the years. It started off as sort of a cliche fest and has transformed a lot since then, but still pretty much has kept the same thrust of what is going on.

Sometimes, there are plot holes because some details remain the same through transformations and they don't really make sense any more. What's awesome is a minor change to one of them not only plugs the hole, but it also adds sense to a whole bunch of other, seemingly unrelated things (generally as secondary and tertiary effects of the change; unintended consequences become awesome the more I look into them).

The first huge one I can recall is finally having a justification for the A'millian holocaust, which randomly came to my mind back in like 2005, prompting me to immediately make a big post about it in one of the PW OOC threads.

The holocaust has been a part of the story almost since the beginning, but its old justification was a poor one: the villains did it just because they were evil; the motivation was essentially little more than racism, which the evil characters held just because they were evil.

The idea of pre-emptive defense really added to the event itself, and gave me a new drive to flesh out the years prior; I got to add events and such to make their fears more believable. There is still a chunk of the old racism (on both sides), but adding some coldly rational basis for the extreme actions really helps it make more sense; a racist fuck might be the one who "pulls the trigger", but the people around him can go with it out of a more noble intent.



I recently had another change in a minor detail that makes a whole lot of things just fit together. One little change here:

1) doesn't force the characters to do something stupid (endangering the welfare of a child; not really believable at all) or bizarre (husband stays home alone for trivial reasons... despite spouses never being separated needlessly anywhere else in the canon (and me making a big deal of that being a part of the culture))

2) Increases the realism of the event and its consequences

3) thus it gives me more to write about to flesh out an era

4) and gives the characters better reasons to do what they did during that era

5) Explains previously unexplained or poorly explained details from previous chapters in a new way.

6) And in doing so, adds some beautiful foreshadowing and introduces the opportunity for some (nay, many!) nice parallels of old and new.


All these benefits come about from one little change: Lucrecia stayed home.

For this to make sense, let me explain what I'm actually talking about.


The climax (if you will, I guess) of the main plot comes right at the same time as the holocaust. Our main characters take a starship to face off with their old friend turned traitorous evil guy on his new home world/colony. They have their encounter with him and his lieutenants and henchmen then go home.

They arrive home to find that the holocaust took place while they were away.


The relevant characters here are:
  • Adam and Leila - our heroes
  • Michael - the old friend turned bad guy
  • Traci - Michael's evil second-in-command; his Dragon and psycho bitch.
  • Mathias - former teacher and fairly good friend to Adam and Michael
  • Lorelai - adoptive daughter of Adam&Leila, orphaned during the First War. Sees Michael as kinda her uncle; she's known him almost her whole life. Wife to Luke, mother of Lucrecia.
  • Luke - adoptive son-in-law of Adam&Leila, husband to Lorelai and father to Lucrecia

    (The above two characters have been there since the beginning, but only recently got their names; they are named for Gilmore Girls characters. And it fits in beautifully with my love for L names.)
  • Lucrecia - daughter of Luke&Lorelai, young child at the time of the above events; only about 2 years old.
Relevant places:
A'millia - most everyone's home world
Wivillia - the place to which Michael defected; A'millia's enemy during the Third War.



This climax plot has gone through several revisions over the years.

--
First off, the (original) video game like plot, recall the science was soft and magic very common in those days:

Traci comes to A'millia and encounters our heroes (boss battle!). She casts a slow death spell on Lorelai and escapes. The party rushes her back to the hospital, but there is nothing they can do; she dies.

Luke goes nuts and tries to freeze the world with powerful magic. Adam goes alone to stop him; they end up having a swordfight in the snow ending with both severely wounded. Leila follows and picks them up. Luke gives up and dies. Adam recovers a few weeks later. Leila ends up taking care of Lucrecia.

The party, including Princess Jessica as an official representative to make it legal, then launches to Wivillia to put an end to this. Everyone goes on the ship, including young Lucrecia. Jessica stays on the ship with her (she'd be a worthless fighter anyway; dead weight for the party.)

They journey through Michael's fortress, first defeating Those Three Guys, then right before the end, killing Traci (boss battle + brutal murder cutscene). They face Michael (kickass boss battle; the fight is time limited since you swordfight while falling down a huge pit to Hell!). The fight+talk ends when your characters spare him; you don't finish him off and go back up while he falls to hell. (Setting up the sequel.)

You go back to the ship and ride home. It turns out that those of you who were off world at the time were the sole survivors. (Actually, there were a few more in the first draft, but I quickly changed that.)

-----

Next major revision came when I hardened up the science. It was no longer possible for The Dragon to go to A'millia and get away; she would probably be apprehended by Starfleet the moment she jumped into the system.

So things had to change. The main stuff wouldn't change though: the same characters must live and die. So it went like this:


Our party goes to Wivillia (now a space colony rather than a whole planet) to take care of Michael. The party now consisted of Adam&Leila (of course), Mathias (still an old friend), and now Lorelai (also still and old friend of Michael) and Lucrecia (see below). Jessica didn't come this time, as her presence didn't really make sense in the first place; you don't need to send a royal just to make an arrest/on the spot execution official.

Jessica survives the holocaust by being off world for other, nearly unrelated reasons at the time. (She was officiating the peace treaty ending the third war, which has some relevance to minor details.)

Lucrecia came along simply because she had to survive the holocaust, and thus had to be off world at the time. Luke still needed to die to preserve the timeline, and leaving him behind was the easiest way to accomplish that. Traci still needed to murder Lorelai, so bringing her along would make that happen.

So anyway, our party takes a starship to Wivillia. While there, Traci pops out and simply shoots Lorelai in the shoulder. Subverting the "only a flesh wound" trope, she very quickly bleeds to death; with proper medical care, she might have made it, but no such facility was available for an A'millian in the human colony, so she was out of luck.

Deciding it is too dangerous to continue, Leila takes Lucrecia back to the ship and Adam and Mathias proceed into the fortress. The brutal swordfight killing Traci still happens much the same way, then they encounter Michael. Yelling match ensues, then it is resolved without further bloodshed. They decide to just go their separate ways.

They get home to find everyone dead. (The news of which didn't reach them sooner due to the lack of FTL communication.)

---

There are a number of problems there, the main one being: why the fuck would they bring a young child into something they must have known would be dangerous? The second one being why did her father stay home?

Some answers for them might be "they didn't think it was dangerous; Michael is and old friend and they were going to talk some sense into him, not fight. The war was over!" (Additionally, maybe seeing the cute kid would change his mind, but that is really fucking weak.) and "he stayed home for work or some horseshit."

The former seems passable on the surface. The latter might work too, but fails when you consider that forced separation of spouses in the A'millian kingdom was prohibited by law, so if his boss said 'if you leave we'll fire you' he could have just sued them. Furthermore, is it more important to stay home and do some stupid job or go and support your wife and daughter as they do something important to them? Obviously the latter.

I really didn't like his reasoning there, and the former falls a bit apart too when you consider that the peace treaty was very fresh, they should have known Traci was a cunt, and of course, space travel itself isn't the nicest thing for young kids; it should probably be avoided whenever possible. Combine with the fact that if something went wrong, if she got sick or something, they would be weeks away from the doctor's office. Not a good plan.

---

There is one thing that fixes almost all of it though: if Lucrecia stays home, none of that is still a problem.

Lorelai goes because she wants to talk to Michael too, having known him for some 750 years. But they decide it is too dangerous to bring the kid along, so Lucrecia stays home. She can't stay home alone though, so her father stays with her.

(She probably could have alternatively stayed with other members of the extended family, but her father is a pretty obvious first choice. Now, of course he wants to be with his wife and support her, but that want can be outweighed by a few things coming together: 1) caring for the kid, of course, 2) maybe he hates space travel, so he really wants to avoid it in the first place and 3) he wouldn't know Michael as well as the others (to him, he is 'my father-in-law's old friend who rarely comes to visit anymore anyway', so he'd have less of a stake in the outcome and 4) they'd only be gone for a couple weeks to a month at most; he'll live.). All this combined makes his staying behind become pretty believable.)


The events once they arrive stay pretty much the same. Thundercunt can still shoot and kill Lor, then they kill her and proceed in. It gives it a better flow too: rather than kill her, then worry about the kid before moving on, they worry about the shooting victim, then immediately proceed onward. Without much cooldown time...

Slight change: Leila is there to witness or participate in the revenge-murder. She'd object to it normally, but circumstances here change things a bit. (Its not strictly a murder either, as she was killed at the end of a fight to the death. But it didn't need to end in death; it was conceivable for them to find another way. Just things happened so fast, I just lost a daughter, I was in a fight... my old training took over and I instinctively went for the kill when it opened up. The others didn't get involved, since trying to step in with swords swinging was simply too dangerous to everyone involved.)


A few other minor changes may be made there, but are generally unrelated to this change itself.


But, this seems small enough, right? Ah, but consider the out of universe reason she was taken in the first place: so she can survive the holocaust. If she is on the planet, how will that happen?

Simple: she is immune to the biological weapon used to implement it!

We got benefit #1 above easily, and here comes benefit #2: it is unrealistic to think that the bioweapon would actually even work on everyone, much less to think it would have its devastating effects all around the kingdom in such a short time.

By making some people in the population naturally immune to it, you get some natural and realistic evolution taking place (consider the high school biology experiment of dropping antibiotics on a dish of bacteria. Most of them instantly die, but invariably, a few live, and then continue to grow. Evolution in action.). Previously, I handwaved this by saying that the A'millian population was simply too small and lacked enough genetic variation to have a significant amount of this, and I stand by that mostly, but not entirely.

Some fraction of a percent of the population does have a random genetic immunity to the function of the weapon, thus it did not effect them. Lorelai happened to have that gene, and she passed it on to her daughter. Since genes are never limited to just two individuals, it means there must have been many survivors of the initial holocaust.

This leads to benefit #3 of this tiny change: I now have those survivors to write about! This leads directly to #4 as well - my other characters have an objective reason to stay on A'millia rather than move into the Koreallian Inner Capital - to tend to these survivors. (Moving to the Inner Capital would have made the other reason for the government continuing on much easier - their duty to their human subjects. That duty explains the monarchy surviving, but it fails to explain it staying on A'millia, and very much suggests it should move. Previously, I said that was just Adam's dislike of leaving the homeworld, which was and still is certainly valid (to an extent; he did leave home for various lengthy missions previously, so it makes sense that he probably should this time too), but throwing in local survivors is much, much, much, much stronger of a justification.)


Benefit #5 comes from considering the following: if Lorelai has this gene, surely at least one of her biological parents did too? Perhaps any siblings or more extended family?

Something I haven't outright stated in any of these threads yet, but I hope is somewhat obvious from the plot summary post (at least when combined with knowing what is happening here), is the First War was started by experiments creating and testing this very weapon!

Lorelai was orphaned by the bioweapon's R&D people. Some of her family made successful test subjects. The test failed on some of her family though, who were going to be kept around, along with her, as subjects to use in further refining the weapon. Then the Knights came in and broke up that plan. The older members of her family were simply murdered to cover up what was going on, but some of the researchers showed pity on the little girl Lorelai and let her live, leaving her in an unlocked cell to be discovered by Adam and Michael as they swept the building.

The pity explanation is nearly the original one (very old versions have her being found near a burnt out village rather than in a cell, again spared and abandoned by the human parties. They might be genocidal monsters, but still couldn't bring themselves to kill a little kid when face to face with her.)


This explains why her entire family was killed though: they were still alive and knew what kind of things were being done to them, and were all slaughtered outright to cover their tracks when they saw the soldiers coming. (If they lived, they could tell what kind of things they endured and possibly give enough info for the government to realize what was going on and if the Crown found out what was happening, they probably would have executed the research teams and redirected several asteroids to Earth right there and then.)

Other subjects were either in the success bin (killed by the weapon and their bodies incinerated to hide the evidence and keep the engineered organism contained) or the not yet tested group, who were rescued about half and half alive and hastily murdered - the latter killed only to throw investigators off the tracks of the one entirely killed family; it makes Lorelai appear to be unlucky rather than special. (Note that she wasn't infected with the weapon yet; she was being held merely for future tests.)



Finally, having Lucrecia survive on the planet gives me benefit #6: nice parallels of her situation to her mother's. Both survived the weapon and lost the rest of their families. Both were found in an unlocked room by Adam and subsequently adopted by him. (Both would also do the same thing when he comes in - run up and hug his leg, happy that they were finally found by someone friendly.)



----

One little change, having her stay home, and all this huge story benefit from it. I just love it when a plot comes together!
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Destructionator
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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:22 pm

from sfconsiml
[quote]
A legate is a person in charge of a space expedition who is as much a
diplomat as a military commander, and who holds the plenary authority
of their government - war and peace in the folds of their toga.
Especially useful in context of long travel times, no FTL comms, etc.

I first introduced the term in the context of a very high automation
level, where a legate and staff might be the only people aboard an
expedition. On some level, 'Cleared to fire' and 'Cease firing' are
the only military orders that require a *person* to give them.

But the term and concept now center more on the role of the legate as
Commander in Chief *in loco*. For example, in any non militarist
society it would be a civilian position, though people with some sort
of military background would be favored to hold it.

-- Rick
[quote]
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Destructionator
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 4:33 pm
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Re: Random notes and whatnot

Post by Destructionator » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:37 pm

sfconfim-l again, this time Isaac Kuo:
Oh, well in that case I question your assertion that mid-future lasers
could have ranges of 1000km.

As I see it, visible wavelength lasers may have effective armor
penetrating ranges on the order of 100km unless you use a very large
mirror or lens. At some point in the future we may develop x-ray
laser weapons focused by zone plate, but these weapons will have
effective ranges much greater than 1000km.
He doesn't seem to think there is middle ground between "short" range lasers and long range ravening death beams. (I say "short" since 1000 km is still fairly big compared to what we see in most sci-fi, but it is short compared to the scale of space.)
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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