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Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread 
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
To date, no one has been able to mechanically duplicate or even detect Loroi telepathy, though not for lack of trying. As you can probably imagine, this is something the Umiak spent a significant amount of time and resources on, yet despite having captured specimens to study, they were unsuccessful.

I'm not sure why the Loroi should want such a device, since its existence would negate their chief advantage.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
I can't see it either. When radar was first used by the Allies in the Second World War, it was a grand advantage to the point that any captured allied pilot was question how they could find their targets in the darkest of nights. THis is how eating carrots= good eyesight came from; it was their response every time.


Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:25 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Yes, the ‘Farsensing Device’ reminded me a lot of the Chain Home radar system. It’s a force multiplier - when it works...


Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:01 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
kiwi wrote:
Yes, the ‘Farsensing Device’ reminded me a lot of the Chain Home radar system. It’s a force multiplier - when it works...


Very good analogy.


Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:17 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
hi hi

Speaking of waste management in the Umiak thread, I got to thinking. Since phosphorous is so rare, and one of the primary reasons why humans in space would absolutely need to recycle all organic waste, including the dead; I wonder if Soia-Liron species were engineered so that they don't use phosphorous in the biochemistry, if that's even reasonably possible.

I know it must seem like an obscure detail, but it would greatly change the way agriculture works too, if things could grow without needing such rare elements as fertilizer.

It's been said that Loroi have different biochemistry than Humans, but do they have DNA, or some other DNA like analogue that maybe has a slightly different chemistry?


Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
icekatze wrote:
It's been said that Loroi have different biochemistry than Humans, but do they have DNA, or some other DNA like analogue that maybe has a slightly different chemistry?

I don't have a clear answer on this. I'm inclined to think that Soia-Liron genetic chemistry is different from ours, but I don't know enough about the subject to say exactly how it might be different from DNA or whether there are really any alternatives. However, it can't be too different, or Loroi wouldn't be able to eat anything except Soia-Liron foodstuffs, and Alex would probably already be dead.

Also, I don't think it has been established that phosphorus is particularly rare in the universe (despite it being common on Earth). The articles I can find on the subject (which all seem to be regurgitated versions of the same press release) seem to misrepresent the conclusions of the Greaves & Cigan study which compared two supernovae and detected less phosphorus in one than the other; as far as I can tell, they only speculated that the output might be variable.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
*snip*


As a Bioinformaticist I believe i have some information I can share about this, though it should be noted I have a bachelors degree and am in no means a professor of genetics and genetic chemistry, i have had classes in which this topic came up and were discussed with my professor.

The official line is that there is no currently known alternative to the elemental makeup of DNA variants outside of stuff like swapping phospherous for arsenic, though larger substructures can also be swapped out, like base pairs..
What you may already know is that DNA consists of the following base pairs: A-T (Adenine and Thymine) and C-G (Cytosine and Guanine). What you may not know is that there's also a U (Uracil), used by RNA, which is a stand-in for Thymine within the RNA strand.

What is not common knowledge is that there are a bunch of Unnatural Base Pairs (UBPs) that can exist in hypothetical DNA and RNA structures, such as Isoguanine and Isocytosine (IsoC and IsoG), which have inverted structures compared to guanine and cytosine but otherwise work the same. Isomeric/chiralic differences could explain Loroi incompatibility in a pretty simple and easy to grasp way. Another example is "X-DAP", which is a pair of xanthine (X) and Diaminopyrimidine (DAP), which AFAIK is very unstable, and not really suited to a long-lived organism.

Wikipedia has a couple of interesting, more exotic options listed such as fluorescent base pairs and even base pairs that incorporate metal ions such as Silver or Copper.

Another interesting alternative is xDNA and yDNA which both incorporates a benzene ring into the chemical structure at different locations. xDNA is more stable then normal DNA at high temperatures, whilst yDNA has a better method of detecting mutations and mismatches in the DNA sequence, you could possibly leverage this to explain the extended Loroi lifespan.

I personally find this explanation especially satisfying and more than close enough to the truth for a fictional story, if you keep it somewhat vague what the actual base pairs are.

You can get more exotic from here with stuff like A-DNA, B-DNA and Z-DNA which I won't go into here because I dont know enough about them. These have different spiral structures compared to DNA and therefore could have interesting new interactions I may not know about. For all I know they might be so exotic that the Loroi diet would have to be completely different to account for them.

From there things get really crazy: Quadruple-strand DNA and even networked DNA (which splits off in complexes of helices creating interesting, almost fractal chromosomes) are both possible.

One thing I haven't considered here yet because it's not a "swap" in DNA's molecule groups but rather an addition is XNA, which is a hypothetical way to expand DNA's components to incorporate 2 more bases which form a "shadow DNA" that cannot be used by existing body processes and are ignored, but could potentially be used to "flag" genes as artificially constructed, for the sake of genetic pollution reduction if genetic experimentation is banned in your society... But could hypothetically these base pairs can be formed naturally, as we know certain polymerase enzymes can synthesize it. That means that you could assume that Soia-Liron species use unknown XNA-like "marker" bases, which they share with their "creators", because Loroi inherited a lot of genetic modifications from them.., but that so much of it was introduced through genetic tinkering that they now serve novel biological functions/pathways that cannot be easily reverted back to ordinary DNA and may even require specifically engineered food substances to provide the specific amino acids required to form them. Even if they don't do anything but mark "We changed this bit!"


So in conclusion, you could assume that Loroi have either hUBPs (Human Unnatural Base Pairs) such as IsoC/IsoG, or you could go further and designate Loroi DNA as a form of yDNA and call it quits right there. On the other hand, you could also imagine that Soia-Liron species use DNA they found in local intelligent species and regularly did XNA additions for pollution reduction and marking purposes, which require a specific but soia-liron diet to function. I think there's something about that particular solution that makes sense as well, as long as you don't delve too deeply into the biochemical makeup itself.


EDIT: Edited for clarity, my apologies for being so vague, I had to wake up at 4:30 this morning to catch a flight...


Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:40 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
what are the limits to the loroi PK abilities, could they exert there power within people's bodies simulating heart attacks/brain aneurysm?


Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:26 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Daegondrake wrote:
what are the limits to the loroi PK abilities, could they exert there power within people's bodies simulating heart attacks/brain aneurysm?

Yes.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Daegondrake wrote:
what are the limits to the loroi PK abilities, could they exert there power within people's bodies simulating heart attacks/brain aneurysm?

Yes.


Now I'm expecting the head sploding scene from Scanners


Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
hi hi

I'm not familiar with the Greaves & Cigan study, but it seems like that was published in 2018? The rarity of phosphorus has been a topic of concern a lot longer. I remember hearing about it first from Asimov's 1959 novel "Life's Bottleneck."

Even if you look at just the Earth, phosphorus is a big limiting factor for life. Modern agriculture requires mining vast amounts of it, and if you dump it into water, you get big algae blooms that you wouldn't get otherwise. Judging from studies of the chemical composition of meteors from our own Solar System, if you had a way to extract 100% of the element from random asteroids, you'd have to chew through about 10 times the mass of a person to get enough for a single person. So I suppose it might not be a big deal for a super high tech civilization.

But I digress... saying that the Loroi's chemistry is currently undefined is enough to satisfy my curiosity. :)


Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:49 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
icekatze wrote:
Even if you look at just the Earth, phosphorus is a big limiting factor for life. Modern agriculture requires mining vast amounts of it, and if you dump it into water, you get big algae blooms that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Phosphorus isn't rare on Earth; it's the 11th most common element in the crust. Modern fertilizers also use nitrogen, potassium and carbon, but that doesn't mean those elements are rare either. It's the chemical arrangement of the compounds that makes them readily useable by organisms, not necessarily the rarity of the elements in them. And it's not as if phosphorus a limited resource; it returns to the system when the organism using it dies. (Which is another good reason not to throw your waste into a star or down a core tap mine shaft... we need that stuff.)

icekatze wrote:
Judging from studies of the chemical composition of meteors from our own Solar System, if you had a way to extract 100% of the element from random asteroids, you'd have to chew through about 10 times the mass of a person to get enough for a single person.

And it takes something like 10 tons of ore and raw materials to make 1 ton of steel... but iron isn't a rare element either. I'm not sure why meteors should be used as a meter for the abundance of phosphorus on other planets -- life evolves on planets, not asteroids (at least, if we're talking about the same kind of life) -- and the only other planetary crust that we've studied, on Mars, appears to have a higher abundance of phosphorus than Earth's.

I guess there are two premises here: one is that phosphorus is the prime limiting factor for life on Earth; that if there was more phosphorus, there would be more life. I don't know that this has been demonstrated to be true, but it's possible... I guess that some element has to be the bottleneck.

The other premise is that phosphorus is somehow very rare on other planets, and I don't know of any strong evidence to support this. Phosphorus appears to be at least as common on Mars as it is on Earth, and though they haven't found much phosphorus in Venus' atmosphere, a study of the crust hasn't been possible yet -- and there's not much phosphorus in Earth's atmosphere either. One of the items I noticed in the discussion of the Greaves & Cigan report was that the finding of low phosphorus levels in the Crab Nebular SNR was apparently surprising because our current models of element formation in supernovae don't explain it.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
icekatze wrote:
Even if you look at just the Earth, phosphorus is a big limiting factor for life. Modern agriculture requires mining vast amounts of it, and if you dump it into water, you get big algae blooms that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Phosphorus isn't rare on Earth; it's the 11th most common element in the crust. Modern fertilizers also use nitrogen, potassium and carbon, but that doesn't mean those elements are rare either. It's the chemical arrangement of the compounds that makes them readily useable by organisms, not necessarily the rarity of the elements in them. And it's not as if phosphorus a limited resource; it returns to the system when the organism using it dies. (Which is another good reason not to throw your waste into a star or down a core tap mine shaft... we need that stuff.)

So really, we'd want to pull a Somalia and have all space faring civilizations dump their waste on our planet.


Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:24 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
boldilocks wrote:
Arioch wrote:
icekatze wrote:
Even if you look at just the Earth, phosphorus is a big limiting factor for life. Modern agriculture requires mining vast amounts of it, and if you dump it into water, you get big algae blooms that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Phosphorus isn't rare on Earth; it's the 11th most common element in the crust. Modern fertilizers also use nitrogen, potassium and carbon, but that doesn't mean those elements are rare either. It's the chemical arrangement of the compounds that makes them readily useable by organisms, not necessarily the rarity of the elements in them. And it's not as if phosphorus a limited resource; it returns to the system when the organism using it dies. (Which is another good reason not to throw your waste into a star or down a core tap mine shaft... we need that stuff.)

So really, we'd want to pull a Somalia and have all space faring civilizations dump their waste on our planet.


Somehow that reminds me of Spaced Invaders and the Martians dumping their waste to lighten their load (flushed the toilets) over a field of Earth crops.


Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:21 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Nah, not on our planet. But in our solar system, on dead planetary bodies, like our moon, or one of Jupiter's or Saturn's moons.
There we can access it if we need it, yet there's little danger of it polluting the environment we need to grow our food, harvest our fish,...

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Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:27 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
hi hi

Arioch wrote:
Phosphorus isn't rare on Earth
Usable, extractable phosphorus is comparatively rare.

Arioch wrote:
And it's not as if phosphorus a limited resource; it returns to the system when the organism using it dies. (Which is another good reason not to throw your waste into a star or down a core tap mine shaft... we need that stuff.)
Yus! When holding a system in homeostasis, this is part of my point. The other part of my point is the necessity of finding new sources when trying to grow a system.

Arioch wrote:
I'm not sure why meteors should be used as a meter for the abundance of phosphorus on other planets
Because it's what we have access to, and meteors are generally made out of the same building blocks that planets were made out of. Studying meteors has shown that the composition of materials tends to change in different parts of the solar system, becoming more fused with nickel/iron closer to the sun, and remaining more freely in ices further out, like on Mars.

Arioch wrote:
life evolves on planets, not asteroids
This is true, but I feel like it lies outside the scope of a high tech civilization trying to engineer a system to efficiently use available resources. For a species trying to engineer an ecosystem from scratch that can live in as many biomes as possible, it might make sense to keep it as simple as possible. (What counts as possible is something that is outside my understanding of biochemistry, so I'm not trying to make this a sticking point or anything.)

My understanding of phosphorous on Earth comes from an agricultural background. At least in Iowa where I grew up, it was a regular point of contention.

I don't know what kind of extraction technology highly advanced civilizations have, so like I said, I can't really speak to the possibility of it being difficult or trivial to extract with a high tech level. It is my understanding is that with our current tech level, it is difficult and expensive to extract outside of phosphorite deposits, the sediment of ancient sea beds.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
icekatze wrote:
Arioch wrote:
life evolves on planets, not asteroids
This is true, but I feel like it lies outside the scope of a high tech civilization trying to engineer a system to efficiently use available resources. For a species trying to engineer an ecosystem from scratch that can live in as many biomes as possible, it might make sense to keep it as simple as possible.

It's not clear that the Soia-Liron biochemistry itself was engineered from scratch. It has very likely been tailored, and there are organisms (such as the Barsam) which appear to have been engineered, but using existing building blocks; these blocks might have also been engineered from scratch, or they could just as likely have evolved naturally. What is considered most likely by Union scientists (for whatever that's worth) is that the basic Soia-Liron biochemistry is a naturally evolved product of whatever world the Soia ancestors evolved on, and the Soia altered existing organisms and created new ones using these building blocks. I suppose the rationale goes: for what purpose would an intelligent species work to spread organisms throughout the galaxy which are in no way related to themselves?

However, even if the Soia-Liron biochemistry itself is completely artificial, it doesn't seem like an effective survival strategy to engineer a system that is completely incompatible with a galaxy already full of life. Especially if your goal is to, say, conquer the galaxy, then engineering overspecialized soldiers that can't eat local foods is probably not beneficial. If the Soia-Liron races had depended exclusively on their own engineered food sources, they probably wouldn't have survived the fall of their civilization on as many worlds as they did.

I think the only case where a civilization would be concerned about creating a new biochemistry from scratch using only the most common elements would be one in which their chief goal was in being able to have the maximum possible biomass density per square meter... which seems like an odd priority for an advanced civilization. Here on Earth, living in areas with higher biomass densities does not equate to higher standards of living -- quite the opposite.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Astroids also could have provided the early building blocks for life. I am not saying it started it, but over billions of years they could have provided the genetic lego bricks, and nature simply put them together from there.

If Soan life had an artificial element, I also think it could work. Most dog breeds are only a little over a hundred years old. Even before that our species spent countless generations making them go from the most diversity being wolf and bigger wolf to Great Danes and Teacup chiwawas being the same species.

We are still doing it now, however with a combination of genetic manipulations and computer simulations we are we are accelerating it. There is always going to be trial and error (genetics work that way, see the white fur gene in some cats and dogs also producing deafness).


Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:58 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
While its possible that their biochemistry is very different, that does not mean that the Soia-Liron would have something analog to DNA but different, or conversely even that it was that the biochemistry between the two could not be consumed by one another. The nutrition content would go down for sure and the (incidental) chance of toxic (likely often low, and mostly due to no digestibility) materials being present is high.

Though is the different Soia-Liron species seam to be tailored around already existing species, so the key to figuring out if they were evolved, adapted from, or created from scratch would depend entirely upon WHY they were made in the first place and what was the logic tree that went into the decisions.

So if they were evolved from existing Soia-Liron species then they could have what ever DNA analog,

If they were adapted from non Soia-Loron species or in mimicry of ones, then its likely they all have matching DNA analogs, and that they species they also mincing have the same DNA analog (and Humans appear to be one of these)

If they were created from scratch, then who knows, and that seams like a rather excessive amount of work.


Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:51 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
To date, no one has been able to mechanically duplicate or even detect Loroi telepathy


Why not use a drugged up, lobotimized, Loroi brain in a jar, to detect it? "This part of the Loroi brain lights up when detecting telepathic signatures, and these control the perception for distance..." etc...

Arioch wrote:
However, even if the Soia-Liron biochemistry itself is completely artificial, it doesn't seem like an effective survival strategy to engineer a system that is completely incompatible with a galaxy already full of life. Especially if your goal is to, say, conquer the galaxy, then engineering overspecialized soldiers that can't eat local foods is probably not beneficial. If the Soia-Liron races had depended exclusively on their own engineered food sources, they probably wouldn't have survived the fall of their civilization on as many worlds as they did.


The Loroi were servants/slaves to the Soia right? So if they needed artificially tailored food that grew from only certain planets the Soia altered, they would be dependent on their master who controlled the means of production, probably having a few worlds that did produce them, where Loroi elsewhere in the Soia empire would die out, despite being a galactic empire. Leaving the few worlds that had these artificially altered food sources as homes for Loroi.


Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Voitan wrote:
Why not use a drugged up, lobotimized, Loroi brain in a jar, to detect it? "This part of the Loroi brain lights up when detecting telepathic signatures, and these control the perception for distance..." etc...

Because there isn't a "part of the brain" that detects telepathic signatures. Telepathy isn't a mechanical function of the Loroi brain, it's an emergent property of the Loroi mind. If it was a simple mechanical function of the brain, then it would be relatively easy to duplicate.

Voitan wrote:
The Loroi were servants/slaves to the Soia right?

Were they? The Loroi believe that their ancestors were the Soia; even if this turns out to be incorrect, I don't think it necessarily follows that they were slaves.

Voitan wrote:
So if they needed artificially tailored food that grew from only certain planets the Soia altered, they would be dependent on their master who controlled the means of production, probably having a few worlds that did produce them, where Loroi elsewhere in the Soia empire would die out, despite being a galactic empire. Leaving the few worlds that had these artificially altered food sources as homes for Loroi.

You only have to watch a few episodes of Deep Space Nine (re: the Jem-Hadar and ketracel-white) to see what a terrible idea this is. Mutinies are rare in modern, professional armies, but logistical shortages are common. Engineered flaws can be exploited by the enemy as easily as by the engineers. And since the Jem-Hadar are supposedly engineered to be fanatically loyal to the Founders, I'm not sure what use this control mechanism was supposed to be in the first place. The only Jem-Hadar mutiny that I can recall in the series was caused by a shortage of ketracel-white.

As technology increases the destructive power of the individual, I think that trying to maintain control through force and cruelty becomes less and less practical.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Voitan wrote:
Why not use a drugged up, lobotimized, Loroi brain in a jar, to detect it? "This part of the Loroi brain lights up when detecting telepathic signatures, and these control the perception for distance..." etc...

Because there isn't a "part of the brain" that detects telepathic signatures. Telepathy isn't a mechanical function of the Loroi brain, it's an emergent property of the Loroi mind. If it was a simple mechanical function of the brain, then it would be relatively easy to duplicate.

Voitan wrote:
The Loroi were servants/slaves to the Soia right?

Were they? The Loroi believe that their ancestors were the Soia; even if this turns out to be incorrect, I don't think it necessarily follows that they were slaves.

Voitan wrote:
So if they needed artificially tailored food that grew from only certain planets the Soia altered, they would be dependent on their master who controlled the means of production, probably having a few worlds that did produce them, where Loroi elsewhere in the Soia empire would die out, despite being a galactic empire. Leaving the few worlds that had these artificially altered food sources as homes for Loroi.

You only have to watch a few episodes of Deep Space Nine (re: the Jem-Hadar and ketracel-white) to see what a terrible idea this is. Mutinies are rare in modern, professional armies, but logistical shortages are common. Engineered flaws can be exploited by the enemy as easily as by the engineers. And since the Jem-Hadar are supposedly engineered to be fanatically loyal to the Founders, I'm not sure what use this control mechanism was supposed to be in the first place. The only Jem-Hadar mutiny that I can recall in the series was caused by a shortage of ketracel-white.

As technology increases the destructive power of the individual, I think that trying to maintain control through force and cruelty becomes less and less practical.


The only way I could think of answering the why have this is, to be frank, some of the dumbest decisions are made by very intelligent people. You just made a bio weapon. If i had to guess, it was an incase this happened, or a trial and error till they got to that point. There is also the fact those in power may not be the best in directing certain fields.

A more down to earth example is The one child policy in China was created by...military...rocket scientists. They were not stupid people, but a combination of they were A. Men. B. Not studied anything in any form of Biology. and C. Centuries old biases combined to make a social and potential economic disaster.

Another case where I can see this is when someone says to do it, damn the studies. THis was the Case of the Teton Damn in Idaho in the 1970, which combined with seismic activity (its close to Yellowstone National Park, which is for all intensive purposes a volcano, all the geothermic fun people go there for) among ruining the fishing. However what did the damn in was the loose soil, which ended up seeping away until a massive hole broke through and several town and cities (including Rexburg where Brigham Young University of Idaho is located).

So, yeah, sometimes people, even ones with god like levels of tech, act stupid.


Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:14 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
I think that scientific reasons are more likely to be the case.

Or just to show their superiority over nature, just because they can.


Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:02 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
The Chinese themself see the one child policy as a success, otherwise they'd still be greeting each other with "Have you eaten already today?"

It was necessary, to allow the agriculture to catch up to feed everyone, and to be able toconcentrate on the economy as a next step.

It was not a beloved idea, but it worked.

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Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:09 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Krulle wrote:
The Chinese themself see the one child policy as a success, otherwise they'd still be greeting each other with "Have you eaten already today?"

It was necessary, to allow the agriculture to catch up to feed everyone, and to be able to concentrate on the economy as a next step.

It was not a beloved idea, but it worked.


Until you take into account that you potentially have one child growing up shouldering the responsibility of caring for two sets of grand parents and their own aging parents.

Or the fact the one child policy also means that said one child is now often catered to the point they are often called little meatballs or emperors, the former referring to the rise in child obesity.

Or the fact that due to cultural norms that their revolution hadn't snuffed out that there are tons of men without a native Chinese woman to marry, not by choice but because there isn't one around. Forcing many to either mail order bride, bride kidnapping. This has also caused a profitable rise in real dolls to cope with said loneliness.

And the Chinese government says it works until it didn't, and its been bumped to two and they are spending the same amount of time, money, and energy they put into propaganda for the one child to the two child policy.

Also the Chinese government also says they own Taiwan, bans Winnie the Pooh because their leader doesn't like being compared to them, and had an extermination order on a bird species because they called it a pest when in fact it ate the very pests eating their crops.


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