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Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread 
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
icekatze wrote:
HedAurabesh wrote:
It is more akin to asking: "If you are going to blow your brains out anyway, why not make sure that you do it properly?"
I'm afraid your analogy has broken down. People aren't choosing to blow their own brains out.

Don't worry, I just hijacked Arioch's rephrasing of my analogy used to breach access to one of Nietzsche's more troublesome ideas.

Things are bound to break when that much underhanded business is going on at the same time. :D

Joking aside, quite a large number of desperate people are choosing to blow their brains out every year. 21.175 in 2015 in the US alone. :shock:

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Stanisław Lem in his book Summa Technologiae summarized the problem into another question:
"Are you ready to adopt an AI?"

/me eyes his "Hey Google" equipped smartphone.

Yes, yes, they are. They might not know they are made to be ready, but they are. 8-)


Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
hi hi

HedAurabesh wrote:
Don't worry, I just hijacked Arioch's rephrasing of my analogy used to breach access to one of Nietzsche's more troublesome ideas.
I'm not worried. I know. And I'm letting you know that it didn't achieve the result you seem to have intended.

The reasons for people committing suicide in the world today have very little to do in general with advancing the species.

Overall, Nietzche's philosophy runs into the same problems that most holistic philosophies, and maximizers in general, run into in attempting to use a single tool to solve all moral problems.


Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
icekatze wrote:
Overall, Nietzche's philosophy runs into the same problems that most holistic philosophies, and maximizers in general, run into in attempting to use a single tool to solve all moral problems.

If you follow Kant, that is basically the only way you can trust something to be true and moral.
Kant's categorical imperative basically boils down to: "Only those proposals can be moral, if they are still moral, when applied to everyone at the same time."
Now, that doesn't mean each proposal solves all moral problems at once -- only that is still has to be moral under its widest possible application.

But I guess by now we're chasing the philosophical rabbit down its metaphysical hole; so we should better call it a day. :lol:


In any case, all I reacted to was Arioch saying he does not understand how any human could desire their species to be supplanted.
Comprehending Nietzsche shows one possible, rational reason for this desire. Not more, not less.


Or, to quote the Alfred: "Some people just want to see the world burn." :twisted: :D


Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:28 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
All the six universes have a few worldwide areas with a sort of governments. I will envision various little states based by means of colossal rich individuals who made themselves lords. There will be organization financed settlements that keep up strict control over their occupants and move force in only a couple or even one individual, anyway they as a rule won't utilize the titles or trappings of eminence.

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Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:30 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
So there were no interplanetary or orbital conflicts from 2020ish to 2080ish, good job, Humaniti.

What is the state of the rest of Solsys? Mercury, Venus, Titan, Callisto, et al? This could be tied to Outsider or your prior concept for a Solsys Civil War (Something which seems to be picking up steam again, I've mused on it, The Expanse has a simplified one, etc, etc).


Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
danuis wrote:
What is the state of the rest of Solsys? Mercury, Venus, Titan, Callisto, et al? This could be tied to Outsider or your prior concept for a Solsys Civil War (Something which seems to be picking up steam again, I've mused on it, The Expanse has a simplified one, etc, etc).

There may be research stations on bodies like Venus, Titan, Europa and Callisto, but I think they're too hostile and lacking in resources to be worth establishing large colonies. If you want to do space resource extraction, the most economical places are probably in the asteroid belt or on the moons of Earth and Mars.

The civil war scenario I referred to in the story that was the progenitor to Outsider was not an earlier Earth system conflict, but rather a much later Earth and core systems vs. frontier colonies conflict, set in 2384. Although some elements from this story were recycled in Outsider, the timelines diverge substantially.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
There may be research stations on bodies like Venus, Titan, Europa and Callisto, but I think they're too hostile and lacking in resources to be worth establishing large colonies. If you want to do space resource extraction, the most economical places are probably in the asteroid belt or on the moons of Earth and Mars.



Space resource extraction is weird because of the inherent logistics issue on getting the raw resources to their destination. Not just 'space freight' from point A to point B but to actually get the raw resources to the manufacturing centers in enough quantities to make them worthwhile.

The chief problem would be that said manufacturing centers are bound to be planet bound. The difficulty of getting even a space shuttle's worth of equipment back down to Earth without an accident is well known; imagine getting a few hundreds of tons down every few minutes in order to feed a large industrial complex. The obvious solution is to build a space elevator, the problem is that for the purpose of having said industry one won't need just one space elevator as it is considered today but multiple industrial scale ones with the ground and orbital infrastructure in place to match them (and after having cleared the orbital debris and various satellites that are cluttering space).

The next solution is getting the manufacturing centers themselves on orbit or on planets without atmosphere and with an agreeable gravity. The issue then becomes one of building the infrastructure from the bottom up and maintaining it and the living quarters in a hostile environment. Will this be cheaper than the alternative? It will depend entirely on the affordability of the technologies involved.

The third and final logical solution is to be able to move the manufacturing centers to the space mines in question. Strapping some highly efficient thrusters onto large space stations that would have the manufacturing capacity built into them is one solution. The other is to have large refinery and early processing ships available which would take the raw materials and convert them to the usable alloys and easy to manufacture components that would make them worthwhile to actually move to the industrial centers through a more expensive logistics chain.

A possible fourth solution is to go full dysonian with your spacecrafts, large planet sized motherships that would be all in one in terms of manufacturing and logistics but at that point I doubt that even an entire solar system's worth of raw resources would be able to sate the needs of an empire able to build such a craft.

Sorry for ranting, it's one of the world building details that I personally find fascinating.

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Last edited by dragoongfa on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:47 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Am I right to assume that since spaceships are hideously expensive to build these will if possible be used for a long time? Imagine a visiting loroi envoy to the Sol system noticing a peculiar human ship that is largely cylindrical and it rotates! Said ship, an interplanetary cargo vessel is a leftover from an era before the invention of reliable gravity plating so it use this method of creating onboard gravity instead. The invention of gravity plating itself should however not be a reason to scrap the vessel. Basically, in Sci FI, I like the concept of a "used future". https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UsedFuture

A Start Trek (TOS, not the new movies) comparison, the vessel that Khan used to flee Earth with with his followers in the late 20th century is of a line of ships STILL used in the Kirk era, they are used interplanetary and either have a skeleton crew or are fully automated.


Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:10 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
How big freighters actually are?
Is it small cargo ships, or Giant super carriers like this?
Image


Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:09 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
dragoongfa wrote:
Space resource extraction is weird because of the inherent logistics issue on getting the raw resources to their destination. Not just 'space freight' from point A to point B but to actually get the raw resources to the manufacturing centers in enough quantities to make them worthwhile.

Yeah, I agree, and this is one reason why I think Mars with its one-third gravity will be an attractive manufacturing center for raw materials extracted from the (relatively) nearby asteroid belt.

dragoongfa wrote:
The difficulty of getting even a space shuttle's worth of equipment back down to Earth without an accident is well known; imagine getting a few hundreds of tons down every few minutes in order to feed a large industrial concept.

Getting raw materials down to a planet with an atmosphere is comparatively easy; reentry is just a heat management problem. It's lifting the finished goods out of the gravity well that's the challenge. Even if you have orbital elevators, dropping bulk raw materials in cheap (and perhaps even disposable) reentry sleds might still be more economical in some cases.

dragoongfa wrote:
A possible fourth solution is to go full dysonian with your spacecrafts, large planet sized motherships that would be all in one in terms of manufacturing and logistics but at that point I doubt that even an entire solar system's worth of raw resources would be able to sate the needs of an empire able to build such a craft.

If your planet-sized megaship has anything like the mass of a planet, you haven't really solved the problem.

Sweforce wrote:
Am I right to assume that since spaceships are hideously expensive to build these will if possible be used for a long time?

The most expensive components of a spacecraft are going to be its powerplant(s) and drives. As long as these are still up to the task, a ship may remain in service for a long time. However, if you need new engines, it will probably be cheaper to build a new ship from scratch than to try to retrofit a new power system into an existing hull. The other problem is that space is an incredibly hostile environment, with hulls constantly subjected to hard radiation and high-velocity micro impacts; it will take constant maintenance to keep them airtight and sound, and this probably has diminishing returns of cost-effectiveness as the hull ages. But I can imagine old ship hulls being used for storage, docked in a disused wing of a space station.

Space stations probably exist on a different economic curve, as they are much more bulk than engine, and can be much more massive (they still have to move, but not very fast). A robustly built station hull (or one built into an asteroid or the like) may last for many centuries and be worthwhile to retrofit with new technology. Warships, similarly, have a variety of expensive components, which may make some refits more cost effective.

Sweforce wrote:
A Star Trek (TOS, not the new movies) comparison, the vessel that Khan used to flee Earth with with his followers in the late 20th century is of a line of ships STILL used in the Kirk era, they are used interplanetary and either have a skeleton crew or are fully automated.

Well, I think this is more a case of a cash-strapped effects team reusing an existing model rather than sound science fiction (in the remastered version of the series, they used a different model for the Woden in "The Ultimate Computer"). It's hard to imagine that a sublight atomic powered sleeper ship from the 1990's would make an economical ore freighter in the warp drive era of 2267.

Zorg56 wrote:
How big freighters actually are?
Is it small cargo ships, or Giant super carriers like this?
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/49/c0/3d ... 2b7ec8.jpg

There will be different sizes and configurations for different roles. Small, high-value cargoes (and passengers) may be carried by relatively small, faster transports with heated, pressurized holds. Bulk cargo will want larger hulls that may not need special environments. If the cargo destinations have full spaceports with their own orbit-to-surface infrastructure, then a cargo ship doesn't need any extra capabilities, but if it has to access the surface on its own, then it may need large hangars and a complement of heavy shuttles.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
If your planet-sized megaship has anything like the mass of a planet, you haven't really solved the problem.


Considering the space requirements of personnel, moving machinery and logistics infrastructure such a ship shouldn't come anywhere near a quarter of the mass of a similarly sized planet (unless the hollow Earth guys are right of course :P).

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Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:21 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
hi hi

Depending on what kind of resources we can find on the moon, it might actually be a really good place for space industry. A mass driver could potentially launch goods toward the Earth, and the structural requirements of building a space elevator on the moon are downright plausible compared to the a space elevator on Earth.


Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:49 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Pointing a mass driver of that capacity towards earth doesn't sound safe. Only a matter of time before the moonpeople declare independence with the help of the first true AI.

My guess is that trawler-like floating factories will be put into the asteroid belt. A massive initial cost, yes, but once there the ship could run for centuries. Material could be send back to earth quite slowly; a steady trickle would make up for low speed of individual loads.

But would that make sense with Outsider technology? Would mankind be better or worse off just finding new worlds to colonize instead of harvesting asteroids?


Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:34 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
dragoongfa wrote:
Considering the space requirements of personnel, moving machinery and logistics infrastructure such a ship shouldn't come anywhere near a quarter of the mass of a similarly sized planet (unless the hollow Earth guys are right of course).

A quarter Earth mass is no joke in terms of a gravity well. And there would be no atmosphere to slow approaching vehicles for free.

icekatze wrote:
Depending on what kind of resources we can find on the moon, it might actually be a really good place for space industry. A mass driver could potentially launch goods toward the Earth, and the structural requirements of building a space elevator on the moon are downright plausible compared to the a space elevator on Earth.

Since the Moon is tidelocked to the Earth, you'd have to run an elevator almost halfway to Earth to get enough counterweight to keep it suspended... I don't know, that seems kind of nuts.

Werra wrote:
Pointing a mass driver of that capacity towards earth doesn't sound safe. Only a matter of time before the moonpeople declare independence with the help of the first true AI.

Well, any conceivable space transportation system can double as a weapon of mass destruction.

Werra wrote:
My guess is that trawler-like floating factories will be put into the asteroid belt. A massive initial cost, yes, but once there the ship could run for centuries. Material could be send back to earth quite slowly; a steady trickle would make up for low speed of individual loads.

But would that make sense with Outsider technology? Would mankind be better or worse off just finding new worlds to colonize instead of harvesting asteroids?

I think the money crop for asteroid harvesting will be minerals that are extremely rare on Earth; bulk common minerals will probably be more economical to mine locally. It's not like the Earth will ever run out of things like silicates and iron and nickel, since that's what it's chiefly made of. Though I guess a Moon factory might need iron and industrial metals, as I don't think there will be a lot available locally.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Well, any conceivable space transportation system can double as a weapon of mass destruction.
True, but a mass driver that can connect the moon in any meaningful way to the earth economy must be able to push out a lot of projectiles. And I can't decide what would be worse. My government or amazon/Google in control of such infrastructure.

Arioch wrote:
I think the money crop for asteroid harvesting will be minerals that are extremely rare on Earth; [...] Though I guess a Moon factory might need iron and industrial metals, as I don't think there will be a lot available locally.

There's bound to be a lot of mundane minerals in the same asteroids with rare minerals. It's easy to supply both once you have such a mining ship in the belt.


Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:16 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Werra wrote:
There's bound to be a lot of mundane minerals in the same asteroids with rare minerals. It's easy to supply both once you have such a mining ship in the belt.

Sure, any asteroid will have literally tons of iron and nickel, but it will be up to the details of the math whether the price of iron on Earth will make it worthwhile transporting it there. But the prices on Mars or the Moon might be higher if there is less local supply, which I think is likely.

My guess is, at least early on, asteroid prospectors will target only the most valuable minerals and leave the rest in place.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
hi hi

Arioch wrote:
Since the Moon is tidelocked to the Earth, you'd have to run an elevator almost halfway to Earth to get enough counterweight to keep it suspended... I don't know, that seems kind of nuts.
It's definitely extreme, in time, energy and investment. (I'd argue that any serious plan to establish manufacturing in space would require an extreme investment in time and energy.)

But the Materials Science PhD's that I've talked to about it were pretty clear that, from a materials science point of view, it is doable with our current materials, compared to a space elevator from the Earth where, even if we get carbon nanotubes of sufficient length to work, it is likely still not enough.


Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:11 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
dragoongfa wrote:
The difficulty of getting even a space shuttle's worth of equipment back down to Earth without an accident is well known; imagine getting a few hundreds of tons down every few minutes in order to feed a large industrial concept.

Getting raw materials down to a planet with an atmosphere is comparatively easy; reentry is just a heat management problem. It's lifting the finished goods out of the gravity well that's the challenge. Even if you have orbital elevators, dropping bulk raw materials in cheap (and perhaps even disposable) reentry sleds might still be more economical in some cases.

One of the SciFi stories I once read proposed to use "vacuum foamed steel", so the space smelters foamed the manufactured steel, so that the steel became lighter than water.
Make it large enough and you can airbrake it down to the oceans, and from there have the steel towed to Earth-bound manufacturing centres.

What's the loss of a few hundred kilograms during the airbrake, when your asteroid mining semi-automatically produces several thousand tons to send down to Earth in one go?

Don't know if that would actually be practicable, but in that story the first company who did so destroyed all Earth-bound competition with their steel price.

(That story also reported that the amount of steel sent down went down once the Earth-bound manufacturing centres produced sufficient stuff to send real manufacturing shipyard centres up into orbit.)

I found it an interesting idea, as in that story, the mining is done in the asteroid belt, from there packages get sent to Venus orbit to the big smelters (which mainly use solar reflectors to create the heat in the smelting ovens, thus closer to Sun than Mars and Earth), and from there the packages get sent to Earth-orbit (to repackage for orbital entry) or to wherever stuff was needed in Sol System.
And most of the packages got sent using slingshots, so no engines (justt a naviagational beacon to warn of flying hazards). You needed a capturing mechanism at the target.
Once the stuff is fully working, and the supply chain filled, no need to sent tows for everything. Just mark in all piloting computers the lanes for the slingshot matter, so they can avoid crossing those paths. And have plenty of navigational beacons on those packages.

It's another question though, if Earth would accept the risk of a package being "mis-aimed" by less than half a degree, and thus possibly crashing on Earth instead of flying by if not captured...

Edited to add: I think it was Peter F. Hamilton's Night Dawn Trilogy. At least in that one they use the slingshot transport method to transport Heavy Hydrogen (Deuterium) and Tritium from Jupiter to Earth (and thus destroying a lot of businesses specialized on transporting Deuterium from Jupiter to Earth - they had to refit or find different stuff to do). Not sure about the Vacuum Foamed Steel though. It may have been in the same story, or someplace else.

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Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:55 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
dragoongfa wrote:
Considering the space requirements of personnel, moving machinery and logistics infrastructure such a ship shouldn't come anywhere near a quarter of the mass of a similarly sized planet (unless the hollow Earth guys are right of course).

A quarter Earth mass is no joke in terms of a gravity well. And there would be no atmosphere to slow approaching vehicles for free.


At such a scale said megacraft is bound to have its own logistics infrastructure that would handle space traffic, space port authority, docking tugs, internal and external docking ports and whatever else is needed for it to function.

I should have mentioned that such a craft would by definition serve as far more than an industrial center, it would possible be considered as either a mobile fleet headquarters (if it is military oriented) or seperate municipality of its parent state (if civilian oriented). I wouldn't even be surprised if such a megacraft could even declare independence from its parent state as it could become completely self sufficient.

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Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:52 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
I'm sure the MARS environmentalists would scream bloody murder... but why not just pick a designated resource drop site on the martian surface and just let the rocks fall... you want to mine?

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Then you need to time the gathering of the ressources with the incoming stuff, so that the mining groups don't get hit.
And you need to transport everything over to the manufacturing sites.
(And those you want to keep away from the impact zones, so they don't get accidentally hit, nor damaged due to impact marsquakes.)

Plus, in an environment like Mars, where most colonial stuff will likely be excarvated into the gound, creating artifical marsquakes all the time might not be smart when needing to keep the habitat bubbles airtight.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
sunphoenix wrote:
I'm sure the MARS environmentalists would scream bloody murder... but why not just pick a designated resource drop site on the martian surface and just let the rocks fall... you want to mine?

Even in a thin atmosphere like Mars, a certain amount of the meteor vaporizes during entry, and then on impact even more will vaporize, and what chunks there are will either be buried or thrown over a wide area, and then you'll have to go hunting for them. Maybe if your resource is incredibly cheap you won't mind losing 80-90% of it in the process, but there's an upper limit to how big an asteroid you can drop on a planet without doing dinosaur-killer level ecological damage (throwing up sun-obscuring clouds of ejecta and possibly triggering catastrophic vulcanism), so if you're looking to collect large amounts of metal, this doesn't seem like a good way.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
The Bella had a crew around 160ish, right? Are these inflated numbers due to the special mission or very close to operating numbers? Why such a large number of crew in the first place - e.g, how low can a crew go?


Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:49 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
danuis wrote:
The Bella had a crew around 160ish, right? Are these inflated numbers due to the special mission or very close to operating numbers? Why such a large number of crew in the first place - e.g, how low can a crew go?

No, the Bellarmine's crew was 80, which is normal for the class.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Appearantly space can be found for extra crewmembers, since the Yorktown version comes with 95 crew.
I assume those extras are necessary for the added weapons.

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