| UP (discussion topics)
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>From: David Zink <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1993 04:29:57 -0400 (EDT)
I went away for two weeks, and what do I find? Lotsa lotsa messages...
> INSIDE OUTER SPACE, "Goodbye Star Wars, Hello Alley-Opp,"
> Random aggression is therefore a trait subject to severe culling BEFORE the
> starfaring stage, and must be somewhat rarer than some might suspect.
Actually, I'd have said that random aggression must be at least
inversely proportional to personal power ... a situation easily
observable on the streets of New York (outside my window...).
> ibid, pp. 22-23.
> Sublight, we all exist by Einstein's rules.... That's the law. If we
> stand imprudently EVA on the bow of a starship at .9999 cee and fire a
> pistol, we notice a disturbing phenomenon: the bullet will reach its
> relatavistic limit instantly and hang there time-stopped just in front of
> us, infinitely massive because of its velocity (as we are) and traveling
> within our little packet of reality - because nothing in Einsteinian space
> can exceed cee. It and we go on together in the same moment. Explosive
> missiles or lasers fired just ahead of your bow will reach your target less
> than .0001 split second before you do. You might as well ram the opposing
> ship as fire on their tail....
Could you get a date of publication on this? If this is the depth of her
understanding of the phenomena, we may be wasting our time trying to
figure out the physics behind her material...
The correct (Einsteinian, that is;) view is that standing EVA on the bow
of your starship at .9999 cee, you will feel like you are standing still,
watching the universe rush past you at .9999 cee. When you fire that
pistol at the ship, also traveling at .9999 cee, hanging motionless in
space ahead of you, the bullet will fly away in usual bullet fashion,
and smack into the hull of the other ship, in usual bullet fashion,
doing about as much damage to a meteor-safed hull as you would expect.
The bullet will actually be travelling at .99990001 cee, but it won't
make much difference to you.
In fact, anytime anyone starts to talk about the effects of traveling
near the speed of light (you will notice that while I just did so, all I
said was that there weren't any), you can assume that they are walking
near the thin edge of inanity. .9999 cee must be specified in
relationship to something. For instance, if you see a ship approaching
you at .9999 cee, it will look brighter, most of the infrared radiation
bouncing off of it will be reflected back to you as hard X-Rays, it will
look shallower, if you naively attempt to calculate its mass starting
from the trajectories of the dust and old shoes surrounding it, you will
calculate a mass that is near infinite, and if you watch the giant clock
displayed on the nose of the ship, you will notice that your own watch
will show hours passing for every twitch of the giant clock's second
At least that's the theory.
> Whoops. This is simply not correct. Because the time the near-c ship
> perceives flows at slower rate, from their point of view the bullet
> behaves completely normally. For example, if you are moving at .9999c
> relative to another ship, for each second you perceive that ship
> perceives 100 seconds. (This supposes that you have done
> the accelerating. If it had been the other ship, it'd be slowed down.)
The parenthetical is wrong: For every second of theirs *you* perceive
the 100 seconds (of your own). For every second of *yours*, *they*
perceive 100 seconds. All this follows from the basic tenet of
relativity, which is that neither one of you will ever figure out who is
standing still and who is moving...everything must be symmetrical.
> Whatever you've fired off insystem, incidentally, does not "fall" or go
> away; it keeps traveling at the same speed. Forever. You might
> conceivably run into your own fire; and certainly you can run into friendly
> fire by accident, not to mention what the enemy lets off. Space battle
> will mean keeping track of every beam and projectile fired, no matter by
> whom or how long ago, because if you meet it at a great speed (yours or
> its) - just remember the way a .9 cee rock hits a planet. Big crater. No
This on the other hand is all accurate. With the caveat that without
FTL, one needn't worry about running into one's own laser fire. (one's
allies, however ...)
Actually I take it back--she's kind of ignoring the effect of gravity.
Lot's of the stuff you fire will fall into the sun. You're falling too,
however, so it will look like it is standing still.
> ibid: pp. 24 - 25.
> The aliens have no social unit. Reproducing by fission, they are
> absolutely solitary and were brought into space by imprudent traders. Now
> they commit totally random actions, each according to its peculiar mindset.
> Only that very distant trader-species can deal with them....
I can't believe y'all let this little gem blow through without comment.
> The C.J. Cherry jump technology doesn't really seem too
> complex. Basically there seems to be two major drive
> systems, Slower than light thrusters and FTL capable
> gravitic wave drives (GWD). For STL maneuvering they seem to
> use a combination of thrusters and the GWD. The GWD seems
> only to be effective when the ship is actually in motion,
> witness Mallory's pulsing of the GWD near the end of
> Downbelow Station (DS) to get the Union commander's
Hey! I missed the part where we found out they were gravitic wave
drives!! (Actually, gravitic wave drives are a legitimate hole in the
whole `speed of light is the limit' thing. However, since they are only
useful if you can generate gravity without corresponding mass, modern
physicists don't see it as a pressing problem.)
> Ian Davis email@example.com
> (p245): "Urtur dust screamed over the hull, shields downed during the low-V
> of their turn and reacquisition, dust abrading the vanes."
> The references to "realspace" and the ability to turn the shields on and
> off during manoeuvring imply that the shields may be some type of
> projection, possibly related to vane technology or hyperspace itself.
It means the shields must:
1) Have mass and be loosely tied to the ship, thus in danger of
being lost in a turn.
2) Have some sort of gyroscopic effect, and be incapable of being
3) Draw so much power that they can't be used at the same time as the
drive. (though at Urtur, a sensible hani would just use the
drives at very low power and turn *very* slowly.)
or, my favorite,
4) They use the same mechanicals (the jump-vanes) as the jump drive.
> I dislike the use of azi as a ressource/trade good more and more.
> If they are part of the game, they should be produced by Cyteen at
> a constant rate "for free", and should increase the labour pool of
> a station where they're working, but they would consume food and
> parts every turn, wether they work or not. You can't order them
> now and get them delivered next year, they're living beings and
> not an ordinary cargo lot.
I think you're being sentimental. They're just product. Expensive,
because it takes so long to produce them (like a spaceship), but just
Here's my controversial contribution for the week:
Isaac Asimov's robots are fairly intelligent mechanical beings
programmed to perform specific tasks. Because they are not allowed to
learn in a global, natural way, they do not have very human
personalities. Because they don't have very human personalities, it is
very easily justified that they may be legitimately enslaved. They're
just manufactured machines, after all. They don't really have feelings
like a real person--just talk to one and you'll see.
> > 4) warship, no cargo units
> Again this "warship" stuff. I don't think a childrens game should be a
Which children are we talking about here? There are certainly cultures
in which all children's games are war games (Amerika?) but the relevant
question is Reseune culture...
> Postulation: The jump effect is sensitive to the curvature of space.
Yes, I think that's pretty clear.
> > 2.B) Similarly to the above when the J-drive is fully activated
> > we can reduce the ship's mass effectively to zero (or maybe negative?).
> > This allows the Einstinian barrier to be breached and trans-light
> > velocities achieved.
> I think negative mass is nonsense. If you can't go below zero, there is
> no reason why hunters outrun merchanters, since each of them would have
> zero mass. BTW, isn't lightspeed the limit even for zero-mass objects?
According to Einstein (I think it's an inaccurate limitation, Einstein's
math error is fairly obvious, he claims to prove that nothing but
nothing can ever communicate faster than the speed of light, when
actually all he managed to prove was that nothing composed of any form
of matter we've detected, and no electromagnetic radiation can ever
travel faster than the speed of light. The only things these left out
(in his day) were the strong and weak nuclear forces and gravity.
They've managed to prove that the strong and weak forces are aspects of
electromagnetism, so all that is left out of the box now is gravity. I
don't know whether they've proven that gravity travels at the speed of
light, but I know they assume it, and until someone proves that it, or
some other force we haven't detected yet, does travel faster than light,
the physics community thinks it a rather dead issue (there are some
working on it, but they are few. This is one of the reasons why the
Grand Unified Field Theory is so sought after).
Knnn you say knnn? I knew you cccccould.
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