Big Head Press Forum

Online Comics => Quantum Vibe => Topic started by: MirrorField on November 20, 2019, 04:58:24 am

Title: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: MirrorField on November 20, 2019, 04:58:24 am
Well, few points of critique in the little exposition of today's strip (2023):
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Scott on November 21, 2019, 11:41:33 am
Fortunately, Bubbleopolis has more layers of protection and defense. As we shall see going forward.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: MirrorField on December 04, 2019, 06:03:57 am
And we continue with more or less classic RKKV (Relativistic Kinetic Kill Vehicle). Usually these are accelerated with simple antimatter pion drive, but Murphy Drive apparently provides for teleport acceleration (fall towards black hole, accelerating, blink back to suitable distance, continue falling). Larry Niven used a variant of this trick as a reactionless thruster. Old Traveller grognards used variant as a weapon of mass destruction, accelerating small bits of rubble to near lightspeed.

This is a serious planetkiller, difficult to defend against. Though Murphy Drive again gives some options to defend against. Optimal approach, of course, would be to simply dodge. Oresme-shield should give enough warning time against lightspeed threats to simply teleport away, for example...

Ps. At these velocities carbon-black coating doesn't help. Interstellar medium, impacting on projectile at these velocities, provides for quite a light show. Of course, it's possible that someone has developed a teleport shield, teleporting any interstellar medium in front to behind the projectile...
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Sean Roach on December 04, 2019, 08:27:35 am
And we continue with more or less classic RKKV (Relativistic Kinetic Kill Vehicle). Usually these are accelerated with simple antimatter pion drive, but Murphy Drive apparently provides for teleport acceleration (fall towards black hole, accelerating, blink back to suitable distance, continue falling). Larry Niven used a variant of this trick as a reactionless thruster. Old Traveller grognards used variant as a weapon of mass destruction, accelerating small bits of rubble to near lightspeed.

This is a serious planetkiller, difficult to defend against. Though Murphy Drive again gives some options to defend against. Optimal approach, of course, would be to simply dodge. Oresme-shield should give enough warning time against lightspeed threats to simply teleport away, for example...

Ps. At these velocities carbon-black coating doesn't help. Interstellar medium, impacting on projectile at these velocities, provides for quite a light show. Of course, it's possible that someone has developed a teleport shield, teleporting any interstellar medium in front to behind the projectile...

Another wrinkle to the fuel is such a craft can simply refuel on the fly. It doesn't need to carry all the fuel it needs to accelerate; that can just be 'ported in a few gallons at a time during the boost phase.

Imagine how much cheaper it would have been to go to the moon if we could have just dropped a gate-pair in a couple fuel tanks. One on the Apollo and one on the ground.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Scott on December 04, 2019, 11:45:41 am
And we continue with more or less classic RKKV (Relativistic Kinetic Kill Vehicle). Usually these are accelerated with simple antimatter pion drive, but Murphy Drive apparently provides for teleport acceleration (fall towards black hole, accelerating, blink back to suitable distance, continue falling). Larry Niven used a variant of this trick as a reactionless thruster. Old Traveller grognards used variant as a weapon of mass destruction, accelerating small bits of rubble to near lightspeed.

This is a serious planetkiller, difficult to defend against. Though Murphy Drive again gives some options to defend against. Optimal approach, of course, would be to simply dodge. Oresme-shield should give enough warning time against lightspeed threats to simply teleport away, for example...

Ps. At these velocities carbon-black coating doesn't help. Interstellar medium, impacting on projectile at these velocities, provides for quite a light show. Of course, it's possible that someone has developed a teleport shield, teleporting any interstellar medium in front to behind the projectile...

Not much Interstellar Medium in the vicinity of a Black Hole. It tends to suck that all in. Likewise, to some extent, in the Five Suns system. Most mass ejections from each star get scooped up by one of the others.
 
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: UncleRice on December 06, 2019, 12:23:14 am
I suppose an iron asteroid is cheap, but I would expect a nation state would fabricate a projectile out of solid tungsten or depleted uranium. Though I suppose at that speed, it doesn't matter much what it is made of as the protons and neutrons are the only thing that would matter.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: JanessaVR on December 06, 2019, 02:05:48 pm
Looking at today's strip...holy crap.

How much of Bubblopolis will be left after it hits?!

And what does an AnCap society going to war look like?
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Sean Roach on December 06, 2019, 02:17:52 pm
Looking at today's strip...holy crap.

How much of Bubblopolis will be left after it hits?!

And what does an AnCap society going to war look like?

Consider this. Each bubble is largely independent. A penetrator could probably punch straight through and only destroy the habitats of those bubbles that were in a straight line. It depends on how much energy those neighboring bubbles can soak before they cook because I can't imagine that a 0.9c impact wouldn't produce some thermal and radiation bloom.
Also consider it might be possible to relocate the whole of bubbleopolis out of the way before the penetrator gets a chance to hit.

However, I suspect the real target isn't bubbleopolis, but that neo-prim colony we saw. Even a hit on the night side would kill everything on the day side, at least eventually, and probably pretty quickly.
In this, a distributed habitat such as bubbleopolis should have a much better survival probability than a typical planet.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on December 06, 2019, 04:16:35 pm
However, I suspect the real target isn't bubbleopolis, but that neo-prim colony we saw. Even a hit on the night side would kill everything on the day side, at least eventually, and probably pretty quickly.
In this, a distributed habitat such as bubbleopolis should have a much better survival probability than a typical planet.

page=2026, panel 2, "250 kilometers"

so given assumptions on the mass needed to make humans happy with the gravity, the settlement isn't the entire planet.

page=2025

>Caption: A new settlement on Nyumbani, in the galaxy NGC 4438.

I don't think it's worth the effort for such a weapon, you're attacking a mud hut with a neutron bomb, and once people see what the weapon can do they can create countermeasures.

Nine/tenths of the speed of light is 269813 Kilometers per second
 
strip?page=2024 says the first shield is 45,000,000 km out so I'm getting 167 seconds of warning before impact with the first Borvonite sphere. (Somebody check my math.)

If the spheres can ID the threat, and then move aside, that could be a valid defense. but it would probably take a successful attack before that defense could be developed. 

The other defense I can think of is to pop a small Borvonite sphere in the trajectory of the missile to cause it to strike a glancing blow and then miss the main target. The sooner this is done, the smaller delta-v you need to impart to get a clean miss
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: UncleRice on December 09, 2019, 04:46:50 am
I'm guessing that their affinity for privacy means the system isn't loaded with redundant tattle tail systems that set off alerts even when authorized people shut stuff off for maintenance when they are supposed to.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: notStanley on December 09, 2019, 02:02:24 pm
Dang, the first couple pages was hoping for a very long range probe.  but now more afraid of an Oyster Bay (from the Honorverse) scenario.  Will it be the same scum that were trying a multi-dimensional infiltration?  though this will be much more destructive - total war vs coup d'etat.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Scott on December 09, 2019, 03:43:27 pm
However, I suspect the real target isn't bubbleopolis, but that neo-prim colony we saw. Even a hit on the night side would kill everything on the day side, at least eventually, and probably pretty quickly.
In this, a distributed habitat such as bubbleopolis should have a much better survival probability than a typical planet.

page=2026, panel 2, "250 kilometers"

so given assumptions on the mass needed to make humans happy with the gravity, the settlement isn't the entire planet.

page=2025

>Caption: A new settlement on Nyumbani, in the galaxy NGC 4438.

I don't think it's worth the effort for such a weapon, you're attacking a mud hut with a neutron bomb, and once people see what the weapon can do they can create countermeasures.

Nine/tenths of the speed of light is 269813 Kilometers per second
 
strip?page=2024 says the first shield is 45,000,000 km out so I'm getting 167 seconds of warning before impact with the first Borvonite sphere. (Somebody check my math.)

If the spheres can ID the threat, and then move aside, that could be a valid defense. but it would probably take a successful attack before that defense could be developed. 

The other defense I can think of is to pop a small Borvonite sphere in the trajectory of the missile to cause it to strike a glancing blow and then miss the main target. The sooner this is done, the smaller delta-v you need to impart to get a clean miss

Your math looks correct to me.

One weakness in the system is the speed of light. The outposts can communicate with one another and with the city via a super-luminal spin-off  I've called "q-wave" but detecting an object moving through the system is reliant on, and therefore limited by, good old EMR. Station 187 might have seen it and sent out a warning but it was put out of commission and by the time the other stations could see it, the missile was already most of the way to target.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on December 09, 2019, 08:10:54 pm
Well, that's probably a minor spoiler for Wednesday's and Friday's strips, but we can see it coming from what we learned on Monday and prior strips.

I would guess the attackers have but one chance to exploit the "less than 167 second" loophole before additional countermeasures are put in place. Are they going to go with one "near-lightspeed" kinetic missile, or dozens?

I guess that question could also be rephrased as "Are they doing a terrorist attack, or are they actually trying to destroy Bubbleopolis?"

(Thanks for checking my math. There were multiple unit conversions and I recall being off by an order of magnitude on one of the earlier gigasecond conversions)


Your math looks correct to me.

One weakness in the system is the speed of light. The outposts can communicate with one another and with the city via a super-luminal spin-off  I've called "q-wave" but detecting an object moving through the system is reliant on, and therefore limited by, good old EMR. Station 187 might have seen it and sent out a warning but it was put out of commission and by the time the other stations could see it, the missile was already most of the way to target.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Skull the Troll on December 12, 2019, 01:08:56 pm
And we continue with more or less classic RKKV (Relativistic Kinetic Kill Vehicle). Usually these are accelerated with simple antimatter pion drive, but Murphy Drive apparently provides for teleport acceleration (fall towards black hole, accelerating, blink back to suitable distance, continue falling). Larry Niven used a variant of this trick as a reactionless thruster. Old Traveller grognards used variant as a weapon of mass destruction, accelerating small bits of rubble to near lightspeed.

This is a serious planetkiller, difficult to defend against. Though Murphy Drive again gives some options to defend against. Optimal approach, of course, would be to simply dodge. Oresme-shield should give enough warning time against lightspeed threats to simply teleport away, for example...

Ps. At these velocities carbon-black coating doesn't help. Interstellar medium, impacting on projectile at these velocities, provides for quite a light show. Of course, it's possible that someone has developed a teleport shield, teleporting any interstellar medium in front to behind the projectile...

Not much Interstellar Medium in the vicinity of a Black Hole. It tends to suck that all in. Likewise, to some extent, in the Five Suns system. Most mass ejections from each star get scooped up by one of the others.

I'm assuming the black hole isn't in Bubbleopolis's system, so there would be quite a bit of medium within their system, but it doesnt really matter. For an object travelling at near the speed of light the light from the object would only arrive just a bit before the object. As far as letting the object punch through Randal Monroe pretty much did the math on what would happen if you pitched a baseball at the exact speed this object is travelling at. It doesn't end well. https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: lurkergao on December 13, 2019, 09:31:47 pm
Starting this new arc off with a bang arent you scott? :) . Presumeably spy lady is an agent of some foreign power. As that trick with the asteroid railgun would take some prep and be out of reach of jethro the space redneck who hurls asteroids at demographics that offend his sensibilities.. due to the intro of the primsphere i assume they are the victims or perhaps in an adjacent dome. Its somewhat hard to believe that ppl in the primary target survived at all even if through some miracle of engineering might make the dome survive mostly intact. The fragile meat bodies cant take a violent shaking in their bubbles very well i would think. This is an interesting direction for the story to take. How does bubblecity deal with state funded terrorism? How many moebits do they find an acceptable sum to forgive genocide?
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: MirrorField on December 16, 2019, 05:21:43 am
I'm assuming the black hole isn't in Bubbleopolis's system, so there would be quite a bit of medium within their system, but it doesnt really matter. For an object travelling at near the speed of light the light from the object would only arrive just a bit before the object. As far as letting the object punch through Randal Monroe pretty much did the math on what would happen if you pitched a baseball at the exact speed this object is travelling at. It doesn't end well. https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/

Indeed. That note was intended for bubbleopolis (or whatever the eventual target was): You can't hide it and with murphy shield of that size you should have few minutes of warning. Bit challenging to accurately locate and intercept at those velocities, but given murphy drive and at least degree of FTL communications it should be possible. Probably.

And sabotage on that scale, of that sort of system, by compromising a single engineer unwittingly? Early warning system is something that you want to have multiple layers of redundancy and there are reasons for "two man rules" and "no lone zones". Though we may be getting sidetracked into abstruse details of security engineering...

Btw: IMHO the spy lady was a mercenary freelancer who most likely didn't know who she was working for or why. After all, you cannot betray something you do not know. One would suspect that proper free-market economy will have given people tools to ensure that she'll get properly paid. Instead of her employers tying up loose ends with "high-velocity retirement package".
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: lurkergao on December 16, 2019, 07:00:37 pm
I agree spy lady is probably a merc based on her internal dialogue. She probably had no idea why she was compromising this system or what the end result would be. I doubt though the black market of bubble town has worker protection from high velocity retirement. Any middleman she could setup with the client would only be loyal to the almighty dollar. Her employer can pick from a list of mercs and find one the most easily expendable. These operators are on their own negotiating with clients with vast resources and man power. The negotiation is always slanted toward the client.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: DrakBibliophile on December 17, 2019, 01:16:09 pm
Well, the middleman would love to spend the money he/she gets so would be on guard against the "client" deciding "high velocity retirement" (or HVR) is better than paying the middleman.

The thing is IMO the client (especially in this situation) may not know who the middleman got for the job so his target for HVR is likely the middleman.

Yes, HVR is something to be concerned about but the persons who'd be "most concerned" about it are those closer to the client rather than those who do the dirty work.

I agree spy lady is probably a merc based on her internal dialogue. She probably had no idea why she was compromising this system or what the end result would be. I doubt though the black market of bubble town has worker protection from high velocity retirement. Any middleman she could setup with the client would only be loyal to the almighty dollar. Her employer can pick from a list of mercs and find one the most easily expendable. These operators are on their own negotiating with clients with vast resources and man power. The negotiation is always slanted toward the client.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Skull the Troll on December 18, 2019, 03:13:46 pm
Taking out the middleman is probably counter productive in a world where brains can be backed up. There just going to come back and be very, very, angry with you. Better would be to make sure that a large portion of their compensation is in escrow for a period of time so they have a financial reason to stay quiet.

Well, the middleman would love to spend the money he/she gets so would be on guard against the "client" deciding "high velocity retirement" (or HVR) is better than paying the middleman.

The thing is IMO the client (especially in this situation) may not know who the middleman got for the job so his target for HVR is likely the middleman.

Yes, HVR is something to be concerned about but the persons who'd be "most concerned" about it are those closer to the client rather than those who do the dirty work.

I agree spy lady is probably a merc based on her internal dialogue. She probably had no idea why she was compromising this system or what the end result would be. I doubt though the black market of bubble town has worker protection from high velocity retirement. Any middleman she could setup with the client would only be loyal to the almighty dollar. Her employer can pick from a list of mercs and find one the most easily expendable. These operators are on their own negotiating with clients with vast resources and man power. The negotiation is always slanted toward the client.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: JanessaVR on December 18, 2019, 03:16:32 pm
The Really Big Question (TM):

Why did they launch only one of these things at Bubbleopolis?
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Sean Roach on December 18, 2019, 05:00:03 pm
The Really Big Question (TM):

Why did they launch only one of these things at Bubbleopolis?

Warning shot? "You are not safe inside your fortress. Bend your knee or die."?

Possibly it was a compromise because the more they did, the more vectors to attempt, the greater the chance of discovery?

Maybe they thought that WAS overkill?
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: JanessaVR on December 18, 2019, 05:49:03 pm
If it was the first one, they're damn fools.

I rather vividly remember the national mood by the afternoon of 9/11 - nobody wanted to bend any knees, but damn near everyone wanted blood.

There's an old proverb: "If you strike at a king, you must kill him."  Bubbleopolis is apparently a major power in the QV universe.  A still alive and now bloodthirsty for revenge major power.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: Coyoty on December 18, 2019, 11:52:57 pm
Yes, it was a Godsmack concert.  By that time, they're very, very old rockers and often do Disaster Area covers.
Title: Re: Bubbleopolis risks
Post by: DrakBibliophile on December 19, 2019, 10:04:08 am
Nod and the same holds true for the actual "gun-man".

Of course, the actuall "gun-man" may know only the middleman not who hired the middleman.

On the gripping hand, how many "middlemen" are involved.  More room for "loose lips" but may be safer for the Big Bad.

Taking out the middleman is probably counter productive in a world where brains can be backed up. There just going to come back and be very, very, angry with you. Better would be to make sure that a large portion of their compensation is in escrow for a period of time so they have a financial reason to stay quiet.

Well, the middleman would love to spend the money he/she gets so would be on guard against the "client" deciding "high velocity retirement" (or HVR) is better than paying the middleman.

The thing is IMO the client (especially in this situation) may not know who the middleman got for the job so his target for HVR is likely the middleman.

Yes, HVR is something to be concerned about but the persons who'd be "most concerned" about it are those closer to the client rather than those who do the dirty work.

I agree spy lady is probably a merc based on her internal dialogue. She probably had no idea why she was compromising this system or what the end result would be. I doubt though the black market of bubble town has worker protection from high velocity retirement. Any middleman she could setup with the client would only be loyal to the almighty dollar. Her employer can pick from a list of mercs and find one the most easily expendable. These operators are on their own negotiating with clients with vast resources and man power. The negotiation is always slanted toward the client.