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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: Technomad on October 08, 2008, 12:13:20 am

Title: Low gravity
Post by: Technomad on October 08, 2008, 12:13:20 am
I like how they're making Ceres' low gravity so clear, and the problems our "heroes" have adjusting to it.  Also, Ceres is entirely underground, which makes excellent sense. 

I wouldn't mind living on Ceres, at least this version.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Monkt on October 08, 2008, 12:18:26 am
Would you prefer this Ceres or Pallas from well Pallas?
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: KBCraig on October 08, 2008, 09:03:59 pm
I liked how The Moon is a Harsh Mistress went into a realistic exploration of the physiological changes experienced by the Loonies, and that was at only 17% of Terran gravity. Cerens, living at just 3%, would exhibit some major adaptation not shown so far.

Unless that's explained later in the story, in which case never mind.  ;)

Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on October 09, 2008, 01:14:41 pm
The explanation is that nano-technology and bio-technology combined have developed means for reversing the deleterious effects of living in lower gravity (and higher background radiation). We should get into that a bit more, and we will, but it won't be in the first story arc.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Leviathan on October 09, 2008, 06:49:40 pm
Mmm, think of the trick the loonie women were doing, wearing "less than usual", and jiggling in manners impossible in higher gravity, as they passed the exiled guards?  I'd think even two years of ballet would leave the walking difficult in 3%.

'Grats on not doing the silly domes thing.  Domes in a vacuum, where micrometeors could plink at high relative velocity, would be suicidal.  And the rock would be additional radiation insulation, since no atmosphere absorbs it.

I assume the belters themselves developed the technology that prevents/reverses the physiological changes known to happen in low-grav.  A world 1/10th as regulated as EfT's terra should have an innovation of any size every other decade.  People would throw parades when they happen.  After all, it's dangerous to try new things!
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Sean Roach on October 12, 2008, 06:03:25 pm
Agreed on the domes.  Being a bit farther out than Mars, there wouldn't be all that much worth looking at, and a visit to a dome just to see would certainly be safer than having the dome right over your mainstreet.  Besides, the things would leak more air and heat than would a deep bored habitat.

Agreed on our "ballerina".  She's proving far too competent to be what she was initially taken to be.  She has also made none of the comments about how "backward" the Ceresians are, and only three that suggest she doesn't know the lay of the land, (wonder how they'll react, shouldn't you be in school, and how do you control this thing, four if you count the shocked expression of being greeted planetoidside by a child).  I think she's returning home, not visiting the enemy.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on October 12, 2008, 07:13:54 pm
To clarify a few things:

Yes, there are domes. You can see parts of them on pages 15, 16 and 17, and also on page 20. They do tend to be more like domed ceilings over large areas and causeways. They are made of a self-sealing material employing nanotech (like the artificial envelope El Neil put around Pallas, more or less).

The surface of Ceres is believed to be mostly water ice, dozens of kilometers thick on average, with a very thin layer of alkalai clays, probably as in not more than a few inches worth, on top. The city and settlements are not dug into rock, they are built mostly on top of the ice, in steel and nano-plastic enclosures. Long-term plans call for the ice to become water and the towns and settlements will be like artificial islands.

And Fiorella has never been to the Belt before. She really is a young recruit to UWRS, and isn't "returning home." She just happens to be one of those Heinleinian hyper-capable people.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Leviathan on October 14, 2008, 03:44:24 pm
No wonder they're trying to pawn her off on a belt assignment.  If she's competent, she has no place within the central halls of governance!  What was she even doing there to begin with?!

I can kinda see if they manage self-sealing hull on the habitations, micrometeorite impacts not being as big a problem.  But something is still hazardous to life at fist size, and probably peppers the 'roids on a regular basis.

Wait, though...  Bio/nanotechnology is good enough to make radiation and weightlessness no problem, yet not good enough to self-repair head injuries sustained within the home?  Sufficiently advanced nanotech could make it virtually impossible to kill someone without an industrial meatgrinder or cremation oven, and even with the meatgrinder you'd probably have to cremate the remains to be sure.  I could almost see such a society reinforcing the skull, and then making parachute-free airplane-jumping a sport.  Maybe they're not quite to that level, but it makes it even less sensical for gov to be that paranoid about personal injury.  Unless the innovations really did start beltwise, and have been forbidden from working their way back home?
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Rocketman on October 15, 2008, 12:46:08 pm
Me, I'de kind of like to have tissue repairing nanobots in my bloodstream.  Now if I can just figure out how to get an adamimantam skeleton and retractable razor sharp claws I'de be all set!   ;D
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Rocketman on October 15, 2008, 01:01:56 pm
Unless the innovations really did start beltwise, and have been forbidden from working their way back home?
Knowing how they think what would likely happen is that once the nanobot technology was brought back to earth, it's existance would be quietly hidden from the general public.  Then the government would decide that some "heroes of the working people" (meaning the party leaders) should be given the treatment in recognition for their "years of faithful service".  When average people started noticing that the leaders had not appearently aged after 20 or 30 years, it would be explained to them that it was necessary to keep their leaders alive and healthy in order to prevent the spread of such counterrevolutionary ideas such as freedom and independance. 
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: wdg3rd on October 24, 2008, 04:38:18 pm
Would you prefer this Ceres or Pallas from well Pallas?

Personally, I'd prefer Ceres from The Venus Belt.  I wanna visit Pellucidar Gardens.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Leviathan on November 25, 2008, 02:38:07 pm
Huh, uhh, how exactly does a regulation hockey field work in gravity that low?  Skating would be in slow motion, hockey pucks would arc through the air from one side of the field to the other.  Turning radius would be high because gravity acceleration is a constant, but momentum is independent of gravity.  Even with the higher barriers, pucks out of bounds would be a regular event.  Wouldn't this result in a massively larger field? 
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Sean Roach on November 25, 2008, 09:43:56 pm
The skates, are presumably steel?
Can the puck be modified to have a steel core too?
In that case...electromagnets in with, or considering it's an ice-ball, instead of, the refrigeration coils.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Leviathan on November 26, 2008, 01:27:42 am
And now, for the spring hockey season lineup, we have the miracle pressure suit!  Made of pure unobtanium!  With impossibilium highlights!

What the everloving fuck are those suits made of?  Even if they're wearing uniforms over their suits, that'd be one hell of an adaptive set of nanotech.  A soft material would "baloon" outwards, a hard material would restrict motion severely, especially the more "skintight" they got.  All I can figure is an adaptive mix nanomaterial, fitted or autofitting to the body wearing it, capable of flexing with the wearer's movements but otherwise rigid.  Thin, yet pressure-tight.  And one would hope capable of blocking enough radiation that it doesn't push damage past nano/bio repair, heh.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on November 26, 2008, 10:54:15 am
Well, as you can see in Wednesday's strip, the puck does leave the surface -- quite a bit. Tomorrow, you'll see how this problem is dealt with (if it isn't obvious already).

The pressure suits are made of a sturdy and stretchy material that compresses against the entire body (except for the head, which is encased in a pressurized helmet), both providing the pressure the body needs and allowing considerable freedom of movement. This is an idea that was used in Victor Koman's Kings of the High Frontier and by L. Neil Smith in The Venus Belt. The pressure suit also contains nano-tubules that regulate skin temperature and an air-recycler (notice the squarish bulge on the player's backs) which is good for several hours' vigorous activity.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on November 26, 2008, 12:51:06 pm
Unless the innovations really did start beltwise, and have been forbidden from working their way back home?
Knowing how they think what would likely happen is that once the nanobot technology was brought back to earth, it's existance would be quietly hidden from the general public.  Then the government would decide that some "heroes of the working people" (meaning the party leaders) should be given the treatment in recognition for their "years of faithful service".  When average people started noticing that the leaders had not appearently aged after 20 or 30 years, it would be explained to them that it was necessary to keep their leaders alive and healthy in order to prevent the spread of such counterrevolutionary ideas such as freedom and independance. 
Yup. Forgot to comment on this post. Of course you are right. Just as Guy's boss had her aircon turned illegally cool, so it always is. There will be other examples in future strips.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on November 26, 2008, 12:53:25 pm
Huh, uhh, how exactly does a regulation hockey field work in gravity that low?  Skating would be in slow motion, hockey pucks would arc through the air from one side of the field to the other.  Turning radius would be high because gravity acceleration is a constant, but momentum is independent of gravity.  Even with the higher barriers, pucks out of bounds would be a regular event.  Wouldn't this result in a massively larger field? 
No. It just takes getting used to.  ;)
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on November 26, 2008, 12:56:47 pm
The skates, are presumably steel?
Can the puck be modified to have a steel core too?
In that case...electromagnets in with, or considering it's an ice-ball, instead of, the refrigeration coils.
Some skates are steel, others are carbon nanotube and others are plastics. All are heated to permit skating on the super-cold ice.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on November 26, 2008, 01:06:18 pm
And now, for the spring hockey season lineup, we have the miracle pressure suit!  Made of pure unobtanium!  With impossibilium highlights!

What the everloving fuck are those suits made of?  Even if they're wearing uniforms over their suits, that'd be one hell of an adaptive set of nanotech.  A soft material would "baloon" outwards, a hard material would restrict motion severely, especially the more "skintight" they got.  All I can figure is an adaptive mix nanomaterial, fitted or autofitting to the body wearing it, capable of flexing with the wearer's movements but otherwise rigid.  Thin, yet pressure-tight.  And one would hope capable of blocking enough radiation that it doesn't push damage past nano/bio repair, heh.
You are a quarter of a century out of date. (Now let me see, what is that in internet years...?) Please see Drexler's Engines of Creation, page 211 et sequencia.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Sean Roach on November 26, 2008, 07:40:53 pm
Two things.
One.  Ice skates melt ice.  When you skate you're actually floating on a thin layer of meltwater that freezes back behind you.  That's an artifact of the fact water expands when it freezes is you can melt it a bit by squeezing it.  Under lower gravity, you'd not experience that effect near so much so it'd be more of a merely slippery floor and not the effect you're familiar under 1 G.

Two.  The asteroid field is further out from the sun than the earth.  Although you wouldn't enjoy the magnetic shielding that earth naturally has, you wouldn't be as exposed to the rays of the sun either.

Of course, without as much solar wind, you WOULD likely have a greater exposure to gamma.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on November 26, 2008, 11:39:20 pm
Two things.
One.  Ice skates melt ice.  When you skate you're actually floating on a thin layer of meltwater that freezes back behind you.  That's an artifact of the fact water expands when it freezes is you can melt it a bit by squeezing it.  Under lower gravity, you'd not experience that effect near so much so it'd be more of a merely slippery floor and not the effect you're familiar under 1 G.
That's why the skates have to be heated.

Two.  The asteroid field is further out from the sun than the earth.  Although you wouldn't enjoy the magnetic shielding that earth naturally has, you wouldn't be as exposed to the rays of the sun either.

Of course, without as much solar wind, you WOULD likely have a greater exposure to gamma.
Which is a good thing, since most of us are too gamma deficient to receive the health benefits when gamma radiation is about 100 times background. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Leviathan on November 27, 2008, 01:29:28 am
You're right, I am a little out of date.  Or, I should say, I hadn't ever run across the mechanical counterpressure suit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_activity_suit) concept...  One little area of concern:

Quote
Unfortunately, a number of problems also turned up, primarily related to the problem of keeping the suit in strong mechanical contact at every point on the body. Concavities or small folds in the fabric could lead to fluid pooling in the gaps, and the crotch area proved extremely difficult to tailor successfully. To fill out these areas, small pads of polyurethane foam were inserted into concavities and were successful in most problem areas. The suits also had to be tailored to each individual, although the same was true of the earlier Apollo suits. The largest difficulty was donning and removing the suit. In order to effectively provide the minimum pressure of 29.6 kilopascals (220 mmHg/4.3 psi) necessary for human physiology, the suit must be extremely tight-fitting, making donning and doffing a highly strenuous task.

Huh, having a crotch, or putting up with a bulky pressure suit...  I guess more of an engineering problem to solve.  Along with the difficulty of getting into and out of really, really, really tight spandex.  It looks like they were successfully used for up to 2.5hrs in vacuum chambers, though.  So the concept seems sound.

As far as the blades being heated, that wouldn't really solve the issue of how to make the blade actually bite into the ice.  Just slide over the surface.  A razor-edge might help a bit.

Cosmic rays are counteracted to some extent by higher amounts of solar wind, rather than gamma, I'm pretty sure.  I think the sun is a larger source than cosmic for gamma, though.  But I figured the rads in the habitats are lower than surface.  Even with the nano/biotech reversing damage from the remainder, you have to keep exposure down to sub-lethal levels.  And that's not counting the Terries that aren't trying to escape the horrific world Earth has become in the storyline that are sure to wander through from time to time.  Seems like it would be moderately fun to tourist in, especially compared to groundside.  Where I'm sure there's some scientific-sounding limit to the amount of fun a person is allowed to have based on an average tolerance of the human cardiovascular and endocrine system  ;)

Sandy...  Oh my.  Oh my oh me oh my!  If that pans out, it would be an interesting response to the people who freak out over fission plants releasing extremely tiny quantities of radiation under the theorem of "zero tolerance is good".
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on November 27, 2008, 01:34:43 am
I don't remember where I read this but I recall an article from a couple of years back where the notion that skates work by melting the ice under the blade to create a thin film of water has been called into question.

Ice at temperatures between 0 and -20 degrees Celsius does have a naturally-occurring film of liquid water, ranging from a half-millimeter to just a few molecules in thickness. But it is possible to skate on ice colder than that, and scientific measurements have shown that neither the pressure of the skates on the ice (in 1 gee) nor the friction of the blades moving across the ice, are sufficient to cause a melting at colder temperatures.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Sean Roach on November 27, 2008, 09:17:45 am
One problem.  I wrote Gamma when I meant Cosmic.  I meant without as much solar wind, you'd have more radiation streaming in from space.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: wdg3rd on November 27, 2008, 10:25:32 am
Back when I was skating (over 30 years ago, in New Hampshire, wearing my uncle's slightly too small for my feet hockey set), things were smooth down to about +10F.  Below that, the ice got a bit too hard.  If Neil or Rylla show up around here, they've got all the technical details about skating.  (I doubt it will be Ryllie's career, but it's her long time avocation).
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on November 27, 2008, 05:09:40 pm
Back when I was skating (over 30 years ago, in New Hampshire, wearing my uncle's slightly too small for my feet hockey set), things were smooth down to about +10F. Below that, the ice got a bit too hard.
Yeah, that's why I say that the skate blades are heated. Otherwise, I think they would actually freeze to the super-cold ice.

If Neil or Rylla show up around here, they've got all the technical details about skating.  (I doubt it will be Ryllie's career, but it's her long time avocation).
I've actually read Neil's pre-publication version of Ceres. When I gave him notes, I pointed out that Ceres' surface gravity is .028 G. In his story he set it at .1+ G. Why? He told me that he thought he needed more gravity for his young, female skater (hmm, who could that be?) to actually skate. I'm just taking the position that one can skate at a fraction of that gravity. Maybe not, but prove me wrong. Incidentally, Neil's Ceres and my Ceres are quite different places (except for the guns, of course).  :D
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on November 28, 2008, 02:49:41 pm
My understanding is that Rylla does intend to pursue skating as a career, doing ice shows. She does have a real knack for performing on the blades, a sense of theatre as well as skating skill. I wish her the best -- she's chosen a career that can even be more daunting than cartooning.

Also, her partner Jen Zach has been doing quite a bit of work designing and putting together skating costumes. It's a bit of a seasonal business right now, but I'm glad to see she's keeping busy.

And about Neil's Ceres -- it might be showing up sooner than people think. Details to be announced as deals are finalized.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: wdg3rd on November 28, 2008, 06:38:12 pm
My understanding is that Rylla does intend to pursue skating as a career, doing ice shows. She does have a real knack for performing on the blades, a sense of theatre as well as skating skill. I wish her the best -- she's chosen a career that can even be more daunting than cartooning.

Also, her partner Jen Zach has been doing quite a bit of work designing and putting together skating costumes. It's a bit of a seasonal business right now, but I'm glad to see she's keeping busy.

And about Neil's Ceres -- it might be showing up sooner than people think. Details to be announced as deals are finalized.


I hope Ryllie does well.  Skating can be even less profitable than reading poetry in bars, unless you're willing to put on a Dizney-character suit and work mostly blind.

And Ceres showing up sooner than I think?  I wanted it several years ago, but those dimplicks just across the Hudson from me still hate Neil and generally vote socialist.  (So do most of the idiots on this side, obvioiusly).

I hope Jen is a little more restrained in designing Ryllie's costumes than she was in decorating the Morty Mouse Zeppelin and the Emperor's plane.  Her beauty doesn't need much enhancement.  And it's a good thing she got most of her looks from Cathy, not Neil (her character was obviously a team effort by three individualists and Ryllie got the deciding vote).
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on November 30, 2008, 11:20:01 pm
Heh.

Actually Jen is designing more costumes than Rylla's. She's gotten to be quite in-demand for the Fort Collins area skating set. And yes, her designs are generally more subtle and sublime than the Emperor's plane. She has a good sense of what works where.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 22, 2010, 11:54:18 pm
--
Furniture in low gravity

With the recent (22 September) look into Wally's bedroom, we have the exposure of a damning lack of reasoned consideration on the part of the artist.  

The low gravity on Ceres dictates how furniture must function.  For example, while seating must bear up under the muscular strength of human beings each flinging around an average 70 Kg adult mass, bookshelves and other items seen in Wally's room would be designed much differently than they are for use in a one-gravity field.

In the low gravity of Ceres, that bookshelf as pictured wouldn't do the job.  With a full gravity to hold them down, books can be counted upon to sit where they're put.  Without that weight, keeping them in place without something like bungee cords would be impossible.  Similarly, the chest of drawers pictured doesn't make a lot of sense, and a coatrack is just plain nuts.  The jackets shown thereupon in these scenes don't have enough weight to keep them reliably on their pegs. They'd be brushed off too easily every time Wally moves past.

Remember that furniture used by Ceres residents would not be stuff brought up from the bottom of Terra's gravity well.  It would all have to be made up there. Who but an idiot would create one-gravity furniture when it's neither necessary nor particularly useful?

Instead of a flat-topped chest of drawers, something like the cover of an old-fashioned rolltop desk (to enclose a surface not in immediate use) would serve to keep small items from being jolted off, the cover probably made transparent to facilitate the at-a-glance location of contents.  The drawers themselves would be more efficiently fabricated from much thinner rigid materials to contain clothing and other items which people want to keep enclosed away from dust and out of sight.

Bulkhead-mounted spring clips would grasp the collars of jackets or tags inside people's hats, replacing the rack pictured.  And bookcases would not only be bungee-corded but would almost certainly be made of light openwork metal economical in terms of mass.

Whatever the living quarters and working spaces might be in Ceres, they will be different from those seen on Terra.  I admonish the creators of this series to bear that in mind.  Wally's bedroom ought not be depicted according to some parent's ideal of what they'd wish their own kids' rooms to look like.
--
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 23, 2010, 09:24:50 am
--
Furniture in low gravity

With the recent (22 September) look into Wally's bedroom, we have the exposure of a damning lack of reasoned consideration on the part of the artist.  

The low gravity on Ceres dictates how furniture must function.  For example, while seating must bear up under the muscular strength of human beings each flinging around an average 70 Kg adult mass, bookshelves and other items seen in Wally's room would be designed much differently than they are for use in a one-gravity field.

In the low gravity of Ceres, that bookshelf as pictured wouldn't do the job.  With a full gravity to hold them down, books can be counted upon to sit where they're put.  Without that weight, keeping them in place without something like bungee cords would be impossible.

Down is down; even if it is only .028 g. The books have exactly the same mass on Ceres as they do on Earth. They are not going to float away. (See, Newton's First Law of Motion.)

Whatever the living quarters and working spaces might be in Ceres, they will be different from those seen on Terra.  I admonish the creators of this series to bear that in mind.

And I admonish you to remember that the story is the story, not nit-picky details about decor. I am perfectly happy with the artist's choice of furniture in this strip and am confident that it would serve well in .028 g, without resorting to bungee cords.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 23, 2010, 09:54:51 am

Down is down; even if it is only .028 g. The books have exactly the same mass on Ceres as they do on Earth. They are not going to float away. (See, Newton's First Law of Motion.)

There would be some differences. For example, gravity would provide about 1/30 the surface friction that slows down moving objects that slide across floors or tables etc.

Those differences might easily allow new furniture designs. I definitely don't fault you for not letting that distract you from the story. If you put a lot of thought into new designs and came up with something people didn't recognize, that they could spend time thinking about to imagine how it would work, that might be fun. I won't at all mind if you do it sometime. I don't mind if you slow down the story for things like that sometimes. But if you want to give us familiar background while you push the story, that's just completely fine.

In low gravity people wouldn't walk the way they appear to. Friction again. They certainly couldn't run like we do. I can imagine floors and sidewalks with lots of little indentations to provide toeholds. You lean over until you're practically crawling, until your head is maybe 6 inches from the ground, and you push with your toes, almost like swimming, and a tiny upward component is enough to keep you from falling down. When you're ready to stop accelerating you occasionally push the ground with your hand.

But if you showed people doing that it would look weird. It would particularly look weird to people who looked at it for the first time, who weren't sure whether to keep reading. The story doesn't need it.

Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 01:36:30 pm
Down is down; even if it is only .028 g. The books have exactly the same mass on Ceres as they do on Earth. They are not going to float away. (See, Newton's First Law of Motion.)

A minute vibration or jolt would send the books flying in all directions.

Have an orthodox bookshelf with a bungy strap holding the books in, or spring loaded book ends.  Screw the chest of drawers down.  Tools, such as pens and spanners, need clip holders.

In one thirtieth gravity, people just do not need chairs, and chairs would not do much good unless bolted down and equipped with safety belts.

Since everything has to be strapped down or clicked into place, and the ceiling is easily accessible,  put storage furniture on the ceiling, and when people access stuff on the ceiling, they look like they are floating.

In one thirtieth gravity, up and down would mostly be perfectly clear, but there would occasional violations of it - some stuff would be bolted to the ceiling or walls, when we would expect it to be bolted to the floor.  People would most keep their axis upright, but would sometimes travel horizontal, like superman, or upside down, to get their heads and hands close to something on the floor.  Sometimes they would hang from, or briefly float near, the ceiling.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 24, 2010, 04:56:16 am
--
In the responsory post by SandySandfort we read an admonition that:

"...that the story is the story, not nit-picky details about decor. I am perfectly happy with the artist's choice of furniture in this strip and am confident that it would serve well in .028 g, without resorting to bungee cords.

The point of the comment to which this response is uttered wasn't about "decor" but rather engineering.

From the moment on which the characters of Guy and Fiorella enter Ceres (page 11) the creators of this comic begin to emphasize that the prevailing very low gravity field of the asteroid makes a great difference in how people must ambulate (note the "Ceres walk" of which much is made through page 17), and there are features of design - "decor" if you wish - such as padded ceilings and vertical stanchions (page 12) to mitigate head injury and enable inadvertent high-fliers to bring themselves down to the deck again.

These pains are obviously taken to emphasize the fact that life in very, very low gravity has to be different from what prevails in a more "respectable" field of spacetime distortion, like on the Earth, on Mars, and on the Earth's moon.

Another factor impacting upon furniture engineering would have to be implied from the character of the younger Babbette Guzman, to whom we are introduced on page 14, as "an agent for the Ceres spaceport" despite the fact that she is a mere "pre-majority woman."

We learn later that she is 50 days short of being six-and-a-half Martian years old, which would make her about 12 Terran years of age, and she appears physically to be prepubescent.

Despite this we are informed (page 19) that the younger Babbette is "a certified and insured conveyor."

As the creators of this comic obviously intended, this presentation of the capable Babbette the Younger is designed to scream "labor shortage."

In today's mutilated American society, we tend to treat the subject of child labor with an invidiously inculcated emotional sense of revulsion, as if people in the first and second decades of life freed from incarceration in rigidly structured classroom schooling to take up "promotion and pay" in economically valuable ways represent a perversion akin to child molesting.  The attitude of the creators of this comic, however, is such that youngsters like Babbette participating in the productive praxis of her society must be taken as a healthy - indeed, necessary - phenomenon.

("Like I said, here in the belt we do what we can when we can do it.")

In spite of the asteroid population's relative wealth in raw materials and industrially useful energy, they are so "people poor" that even newcomers with only the most marginal marketable skills - like Guy and Fiorella - can get themselves a living on Ceres and in the civilization based thereupon. 

So why might an industrial civilization afflicted by a labor shortage show ingenuity not only in preventing scalp lacerations (with padded ceilings) but also engineering the most intimate living quarters - an adolescent's bedroom - in ways that cope with life in a very low gravity environment and a scarcity of labor?

Regarding the furniture in Wally's bedroom, think about the Ikea model, where such goods are sold to end consumers in compact unassembled kit form, with all parts (including one or two simple tools) required to put them together.  The reason for the Ikea practice is very much the same as we would see in the asteroid belt: it minimizes labor costs, including the labor associated with transporting, stocking, and even selling the kits versus lugging the assembled items around. 

Early in the '70s, industrial light-weight steel shelving became available on the consumer market, supposedly for use in people's basements and garages.  They were swiftly adopted by young adults in college and grad school, who recognized that these adaptable shelving units could be broken down and transported (or even carried, bulky but easily lifted) from one place to another.  Capable of holding hundreds of pounds of textbooks, these things represented a great advantage for students who must move house twice a year or more.

So why the hell is the bookcase in Larry's room not only not engineered to keep its contents from flying all to hellangone if it gets bumped, but also made to look like it was fabbed with a minimum of mass (belt industrial materials would be a lot lighter and stronger than mild steel) in a similar kit-form for the purchaser to assemble?

It is continually made clear that the people in the belt are not only free-spirited but adaptable.  They deliberately choose to live in an environment objectively far more hostile than what is commonly found on Earth or even Mars, and they set their ingenuity to exploiting the available resources while coping with the prevailing hazards.  This is in great part what makes reading Escape From Terra entertaining. 

With so much creative effort put into the scene setting we find in the first story arc, and sustained every step thereafter, it'd be lamentable to see the "strangeness" continuity lost in even small ways like the depiction of furniture in a teen-aged boy's bedroom.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 24, 2010, 08:54:57 am
We appreciate your opinions, but we cannot please everyone, so we please ourselves. We have found that this pleases most readers and keeps us in the top 100 web comics on a consistent basis. I have a suggestion of my own. Put down the thesaurus, keep your hands where we can see them and back away.

I've been contemplating teaching an online writing course. If I decide to do so, I will inform this Forum. In the meantime, I recommend reading Writing Plain English, by Rudolf Flesch. Some of you need help with your writing. I would say, "you know who you are," but unfortunately, you don't.   ;)

--
In the responsory post by SandySandfort we read an admonition that:

"...that the story is the story, not nit-picky details about decor. I am perfectly happy with the artist's choice of furniture in this strip and am confident that it would serve well in .028 g, without resorting to bungee cords.

The point of the comment to which this response is uttered wasn't about "decor" but rather engineering.

From the moment on which the characters of Guy and Fiorella enter Ceres (page 11) the creators of this comic begin to emphasize that the prevailing very low gravity field of the asteroid makes a great difference in how people must ambulate (note the "Ceres walk" of which much is made through page 17), and there are features of design - "decor" if you wish - such as padded ceilings and vertical stanchions (page 12) to mitigate head injury and enable inadvertent high-fliers to bring themselves down to the deck again.

These pains are obviously taken to emphasize the fact that life in very, very low gravity has to be different from what prevails in a more "respectable" field of spacetime distortion, like on the Earth, on Mars, and on the Earth's moon.

Another factor impacting upon furniture engineering would have to be implied from the character of the younger Babbette Guzman, to whom we are introduced on page 14, as "an agent for the Ceres spaceport" despite the fact that she is a mere "pre-majority woman."

We learn later that she is 50 days short of being six-and-a-half Martian years old, which would make her about 12 Terran years of age, and she appears physically to be prepubescent.

Despite this we are informed (page 19) that the younger Babbette is "a certified and insured conveyor."

As the creators of this comic obviously intended, this presentation of the capable Babbette the Younger is designed to scream "labor shortage."

In today's mutilated American society, we tend to treat the subject of child labor with an invidiously inculcated emotional sense of revulsion, as if people in the first and second decades of life freed from incarceration in rigidly structured classroom schooling to take up "promotion and pay" in economically valuable ways represent a perversion akin to child molesting.  The attitude of the creators of this comic, however, is such that youngsters like Babbette participating in the productive praxis of her society must be taken as a healthy - indeed, necessary - phenomenon.

("Like I said, here in the belt we do what we can when we can do it.")

In spite of the asteroid population's relative wealth in raw materials and industrially useful energy, they are so "people poor" that even newcomers with only the most marginal marketable skills - like Guy and Fiorella - can get themselves a living on Ceres and in the civilization based thereupon. 

So why might an industrial civilization afflicted by a labor shortage show ingenuity not only in preventing scalp lacerations (with padded ceilings) but also engineering the most intimate living quarters - an adolescent's bedroom - in ways that cope with life in a very low gravity environment and a scarcity of labor?

Regarding the furniture in Wally's bedroom, think about the Ikea model, where such goods are sold to end consumers in compact unassembled kit form, with all parts (including one or two simple tools) required to put them together.  The reason for the Ikea practice is very much the same as we would see in the asteroid belt: it minimizes labor costs, including the labor associated with transporting, stocking, and even selling the kits versus lugging the assembled items around. 

Early in the '70s, industrial light-weight steel shelving became available on the consumer market, supposedly for use in people's basements and garages.  They were swiftly adopted by young adults in college and grad school, who recognized that these adaptable shelving units could be broken down and transported (or even carried, bulky but easily lifted) from one place to another.  Capable of holding hundreds of pounds of textbooks, these things represented a great advantage for students who must move house twice a year or more.

So why the hell is the bookcase in Larry's room not only not engineered to keep its contents from flying all to hellangone if it gets bumped, but also made to look like it was fabbed with a minimum of mass (belt industrial materials would be a lot lighter and stronger than mild steel) in a similar kit-form for the purchaser to assemble?

It is continually made clear that the people in the belt are not only free-spirited but adaptable.  They deliberately choose to live in an environment objectively far more hostile than what is commonly found on Earth or even Mars, and they set their ingenuity to exploiting the available resources while coping with the prevailing hazards.  This is in great part what makes reading Escape From Terra entertaining. 

With so much creative effort put into the scene setting we find in the first story arc, and sustained every step thereafter, it'd be lamentable to see the "strangeness" continuity lost in even small ways like the depiction of furniture in a teen-aged boy's bedroom.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 24, 2010, 11:26:48 am
Writes SandySandfort:

"I've been contemplating teaching an online writing course. If I decide to do so, I will inform this Forum. In the meantime, I recommend reading Writing Plain English, by Rudolf Flesch. Some of you need help with your writing. I would say, you know who you are,but unfortunately, you don't."

Thanks, but I've read it.  Along with a bookshelf filled - it's contents held in place by a full Terran gravity - of similar books on all sorts of writing and editing, from Strunk & White (The Elements of Style) through guidelines designed to structure submissions for scientific periodicals and textbooks, ensure compliance with professional standards and the damnable regulatory requirements of punishment-minded government agencies, et-interminable-cetera.

Commercial speech in North America, Europe, and the Anzac nations is anything but free speech.  Writing in that area is like negotiating a mine field, and I've been getting a living at it for a lot longer than I care to think about.

As for "put[ting] down the thesaurus," be advised that I haven't picked up one in - what is it? - forty years or thereabouts. Hell, I don''t have one in my reference-book-filled office.  Had to dig through the boxes in the basement to find one for my granddaughter last year.

What is it that intimidates you, Sandy, about a disputant who has a vocabulary?

Obviously, it seems to distract you from reasoned response to a reasoned position lucidly expressed.  It turns you from the matter at hand to an evasion based on your comic being "in the top 100 web comics on a consistent basis" (logical fallacy of ad populum) and a determination to substitute insult for staying on-topic (logical fallacy of ad hominem). 

I took the time and trouble to post on this matter because I thought it might help maintain the admirable levels of quality in this "in the top 100 web comics" publication.

Who knows? It might yet.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: macsnafu on September 24, 2010, 12:12:20 pm
Sorry, but I think they're right about the furniture, although I would tend to agree that it's a bit nitpicky, since it doesn't really impinge on the story.   At the very least, it should look a little bit futuristic--good design isn't always obvious from appearances.   About the only thing that even seemed different in the room was the computer itself, and the shelf/table that it was on.  If someone decided to be deliberately retro (since we are dealing with a very individualistic society, and I suppose some would), I imagine it would actually look a little weird and out of place in certain ways. 

 Even worse than the room itself was the very ordinary-looking toilet in the bathroom.  Surely, they're not flushing with water--the gravity question aside, there's the simple but very large question of the disposal of waste materials. 

Again, I admit this is rather nitpicky, but maybe these things will come up in future stories.  Besides, once you start thinking about these little things, it's kind of hard to stop thinking about them.    :P
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 24, 2010, 04:57:03 pm
What is it that intimidates you, Sandy, about a disputant who has a vocabulary?

Nothing. I am, however, annoyed by poor writing skills due, in large part, to the use of inflated and excess verbiage. That is why I suggested reading How to Write Plain English. You need a refresher. It is clear you have told the truth, you haven't picked a thesaurus in forty years. I hereby reverse my previous suggestion.

I still maintain that a one kilo book isn't going to fly away on Ceres, just because someone brushes past it. YMMV.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 24, 2010, 05:50:54 pm

I still maintain that a one kilo book isn't going to fly away on Ceres, just because someone brushes past it. YMMV.

My mileage varies a little. I have two books beside me, both with plastic slipcovers, the top one about 1/2 kg. I hit the top one a little bit and it moves a few centimeters, about an inch. It moves fast at first and suddenly stops. The bottom one is on carpet. I hit it a little and they both go a few millimeters and stop quick.

If there was 1/33 the friction, how much farther would the top one go? Perhaps 33 times as far? Maybe a meter?

However, after a little more thought I noticed that all it takes to keep books firmly on a bookshelf is a book-end that clamps in place. Put just a little bit of pressure on them and they get plenty of friction, entirely apart from gravity. So I have no objection to a bookshelf that looks like a bookshelf. I haven't thought of a better design yet, though I haven't put any time into it.

Another thing, since Newton's gravitational equations tend to use g as a constant linear term, doesn't that mean in 1/33 gravity it would take 33 times as long to pour a cup of coffee? If it takes 2 seconds on earth then it would take a minute there? We might have good reason to put pumps on coffee pots. Push the handle to make the piston squeeze out the coffee.

Again, it's interesting to think about such things but the story and the story's deadline come first.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Scott on September 24, 2010, 05:52:37 pm
Regarding Wally's bookshelf:

A properly-designed book-case not only holds the books in place but allows easy removal and replacement of the books. Bungee cords or similar restraining devices would not serve well. But note that the case is enclosed on three sides, limiting the books' freedom of movement. Also, what is not seen is that there is a small lip on the shelves to limit skidding, and that the shelves themselves are made of a shock-absorbent material that minimizes the problem of random impact-energy being imparted to the books. At first glance it LOOKS like an ordinary Terran book-case, but in reality it is designed for use in low-gravity environs.

Likewise, the toilet:
We only see the toilet with the lid down. With the lid up, there is gadgetry which uses a combination of air-flow and water to flush waste material away. (Note that there is no shortage of water on Ceres -- a Lunar toilet would have a different arrangement.) The seat surface also has a mild adhesive which forms a soft gasket-seal with the user's skin, preventing unwanted leakage.

So why do the toilet and book-case look so ordinary? Two reasons. 1) In-story: Colonists are made more comfortable in their strange environs if they can experience some familiarity. I don't know about you but I'd feel more comfortable sitting on a toilet that looks like a toilet, and not the robot from Lost In Space. Have you SEEN the ISS toilet? It scares the hell out of me. 2) Meta: I want readers to be able to instantly recognize the setting -- the gag in today's strip works because we can see at a glance that Wally is diving into a bathroom. We don't have to scratch our heads wondering what that weird gadget-thing is in the corner.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 24, 2010, 06:53:14 pm
--
In response to my query about what aspect of a disputant's vocabulary intimidates SandySandfort, the respondent writes:

"Nothing. I am, however, annoyed by poor writing skills due, in large part, to the use of inflated and excess verbiage. That is why I suggested reading How to Write Plain English. You need a refresher. It is clear you have told the truth, you haven't picked a thesaurus in forty years. I hereby reverse my previous suggestion."

Hm. Advocates of lowest common denominator "dumb it down" writing like Mr. Flesch have always struck me as the kinds of Boetians who degrade both the language and the thought processes which rely upon that language for handling abstract concepts.

Reducing the palette of expression to suit some vanilla-fixated writing teacher is too much like constraining a chemist to work only from the first two groups of elements in the periodic table.  I see no sense in it.  

As for the kinds of people who distract themselves from matters under discussion to advocate "dumbed down" writing as Mr. Flesch dictates....  Feh.

When I write to a client's demand - for pay - I write to suit his purposes, and do so quite happily.  While I can recommend elements or style to attain his objectives, he's got the "drop dead" responsibility, and therefore he's got to have the authority.  No problem.

Last time I looked, I wasn't writing for payment here, but to put my case forward in language sufficiently explicit to make my perceptions and conclusions appreciable to the likely reader. In this I have obviously not failed.  Note that the extent of response pertinent to the issue at hand - the engineering of furniture designed for living in very, very low gravity - gets nothing more than:

"I still maintain that a one kilo book isn't going to fly away on Ceres, just because someone brushes past it. YMMV."

Yeah.  A one-kilogram mass which is held to a smooth surface by all of about 1/36th of a terrestrial gravity, meaning an actual force of 0.06 pounds (a bit less than 830 dynes - 0.0083 kilograms per meter squared).  Dunno about anybody reading this, but I passed the physics requirement for my undergraduate degree in my junior year.  Haven't been called upon to use what I learned in the lab section of that course since that time, but I can still tell that 830 dynes isn't a whole lot of hold-down power.

Fly, no.  Get knocked off the shelf?  You betcha.

And a claim that "At first glance it LOOKS like an ordinary Terran book-case, but in reality it is designed for use in low-gravity environs" is altogether delightful.  Sure the Emperor's got himself a magnificent set of new clothes. Stylish cut, tasteful understatement in the drapery, and you've got to admit that it doesn't bind or chafe....

I join, however, in the opinion that having a commode that looks like a Terran toilet is perfectly appropriate.  It doesn't have to employ a water flush, and bear in mind that all seating elements have to put up with human mass (average about 70 Kg in adults) being flung upon them.  In a 1/36th gravity field, there is not enough "collecting force" to ensure that liquid and solid excreta will be caught without hellacious spatter in the sorts of squatter's urinals seen in Europe and Japan, or in using the classic vespasiani (stand-up urinals for men). 

For males, the only piddlin' alternative to a commode would be a relief tube.  Anybody else got any experience with that sort of expedient?  Or a so-called "Texas catheter"?  Yeesh.

That I have not been able to persuade SandySandfort of the argument I've articulated about furniture engineering is not at all because I have failed to couch that argument in the "dumbed-down" damn' near Basic English writing style advocated by Mr. Flesch but rather because SandySandfort doesn't want to read or hear anything along this line of what I had hoped would be helpful input.

So it's not how I have written but rather the content of the information conveyed in that writing that really evokes the ire of SandySandfort.  Got it.  

Heck, I've had plenty of clients who've refused to go with my recommendations over the years.  That's why I make sure I've got a good, strong "hold harmless" clause in the boilerplate of the contracts I sign.  

Like I said, their responsibility.  Not mine.
--
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: jamesd on September 24, 2010, 08:52:19 pm
A properly-designed book-case not only holds the books in place but allows easy removal and replacement of the books. Bungee cords or similar restraining devices would not serve well. But note that the case is enclosed on three sides, limiting the books' freedom of movement. Also, what is not seen is that there is a small lip on the shelves to limit skidding, and that the shelves themselves are made of a shock-absorbent material that minimizes the problem of random impact-energy being imparted to the books. At first glance it LOOKS like an ordinary Terran book-case, but in reality it is designed for use in low-gravity environs.

Likewise, the toilet:
We only see the toilet with the lid down. With the lid up, there is gadgetry which uses a combination of air-flow and water to flush waste material away. (Note that there is no shortage of water on Ceres -- a Lunar toilet would have a different arrangement.) The seat surface also has a mild adhesive which forms a soft gasket-seal with the user's skin, preventing unwanted leakage.

OK, but If he is in one hell of a hurry to get to that toilet, his body axis is going to be a lot less vertical and more horizontal than would be possible or safe in full earth gravity.

At full speed, say around five meters per second, gravity will only matter much over times greater than ten seconds, and distances greater than fifty meters.  Of course, in however great a hurry, one probably would not go that fast inside a house, but one would move fast enough that one would move as if in zero gravity.   

Ceres will look pretty much like a one gravity environment when people are standing around talking, and like a low gravity environment when they are doing something moderately active.  When doing something very active inside a small area, such as a apartment, will look like a zero gravity environment.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 26, 2010, 05:56:57 am
Quote
OK, but If he is in one hell of a hurry to get to that toilet, his body axis is going to be a lot less vertical and more horizontal than would be possible or safe in full earth gravity.

At full speed, say around five meters per second, gravity will only matter much over times greater than ten seconds, and distances greater than fifty meters.  Of course, in however great a hurry, one probably would not go that fast inside a house, but one would move fast enough that one would move as if in zero gravity.

Given that Ceres' negligible gravity wouldn't give much in the way of traction, it could be reliably expected that belters would be in the habit of grabbing any fixed object available to facilitate velocity changes. 

With the understanding that inadvertent loss of contact with the seat of a commode while voiding one's bladder or straining at stool would be very messy, I would think that the wall-mounted grab bars common in restrooms fitted to accommodate the handicapped here on Earth would be even more prevalent on Ceres, though for an entirely different purpose.

Vertical grab bars would be mounted on the bulkheads at the inside corners of turns and in doorways, with horizontal bars running down the lengths corridors, all to facilitate rapid movement and braking. 

And take note (pages 11 and 12) of the vertical stanchions spaced at intervals in the middle of the large chamber where Guy and Fiorella first set foot upon Ceres, which are obviously placed for no purpose other than for people not yet skilled in "the Ceres walk" to get down from the padded ceiling after having inadvertently whacked their rostral knobs against that thoughtfully padded surface.

The NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) employs water's floatation effect to simulate microgravity, but it is easy enough for someone not privileged to suit up and breathe nitrox at taxpayers' expense in Houston to think of circumstances on Ceres as similar to movement in very, very low gravity as if one's body were immersed in a swimming pool, but without water's resistance (drag) to be either overcome or exploited. 

It is a helluva lot easier to change direction if there is a surface or other fixed object which one can exploit to push off from, or grasp and pull upon.  Even though H. sapiens took up bipedal ambulation millions of years ago (pretty much giving up the grasping function of an opposable hallux), we still retain a perfectly useful brachiatory ability, especially viable in microgravity.

Or when us naked apes find ourselves immersed in water, which is why rescue training stresses throwing a rope to a swimmer in distress before (or rather than) jumping in a la Baywatch and swimming bravely out to get strangled and drowned by the flailing victim.

The creators of this Web comic have shown real insight into the engineering exigencies (and opportunities) to be encountered by a civilization that has to cope with both microgravity and the very low gravity fields of planetesimals like Ceres.  This is one of the reasons why I myself like Escape From Terra so damned much.

Well, let's face it. Another key reason is that Fiorella and other characters on the distaff side have proven to be very easy on the eyes. 

I'm old, but I'm not dead yet. 
--
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 26, 2010, 10:24:54 am
LOW-GRAVITY WORK-AROUNDS

GECKO TECH--As I sit here in my volcanic cloud forest, I can see geckos running along my walls and ceiling in defiance of gravity. There is no reason to assume future nanobot technology has not been adapted to give shoes (or even bare feet) gecko-like traction in micro and zero g

SLICE IN TIME--Serial art/graphic stories/comics have their own conventions, which are every bit as formal as kabuki theater. While it is possible to imply motion with force lines and multiple exposures of limbs and such, each panel is still pretty much limited to a moment in time. Your brain supplies what happens between panels. Yes, while moving, people would tend toward the horizontal--even with gecko shoes. However, they would start and end vertically. Feel free to allow your imagination to  pose our characters any way that suits your concept of physics and aesthetics, between the frames.

DISTRACTION--As I said before, 'the story is the story.' Rather than have readers wonder why a guy in a hurry to toilet appears to be floating along horizontal, all we want him to think is, 'gee, the guy is in a hurry.'

OTHER NANOTECH APPLICATIONS--One poster assumed that the 'ordinary looking toilet' used water. First, have a look at the toilets on the space shuttle, ISS and Mir. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Toilets pretty much have to be seats with holes in them, in any gravity regime. Second, please visualize a bevy of nanobots in the  toilet and let your imagination do the rest. With regard to bookshelves, coat racks and such. let your imagination suggest how nanotech could augment the objects' mass and Ceres gravity.

Irrespective of what readers perceive as scientific errors, I hope you like the content of the stories and the cast of characters. I have already asked the artists to be more futuristic (whatever the hell that means). If time permits, I will offer them a short refresher tutorial on gravity issues. We are listening.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 26, 2010, 11:33:48 am
LOW-GRAVITY WORK-AROUNDS

GECKO TECH--As I sit here in my volcanic cloud forest, I can see geckos running along my walls and ceiling in defiance of gravity. There is no reason to assume future nanobot technology has not been adapted to give shoes (or even bare feet) gecko-like traction in micro and zero g

That won't give you vertical walking, though. Unless people don't mind the terrible disadvantages. Shinsplints? Bad angular momentum.

Quote
SLICE IN TIME--Serial art/graphic stories/comics have their own conventions, which are every bit as formal as kabuki theater. While it is possible to imply motion with force lines and multiple exposures of limbs and such, each panel is still pretty much limited to a moment in time. Your brain supplies what happens between panels. Yes, while moving, people would tend toward the horizontal--even with gecko shoes. However, they would start and end vertically.

I don't see why they would start and end vertically. Waiting in a one-arm pushup pose would be no more exertion than leaning with your arm against a wall here. Standing up might give you a distance view, though. Assuming people cared enough about that to make high corridors where most of the space was mostly unused.

Quote
DISTRACTION--As I said before, 'the story is the story.' Rather than have readers wonder why a guy in a hurry to toilet appears to be floating along horizontal, all we want him to think is, 'gee, the guy is in a hurry.'

This is the important point. We can have fun thinking about how to actually do things in very low gravity. There is no good reason to make your story less readable to fit those ideas. You want to take pride in making your story realistic. That's fine when it doesn't get too much in the way.

Quote
OTHER NANOTECH APPLICATIONS--One poster assumed that the 'ordinary looking toilet' used water. First, have a look at the toilets on the space shuttle, ISS and Mir. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Toilets pretty much have to be seats with holes in them, in any gravity regime.

It might be quite practical to make a toilet be a tube about maybe 3 inches diameter or so, with a conformable ring on the end. It would have low pressure to remove anything that went into it. It could have a water spray to clean things pressed against it. When you're done you'd hold the tube a little distance away, and it would squirt more water inside itself to help clean it, with even lower pressure, and the air moving past your bottom would help dry you. In places where strangers might use the same toilet you'd want a disposable layer where it touches people, or some excellent way to disinfect it, particularly considering women's perineums. Places where people live in close quarters you might as well figure that everybody will get exposed to everybody else's germs anyway.

But in a graphic novel, it really helps readers when toilets look like toilets. If you ever have somebody walk in on somebody who's using the toilet and it kind of looks like she's standing up using a vibrator, readers will be confused.

Quote
Second, please visualize a bevy of nanobots in the toilet and let your imagination do the rest.

Ick. Nanobots are the magic fairy dust of hard science fiction. We can assume they will do everything except the work that results in a labor shortage.

Quote
With regard to bookshelves, coat racks and such. let your imagination suggest how nanotech could augment the objects' mass and Ceres gravity.

Easy. You have one layer of nanobots stuck to the bookshelf, and another layer stuck to each book. When you push the spot on the book that's covered with yellow nanobots they all let go. Magic fairy dust solves all problems.

Quote
Irrespective of what readers perceive as scientific errors, I hope you like the content of the stories and the cast of characters.

Yes! Very much so.

Quote
I have already asked the artists to be more futuristic (whatever the hell that means). If time permits, I will offer them a short refresher tutorial on gravity issues. We are listening.

It's a pleasant diversion.Don't let it get too much in the way.

Donald Kingsbury wrote _Courtship Rite_, a story about people living in an alien ecology where the only food that wasn't poisonous was the Eight Sacred Plants, honeybees, and human beings. He did a great job with the ritual cannibalism etc. Lots of people got grossed out and didn't finish the story. There were little jarring notes all the way through, even when you'd think you'd gotten used to it. Like, late in the story, a general puts his maps into a babyskin tube....

This is probably not the effect you want.

Find ways to let low gravity further the story, and ignore the opportunities to let it impede the story.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: jamesd on September 26, 2010, 05:14:32 pm
With the understanding that inadvertent loss of contact with the seat of a commode while voiding one's bladder or straining at stool would be very messy, I would think that the wall-mounted grab bars common in restrooms fitted to accommodate the handicapped here on Earth would be even more prevalent on Ceres, though for an entirely different purpose.

Suppose a one hundred kilogram person abruptly ejects one kilogram  at two meters per second, his vertical velocity would only be two centimeters a second, which would only bounce him off the toilet for one third of a second, which would not be noticeable. 

Even Ceres gravity does not allow rocket propulsion by excretion.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: jamesd on September 26, 2010, 05:46:08 pm
DISTRACTION--As I said before, 'the story is the story.' Rather than have readers wonder why a guy in a hurry to toilet appears to be floating along horizontal, all we want him to think is, 'gee, the guy is in a hurry.'

This is entertainment.  I want distraction.  Show us that we are not in Kansas any more.

Superman comics regularly show superman posed in ways that would be inappropriate for a mortal. This society is cool and interesting because different from our own.  It is different because anarchic - but it is also different because it is in space.

The reader might well be confused by seeing a character acting as if in milligravity when everything else in the environment looks one gravity.  Less confused if multiple objects and people are showing milligravity movement. 

Satisfying picky readers without confusing casual readers is a hard problem - but showing that the environment is strange is not so hard a problem. 

Live action movies regularly use human actors with a silly decoration on their face to signify aliens, rather than full cgi aliens.  Makeup signifying that a live actor represents an alien species is silly, but it is at least a nod toward the purists.

Written dialog necessarily differs substantially from actual spoken dialog, and cartoon space is necessarily going to differ substantially from actual space, but we do need at least a nod that this is not taking place in Kansas.  The depiction does not need to be scientifically sound, but what is depicted needs to be something that could not  possibly take place in twenty first century Kansas. 

The fans will always gripe about scientific impurity, but at least show us that we are not in Kansas.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: wdg3rd on September 26, 2010, 09:09:44 pm

Donald Kingsbury wrote _Courtship Rite_, a story about people living in an alien ecology where the only food that wasn't poisonous was the Eight Sacred Plants, honeybees, and human beings. He did a great job with the ritual cannibalism etc. Lots of people got grossed out and didn't finish the story. There were little jarring notes all the way through, even when you'd think you'd gotten used to it. Like, late in the story, a general puts his maps into a babyskin tube....


An excellent novel.  Probably time for me to reread it, it's been a few years.  A bit of an inspiration to those in the polyamorous side of life.

Time to also reread The Moon Goddess and the Son, another fine piece by Kingsbury.  The novella was excellent, the expansion into a novel was great.  Another good novelette of his is "To Bring in the Steel", which happens to be about moving and mining asteroids.

Then we get to the hard one.  Psychohistorical Crisis.  It beat El Neil's The American Zone (which I voted for) for the 2002 Prometheus Award.  On the other hand, it's a better sequel to Asimov's Foundation series than anything ever written by Asimov or the "trilogy" by Bear, Benford and Brin (which also averaged much better than Asimov).  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.  It helps also to have recently read/reread Asimov's original "trilogy".  Not necessary to the story, but it's great to find the in-jokes.  (Also helps to have read his sundry robot stories and novels).

Among other things, the years of the Trantorian Empire are not baselined from AD on Earth.  The baseline starts tens of thousands of years later, after mankind had spread in all directions, mostly at sublight speeds, which would encourage lots of variation between widely separated communities without cross-breeding.  That's how evolution normally works.

The "Crisis" is simple (and this is not a spoiler).  For something like Psychohistory to work, there can only be one group with the secret to using/manipulating it.  This was also touched on in Michal Flynn's novel In the Country of the Blind, which won its own Prometheus eleven years earlier.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 26, 2010, 10:00:15 pm
That [gecko shoes] won't give you vertical walking, though. Unless people don't mind the terrible disadvantages. Shinsplints? Bad angular momentum.

Actually, I think it might. It might look a bit funny, but as long as you have muscular ankles, you could stay vertical.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 12:08:36 am
Suppose a one hundred kilogram person abruptly ejects one kilogram  at two meters per second, his vertical velocity would only be two centimeters a second, which would only bounce him off the toilet for one third of a second, which would not be noticeable. 

Even Ceres gravity does not allow rocket propulsion by excretion.

Physiology is not quite physics.

In defecating (particularly with formed stool in the rectal ampulla), increased thoracoabdominal pressure is entirely responsible for the expression of waste. In comparison with the urinary bladder, the large bowel is almost bereft of intrinsic muscle that might serve effectively in expelling solid stool. 

The Valsalva maneuver is a sequence of voluntary actions in which the individual inhales, closes the glottis, and by exhaling forcefully against the closed glottis, increases pressure within the thorax and abdomen.  Among other things, this serves to assist with the evacuation of both the urinary bladder and the rectosigmoid colon, the latter further facilitated by the individual assuming the seated position which the usual commode is specifically designed to facilitate, the torso flexed (leaning forward) so that within the distal large bowel, the sigmoid segment to some considerable extent "folds" over the top of the rectal ampulla to make of it a  chamber open only at the anus.

Think "toothpaste tube."

The value of this seated position is not to be underestimated.  Anyone who has ever had to employ a bedpan for defection can tell much about how damnably difficult it is to move formed stool while supine. 

If he or she can overcome the embarrassment.  There are reasons why nurses and physicians do not laugh when the expression "digital disimpaction" comes up in clinical discussions. 

"Body cavity search," sure.  "Digital rectal examination"?  Big funny.  But a bed-bound patient with a left hemicolon stacked full of hard stool represents a genuine hazard and real pain for the patient - in neither aspect trivial - as well as an exacting and thoroughly unpleasant intervention for the caregiver.  No friggin' joke.

Got all this clearly pictured?  Preadolescent sniggering set firmly aside, let us proceed to consider what else happens in the human body while taking care of the necessary function of ridding the digestive system of waste, particularly in what are called the "core" muscles of the abdomen and lower extremities, the muscles responsible for upright posture and bipedal ambulation in a one-gravity field. 

In bowel movements, these muscles are being exerted as well, and bear in mind that on Ceres the insufficiently cautious exertion of the foot's plantar flexor muscles - just the muscles in the calves, the gastrocnemius and soleus - has been depicted correctly as sending the newcomer literally crashing against the ceiling. 

The "lift-off" potential while straining at stool ought to be apprehensible to anyone.

While I would counsel diets high in both soluble and insoluble fiber (as well as oral consumption of surfactants like dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate) for anyone considering a life in microgravity, no matter how soft and bulky the colonic contents are kept, it is necessary to engineer bathrooms to handle human physiological functions that must cope with formed bowel movements and constipation. 

Anybody who wants to get cute about that they think are the physics of defecation without taking into consideration the biomechanics involved in coping with this inescapable requirement of human life is invited to come along on hospital or nursing home rounds with any average geriatrician. 

Like I said, no friggin' joke.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 12:42:22 am
That [gecko shoes] won't give you vertical walking, though. Unless people don't mind the terrible disadvantages. Shinsplints? Bad angular momentum.

Actually, I think it might. It might look a bit funny, but as long as you have muscular ankles, you could stay vertical.

I'm going by my imagination, which is often defective. I imagine you'd need to strengthen the muscles in front of your lower legs. Awkward. But there could be a better way that I would find with experience but not with foresight.

So with disclaimers, if the way I'm thinking of it is correct, what value do you get by walking erect? In my imagination, it looks like it would be harder and less efficient than swimming erect which is also possible. Far easier to travel horizontally; the more horizontal you can manage the less of that bad lever arm you have to deal with. Something like an infantryman's crawl, with the knees out to the side, but faster.

Once you're at your traveling speed in a mostly straight line, your losses are mostly to air resistance and you have to keep pushing on the floor occasionally so you don't slide on it.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 27, 2010, 08:38:45 am
... what value do you get by walking erect?...

A million+ years of walking erect has created a physiological and psychological bias for being upright around other people. Even in zero g, people at rest usually align themselves to an arbitrary, but common "vertical." In zero g, head-first is used for rapid travel, but astronauts--with the use of their hands--do move around areas slowly with their bodies at right angles to the direction of travel. In micro-gravity it would probably be the same--especially with the use of gecko boots. So, "value" is not as relevant as practice. For whatever reason, humans prefer to be aligned with each other and in micro-g, that means vertical. So that is what I think would happen irrespective of whether we see "value" in it or not.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 27, 2010, 08:42:05 am

"It was a dark and stormy night..."  ::)

Physiology is not quite physics.

In defecating (particularly with formed stool in the rectal ampulla), increased thoracoabdominal pressure is entirely responsible for the expression of waste. In comparison with the urinary bladder, the large bowel is almost bereft of intrinsic muscle that might serve effectively in expelling solid stool. 

The Valsalva maneuver is a sequence of voluntary actions in which the individual inhales, closes the glottis, and by exhaling forcefully against the closed glottis, increases pressure within the thorax and abdomen.  Among other things, this serves to assist with the evacuation of both the urinary bladder and the rectosigmoid colon, the latter further facilitated by the individual assuming the seated position which the usual commode is specifically designed to facilitate, the torso flexed (leaning forward) so that within the distal large bowel, the sigmoid segment to some considerable extent "folds" over the top of the rectal ampulla to make of it a  chamber open only at the anus.

Think "toothpaste tube."

The value of this seated position is not to be underestimated.  Anyone who has ever had to employ a bedpan for defection can tell much about how damnably difficult it is to move formed stool while supine. 

If he or she can overcome the embarrassment.  There are reasons why nurses and physicians do not laugh when the expression "digital disimpaction" comes up in clinical discussions. 

"Body cavity search," sure.  "Digital rectal examination"?  Big funny.  But a bed-bound patient with a left hemicolon stacked full of hard stool represents a genuine hazard and real pain for the patient - in neither aspect trivial - as well as an exacting and thoroughly unpleasant intervention for the caregiver.  No friggin' joke.

Got all this clearly pictured?  Preadolescent sniggering set firmly aside, let us proceed to consider what else happens in the human body while taking care of the necessary function of ridding the digestive system of waste, particularly in what are called the "core" muscles of the abdomen and lower extremities, the muscles responsible for upright posture and bipedal ambulation in a one-gravity field. 

In bowel movements, these muscles are being exerted as well, and bear in mind that on Ceres the insufficiently cautious exertion of the foot's plantar flexor muscles - just the muscles in the calves, the gastrocnemius and soleus - has been depicted correctly as sending the newcomer literally crashing against the ceiling. 

The "lift-off" potential while straining at stool ought to be apprehensible to anyone.

While I would counsel diets high in both soluble and insoluble fiber (as well as oral consumption of surfactants like dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate) for anyone considering a life in microgravity, no matter how soft and bulky the colonic contents are kept, it is necessary to engineer bathrooms to handle human physiological functions that must cope with formed bowel movements and constipation. 

Anybody who wants to get cute about that they think are the physics of defecation without taking into consideration the biomechanics involved in coping with this inescapable requirement of human life is invited to come along on hospital or nursing home rounds with any average geriatrician. 

Like I said, no friggin' joke.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: macsnafu on September 27, 2010, 10:23:32 am
Razzafrazzin', grumble, mumble...no need to get upset by my comments.  As I said before, good design isn't always visually obvious. 
And I assumed water was used for flushing because there was an upright tank in the back, like a normal toilet. If water isn't being used, I can't see much purpose for the tank being there.  But I certainly can understand a desire on the artist's part for an immediately obvious visual cue.

Again, no need to be upset--just a nitpicky little detail. 
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Gillsing on September 27, 2010, 10:57:10 am
I don't know about you but I'd feel more comfortable sitting on a toilet that looks like a toilet, and not the robot from Lost In Space. Have you SEEN the ISS toilet? It scares the hell out of me.

Ooh, the horrors of 'going' in space. (http://spacetrawler.com/2010/09/21/spacetrawler-78/) ;D

I haven't seen the ISS toilet though. But under any circumstances I'd be much more concerned about the stuff that's coming out of me than the equipment that's been designed to keep that stuff from getting back to me.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 12:18:58 pm
And I assumed water was used for flushing because there was an upright tank in the back, like a normal toilet. If water isn't being used, I can't see much purpose for the tank being there.  But I certainly can understand a desire on the artist's part for an immediately obvious visual cue.
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I could come up with all sorts of reasons why that tank was mounted the way it was, including the necessity to house whatever mechanism might be required to ensure that wastes of whatever kinds are safely collected and conducted away for utilization.

Think back on Heinlein's work at making Luna a believable plenum in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966).  Early on, the protagonist attends a meeting in Luna City, recounting one part of it thus:
Quote
Several farmers bellyached and one wheat farmer was typical. "You heard what Fred Hauser said about ice. Fred, Authority isn't passing along that low price to farmers. I started almost as long ago as you did, with one two-kilometer tunnel leased from Authority. My oldest son and I sealed and pressured it and we had a pocket of ice and made our first crop simply on a bank loan to cover power and lighting fixtures, seed and chemicals.

"We kept extending tunnels and buying lights and planting better seed and now we get nine times as much per hectare as the best open-air farming down Earthside. What does that make us? Rich? Fred, we owe more now than we did the day we went private! If I sold out — if anybody was fool enough to buy — I'd be bankrupt. Why? Because I have to buy water from Authority — and have to sell my wheat to Authority — and never close gap. Twenty years ago I bought city sewage from the Authority, sterilized and processed it myself and made a profit on a crop. But today when I buy sewage, I'm charged distilled-water price and on top of that for the solids. Yet price of a tonne of wheat at catapult head is just what it was twenty years ago. Fred, you said you didn't know what to do. I can tell you! Get rid of Authority!"

All through history (and in many places in Asia today), farmers have not only handled disposal of human solid waste but have relied upon it as an important source of fertilizer. The ISS septic system treats such waste as a problem that builds up and requires "packaging" for removal.  Wouldn't a necessarily self-contained artificial ecology such as we'd see in the belt treat it instead as raw materials?  As Heinlein put it so many decades ago (by way of Wyoming Knott's reply to the audience in which that farmer presented himself):
Quote
"You! You're a wheat farmer — going broke. Do you know how much a Hindu housewife pays for a kilo of flour made from your wheat? How much a tonne of your wheat fetches in Bombay? How little it costs the Authority to get it from catapult head to Indian Ocean? Downhill all the way! Just solid-fuel retros to brake it — and where do those come from? Right here! And what do you get in return? A few shiploads of fancy goods, owned by the Authority and priced high because it's importado. Importado, importado! — I never touch importado! If we don't make it in Hong Kong [Luna], I don't use it. What else do you get for wheat? The privilege of selling Lunar ice to Lunar Authority, buying it back as washing water, then giving it to the Authority — then buying it back a second time as flushing water — then giving it again to the Authority with valuable solids added—then buying it a third time at still higher price for farming — then you sell that wheat to the Authority at their price — and buy power from the Authority to grow it, again at their price! Lunar power — not one kilowatt up from Terra. It comes from Lunar ice and Lunar steel, or sunshine spilled on Luna's soil — all put together by loonies! Oh, you rockheads, you deserve to starve!"

The belter civilization on Ceres does not have the predatory imposition of a government - an "Authority" - to thieve away the value of their efforts.  Water is a valuable commodity. Urea and ammonia ditto.  And organic solids suitable for composting (or however such matter can be processed to kill enteric pathogens and make it safe for use as fertilizer) even more valuable.

Whatever entrepreneurs on Ceres address the business of harvesting human waste products for resource extraction might well find themselves in a highly competitive market segment.  Think of publicly accessible "pay toilets" that offer a small inducement (some kind of token or coupon or other consideration, if not a bit of precious metal) to the user based upon the mass of the "contribution" graciously provided.

It's a whole new world up there....
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 27, 2010, 01:04:20 pm
Urea and ammonia ditto.  And organic solids suitable for composting (or however such matter can be processed to kill enteric pathogens and make it safe for use as fertilizer) even more valuable.

Whatever entrepreneurs on Ceres address the business of harvesting human waste products for resource extraction might well find themselves in a highly competitive market segment.

All true. I cannot find the actually quote, but Buckminster Fuller said something like, "There is no pollution, only misplaced resources."

However, you don't even need entrepreneurs. Home fabs could use the waste to pump out water and sterile fertilizer for use in the family garden.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 02:38:35 pm
However, you don't even need entrepreneurs [to exploit the resources represented by human waste]. Home fabs could use the waste to pump out water and sterile fertilizer for use in the family garden.
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First, I tend to think of the belter civilization depicted thus far in Escape From Terra as cosmopolitan and sophisticated despite the fact that it's primarily a frontier society.  Not everybody is living in family habs.

Second, there are boarding houses, and it's obvious that a lot of the traffic flowing through Ceres' business district is transient.  People running services catering to customers' needs would almost certainly not have time or energy to put into taking care of those family gardens when attention paid to a going business gets more grams of gold (or other units of exchange) into one's accounts.  Those who have home fabs aren't dwelling in them all the time, and a lot of people might be simply living aboard ships or in quarters at work sites where there are no family gardens of any kind. 

Think about the American West and the various resource extraction activities - lumbering and mining camps in particular - and construction projects where single men (men and women, in the belt) came first, and families came later.  There would tend do be a lot of such single folk roaming the belt, their families (such as they might have) established safely elsewhere, possibly in the belt, possibly on Mars or Luna.

Third, consider both economies of scale and division of labor. Small "penny packet" waste processing can certainly be made practicable at the family hab level, even with today's technology, but the capital investment and impositions of maintenance are likely to be off-putting even with the theoretical "gray goo" capabilities of nanotechnology or whatever other kind of phlogisticated handwavium the writer cares to confabulate.

How many Americans today keep a milch cow on the property - as even suburban families used to do more than a century ago - when safely pasteurized and conveniently homogenized milk is by comparison cheap despite government price supports pushing up the dollar-denominated cost at the store?

A commercial concern set up to efficiently collect and process human liquid and solid wastes in the belt might do pretty damned well. It's not glamorous work, but consider a fleet of "honey wagon" transports making the rounds of work camps collecting dessicated flup and such (water scavenging would almost certainly be an easy capability to incorporate at point-of-service), transporting it to floating processing facilities which might themselves be easily shifted around in the belt or associated with hydroponic "farms" arrayed in microgravity to catch the sunlight, or buried away in darkness to grow edible and medicinal fungi.

In America, recycling is largely an insanity, economically nonviable from start to finish.  I strongly suggest attention paid to that episode of Penn & Teller's series Bullshit! (29 April 2004) in which they presented a pungent but robust refutation of the environmentalist stupidity of the practice.

In the belt, however, there's definitely the potential for industrial-scale exploitation of human waste as a resource. 

I can't imagine a culture that could produce a gram-grubbing little girl like Babbette the Younger which wouldn't give full rein to people who'd jump at the chance to turn sewage into valuta.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 27, 2010, 04:41:35 pm
First, I tend to think of the belter civilization depicted thus far in Escape From Terra as cosmopolitan and sophisticated despite the fact that it's primarily a frontier society.  Not everybody is living in family habs.

Of course their will be processors and transporters of waste products. However, I think it is quite reasonable for sophisticated Belters to have gardens of flowers trees and grass. Habs would surely have internal "back yards" and live-aboard ships would have some growing plants just for aesthetic reasons.

In the business areas, the merchants association or mall owners would collect waste and either process it and either use it in their parks, sell it directly to the farm towers or job it out to your entrepreneurs. 
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 07:46:25 pm
Of course their will be processors and transporters of waste products. However, I think it is quite reasonable for sophisticated Belters to have gardens of flowers trees and grass. Habs would surely have internal "back yards" and live-aboard ships would have some growing plants just for aesthetic reasons.

In the business areas, the merchants association or mall owners would collect waste and either process it and either use it in their parks, sell it directly to the farm towers or job it out to your entrepreneurs. 
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The "sophisticated Belters" of whom you speak rather qualify as hobby farm types. They might crank out food items or cut flowers of commercial value, but the scale of production against inputs is going to be less efficient than can be gotten when people (either individually or in concert) specialize to meet market demand.  At best, they're likely to wind up akin to those friendly neighbors who keep dropping by with baskets of eggplants or zucchini which would otherwise go into their compost piles, 'cause they've canned or frozen more than they can use in three or four years and they're dead sick of eating the fresh stuff. 

(Yeah, I both saw and remember Mr. McGregor burying Alton Brown in aubergines in the "Deep Purple" episode of Good Eats, 16 January 2002.)

Ceteris paribus, most Belters seeking nutriment - fruits, veggies, what have you - as well as the colorful and scented reproductive organs of plants - are going to want these commodities at best possible prices, which the hobby farm types aren't going to be able to do in their family hab gardens.  Once the small-time producers figure in their costs, the prices they're going to set will turn out to be relatively high, and whenever you've got relatively high prices and demonstrable demand....

Ka-ching! Captialism happens.

Somebody will inevitably float (in microgravity, I mean literally float) ways to achieve productive economies in serving these markets, very likely in a vertically integrative fashion that also carries away the waste that unsophisticated Belters do not - for reasons of time, available growing volume, or just plain not wanting to bother - seek to exploit in their own gardens.

Maybe they'll have to pay to get it, but bear in mind that if the, er, producers of the flup set their prices for these organic solids beyond market clearing levels, they're going to get stuck in the deep.... 

Well, you get my point.
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Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 27, 2010, 08:47:30 pm
[The "sophisticated Belters" of whom you speak rather qualify as hobby farm types. They might crank out food items or cut flowers of commercial value...

WOW! How did you so totally miss the point? Growing trees, grass and greenery in your home has nothing to do with "commercial value." Didn't you get the part about having a "back yard"? There nothing green and growing on Ceres, unless humans bring it there. Belters are not a new species. They are of the same people who started on the plains of Africa and moved to the forests of Europe, Asia and Americas. The home garden is for a family's personal enjoyment. Get it?
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 11:12:14 pm
[The "sophisticated Belters" of whom you speak rather qualify as hobby farm types. They might crank out food items or cut flowers of commercial value...

WOW! How did you so totally miss the point? Growing trees, grass and greenery in your home has nothing to do with "commercial value." Didn't you get the part about having a "back yard"? There nothing green and growing on Ceres, unless humans bring it there. Belters are not a new species. They are of the same people who started on the plains of Africa and moved to the forests of Europe, Asia and Americas. The home garden is for a family's personal enjoyment. Get it?

Well, but he does have a point. It takes a lot of time and effort to have a back yard. You have to regulate everything. Every tiniest detail of your back yard has to be managed, and most people wouldn't have the time. So there's a business opportunity -- somebody can plant grass and charge other people who might want to come touch it. He could also have a lot of little rooms with grass growing in them, for people who want a private place to have sex lying in grass. Far more practical than people wanting their own backyards.

Similarly, it would be more practical for most people to eat at restaurants than have their own kitchens. Why buy raw food and try to cook it yourself, when it's obviously more efficient to have it done by a professional? Presumably it would be cheaper, too, without government interference.

And why have bathrooms with all the plumbing that requires, and the maintenance and cleaning of facilities, when you could instead buy baths etc from people who're good at providing them?

Cleaning? You load up your personal items into your backpack which you can then put in a locker if you want. They move the front wall , turning each room into something like a cell in a honeycomb. The rooms can then be cleaned with something like a modern carwash, inside out -- spray soapy water on all the walls, rotate the brushes to scrub everything, dry it off, and when all the rooms are done put the front wall back in place. Far more efficient than individual people cleaning by hand, particularly when each person's room has been built in the standard pattern. Everybody who shares a front wall with you would pick which cleaner gets the contract.

The pattern is clear. In a free market, people should spend their time doing whatever is their comparative advantage, and pay specialists to do everything else they want done.

;)
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Oneil on September 28, 2010, 05:22:26 am
I like the story and can over look human nature, these people would try to make there home/world look like Tera.   

Besides, why now pick on the gravity (0.27 m/s2) issue at Ceres where a 90 kilogram man/woman has to rely on 2.52 kilogram's of down-force friction to move the same mass and inertia.  Yet no one made a peep about Bert or Ernie walking upright on Dactyl with gravity of approx (0.05 c/s2) where same 90 kilogram man/woman would have a huge 4.67 Grams of down-force friction to work with.

FYI, The body function I would live most in fear of in the Ceres or other enclosed low gravity habitat.  A big loud sneeze..  :-[

 
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 07:39:28 am
I like the story and can over look human nature, these people would try to make there home/world look like Tera.   

Besides, why now pick on the gravity (0.27 m/s2) issue at Ceres where a 90 kilogram man/woman has to rely on 2.52 kilogram's of down-force friction to move the same mass and inertia.  Yet no one made a peep about Bert or Ernie walking upright on Dactyl with gravity of approx (0.05 c/s2) where same 90 kilogram man/woman would have a huge 4.67 Grams of down-force friction to work with.

If somebody used to be wrong and now they're right, don't blame them for being inconsistent.

Quote
FYI, The body function I would live most in fear of in the Ceres or other enclosed low gravity habitat.  A big loud sneeze..  :-

That's a good point. A sneeze or well, anything. Something startles you and you push against a wall. You go sideways and your feet on the floor aren't enough to stop you, even if they're widely braced.

Unless your feet stick to the floor. You *need* your feet to stick to floors when you're standing still.

Or you could have something like velcro patches that you put on the back of your hands or elbows, to stick to walls or whatever whenever you want to be anchored. Ideally they should stick when you want them to stick and effortlessly release when you want them to let go.

Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on September 28, 2010, 10:49:55 am
It takes a lot of time and effort to have a back yard. You have to regulate everything. Every tiniest detail of your back yard has to be managed, and most people wouldn't have the time.

Your erroneous assumption invalidates your conclusion. This is not hypothetical. In contemporary America, people do spend inordinate amounts of time working on their yards and gardens. To assume that in a rich, technologically advanced society, home owners would have less free time to fiddle with their lawns and gardens, boggles the mind.

Please note, I have never said there wouldn't be commercial suppliers in the Belt, of every personal and domestic service. We have lawn and garden services now, but the vast majority of Americans enjoy monkeying in the yard. Why would they want to pay for someone else to have all the fun?
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 11:58:18 am
It takes a lot of time and effort to have a back yard. You have to regulate everything. Every tiniest detail of your back yard has to be managed, and most people wouldn't have the time.

Your erroneous assumption invalidates your conclusion.

Yes, I was trying out the ideas, and when i was done it looked satirical to me and I put a ;) at the end which was not enough to show my post hoc meaning.

You shouldn't have to regulate every tiny detail in a patch of grassland any more than you would in an economy. If you arrange the inputs adequately you will probably get grass that satisfies you.

You probably won't get a lot of crabgrass unless you mow too closely, even if you planted some crabgrass. If you want to listen to or harvest grasshoppers, then introduce them. Otherwise don't. If you want to harvest seeds, let your grass (or alfalfa, or whatever) go to seed. No mowing needed. Or if you aren't interested in products to use or sell, but you want something to fiddle with in your spare time, it's right there for you.

If there is a product that people produce for sale from their backyards, probably a professional can make it cheaper. But if people do it because they want to, they won't mind selling below cost. They have fun producing stuff which they sell for pocket money, and the professional goes broke without even having the fun they have.

It can go every which way.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Brugle on September 28, 2010, 07:42:18 pm

Donald Kingsbury wrote _Courtship Rite_, a story about people living in an alien ecology where the only food that wasn't poisonous was the Eight Sacred Plants, honeybees, and human beings. He did a great job with the ritual cannibalism etc. Lots of people got grossed out and didn't finish the story. There were little jarring notes all the way through, even when you'd think you'd gotten used to it. Like, late in the story, a general puts his maps into a babyskin tube....


An excellent novel.

I read Courtship Rite a few months ago and was disappointed.  The cannibalism wasn't jarring at all, but I thought some of the rituals (not necessarily those about cannibalism) were silly.  Of course, people can do silly things, but I prefer novels where most actions make some sense (to me).  The unusual marriage customs seemed better thought out.  I thought Oelita disappearing into the wilderness was out of character, but perhaps I missed something.  Overall, to me the book seemed to be sloppily thrown together.

Then we get to the hard one.  Psychohistorical Crisis.  It beat El Neil's The American Zone (which I voted for) for the 2002 Prometheus Award.

Until I read your post, I forgot that Kingsbury wrote Psychohistorical Crisis.  It also disappointed me, but I don't remember why.  (I do remember thinking that The American Zone was the best of a weak set of finalists.)

the "trilogy" by Bear, Benford and Brin (which also averaged much better than Asimov)

I was very disappointed in the later Asimov Foundation books.  The prequel and at least one of the sequels had exactly the same plot: the hero is trying to solve a problem, has some adventures while waiting for inspiration, and finally realizes the solution which was painfully obvious all along.  In fact, in both cases the solution is one that I'd assume would occur immediately to almost anyone, so I tried hard to figure out what was wrong with it.  Blech!

After that experience, I didn't read any of the "B" sequels, but now that you say they are better I'm tempted to give them a try.  Do you recommend them all?

This was also touched on in Michal Flynn's novel In the Country of the Blind, which won its own Prometheus eleven years earlier.

I've liked some books by Flynn, and I don't remember reading In the Country of the Blind, so even if I did read it I might as well read it again.  Thanks for the recommendation. :)
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: wdg3rd on September 28, 2010, 10:36:18 pm

Donald Kingsbury wrote _Courtship Rite_, a story about people living in an alien ecology where the only food that wasn't poisonous was the Eight Sacred Plants, honeybees, and human beings. He did a great job with the ritual cannibalism etc. Lots of people got grossed out and didn't finish the story. There were little jarring notes all the way through, even when you'd think you'd gotten used to it. Like, late in the story, a general puts his maps into a babyskin tube....


An excellent novel.

I read Courtship Rite a few months ago and was disappointed.  The cannibalism wasn't jarring at all, but I thought some of the rituals (not necessarily those about cannibalism) were silly.  Of course, people can do silly things, but I prefer novels where most actions make some sense (to me).  The unusual marriage customs seemed better thought out.  I thought Oelita disappearing into the wilderness was out of character, but perhaps I missed something.  Overall, to me the book seemed to be sloppily thrown together.

I find most rituals in my own culture rather silly aside from social politeness to be silly.  (Including some of those -- saying "Oh, what a beautiful baby" when the instinct is to say "Can I get a banana for your monkey?").

It was his first novel (though he'd been writing short stories off and on for several decades -- mostly off, he had a day job teaching maths at McGill U).  I found few flaws, but I was turned onto it by a weird and wonderful woman (who was my second wife and her descent into insanity was no fault of mine that I know of).

Quote

Then we get to the hard one.  Psychohistorical Crisis.  It beat El Neil's The American Zone (which I voted for) for the 2002 Prometheus Award.

Until I read your post, I forgot that Kingsbury wrote Psychohistorical Crisis.  It also disappointed me, but I don't remember why.  (I do remember thinking that The American Zone was the best of a weak set of finalists.)

As a voting member that year I got sent copies of all the finalists (they all happened to be from the same publisher, and since I'd already bought most of them, the dupes made great gifts).  I still haven't read Enemy Glory though some of my dearest friends have recommended it, because the print is too damned small and I won't yet admit to needing reading glasses.  Also, I feel that fantasy has no business in the Prometheus Awards except for weird shit like Vic Koman's The Jehovah Contract.
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the "trilogy" by Bear, Benford and Brin (which also averaged much better than Asimov)

I was very disappointed in the later Asimov Foundation books.  The prequel and at least one of the sequels had exactly the same plot: the hero is trying to solve a problem, has some adventures while waiting for inspiration, and finally realizes the solution which was painfully obvious all along.  In fact, in both cases the solution is one that I'd assume would occur immediately to almost anyone, so I tried hard to figure out what was wrong with it.  Blech!

After that experience, I didn't read any of the "B" sequels, but now that you say they are better I'm tempted to give them a try.  Do you recommend them all?

Yes, actually.  The only better thing could have been to bring the fourth member of the San Diego cabal in, but Vernor Vinge's name wouldn't have matched.
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This was also touched on in Michal Flynn's novel In the Country of the Blind, which won its own Prometheus eleven years earlier.

I've liked some books by Flynn, and I don't remember reading In the Country of the Blind, so even if I did read it I might as well read it again.  Thanks for the recommendation. :)


You've probably read his "Falling Star" trilogy and if you haven't read Fallen Angels cowritten with Niven and Pournelle, do so, it's in the Baen Free Library (http://www.baen.com/library/defaultTitles.htm).  (Personally, I've gone through at least half a dozen softcovers through wear and "lending", as well as always having an HTML copy since it became available).  Yeah, I know at least half of the supporting characters, both from Los Angeles and northeast fandom.  (Though most of the northeast fans I didn't meet until well after publication when I wound up living here in the hellhole known as New Jersey).
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Oneil on September 29, 2010, 01:03:41 am
Sorry to diverge a bit farther off course, but they already opened the door.  I will read just about anything Sci-Fi and am a fan of so many authors, But I wonder how many here have enjoyed the humor and satire in Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat Series", or also think "Bill, the Galactic Hero" is a riot being a near parody of Starship Troopers.  But, as one has said is tired of the same predictable plot's in stories, one novel of Harrison's with a twist that will surprise most people is "Captive Universe".  Give that to someone and don't tell them it's a Sci-fi up front, watch how they react when they get into it.    ;D
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Brugle on September 29, 2010, 04:32:52 pm
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I didn't read any of the "B" sequels, but now that you say they are better I'm tempted to give them a try.  Do you recommend them all?
Yes, actually.
Okay.  Benford's Foundation's Fear is on reserve at my local library.

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I've liked some books by Flynn,

You've probably read his "Falling Star" trilogy
I think I've read all 4 of his Firestar books (ending with Falling Stars).  I thought the first 2 were the best.

if you haven't read Fallen Angels cowritten with Niven and Pournelle, do so
I think that was the first book of Flynn's that I read, and I liked it enough to buy a few copies for gifts (which I rarely do).  I am not involved with fandom, but the book was still a blast.

I wonder how many here have enjoyed the humor and satire in Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat Series", or also think "Bill, the Galactic Hero" is a riot being a near parody of Starship Troopers.
I've read most or all of the Stainless Steel Rat novels.  (I also liked the Deathworld Trilogy.)  But I didn't enjoy Bill, the Galactic Hero very much, and didn't read any sequels.

one novel of Harrison's with a twist that will surprise most people is "Captive Universe"
Captive Universe wasn't listed in either local library I use, so I'll try to find it second-hand.  Thanks for the recommendation.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: SandySandfort on October 14, 2010, 10:54:17 pm
SPACE TOILET

http://www.space.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=SP_100519_SpacePotty
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: terry_freeman on October 15, 2010, 08:36:55 am
Does "sophisticated" mean that everybody becomes a specialist, incapable of growing plants, raising animals, or cooking? I don't think so; I'm reminded of a quote by Heinlein:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

Humans in space are likely to want to see greenery. Gardens will be fairly common. Some will be better maintained, some not.

I recently read comments by an anthropologist about "subsistence economies"; he suggested that it is better to think of them as "leisure economies"; people in such "primitive" societies need only work 3 hours per day to provide food, shelter, and clothing. This gives them a lot of time to work on other values - socializing, creating things of beauty, dancing, philosophizing.

A government-free society would probably have a lot of leisure time. Many people probably would take up gardening, raise animals, cook, and so forth not merely for the provision of food, but for entertainment value; it is pleasing to create a tasty meal with one's own hands.

Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Thaago on December 14, 2010, 01:05:35 am
Hi! New poster, decent time lurker. Sorry to drag up an old thread but it seemed appropriate and I can't start new ones yet.

So in the latest page we see some awesome low gravity fighting in midair; I love the script comment about Hong Kong movies. On the next page, she fakes him out with a spinning kick... wait what? What is she pushing off of to spin suddenly? Unless she was spinning from the ground, but then it really wouldn't be a fake out.

I know its nit-picky, but conservation of angular momentum was calling out to me!
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: jamesd on December 14, 2010, 04:05:14 am
So in the latest page we see some awesome low gravity fighting in midair; I love the script comment about Hong Kong movies. On the next page, she fakes him out with a spinning kick... wait what? What is she pushing off of to spin suddenly? Unless she was spinning from the ground, but then it really wouldn't be a fake out.

I know its nit-picky, but conservation of angular momentum was calling out to me!

In zero gravity (and if you are in a fight, Ceres is close enough to zero gravity) you would have to use something like the tiger claw martial art - where you grab hold of people and twist them around, in order to clobber them.  People accustomed to fighting in gravity would be at a grave disadvantage.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on December 14, 2010, 09:59:30 am
So in the latest page we see some awesome low gravity fighting in midair; I love the script comment about Hong Kong movies. On the next page, she fakes him out with a spinning kick... wait what? What is she pushing off of to spin suddenly? Unless she was spinning from the ground, but then it really wouldn't be a fake out.

I know its nit-picky, but conservation of angular momentum was calling out to me!

In zero gravity (and if you are in a fight, Ceres is close enough to zero gravity) you would have to use something like the tiger claw martial art - where you grab hold of people and twist them around, in order to clobber them.  People accustomed to fighting in gravity would be at a grave disadvantage.

That makes perfect sense to me.

If you have hold of something solid and the other guy doesn't, that's potentially a giant advantage.

If you're against a wall and you can get them outside, you may be able to kick them to the opposite wall. And if they aren't alert enough at that point to hit well, you can launch yourself at them as hard as you can, flip over, and kick them hard when you hit the other wall -- enough to bounce back to your wall and maybe do it again. Provided they're already stunned. If they're ready for you that isn't so good.

I wasn't sure I understood the kick in the cartoon. Was it snapping forward or back? It looked like back. If you're curled up and then you swing and straighten, you could get pretty much force behind a kick that way. From the gluteus and back muscles, and maybe later the hamstrings.

On the other hand a straight kick down from your POV would be as effective as it is from any terran martial artist who's in the air at the time. And with a stiletto heel.... And if it connects then it could tend to push you out of the way to get ready for a second round.

Suppose you can get somebody spinning fast. I'm guessing that people wouldn't usually suffer from vertigo in no or very low gravity, but they might if they spun fast. Ouch. Hard to defend yourself when you have no balance and everything's spinning around you. On the other hand, if you start vomiting in all directions everybody in the area will have an incentive to leave quick.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: jamesd on December 14, 2010, 01:35:05 pm
If you're against a wall and you can get them outside, you may be able to kick them to the opposite wall. And if they aren't alert enough at that point to hit well, you can launch yourself at them as hard as you can, flip over, and kick them hard when you hit the other wall -- enough to bounce back to your wall and maybe do it again.

Not going to work.  The kick your opponent sees coming will never land very effectually.  In one fight I was kicked about thirty times in the solar plexus - without noticeable effect.  For a while I just stood there, thinking how to counter attack.  Then I tried something, and he had pretty good counter.  So I stood there getting kicked a lot more, and tried something else, and he had a pretty good counter, then I stood there some more and got kicked some more, and jumped to grab his throat, and he had a pretty good counter, and he kicked me some more, then I just ran him out of space, so that he was forced to fight in my style, and that worked.  I suppose the fact that the fight went on for so long indicates gross incompetence by both parties.

Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: J Thomas on December 14, 2010, 05:31:49 pm
If you're against a wall and you can get them outside, you may be able to kick them to the opposite wall. And if they aren't alert enough at that point to hit well, you can launch yourself at them as hard as you can, flip over, and kick them hard when you hit the other wall -- enough to bounce back to your wall and maybe do it again.

Not going to work.  The kick your opponent sees coming will never land very effectually.

Sure. You basicly have to win first and then you can kick them around if you want to.

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In one fight I was kicked about thirty times in the solar plexus - without noticeable effect.  For a while I just stood there, thinking how to counter attack.  Then I tried something, and he had pretty good counter.  So I stood there getting kicked a lot more, and tried something else, and he had a pretty good counter, then I stood there some more and got kicked some more, and jumped to grab his throat, and he had a pretty good counter, and he kicked me some more, then I just ran him out of space, so that he was forced to fight in my style, and that worked.  I suppose the fact that the fight went on for so long indicates gross incompetence by both parties.

You had the luxury of stopping to think while he wasted his time kicking you. If he was up to doing something effective while you thought then waiting would be incompetent. But -- horses for courses. You could afford it that time.
Title: Re: Low gravity
Post by: Plane on December 14, 2010, 09:04:33 pm
Martial arts in low gravity , the potential for dazzling movies made in Hong Kong  appeals to me.

  Moving fast and falling slow, launching off the celing as often as the floor  , being stranded at a disadvantage if in midair and stopped in momentum. Spinning to bring feet forward in catlike twisting maneuver. The unchonchous looser falling as gently as a dandilion seed unconchous a full minute before he contacts the floor.

    Do the bars in low gravity build with high ceilings ?  I think that low ceilings would make a lot of diffrence in this sort of fight.


    Navy divers can fight in three dimentions and without the "benefit" of weight and traction, but the resistance of water prevents that from being equivelient to the potential high speed fight that experts could engage in after becomeing accustomed to low G.


   I wish I could get dibs on the movie rights , working out the physics and applying the realism possible in modern animation .