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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: BlackWolfe on December 28, 2009, 04:47:33 pm

Title: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on December 28, 2009, 04:47:33 pm
So here it is...  We've gone from a Mo'ai to a sculpture of a "grey."  So, ladies and gentlemen, place yer bets here!

A bit of clarification:
1)  "Alien" in this regard means non-terrestrial in origin as well as residence.  Human off-worlders do not count.
2)  The UW means anyone working for the UW's interests as well, even independently.
3)  A practical joker means exactly that: someone who sculpted and launched these artifacts for the express purpose of making people come out and look for them, with no other agenda.
4)  "More nefarious purposes" include distracting the entirety of humanity by directing their attention away from something else, or possibly getting everyone capable of making the trip in range of an explosive within the second artifact, or anything else you can think of beyond merely getting people to look at the artifacts.

I'm leaning heavily towards 4, as the amount of time and energy - not to mention materials - involved in setting this up is way too much for a simple prank.  I have no idea what the nefarious scheme might be, but I guarantee a human hand behind this for a number of reasons, which I expect to be enumerated by characters in this superbly written comic before long.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on December 28, 2009, 08:24:09 pm
Maybe, I'm a little too predictable but I'm going with number 1.  Here's a thought, the beings that produced the little gray alien statue got it so technically detailed maybe then the Moai statue is also really another type of alien that mankind has not seen for many centuries and it's also techincally detailed.  Remember the good aliens very early in the movie "the fifth element"?  It kind of does resemble them.  ;D
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on December 28, 2009, 10:00:35 pm
So here it is...  We've gone from a Mo'ai to a sculpture of a "grey."  So, ladies and gentlemen, place yer bets here!

A bit of clarification:
1)  "Alien" in this regard means non-terrestrial in origin as well as residence.  Human off-worlders do not count.
2)  The UW means anyone working for the UW's interests as well, even independently.
3)  A practical joker means exactly that: someone who sculpted and launched these artifacts for the express purpose of making people come out and look for them, with no other agenda.
4)  "More nefarious purposes" include distracting the entirety of humanity by directing their attention away from something else, or possibly getting everyone capable of making the trip in range of an explosive within the second artifact, or anything else you can think of beyond merely getting people to look at the artifacts.

I'm leaning heavily towards 4, as the amount of time and energy - not to mention materials - involved in setting this up is way too much for a simple prank.  I have no idea what the nefarious scheme might be, but I guarantee a human hand behind this for a number of reasons, which I expect to be enumerated by characters in this superbly written comic before long.

There is another possibility you have not mentioned... though you might be sort of close on one of your speculations.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: enemyofthestate on December 28, 2009, 11:11:24 pm
If this were not just a story my bullshit detector would be damned near pegged.  Too many coincidences; not enough data.  However this is a story so I'll just have to see how it unfolds.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: WarpZone on December 29, 2009, 01:43:12 am
I think it's pretty obvious what this is.

Ask yourself, what if this happened IRL, on Earth, today?

What if someone found a clearly manufactured artifact someplace they weren't expecting to find it?  

In a place which was easily accessible and open to the public, but which (apparently) just hadn't been thoroughly mapped, scanned, or colonized yet?  

And what if the artifacts could be easily manufactured with modern technology, but they explicitly reference some really interesting ancient enigma?

And what if each artifact included instructions on where to find the next artifact?  

What would you generally expect to find at the end of this trail of bread-crumbs?

And, oh look, it's in the media.

And participation in the artifact-hunt is spreading virally.

We've *never* seen anything like *that* before on Earth, have we?   ::)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on December 29, 2009, 03:45:52 am
There is another possibility you have not mentioned... though you might be sort of close on one of your speculations.

The only other possibility I can think of is natural formation, which I left out because the odds of that are beyond diminishingly small.  So... what else am I missing?

And in response to Rocketman:

The reason for the widespread description of "greys" among people who claim to have been abducted by aliens is a factor of the way the human brain works.  While I have no doubt, personally, that aliens do exist elsewhere in the universe, based on the process of natural selection I find it incredibly hard to believe they would appear as large-headed, spindly targets for any predator they encounter.

I wrote an essay once upon a time about the likely physical attributes of aliens...  I'm trying to find it.  To summarize it, though, due to the processes of mutation and natural selection, your best bet for what an alien is going to look like is "roughly human."
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on December 29, 2009, 04:35:34 am
I wrote an essay once upon a time about the likely physical attributes of aliens...  I'm trying to find it.  To summarize it, though, due to the processes of mutation and natural selection, your best bet for what an alien is going to look like is "roughly human."

I've always hated that common speculative theory.

We look the way we do because we're the best adapted, therefore the best adapted look like us.  It's circular logic, it strikes me as totally unscientific and possibly a sign that whoever thinks this was born without and imagination.

Hands with opposable thumbs are not even the best example of dexterity on earth.  I think an octopus with individual control of each suction cup wins that one.

Bipedism is not that great of a trait and limits us in many ways.

Dolphins are more socially evolved than we are, possibly even as intelligent; as if we knew what intelligence is.

Soldier ants have better military discipline than any human army.

Though only thing humans got that the rest of the planet don't got is tool making, but whose really to say that you need to have any of our traits to do that.

I think aliens will be nothing like anything we can even imagine.

The "grays" are something from the human subconscious, something that people use to deal with traumatizing events maybe.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on December 29, 2009, 06:16:23 am
The only other possibility I can think of is natural formation, which I left out because the odds of that are beyond diminishingly small.  So... what else am I missing?

You will carp with me when the answer reveals itself. You will say, "that's just a variant of number X!" However, I think it is separate enough to qualify as number 5. We have a ways to go, however, so keep the guesses coming!
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on December 29, 2009, 07:55:13 am
Well it's definitely recent (at least relatively speaking).

The reasons for this are many fold.

1.) There are no pits, scars, or craters of any kind shown on either artifact. The asteroid belt is rife with collisions. Even Earth's moon which is not in the asteroid belt is covered with craters. The only reason EARTH is not covered with craters is that the natural processes of erosion and sedimentation (not to mention the flow of water) have erased most of them.

2.) The "writing" in the first artifact references a recent event. The Levi-Shumaker comet collision with Jupiter was a freak occurrence caused by an asteroid glancing the comet as to alter its path right into Jupiter. Unless the entity (ies) that carved these artifacts are genuine soothsayers, or have divine prophecy, there is no way to predict such an event with sufficient accuracy to plan the orbit of asteroid and planetoid sized objects in accordance with the event.

3.) Barring a truly ALIEN sentience, the technology required to carve these structures simply did not exist until recently in recorded history. (Considering Earth's violent tectonic and climatic past, they MAY have existed prior to recorded history and been forgotten. Like the technology to carve the rocks for Stonehenge has been forgotten.)

As for ruling out a prank, it is impossible to overestimate the depths to which humans will go when thrill seeking. Not too long ago, a group of seniors, as a prank, filmed themselves climbing in through the ceiling of the high school they attended and filled all the rooms (including the principal's office) with packing peanuts, to the point that the doors could not be opened.

And let's not forget the "crop circles." While a great many came forward and said "this is how we did it," a great many more come back "just because you can make a counterfeit $20 bill, does not mean all $20 bills are counterfeit" and still believe that they're a message from "aliens."
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on December 29, 2009, 08:24:41 am
I'm leaning, or would have been leaning, heavily towards 3. One possibility technically not covered by the list, though, would be something that falls under 4, except for being clearly beneficent rather than nefarious.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Gillsing on December 29, 2009, 08:53:51 am
3)  A practical joker means exactly that: someone who sculpted and launched these artifacts for the express purpose of making people come out and look for them, with no other agenda.
Yeah, that "no other agenda" thing rules out a lot of things that I think seems quite likely. The theme suggests that someone had some fun doing it, but the scale suggests that there's more to it than just making people look at it. I suppose that it could be viral marketing? Or would that count as "nefarious"? :)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: shred on December 29, 2009, 09:20:37 am
Yeah, this setup has "ad campaign" written all over it.  Now who A) has the resources to do this and B) has an upcoming product that needs maximum instant publicity so the UW can't suppress the news of it immediately?  I think we've run into him before...
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: WarpZone on December 29, 2009, 09:27:18 am
I suppose that it could be viral marketing? Or would that count as "nefarious"? :)

Bingo.

And, yes. 

Quite nefarious, indeed.

Burma Shave.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: WarpZone on December 29, 2009, 09:28:08 am
Yeah, this setup has "ad campaign" written all over it.  Now who A) has the resources to do this and B) has an upcoming product that needs maximum instant publicity so the UW can't suppress the news of it immediately?  I think we've run into him before...


Oh, shiiiiii...   :o
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on December 29, 2009, 03:17:22 pm
Yeah, this setup has "ad campaign" written all over it.  Now who A) has the resources to do this and B) has an upcoming product that needs maximum instant publicity so the UW can't suppress the news of it immediately?  I think we've run into him before...

Good possibility.
The other thing I had in mind was that Schumacher-Levy was really the arrival of "jovian dwelling" aliens at Jupiter.  ;)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on December 29, 2009, 05:03:15 pm
I must say, you guys are good. Most of your theories hold together pretty well whether they are correct or not. Nice work. Keep it up. Things are starting to get even more interesting; please stay tuned.   
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Sebekiz on December 29, 2009, 08:33:24 pm
Depending upon where the strip is going, I would tend towards either #2 (darker tone) or #4 (comical). It is very possible that this is a viral marketing strategy for a certain reclusive billionaire we've already met.

The darker hypothesis is that the UW is looking for a way to cement control over the Solar System (after all, it was shown to be facing financial crisis, hence the attempt to conquer Ceres). What better way to increase control than to forge evidence of aliens and have a crew of incompetents (the crew that failed to conquer Ceres) appear to be trying to hush things up? Everyone will assume the artifacts are real simply because the UW doesn't appear to want them to know. Then they can start rumors that these aliens aren't very friendly. If and when the public begins to believe that there are "dangerous" aliens out there threatening them, they will turn to the only central government left and beg or even demand that it to do "whatever is necessary" to give them security. The UW would just love to have that blank check handed to them!
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Sean Roach on December 29, 2009, 08:58:55 pm
I'm guessing 3-4.  Someone constructed the first one from an asteroid, using a mining laser, mapped its path, and carved the second one as a map to the first, then dropped a clue where the UW would find it.  I'm guessing it's a publicity stunt.

I'm also guessing that when the whole thing unravels the UW military will start pointing fingers at Taylor for not keeping her mouth shut until the UW could be certain whether it was a hoax or not.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: knoodelhed on December 30, 2009, 02:03:46 am
I have a feeling the trail will touch on Cydonia, somehow.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on December 30, 2009, 06:36:57 am
I've always hated that common speculative theory.

We look the way we do because we're the best adapted, therefore the best adapted look like us.  It's circular logic, it strikes me as totally unscientific and possibly a sign that whoever thinks this was born without and imagination.

Actually, no, it's a LOT more complicated than that.  When I said "an essay," I did not mean a brief report that could be summarized as "human beings are the pinnacle of existence."  While I see a lot of room for improvement in the human race biologically speaking, we are remarkably well-suited for survival in a large number of rather hostile environments.  Factors include:

Manipulating Limbs:  Most likely to be on limbs closest to sensory organs - particularly eyes and nose.
Position of sensory organs:  Most efficient when near the brain.  Also most efficient when placed on an extremity, so that the direction of their focus can be shifted without moving the whole body.
Position of mouth:  Also near sensory organs so that potential food can be examined before ingestion with a minimum of effort.
Shape of head:  Too large, and it becomes cumbersome.  Too small, and the cranial capacity is limited. 
Placement of genitals:  Need to be relatively centrally located for protection.  Do not necessarily need to be combined with excretory functions, but doing so saves space, making the creature less wasteful in terms of blood and nutrients needed.  Although it does increase the risk of infection, so this is a double-edged sword.  Note that the placement of the womb in the female human is actually about as perfect as can be managed: right on the center of gravity, allowing the mother to carry a baby to term with as little effect on mobility as possible.
Position of head:  On a quadruped, this would be the front, and elevated above the shoulders when standing normally.  On a biped, it would be on top, for the same reason that quadruped heads are elevated above the shoulders:  increased range of vision, hearing, and smell.

While the details may vary, on the whole the most efficient placement and number of limbs is two for propulsion, two for manipulation, with sensory organs in the head, which is the highest extremity of the body.

So, with allowances for completely different ecosystems, the end result is still roughly humanoid.

Hands with opposable thumbs are not even the best example of dexterity on earth.  I think an octopus with individual control of each suction cup wins that one.

Tentacles are fairly useful for manipulation, but much less so for propulsion.  They aren't as versatile as hands, which have the bone very close to the surface, making them also useful for defense or attack (fists).  A tentacle can either grip or, using the tip, perform fine manipulation but cannot easily do both at the same time.  A hand is basically five rigid tentacles with supporting bone structure within it.  Even adding bones to a tentacle has problems that make hands more flexible (in the figurative sense, not the literal).  Fewer bones (and therefore fewer joints) means less chance of injury.  Hinge joints are less prone to dislocation and repetitive-motion stress than ball-and-socket joints.  Fingers capable of bending completely both ways would require more tissue than hands like we have, and therefore more oxygen and food.

While it is marginally possible for an animal to develop tentacles (or tentacle-like arms) for manipulation and more efficient legs for locomotion, the odds against it are exceedingly high.  Asymmetrical lifeforms tend not to survive for a large number of reasons, not the least of which being a lack of adaptability to changing situations.

Bipedism is not that great of a trait and limits us in many ways.

True.  However, due to the survival need for manipulating limbs to be sensitive, a quadrupedal stance is only viable for an intelligent life form if that life form has six or more limbs, freeing up at least two for full-time manipulation.  Due to the fact that additional limbs mean additional body mass, which means a need for more food and oxygen, semi-quadrupedal stance is almost preferable, except that having hands with a sense of touch sensitive enough for fine manipulation makes using that stance more uncomfortable.

Dolphins are more socially evolved than we are, possibly even as intelligent; as if we knew what intelligence is.

Dolphins are the only species other than humans that kill for fun.  (And what they do with the corpses does not bear mentioning in polite society.)  Also, the term "socially evolved" is misleading.  Evolution is not a one-way, or even a two-way street.  It is best represented by a fractal canopie (http://library.thinkquest.org/26242/full/types/ch3.html).

Soldier ants have better military discipline than any human army.

Instinct and biological specialization do not equal discipline.

Though only thing humans got that the rest of the planet don't got is tool making, but whose really to say that you need to have any of our traits to do that.

Actually, some primates show rudimentary tool-making skills.  Note that they have opposable thumbs and sensitive skin on their fingers.

I think aliens will be nothing like anything we can even imagine.

To quote a fictional character from a popular science fiction movie, "I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit."

The "grays" are something from the human subconscious, something that people use to deal with traumatizing events maybe.

Very close.  The fact is that if someone is convinced, as is being mentioned by Reggie in today's strip, that they were abducted, but in fact no such thing ever took place, their brain attempts to fill in the blanks in the "recovered" memory.  The part of the human brain responsible for threat identification - the reason you see a snake instead of a garden hose for just a split second before you get a better look - attempts to fill in with a human form, but lacks any details at all.  So it slaps in what the baser parts of the brain (the "hindbrain") will recognize as a face:  two eyes and a mouth, placed appropriately, but lacking detail or scale.  This is the same mechanism that lets us use "smileys" in text to convey emotion.  Since all of us have the same basic instincts (not the movie), any given person will come up with the same basic image: a vaguely human shape with a large head (more identifying features on the head) that lacks defining characteristics.  In other words, a "grey."

Final Note:
Please note that what I say here is not meant as an attack on your beliefs, merely support of mine.  If you disagree with any particular, please let me know what and why, and I will be happy to continue this discussion, which I am enjoying.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on December 30, 2009, 08:44:40 am
The biggest problem with "repressed" memories, is that they're too easy to fabricate by accident or by design. People have been convicted of pedophilia decades after the fact because some therapist, well meaning or otherwise was trying to help a patient with a real disorder and "found" a memory that the patient was not aware of. Some of these "memories" have turned out to be physically and practically IMPOSSIBLE. On the other hand, there have been documented cases where severe trauma has been "blacked out" as a defensive mechanism because the event was far too horrible for the patient to remember. It's a dangerous area of psychiatry and should be treated with "kid gloves" NOT just dismissed out of hand, like Reggie does. Standard protocol either is or should be that if a "repressed" memory comes to the surface, it is not sufficient for a conviction, but could be used as sufficient grounds to search for corroborating evidence or at the very least keeping an eye on the "suspect" as well as the "victim" or "witness."
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: terry_freeman on December 30, 2009, 04:03:45 pm
When we meet another alien intelligence, they might be roughly humanoid - it's not a terribly unworkable design, all in all - but even among the human species, there's lots of variation. It's easy to imagine a few improvements. Aliens are unlikely to look "just like Aunt Sally."

But who knows? There might be some value to gills and flippers, on a watery planet. It's not hard to imagine six-limbed creatures, with some specialization of limbs; we have two limbs mostly specialized for locomotion, and two mostly specialized for manipulation, but some creatures choose to specialize differently - monkeys brachiate; some creatures have more dextrous lower appendages than we. Suppose another species spends long periods in zero-g - and is perhaps able to alter whatever passes for DNA - would they be brachiators? Would they grasp with their feet? Would they have wings? Jets?

I've never really liked the way the human optic nerve penetrates the retina, creating a blind spot; I believe octupi have a more rational design.

In any case, another alien race will have adapted to its environment and history in numerous ways. Considering how difficult it is for two humans of different upbringing to converse on some topics, it seems to me that creatures from another planet are unlikely to be "just minor variations from the human pattern" - that's merely a prejudice bolstered by the difficulty of making radical alterations to the appearance of human actors in our TV and movies.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on December 30, 2009, 07:29:07 pm
The Problem with Most "aliens" is the assumption of a spine, a highly specialized organ that is the defining nature of one particular set of animals on earth.

Assuming that all aliens evolved out of a bony worm just like we did...  Imagine an aquatic animal about an inch long that looks like a disembodied spinal cord.

Anyway, as the Author has acknowledged the Grays Mythos, we can rule out alien intervention.

So the question can be focused onto what power block and why.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Gillsing on December 30, 2009, 09:59:38 pm
Yeah, this setup has "ad campaign" written all over it.  Now who A) has the resources to do this and B) has an upcoming product that needs maximum instant publicity so the UW can't suppress the news of it immediately?  I think we've run into him before...


Oh, shiiiiii...   :o
Ah, I knew I read something to that effect in one of the other threads, but when I looked for it, I couldn't find it. This seems very likely, and the only thing that speaks against it is that I don't see why Tobi would risk the UW finding the stuff first. In the vastness of space, what are the chances that someone else would stumble on the first statue before the UW had found and deciphered the message? Then again, I suppose that Tobi could've just sent an anonymous tip if things hadn't worked out according to the plan. Also, the "first" statue? What if it's like a ring of statues, each pointing to the next one? Are they supposed to draw lines between the statues to create a final image, or map?  ::) (Will there be Star Wars statues soon, and will there be a montage to cover all the ground?)

Though only thing humans got that the rest of the planet don't got is tool making, but whose really to say that you need to have any of our traits to do that.
Apparently there's a bird (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodpecker_Finch) that uses a tool, and even shortens it to a manageable length if need be. I'll say one thing for humans though – we've got the organisation and technology to thumb our noses to all the other species on this planet. And that's what counts! I say it's high time that we revolt against the cats and show them who the true masters are!

[Dolphins are the only species other than humans that kill for fun.  (And what they do with the corpses does not bear mentioning in polite society.)
Wolves sometimes slaughter a lot more sheep than they're going to eat. How do you know they're not doing it for fun? Or is the significant thing that dolphins kill other dolphins for fun? Still, with all the stuff we don't know about other animals, I think that it's a bit pointless to limit any one behaviour to the only instance we might know about.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on December 30, 2009, 10:21:17 pm
The Problem with Most "aliens" is the assumption of a spine, a highly specialized organ that is the defining nature of one particular set of animals on earth.

The spine serves a few vital purposes that increase survivability:  First, it houses a less-complex portion of the central nervous system, speeding response time in fight-or-flight situations.  Second, it protects that vital piece of the nervous system.  Third, it is both flexible and sturdy.

Ah, I knew I read something to that effect in one of the other threads, but when I looked for it, I couldn't find it. This seems very likely, and the only thing that speaks against it is that I don't see why Tobi would risk the UW finding the stuff first. In the vastness of space, what are the chances that someone else would stumble on the first statue before the UW had found and deciphered the message? Then again, I suppose that Tobi could've just sent an anonymous tip if things hadn't worked out according to the plan. Also, the "first" statue? What if it's like a ring of statues, each pointing to the next one? Are they supposed to draw lines between the statues to create a final image, or map?  ::) (Will there be Star Wars statues soon, and will there be a montage to cover all the ground?)

If it is Tobi, which I'm not convinced of yet (it seems a little too misleading for one of his gimmicks), he would be counting on the ruggedly individualistic nature of the belters to counteract the UW's desire for secrecy.  Make no mistake, whoever placed these artifacts did so with the express purpose of making sure as many people know about it as possible.

Tobi isn't yet ready for publicity.  His projects are still in development:  the chimeric plants are proceeding, but only one breed is viable, and his quantum displacement (for lack of a better term) technology is not ready for release yet, either, or, given the way he delighted in challenging the minds of Bert & Ernie - of anyone who showed the right capacity for problem solving - he'd have given them the opportunity to try to figure it out.  At least, that's how I judge his character from what we've seen.

Hey, speaking of Bert & Ernie, are they named for the policeman and cabbie from It's a Wonderful Life, or for the muppets (that were, in turn, named for them)?  I'm sure this has been answered previously, but I'm equally sure I'm too lazy to go sorting through the forum archives.  :P

Wolves sometimes slaughter a lot more sheep than they're going to eat. How do you know they're not doing it for fun? Or is the significant thing that dolphins kill other dolphins for fun? Still, with all the stuff we don't know about other animals, I think that it's a bit pointless to limit any one behaviour to the only instance we might know about.

Wolves, in those instances, are already killing animals for food, and it is likely that killing in excess is done because a) they are unsure if they have enough meat (unlikely), or b) they are depriving competing predators of potential prey.  Though it is definitely true that they enjoy hunting and killing - they are predators, and are more likely to survive if the act of hunting and killing provides pleasure than if they wait until they're starving to death - it is also true that they do not hunt and leave behind everything they have killed unless they have no choice (e.g.: a larger predator interferes).

I really would rather not go into details about dolphin-killed otters, mainly because, like most people, I'd like to pretend that dolphins are our friendly, playful cousins in the sea, and not vicious predators in their own right.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: dough560 on December 31, 2009, 01:56:32 am
As much as I read, I continue to learn new things in these posts.  Reading these stories, it's fun.  Motives,  desires, deeper meanings.....  I'll leave to those with literary sophistication.  The theories have been great reading.  It just seems like trying to guess the end of the story, before it's posted.  At least we can't turn to the last page to learn the end of the story.  The questions:  What, When, Where, Who, Why and How; control our interactions.  With each interaction, each question assumes a different importance.  One thing remains the same with each interaction.   Follow the money.



Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on December 31, 2009, 02:48:46 am
Follow the money.

A good response to many mysteries, actually.  However, in this case, the endgame is still so far away we don't know where the money leads, unless...  UNLESS it's all a ploy by the SETI researchers to get a bigger budget!

Let's look at some potential motivations:

United World:  The Watchmen ploy.  Give the citizens of the UW a motivation to unify in the form of an external threat.

Tobi:  Impetus to creative thinking:  Giving people a mystery to solve encourages them to think outside the box.  Plus, as has been mentioned, this could be a way of promoting one of his projects.  (A bit early for the ones we know of, but who says he's told Bert & Ernie all his plans the day he met them?)

Ceres:  Yeah, this, um... isn't a group.  However, on Ceres, there could be any number of groups with motivations to perpetrate a hoax along these lines.

Randall Munroe:  This could be the new geohashing:  orbithashing!  Okay, I admit, I'm just making things up in an effort to be silly.

Hey, Sandy, that brings up a question:  Is there any sort of hobby along those lines that belters and others like them do?  Interplanetary scavenger hunts?  I Spy?  ("Is it space?  I bet it is."  "How do you...?" "It was either that or an asteroid.")

Edit:  Oh, and, yes, I'm espousing trying to figure out the ending before it's posted.  That's half the fun of a good mystery.  If I'd had clue one in the martian music storyline, I'd've done it then, too, but I was stumped until the answer was revealed.  (Except for the music itself, that I figured out.)

Then I kicked myself.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on December 31, 2009, 07:47:37 am
[Hey, speaking of Bert & Ernie, are they named for the policeman and cabbie from It's a Wonderful Life, or for the muppets (that were, in turn, named for them)?  I'm sure this has been answered previously, but I'm equally sure I'm too lazy to go sorting through the forum archives.  :P

It has not been discussed before, butl I chose those names partly as a tip-o-the-hat to the Muppet characters. However, there is also a backstory about the origins of the characters and their names that might or might not be revealed in some future strip.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on December 31, 2009, 07:51:01 am
There IS something Reggie continues to overlook in his "angels, demons and leprechaun" rant. A significant number of the "abductees" came forward, risking exceptional ridicule and professional, intellectual, political, and financial destruction because something DID happen. Numbers of them had severe "sunburns" when the incident happened AT NIGHT. Some had implants that set off the airport screening equipment, but had no medical procedures done that would explain them, and in such a way that they could not be surgically removed without risking severe injury OR DEATH. Some were "abducted" repeatedly regardless of how often they or their families MOVED and changed address, or how far they moved, often disappearing for days with little to no memory of what happened during that time, as well as a rather tawdry list of phenomena that's far too long to mention.

Reggie is illustrating the real dangers and drawbacks of prejudice, in this case intellectual prejudice. While prejudice can be a powerful survival tool. Example, your brother is killed by a saber toothed tiger, you're going to stay away from all saber tooth tigers. Of course, on the downside, you're going to call anyone who has actually studied the saber tooth and knows its habits and finds the tigers necessary or even beneficial an idiot for not agreeing with you that they should all be killed.

Reggie is currently calling everyone who has suffered from this phenomenon, at best, a misguided stooge, at worst a weak minded fool not worth listening to. (It would not surprise me if one of the "sins" Joe King reminded Reggie of, is the ridicule of someone who experienced something outside of Reggie's experience, because "it could not have happened since I've never experienced such a thing" and after this person was professionally destroyed, the event turned out to be true.)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on December 31, 2009, 08:30:23 am
Some had implants that set off the airport screening equipment, but had no medical procedures done that would explain them, and in such a way that they could not be surgically removed without risking severe injury OR DEATH.

Could you maybe give some refferences on that one.  I have studied ufology with a certian intrest throughout the years but I have never heard of a case of unexplained implants.

If a biopsy was done to retrieve a small sample of implant matter (no bigger than a crumb) that sample could then be studied at a research reactor in a technic know as neutron activation analysis.  This can determine with astounding presciesion what that sample is made of and where it came from.  This technic has been used in forensics to convict murderors.

What you are telling me is that people are walking around with physical proof of either alien inteligence or human conspiracy in there bodies, and that no one said "hey let a scientist look at it"
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on December 31, 2009, 08:50:06 am
Tentacles are fairly useful for manipulation, but much less so for propulsion.  They aren't as versatile as hands, which have the bone very close to the surface, making them also useful for defense or attack (fists).  A tentacle can either grip or, using the tip, perform fine manipulation but cannot easily do both at the same time.  A hand is basically five rigid tentacles with supporting bone structure within it.  Even adding bones to a tentacle has problems that make hands more flexible (in the figurative sense, not the literal).  Fewer bones (and therefore fewer joints) means less chance of injury.  Hinge joints are less prone to dislocation and repetitive-motion stress than ball-and-socket joints.  Fingers capable of bending completely both ways would require more tissue than hands like we have, and therefore more oxygen and food.

While it is marginally possible for an animal to develop tentacles (or tentacle-like arms) for manipulation and more efficient legs for locomotion, the odds against it are exceedingly high.  Asymmetrical lifeforms tend not to survive for a large number of reasons, not the least of which being a lack of adaptability to changing situations.

So according to you octopi donít swim and crawl as much as they manipulate things, hands are better at attack and defense than tentacles and tentacles canít grip and manipulate simultaneously; say to open a jar. You see no discernable difference between a finger and a 240 cupped tentacle. Iím not sure what point you are trying to make about the bones.  Octopi donít have bones so donít have bone related problems. I am not sure what the last paragraph there is about. Obviously two animals did develop tentacles on earth and they both have bilateral symmetry.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on December 31, 2009, 09:29:18 am
Azure Priest,
I did a littel digging and all I could find were storires abductees finding very small objects in there bodies.  Small objects do find their way into our bodies sometimes.  This could have happed durring the abducties black out period.

I still think these abductees are coping with some kind of truama.  They might have been involved somehow in somekind of violence that was never presecuted or if it was, never linked to the abductee.  PTS might be so intense that the reality of it simply cant be processed so instead they create a dream like alien abduction as a wonderful way to explain the terrible thing that happened to them.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: enemyofthestate on December 31, 2009, 07:01:16 pm
What do we really know?

Jacques Schist is about it.  Didn't anyone of of those miners think to bounce a laser off the artifact(s)?  (Are the lasers tunable BTW?) That at least would give some evidence of composition and isotope ratio.  A fusion drive is going to be a damned good neutron source so even neutron activation may be possible.  These guys are miners.  They they must know something about determining the elemental makeup of a rock.

So far this is like speculating based on a National Enquirer article.

Anyways, I'm leaning toward a publicity stunt but there is possible religious angle too.  Which are both kind of the same thing.

Question for Scott Bieser.  Did you deliberately make Reggie look like James Randi?  It took me while to figure out why he looked so damned familiar.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on December 31, 2009, 09:25:24 pm
Big artifacts like that i would start passive sensors and slowly make my way up to low energy, low frequency active sensors.  Anybody remember the movie mission to mars? On the off chance that it is a real artifact I would never want to iridate it.  We could take samples and analyze those
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on December 31, 2009, 11:39:47 pm
So according to you octopi donít swim and crawl as much as they manipulate things, hands are better at attack and defense than tentacles and tentacles canít grip and manipulate simultaneously; say to open a jar. You see no discernable difference between a finger and a 240 cupped tentacle. Iím not sure what point you are trying to make about the bones.  Octopi donít have bones so donít have bone related problems. I am not sure what the last paragraph there is about. Obviously two animals did develop tentacles on earth and they both have bilateral symmetry.

Not true.

Octopi swim, but the tentacles are only a part of that.  Crawling does not equal running.  Therefore, for purposes of survival on land, legs are a preferred means of locomotion.  For movement on land at high speed, essential in many situations, the impact absorbing structure of bones, cartilage, muscles, and tendons is vital.

Lack of bones is not an advantage when it comes to survival.  Octopi and squids, both mollusks, have developed other means of defense, but these defenses are pretty heavily reliant on the environment they live in.  Bones protect internal organs.  Without that protection, the survival rate of a species drops.  Accidents and predators make short work of unprotected areas of an animal.  If the whole animal is unprotected, there's a problem, from a survival standpoint.

Both animals that have tentacles have tentacles exclusively.  Bilateral symmetry is not what I was referring to.  The only animals that have two types of limbs that are not only different in function but in structure are insects.

Birds' and bats'  wings are structurally similar to their legs for a reason.  I still don't understand how insect wings developed, they're just... weird.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on January 01, 2010, 01:50:39 am
I think you are trying to say that intelligent life can only evolve on land.  Just because the only cat a man ever sees is grey with black stripes does not mean all cats are grey with black stripes.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on January 01, 2010, 02:22:54 am
Well Rectal Runes kind of cuts the Government out of the equation.

It's a little too silly.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 01, 2010, 04:06:37 am
Aliens were eliminated on Wednesday, from what Reggie has been saying, but they're also eliminated again by that silliness as well. I agree that Tobi is a strong possibility, and I think it's unlikely that the UW ship simply stumbled across someone's cosmic scavenger hunt puzzle.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: BlackWolfe on January 01, 2010, 04:44:08 am
I think you are trying to say that intelligent life can only evolve on land.  Just because the only cat a man ever sees is grey with black stripes does not mean all cats are grey with black stripes.

I am saying that space-faring technology is most likely to be developed on land.  You will note that at no point in this conversation have I written the word "impossible."  Well, except just now, to illustrate the fact that I have not done so.

Yes, I am making assumptions based on the fact that the only technologically developed species I have ever encountered is humanity.  I am aware of this.  You, however, seem to be saying "just because something is not impossible, it must therefore be true."

I am using the only available tool-using, technologically "advanced," apparently sapient species available as a basis for some of my conjecture.  However, the existence of alternatives is not impossible.  The problem is that many things possible above the surface are impossible in water.  (Other liquids are not eliminated.)  As the number and difficulty of hurdles for an aquatic-based race is greater than a land-based one, the likelihood of such a race developing space travel diminishes.

Before they conquer space, they must conquer the air.  Before they conquer the air, they must conquer land.  Before they conquer land, they must conquer their own environment.  In such a situation, conquest of air and land may happen in rapid succession, as vehicles adapted for travel in one fluid may be adaptable for travel in another.  It would be safest, however, to find a way to put a person on land than to send them into the air.

If no land is available, then the difficulty of developing air travel increases greatly, until they find a way to build floating platforms to allow them essentially unlimited access to the surface world.  Unlike traveling from air to space, the shift from water to air is sudden and drastic, making trial and error much more dangerous.

Amphibious creatures would have a much bigger advantage over pure-aquatic creatures in a situation where land masses are available.  In such a situation, what I've stated earlier regarding locomotion and sensory organs still holds true once they're on land.  This may or may not put them at a disadvantage when returning to water, however.

Development of technology in an underwater environment is much more dangerous, as well, as the molecular density of liquids is vastly greater, making development of such technologies as electricity much more likely to result in fatalities.  (Assuming the creatures don't already have some sort of natural defense against electricity.)

Once they're in microgravity, they would be at an advantage over land - and even flying - animals, as they are used to living in neutral buoyancy.  However, this all assumes that an aquatic race could develop the technology to achieve space travel.

In the end, yes, I am using the only available sample as a baseline.  However, instead of saying "we look like this, therefore all space-faring races must look like this," I am asking what made it possible for us to develop the technology we did.

Imagination is assumed.  Without imagination, there is no impetus to develop new technologies at all.

Some form of manual dexterity is assumed.  Without the ability to manipulate things, there is no ability to build.

Air breathing is an advantage, as many of the technologies we developed to take us beyond the atmosphere are based on chemical reactions that are much rarer in a fluid (e.g.: fire).

A skeleton or exoskeleton is a major advantage on land, as it helps protect vital organs from accidents and predators.

The more advantages a race has, the more likely it is to survive long enough to achieve space travel.

Again, I am not stating that an aquatic race cannot do it, just that land-based races are at an advantage.  If the first alien race we encounter are the Squidlians from Squornshellous Zeta, that still doesn't make me wrong.  If they look just like us, except with funny, ridged foreheads, it doesn't make me right.  It just means we have two whole models to compare.  It takes a lot more than that to build a real sample, so you'll have to forgive me for showing some bias due to lack of data.

Well Rectal Runes kind of cuts the Government out of the equation.

It's a little too silly.

Given what we know of the United World, I'd have to agree.  While it's tempting to suggest some wit achieving a high enough rank to put this plan into motion, the environment that UW creates would either crush that sort of thinking or drive them off-world.  I guess that means it's time to change my vote!   :P

Aliens were eliminated on Wednesday, from what Reggie has been saying, but they're also eliminated again by that silliness as well. I agree that Tobi is a strong possibility, and I think it's unlikely that the UW ship simply stumbled across someone's cosmic scavenger hunt puzzle.

This reveal makes me less likely to believe it's Tobi.  While I agree he'd probably find it funny, it doesn't seem like the type of joke he himself would play.  Tobi isn't the only rich person in the solar system, though.  Anyone who's managed to get rich enough to pull this off is likely to be intelligent enough to either set it up themselves, or to hire people who could.  I just can't shake the feeling that this originates on Mars.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Gillsing on January 01, 2010, 04:49:24 am
I think you are trying to say that intelligent life can only evolve on land.  Just because the only cat a man ever sees is grey with black stripes does not mean all cats are grey with black stripes.
Depending on how you define "intelligent", perhaps fire plays a large part? Not easy to get fire started under water. And carrying around equipment isn't easy either, which I imagine works against any seabased species developing methods of crafting tools. And what about bad weather, encouraging landbased animals to seek shelter, or build their own? If adversity allows smarter creatures to prevail over faster and stronger creatures, perhaps the sea just doesn't offer enough of it? Or perhaps it doesn't offer enough variety, encouraging animals to adapt to a lot of different circumstances? Or perhaps it's because life started at sea, and therefore it only evolves significantly when it goes out of its natural habitat?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 01, 2010, 07:07:39 am
Azure Priest,
I did a littel digging and all I could find were storires abductees finding very small objects in there bodies.  Small objects do find their way into our bodies sometimes.  This could have happed durring the abducties black out period.

I still think these abductees are coping with some kind of truama.  They might have been involved somehow in somekind of violence that was never presecuted or if it was, never linked to the abductee.  PTS might be so intense that the reality of it simply cant be processed so instead they create a dream like alien abduction as a wonderful way to explain the terrible thing that happened to them.

My statements come from the publicized and televised "Roswell" and "Abducted" documentaries where the "abductees" testified about what happened to them. I have no way to confirm or deny their stories aside from the facts they list in their medical reports and the brutal ridicule as well as the fact that these witnesses testified despite very real threats to their physical as well as professional well being. I can say these threats were real because they provided phone recording, and letters with names and return addresses redacted with messages along the lines of "talk about this and...[something bad will happen]." Makes their stories infinitely more credible.

As for the artifacts, I'm definitely going with a very well researched prank. Many of the abductee stories state that strange objects were placed in their rectum either by the "greys" or some more malevolent "lizard" type creatures. The fact that runes were placed there fits with the motif.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on January 01, 2010, 10:09:50 am
I just had a thought while reading all of these recent posts that might open a new can of worms.  Maybe Tobi is completeing his experiments, heard that the UW had gotten wind of what he was doing but didn't know exactly where the "little prince" is located so Tobi had some of his people make the statues to lead the UW on a wild goose chase and use their ships for something other than looking for him.  What do you think?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Sean Roach on January 01, 2010, 03:16:28 pm
By some of the arguments here, the species with the easiest time achieving spaceflight would be one that was adapted for vacuum, microgravity, and hard radiation.

Another possibility for an "aquatic" species.
Perhaps a species that can consciously alter its own DNA and morphology, allowing it to birth specialized offspring, possibly with the ability to transfer its identity to one of these offspring.

Suddenly the body becomes a meta-tool.  A smart fish decides to explore the skies, and births a smart balloon-like animal.  A smart balloon-like animal decides to explore space, and grows dense plates to protect against radiation.

Just a thought.  I favor the brachiating species as a precursor to major tool-using species myself.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 01, 2010, 07:24:10 pm
I just had a thought while reading all of these recent posts that might open a new can of worms.  Maybe Tobi is completeing his experiments, heard that the UW had gotten wind of what he was doing but didn't know exactly where the "little prince" is located so Tobi had some of his people make the statues to lead the UW on a wild goose chase and use their ships for something other than looking for him.  What do you think?

Nah, that would never work.   ;D
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Scott on January 02, 2010, 02:11:08 pm
Quote
Question for Scott Bieser.  Did you deliberately make Reggie look like James Randi?  It took me while to figure out why he looked so damned familiar.

Once again, I am not the artist for this feature, Lee Oaks is. However, I did ask Lee to model Reggie on a fellow named Richard Boddie, who is a libertarian activist living in Southern California. It's not an exact likeness but reasonably close.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: enemyofthestate on January 03, 2010, 03:28:21 pm
Once again, I am not the artist for this feature, Lee Oaks is. However, I did ask Lee to model Reggie on a fellow named Richard Boddie, who is a libertarian activist living in Southern California. It's not an exact likeness but reasonably close.
Apologies.  Somewhere I got the idea that Lee Oaks was doing the lettering not the art.  I stand corrected.

Thanks for clearing that up.  In the greater scheme of things it doesn't matter but it was bugging me like a broken tooth.  I know who Richard Boddie is but he never even occurred to me.  I'm guess it was the debunking that triggered a mental association between Reggie and Randi.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: enemyofthestate on January 03, 2010, 04:17:01 pm
I really would rather not go into details about dolphin-killed otters, mainly because, like most people, I'd like to pretend that dolphins are our friendly, playful cousins in the sea, and not vicious predators in their own right.
I blame the movies :-) I remember a couple years ago watching a video of an orca repeatedly tossing a seal into the air and catching it.  My wife was horrified.  Even after I explained to her that it was no different than a cat playing with a mouse or crippled bird she just didn't want to accept that that "Willy" could do such a thing.  OTOH, she has no problem accepting that the "velociraptors" (a bastardized combination of Deionychus and V. Mongoliensis that probably never really existed) in Jurassic Park were vicious killers.

All predators are vicious when it come to killing prey.  Humans only appear to be an exception because technology means we don't have to kill our food personally.  That's why hunters (I'm one) can talk about sportsmanship, fairness, clean kills, etc -- it's not survival.  In cases where a dead animal means eating and a live animal means going hungry, humans use a number of tools civilized folk think barbaric.  Snares come immediately to mind.  There is evidence that the prehistoric Amerindians at least occasionally stampeded herds over a cliff killing and crippling many more animals than they could butcher before the meat started to spoil.

Fairness in killing animals is a human concept unique to a technophilic civilization.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: RbSned on January 04, 2010, 03:50:55 am
By some of the arguments here, the species with the easiest time achieving spaceflight would be one that was adapted for vacuum, microgravity, and hard radiation.
Perhaps a species that can consciously alter its own DNA and morphology, allowing it to birth specialized offspring, possibly with the ability to transfer its identity to one of these offspring.
Suddenly the body becomes a meta-tool.
Or in other words intelligent, von Neuman machines.
Forget the Hollywood Terminator or Matrix scenarios. If any civilisation out there experiences a `rise of the machines` they don`t bother to destroy their progenitors. The AI`s just leave their homeworld to the `meat` and go colonize the rest of the universe.
If you think about it its almost beginning to happen anyway with our own civilisation. Wer`e still decades away from sending men to Mars but some of our machines have been surviving quite happily there for the last six years!
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 04, 2010, 07:14:17 am
Mmm... hundreds of ships around a sphere around a kilometre in size.
Seems like it isn't a very dense object, since all those ships don't seem to orbit it, which should happen if they came more or less to a standstill in respect to the sphere. Not to mention the collision hazard if all of them were in an orbit of sorts...
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 04, 2010, 07:40:02 am
Mmm... hundreds of ships around a sphere around a kilometre in size.
Seems like it isn't a very dense object, since all those ships don't seem to orbit it, which should happen if they came more or less to a standstill in respect to the sphere. Not to mention the collision hazard if all of them were in an orbit of sorts...

How did you come by the figure of one kilometer in diameter for the Orb?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Sean Roach on January 04, 2010, 10:06:57 am
I just had a dirty thought.
Is this the conception of a new storyline?

The...service wagon...that was first to the second object helped trigger the thought.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on January 04, 2010, 10:28:08 am
So does the orb explode in confetti informing people of the low low savings to be found at Home Furnishings in Abottsford!  Come on down today, you find a couch and we'll find a way to put it in your home!

Seriously it beats wearing a gorilla suit and waving at traffic.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on January 04, 2010, 11:06:06 am
Don't tell me, let me guess, the name of the new artifact is the "Black Pearl"  ;D
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 05, 2010, 07:53:28 am
Now if I hear Dum., de dum dum dum! (Close encounters of the third kind) or Dum, DUM , DUMMM, DUM DUM, Dada dada dada! (2001) There will be conclusive proof that it's a gag.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 05, 2010, 09:09:13 am
How did you come by the figure of one kilometer in diameter for the Orb?

Must have misread the comic somehow, or mixed things up with the size of an orb from an old scifi game I have.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on January 05, 2010, 10:54:54 am
uh oh, whats reggie doing?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: knoodelhed on January 06, 2010, 12:38:28 am
uh oh, whats reggie doing?

I know that song!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUcOaGawIW0
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 06, 2010, 07:21:27 am
I called it! "Encounters of the third kind." Also known as the "ad nauseum signal."
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 06, 2010, 07:56:24 am
I called it! "Encounters of the third kind." Also known as the "ad nauseum signal."

Give that man a cigar! But now what happens?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 06, 2010, 08:15:28 am
But now what happens?

Assuming that Tobi is behind this, and, at the other end, receiving the broadcast through the orb, it is reasonable that he will appreciate Reggie's little joke, and consider this a suitably dramatic moment... to throw a switch, have the orb... pop... and begin a short presentation - or, better yet, demonstration - of his new teleportation technology.

This does not preclude the possibility that you have something much less obvious and unsubtle in mind.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 06, 2010, 11:38:54 am
But now what happens?

Assuming that Tobi is behind this, and, at the other end, receiving the broadcast through the orb, it is reasonable that he will appreciate Reggie's little joke, and consider this a suitably dramatic moment... to throw a switch, have the orb... pop... and begin a short presentation - or, better yet, demonstration - of his new teleportation technology.

This does not preclude the possibility that you have something much less obvious and unsubtle in mind.

I do. Wait for it.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Mabuse on January 07, 2010, 02:04:53 am
Ummm... what just happened?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 07, 2010, 07:30:28 am
"It's shrinking!"
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 07, 2010, 09:04:22 am
My God, it's full of stars!!!  :D
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 07, 2010, 11:37:16 am
For a moment I thought this "sphere" might be Tobi's TLP, but with a "blacked out" airskin. But unless the orb came in Earth's solar orbit through a testjump of Tobi's interstellar drive that's not possible. At least, in the previous arc TLP was said to be situated in the main belt which is quite a bit from the sun-Earth L4 point.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: atompunk on January 07, 2010, 03:47:34 pm
is that matte black or black hole black or violation of the laws of thermodynamics black?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Mabuse on January 08, 2010, 12:10:52 am
Oh god, now it's forming something!!!11
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 08, 2010, 03:00:04 am
My God, it's full of stars!!!

That could be related to Monday's page, which, in any case, is apparently going to be the excitement we were waiting for.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Angery Gorilla on January 08, 2010, 05:38:38 am
I called it! "Encounters of the third kind." Also known as the "ad nauseum signal."

Give that man a cigar! But now what happens?
Man, I havent read music in years but I didn't think I was that rusty.  I thought it was 2001 Space Odyssey.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWnmCu3U09w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWnmCu3U09w)

Even watching that clip from Close Encounters I still don't see how it lines up...
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 08, 2010, 08:26:58 am
I called it! "Encounters of the third kind." Also known as the "ad nauseum signal."

Give that man a cigar! But now what happens?
Man, I havent read music in years but I didn't think I was that rusty.  I thought it was 2001 Space Odyssey.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWnmCu3U09w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWnmCu3U09w)

Even watching that clip from Close Encounters I still don't see how it lines up...

SETI's answer is that this signal is used to rule out the chance of random "noise" or "echoes" in the transmission.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: enemyofthestate on January 08, 2010, 09:51:31 pm
I only read this once a week -- usually on Friday -- so a lot has happened.  I see everyone already knows the sequence is from "Close Encounter of the Third Kind". 

Can we expect the Energizer Bunny next?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 08, 2010, 10:01:31 pm
I only read this once a week -- usually on Friday -- so a lot has happened.  I see everyone already knows the sequence is from "Close Encounter of the Third Kind". 

Can we expect the Energizer Bunny next?

Curses! Foiled again!
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: wdg3rd on January 09, 2010, 01:05:09 am
Can we expect the Energizer Bunny next?
Curses! Foiled again!
OK, so we can safely figure that's out.

Note to the gallery:  Sandy & crew are in progress even as we try to second guess them, so some of the best predictions that might have been right in one continuum might not be right in this one -- Heisenberg wasn't an idiot until he signed on with Hitler.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 09, 2010, 10:01:03 am
Note to the gallery:  Sandy & crew are in progress even as we try to second guess them, so some of the best predictions that might have been right in one continuum might not be right in this one -- Heisenberg wasn't an idiot until he signed on with Hitler.


Uh... yeah, I guess. Not sure what the "in progress" means, but if by that, you mean, we can change the story line right from under you, that is not the case. We finalize the strips months in advance. So guess all you want, it will not effect the outcome. This universe is set in stone. Heisenberg to the contrary, notwithstanding.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: wdg3rd on January 10, 2010, 07:25:22 pm
Note to the gallery:  Sandy & crew are in progress even as we try to second guess them, so some of the best predictions that might have been right in one continuum might not be right in this one -- Heisenberg wasn't an idiot until he signed on with Hitler.


Uh... yeah, I guess. Not sure what the "in progress" means, but if by that, you mean, we can change the story line right from under you, that is not the case. We finalize the strips months in advance. So guess all you want, it will not effect the outcome. This universe is set in stone. Heisenberg to the contrary, notwithstanding.

Sandy, note that I am not one of those making predictions about the storyline.  I enjoy it as it goes along,  I'll admit I'm kind of weird that way.  I don't know how far in advance you &cet put the story to bed, but I do know that other artists (Walt Kelly comes to mind) have been known to change a story in progress based on then current events.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on January 10, 2010, 09:18:46 pm
I don't know how far in advance you &cet put the story to bed, but I do know that other artists (Walt Kelly comes to mind) have been known to change a story in progress based on then current events.

Are you talking about Pogo?  ???
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 10, 2010, 09:37:21 pm
I don't know how far in advance you &cet put the story to bed, but I do know that other artists (Walt Kelly comes to mind) have been known to change a story in progress based on then current events.

Man, it's hard enough just getting stuff done on time. New scientific articles and other current events do make it into what I write, but not for months.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 11, 2010, 12:40:57 am
Ah. Someone else beloved of tabloid newspapers that pay attention to aliens from flying saucers. Given where the directions were found, while this is unexpected, it is not entirely surprising.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Mabuse on January 11, 2010, 01:43:49 am
And this just keeps getting better and better  8)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on January 12, 2010, 06:24:33 pm
???  Wait a minute, if you had created an Elvis clone and waited for him to mature in secret and wanted to launch his new music career...  This would be a great way to give him his initial exposure.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Sean Roach on January 12, 2010, 09:12:55 pm
But what's to prevent your Elvis clone from deciding he'd rather be a starship pilot instead?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on January 13, 2010, 01:45:25 am
By explaining how much of a bigger space ship he could own if he first belted out a couple platinum records.

And by explaining that he had to pay back the company for himself.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 13, 2010, 09:56:15 am
By explaining how much of a bigger space ship he could own if he first belted out a couple platinum records.

And by explaining that he had to pay back the company for himself.

A reference to "the ship that sings", beautiful story that.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Sean Roach on January 13, 2010, 10:10:48 am
At what point did the Elvis clone enter into a contract for his own gestation?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: OPossumTX on January 13, 2010, 10:57:51 am
There could be an argument that the clone is the property of the organization which created it.  That doesn't mean that it could not buy itself from that entity under certain defined conditions.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on January 13, 2010, 11:39:48 am
At what point did the Elvis clone enter into a contract for his own gestation?
Imagine if all children had to pay back their parents their own cost of Gestation, Room and Board, Parenting and Education.

You know move out, get your first job, start paying back 16 to 20 years of back rent then reasoning you only have to pay back half the usual amount for the parenting to your parents and the rest can be a donation to PBS.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on January 13, 2010, 06:59:49 pm
There could be an argument that the clone is the property of the organization which created it.  That doesn't mean that it could not buy itself from that entity under certain defined conditions.
OPossumTX: L. Neil had a similar situation in one of his confederacy series stories, namely Howell the coyote.  Howell was very bright for his species when he was captured and given a cybernetic upgrade in order to help stop other coyotes killing sheep but when the ranchers association found out that it had done it's job far too well and Howell had become a sentient being they had wasted all their money because sentient beings are automatically not property but rational beings and one cannot own rational beings.  (it's also called slavery)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: ObscureDragom on January 14, 2010, 02:38:10 am
Ownership that can one can work to pay off is called Serfdom.  It's a delicate line though. 
Slavery<Serfdom<Those hard working girls that make your jeans
All part of the sliding scale of oppression
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 14, 2010, 07:10:50 am
Ownership that can one can work to pay off is called Serfdom.

Actually that is more like a form of indentured servitude. Serfs were bound to the land for life, though many escaped to the cities. If memory serves, if you could stay in a city for a year and a day, you became a free man.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Scott on January 14, 2010, 10:03:01 am
Quote
Imagine if all children had to pay back their parents their own cost of Gestation, Room and Board, Parenting and Education.

It's called, having kids of your own. The original "pay forward."
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Frank B. on January 14, 2010, 09:38:09 pm
Quote
Imagine if all children had to pay back their parents their own cost of Gestation, Room and Board, Parenting and Education.
It's called, having kids of your own. The original "pay forward."

Another way to consider it is, when somebody gives you something you didn't ask for, it is a gift (no payback owed even if it is something you were glad to get).  That you may feel obligated to do something in return is love, not the settlement of an agreement.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 14, 2010, 11:52:03 pm
Actually that is more like a form of indentured servitude.
When I think of indentured servitude, I usually think of a relationship that is assumed voluntarily, such as the way apprenticeship to a trade worked in the days of guilds. People were born into serfdom. Of course, it could well be argued that the status of a serf under feudalism differs only in degree, not in kind, from that of a citizen in a modern democracy, subject to taxation and conscription. The fact that the members of a democracy choose their own government by voting for it, and in addition are free to leave the country if another country will have them, I would claim, has some significance, although I accept it isn't enough from a Libertarian or minarchist or anarcho-capitalist viewpoint. Particularly as that second freedom, important to counter the argument that a government that can tax is like ten people beating someone up and taking his wallet, has a reduced practical meaning, since most countries regard themselves as largely full - although even people from poor countries are allowed into most industrialized democracies, if they will brave long waiting lists.

Oh, yes: the choice of song certainly makes me think of Tobi. He actually has a world of his own to welcome people to.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 15, 2010, 12:06:22 am
And in today's page... we are now given reason to think that perhaps Fiorella was teasing about having perfect pitch, because we now see that she is a movie fan.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 15, 2010, 06:59:49 am
HAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAAAA!!! I nearly fell out of my chair! Oh that is just too much. Well done, Sandy. Well done indeed.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 15, 2010, 07:51:28 am
HAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAAAA!!! I nearly fell out of my chair! Oh that is just too much. Well done, Sandy. Well done indeed.

Thank you, sir. Kudos should also go to script writer Scott. He distills wordy prose down to its essence, contributes scenes and schedules things just right. Also, Lee. His art work puts flesh on what Scott and I do. He has made EFT real.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 15, 2010, 12:23:53 pm
My God, it's full of stars!!!  :D

I knew it!  :D
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: enemyofthestate on January 16, 2010, 11:02:06 pm
Can we expect the Energizer Bunny next?

Curses! Foiled again!
Yeah.  I see you swapped the bunny out for Elvis at the last minute :-)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Scott on January 17, 2010, 02:01:16 am
Quote
Yeah.  I see you swapped the bunny out for Elvis at the last minute :-)

I know you're kidding, but just for the record:

The original short story "Big Head" from which this arc is adapted, was written more than a year ago.  My comic script adaptation for this week was completed last October 3. Lee finished the art for this page shortly before Thanksgiving, and I lettered and uploaded the strip on December 4.

We believe in buffers. (Actually we're about a week behind in our schedule and are working to catch up). So no, we don't adjust the script to deal with comments in the forum.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Azure Priest on January 22, 2010, 08:05:49 am
So was REGGIE behind it all? It would explain how he knew that the "ad nauseum" signal would work.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 22, 2010, 11:32:23 am
Just wondering, is Reggie a Maori or a Pacific islander from origin?
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on January 22, 2010, 12:08:04 pm
Sandy only knows for sure, but I got the impression that he was neither.  An african-american who has had some cryptic comments about how old he reallly is and what kind of past mistakes continue to haunt him.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 22, 2010, 02:29:01 pm
Sandy only knows for sure, but I got the impression that he was neither.  An african-american who has had some cryptic comments about how old he reallly is and what kind of past mistakes continue to haunt him.

Reggie, originally came from the UK. He is a "black," but only in the sense that we use that term for the vast majority of mixed race people. Most of his ancestry is from Africa, but with more than a dash of Anglo-Saxon.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 24, 2010, 04:56:13 am
He sure must be a very wealthy individual if he at the very least can participate in financing an amusement park and converting two asteroids to statues.
Makes me wonder why the heck he's still holding sermon services on Ceres.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: SandySandfort on January 24, 2010, 09:25:14 am
He sure must be a very wealthy individual if he at the very least can participate in financing an amusement park and converting two asteroids to statues.
Makes me wonder why the heck he's still holding sermon services on Ceres.

Wealthy? Reggie would say he is "comfortable." He certainly does not have the kind of money it would take to finance an amusement park or to convert three asteroids to statues. Hmm, what the heck is going on here?   ::)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on January 25, 2010, 09:10:23 am
Ouch, I forgot about da King.  :D

Well, he's at least involved to some degree. I don't see any other 3D participants in the director's meeting room.
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on January 26, 2010, 11:53:34 pm
Wealthy? Reggie would say he is "comfortable." He certainly does not have the kind of money it would take to finance an amusement park or to convert three asteroids to statues. Hmm, what the heck is going on here?

Well, he could just be working for whoever Arana Awatere is working for (or for Mr. Awatere himself, for that matter)... and that could still be Tobi, although not necessarily. Or, on the other hand, Guy could be doing a great job as Reggie's accountant, and one good investment has led to another - so, if it weren't for your explicit comment, I wouldn't eliminate the possibility that he might be richer now than he was at the beginning of the story. (Actually, he probably is, just not quite so considerably so.)
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: GeoModder on February 05, 2010, 03:27:35 am
Ah... so Toby is involved after all!
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: quadibloc on February 05, 2010, 04:13:50 am
Indeed, but Mr. Awatere is revealed as his partner, not his employee... with a fascinating backstory. And, soon enough, we will be following Tobi's recent visitors to Mars, I would think, but perhaps not...
Title: Re: Let the Rampant Theorizing Begin!
Post by: Rocketman on February 05, 2010, 10:16:40 am
I remember thinking that Tobi NOT being involved in this would be an unusual twist to the story.