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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: Holt on April 19, 2011, 05:53:20 pm

Title: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 19, 2011, 05:53:20 pm
Continuing the "real opponent" thread. Keep it on topic this time.

What qualities would a genuine threat to Ceres have? I would say it would need to be some form of trade embargo. No doubt Ceres is reliant on machinery and equipment manufactured elsewhere. Cut the flow of replacement parts for their air filtration system and Ceres will inevitably die. The UW being the sole Earth government and dominant power of the Sol system would make it quite easy for them to pull something like this off. Hell they could even decide to just ditch the concept of markets and adopt some different social model finally giving capitalism the boot. A better organised UW would be Cere's doom if it decided to take the planetoid.

Or how about an actual military invasion instead of retards herping and derping. The whole "big warship being defeated by a mining shuttle" thing was total bullshit and shows amazing ignorance on the authors part. A ship like that would never be on its own. It would have a metric shit ton of escort ships tagging along to protect it from exactly that sort of threat. Read a bit about naval history.

Or perhaps...a David Xanatos.
Ok yes I know those among you who aren't up the authors arse are now snorting and chuckling to yourselves. But give it a chance. The basics of the Xanatos gambit are simple enough that even a child can grasp them. For someone with half a brain in a position of power or of resource could easily implement such a thing. All it takes is power or resources and you can pull such a feat off provided you are not a total retard. Hell could be revealed that the Gamma Conquerer thing was part of some wider plan to take control of the Ceres communication infrastructure. Because yes there is infrastructure. The author can't worm his way out of that one thanks to his own admission.
Would be interesting to see if the author was capable of questioning his own ideology enough to actually give a character ideologically opposed to him a win.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 19, 2011, 07:09:25 pm

What qualities would a genuine threat to Ceres have? I would say it would need to be some form of trade embargo.

That has possibilities. Surely UW can tell whenever a shuttle leaves Terra. Surely they can inspect all the scheduled shuttles and blow up any unscheduled ones.

But what does Ceres need that they can't make for themselves? Surely not machine parts. They would have automatic milling machines etc that make whatever shape you want, just provide the program and it cranks them out. Whatever they import is just easier to buy than to make themselves, but do an embargo and they will make what they need. Probably starting with making extra automatic milling machines to handle the extra production. Maybe the programs for lots of parts are not available? Trade secrets on Terra? So you get skilled people trying to back-engineer the most important ones. Maybe people on Terra who send programs by tanglenet, who sympathise with the Belt and maybe want to emigrate after the embargo is over....

Maybe some elements are in short supply? Perhaps light elements have tended to get blown off or something, back when things were more fluid and fractionating. Potassium, nitrogen, carbon, lithium, beryllium, things that are needed in small amounts for alloys and such, and needed as trace elements for human diets. Presumably there would be enough for current needs but hard to expand until you get more. Not a great embargo but something.

I can imagine that Terra might be more dependent on the Belt than the other way round. But there could be some sort of hook there the UW could use.

Quote
Or how about an actual military invasion instead of retards herping and derping.

Presumably the current plot involves creating a provocation to justify an actual military invasion.

Quote
The whole "big warship being defeated by a mining shuttle" thing was total bullshit and shows amazing ignorance on the authors part. A ship like that would never be on its own. It would have a metric shit ton of escort ships tagging along to protect it from exactly that sort of threat. Read a bit about naval history.

This was unprecedented, right? I haven't noticed any previous interplanetary war in the EFT universe. And they thought the Belters were unarmed.

First they sent a bureaucrat to tell the Belters to pay their taxes. They presumably expected Belters would just tighten their belts and pay up.

Then they sent an intimidating force, led by a giant warship. (Why did they even have a giant warship when they had no one to fight space battles with?) The giant warship was supposed to be intimidating. But the Belters were not intimidated enough to surrender, and the giant warship could do no more than bombard some stuff hoping to intimidate better. (Compare Admiral Perry shelling Japanese ports to make them trade with us.) They hadn't really expected Belters to fight still, they expected them to be impressed and knuckle under.

Now they are getting ready for a bigger war. It didn't cost much to send a few ships on a routine mission to tour the Belt. There would have been no need to even mention it to the public if they had succeeded and made it back safely. But for a bigger war that they expect ahead of time will involve actual shooting and Marines and such, it would be traditional to have a provocation first.

I don't see much reason to complain about this. It could be following a pattern, not just random bozos who fail.

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The basics of the Xanatos gambit are simple enough that even a child can grasp them. For someone with half a brain in a position of power or of resource could easily implement such a thing. All it takes is power or resources and you can pull such a feat off provided you are not a total retard.

If it's so easy, why doesn't everybody who has power or resources do it all the time?

Quote
Would be interesting to see if the author was capable of questioning his own ideology enough to actually give a character ideologically opposed to him a win.

I guess that would be interesting. Maybe we could get Tom Clancy to write a novel where Russia or arab terrorists or somebody utterly defeat the US military and take over the USA.

Maybe we could get Tim LaHaye to write one where the Devil kills God and takes over Heaven, and rebuilds the earth as an atheist communist paradise.

Maybe we could get a collection of mystery writers to each write one where the smarter murderer not only gets away with it but manages to pin it on their series detective who is sentenced to a long prison term, perhaps on Death Row.

Maybe a series like Harry Potter where at the end Harry dies and Voldemort takes over the world.

The possibilities are endless! You're really onto something here.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: sam on April 19, 2011, 07:22:44 pm
What qualities would a genuine threat to Ceres have? I would say it would need to be some form of trade embargo. No doubt Ceres is reliant on machinery and equipment manufactured elsewhere. Cut the flow of replacement parts for their air filtration system and Ceres will inevitably die.

This works if the United Worlds pervades everything except Ceres - but obviously it does not.  Cutting off trade failed to bring South Africa to heel.  It is surely not going to bring Ceres to heel.

To defeat Ceres, the United Worlds will have to use violence, which is dangerous (Cereans have nukes) and apt to disturb their self image as benevolent do gooders.

Therefore, United Worlds needs to take the Soviet approach - a mixture of politics and low level violence.

Or how about an actual military invasion instead of retards herping and derping.

Actual UW military invasion is dangerous for the UW the same reasons as actual Soviet invasion was dangerous for the Soviet Union.   Bad for public relations, contrary to self image, and apt to result in the battle of  Armageddon.

The whole "big warship being defeated by a mining shuttle" thing was total bullshit

In recent war games, ship to ship missiles made small motorboats equal to big destroyers. http://www.cuttingedge.or/News/n2026.cfm (http://www.cuttingedge.org/News/n2026.cfm)
It is the latest version of “God made all men different, Sam Colt made them equal”

Government does not have magic superpowers in warfare.  States frequently lose to nonstate enemies.  Discipline and unity of command is a big advantage, but that government presents nice identifiable targets is a big disadvantage.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 19, 2011, 07:36:34 pm
But what does Ceres need that they can't make for themselves? Surely not machine parts. They would have automatic milling machines etc that make whatever shape you want, just provide the program and it cranks them out. Whatever they import is just easier to buy than to make themselves, but do an embargo and they will make what they need. Probably starting with making extra automatic milling machines to handle the extra production. Maybe the programs for lots of parts are not available? Trade secrets on Terra? So you get skilled people trying to back-engineer the most important ones. Maybe people on Terra who send programs by tanglenet, who sympathise with the Belt and maybe want to emigrate after the embargo is over....

There's going to be things they simply can not make. Either due to a lack of materials, skills, equipment or just a lack of knowledge. All those industries on Mars are obviously selling to someone and the Cereans are selling resources not manufactured goods so it's safe to assume that the Cerean industrial capacity is negligible if any exists at all.

Maybe some elements are in short supply? Perhaps light elements have tended to get blown off or something, back when things were more fluid and fractionating. Potassium, nitrogen, carbon, lithium, beryllium, things that are needed in small amounts for alloys and such, and needed as trace elements for human diets. Presumably there would be enough for current needs but hard to expand until you get more. Not a great embargo but something.

Food. Organic compounds. These are going to be the things that Ceres has to import. Barring handwavium magic there is no way Ceres can be self sufficient in terms of feeding itself.
Medical supplies are also extremely unlikely to be made in the region since pharmaceuticals require organic compounds. Mind you the author seems to be like a lot of the American fringe right wing and thinks that medicine is the government trying to replace your brain with a computer or something equally ludicrous.
Fuel? Also something I doubt they'll have a lot of out there. Mind you we don't really know much about what they fuel their ships with.


I can imagine that Terra might be more dependent on the Belt than the other way round. But there could be some sort of hook there the UW could use.

I'd say they're more co-dependent. But you're not trying to break the belt initially. You're just breaking Ceres as it's the big place in the belt.


I guess that would be interesting. Maybe we could get Tom Clancy to write a novel where Russia or arab terrorists or somebody utterly defeat the US military and take over the USA.

I don't really like his books but by the Omnissiah I would read the shit out of those. Hell they don't even have to take over the USA. I'd settle for a good book about middle eastern militiamen fighting under the banner of Al Qaeda to force the USA out of their homeland. Or the USSR tries to stop US intervention in some country that doesn't want the USA killing their government and replacing it with a pro-USA puppet. A story of a General trying to not only stop the damned capitalists from ruining everything but also stop the corrupt elements of the soviet union from ruining everything too.

Maybe we could get Tim LaHaye to write one where the Devil kills God and takes over Heaven, and rebuilds the earth as an atheist communist paradise.

Fuck yes. To be honest though the Devil has always bugged me. Why would he torture the wicked? He doesn't stand to gain anything from that. Be better off training them to be his army and simply finding a way to get them to Heaven or Earth.

Maybe we could get a collection of mystery writers to each write one where the smarter murderer not only gets away with it but manages to pin it on their series detective who is sentenced to a long prison term, perhaps on Death Row.

I read a book like that once. It was actually rather good. As I recall it ended with the criminal sending the detective (now in prison) a video of him relaxing on a sunny beach while some hired girl performed a sexual act upon him.

Maybe a series like Harry Potter where at the end Harry dies and Voldemort takes over the world.

Harry Potter dying? I see no problems with this.



But yeah Sam it is heavily implied that despite being as competent as a room full of retarded turkeys, the UW is the major power of the Sol system. Plus they are the only world with a natural biosphere that can support human life. Using nuclear weapons against that would pretty much make you the enemy of the entire human race.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Aardvark on April 19, 2011, 08:36:34 pm
Quote
First they sent a bureaucrat to tell the Belters to pay their taxes. They presumably expected Belters would just tighten their belts and pay up.

Then they sent an intimidating force, led by a giant warship. (Why did they even have a giant warship when they had no one to fight space battles with?) The giant warship was supposed to be intimidating. But the Belters were not intimidated enough to surrender, and the giant warship could do no more than bombard some stuff hoping to intimidate better. (Compare Admiral Perry shelling Japanese ports to make them trade with us.) They hadn't really expected Belters to fight still, they expected them to be impressed and knuckle under.

Now they are getting ready for a bigger war. It didn't cost much to send a few ships on a routine mission to tour the Belt. There would have been no need to even mention it to the public if they had succeeded and made it back safely. But for a bigger war that they expect ahead of time will involve actual shooting and Marines and such, it would be traditional to have a provocation first.

I don't see much reason to complain about this. It could be following a pattern, not just random bozos who fail.

I didn't think I would be agreeing with J Thomas on much, but the above sounds half-way reasonable. It presupposes, I think, a rather bumbling ideological bureaucracy that habitually underestimates other cultures because of their contempt for them, but I can see it. On the flip side, I don't think that Sandy thinks much of the UW's bureaucracy. I'm in the middle. Ideologues like those who apparently run the UW can be idiots, but in certain areas, like aggression, dictatorships are all business. The UW needs Ceres so badly, if anything, I would think they would make absolutely sure of the Cerereans' strengths and weaknesses, then launch with overwhelming force.

I'll wait this latest attempt out before I make a judgement on how realistic it is. My main objection is that after an attack on Ceres that was thwarted by a near miracle, the Cerereans and Belters still don't seem to be taking the UW threat seriously, IMO. ZAP or not, I don't think it's reasonable to allow an armed enemy to bring guns into your house with obvious bad intent. What if the UW fleet had showed up above Ceres with their guns trained downward? If the UW fleet hadn't killed anyone on the way to Ceres, would there have been a fleet of small ships with industrial lasers to save the day before the UW fleet was fully in position?

To apply another saying to AnCap, ZAP should not be a suicide pact. There must be practical limits to it. I hope that we're about to find out what they are.

***

I have no doubt that the Cereans/Belters could raise as much food as necessary. They have the raw materials, the room, the technology, and the motivation.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: sam on April 19, 2011, 09:37:11 pm
I'm in the middle. Ideologues like those who apparently run the UW can be idiots, but in certain areas, like aggression, dictatorships are all business.

Not what I observe. 

The long telegram was an astute and prophetic account of the future behavior of the Soviet Union, which argued that they were going to do bad things because they were dangerously out of contact with reality - that they were madmen in charge of a collapsing economic system.

Hitler was brilliant at tactics, having learned from his experience on the front, but he was a disaster at strategy - attacking Russia ten months too soon, and declaring war on the USA.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 20, 2011, 05:59:35 am
Hitler wasn't a good military man. But he was a godlike administrator. If he hadn't been stupid enough to try another war he would have been able to easily turn Germany into a global superpower that would most likely continue to exist and be strong today.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 20, 2011, 07:43:16 am
Hitler wasn't a good military man. But he was a godlike administrator. If he hadn't been stupid enough to try another war he would have been able to easily turn Germany into a global superpower that would most likely continue to exist and be strong today.

It's hard to be sure how things would inevitably have had to be if they were different.

One thing that I think you should consider was that Germany and the USSR were in an arms race. The rest of the world was not keeping up at all. It was an arms race between just Germany and the USSR, and Germany was falling behind. To keep up, Germany needed more of everything -- more oil, more steel, more factories, more soldiers, etc -- and could not get them. They tried hard to squeeze more stuff out of the industrial nations they occupied. But the occupations took soldiers too, and those were not replaceable.

The longer Germany waited to attack, the bigger the advantage the USSR would have. The USSR was keeping a lot of forces in the east in case Japan attacked Siberia. If Japan could take Vladivostok etc then they would essentially have the eastern USSR -- an overland counterattack would be supplied by a single railroad line until they could build more. So the USSR kept forces in the east and depended on the nonagression treaty in the west. If anything happened so that Japan was not a threat to eastern USSR, those forces could be shifted west.

Depending on russian intentions, if Germany had waited until the Russians attacked, they might have just gotten rolled up. Fighting defensively against the USSR's full industrial might, they could have been driven all the way to the Atlantic.

By making a surprise attack that destroyed most of the factories in the western USSR, they crippled Russia. It was probably a mistake for them to concentrate on taking a million Russian POWs instead of continuing farther east. Russia replaced soldiers much easier than they could replace factories. And taking Moscow might have had significance beyond the lost industry etc -- though that didn't work well for Napoleon.

But those are all details. Germany was falling farther behind every month, and the longer they put off the attack the harder it would be. They preferred not to have Britain at their backs but once they decided they couldn't take Britain then it made sense to attack the USSR as quickly as they could.

Unless they thought Stalin would share.


<edit> Oops! I just noticed that this is a thread about the UW attacking Ceres. How did we turn it into WWII? It doesn't fit that at all. Maybe we could discuss WWII in a different thread?
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: sam on April 20, 2011, 07:19:04 pm
One thing that I think you should consider was that Germany and the USSR were in an arms race.

Stalin was not preparing for war with Hitler at all, and when Hitler attacked, was totally unprepared, for a while refused to believe what was happening, and punished those who tried to bring him into contact with reality.

Hitler had plenty of time, and should have waited.

The rest of the world was not keeping up at all. It was an arms race between just Germany and the USSR, and Germany was falling behind.

If the USSR had been in an arms race with Germany, which it was not, it would have had little hope of keeping up.  It was able to match Germany once it received massive American support, which implies it could not possibly have matched Germany without such support.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: ShireSilver on April 21, 2011, 01:05:43 pm
Stalin was not preparing for war with Hitler at all, and when Hitler attacked, was totally unprepared, for a while refused to believe what was happening, and punished those who tried to bring him into contact with reality.

...

If the USSR had been in an arms race with Germany, which it was not, it would have had little hope of keeping up.  It was able to match Germany once it received massive American support, which implies it could not possibly have matched Germany without such support.

Admittedly its been a while, but I remember from my reading of the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which I read when I was 13, the Soviet Union was indeed planning to invade Germany. IIRC, Hitler only beat Stalin to the punch by about a month, and one of the reasons that the German army was able to do so well initially was that the Soviet troops were in offensive positions/modes and not defensive ones.

Eventually the Soviet war machine was producing an enormous amount as well as accepting a lot produced by us, and if we hadn't invaded France in '44, we might have ended up sacrificing much more of Europe to communism. In all likelihood the Soviet army would have taken out the Germans without our opening a second front. (Although our threatening to open a second front could have made a difference.)

As a side note, it has long been my opinion that the Nazi regime made itself look so much better economically by cannibalizing parts of its own economy (Jews, Gypsies, etc) and then by cannibalizing the conquered territories. It needed to expand in order to find new victims to steal from to keep up appearances. This is much like the U.S. has been doing, only through currency manipulation: we've been getting other countries to sacrifice in order to make our economy look better. But that's ending now as just like in the Nazi case, it can only last so long before the victims and potential victims figure it out and stop going along with it.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on April 21, 2011, 02:38:38 pm
<edit> Oops! I just noticed that this is a thread about the UW attacking Ceres. How did we turn it into WWII? It doesn't fit that at all. Maybe we could discuss WWII in a different thread?

But Ceres is in the midst of WWII!  WWI was the "Harris incident", and WWII is the "Christmas War".  They are small wars, but, Ceres is a small, small, world after all.  ;D
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 21, 2011, 03:14:17 pm
I copied most of the WWII-only posts to a topic in Talk Among Yourselves. So if we talk about WWII there we can have stuff that relates to Ceres here without it getting drowned out.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 21, 2011, 04:24:34 pm
But Ceres is in the midst of WWII!  WWI was the "Harris incident", and WWII is the "Christmas War".  They are small wars, but, Ceres is a small, small, world after all.  ;D

Damn! I think you have nailed the (un)official anthem for Ceres!

The lyrics are a little off, but I bet someone on this Forum can fix that. (Gun fondling is optional):

It's a world of laughter
A world of tears
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all

There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev'ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on April 21, 2011, 04:43:14 pm
But Ceres is in the midst of WWII!  WWI was the "Harris incident", and WWII is the "Christmas War".  They are small wars, but, Ceres is a small, small, world after all.  ;D

Damn! I think you have nailed the (un)official anthem for Ceres!

The lyrics are a little off, but I bet someone on this Forum can fix that. (Gun fondling is optional):

It's a world of freedom,
A world of fun;
It's a  world where ev'ryone
has a gun.
It's a  world ruled by ZAP
not that government crap --
Its a small world, after all.

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: orthzar on April 21, 2011, 05:17:55 pm
I am sort of the opinion that Ceres is in a similar position to the Lunar colony in the novel The Moon is A Harsh Mistress.   Ceres is far too productive for the UW to seriously consider obliterating the planetoid; it would be far more productive to allow more goods and services to flow from Ceres to the UW territorial holdings (Earth and non-Terran colonies).   Then again, I never thought government to be productive nor to have more intelligence or motives than a sexual predator.

Starting war (or aggression) is a sign of a bruised ego IMO (or the sign of a psychological disorder).   I wonder if there is a news-blitz/news-campaign coming out of the MSM on Terra.   The UW, like every government that wants to start a war, must first get the people on their side.   Vietnam may have proven that you can't fight a war without majority (>50%) vocal approval.

I have a feeling that Ceres being so wealthy is just far too tempting for the UW government to not demand/desire control.   The problem is that Ceres is productive because the people there are totally free(able to do good).   America got plenty of willing and productive scientists after WW2, but Cererean culture is not Third Reich Germany culture so Ceres producers might refuse to help the UW government.   I wonder if the UW is presumptuous enough to believe that their government can run the Ceres companies better than Cerereans can.

I am of the opinion that the Cerereans ought to garner the help of other non-UW colonies throughout the solar system.   Firstly, they could send videos of how good life is on Ceres, Mars, etc. and also send recordings of speeches on the benefits of living in freedom, like sending Reagan's taped speeches into Soviet-held Berlin.   This media campaign directed at the people ruled by the UW terrorcrats would serve to destabilize the capacity of the UW to wage war(i.e. not enough popular support).   Second, establishing a total embargo to keep any goods, services, or currency being sent to Terra would potentially cripple Terra.   The USSR had constant and severe economic problems throughout its reign, and the UW should be having similar problems; just give it a verbal push and it might topple.

The UW has created an Iron Curtain of sorts, and all out war is the dumbest possible move, though I have been surprised by how dumb people can be.

Rhonda is a female dog.  I am tempted to suggest that Ed just shoot her on the spot, but that would only help the UW.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 21, 2011, 06:19:30 pm
Ceres is wealthy because it has a lot of useful and easy to get at resources and had no prior occupants to cause trouble for any corps that moved into harvest them.
The anarchists we see? They're effectively parasites feeding off the bodies of these corps. Well maybe symbiotes since they no doubt provide services to the corps.
In the belt the corps are the law and like any corporate entity they don't give a tug of a dead dogs cock about what happens so long as their profits continue to go up. So the corps build and maintain the infrastructure and maintain just enough law and order as is profitable for them while the anarchists get to prance around safely and launch into spiels about how awesome they are when in reality they're nobodies.
It's like anarchists in the real world. They sit around enjoying all the comforts of society while saying it is terrible and awful every day. If someone breaks into their home you can bet they'll call the police, if they have a need to they will use the courts to sue someone and you can dam well bet they will make use of any nationalised infrastructure or services.

In other words the UW is looking at the wrong entity. They think the anarchists are worth bothering with when in reality they need to talk to the corps about their property.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 21, 2011, 07:54:54 pm
But Ceres is in the midst of WWII!  WWI was the "Harris incident", and WWII is the "Christmas War".  They are small wars, but, Ceres is a small, small, world after all.  ;D

Damn! I think you have nailed the (un)official anthem for Ceres!

The lyrics are a little off, but I bet someone on this Forum can fix that. (Gun fondling is optional):

It's a world of freedom,
A world of fun;
It's a  world where ev'ryone
has a gun.
It's a  world ruled by ZAP
not that government crap --
Its a small world, after all.

 ;D ;D ;D

You have missed your calling (unless you do write lyrics). I especial like rhyming "ZAP" with "government crap."  ;D

I'm so excited, I'm vigorously fondling my gun just to meet Holt's kinky expectation. Does it make you horny, Hoplophobe Holt?

(Ah yes, I remember those days of wine and roses when my girlfriend and I would put all our guns and gold coins on the bed and roll around among them while we made hot, hot, hot love. Talk about aphrodisiacs.... Those were the days. Girls, gold and guns, a perfect combination.)
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 21, 2011, 08:21:35 pm
Well if I wanted to annoy you I could just go buy a gun that's classed as a destructive device in the USA. After so long as its bolt action it's perfectly legal here.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Bob G on April 21, 2011, 09:53:04 pm
There's going to be things they simply can not make. Either due to a lack of materials, skills, equipment or just a lack of knowledge. All those industries on Mars are obviously selling to someone and the Cereans are selling resources not manufactured goods so it's safe to assume that the Cerean industrial capacity is negligible if any exists at all.

Continually repeating your assumptions and assertions does not make them any more true.

These people are in the freaking ASTEROID BELT, a virtually endless supply of everything needed for a technological civilization from volatiles on the carbonaceous chondrites to heavy metals on the nickel-iron nuggets. Not to mention that they're already halfway to the largest storehouse of volatiles in the system, Jupiter. The skills required simply to live in this environment make developing techciv infrastructure, at least eventually, inevitable; an embargo by the UW would just jump start the process. Sure there would be some initial shortages as the system ramps up, but that would be only temporary.

Quote
Food. Organic compounds. These are going to be the things that Ceres has to import. Barring handwavium magic there is no way Ceres can be self sufficient in terms of feeding itself.
Medical supplies are also extremely unlikely to be made in the region since pharmaceuticals require organic compounds.

Continually repeating your assumptions and assertions does not make them any more true.

They're sitting on a freaking ice planet. Asteroids. Jupiter.

Quote
Mind you the author seems to be like a lot of the American fringe right wing and thinks that medicine is the government trying to replace your brain with a computer or something equally ludicrous.

Speaking of ludicrous, where the hell did you come up with that one?

Quote
Fuel? Also something I doubt they'll have a lot of out there. Mind you we don't really know much about what they fuel their ships with.

Hydrogen/oxygen electrolyzed from Cererean ice?


It's a world of freedom,
A world of fun;
It's a  world where ev'ryone
has a gun.
It's a  world ruled by ZAP
not that government crap --
Its a small world, after all.

Two thumbs up.

Well if I wanted to annoy you I could just go buy a gun that's classed as a destructive device in the USA. After so long as its bolt action it's perfectly legal here.

My stepfather had a Boys rifle; what a monster (in a GOOD way). I think his cousin got it when he passed.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Aardvark on April 21, 2011, 10:10:18 pm
Quote
Holt: Well if I wanted to annoy you I could just go buy a gun that's classed as a destructive device in the USA. After so long as its bolt action it's perfectly legal here.

Just out of curiosity, why should you buying a gun bother anyone here?
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: dough560 on April 22, 2011, 03:36:39 am
Holt, extrapolating from your writing, you're a British Subject and a shining example of England's public or private school systems.

I've access to firearms and other tools which range from up close and personal to:  when I see my target I can make the shot at some extreme distances.   Since many of these are semiautomatic with high capacity magazines, I would expect a life sentence for possession in England.  Especially if they were used in self-defense.

Wait, I forgot myself, the British government does not recognizance the individual's right of self-defense.  So your thugs invade your homes and take what ever they want.  Your government dug itself such a deep hole they've been falsifying their annual crime reports for years and you "Subjects" have been letting your "Betters" get away with it.

Your beliefs are yours and you are welcome to them.  We will have to agree to disagree. 
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 22, 2011, 07:12:12 am
Quote
Holt: Well if I wanted to annoy you I could just go buy a gun that's classed as a destructive device in the USA. After so long as its bolt action it's perfectly legal here.

Just out of curiosity, why should you buying a gun bother anyone here?

I'd buy one he can't buy and fondle it, goading him over the fact that in comparison anything he can own is naught but a pea shooter.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 22, 2011, 07:19:01 am
Holt, extrapolating from your writing, you're a British Subject and a shining example of England's public or private school systems.

Egads a yank capable of sarcasm. Quickly someone call a museum!

I've access to firearms and other tools which range from up close and personal to:  when I see my target I can make the shot at some extreme distances.   Since many of these are semiautomatic with high capacity magazines, I would expect a life sentence for possession in England.  Especially if they were used in self-defense.


Life sentence? Nah. Maybe if you went out of your way to repeatedly shoot people. Even that farmer who used a shotgun in self defence didn't get that long. What was it five years? and even then he got out early.

Wait, I forgot myself, the British government does not recognizance the individual's right of self-defense.  So your thugs invade your homes and take what ever they want.  Your government dug itself such a deep hole they've been falsifying their annual crime reports for years and you "Subjects" have been letting your "Betters" get away with it.

Awful lot of "don't take mah guns or else people will riot!" here. Yes our self defence laws are messed up. Mostly as a result of the last few governments being insane on a level you typically only see in US politics. Mind you the coalition changed it so that reasonable force is permitted, depending on the situation this could be argued as permitting lethal force. However we're unlikely to see laws like in the USA where you can just go "he was on my property therefore I shot him". Mostly because we're more social than you and less "rah everyone leave me alone!"

As for the falsifying crime statistics....that's blatant bullshit. Quite why they'd be falsifying rises in things like gun crime is beyond me. Oh right it's all part of some big evil government plan where they'll replace our teeth with cameras.


Your beliefs are yours and you are welcome to them.  We will have to agree to disagree. 

Well at least I can honestly say I'm not an irrational paranoid like yourself.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: quadibloc on April 22, 2011, 06:09:00 pm
At this point, it's interesting to speculate on what comes next.

Obviously, the best thing to do in a hostage situation is to stage a successful rescue mission. That, though, would mean that this story line would function only as entertainment, and not make a point about how AnCap works. So I'm assuming that this won't be possible.

Still, they are going to avoid the alternative of sacrificing one individual versus surrendering their whole society to slavery. They must do that, and yet they need to do it in a way that doesn't seem like a cheat to the reader.

Embedding a hidden message in the provocation somehow that negates it at a later time is one clever possibility.

Another is to give them their provocation - and then defeat the subsequent full-scale military assault on the Belt. But if they can do that, the main source of suspense in the story all along was pointless.

And the thing about kidnappers, too, is that you can't really trust them to release their hostages unharmed.

Now, if the Black Mamba were really a worthy adversary...

she would have lied about where Kate is being held, and the staged provocation would be misdirection, just to torture as well as distract Ed and the other Belters. The real provocation that's going to be televised on Earth is the attempted rescue mission against the runabout!

But I think the Belters are smart enough to consider possibilities like that in their plans.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 22, 2011, 06:37:21 pm
If the black mamba was worth the time it takes to read her lines then the belters would have attacked first because they wanted to.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Bob G on April 22, 2011, 07:06:31 pm
If the black mamba was worth the time it takes to read her lines then the belters would have attacked first because they wanted to.

I'm beginning to see . . . Holt is setting up a 'true Scotsman' situation. Any threat to Ceres or Cerereans which can be dealt with BY Cerereans - is not a 'real' threat.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 22, 2011, 07:10:39 pm
I'm beginning to see . . . Holt is setting up a 'true Scotsman' situation. Any threat to Ceres or Cerereans which can be dealt with BY Cerereans - is not a 'real' threat.

Show me a situation they can loose. Then show them triumph by actually being clever. As it stands all we've really seen is stupidity and derpderpderp on the part of the UW.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: sam on April 23, 2011, 04:50:46 am
This seems to me like a complete no brainer.  In a hostage situation, you should never pay for release of hostages, as this will only result in more hostage taking.  So if you can, you rescue the hostages, if you cannot, then you stall, and if stalling does not work, then you kill the hostage takers once they are out of hostages.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Aardvark on April 23, 2011, 06:14:14 am
Quote
This seems to me like a complete no brainer.  In a hostage situation, you should never pay for release of hostages, as this will only result in more hostage taking.  So if you can, you rescue the hostages, if you cannot, then you stall, and if stalling does not work, then you kill the hostage takers once they are out of hostages.

I agree.

Solution A: Ed gets Rhonda fired up enough to do something stupid. Maybe Ed could tell her that their conversation had been recorded. She would demand the recording and he would demand to talk to the girl to make sure that she was all right. He would record that conversation, and voila! evidence.

Solution B: Guy is involved in some way. He knows the UW best and is aware of what they are capable of. He would have the smarts to record the conversation in the first place or keep track of all the UW team members. I doubt that Rhonda can be certain that all the cameras were pointing the other way.

Solution C: Guy can finally use that UW bugged communicator to communicate a false message, communicate with Chang, something. Then Chang would stop it.

Solution D: Guy would be the one to kick the hell out of the UW troop. They would record that, then, when they release the girl, he would inform them that he is from the UW, thereby ruining the message the UW needs.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: enemyofthestate on April 23, 2011, 11:49:18 am
Food. Organic compounds. These are going to be the things that Ceres has to import. Barring handwavium magic there is no way Ceres can be self sufficient in terms of feeding itself.
No handwavium is required.

If the spectroscopic evidence is correct, there are plenty of hydrocarbons and volatiles in the Belt.  Folks who follow space science for real have known since the 1994 Clementine mission that bodies without a significant atmosphere can still harbor large quantities of frozen H2O.   According to data from NEAR Shoemaker even a small asteroid like 433 Eros can have water frozen in the surface fractures.  Given water, hydrocarbons and volatiles, food crops can be grown either hydroponically or in a mixture of soil made from asteroid material and composted organic waste.  The available evidence does not support any assertion the Cereans cannot feed themselves.

Quote
Medical supplies are also extremely unlikely to be made in the region since pharmaceuticals require organic compounds. Mind you the author seems to be like a lot of the American fringe right wing and thinks that medicine is the government trying to replace your brain with a computer or something equally ludicrous.
Once the structure is known, synthesizing most pharmaceuticals is not difficult. A lot of then are made using genetically modified yeast working on plain old glucose.  In fact, it will be easier to manufacture extremely high purity medicines in a micro gravity environment.  As the gray market in medical drugs illustrates, the only real impediment to duplicating any modern medicine is intellectual property law.  Whether some equivalent of that exists in Mr. Sandfort's universe is unclear.

Quote
Fuel? Also something I doubt they'll have a lot of out there. Mind you we don't really know much about what they fuel their ships with.
The space craft as described do have some magical properties.  However if you are referring to so-called "fossil fuels" then the "tarry" hydrocarbons known from meteorite and spectral evidence to exist in the belt can be de-polymerized and separated just like here on Earth.  You will need a centrifuge.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 23, 2011, 12:07:38 pm
I agree.

Solution A: Ed gets Rhonda fired up enough to do something stupid. Maybe Ed could tell her that their conversation had been recorded. She would demand the recording and he would demand to talk to the girl to make sure that she was all right. He would record that conversation, and voila! evidence.

Solution B: Guy is involved in some way. He knows the UW best and is aware of what they are capable of. He would have the smarts to record the conversation in the first place or keep track of all the UW team members. I doubt that Rhonda can be certain that all the cameras were pointing the other way.

Solution C: Guy can finally use that UW bugged communicator to communicate a false message, communicate with Chang, something. Then Chang would stop it.

Solution D: Guy would be the one to kick the hell out of the UW troop. They would record that, then, when they release the girl, he would inform them that he is from the UW, thereby ruining the message the UW needs.

Or Solution E: Chang says "Fuck you bitch you're under arrest for breaking the law"
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: wdg3rd on April 23, 2011, 12:55:56 pm
Food. Organic compounds. These are going to be the things that Ceres has to import. Barring handwavium magic there is no way Ceres can be self sufficient in terms of feeding itself.
No handwavium is required.

If the spectroscopic evidence is correct, there are plenty of hydrocarbons and volatiles in the Belt.  Folks who follow space science for real have known since the 1994 Clementine mission that bodies without a significant atmosphere can still harbor large quantities of frozen H2O.   According to data from NEAR Shoemaker even a small asteroid like 433 Eros can have water frozen in the surface fractures.  Given water, hydrocarbons and volatiles, food crops can be grown either hydroponically or in a mixture of soil made from asteroid material and composted organic waste.  The available evidence does not support any assertion the Cereans cannot feed themselves.

As far as I can figure, the only foods the Cerereans would need to import would be luxury goods.  After all, the only good truffles come from France and the best beef comes from Texas, and there is no way to duplicate those flavors elsewhere on Earth, let alone in the far reaches of space.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 23, 2011, 01:51:15 pm
More excellent analysis from another person who is paying attention and actually knows something about science. Only the ignoramuses (we all know who they are) need to read a book and get a clue.  ::)

The space craft as described do have some magical properties...

Maybe. The "burners" derive their energy from fusion as do household power units. Here is what my notes say:

"Fusion Power (desktop)—The UW outlaws any sort of atomic power on Earth, except for large centralized fusion plants run by the government. Off Earth, fusion power units are small and run homes, cars, burners, etc. The units produce electricity via an aneutronic fusion reaction using helium-3 and deuterium as fuel and bismuth as a fusion catalyst."

My recollection is that none of the three materials are radioactive and that they produce no residual radiation during fusion. All the helium-3 and deuterium one could ever want, can be found ... where? (Consider this an exercise for the student.)  ;D
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 23, 2011, 02:47:10 pm
Food. Organic compounds. These are going to be the things that Ceres has to import. Barring handwavium magic there is no way Ceres can be self sufficient in terms of feeding itself.

If the spectroscopic evidence is correct, there are plenty of hydrocarbons and volatiles in the Belt.  Folks who follow space science for real have known since the 1994 Clementine mission that bodies without a significant atmosphere can still harbor large quantities of frozen H2O.   According to data from NEAR Shoemaker even a small asteroid like 433 Eros can have water frozen in the surface fractures.  Given water, hydrocarbons and volatiles, food crops can be grown either hydroponically or in a mixture of soil made from asteroid material and composted organic waste.  The available evidence does not support any assertion the Cereans cannot feed themselves.

I basicly agree. All the mass used for food can be infinitely recycled, not counting things which are lost to space. As the population grows you'd need to add mass, but that isn't any big deal unless the population grows *fast*.

Still, there would be something that plants or animals need that would be in shortest supply. And whatever that is, it might be useful to import it from Terra. Maybe the top two or three rarest items might get imported from Terra. Easier to import those than to extract them from many ton of dross. But likely possible to get them without imports too.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 23, 2011, 03:12:13 pm
basicly agree. All the mass used for food can be infinitely recycled, not counting things which are lost to space. As the population grows you'd need to add mass, but that isn't any big deal unless the population grows *fast*.

Recycled for infinity?
Entropy doesn't factor into the anarchist worldview huh?
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Bob G on April 23, 2011, 04:36:47 pm
basicly agree. All the mass used for food can be infinitely recycled, not counting things which are lost to space. As the population grows you'd need to add mass, but that isn't any big deal unless the population grows *fast*.

Recycled for infinity?
Entropy doesn't factor into the anarchist worldview huh?

There's the old Holt I know . . . not reading the whole post (" . . . not counting things which are lost to space . . .") and going off on a tangent.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 23, 2011, 05:01:20 pm
basicly agree. All the mass used for food can be infinitely recycled, not counting things which are lost to space. As the population grows you'd need to add mass, but that isn't any big deal unless the population grows *fast*.

Recycled for infinity?
Entropy doesn't factor into the anarchist worldview huh?

There's the old Holt I know . . . not reading the whole post (" . . . not counting things which are lost to space . . .") and going off on a tangent.

That doesn't really fall under the "lost to space category"
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: quadibloc on April 24, 2011, 07:15:54 am
Or Solution E: Chang says "frack you bitch you're under arrest for breaking the law"
Presumably, for all the claims that the UW is really a "democracy", not all that different from the United States at present, just gone a little further down the slope... that would work just about as well as an official in mainland China attempting to enforce the written law against the will of the Communist leadership.

It might end the immediate threat, since Chang holds command, but once back on Earth, Chang is shot and Rhonda is exonerated. And the UW then tries something else.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 24, 2011, 07:21:32 am
Or Solution E: Chang says "frack you bitch you're under arrest for breaking the law"
Presumably, for all the claims that the UW is really a "democracy", not all that different from the United States at present, just gone a little further down the slope... that would work just about as well as an official in mainland China attempting to enforce the written law against the will of the Communist leadership.

It might end the immediate threat, since Chang holds command, but once back on Earth, Chang is shot and Rhonda is exonerated. And the UW then tries something else.

Depends how public he makes it. Plus he can simply report it as a horrible traffic accident. "Oh twas horrible sir she and twelve of my men were in a vehicle and they lost control. All of them died"
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 24, 2011, 07:49:33 am
Or Solution E: Chang says "frack you bitch you're under arrest for breaking the law"
Presumably, for all the claims that the UW is really a "democracy", not all that different from the United States at present, just gone a little further down the slope... that would work just about as well as an official in mainland China attempting to enforce the written law against the will of the Communist leadership.

It might end the immediate threat, since Chang holds command, but once back on Earth, Chang is shot and Rhonda is exonerated. And the UW then tries something else.

Depends how public he makes it. Plus he can simply report it as a horrible traffic accident. "Oh twas horrible sir she and twelve of my men were in a vehicle and they lost control. All of them died"

But aren't they being constantly monitored by their superiors by tanglenet? If there's an issue then somebody looks at the files and finds out.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: GlennWatson on April 24, 2011, 08:51:44 am
I imagine Chang could arrest the Black Mamba and then just forget to return to Earth.  We have seen this happen before in the strip.  Many of his men might follow his example.  They could perhaps start their own little colony.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 24, 2011, 09:01:40 am

But aren't they being constantly monitored by their superiors by tanglenet? If there's an issue then somebody looks at the files and finds out.


It's unlikely they're all fitted with cameras and bugs purely because trawling that data would be too expensive and time consuming. No they will file reports which will be stored and cataloged automatically for ease of searching. The only file they will have in regards to her death and the deaths of her goon squad are Changs and the company medics. There's no coroner or anything on hand and they could easily claim the accident made the bodies irretrievable.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 24, 2011, 09:17:18 am

But aren't they being constantly monitored by their superiors by tanglenet? If there's an issue then somebody looks at the files and finds out.


It's unlikely they're all fitted with cameras and bugs purely because trawling that data would be too expensive and time consuming. No they will file reports which will be stored and cataloged automatically for ease of searching.

Why not file and catalog the camera data, and trawl it later only if there's reason to think it would be interesting? That's what we do with lots of our satellite photos, after all. We have computer recognition stuff that looks for specific things -- tanks etc -- and people look at the hits if they care to, and eyeball older stuff only if they need to understand what happened.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 24, 2011, 09:28:04 am

But aren't they being constantly monitored by their superiors by tanglenet? If there's an issue then somebody looks at the files and finds out.


It's unlikely they're all fitted with cameras and bugs purely because trawling that data would be too expensive and time consuming. No they will file reports which will be stored and cataloged automatically for ease of searching.

Why not file and catalog the camera data, and trawl it later only if there's reason to think it would be interesting? That's what we do with lots of our satellite photos, after all. We have computer recognition stuff that looks for specific things -- tanks etc -- and people look at the hits if they care to, and eyeball older stuff only if they need to understand what happened.


Because theres a world of difference between satellite camera data and manheld camera data. Plus satellite data has to be eyeballed to confirm anything. All the automatic sorting that is done is what region the shot is which makes things a lot easier. "I think region X has something in it." "Ok lets pull up the sat footage of region X" "Oh look there is something there but what is it?" "Oh I don't know lets send it to some specialists to enhance the image and find out. Expect results in a week or two"

All you would really be able to do with the soldiers bug footage is stamp a time index. Plus that would be a shitload of information to be constantly sending.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 24, 2011, 10:00:59 am

But aren't they being constantly monitored by their superiors by tanglenet? If there's an issue then somebody looks at the files and finds out.


It's unlikely they're all fitted with cameras and bugs purely because trawling that data would be too expensive and time consuming. No they will file reports which will be stored and cataloged automatically for ease of searching.

Why not file and catalog the camera data, and trawl it later only if there's reason to think it would be interesting? That's what we do with lots of our satellite photos, after all. We have computer recognition stuff that looks for specific things -- tanks etc -- and people look at the hits if they care to, and eyeball older stuff only if they need to understand what happened.


Because theres a world of difference between satellite camera data and manheld camera data. Plus satellite data has to be eyeballed to confirm anything. All the automatic sorting that is done is what region the shot is which makes things a lot easier. "I think region X has something in it." "Ok lets pull up the sat footage of region X" "Oh look there is something there but what is it?" "Oh I don't know lets send it to some specialists to enhance the image and find out. Expect results in a week or two"

That isn't what they really do.

Quote
All you would really be able to do with the soldiers bug footage is stamp a time index. Plus that would be a shitload of information to be constantly sending.

It's tanglenet. No problem about sending lots of info. And it's only, what? a couple hundred soldiers? You look at it particularly when different reports conflict, or -- say -- when somebody dies. It's no difficulty at all to look at the last 20 minutes before their telemetry reports no heartbeat, and then track back from there.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 24, 2011, 10:03:59 am
You forget that having cameras on her and her goons also creates a problem if the records are found. Having a record of her criminal activity creates problems
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 24, 2011, 10:09:07 am
You forget that having cameras on her and her goons also creates a problem if the records are found. Having a record of her criminal activity creates problems

Not if it's classified information.

And they don't have to reveal their cryptography keys. So nobody else knows whether the digital signatures are correct. For all anybody else who finds the records knows, they could be fakes.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: enemyofthestate on April 24, 2011, 01:58:29 pm
"Fusion Power (desktop)—The UW outlaws any sort of atomic power on Earth, except for large centralized fusion plants run by the government. Off Earth, fusion power units are small and run homes, cars, burners, etc. The units produce electricity via an aneutronic fusion reaction using helium-3 and deuterium as fuel and bismuth as a fusion catalyst."

My recollection is that none of the three materials are radioactive and that they produce no residual radiation during fusion. All the helium-3 and deuterium one could ever want, can be found ... where? (Consider this an exercise for the student.)  ;D

Apologies; "magical" was a poor choice of word.

To achieve the performance you've described for the burners with a reasonable mass ratio (arbitrarily defined as <= 4 for a one way trip) would require high exhaust velocity.  For example, the Earth Ceres trip would need at least 6.1 Mm/s exhaust velocity to reach that goal. The 3He+Dt reaction is very friendly to bimodal use. The output -- minus any trivial amount siphoned off to generate electricity (the bimodal part)  -- could be used to accelerate a hydrogen plasma to the required velocity.

Unlike hydroponics, de-polymerization, artificial soils, drug manufacturing or fractional distillation,  fusion powered spacecraft are still only drawing board ideas with a dash of hope.  The word "magical" was not intended to imply impossible but rather a large amount of speculation -- which is what science fiction is supposed to do.

BTW, I don't get the use of bismuth to catalyze the 3HE + Dt reaction.  I know about the CNO cycle of course, but why bismuth?

Minor pedant point:  Technically, the most common isotope of bismuth (Bi 209) is radioactive and decays to thallium 205 by emitting an alpha particle.  However the half life is 1.9E19 years so, for any practical purpose, it is stable.

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/17319
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 24, 2011, 02:06:16 pm
You forget that having cameras on her and her goons also creates a problem if the records are found. Having a record of her criminal activity creates problems

Not if it's classified information.

And they don't have to reveal their cryptography keys. So nobody else knows whether the digital signatures are correct. For all anybody else who finds the records knows, they could be fakes.


Even if its classified it gets out. Look at what happened in the USA when the CIA were dealing drugs in US cities to pay for criminal activity in South America. Classified as fuck but it still got out.

The situation is one where simply classifying the thing won't work. Too many people involved and they can't kill them all without too much suspicion being levelled at them.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 24, 2011, 03:35:09 pm
"Fusion Power (desktop)—The UW outlaws any sort of atomic power on Earth, except for large centralized fusion plants run by the government. Off Earth, fusion power units are small and run homes, cars, burners, etc. The units produce electricity via an aneutronic fusion reaction using helium-3 and deuterium as fuel and bismuth as a fusion catalyst."

My recollection is that none of the three materials are radioactive and that they produce no residual radiation during fusion. All the helium-3 and deuterium one could ever want, can be found ... where? (Consider this an exercise for the student.)  ;D

Apologies; "magical" was a poor choice of word.

My knowledge physics is that of an educated layman. I did some research to come up with a plausible fusion explanation, but basically it is hand waving. You got me.

To achieve the performance you've described for the burners with a reasonable mass ratio (arbitrarily defined as <= 4 for a one way trip) would require high exhaust velocity.  For example, the Earth Ceres trip would need at least 6.1 Mm/s exhaust velocity to reach that goal. The 3He+Dt reaction is very friendly to bimodal use. The output -- minus any trivial amount siphoned off to generate electricity (the bimodal part)  -- could be used to accelerate a hydrogen plasma to the required velocity.

If you say so. I sure don't know. :)

BTW, I don't get the use of bismuth to catalyze the 3HE + Dt reaction.  I know about the CNO cycle of course, but why bismuth?

'Cause somebody on some forum said it might work to help induce and maintain a fusion reaction with helium-3 and deuterium. In other words, it sounded good.

Minor pedant point:  Technically, the most common isotope of bismuth (Bi 209) is radioactive and decays to thallium 205 by emitting an alpha particle.  However the half life is 1.9E19 years so, for any practical purpose, it is stable.

Your are absolutely correct... Your point is minor.  ;D
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: enemyofthestate on April 24, 2011, 06:33:53 pm
Mr. Sandfort:

I don't expect science fiction to be 100% accurate with regards to science.  That would take too much of the fun out of it.  Imagine the Lensman stories without the Bergenholm Drive or Star Trek without technobabble.  Hell!  the Ringworld turned out to be unstable.  None of the above made them any less good stories because to be good science fiction a story must first be good fiction.  Your stories are good fiction and any questions about the science would be mostly niggling.

When I started your series I intended to read the strip every weekend and suspend disbelief over minor questions about the science.  I guess my downfall was coming to the forum and reading a posting rife with profoundly ignorant assertions (link (http://forum.bigheadpress.com/index.php?topic=567.msg14069#msg14069)) and it built from there.   I now return myself to my regular reading schedule and ask that you keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: quadibloc on April 24, 2011, 07:52:52 pm
My knowledge physics is that of an educated layman. I did some research to come up with a plausible fusion explanation, but basically it is hand waving. You got me.
I know that tritium is radioactive, so I had thought helium-3 was as well, but if it isn't, I stand corrected. Helium-3 can be found on the Moon; I would have thought it cheaper to find deuterium in the ocean than to get it from the Moon, but I don't know.

However, if I were proposing a fusion catalyst, I'd probably pick beryllium instead of bismuth - because beryllium is a light element, and bismuth a very heavy one. There's no particularly good reason why bismuth should be a better fusion catalyst than lead or thorium or gold - but one could at least handwave that beryllium could do something to a fusion reaction; after all, one of lithium's two isotopes is very useful in H-bombs.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 24, 2011, 09:28:43 pm
Mr. Sandfort:

I don't expect science fiction to be 100% accurate with regards to science.  That would take too much of the fun out of it.  Imagine the Lensman stories without the Bergenholm Drive or Star Trek without technobabble.  Hell!  the Ringworld turned out to be unstable.  None of the above made them any less good stories because to be good science fiction a story must first be good fiction.  Your stories are good fiction and any questions about the science would be mostly niggling.

As you probably have surmised, I try to keep things as scientifically accurate as possible. Like many other writers, I invent or accept "short cuts" such as "hyper-drive" and "time travel" to get to the story that motivates the characters.

Sometimes, these things take on a life of their own with unintended consequences. The "tanglenet" is a perfect example. Once released into the wild, I am forced to deal with aspects and ramifications that I did not anticipate. It is a challenge, but I accept it.

Feel free to make any suggestions or corrections you feel like. If possible, I will try to incorporate them into the EFT universe, if possible.

Thank you for your well thought out posts and your encouragement.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 24, 2011, 09:42:56 pm
I know that tritium is radioactive, so I had thought helium-3 was as well, but if it isn't, I stand corrected. Helium-3 can be found on the Moon; I would have thought it cheaper to find deuterium in the ocean than to get it from the Moon, but I don't know.

Both are found in the atmospheres of the gas giants. In future stories, one of the gas giants will be the home of floating extraction factories. As to a "catalyst," I am still hand waving.  :)
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: dough560 on April 25, 2011, 01:58:44 am
Keep on waving, you make it believable and fun.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 25, 2011, 07:52:15 am
You forget that having cameras on her and her goons also creates a problem if the records are found. Having a record of her criminal activity creates problems

Not if it's classified information.

And they don't have to reveal their cryptography keys. So nobody else knows whether the digital signatures are correct. For all anybody else who finds the records knows, they could be fakes.


Even if its classified it gets out. Look at what happened in the USA when the CIA were dealing drugs in US cities to pay for criminal activity in South America. Classified as frack but it still got out.

It did? You mean, there are a collection of urban legends claiming CIA used to sometimes deal drugs in US cities?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_drug_trafficking

I don't see that there is any proof here. True, the Kerry Commission did claim it. And an LAPD chief claimed it, when the CIA chief was publicly denying it.

But all of this is completely deniable, ad it's people who want to believe stories that make the US government look bad who believe it. Sir, are you an enemy of the USA? Why are you trying to spread these scurrilous stories?  ;)

So, there are a whole lot of stories which have gotten out. There are the Area 51 stories about the US government storing crashed alien flying saucers. There are the stories that various die-offs of wild animals or farm animals was due to US military testing of biological or chemical weapons. There are the stories that various outbreaks of insanity were due to US government testing of psychoactive weapons. (I liked the one that said they dosed Sean Hannity with an LSD analogue and nobody noticed any difference.)

There's the claim that the CIA actually caused Chernobyl by direct sabotage. That led to one of my favorite jokes.

"How do you know that the CIA was not involved in Chernobyl?"
"I don't know."
"It blew up, didn't it?"

So, how many of the stories are true?
How many of the actual secrets got out?
How did you test your answers to either of those questions?

Quote
The situation is one where simply classifying the thing won't work. Too many people involved and they can't kill them all without too much suspicion being levelled at them.

You might be right. How do you know?
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 25, 2011, 07:54:33 am
Because it would be a political decision. Which means they'd need corrupt military higher ups to agree to it and be bribed. Why send Chang at all when he actually seems to be a good man is beyond me.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Azure Priest on April 25, 2011, 08:29:23 am
Because it would be a political decision. Which means they'd need corrupt military higher ups to agree to it and be bribed. Why send Chang at all when he actually seems to be a good man is beyond me.

They needed someone to testify as to the "horrors" of Ceres who has a reputation of being credible and honest.  Rhonda is neither.  He's the "carrot." Rhonda is the "stick."  My knowledge of "spooks" goes by Tom Clancy and Dirk Pitt type novels.

The current plot involves the UW trying to "find" an incident which they can publish back home about how "lawless" the belt is so they could justify a full scale invasion, without revealing the fiscal crisis brought about by the "let's appease the welfare crowd" form of government the UW has.

Unable to find one, which Chang would repeat at a press conference, Rhonda is trying to provoke one, by the most underhanded tactics imaginable. Her primary mistake is doing so in front of Chang.  Bound by orders or not, it was a DUMB and arrogant move on her part.

Ed's biggest mistake here is not demanding proof that Jenny is still alive.  Rhonda has already shown that her word can NOT be trusted.  While I believe the threat, subordinates who are unbalanced enough to follow those orders tend to be rather impatient when their "toy" is dangling before them.  So if Rhonda's threat is true, how do we (or Ed) know that Jenny hasn't ALREADY been gang raped, and cut into little pieces.  Rhonda's probably thinking "after we broadcast the 'beating' we can just say young Jenny was 'yet another victim of belter lawlessness' and send her mutilated corpse to the 'grieving family.'"  I just hope Ed is stalling here because his buddies need time to find and rescue her, and it's not already too late.

Edit: Don't forget, the "president" of the UW has already shown that he's willing to IGNORE/DEFY his government's own laws when they don't do what he wants.  "We need a new legal department....  Smarten up, this needs to be done on the QT."
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 25, 2011, 09:10:55 am
You assume this involves the UW president
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 25, 2011, 09:28:19 am

Edit: Don't forget, the "president" of the UW has already shown that he's willing to IGNORE/DEFY his government's own laws when they don't do what he wants.  "We need a new legal department....  Smarten up, this needs to be done on the QT."

I don't remember that from the comic strip. Are you perhaps mixing it up with President GW Bush of the USA?
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: SandySandfort on April 25, 2011, 10:09:31 am
Keep on waving, you make it believable and fun.


Damn! The Forum software does not provide a "gracious bow" emoticon.  :)
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 25, 2011, 04:13:49 pm

Edit: Don't forget, the "president" of the UW has already shown that he's willing to IGNORE/DEFY his government's own laws when they don't do what he wants.  "We need a new legal department....  Smarten up, this needs to be done on the QT."

I don't remember that from the comic strip. Are you perhaps mixing it up with President GW Bush of the USA?


No like most anarchists he thinks anything more organised than one person means that one person is dictating every action everyone takes.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: sam on April 25, 2011, 11:09:04 pm
No like most anarchists he thinks anything more organised than one person means that one person is dictating every action everyone takes.

Most anarcho capitalist favor something like the corporate form of organization - many organizations, each with a single leader, the CEO, which leader has complete authority over his organization, complete except for the rather drastic limitation that anyone can leave at any time, and the board can fire CEO at any time for any reason or no reason.

State organizations tend to disperse authority throughout a multitude of people even when they are nominally dictatorships, which dispersal makes their operations not democratic, but rather chaotic, inefficient, corrupt, and opaque.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Bob G on April 25, 2011, 11:19:45 pm

Edit: Don't forget, the "president" of the UW has already shown that he's willing to IGNORE/DEFY his government's own laws when they don't do what he wants.  "We need a new legal department....  Smarten up, this needs to be done on the QT."

I don't remember that from the comic strip. Are you perhaps mixing it up with President GW Bush of the USA?


Page 106, upper R/H panel.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Scott on April 25, 2011, 11:50:09 pm
Quote
Most anarcho capitalist favor something like the corporate form of organization - many organizations, each with a single leader,

Really? Has a poll been taken? I'd love to see it.

What I prefer to see are a great variety of different types of organizations, in different configurations to suit different circumstances and/or different preferences of those involved. The only "requirement" being that participation be voluntary. Without a central authority with its rules and regs dictating structure, I expect that people will invent all manner of organizational structures, most of which we'd never think of in the current context.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: J Thomas on April 26, 2011, 12:11:19 am

Edit: Don't forget, the "president" of the UW has already shown that he's willing to IGNORE/DEFY his government's own laws when they don't do what he wants.  "We need a new legal department....  Smarten up, this needs to be done on the QT."

I don't remember that from the comic strip. Are you perhaps mixing it up with President GW Bush of the USA?

Page 106, upper R/H panel.

Thank you! I'd forgotten that. He was some kind of "high commissioner".
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Azure Priest on April 26, 2011, 07:10:02 am
You assume this involves the UW president

I'm assuming nothing.  I'm merely pointing out that if the HIGHEST government official is willing to ignore the laws, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the lower echelons might do the same.

@ J Thomas, No I don't recall George W. Bush breaking his own laws, but I DO know "good old Barry" does and quite frequently.  I can point to several examples of his "do as I say, not as I do" mentality.
Title: Re: Can we get a real threat to Ceres for once?
Post by: Holt on April 26, 2011, 10:46:19 am
You assume this involves the UW president

I'm assuming nothing.  I'm merely pointing out that if the HIGHEST government official is willing to ignore the laws, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the lower echelons might do the same.

@ J Thomas, No I don't recall George W. Bush breaking his own laws, but I DO know "good old Barry" does and quite frequently.  I can point to several examples of his "do as I say, not as I do" mentality.

How do you know he is? Poor guy could be the only honest man in government