Leviathan on March 17, 2009, 01:31:04 am
A lot of people seem to have this odd belief that everything is more efficient if there's only one place you get it from.  To those people, I would suggest looking back at the number of news stories that were out and circulating online hours, even days, before they were broken even by mainstream sources.  Some have never been, because they were too fringe or niche.  Emergency address systems that are centralized have the problem that there's nothing keeping them efficient at providing emergency warning in a timely fashion because there's nobody they have to beat to the punch, and it's their judgement whether or not something merits an emergency notification.

I'll give one example of a total failure of an emergency address system.  A number of years back, there was a minor dispute between three weather stations on whether or not a given bit of cloud cover posed a tornado risk.  One station's meteorologist said absolutely yes, though he was using older equipment.  The other two, using newer equipment, said no.  So a warning was not put out.  A massive tornado ripped through a town right where the station's meteorologist with the older equipment said there was a high risk of tornado formation.  There was a moderate scandal because nobody was prepared, so lots of people died.  

Now, had the system been decentralized?  The weather station which was reporting the risk would've probably had its own customer base.  It could've called them, and if their friends were on a different service not reporting a risk they could've informed, and so on.  Then when the dust clears, if there wasn't really significant risk the chicken little company would've lost customers if it's putting out lots of false alarms.  Or vice versa, the one(s) which clearly failed to be an adequate notifier would lose customers.  There could even be aggregate companies that are subscribers to multiple ones that cover the areas they serve, listing who has and hasn't issued a warning and let their customers decide from that whether there's acceptable risk or not.  The point is, multiply redundant information pathways spread information faster, and more information, than a single centralized authority on whether the information should go out.  If the information load is too great, there's even services that help you sort it.  Google, anybody?  I'd have a hard time even finding out information on current events in Somalia if it weren't for online news sources.

quadibloc on April 06, 2009, 07:36:15 am
P.S. You are really going to hate how this arc ends.

I was wondering how this could be true, since while I objected to the real-world reference, and am not a Libertarian, I was still rooting for your "good guys" even if I thought their form of government might not be the best solution for everyone. (How it could be applied to the circumstances of an overcrowded Earth that let itself drift into something like the UW, for example, is not easy to answer.)

The page for April 6, however, is suggesting to me one way in which this could be true.

No extinction-level event for Earth. Just mass suicide for Ceres.

I don't view that as a likely defense option for such survival-oriented creatures as humans, the motto "Live Free or Die" notwithstanding. Because of this characteristic of humans, a suicide weapon is not really a way that a country can defend itself from being terrorized or intimidated - only the ability to resist and strike back as best one can works in practice.

SandySandfort on April 06, 2009, 12:43:47 pm
No extinction-level event for Earth. Just mass suicide for Ceres.

Perhaps there is a middle ground.

I don't view that as a likely defense option for such survival-oriented creatures as humans, the motto "Live Free or Die" notwithstanding. Because of this characteristic of humans, a suicide weapon is not really a way that a country can defend itself from being terrorized or intimidated - only the ability to resist and strike back as best one can works in practice. [My emphasis added. SS]

Herein may lie the conceptual mismatch. Ceres is not a country. That is why it cannot surrender. During WWII, the French people did not surrender to the Germans, their government did. Easy Peasy for the Germans compared to having to conquer individuals and groups of French people working against them. It's the same reason that the Russians could never defeat the Afghanis. If Ceres had a government supported by law abiding citizen units, Harris' approach would be perfect. Since none of those conditions obtain, he is now in uncharted waters.

Leviathan on April 06, 2009, 03:18:42 pm
Is Reggie going to suicide-scuttle the Conqueror with a mining limpet?

SandySandfort on April 06, 2009, 06:30:38 pm
Is Reggie going to suicide-scuttle the Conqueror with a mining limpet?

That's a possibility...

Monkt on April 07, 2009, 12:03:41 am
Is Reggie going to suicide-scuttle the Conqueror with a mining limpet?

That's a possibility...
That means yes.

ConditionOne on April 07, 2009, 06:20:41 am
If Reggie takes out Harris and his flagship, I kinda hope the remaining ships attempt a land assault on Ceres--And the Cereans(?) outshoot them like the Boers did the Brits in the Boer war.  I can imagine the Assault commander last words being: "Forward soldiers! these Cereans cannot hit the broad side of a ....BLAM!"
« Last Edit: April 07, 2009, 04:51:13 pm by ConditionOne »

SandySandfort on April 07, 2009, 09:31:05 am
Is Reggie going to suicide-scuttle the Conqueror with a mining limpet?

That's a possibility...
That means yes.

Really? Are you sure? Have you considered any other possibilities such as our literary misdirection? Of course this post could be the misdirection. Life and fiction can be complicated.

deadasdisco on April 07, 2009, 01:53:34 pm
ConditionOne: I think that IF (yes, Sandy, I understand this is an "if"), Reggie takes out Harris (with or without the Conqueror), what ol' Uniform Whiskey (also still experimenting with nicknames for the UW, 'cause just calling them the "ew" gets a little too close to the heart of it) does is gonna depend on the officer to whom command devolves.  Is he hungrier for the carrot or more afraid of the stick?

If its the carrot (Think Sherman)  that is, an ambitious up-and-comer who sees a chance to take command, then he'll probably try to pick up where Harris left off, and maybe even try a landing.  Same ending if its a hard-core, nail-eating "For People and Planet" patriot, who still has that Academy-fresh 'new officer smell' who's gonna want revenge for striking down fellow U-dubs.  Then, yeah, ugliness ensues.

If its the stick, that is, a desk-flying career chair-warmer (a U-dub specialty) (think McClellan), he's gonna see several hundred million continentals worth of hardware and a headline "Vice-Admiral [Your Name Here] LOSES several hundred million C's of hardware" on UNN and pull back, probably radio home for instructions so as to not  take the heat if something goes wrong.

'Course, the ball's in Reggie's court now and whatever happens next happens as a reaction, The U-dub's institutional inertia is pretty high and so they're not long on proactivity, even this invasion's a reaction to a crisis back home

 ... God (and Sandy) may not play dice with the universe, but that sure doesn't stop us from puttin' our money down on it...

SandySandfort on April 07, 2009, 02:40:44 pm
ConditionOne: I think that IF (yes, Sandy, I understand this is an "if"), Reggie takes out Harris (with or without the Conqueror), what ol' Uniform Whiskey (also still experimenting with nicknames for the UW, 'cause just calling them the "ew" gets a little too close to the heart of it) does is gonna depend on the officer to whom command devolves...

Makes sense to me.

'Course, the ball's in Reggie's court now...

It would certainly seem so.

... God (and Sandy) may not play dice with the universe, but that sure doesn't stop us from puttin' our money down on it...

Absolutely. Rock on.

Leviathan on April 07, 2009, 05:16:10 pm
Takin' bets now via e-gold!  Place your bets!  I pay 5:1 the UW wins outright and the comic ends!  1:1.1 that Ceres finds some way to get a one-up on the UW!  Place yer bets!

quadibloc on April 10, 2009, 08:52:31 am
I'm glad that Guy spoke up today (Friday, April 10), since it was clear enough that this was Reginald's plan yesterday.

Emotion, as well as logic, has to be considered. The UW media has already made false claims about Ceres forces holding Guy hostage. Assuming that the UW is reasonably close to our own time, if the flagship of the attacking force is destroyed by a suicide bomber, the likely result would be that the UW would have no difficulty in mustering broad public support for a genocidal response.

Of course, since it is free to tell lies, it isn't completely clear that anything they do or don't do will really affect the UW's freedom of action by this mechanism; which seems to leave superiority of force as their only strategy, yet that is the one thing they do not have.

But then, the good guys always have to seem to be at a disadvantage; that is what makes for an exciting story.

SandySandfort on April 10, 2009, 10:29:55 am
... if the flagship of the attacking force is destroyed by a suicide bomber, the likely result would be that the UW would have no difficulty in mustering broad public support for a genocidal response.

a) The Gamma warship is in their skies NOW. The best course of action is to eliminate the immediate threat immediately, then make plans to deal with future consequences.
b) The UW has only one Gamma--that's all that's needed to keep breakaway areas on Terra in line. Destroying the Gamma significantly decreases the the UW's capacity for genocide.
c) Ceres is 265 million kilometers from Terra, at the closest. It's 565 kilometers at its furthest point in orbit. That's a mighty long supply line.
 
And all of this just addresses Ceres. The rest of the Belt would not take kindly to any attack on Ceres. In sum, blowing up the Gamma Conqueror would make excellent tactical AND strategic sense.


But then, the good guys always have to seem to be at a disadvantage; that is what makes for an exciting story.

Uh, maybe... ::)

Rocketman on April 10, 2009, 10:53:23 am
I'm finding it a little hard to believe that the plan to blow up the GC is going to succeed.  For one thing they're going there on one of the UW shuttles and unless I am very wrong the security that will be bringing him up is going to search him for weapons before they get there.  Secondly, what if they handcuff his hands behind his back which is standard procedure nowadays.  He won't be able to reach the bomb.  Don't think Reggie's plan is going to work.

enemyofthestate on April 10, 2009, 01:42:37 pm
Well, it probably would have been faster if Ceres Space Traffic Control Center was just linked up to an emergency address system. But you can't really set up such a system without a government.

I  was a little surprised there isn't an emergency broadcast systems of some kind.  Most of the Ceres colony seems to be underground but I'll wager the ships prospectors use are not shielded against the particles from a major solar flare.  Since FTL communication is assumed a highly reliable solar watch observatory is practical.

Also, are the reaction drives fusion powered?  I get the impression they are.  A plasma exhaust is dangerous to unshielded humans (like a really hot flare but on a much smaller scale) for at least few hundred kilometers.  A pilot of a ship might appreciate a warning to alter course and avoid one.  I'm quite sure the passengers would.

Which suggest a plan B in case King Reginald fails.

BTW, I'm guessing Reginald's nuke is a single stage fusion device?  Be much harder to detect.  Especially if it doesn't require tritium.

 

anything