The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Ur-Quan_Librarian on July 14, 2004, 02:17:39 am



Title: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Ur-Quan_Librarian on July 14, 2004, 02:17:39 am
A couple of things I've been wondering about...

1)  According to the SC2 manual, there is only one Ur-Quan per Dreadnought, because of the Ur-Quan's fierce territoriality.  The rest of the crew is made up of slaves.  This works for the Kzer-Za, but how do the Kohr-Ah crew their ships?  

2)  Living beings tend to set off the Ur-Quan - of all the races they encountered, the Taalo were the only ones they could stand.  One wonders if other, non-organic life also fails to trigger the killing instinct.  Could they relax in the presence of Chenjesu or Mmrnmhrm, or for that matter, Chmmr, Clairconctlar or Daktaklakpak?  How about non-sentient beings, or unintelligent robots?  Clearly they can tolerate the presence of their own Talking Pets.  

3)  The Kzer-Za have held onto the Sa-Matra for at least 15,000 years.  One wonders why they haven't built more Sa-Matras.  Given 15,000 years, one would imagine they'd be able to figure out how it works, and build the necessary infrastructure to reproduce it, but hey, what do I know about Precursor tech?  


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: ChainiaC on July 14, 2004, 02:40:20 am
I bet there's only one Kohr-Ah on each Marauder too. The Kohr-Ah in question would be both captain and voodoo-priest / necromancer and the crew would consist of only zombies! Ooohwwww... wouldn't that be scary?  8)
I mean the Kohr-Ah have an enormous stockpile of dead bodies... might as well put them to use...  ;)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 14, 2004, 02:56:46 am
According to...Me

1)As to the Kohr Ar crew, I, and I'm pretty sure a few others here at the UQM boards, think that since the Kzer Za were the 'scientists', there would be less of them.
How many scientists/researchers/(intellectual jobs) are there, compared to soldier/ menial labour?
Since the Dynarri modified the Ur-Quan on a genetic level, I would assume they only needed a few Kzer Za, and a few thousand Kohr Ah, for every say, 1050 Capita.
Due to the inherent purpose of the Kohr-Ar, it seems to me that their 'survival' instincts were genetically curbed by the Dynarri, in order to work better as a group. (Think how much faster 100 labourers can do a job than 1 labourer, likewise the effectiveness of a squad, rather than a lone soldier.)
So, to me, I would conclude that there are LESS Kzer-Za (dramatically so), due to their modifications (less breeding/longer generations). So, they might supplement their crew with thralls.
The Kohr-Ah, with their better Co-operative skills, pilot their own ships.

2) From what I know, the filth represent the biological species, but Threats require greater attention.
The Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm allied with the Bio species, because they're the good guys (Duh!). They are now Threats.
Also, something else occured to me.
Their territorial urge to kill may not even be a factor, otherwise the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, would kill their own crew? Perhaps the Dynarri only stunted their population growth, made them smarter, and even then took away the urge (most of it).
This makes more sense, to me, anyway, in almost all things, co-operation results in better success, faster.

3) I think that the Sa-Matra itself is not veiwed as a weapon, per se, It's more than that.
The Sa-Matra represents the ultimate trophy of the Doctrinal Conflict, if there were 2, 5, or 50 of them, it wouldn't be a very good ultimate trophy.
I also think that the Sa-Matra itself is sacred, IE, Dont mess with it. Also, I think that ONE Sa-Matra is enough, they move together in a huge nomadic camp, so there is only one group of them at a time, and the single Sa-Matra is quite enough. Dont forget that Kzer-Za ships ARE named 'Planetary Seige Units'.
Or maybe they simply didn't take the effort, didn't feel like it, didn't have the Resources, or didn't know how.
Just my 2 cents =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: ChainiaC on July 14, 2004, 03:19:11 am
Hmmmm come to think of it...
I the Kzer-Za crew are slaves, then that means that their fighter pilots are slaves. Why wouldn't at least some of those fighter pilots join the enemy and try to win their freedom as soon as they're out of range of the mothership?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Shimmolawl on July 14, 2004, 03:45:39 am
Quote
Hmmmm come to think of it...
I the Kzer-Za crew are slaves, then that means that their fighter pilots are slaves. Why wouldn't at least some of those fighter pilots join the enemy and try to win their freedom as soon as they're out of range of the mothership?


Well, the Ur-Quan aren't exactly merciful lords. I think they would happily use collective punishment. And members of most races would think twice about defecting if it meant the death of, say, 100 of their countrymen or their entire family for three generations.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 14, 2004, 05:30:28 pm
Ala Babylon 5 (sorta off topic)
"For every Centauri that is killed by Narn hands, 500 Narns, including the perpetrators family, will die."

I sure as hell wouldn't disobey that, were I Narn...


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Cronos on July 14, 2004, 07:33:32 pm
It's more likely that the Kzer-Za have a kind of... veneer? about them.

They can tolerate lesser races on the same vessel much more easily because they dont consider them to be equals. Other Kzer-Za would, however, become territorially insane.

This is not to say one could go up and give a Kzer-Za a hug. Rather that the range of tolerance somewhat lower. So, as long as the slaves dont get TOO close to the Kzer-Za, they will probably live.

Although I'm inclined to agree with your Kohr-Ah theory I'd rather subscribe to my own theory that they would use sophisticated robots cannibalised from "filth" technology to fill in the holes in their labour and free up more Kohr-Ah for other more important roles, IE, Orbital bombardment and trophy collection :)

It's also been explained somewheres that the Taalo physiology was substantially different from the Chenjesu/Chmmr/Mmmrnmhrrm.

The Kzer-Za probably counted the Mmmrnmhrrm as a competitor as they were sentient. Sentient races that are able to think for themselves are able to threaten the freedom of the Kzer-Za and are therefore to brought into line with the path of now and forever, ditto for the Chenjesu.

The Taalo were also described as being "Rock like". If one was inherently a rock and appeared to be nothing but a rock and exhibiting all the behaviours consistent with a rock (sans the ability to talk, think and pilot starships) then the territorial instinct may not be set off.

However, the Chenjesu dont look like rocks. They are crystalline, and they exhibit life in the form of visible electrical impulses. Hence, because they do not resemble anything of which the Kzer-Za recognise and they exhibit life, they are competitors and therefore threats. Therefore, rip out it's life.

Finally, the Sa-Matra and reverse engineering. The Sa-Matra may represent the pinnacle of Precursor technology. It's doubtful the Kzer-Za would wish to destroy something as precious and valuable as the Sa-Matra by even the slightest slip up.

Also, since it is quite literally a "Great Trophy" I dont think that that Kohr-Ah would be too pleased if they found that the prize had be messed about with.

Or, perhaps the Ur-Quan consider themselves to be above that kind of thing. The precursors were an ancient race with advanced technology that dissapeared eons ago. Clearly they were inferior to the might and strength of the Kzer-Za. We will rule the galaxy and crush all opposition with our collective tentacles. The Might of the Ur-Quan alone is enough to bring the galaxy in line with the path of now and forever.

Or it could be 3 AM and I havent had enough sleep, whatever works I guess =\


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 14, 2004, 09:36:26 pm
Ur-quan dont have tentacles, theyre limbs.
They resemble Centipedes, not octupi.

I think that the Taalo resembled rock, not actually MADE of rock.
That isn't to say they're totally biological, but in my book, if it looks like a rock and acts like a rock, it is a rock.

We are sure that the ur-quan were sane when the Taalo met them, and they didnt start collecting rock pets, right?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on July 17, 2004, 10:26:22 pm
The Ur-Quan mastered their territorial desire to slaughter anything that comes near them long ago - it's how they got to the point where they could build spaceships and such when the Milieu found them.  They still feel it, and it probably contributed at least as much as the racial trauma of their Dnyarri enslavement to the sociopathic nature of their competing Doctrines, but it no longer controls them.  Ur-Quan, of any variety, can tolerate others near them, they just don't like it.  Subjugating those others probably helps ameliorate the urge, turning them into extensions of the Ur-Quan's will, in a way.

The Kohr-Ah crew their ships themselves.  They can get away with it because there are no enslaved species left behind them that they have to oversee.  The Kzer-Za, by contrast, have to leave overseers behind them to monitor how all their battle thralls are behaving and make them toe the line.  Remember, both factions have moved through half the galaxy, which took, what, 10,000 years?  Considering how little time it takes to cross from Pkunk space to Utwig space, that means the Ur-Quan are occupying hundreds, if not thousands, of areas as large as the hyperspace map in SC2, and it must take at least dozens, if not scores or hundreds, of dreadnoughts to properly control presumably heavily armed battle thralls in even one of those sectors.

That's probably the real reason the Kohr-Ah were winning - they could concentrate their entire race in one place, focusing all their strength on defeating the Kzer-Za.  By contrast, not only were the Kzer-Za spread out, but they were deliberately depriving themselves of the strength they had garnered from the application of their Doctrine - they had the service of many warlike races as battle thralls, and refrained from using that service in the war.  The real miracle is that the war lasted even as long as it did, since it was grossly slanted to favor the Kohr-Ah genocidal nomad lifestyle more than the Ur-Quan slave empire lifestyle.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on July 19, 2004, 09:58:54 pm
Oh yeah, we see how many Ur-Quan administrators they left at Sol, with the Spathi, Thraddash, Umgah, Yehat, and Ilwrath.

it can be derived by the following expression, for any value of X except zero: (X*X+X)/X - X - 1


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 20, 2004, 12:23:48 am
Wouldnt the Ur-quan Kzer Za also have infinite* manpower to build ships (thralls?) slaves to crew the ships, and mineral resources?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on July 20, 2004, 07:08:22 am
Quote
Oh yeah, we see how many Ur-Quan administrators they left at Sol, with the Spathi, Thraddash, Umgah, Yehat, and Ilwrath.

it can be derived by the following expression, for any value of X except zero: (X*X+X)/X - X - 1


This is not a valid comparison - the Ur-Quan only abandoned their thralls to pursue their doctrinal war.  Prior to this occurrence, evidence suggests that they remained in contact with their fallow races and battle thralls - reference the regular (until 8 years prior to your arrival at Earth Starbase) resupply ships sent to maintain said Starbase.  Refer, also, to repeated mention that the Ur-Quan, while not particularly mentally stable, are not stupid, and the self evident fact that it is monumentally stupid to imagine that a race left unsupervised with the ability to manufacture starships (ie, any race of battle thralls) will remain subjugated for long.

There is no evidence that the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za do *NOT* leave overseers drawn from their own numbers behind to supervise old conquests.  There is evidence that the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za are not stupid enough to fail to do this.  Thus, the logical conclusion, applicable in absence of direct designer declaration that it is false, is that the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za have a large slave empire still loyal to them covering about half the galaxy, complete with a substantial reserve of their own ships and people.  The Kohr-Ah might be beaten by the League - the Kzer-Za are merely suffering a momentary setback.  Only the established agreement that the battle for the Sa-Matra would determine the outcome would have allowed the Kohr-Ah to defeat their Kzer-Za cousins in any reasonable amount of time.

Note that I am arguing from the assumption that SC3 was merely a hallucination during a psychotic episode brought on by head trauma suffered when the shockwave from the Sa-Matra's explosion struck your character's escape pod.  It's the only explanation that makes sense.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Smaug on July 20, 2004, 12:08:25 pm
I think the fact that makes the Doctrinal War even (given that the Kohr-Ah don't need to garrison subjugated worlds) is that the Kzer-Za get the benifit of Battle Thralls.

First, the Kzer-Za can use them as canon fodder against the more resistent sentience in the galaxy; the Kohr-Ah have to do it all themselves. The Kzer-Za tend to make a dramatic show of force at the end of these wars, to make sure that the subjugated race knows just who it is that is in charge ;)

Secondly, the Kzer-Za can force their Thralls to do more than fight; mining ore, processing minerals, etc. While the Kzer-Za like to keep their technological edge (so they manufacture Dreadnaughts themselves), the entire bottom rung of their economy can be supported by Thralls. This gives them the ability to repair their losses much faster than the Kohr-Ah, outside the time of the actual Doctrinal War, of course.

Lastly, the Kzer-Za don't need as huge a populartion as the Kohr-Ah. They can use their Thralls to run their ships, and other basic infrastructure tasks. Granted, they have to deal with the needs of numerous different races, but they have the resources to spare.

I think the Shofixti SuperNova was the deciding factor in the war. Even for the Kzer-Za's economy, losing a full thrid (as I recall) of their forces is a devastating blow that is not easily recovered from.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 20, 2004, 07:44:35 pm
Yes, i too consider the Shofixti Sun bomb to be the reason the Kzer Za lost the war.

So the Shofixti endangered the entire space map region?! Must Die! =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on July 20, 2004, 09:05:58 pm
They should have left the challenge of the shofixti for the Kohr-Ah to take on... then we wouldn't be in this situation.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on July 21, 2004, 03:53:38 am
A point not yet made: when a race fighting against the Ur-Quan realise they can not win, they may give up, thereby saving lives (and if they choose to be battle thralls, ships).
A race fighting against the Kzer-Za, knowing noone will be left alive, are bound to fight to the last person, which means more Kohr-Ah losses.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Shiver on July 21, 2004, 05:10:58 am
I have my doubts that the Ur-Quan left many (if any) overseers behind. They need all the manpower they can get against the Kohr-Ah, their greatest threat. If a species rebels in the Ur-Quan's absence, so what? They can go back and subdue them again like they did before.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on July 21, 2004, 09:50:22 pm
Quote
I have my doubts that the Ur-Quan left many (if any) overseers behind. They need all the manpower they can get against the Kohr-Ah, their greatest threat. If a species rebels in the Ur-Quan's absence, so what? They can go back and subdue them again like they did before.


This makes sense if you view only the area of the Alliance/Hierarchy, or maybe 2 or 3 more like it.  When you consider that the Ur-Quan have been in this business for 15,000 years, it becomes obvious that the Ur-Quan cannot have failed to do *SOMETHING* to insure that their conquests remain conquered.  The obvious solution is to leave a few overseers behind.  As for distracting from the Kohr-Ah, 15,000 years is a long time for any race.  Would the Ur-Quan seriously make a complete mockery of the doctrine that defines their difference from their Kohr-Ah cousins for a trivial (in the long run) potential advantage 15,000 years in the future?

Consider also that maintaining a population and industrial base in the rear areas represents a strength, rather than a weakness, in the war against the Kohr-Ah.  The Kzer-Za undoubtedly were calling up reinforcements from their rear area overseer populations throughout the war - only the overpowering might of the Kohr-Ah (and quite likely, the massive destruction the Kzer-Za suffered from the Shofixti) prevented the Kzer-Za from hanging on long enough for their reinforcements to swing the tide the other way.  A huge slave empire only loses to a tribe of nomads when the nomads can utterly crush the empire's resistance before the empire can mobilize its superior numbers and weapons production capability to properly resist.

If the Kzer-Za were to actually ignore their conquests and move on, they might as well not even bother.  Worse, in fact - they would be containing the less aggressive races, leaving all natural resources for the exclusive use of the more aggressive, battle thrall races when they decide to stop obeying the Hierarchy.  Sure, maybe the memory of defeat can keep them down for a while, but for 15,000 years?  No way, and the Ur-Quan aren't stupid enough to imagine that it would.

That's my real objection to the belief that pretty much every Kzer-Za in the galaxy was involved in the battle with the Kohr-Ah - it trivializes the Ur-Quan as a threat.  Humor is fine, and indeed an integral part of the Star Control universe, but the Ur-Quan are not supposed to be funny or ridiculous or absurd.  They are supposed to be menacing.  A race stupid enough to *NOT* oversee conquered slave races is not menacing, it's like having the Spathi as the evil overlords.  Heck, the Spathi would be *MORE* menacing - at least they would never overlook the real danger of rebellion from their past conquests.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Bobucles on July 22, 2004, 05:22:02 am
The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za know quite well how to keep their slaves. They had left plenty of overseers to maintain the outpost of Earth's moon. With the Spathi and Ilwrath, they made sure that Earth followed the laws set down by the Kzer-Za.

But, the Kzer-Za were losing in the Doctrinal conflict, and they had to bring in reinforcements from somewhere. Bit by bit, they've had to call the overseers away from the slave worlds, to help the Kzer-Za in their fight. in the case of Earth, the Ilwrath were fairly trustworthy, and would've easily kept a good watch over Sol. Thanks to Dogar and Kazon, though, they left, and with the natural cowardace of the Spathi, Earth eventually had no overseers left.

Had the Precursor flagship arrived just a few years earlier in the Sol system, it would've been blown into a million pieces. Talk about luck, huh?  :)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 23, 2004, 01:51:15 am
Who watches the watchman?
Who polices the police?

I'm assuming any reasonable species won't stay subjugated for long under no duress. Sure the Ilwrath will watch the humans, but what happens if the Ilwrath decide to up and go home, like they actually did?
No species that is under the yoke of a slaver race will simply stay enslaved if they see a way to stop being inslaved (your slaver goes away for 8 years, for a start).

The Mycon are an exception, as they SEEK out the Kzer-Za.
Even the Spathi wouldn't stay enslaved, as they regain...some...courage at the absense of their masters.

And as to the Kohr-Ah and Kzer-Za ship difference, it wouldn't matter.
In order to subjugate a species, you need to put them under REAL threat, in the case of the spathi, a vegetable would've worked. But for instance, the Thraddash, they would've had seige their home planet, and any ships the Thraddash had left would obviously protect their home world. So the Kzer-Za would have had to destroy all those ships before giving the 'Thrall or Fallow?" question. You're mistaking land warfare with space, its totally different in this situation. Gorilla and Resistance warfare worked in WW2, but a planet under seige can just be bombarded from out of its effective defences, so it will fall, with NO losses to the bombarding fleet.
Same with the Kzer-Za, but minus the genocide bit.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on July 23, 2004, 05:08:55 am
Quote
You may not approach the ancient Sa-Matra, the symbol of Ur-Quan dominance!
Your presence here is further violation of the slave laws
which your species have already violated so flagrantly.
We cannot tolerate such insubordination!
Your species' penalty shall be annihilation!

The Kzer-Za are not beyond genocide, if that's what is required for their safety. That threat should keep most races from rebelling, unless they are sure they can win. The Kzer-Za take good care of the races they conquered, so it's not that they have nothing to live for.
Of course, a race afraid enough to enslave all intelligence in the universe would not take the chance, and will make sure to keep an eye on them.
And they did, until they needed every man in the war against the Kohr-Ah.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 23, 2004, 08:02:37 am
I meant they dont simply destroy you, they give your species a choice. The Kohr-Ah don't.
And Zelnick REALLY pissed them off =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on July 23, 2004, 10:11:14 am
Quote

The Kzer-Za are not beyond genocide, if that's what is required for their safety. That threat should keep most races from rebelling, unless they are sure they can win. The Kzer-Za take good care of the races they conquered, so it's not that they have nothing to live for.
Of course, a race afraid enough to enslave all intelligence in the universe would not take the chance, and will make sure to keep an eye on them.
And they did, until they needed every man in the war against the Kohr-Ah.


No matter how dire the threat, if you vanish without a trace for 15,000 years, people are going to stop believing it.  The Ur-Quan, not being idiots, would recognize this fact, and make sure that they did not, in fact, vanish without a trace - they'd leave overseers behind drawn from their own race, because they sure wouldn't trust any other race on that kind of time scale.

The Hierarchy in Alliance space basically collapsed within 8 years of the Ur-Quan vanishing.  The Yehat, the Thraddash, and the Vux pretty much toed the line during those 8 years.  The Umgah, the Spathi, the Ilwrath, and the Mycons all took advantage of the absence of the Ur-Quan to do things they had to know the Ur-Quan wouldn't like.  And that was just 8 years!  I am ignoring, for the moment, the effects the Captain and the New Alliance had on the battle thralls - ancient Precursor relics are hardly something you take into your calculations.

What's more interesting than this is the implication that there's a big hostile galaxy dominated by the Ur-Quan out there, untouched by the New Alliance.  That's something that has astounding implications for any future Star Control title.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Shiver on July 23, 2004, 10:40:43 am
Well said, jabrwock. I think you are right in that they must have left some of their own behind. That seems indisputable now. However, I completely disagree that they'd have massive reinforcements on route to the Doctrinal War. 15,000 years worth of conquering would mean most of their ships are too far away - why even bother? Even if you say that traveling friendly territory is twenty times faster than fighting for every inch of space, that's still way too damn long.

My crappy estimates: I imagine more like 12 Dreadnoughts left in each SC2's map-sized perimeter. I suppose if you added these all up it would reach up to 8,000 ships at most, but the Ur-Quan fleet in the area of the game numbers just over 2 million. 12 ships in an SC2 sized area is plenty to work with - if a race turns sour, just retreat and call the other thralls down on them. In addition, those 12 would have a vast number of subserviant ships covering their backs.

Also, it's possible the Ur-Quan are complete assholes and just slave shield a race after they're no longer useful in the immediate area. Wouldn't that be funny?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: ChainiaC on July 23, 2004, 02:15:00 pm
Quote

Also, it's possible the Ur-Quan are complete assholes and just slave shield a race after they're no longer useful in the immediate area. Wouldn't that be funny?


Damn good point :)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Smaug on July 24, 2004, 02:42:36 pm
Quote
Also, it's possible the Ur-Quan are complete assholes and just slave shield a race after they're no longer useful in the immediate area. Wouldn't that be funny?


It would, also, be very much unlike the Ur-Quan. Observe:

Quote
Human. We Ur-Quan never lie. NEVER!
It is a weakness to lie and, as you have noticed, the Ur-Quan are not weak!


Completely without guile or subterfuge, by choice. So, why would the Kzer-Za say that they are going to permit a race to have some limited access to space as a Battle Thrall if they're just going to turn around and Slave Shield them later? That would be a lie, and the Ur-Quan (presumably both the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah, since the Kohr-Ah have no need to) do not lie.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 24, 2004, 05:51:24 pm
Noo...Its a 'Loophole' tm


Title: Changes....
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on July 24, 2004, 06:11:28 pm
Quote


It would, also, be very much unlike the Ur-Quan. Observe:

Completely without guile or subterfuge, by choice. So, why would the Kzer-Za say that they are going to permit a race to have some limited access to space as a Battle Thrall if they're just going to turn around and Slave Shield them later? That would be a lie, and the Ur-Quan (presumably both the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah, since the Kohr-Ah have no need to) do not lie.


Remember the Star Wars movie, Empire Strikes Back? You may recall
a scene in which Vadar is arguing with Lando. Lando points out that
Vadar agreed to take what he wanted and then leave. Vadar has
decided to leave troops behind and states flatly that he is "Altering the
deal. Pray that I do not alter it further."

My assumption is that the Ur-Quan would do one of two things to thrall
races. Either alter the deal so that the races were slave shielded. Or,
more likely, take them along for the ride....No where do they say that thralls
get to stay home. So, I imagine they take the thralls with them, using
them as cannon fodder when they find a new race. This does a few
things.
1. Prevents rebels from poping up behind the Ur-Quan fleet.
2. Weakens the new enemy.
3. Prevents additional Ur-Quan losses, since the thralls all die first.

Thoughts?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 24, 2004, 06:29:18 pm
It would also mean providing provisions, fuel food and all of the little things that specific races need....Madness.
The Ur-Quan fleet, laden down with such cannonfodder, would move so slowly it would be impractical.

I personally believe that they leave about 1200 Dreadnaughts  in each starmap sector, and left behind the limitations (you can only build x number of ships per year).

Now, considering how amazingly powerful their economy would be due to controlling 15000 years worth of worlds.
They would be able to, in one sector, produce about 1400 ships in a starmap sector, using the already present factories their thralls would have, in about 10 years.
If that seems a little high, remember that each thrall race would have a sphere equal to average say...umgah space, at minimum. All colonized worlds would have the ability to produce 1 ship every 6 months, EASILY. Maybe 20+ colonized worlds per sphere, alter to match sphere size/race technology/industry).
Now consider metrocenter worlds, say 6 ships every 6 months. (say, 5 of them)
How about homeworlds? Im thinking 10 ships every 3 months.

All this doesnt even include Space stations etc.

That would mean that if the Ur-Quan stayed in a sector for 10 years, to properly subjugate it, and then establish iron rule and begin pumping out their ships, that their fleet would be HUGE after 15000 years, minus, of course, deaths.
Then the Kohr-Ah come along, is it just me or do their ships rip apart dreadnaughts?
Sure they would have a much lower amount of ships, but they have their insane ships. This evens out the score, to me.
The Kzer-Za also lost a 3rd of their ships in the Shofixti blast.

I think, personally, that the Kohr-Ah have their own way to produce more ships. I have no idea what this is.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on July 26, 2004, 07:05:41 am
Quote
I think, personally, that the Kohr-Ah have their own way to produce more ships. I have no idea what this is.


Well, that's why Kohr-Ah ships look "encrusted", nay? They're mass-produced without regard for spit and polish. Kzer-Za may have been the theorists, but the actual technicians and laborers were Kohr-Ah, who'd be the best at organizing assembly lines to turn a once-inhabited planet into a dedicated Marauder factory. To them, planets, rather than being administrative headaches, are nothing but rich lumps of ore ready to be processed into more ships and weapons once the annoying organic fuzz has been wiped off the surface. :)

Probably, once they've cleared an entire sector of Filth, they drop down from the Marauders in shuttles, cover the surfaces of the dead worlds with machinery, and start cranking out new Marauders as fast as they can. Since you can probably get a lot more minerals out of a planet if you don't need to support life on it, that's probably why their ships rely more on solid projectiles (since they have a ready source of dense metals) while being more thrifty with fusion fuel, which takes more organization and labor to synthesize (organization and labor being the advantage of the Kzer-Za).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on July 26, 2004, 07:12:41 am
Quote
Although I'm inclined to agree with your Kohr-Ah theory I'd rather subscribe to my own theory that they would use sophisticated robots cannibalised from "filth" technology to fill in the holes in their labour and free up more Kohr-Ah for other more important roles, IE, Orbital bombardment and trophy collection


Well, unless the Kohr-Ah go for powering their robots with sentient AIs like the Mmrrnrrhrrm, which seems highly out of character for them, the crew of a Marauder has to all be taken up by living Kohr-Ah. They're green dots, and the manual makes it pretty clear that green dots mean sentient crew members; the only ship with non-sentient crew is the Slylandro Probe, which is populated by gray dots.

The only difference this makes is that the internal robotic mechanisms of a Probe are immune to Syreen hypnosis. Since Kohr-Ah crew can be hypnotized, they are sentient, or at least capable of experiencing emotion, and are therefore probably Kohr-Ah.

In any case I can't really see Kohr-Ah using anyone but themselves to work for them; they appear thoroughly disgusted by the whole system of Kzer-Za slavery and very proud of the fact that they do *all* their dirty work themselves. They probably do have advanced automated technology (or building and maintaining their death fleet would be impossible) but, given their pride in their heritage as lower-caste laborers, I'd imagine any work that can be done with their bare claws is.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 26, 2004, 07:55:09 am
First off, I would like to say that you, Art, are a very intelligent person, and i enjoy reading your theories on this, and the Evil post =p

Your views on the Kohr-Ah production, especially the dense metal projectile weaponry, are brilliant, and tie in well with the Kohr-Ar. I think that the Kohr-Ar probably have huge engines that could strip mine planetary ore deposits, leaving a planet dead, in about a month. They could then process this into ships and weaponry aboard huge space stations that travel with them. I agree with pretty much all of your views, here.

The Kzer-Za were the technitians and the Scientists. The Kohr-Ar labourers.
I use this comparison. The Kzer-Za are the Electrical Engineers, that plan and designate power to a building, mess around with all of that stuff, the really complex systems are set up by them inside a building or mine or whatever. The Kohr-Ah are the Electricians, they mantain and modify it slightly.

Only innacuracy i see with the weapons matching the species, it is seems to me the Fusion Blast the Kzer-Za use would be pretty innacurate on a planet. (radiation, fire spreading, etc) which isnt as surgically deadly as a giant spinning blade =p.

Mind you, maybe the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah use different weapons for planetary bombardment. (The Kzer-Za dont bombard, really, they 'surgically' remove all the elements they dont want (buildings older than 500 years).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Cronos on July 26, 2004, 10:10:13 am
It's possible that the Kohr-Ah use the blades to knockout planetary defense systems and then go on to use FRIED blasts to "cleanse" the planet. Of course they then go about deploying those drones to get at the underground population if any once they're done cleansing the surface.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 26, 2004, 02:25:11 pm
An even more evil, and horrible method of 'cleansing' would be to activate the material ore pulp machine (as i put forward)...
While there are still people on the surface....

Syra all over again =/


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: bobucles on July 26, 2004, 06:25:34 pm
Quote
Only innacuracy i see with the weapons matching the species, it is seems to me the Fusion Blast the Kzer-Za use would be pretty innacurate on a planet. (radiation, fire spreading, etc) which isnt as surgically deadly as a giant spinning blade

Fusion does not create hazardous radiation. It's effective at destroying all of those "ancient" sites, especially the precursor ones.

A giant spinning blade may be effective for planetary mining, but if it were to come across a tough precursor relic, it would break the blade. Sending more blades won't really help, since they'd hold up just as well as the first one. Also, what about little things like nanites? A blade would be completely unable to do anything about them.

If a single fusion blast doesn't destroy a historic site, how about 10000 fusion blasts? The effects of energy weapons easily stack together. As the site heats up from the constant bombardment, eventually it'll melt or be destroyed. Enough heat will destroy anything, even down to the microscopic level, so you can rest assured that all ancient technology has been destroyed.

If someone in the city has a really old painting, don't blow up the whole building. Send in the fighters. The little fighters are perfect for polishing off anything that the fusion blasts would do too much collateral damage to.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: FalconMWC on July 26, 2004, 07:28:59 pm
Kind of makes Fwiffo look like a liar when he talks about the ur-quan turning some of his planet into radioactive dust.....


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on July 27, 2004, 08:19:21 pm
But fusion does produce radiation, and quite a bit of it. Maybe you mean it produces little SECONDARY radiation (i.e. few nucleus-destabilizing neutrons)? If the fusion is done using Tritium, I'm afraid there'll be quite a bit of that too.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 27, 2004, 09:13:55 pm
Isnt the entire thing a moot point since the Kohr-Ah simply kill everything? So nothing is left to use the tech that may be left behind anyway? =p

I think that the fighters would work best to destroy buildings in cities, even though it does kind of sound contrary to Hayes.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on July 28, 2004, 05:35:48 am
We're told explicitly that the worlds destroyed by the Kohr-Ah have been scorched by fusion blasts, and the Kohr-Ah's fusion technology probably isn't incredibly different from the Kzer-Za's. I find it hard to imagine being able to effectively use the shuriken against ground targets; they seem like great weapons for ship-to-ship combat, being able to intercept fast-moving targets and slice up their delicate machinery. But for the raw power to blast cities, the Kohr-Ah most likely use modified FRIEDs.

I don't see any reason to assume, after all, that the weapon configurations used in ship-to-ship combat must be used for attacking planets as well. The two tasks of dogfighting and bombing ground targets are very different, and the best engineering solution probably involves converting the ships from one mode to another. Thus, fusion weapons that would appear to be very efficient at heating and melting ground targets have a key weakness against enemy ships, the energy cost of maintaining continuous fire making it difficult to track moving targets, requiring them to invest in other weapons for ship-to-ship combat (autonomous fighters, shuriken). Hence a Kzer-Za Dreadnaught capable of destroying an entire planet's ground defenses (according to the SC1 manual) takes a while to destroy, say, an Earthling Cruiser, because in order to target the cruiser it has to jack up the firing rate of the cannon and reduce the power of its shots.

My theory is that Kohr-Ah care a lot more about ship-to-ship combat than Kzer-Za, since they have no Battle Thralls to take up the slack and they have a much harder time replacing lost ships given their nomadic lifestyle. So instead of trying to make their city-bombing fusion cannons into a rapid-firing ship-to-ship weapon, they prefer to use them defensively in the form of FRIEDs.

But in any case either fast firing rate or defensive orientation of weapons can be ignored when bombing planets. Then all you need to do is point all the emitters downward and let loose. I think it's unlikely that anything more precise is necessary for either Ur-Quan subspecies' purposes -- Kohr-Ah just blast the whole crust until everything's dead, and Kzer-Za seem to prefer to bomb cultural centers indiscriminately rather than wasting time seeking out particularly valuable targets, since the overall impact is greater if all of Old Paris is lost than if just the Louvre is lost.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 28, 2004, 03:55:49 pm
Not if you blast the ocean and that causes massive tidal waves, killing thousands (Ala day of tomorrow).

But yes, i agree with you that the Kohr-Ah probably do not use the blades to decimate planetary surfaces.

And who says the two races fusion are similar??
The ships that the brown Ur-Quan used during the Dynarri wars were definately very different from nowadays, I'm Sure!
The gene split occured much later, and they still used their same brown ships to attack the Mael-Num, when the first Doctrinal Wars began. They have had 15000 years, plus constant exploration and exposure to new technology, to upgrade and refine their ships.
Dont forget that all Ur-Quan are very intellegent, just because the Green are designed to be scientists doesn't mean the Black are thick as bricks, if they were, they surely couldn't fly.

I doubt, also, that the F.R.I.E.D attack is fusion. I think its superheated helium, like Babylon 5's PPG shots.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on July 28, 2004, 08:16:18 pm
Quote
Kind of makes Fwiffo look like a liar when he talks about the ur-quan turning some of his planet into radioactive dust.....

I'm pretty sure blowing up nuclear facilicies and nuclear weapons that were down on the planet would produce a bit of radioactive dust...


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 28, 2004, 09:41:40 pm
Why the hell would the Kzer-Za destroy nuclear power plants?

They destroy buildings over 500 years or precursor artifacts, not industry/power.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on July 29, 2004, 12:17:06 am
Quote
Why the hell would the Kzer-Za destroy nuclear power plants?

Oops. I missed the context.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: 0xDEC0DE on July 29, 2004, 01:05:06 am
Quote
And who says the two races fusion are similar??

Your scientists in-game do.  From the landing team on the old Burvixese homeworld:

Quote
    ---- REPORT FROM SURFACE ----

THESE RUINS SEEM TO BE REMNANTS OF A CIVILIZATION WHICH CALLED ITSELF THE `BURVIXESE'.

ALL THEIR CITIES HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO RADIOACTIVE SLAG BY SOME FORM OF ENERGY WEAPON SIMILAR TO THE UR-QUAN'S FUSION BLASTER. FROM EVIDENCE WE HAVE GATHERED HERE, WE CAN CONCLUDE THAT THIS ENTIRE CIVILIZATION WAS DESTROYED FROM ORBIT SOMETIME IN THE LAST 8-12 EARTH YEARS.

THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS.

       ---- END OF REPORT ----


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 29, 2004, 02:22:31 pm
Wow, i got TOLD =p thats very good information digging, there. =p

Still doesnt make sense to me *shrug*


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on July 29, 2004, 07:20:15 pm
Quote
The black ship appeared in orbit several days ago
and began raining down bolts of destructive energy
on the surface of our planet!


I would not call the FRIED a 'bolt' of energy. I suspect their orbital bombardment weapons are a different system.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: FalconMWC on July 29, 2004, 08:19:45 pm
Interesting thought D_999 - That would explain why the kor-ah can take out a entire race (ZFP) but the precursor ship can't. It just was not outfitted for that kind of weapons.....


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on July 29, 2004, 11:34:51 pm
Well, yeah.  In spite of the combat scale, planets really are a whole lot bigger than ships, but not nearly as well armored.  Scouring the life from a planet requires an entirely different type of weapon than blasting a ship out of space.  The Kzer-Za use similar technology for both purposes, but apparently this is a fairly unusual solution.  The Kohr-Ah obviously use very different systems for planetary bombardment and space combat, and the precursor ship isn't even equipped for planetary bombardment at all.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan
Post by: FalconMWC on July 30, 2004, 12:24:02 am
On the other hand though, I am sure the hellbore would cause pretty big damage - its not like the atmosphere is a shield or anything....  :P


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan
Post by: jabbrwock on July 30, 2004, 04:09:03 am
Quote
On the other hand though, I am sure the hellbore would cause pretty big damage - its not like the atmosphere is a shield or anything....  :P


Actually, a planetary atmosphere is a pretty effective shield against all sorts of things.  The Hellbore Cannon packs a lot of destructive energy into a very small space.  For planetary bombardment, you really want some more dispersal and not so much concentrated power.  Considering the kind of pressure that exists in the deep mantle/core of a rocky planet, a weapon that can blast through 5 or 10 miles of solid rock isn't optimally useful, but that's what you need to inflict damage on the super-hardened metals it would take to make the kind of spaceships we see in these games.



Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on July 30, 2004, 04:17:36 am
If one wanted to destroy all life on a planet and not wish to settle,
such as the Kor-Ah seem to do, one might try setting the atmosphere
on fire. I'm not sure about other planets, but Earth's air is about, what,
20% oxygen? I'm sure there is potential there for very rapid destruction.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Chrispy on July 30, 2004, 07:09:42 am
 :o Scary...


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on July 30, 2004, 08:25:59 am
Quote
If one wanted to destroy all life on a planet and not wish to settle,
such as the Kor-Ah seem to do, one might try setting the atmosphere
on fire. I'm not sure about other planets, but Earth's air is about, what,
20% oxygen? I'm sure there is potential there for very rapid destruction.


A very scary weapon would be a catalyst for the reaction between Carbon and Oxygen, dropped into the atmosphere.  If the catalyst were effective enough, everything on the planet that could burn, would, and when it was done, there wouldn't be any oxygen left in the atmosphere.

The atmosphere isn't likely to burn - most of the gasses in it are stable and don't burn well.  But there's all sorts of combustibles on the surface.  Planets are disturbingly fragile - yet another argument for prioritizing the space program, or better yet, multiple space programs.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on July 30, 2004, 03:55:27 pm
Your damn right, jeeze, every time a huge meteorite comes along, life has to start all over again!
{shamelessly stolen from the esteemed Lilo and Stitch) =p

Personally, the way i would destroy an entire planet is a Dr. Device =p *grins*


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on July 31, 2004, 06:00:55 am
jabbrwock: I think something that catalyzed combustion of *all* carbon by *all* oxygen would be highly unlikely. I'm no chemist, but what determines the tendency of a carbon compound to react with oxygen is very dependent on the compound itself -- a catalyst that just causes all carbon compounds to burn into CO2 is pretty much fantasy as far as I know. It'd require a large amount of energy input to start such a reaction anyway; I think it's easier for an SF author to just input that energy on the surface in the form of radiation and make everything burn the old-fashioned way, by raising the temperature to activation energy everywhere very fast. :)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 01, 2004, 02:33:54 pm
Another cool, shamelessly ripped WoMD would be a black-hole Generator. I love Orion.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 03, 2004, 05:22:28 pm
Quote
Another cool, shamelessly ripped WoMD would be a black-hole Generator. I love Orion.


It'd be a strategic weapon, not a quick-killing tactical weapon. Unless you actually mean a weapon capable of making huge star-size masses and hurling them at things (which would be a war-ender without needing the stars to be anywhere near the size of ordinary black holes) a "black hole generator" most likely compresses a small amount of matter (using exotic, science-fiction forces) into a density high enough to form a singularity.

This small singularity would actually not be that hard to make -- assuming you can harness immense, science-fiction level forces, but it takes a lot less suspension of disbelief than making a star-sized black hole and flinging it at things. There have been science fiction stories that were pretty credible based around using some exotic phenomenon to spontaneously form a singularity without enormous energy expenditures.

It would take years and years and years to completely engulf the planet, since its event horizon starts out extremely small and it's only able to absorb tiny bits of matter at once -- in space, in fact, the black hole wouldn't be able to absorb enough matter to survive and would give off more in Hawking radiation than it took in, and glow like a blazing hot torch. (Hence the common sf trope of using tiny black holes as power sources.) But while the planet would still be there for years to come, soon enough the planet would be noticeably shrinking in size, causing huge earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate shifts, and all other kinds of good stuff wrecking everything.

So flinging them left and right at planets to ward off attacks from their fleets might be unrealistic, but the idea of a planet that's been sabotaged by black hole and slowly falling apart as its drains into the black hole would be a great sf setting. Great excuse for all those stereotypical "the world is cursed" settings we see in fantasy.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on August 03, 2004, 08:29:41 pm
I think the hawking radiation outflow would be dwarfed by the matter inflow if you stick it in dense matter (e.g. a planet), and it is sufficiently heavy to begin with.

Collider byproducts (e.g. two gold atoms) would not be heavy enough, but if you put about 1 kiloton of matter into it, the schwarzchild radius will be  about the radius of an atomic nucleus. If you gently lob it at a planet instead of shooting it out at half the speed of light (once again, as opposed to in a particle accelerator), this will give it plenty of opportunity to gobble up every atom in its path.
Assuming it only gobbled up the atoms in its direct path, that would total to around one ten-thousandth of a mole each time through the planet. Yeah, this will take a while.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 04, 2004, 02:52:30 pm
Gee, thanks for ruining the BHG =p

But that does sound kind of cool...Sounds like something the Umgah or the Ilwrath would do.

Black hole vacuum cleaners will be appearing on Melnorme shelves soon!


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 04, 2004, 03:05:21 pm
Quote
I think the hawking radiation outflow would be dwarfed by the matter inflow if you stick it in dense matter (e.g. a planet), and it is sufficiently heavy to begin with.

Collider byproducts (e.g. two gold atoms) would not be heavy enough, but if you put about 1 kiloton of matter into it, the schwarzchild radius will be  about the radius of an atomic nucleus. If you gently lob it at a planet instead of shooting it out at half the speed of light (once again, as opposed to in a particle accelerator), this will give it plenty of opportunity to gobble up every atom in its path.
Assuming it only gobbled up the atoms in its direct path, that would total to around one ten-thousandth of a mole each time through the planet. Yeah, this will take a while.


The idea is not to fling it through the planet but to send it through so slowly that it spirals through the planet down to the planet's center of mass and develops a stable orbit there, nestling inside the planet and slowly absorbing it. There was a cool hard sf story about this being done on the Moon (by accident), and another about it being done (by aliens) on Mars. Too bad I can't remember titles right now.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on August 04, 2004, 08:37:27 pm
I know. Read carefully. Nonetheless, if you were to drop it at the surface, it would begin a gradually decaying orbit of the planet, right through the middle. This is because it does not interact very strongly at first.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 05, 2004, 07:27:07 pm
I really dont think that its feasibly possible, even stretching Sci Fi to its limits, to move a black hole. You cant physically manipulate it, obviously, and the only way you can move it is with an equal or greater mass. I.E, another black hole. It's intriuging, but i prefer more conventional planetary destruction means.
Death Stars will always be the best. =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: thatsteveguy on August 06, 2004, 01:00:41 am
This story has been done. Read "Earth" by David Brin. It goes into great depth as to what will happen to a black hole that falls into our planet. It's a good book and worth the read.,


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on August 06, 2004, 02:48:27 am
Since a black hole is *deeper* than Earth, wouldn't it be Earth falling into a black hole? I think that if a huge mass bumped into a black hole, it would just create a much bigger, moving black hole. But, I suppose you _could_ move one.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 06, 2004, 05:01:12 am
Quote
I really dont think that its feasibly possible, even stretching Sci Fi to its limits, to move a black hole. You cant physically manipulate it, obviously, and the only way you can move it is with an equal or greater mass. I.E, another black hole. It's intriuging, but i prefer more conventional planetary destruction means.
Death Stars will always be the best. =p


Oh, that's not necessarily true; if you're the one who makes the black hole you can set up a medium for it to rotate in that generates a magnetic field that stabilizes its position and allows you to manipulate it. (My rough-and-ready knowledge of physics from hard sf peters out here, but I don't think it's theoretically impossible -- wildly difficult, yes, but not impossible. It's the basis for sf ideas of holding very small black holes in containment chambers so you can harness the Hawking radiation as an energy source. Ironically, some semi-canon sources claim that several of these black hole generators are the means by which the Death Star gets the ridiculously impossible levels of energy it needs to blow planets up -- more energy than is generated by the entire surface of the sun in the same amount of time, people have calculated. Oy.)

But for this particular purpose, just dropping a black hole into a planet in order to cause a long-term disaster, you don't need to manipulate it. The black hole itself is just a mass, and is affected by gravity like any other mass (it has to be; gravity is a two-way force, and it can't pull things if things don't pull it). Make it close to the planet or even on the planet's surface, then just let go of the thing and it'll sink down into the planet by itself.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 06, 2004, 10:31:31 am
I have a question, if you had a perfect sphere of some type of unbreakable material, perfectly surrounding the black hole, would the sphere possess the same mass as the black hole? If you push the sphere on one side, the gravity attracting the other side of the black hole would counter it and keep it the same place.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on August 06, 2004, 07:37:07 pm
Yeah, too bad there are no unbreakable materials.

So, you can move a black hole around magnetically, as Art said. You can also send objects near it which will attract it gravitationally (repeated slingshots off the same side).

However, you wouldn't be able to harness it as a profitable energy source just by consuming the Hawking radiation, unless you kept dumpng matter in... and then it would be the radiation due to the acceleration and disintegration of the dropped object that would be in question.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 06, 2004, 09:30:36 pm
We still dont know anything about black holes, maybe the energy harnessed could be something like switching a lightbulb on and off extremely fast, the gravity flux moving a piston which moves a turbine to produce the hole kinetic=>electric energy.

We still just do not know enough about black holes to make any real theories on them.
Its sort of like guessing how electricity would work, when writing from the perspective of a 14th century peasant. =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on August 07, 2004, 02:07:53 am
Quote
You cant physically manipulate it, obviously, and the only way you can move it is with an equal or greater mass. I.E, another black hole.

There is no resistance in vacuum. Throw a tennis ball at it and you will change its speed.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 07, 2004, 03:52:54 am
Quote
We still dont know anything about black holes, maybe the energy harnessed could be something like switching a lightbulb on and off extremely fast, the gravity flux moving a piston which moves a turbine to produce the hole kinetic=>electric energy.

We still just do not know enough about black holes to make any real theories on them.
Its sort of like guessing how electricity would work, when writing from the perspective of a 14th century peasant. =p



We're not quite that badly off. We do know quite a lot about how black holes interact with their environment, even if we know very little about what's going on inside of them.

The piston idea doesn't work -- the trick of using gravity to power a perpetual motion machine is a very old idea, but it doesn't work, since gravity sources only change potential energy to kinetic energy; to get energy from them there must be a net energy input. That is, you can get constant energy from water flowing downhill, but only if there's some other mechanism that puts in energy to replace the water uphill again (on Earth, that's the energy of the sun allowing water to evaporate and condense again at higher altitudes). The falling piston requires energy to move it back up to the original position before you can use it again.

But I'm cheating here -- you can't get free energy, but that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of systems where there are large amounts of stored potential energy; a waterwheel isn't a true perpetual motion machine, but it's a great way for us to harness the (for our purposes) limitless energy of the sun. So if you have a giant black hole floating in a cloud of gas, the radiation released by the gas as it spirals in will be a quite potent source of energy (which is why observable real life black holes like Cygnus X-1 glow very brightly). On a smaller if less plausible scale, sf has been written about the concept of naturally occurring miniature black holes formed during the Big Bang (the enormous pressures of inflation compressing bits of matter into black holes that normally wouldn't be large enough to collapse on their own). They're unlikely, but it'd be convenient if they were around, as they might be small enough to be manageable yet still contain enough mass that the decay of such black holes through Hawking radiation would make them viable energy sources. They'd be like big batteries where large amounts of mass/energy had been trapped in a conveniently small space by the forces of Creation and such.

Exotic matter from the Big Bang is fun. One idea I'd like to see for a weapon is deploying cosmic strings over a planet and letting them writhe around and slice the planet to pieces. (Cosmic strings are superdense bodies shaped by the Big Bang such that they stay long and thin rather than collapsing into ordinary atoms. They've become a standard sf trick to explain high-tech mechanisms like wormholes and planetary engineering.)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 07, 2004, 04:03:57 am
Quote
I have a question, if you had a perfect sphere of some type of unbreakable material, perfectly surrounding the black hole, would the sphere possess the same mass as the black hole? If you push the sphere on one side, the gravity attracting the other side of the black hole would counter it and keep it the same place.


You are aware that this and other questions you've had aren't particularly applicable to black holes, right? They'd still work the same way for any other relatively large gravity source (the Earth, the Sun, an enormous lump of cheese...)

Black holes interact with their immediate environment using the same rules of gravity as everything else. What's exotic about a black hole is its density, not its mass and its gravitation -- the cool thing about black holes is that they can be very very massive in a very small space (and that space is so small that our physics equations don't tell us how that much mass acts in that little space, making them "black").

But yes, answering your question, the material doesn't even have to be "unbreakable" (a truly unbreakable material is an impossibility anyway). If you had a sphere of matter whose mass was perfectly balanced around a gravity source, then the sphere would remain stable; no single part of the sphere would break off and begin to fall because the gravitational force acting on it is canceled out from the other side.

This is the principle that makes the concept of a Dyson sphere possible. A Dyson sphere would be an enormous feat of engineering in which some super-advanced race that wanted to maximize its energy efficiency could build an enormous sphere completely surrounding a star, soaking up all the radiation the star produces (as opposed to a planet like Earth that soaks up less than one percent of the energy the Sun produces). In theory if the sphere were perfectly uniform it would remain in a stable "orbit", rotating about the star, indefinitely; in reality even if you could get enough materials to build such a sphere (you'd have to convert everything inside of several gas giants into building materials to do it) it would have to be extremely strong and have constantly active powerful correcting mechanisms to keep random irregularities from causing bits to break off and spiral into the star and collapse the whole thing.

Larry Niven came up with the idea of a slightly more modest project in his Ringworld books, about (surprise surprise) a giant tubular ring that forms an enormous living habitat about the star. Such a world would be more feasible, but it still stretches credibility that it could last very long without constant oversight keeping the ring from slipping too far in one direction or another, losing its balance and breaking apart, half of it falling into the star and the rest flying off. (Larry Niven's imaginary engineers aren't just super-smart, they're darn near infallible.)

Either a Dyson sphere or a Ringworld or some other such ridiculously implausible enormous artificial living space would be a cool idea to see in an SC2 sequel or SC2-like game; imagine coming upon a star system that's completely dark, and as you get closer you see it's a *HUGE* sphere of some metal-like material, with doors opening and shutting... (Yeah, it was on Star Trek, I know. They didn't do that great a job with it, though the effects were super cool.)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: FalconMWC on August 07, 2004, 04:27:12 am
Yeah - Well Star trek had flames and fireworks in space - but I get your point.....  ;)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: jabbrwock on August 07, 2004, 10:49:50 am
Quote


But yes, answering your question, the material doesn't even have to be "unbreakable" (a truly unbreakable material is an impossibility anyway). If you had a sphere of matter whose mass was perfectly balanced around a gravity source, then the sphere would remain stable; no single part of the sphere would break off and begin to fall because the gravitational force acting on it is canceled out from the other side.


Er, no.  That's not how that works.  A spherical shell around a black hole will exert no net gravitational force on the black hole, no matter where within the shell the black hole is located.  This is not, however, a reciprocal relationship - the black hole exerts substantial net force on every individual part of the shell.  Only an infinitely rigid substance can be realistically considered a single object when subjected to a gravity source sufficiently intense that simple tidal effects can rip atomic nuclei apart.  Up until the shell breaks, however, you are correct - the shell will exert the same, zero, net gravitational effect on the black hole no matter where within ths shell the black hole is located, and the black hole will not perturb the shell until and unless it subjects the shell to sufficient gravitational force to break it.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 07, 2004, 11:30:10 am
Cool. And remember, I'm still only doing Physics at a yr 9 level, so cut me a little slack =p

I've heard about the Dyson sphere, and imagine it would look pretty damn cool. Actually, has anyone played the PC game Freelancer? I can't remember exactly but it had something extremely similar at the very end. Plus, its the best space flight combat sim ive ever played =p.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 07, 2004, 03:56:53 pm
Yeesh, jabbrwock is right and I'm wrong. My apologies. (I'm a history major who reads science fiction, so at least it doesn't reflect on my professionalism. :) )


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 07, 2004, 11:51:15 pm
Cool Art, What period in history?

My dad has a degree in Medieval History (thats in Australian, im not sure what you guys call it). He got it just to show he could get a degree, and now does something COMPLETELY unrelated =p

I have another question. What would the Leyland whip manuveur look like around a black hole. I'm assuming the ship hits the axis at just the right angle to spin AWAY from the even horizen so as not to get trapped in the supposed time dilation.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 08, 2004, 06:45:33 am
I'm still a callow undergraduate, so nothing definite, but I'm interested in China as a region and in the 20th century as a time period, though interestingly not that much in 20th-century China. If I decide to specialize I'll probably be a buff of late imperial China; if I decide to be a pompous theorist it'll be the sort who spins interesting yarns about how the 20th century Fundamentally Changed the Course of the World and stuff.

We call it Medieval History too in the States -- well, most of us call it a waste of time when we talk about it, but that's Americans for you; if it doesn't get you a six-figure job it's not worth our attention. No wonder we consume so many boy-band CDs and romantic comedies. :)

I do like reading about the hard sciences, though not enough to be a scientist and not enough to reliably talk about things I haven't read about in detail.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 08, 2004, 10:10:22 am
The hardest science books i've read through are Ender's Game and the Bio of a Space Tyrant series by Piers Anthony.

But yeah, Medieval history is a bit of a waste, but, getting a degree in ANYTHING proves that your dedicated and can work hard, so my dad got a pretty damn decent job very early he wouldn't have gotten without that degree.

Imperial China sounds like fun.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 12, 2004, 07:50:05 am
Well, science fiction is different from science -- I read a whole lot more of the former than the latter, and if it were possible to major in science fiction at my school I might do it.

I would recommend taking a look at some layman-level science books, especially if you're into science fiction -- try a series like the Science of Star Trek books (starting with the Physics of Star Trek); Isaac Asimov was a great writer of science nonfiction in his day, as well as writing great sf, and anything that starts with Asimov's Guide is fun.

The site that I have to thank for most of my habit of trying to think about science fiction common-sensically and critically is http://www.stardestroyer.net, one of the major "Star Trek vs. Star Wars" sites. Silly as the concept sounds, it goes into detail about how to imagine an sf world as though it were real (and how to do this in such a way as to prove that the Empire could kick the Federation's ass). Worth a look.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on August 12, 2004, 10:39:18 pm
Quote
What would the Leyland whip manuveur look like around a black hole.


The Leyland whip maneuver as seen in Star Control does not exist in real life.

In SC, it appears that gravity is allowed to accelerate your ship above its maximum thrusting speed, and while you're in the gravity field the ship's engines will not slow it down from that point, so you can use the thrusters to help your ship maintain its new velocity while climbing out of the gravity well. Obviously, these principles do not apply to real life.

Real gravitational whips operate very differently.

Consider the case of a very light object approaching a very heavy object off to one side so it won't collide. The gravity of the heavier object will pull the lighter object into a parabola, and will not impart any energy to the lighter object... in the reference frame of the heavy object.

BUT, if you are considering things in a different reference frame, the heavy object can give energy to the ligher object or take it away. The simplest case is where you look at the same situation from the frame of reference where the light object is initially at rest: along comes this heavy object and hurls the light object  off in some other direction!

So, a gravitational whip basically puts craft near the path of incoming planets and lets those planets add a portion of their orbital momentum to that of the craft. A braking gravity whip on the other hand lets the craft gradually catch up with the heavy orbiting object and whip around so it gives its energy to the heavier object (the reverse of the second example).

Just FYI.

Quote
I'm assuming the ship hits the axis at just the right angle to spin AWAY from the even horizen so as not to get trapped in the supposed time dilation.


I am not sure what you mean here... do you mean that the ship has a high enough impact parameter that it misses the event horizon? Basically, it would look like any other gravity whip but the attractive object will be very very small. BTW, there WILL be time dilation, that is one thing we've measured directly extensively (though not near black holes, we see no reason for this to be suspended).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 13, 2004, 08:41:53 pm
Sure, it would be the same as a planetary Leyland.

Its like comparing a commodore 64 with a top of the line modern pc.

A black hole is much much higher gravity, and much, much smaller, so the gravity is on a very tight area. You spin around that at just the right angle, youll break all kinds of records.

After all, an 'active' galaxy is a normal galaxy with a black hole sucking in lots of gases, which spin around it before getting sucked in. They spin so fast that they heat up so hot they're brighter than suns!


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on August 13, 2004, 11:32:35 pm
Well, it all depends on the size of the black hole. You get a black hole with the mass of the Earth, and your only advantage is that you can get much closer. Which is a big advantage... but you'd have problems with tidal forces.

Also, it's not an 'active galaxy', it's an 'active galactic nucleus'.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Chrispy on August 15, 2004, 04:13:31 am
Isn't a black hole a finite amount of mass in an infinitely small space? The size of a black whole is therefore always the same (infinitely small).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on August 15, 2004, 12:47:11 pm
Quote
Isn't a black hole a finite amount of mass in an infinitely small space? The size of a black whole is therefore always the same (infinitely small).

You're talking about the singularity in the centre of the black hole. But even about that the last word hasn't been spoken.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 15, 2004, 02:03:44 pm
Infinitely small space is a poor way to say it. Black holes just happen to have a volume very small compared to the gravity they exert. The equations tell us that when the ratio of volume to mass reaches a certain point things that get close to the stuff inside the black hole aren't able to escape the gravity again. So the black hole is "black", and the stuff inside it is invisible. What actually *happens* to the stuff inside, whether it's really crunched up into an infinitesimal point or has dropped through into another universe or whatever, is not knowable, because of the black hole being black. Hence the stuff inside a black hole is unique because it doesn't seem to affect or be affected by other stuff in the universe while the black hole lasts (it does eventually self-destruct, due to Hawking radiation, but that's another story). The laws of physics can't predict anything that happens in there; it's a single piece of the universe cut off from everything else, hence the name "singularity". (I know I'm butchering the explanation; someone else correct me if I'm wrong on any point.)

So yes, the singularity may or may not be infinitesimal. That's not what we care about, though; we define black holes by what we can observe of them, and what we *see* about the black hole is the simple fact that stuff that gets too close gets sucked in and never comes out again, and the size of the black hole defined by how close you can get before you never come out again -- the diameter of its event horizon. And the diameter of the event horizon is just determined by how strong, exactly, the gravity exerted by the singularity is at any point, and that's determined by the different finite masses that can go into making a black hole. Some black holes are made of really, really big masses crunched up small, like the black hole that might be at the center of the Galaxy holding it together, and in theory you could make a black hole of something very small, like the Earth, and the two black holes would be very different sizes. (The Earth's own gravity would never be able to crunch it up into a black hole normally, but it could be made into a black hole by some other force. Mini black holes may exist somewhere, formed by the pressures of inflation in the Big Bang, or so sf books say.)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 15, 2004, 02:35:21 pm
Quote
I'm assuming the ship hits the axis at just the right angle to spin AWAY from the even horizen so as not to get trapped in the supposed time dilation.


It's not supposed, it's very real. GPS systems have to have their clocks adjusted to take the very tiny gravitational time dilation caused by the difference in time's passage between the surface of the Earth and Earth orbit. It's not something that just starts and stops, though; little differences in time's passage occur everywhere because of slightly differently shaped space-time in areas with different gravity.

Black holes just create a very noticeable difference in a small area of space, but the effect (as does the gravity that causes it) slowly grows less pronounced as you move away from the black hole. Time dilation wouldn't be particularly serious if your passage near the black hole was not too long and stayed far enough away from the event horizon; maintain a distance from the black hole about twice as far from the center as the event horizon and you'll only lose 50% of the time you spend in there (i.e. if you come out after a week the place you return to will have experienced a week and a half).

Not that there aren't other problems with time dilation inherent in the situation of an interstellar civilization. The impossibility of truly synchronizing clocks between ships that are always popping into and out of TrueSpace at amazing apparent FTL velocities seems to make no difference in the SC2 universe, and one can only conclude that Hyperspace does a good job of keeping all ships synced to some universal Hyperspace time that, from the perspective of the TrueSpace universe, is as imaginary as the arrangement of Hyperspace constellations.

The game doesn't really work that way, but in theory one could imagine a world connected by a Hyperspace-like construct where, say, the Chenjesu civilization "actually" lives in a time thousands of years after humanity's "present" -- and, since they're thousands of light-years away, that's why they pick up human radio transmissions from our present in *their* present. This doesn't matter, of course, since communication between the Chenjesu and Humans in real space and real time is impossible, and the nature of Hyperspace means that ships and signals traveling through Hyperspace (or the Einstein-Rosen bridge or whatever it is) arrange themselves in a timeline that matches the shared timeline of those two ends of Hyperspace, or the wormhole, or whatever. (Two events separated on one side of the line by one year are separated on the other side of the line by one year, but the two sides of the line are separated by 10,000 years.) If you think about it it almost has to work this way -- simultaneity is not just unlikely but *meaningless* for two planets separated by a distance measurable in light-years -- but it's still a little disturbing to imagine.

Anyways, time dilation is only one of your problems concerning black holes. The bigger issue is that even if you don't tumble into the event horizon just being near black holes is unhealthy; very great mass in a very small volume will exert very strong tidal forces. That is, the force of gravity will increase very quickly as you get closer to the black hole because of its small size. Get too close to it, and the gravity on the side of your ship next to the black hole will be so much stronger than the gravity on the far side that your ship will rip in half. (This same idea is why oceans on the side of Earth facing the moon lift away from the Earth slightly toward the moon's gravity and cause tides. Hence the name.)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 16, 2004, 06:19:18 pm
Seriously, art, Your read WAY too much =p

Black holes are generally the size of a pin head, however, the amount of mass they contain varies. At this point, i don't even want to speculate on the physics that mean that LIGHT can't escape from a black hole.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 16, 2004, 08:59:01 pm
"Pinhead"? The distance of a black hole's event horizon from its center in the case of stellar black holes (formed from a star collapsing, the most common kind) is measured in thousands of kilometers.

The size of the singularity inside the black hole is unmeasurable since the singularity cannot, by definition, be detected or interacted with from outside. You can say that a given mass *becomes* a singularity if it's squeezed into a spherical volume whose radius is less than a certain distance -- the Schwarzschild radius -- and that radius is often used to measure a black hole. That radius is very small, but is still measured in kilometers when dealing with stars -- the Sun's Schwarzschild radius is 3 kilometers, and that of a supergiant star that could become a black hole on its own would be several times that.

Light being trapped by a black hole is a consequence of the General Theory of Relativity, which (among other things) says that all matter and energy, including light, is affected by gravity. All gravity is in relativity is a curvature of space-time; things moving through curved space-time get their paths through space deflected. That includes photons. The General Theory was proven when Einstein showed that Mercury's orbit looked different from what we expected it to be because the light coming from Mercury was getting bent out of its path by the Sun's gravitational field.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 18, 2004, 08:08:48 am
The event horizon itself is huge, but thats just the outer limit of the inescapable gravitational pull, when it begins time dilation.
The singularity itself would be tiny.
At least, thats what i remember my 8th grade science teacher saying =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Bobucles on August 18, 2004, 06:54:36 pm
Quote
The event horizon itself is huge, but thats just the outer limit of the inescapable gravitational pull, when it begins time dilation.
The singularity itself would be tiny.
At least, thats what i remember my 8th grade science teacher saying =p

Compared to how large matter is normally, a black hole is tiny. But we don't have the instruments to figure out just how tiny one is, yet. The singularity of the blackhole in the center of the galaxy could either be smaller than a pinhead, or larger than jupiter. I don't think anyone is sure how big it is. If we could figure out the exact size, that would be a very important thing indeed.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 19, 2004, 03:38:26 am
Indeed it would, though it would raise a great many questions. Right now the whole point of a singularity is that by definition you can't say what it's made out of -- you can't say what size it is (other than "smaller than the Schwartzchild radius") because, almost by definition, singularities occur in places where you can't see them.

It is theoretically possible to see "naked singularities", but the circumstances that would lead to one being able to do so are complicated (i.e. I don't understand them), but it was a big deal recently when it was proven that it was possible. (Stephen Hawking lost a bet about it.) It creates logical problems if you can, in fact, see inside a black hole to the singularity -- the reason for the original Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis, the idea that singularities must always be hidden behind event horizons, was the logical principle that since singularities are places where the ordinary laws of physics don't hold, where density becomes infinite and so forth, it shouldn't be possible for the rest of the universe to observe or interact with what happens inside of one without breaking down the normal rules of physics in the rest of the universe. I don't think the implications of the CCH being false make much difference as of yet, since it's doubtful naked singularities actually exist, that they're forming anywhere near us or that we could observe them if they were, but it does open up all kinds of possibilities.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Crowley on August 21, 2004, 05:19:11 am
Woo, another history major here who is intensely interested about these kind of things but doesn't read enough about it. Anyway, one new thought into this conversation I came up with is this: would it be feasible construct a Dyson sphere that is very thin and light so that the radiation pressure given by the star would roughly counteract the gravitation and you wouldn't need incredibly durable materials that are perfectly balanced?

Another thing I've wondered about Dyson spheres for a longer time is that if it really takes in vast majority of the energy that a star produces, how do you arrange things so that the whole thing doesn't eventually melt down?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Bobucles on August 21, 2004, 06:53:30 am
Quote
Another thing I've wondered about Dyson spheres for a longer time is that if it really takes in vast majority of the energy that a star produces, how do you arrange things so that the whole thing doesn't eventually melt down?

You don't just let that energy sit there. You can power something useful, like a gigantic factory. You could find a way to turn it into antimatter fuel, which is always handy. You can simply throw the heat away, and let it bleed into space. A sort of giant airconditioner system would work nicely for that. But you don't want it melting down your dyson sphere, that would just be a waste of a perfectly good sphere. :)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 21, 2004, 11:07:38 am
I assume they use Intel processors for the Dyson, so no problem of melting down =p

As for ridiculous methods of getting huge amounts of energy, why not breed a race of super hamsters to power treadmills?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: ChainiaC on August 21, 2004, 02:42:55 pm
Well, no, mammals are not a very efficient power convertor. They lose a lot of energy in the form of heat. Not to mention the fact that only part of the energy is actually directed to the muscles driving the treadmill, oh and those muscles also produce a lot of excess heat. You would be better off directly burning the hamster food in a powerplant.
However... it WOULD be a great idea to have all the gyms in the world produce power. Think about it, there are millions of humans working out somewhere every day. They use all kinds of contraptions with built in resistance. So why not use dynamos for resistance? I mean the humans need to work out anyway to improve their physical health (or so that they (think they) look attractive). It would be a waste to discard all that power as heat  :)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 23, 2004, 06:18:18 am
Why not just have stairs that go on forever ? (reverse escalator, you take a step, it moves the thing down.) =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 23, 2004, 10:39:35 am
If you've tried sitting on an exercise bike that measures the amount of power in watts you're generating at any given moment, it's rather depressing, as are those bikes that force you to keep a small light bulb lit by the power generated by your spinning. Humans don't generate much power at all; I once read an article that said that the average amount of power any human being can produce in a given day is 700 watts or less, and the real mark of the Industrial Revolution was the leap into the "kilowatt age", where you can generate power in kilowatts rather than watts at a time.

BTW, Sander Scamper, have you ever used a Stairmaster?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: ChainiaC on August 23, 2004, 01:44:40 pm
Well since the amount of calories burned per minute isn't too impressive... the wattage cant be either. I'll give my best on one of those bike things and precisely note the amount of calories / minute so I can calculate my (usefull) wattage  ;D

also... isnt 1 joule the amount of energy to lift 100 grams 1 meter up in the air? If so I can calculate my max power output at the benchpress  :D



Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 23, 2004, 07:10:38 pm
1 calorie of energy is enough to heat 1 litre of water 1C.

Yes, i have used a stairmaster. Afterwards, i garroted my personal trainer who made me use it =p

So the Matrix is wrong?? Noooooo! =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on August 23, 2004, 09:20:24 pm
You are both correct as to your definitions of energy values.

Art, however, was a little off in using Watts as an energy value: it is a unit of power, energy per time. Joules per second, to be specific.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Bobucles on August 24, 2004, 12:02:18 am
I've used a bike that has a Watt meter on it. I'm not very strong, mind you, and I managed to produce about 70 Watts of power. That's not even enough to power a Pentium 4!  ;D


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Culture20 on August 24, 2004, 02:42:25 am
Enough to power a 15" monitor though;  That'd solve childhood obesity;  You want to use AIM to message your friends?  Hop on the stationary compu-cycle.  ::)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: ChainiaC on August 24, 2004, 02:55:23 am
Wow, a stroke of genius! Kids'll be so incredibly well trained. I should have had one of those, I hated sports as a kid  ;)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 24, 2004, 03:10:13 am
Quote
You are both correct as to your definitions of energy values.

Art, however, was a little off in using Watts as an energy value: it is a unit of power, energy per time. Joules per second, to be specific.


Yes; the meters I was talking about measure power, not energy -- they tell you how much power you're producing at any instant rather than measuring the total energy you've produced.

The thing about watts and kilowatts per day should've been watt-hours and kilowatt-hours, though.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 28, 2004, 07:23:58 pm
Solving child Obesity is as simple as introducing parents to something called 'control' so as to make them strong enough to not give into the whiny kid's demands for cakes =p

I should know, I used to 120kg 5"10 12 yr old to what I am today, which is a 6"2 14 90kg =p And I do weights, so a lot of that is muscle =p

Wow, I just went totally off topic there...Oops.

Just had a thought....are perpetual motion devices possible now or in the distant future? You know...If you start x machine, it provides enough energy to power itself and a little left over?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: 0xDEC0DE on August 28, 2004, 08:29:31 pm
That reminds me of what Homer Simpson said when Lisa Simpson made a perpetual motion machine:

Quote
Young lady, in this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Those laws are, put into "card-playing" terms:
  • You can't win.
  • You can't break even.
  • And you can't get out of the game.
If you use energy, namely if you convert it from one form to another, you will lose some of it. No machine can be even 100% efficient, which pretty much rules out being more than 100% efficient, hence no perpetual motion machines.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 28, 2004, 10:36:38 pm
I remember that episode =p

Ahh..the Simpsons...Teaching Kids for 13+ years =p

This is a crazy thought.
Ignore the impossibility of about 90% of Star Trek universe..

Cylinder heated to above 100C...steam produced at bottom, rises to top, pushing turbine at half way, when it reaches top, it is teleported to bottom, and it starts over again.

I don't know how much energy would be used for the heating and the teleporters, I'm assuming (for the purpose of arguement) that they are small enough to be under the energy produced by the steam.
That would be a perpetual motion engine, provided the steam is produced in the first place, no? =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on August 29, 2004, 07:45:08 am
Re: Nic
The laws of nature as we know them are derived from observation. They may be fundamental laws in that other laws can be derived from them, but you can't know for sure that they are correct in all circumstances (or even for normal circumstances in the future, but that's a different discussion).
So while these laws may forbid perpetual motion devices, it may be possible to create a perpetuum mobile in hypothetical circumstances where these laws don't hold.
And I don't agree that 100% efficient energy conversion is necessarilly impossible. The rest of the 100% is generally "lost" in the form of heat (motion of atoms/molecules). But if you intend to convert some form of energy to heat, there is no energy lost.



Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 29, 2004, 03:33:04 pm
Isn't some of it then wasted as Light? Or as radiation heat transferrance?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on August 30, 2004, 01:47:03 am
Quote
Isn't some of it then wasted as Light? Or as radiation heat transferrance?

Just until it bumps into something.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 30, 2004, 03:03:43 am
Quote
I remember that episode =p

Ahh..the Simpsons...Teaching Kids for 13+ years =p

This is a crazy thought.
Ignore the impossibility of about 90% of Star Trek universe..

Cylinder heated to above 100C...steam produced at bottom, rises to top, pushing turbine at half way, when it reaches top, it is teleported to bottom, and it starts over again.

I don't know how much energy would be used for the heating and the teleporters, I'm assuming (for the purpose of arguement) that they are small enough to be under the energy produced by the steam.
That would be a perpetual motion engine, provided the steam is produced in the first place, no? =p


There's no such thing as a teleporter. If there were, it would use up a huge amount of energy, depending on how it worked; no matter how it worked, it would have to use at least enough energy to negate any energy gains from your machine. In real life, magically jumping things from one place to another at no cost to cheat the Second Law of Thermodynamics doesn't work.

I'm not a scientist by training, but my reading has been wide enough (including multiple articles dealing with this very concept) to make it pretty clear that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy constantly increases) is as near universal as any scientific law can be; every single observation made by scientists shows it to be true, and every single machine ever made has to work with it in mind. Certainly it's only a law of probability, not a deterministic law like other scientific laws, but it's a form of probability that always seems to hold -- it's always more probable that things go from order to randomness than vice versa. Any ordinary event that obviously broke the Second Law would safely be classified as a miracle, in the original sense of the term (a proof that there is something "supernatural", extremely deviating from normal reality, going on).

The exception is at the quantum level, where, indeed, you get something from nothing and order from randomness all the time; things are so small and simple at that level that many events can go in either direction with no problem. At the macroscopic level, the one we live in where quantum effects become undetectable, the probabilities *always* add up to an increase of entropy.

Meep-eep: the point of entropy is not just that the energy is "lost" from some particular place, but that the distribution of energy becomes more random. What we mean by "heat" is randomness -- when energy is released randomly into molecules, we say that the molecules are heating up.

Think of it this way: Your machine, however it works, is trying to get a bunch of energy to push in a certain direction. Whenever it does so, a bit of energy is leaked away, energy that's pushing in *all* directions, randomly. Every single thing you can do to *that* energy will *also* leak a bit of energy in all directions; there's nothing you can do to stop it. No matter how many times you try to "capture" the waste heat and put it to work, some always slips through the cracks, and you will always end up putting in more energy than actually comes out as work.

Any example you use will fall prey to this problem. If the work you're doing is heating things, then in order to be useful work you have to be heating a certain space, making that space warmer than some other space, and no matter what you do there will be heat energy spinning off into the outside, or into the interior parts of your machine, or radiating off as infrared radiation, or *something* other than heating the space you want to heat. (And every system you build to capture that heat or radiation that's not where you want it to be will *itself* spin off some energy as heat or extra radiation or something, and on and on and on.)

Think of it like pouring water through a series of pipes to fill a bucket; no matter how clean and smooth my pipes are, in real life there will always be a bit of water that sticks to the pipe on its way through and doesn't make it to the bucket. The more pipes I use, the more water I lose. And even if I try every possible method to clean the pipes, by wiping the pipes with a cloth or sponge and wringing it into the bucket, blowing air through the pipes, etc., the water will always stick to anything I touch it with and I'll lose a little that way (the sponge will still be slightly moist; the water will evaporate a little into the air; etc.)

The perfectly water-resistant surface that will let the water flow straight through without any sticking at all does not exist. The perfectly energy-conducting system that will transfer energy without any loss in waste does not exist, and since we have to build *everything* out of imperfect conductors of energy, every single part of every machine we build, every little nut and bolt, will waste some energy. That's life, unfortunately.

Note that "perpetual motion machines" don't necessarily have to be *true* perpetual motion machines; they can "cheat" by using an energy source that, itself, will run out, but that lasts so long that from our perspective it will last forever. Something that runs directly on the continuous light of the sun outside the atmosphere would be like that, or something that runs on the energy of the Earth's rotation, or on the slow decay of radioactive substances.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 30, 2004, 09:17:48 am
What about Mercury? Mercury will not stick to a surface like glass at all.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 30, 2004, 07:54:14 pm
It's called a "metaphor".

But one of the aspects of being very anal-retentive about real-world events is that even things with almost no adhesion to a surface at all, like mercury on glass, will leave a few undetectable traces at the molecular level. Nothing in the real world is perfectly non-adhesive.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Culture20 on August 31, 2004, 03:32:00 am
Semi-perpetual motion devices are possible.  They last so long that they outlive us (possibly even our species).  
The Sun is one example: Its own gravity keeps most the materials in the fusion reactions from exploding throughout the solar system.  Eventually though, even its 2hydrogen->helium reactions won't be enough to counteract its gravity.
Creating a Sun is beyond our technological capability though.   :P

Before the accelerating-expanding universe theory, many Astronomers believed that the universe was a perpetual motion machine (gravity would eventually bring everything together into a big crunch, and the bang, crunch, bang, crunch was cyclical).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on August 31, 2004, 07:41:24 am
Actually there is such a thing as a teleporter. While still in the early stages, scientists have discovered that they can "teleport" small amounts of
matter instantly across small distances. This was big news in the scientific and sci-fi communities about four or five years back.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on August 31, 2004, 10:39:51 am
Quote
Actually there is such a thing as a teleporter. While still in the early stages, scientists have discovered that they can "teleport" small amounts of
matter instantly across small distances. This was big news in the scientific and sci-fi communities about four or five years back.


I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this. Could you post a link to the article you mean?

Quantum teleportation, the thing that's closest to your idea, is not a true form of "instantaneous" travel (that idea itself is meaningless according to relativity). It transfers a quantum state from one place to another "instantaneously", but has to do so over a classical communication channel. In other words, it works by linking two particles or sets of particles together so that changing the state of one set changes the state of the other; in theory by linking a quantum state to an information pattern you could pop information from one place to another easily this way. However, the particles have to be in contact to be entangled initially, and to put distance between them they have to be transported by "normal" methods that are limited by the speed of light. The actual matter and energy has to travel at normal speeds; indeed, the information being "sent" is technically already in the entangled particle when it moves, so the information, too, is traveling at classical speeds.

The chief benefit of quantum teleportation is that it would allow the transfer of information without the distortion and interference you get from classical communication, sending information in a perfectly reproducible form. It also allows for quantum computing by the use of the many-worlds feature of a quantum state; a set of particles can be in multiple states at once and have its wavefunction collapsed to match a certain condition, allowing certain forms of computation. However, it's not a method by which you can cheat the Theory of Relativity and skip having to move things around in space under the speed-of-light speed limit.

In any case, this is tangential to the main idea; the use of an imaginary teleporter in a perpetual motion machine is to move things around for free; a basic idea for a perpetual motion is to have two linked teleporters, one suspended directly above the other, and pour water onto the bottom one. The endlessly flowing stream of water can then be used to drive turbines without ever running out; we harness the power of gravity without having to pay the cost of moving back up all the water that falls down.

No real-life system can work this way; every method of moving the water up again, whether by hauling it in buckets, using sunlight to evaporate it and let it condense higher up in the atmosphere, or setting up some sort of wormhole to transfer the water from one point to another will cost energy, and will cost more energy to move the water back up than the water gave us falling down. It may be that natural processes are inputting the energy so that from a human perspective *we're* doing no work and getting the energy for free (indeed, this is how we view waterwheels in real life, which are run by the free power of the sun's heat), but the energy must come from somewhere and eventually run out.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on August 31, 2004, 09:35:19 pm
I know its a metaphor, I was just being a git =p

Quantum technology has recently made a huge leap, some people made a change in some quartz and some other quartz 0.7cm away changed, too =p Thats as dumbed down as it gets.
Photon teleportation has been done, by Aussies, no less =p Woohoo!


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Profound_Darkness on August 31, 2004, 10:18:56 pm
Whew, finaly read through it all, interesting.

Glad someone mentioned the photon teleportation.

As for a good source of potential energy why not stick a long bit of wire into orbit and grab some "free" electrons.  As I understand it we have done a test similar to this but the wire burned up from nowhere to put the energy that got built up.

Think about how moving current through a bit of wire in a cylindricle shape gives you a magnetic field.  Now take a magnet and spin it inside the coil of wire and you get energy.  Finaly take a long bit of wire and set it in orbit perpendicular to the north/south magnetic line and notice some energy produced, the problem then would be a way to get the energy down to earth.  A microwave would be dandy if you like lots of fried fowl and crispy airliners...

As for the light weight material for a dison sphere, it would need to be strong enough to counteract or capture the solar wind.  Though if it did manage to deflect the solar wind back on the sun our sun would last a bit longer (probobly only a bit).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on August 31, 2004, 10:28:28 pm
Quote
Meep-eep: the point of entropy is not just that the energy is "lost" from some particular place, but that the distribution of energy becomes more random.

I know what entropy is. Why are you saying this? What in my message gave you the impression that I didn't?

Quote
What we mean by "heat" is randomness -- when energy is released randomly into molecules, we say that the molecules are heating up.

No, we don't. It's about "random" movement. Energy can put into molecules in a different way (like exciting the electrons around an atom core).

Quote
Think of it this way: Your machine, however it works, is trying to get a bunch of energy to push in a certain direction. Whenever it does so, a bit of energy is leaked away, energy that's pushing in *all* directions, randomly. Every single thing you can do to *that* energy will *also* leak a bit of energy in all directions; there's nothing you can do to stop it. No matter how many times you try to "capture" the waste heat and put it to work, some always slips through the cracks, and you will always end up putting in more energy than actually comes out as work.

Reread my message. I was claiming was that if heat is the intended outcome, there is no waste energy. All energy in the form of heat is not wasted. If you want to attack my position, you should direct yourself to energy in other forms.

Quote
Any example you use will fall prey to this problem. If the work you're doing is heating things, then in order to be useful work you have to be heating a certain space, making that space warmer than some other space, and no matter what you do there will be heat energy spinning off into the outside,

Irrelevant. The goal is converting energy into heat. Whatever happens to that heat afterwards is besides the point.

Quote
or into the interior parts of your machine,

The interior parts will also give off heat. An equilibrium will form after a while.

Quote
or radiating off as infrared radiation, or *something* other than heating the space you want to heat. (And every system you build to capture that heat or radiation that's not where you want it to be will *itself* spin off some energy as heat or extra radiation or something, and on and on and on.)

Ok, you've got me there. A very small part may not be converted to heat. Negligible for practical purposes, but I have to give you that it's not a 100% effective conversion.



Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 01, 2004, 05:08:36 am
Quote

I know what entropy is. Why are you saying this? What in my message gave you the impression that I didn't?


People had mentioned that 100% efficiency was impossible because of the loss of energy as waste heat (in machines). You disputed this, because heat is still a form of energy and no energy is lost. I don't know the degree of your own understanding of thermodynamics, which may be greater than mine, but you gave the impression that you were saying energy inefficiency amounts to the disappearance of energy. I tried to clarify by explaining that the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to an increase in entropy or disorder. If you feel I insulted your intelligence I apologize; this is a forum for general conversation, not a forum for professionals or technically trained people or a private conversation where we all know each other's credentials.

Quote

No, we don't. It's about "random" movement. Energy can put into molecules in a different way (like exciting the electrons around an atom core).


Yes. I apologize for being vague. The reason I said heat means "randomness" is that both heat and mechanical motion involve kinetic energy in molecules; the only difference is that heat involves random motion of individual molecules, resulting in an object that looks motionless at the macroscopic level, and mechanical motion is "ordered" motion of all molecules in a certain direction.

The point remains that when parts of a machine "heat up" the real phenomenon is a disordered release of energy.

Quote
Reread my message. I was claiming was that if heat is the intended outcome, there is no waste energy. All energy in the form of heat is not wasted. If you want to attack my position, you should direct yourself to energy in other forms.


Well, yes, except that just "making heat" is not the actual purpose of any machine. Machines by definition do work by applying energy in a particular way. There's always something you want to heat, and some things you don't care about heating, and any heating device can't help but heat some things you don't care about heating -- that's wasted heat.

If you aren't actually building a machine but are interested in the philosophical exercise of making heat, then that's not a problem; if you wait long enough, just about every form of potential energy (the chemical energy stored in complex molecules, the gravitational potential energy that allows stars to form, and so on) will end up dissipating into waste heat. That's the point of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and unless something special happens to the universe (space-time collapses into a singularity where the laws of physics don't apply) the whole universe's eventual fate is to die a "heat-death" where clouds of slightly impure hydrogen dust swirl around at a universal equilibrium temperature.

So your hypothetical machine is not some theoretical future invention, but a rather basic description of, well, the whole world, and your efficient energy conversion is a description of the inevitable entropic process the whole world goes through. By extension it's also a description of the eventual fate of all energy that passes through any human-built machine at all. It's not terribly useful under the human engineer's definition of a useful machine, though.

Quote
Ok, you've got me there. A very small part may not be converted to heat. Negligible for practical purposes, but I have to give you that it's not a 100% effective conversion.


Actually, if your only goal is to just make heat eventually, then it is 100% efficient conversion, because all forms of radiated energy that escape your system, however weakly interacting, will eventually hit some matter and excite it, heating it up.

You're right that losses through radiation are small for practical purposes, but in practical purposes for heating devices the goal is to heat up a particular space, and the wasted heat is the energy lost heating up spaces you don't need to heat (because conduction and convection are not perfectly efficient ways of transferring heat energy). It's true that the relatively simple task of generating heat is easier to make efficient than more complex tasks, but the process is still never 100% efficient; some heat always escapes to a place you don't need it to go.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 01, 2004, 05:32:19 am
Quote
Whew, finaly read through it all, interesting.

Glad someone mentioned the photon teleportation.

As for a good source of potential energy why not stick a long bit of wire into orbit and grab some "free" electrons.  As I understand it we have done a test similar to this but the wire burned up from nowhere to put the energy that got built up.

Think about how moving current through a bit of wire in a cylindricle shape gives you a magnetic field.  Now take a magnet and spin it inside the coil of wire and you get energy.  Finaly take a long bit of wire and set it in orbit perpendicular to the north/south magnetic line and notice some energy produced, the problem then would be a way to get the energy down to earth.  A microwave would be dandy if you like lots of fried fowl and crispy airliners...

As for the light weight material for a dison sphere, it would need to be strong enough to counteract or capture the solar wind.  Though if it did manage to deflect the solar wind back on the sun our sun would last a bit longer (probobly only a bit).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 01, 2004, 05:34:11 am
Sorry about the previous junk post...

Quote
Whew, finaly read through it all, interesting.

Glad someone mentioned the photon teleportation.


Right, but as I said, it's not teleporting a photon, it's giving a photon far away the same quantum state as another photon.

Quote

As for a good source of potential energy why not stick a long bit of wire into orbit and grab some "free" electrons.  As I understand it we have done a test similar to this but the wire burned up from nowhere to put the energy that got built up.

Think about how moving current through a bit of wire in a cylindricle shape gives you a magnetic field.  Now take a magnet and spin it inside the coil of wire and you get energy.  Finaly take a long bit of wire and set it in orbit perpendicular to the north/south magnetic line and notice some energy produced, the problem then would be a way to get the energy down to earth.  A microwave would be dandy if you like lots of fried fowl and crispy airliners...


This was Nikola Tesla's idea for generating free power, right? Unfortunately Tesla was famous for grossly overestimating the regularity of various kinds of vibrations and fields, so that he thought that the Earth's magnetic field would be as reliable and easy to generate power from as a magnetic turbine (never mind the engineering problem of getting the wire up there in the first place). My understanding is it probably isn't.

A much easier way to do it would be to just have solar power satellites placed in geosynchronous orbits that would beam energy down to Earth in the form of microwave lasers. It wouldn't be too hard to clear "safe" airspace around the receiver stations and to try to put them somewhere where there wouldn't be too much damage to wildlife, and the Sun's energy, unblocked by atmospheric effects, would be very abundant and reliable.

What I meant by "powered by the Earth's rotation" would be a curiosity-style device like Foucault's Pendulum that uses the actual physical rotation of the Earth to maintain some constant motion. (Foucault's Pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the Earth; it's a swinging pendulum that rotates around the floor it's suspended over during the course of a day because of the Earth rotating under it.)

Quote
As for the light weight material for a dison sphere, it would need to be strong enough to counteract or capture the solar wind.  Though if it did manage to deflect the solar wind back on the sun our sun would last a bit longer (probobly only a bit).


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the solar wind (subatomic particles released by the Sun) would exert significant physical pressure on a Dyson sphere; at least, it would be many times less than the "light pressure" exerted by the Sun's light. References you hear to solar sails refer to using the pressure of sunlight to move a spaceship around; though it would be a poetic connection, solar wind and solar sails don't have much to do with each other.

Also, what's the basis for saying we could reliably deflect solar wind back into the Sun, or that this would make the Sun last longer? It wouldn't actually reverse the using up of the Sun's hydrogen in nuclear fusion.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Profound_Darkness on September 01, 2004, 05:02:15 pm
Quote
Also, what's the basis for saying we could reliably deflect solar wind back into the Sun, or that this would make the Sun last longer? It wouldn't actually reverse the using up of the Sun's hydrogen in nuclear fusion.


the sun sheds a bit of it's mass all the time, if we could deflect that back into the sun it *might* increase it's life *a little*.  The mass that is shed is actual matter (it looses mass via matter-energy conversion but that energy being released also pushes some matter out).  I don't know that we could deflect the released mass back to the sun but I figure an 'air tight' disons sphere would do the trick.

The deflected mass would put back the thrown out fuel.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: meep-eep on September 01, 2004, 07:33:02 pm
Quote
People had mentioned that 100% efficiency was impossible because of the loss of energy as waste heat (in machines). You disputed this, because heat is still a form of energy and no energy is lost. I don't know the degree of your own understanding of thermodynamics, which may be greater than mine, but you gave the impression that you were saying energy inefficiency amounts to the disappearance of energy.

I put "lost" in between quotes to prevent that interpretation.

Quote
I tried to clarify by explaining that the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to an increase in entropy or disorder. If you feel I insulted your intelligence I apologize; this is a forum for general conversation, not a forum for professionals or technically trained people or a private conversation where we all know each other's credentials.

This is all basic highschool stuff. Assuming the worst (knowledge) is one thing, but if you spend as much text on it as you do, it is not very hard to see it it rather patronizing.

Quote
Well, yes, except that just "making heat" is not the actual purpose of any machine. Machines by definition do work by applying energy in a particular way. There's always something you want to heat, and some things you don't care about heating, and any heating device can't help but heat some things you don't care about heating -- that's wasted heat.

The efficiency of a device is measured in what part of the energy input is being used for it's intended purpose.
The purpose of a heating system for a room would be to heat up its environment.
If the heater is placed ineffectively (for instance by putting it next to an open window), then there is a low efficiency for the purpose of heating up the room, but that is not a property of the heater.

Consider a machine consisting of an electrical heater and a pack of batteries. Its purpose is to convert the energy from the chemical bonds in the batteries into heat.
To this end the machine has a spiral through which the electricity is fed.
But also (for instance) the wires in between the batteries and the heater give off heat. For a device whose purpose isn't heating (a computer for instance) that would be wasted energy. But for this heater, it doesn't matter.
You make a good point in saying you'll never be able to harnass all of the energy that will be released in the form of radiation. Something put in front will re-emit some energy in the form of radiation. Now you could say that it will eventually bump into an air molecule or the wall, but those are not part of the machine, and hence cannot be counted to the machine's efficiency.

Quote
If you aren't actually building a machine but are interested in the philosophical exercise of making heat, then that's not a problem

No I'm not. Not for this discussion at least.

Some general remark not made to you in particular, that has not been made yet: conservation of (matter-)energy only has to hold for a closed system. Entropy may increase locally.



Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 01, 2004, 09:22:49 pm
Entropy may decrease locally, you mean. But yes, that's what the whole discussion on quasi-perpetual motion machines is about; if you have a big source of energy around like the Sun, then for the purposes of a tiny open system like Earth it should be possible to get huge amounts of energy that won't run out, if we can figure out how.

I will endeavor to reduce the length of my text in the future, especially on preliminary points; you're right that I've probably been giving the wrong impression of my opinion of other posters' prior knowledge.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on September 02, 2004, 08:13:10 pm
Basic-Highschool-stuff?
Yr 10 Physics are the top of basic, and I havent done anything NEAR to this, and most of this is pretty much lost on me...I should read some more science fiction, I guess =p

If a machines entire purpose was to produce heat, and since heat makes molecules vibrate (energy), couldn't you harness the vibrations on such a tiny scale as to convert it to say, electricity?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Culture20 on September 03, 2004, 05:23:00 am
About 11 years ago, I had an idea that took advantage of the concepts of efficiency and "seaonal performance factor"
Quote
http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/glossary/glossary-h.html#heating_seasonal_performance_factor
HEATING SEASONAL PERFORMANCE FACTOR - A representation of the total heating output of a central air-conditioning heat pump in Btus during its normal usage period for heating, divided byu the total electrical energy input in watt-hours during the same period, as determined using the test procedure specified in the California Code of Regulations, Title 20, Section 1603(c).

Efficiency is always < 100%, but HSPF can be greater than 100% (and almost always is) because it's just translating energy from one place to another, not transforming it.  

My Idea was this:  A team of huge heat-pumps that take heat from the atmosphere, put that heat into a steam-turbine, use the electricity the turbine makes (most industrial turbines are >93% efficient) to power the heat pumps.  I've got a page around somewhere with the math involved, and it barely squeaks out ahead.  The biggest problem would be getting the heatpumps to actually combine enough heat to boil the water; once the target temperature raises, the HSPF drops.  Self-contained Alcohol turbines might be better as long as the heatpumps didn't get too hot (lower boiling point).

I was really keen on the idea until I found out that Iceland had been doing something similar (but far more efficient) for a long time.  Instead of using ambiant heat from the atmosphere, they use geothermal for the heat source.  Since the target temperature is almost equal to the source temperature, HSPF can be huge.   another invention of mine that someone else invented first (and applied better). :(


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on September 03, 2004, 06:16:51 am
True, but after about 20-30 years they have to close down the plant for about 50 years to wait for the rocks to get hot enough to make superheated steam (200c). So it's not really a renewable source of energy, as the money involved to build it would be astronomical...


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on September 03, 2004, 07:05:02 am
I don't think they'd have that problem, since Iceland is located
along a fault line. They have a huge amount of heat reaching the
surface constantly.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Crowley on September 03, 2004, 07:54:33 am
I started thinking about entropy and came up with this: the entire universe is headed towards total thermodynamic equilibrium (aka heat death of universe) as per to the laws of thermodynamics. As I understand it, total equilibrium means that all the energy and matter (the same thing in some respects) are distributed evenly along the whole universe so that it is impossible to get any more energy out of anything. However, if the universe keeps expanding and therefore there is more and more space to fill, how can thermodynamic equilibrium ever be truly achieved?

I'm also wondering two other things: how did we end up here from simple questions about Ur-Quan and why isn't Art registered yet?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on September 04, 2004, 05:47:11 am
This could also raise the question about how big the universe is?
Does it have a fixed size? Does it wrap around on itself? Does it
just keep going?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Crowley on September 04, 2004, 06:13:29 am
From what I know current research indicates that the universe will keep on expanding. I've also read that time and space don't exist unless there is something (matter/energy) actually occupying it. Therefore before the big bang the entire universe was quite literally subatomic-sized. Can't say I really understand that but that's what wiser minds than mine have told. I guess one way to look at it would be that nothing exists unless observed. Without matter and energy there is no way to measure time and space in any way so they don't exist.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on September 04, 2004, 03:06:13 pm
I can't see microwave rays....

What WAS the original topic? And why ISNT Art registered?


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Cronos on September 04, 2004, 05:24:47 pm
Crowley, it's a bit different on how you look at it (did that make sense?!).

Lets take an age old question. If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one around to observe it's fall, does it make a sound? The answer is YES. It does, but nobody was around to have observed the sound being made.

The same can be said for space-time. If there was no matter and no energy, space-time would still exist. But, with no objects to enact upon or observe them, what would be the point? This empty universe may as well have no dimensions and be timeless for it would not matter because there is nothing for space to enforce dimensions on and nothing for time to pass for.

Same end result I suppose, but different ways of seeing the same problem.

Oh, and think of the universal equilibrium thing as a the curve denoted by 1/x or 1/x^2. Always approaching, but never actually achieving, that certain point (zero, or infinity).

Has anyone ever read "The Last Question" by Asimov by the way? It does cover, rather entertainingly, the end of the universe :)


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on September 04, 2004, 06:56:26 pm
Or for that matter, The Resturant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. Another funny look at the end of all things.

Quote:
Lets take an age old question. If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one around to observe it's fall, does it make a sound? The answer is YES. It does, but nobody was around to have observed the sound being made.

Technically, for sound to exist, there must be a receiver, a listener, or
a medium for the vibration to reach. If there is literally no one and nothing
around when the tree falls, it would not make a sound. However, since
forests tend to have things (such as other trees, animals, etc) in them,
then it would make a sound.

I agree that in a universe with no matter or energy, there would be no space or time. Since space and time need reference points to be messured, they could not exist in a vacuum.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on September 04, 2004, 08:07:08 pm
"Sound" Is just the condensation or movement of molecules or atoms to produce movement that interacts with our nerve endings in our Cornea, therefore irrespective of a reciever, sound exists when it is produced.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 05, 2004, 04:09:41 am
You mean "cochlea", unless you hear through your eyes.

And the question of the size of the universe is more complex than just deciding whether vacuum can exist without reference points. I don't really understand it myself, but one factor is that matter bends space around itself, so in a closed universe (as opposed to an open universe) there's enough matter to bend all of space into a closed shape (so that, yes, it wraps around). Most cosmogonists seem now to think that the universe is closed, and are looking for where the mass is that would allow it to be so -- one reason for the search for "dark matter".


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Cronos on September 05, 2004, 12:00:46 pm
I'm fairly sure the universe is not a closed system. If it were light would bend around eventually and we'd be seeing our galaxy in it's youth.

Dark matter in any case it whats speeding up the expansion of the universe, if the universe had enough matter to halt this expansion, we wouldnt note the increasing trend in the redshift of distant galaxies.



Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 05, 2004, 12:53:53 pm
Um, no. Light takes time to travel, and it's been a finite amount of time since the Big Bang. Also, the inverse-square law (the fact that light spreads out as it travels, and becomes less intense as it spreads out) plus the fact that the universe is filled with debris that absorbs light, is the reason we don't see all the way "through" the universe. (If the universe were infinitely old, eventually the debris absorbing the light would be heated to the point where the light would be re-radiated again, but... the universe isn't infinitely old, so that's moot.)

The accelerating redshift would not be caused by dark *matter*, as increased hidden mass would tend to cause the universe to contract. What you refer to is Einstein's cosmological constant, what's now being called "dark energy" or "vacuum energy", some sort of force pushing *against* gravity hidden from our view in the universe, and... as far as I can tell the attempts to figure out what it is or if the experiments saying it's there are even accurate are controversial. Again, this isn't my field. There are other reasons, however, to believe that there is extra matter in the universe and that mass-wise the universe is closed, or possibly flat (teetering right on the edge between closed and open; slowing in its expansion more and more and more but never actually stopping its expansion).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Profound_Darkness on September 05, 2004, 06:54:41 pm
Didn't Einstien also say something about if the universe was contracting (shrinking back to the big crunch) that we wouldn't be able to tell? I don't remember the theory realy well since I heard about it back in my first year of junior high.

It could have been someone else but I am pretty sure Einstein was involved somehow (like theories) (it's been a while).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Art on September 06, 2004, 01:15:24 am
I don't know what Einstein's own opinion was, but many scientists believed that time's arrow was linked to the expansion of the universe -- that the expansion of the universe is what causes time to appear to flow in one direction, and a contracting universe would appear to be the same as an expanding universe to the people inside it. (So the universe would always look like it was expanding; it would reach a point when time would come to an end, and reverse itself, from my limited understanding of the subject.)

That doesn't mean that a contracting universe would be identical to an expanding universe in all ways, however. I was reading one of Stephen Hawking's books about a month ago and he seems to think that this isn't necessarily true, that if the universe were contracting time would still be going in the same direction and we would be able to tell.


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Sander Scamper on September 06, 2004, 08:24:55 pm
Will everything appear perfectly normal to us if everything was in backwards time? How do we know we aren't in it already? =p


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Death 999 on September 08, 2004, 11:26:56 pm
The whole contracting-universe implying backward-time idea was discarded about 50 years ago when someone realized they had put a sign error in one of their equations, or some other basic error. There is no catastrophic change to spacetime itself upon the reversal of the expansion.

Dark Energy could be the cosmological constant, or it could be the effects of extremely cold particles combined with quantum mechanics. According to the Schroedinger equation, the momentum of a particle is proportional to the curvature of its wavefunction. Thus, tighter curvature implies higher energy. If you are considering a group of particles (cold dark matter, say) in the lowest energy state, the energy is defined by the amount of space available. This creates a pressure for there to be more space. General Relativity provides a mechanism by which such a pressure actually creates more space.

Reaching back a bit, Entropy is not based on random motions. It is simply the logarithm of the multiplicity of the state. Multiplicity being the number of 'similar' states on a statistical level... states where you switch two particles, or move one to the side but there is no significant change to the system (for a well-chosen definition of 'significant'). The entropy does not rely on any physical properties in specific; this is why one can speak of the entropy of a bitstream. It is the exact same idea; the same calculations. etc.

What you can't define on a bitstream, though, is temperature.

The Temperature is where energy comes in; it is the reciprocal of the derivative of the entropy in respect to the insertion or removal of energy. So, if it takes a little energy to increase the entropy a lot, you have low temperature and the system will like to absorb energy from higher-temperature sysems, in order to maximize entropy within the energy constraints.

That said, I agree with both Meep and Art.


As for quantum teleportation (generic version), here are the steps:
1) get two or more particles to fit into a specific relation to each other, but prevent any other particles from being affected by the specifics of this relation.
2) separate the particles
3) measure the particle you have, collecting exact information on what comes out.
you now know what state the other particles are in. For the people THERE to know what state their particles are in, they either need to measure them or you need to tell them. Note that you don't get to pick what you measured, so you can't transmit information to them in this manner.


Now, as for the more specific teleportation methods, it's more complicated.
steps 1-3 as before, then:
4) transmit the results of this measurement to the person who has the other particle
5) they then put in a carefully chosen set of particles which will interact with the system in a relatively predictable way, producing a particle identical to the one you measured. This continues to apply even if you messed around with your particle first (so long as you didn't measure it in the process) (which is in itself quite tricky).


Title: Re: Thoughts about the Ur-Quan...
Post by: Mr._Jangles on September 10, 2004, 03:41:43 am
hmmmmm.... whats your stratagy for killing kohr-ah.. i use utwig and the orz to kill them.  :D :D :D :D :D