1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby xtifr » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:17 pm UTC

chrisjwmartin wrote:This. It always amuses me how many hipsters have taken the ludicrously contrary view that alien contact could only ever be a good thing. My theory is that it is connected to the weird liberal tic whereby, in understandable moral rejection of cruel conservative racism, every single immigrant is asserted to be a pacifist, ideologically moderate heart surgeon with seven degrees and a puppy.


By "hipsters", do you mean people like Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, who, despite having written an extremely popular alien-invasion novel (Footfall), find the whole idea ludicrous. Note, these are guys who are famous for doing the research. They made the aliens in Footfall quite stupid, because the idea that intelligent aliens might attempt such a thing was simply too ridiculous for them. And even so, they admitted afterwards that they hadn't even managed to convince themselves that such a thing was plausible.

Dr. Pournelle once described himself as "somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan", and was good friends with Newt Gingrich--I don't think anyone could reasonably describe his reactions as "a weird liberal tic".

The supply-line problems are many orders of magnitude greater than those faced by the Europeans who invaded the Americas. Even factoring in the benefits of much greater technology. But beyond that, there's the question of motive. You don't have to be a pacifist peacenik to want to avoid wasting your time and money on incredibly stupid things. To justify the expense and trouble of an invasion of Earth, you need to have some sort of benefit. The Europeans were looking for resources and slaves, and found plenty of both. The aliens can find more easily accessible resources pretty much anywhere they look, and if they're sophisticated enough to build interstellar vessels, will almost certainly have robots which can outperform humans, so slavery would be stupid. So...why on Earth would they bother to invade?

They might want to wipe us out, for religious or philosophical reasons, but sending down troops to attack us toe-to-toe is about the stupidest imaginable way to achieve that goal. If they want our biome (unlikely but possible), a few dinosaur-killers will take care of that pesky human problem without inflicting too much damage to said biome. They don't have to exterminate us immediately; pounding us back to the stone age should make it easy enough to mop up the pitiful remainder.

So, yes, alien contact (if it were to happen while we're still here on Earth) is almost certainly going to be a good thing, because if the aliens aren't good, they'll probably wipe us out without bothering to contact us. Hence, my lack of fear at the idea of a xenobiologist on TV. :)

eta: of course, Grey Goo is a notable exception to the above, but I'm not sure a xenobiologist is who they'd call if grey goo were discovered in the wild.
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:32 pm UTC

On this topic, it's been occurring to me lately that I may have something of a problem along these lines in my Chronicles of Quelouva. A rather integral part to the overall history of the galaxy is an intermittent war between a spacefaring galaxy-spanning interstellar civilization, and another race of aliens in that same galaxy who are, to put it tersely, offended that the rest of the universe exists. As it's written now, the latter make war on the former, spreading in ships through the network of artificial wormholes the former have built, and while they do, in the instances I have written in any detail thus far, do things like just disrupt natural satellites and let their debris destroy planet-based civilization, there's also a lot of ship-to-ship combat at least implied to be happening, and I've been feeling unsure if that really makes rational sense. I'm thinking maybe, because if you're trying to exterminate an enemy that's not just on planets but in a bunch of space-based habitats and ships too, you've got to do the messy work of flying around shooting at all of those?

I'd love if you would give the relevant parts a look and let me know your thoughts on it, xtifr (and anyone else who cares to). The places where space combat happen are mostly The War of Antiquity (starts here), Nurbal Enemy (starts here), and to a lesser extent some parts of Through the Eye of Chaos (starts here).
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:15 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:On this topic, it's been occurring to me lately that I may have something of a problem along these lines in my Chronicles of Quelouva. A rather integral part to the overall history of the galaxy is an intermittent war between a spacefaring galaxy-spanning interstellar civilization, and another race of aliens in that same galaxy who are, to put it tersely, offended that the rest of the universe exists. As it's written now, the latter make war on the former, spreading in ships through the network of artificial wormholes the former have built, and while they do, in the instances I have written in any detail thus far, do things like just disrupt natural satellites and let their debris destroy planet-based civilization, there's also a lot of ship-to-ship combat at least implied to be happening, and I've been feeling unsure if that really makes rational sense. I'm thinking maybe, because if you're trying to exterminate an enemy that's not just on planets but in a bunch of space-based habitats and ships too, you've got to do the messy work of flying around shooting at all of those?


If you're involved in a space war where one side is taking out planets then the other side has a pretty strong incentive to engage in space combat too - in order to keep the planet-killers out of range. Meanwhile, the aggressors need to do something about the defensive fleets (and will also need to do something about mobile habitats if they want to achieve extermination and avoid a scenario where an avenging fleet appears centuries later).

So, yeah, ship-to-ship combat makes sense, for much the same reasons that army-to-army or navy-to-navy combat makes sense on Earth - to prevent the enemy's forces from achieving their objectives, and ensure your forces can achieve theirs.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby xtifr » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:02 am UTC

Ship-to-ship combat in space is probably much trickier than the way it's usually portrayed in SF, but yeah, it's not inherently illogical or anything.

In any case, fiction allows for artistic license, and SF has a set of what are often referred to as "acceptable breaks from reality". Things like, oh, faster-than-light travel, for an extremely obvious case. And dogfights which resemble something from WWII a bit more than anything you might actually see in space probably fall in the same category. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Especially if you've already gone ahead and added FTL. :wink:
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:14 am UTC

I don't actually have proper FTL, just some shortcuts to make interstellar distances artificially smaller, and the wormholes being inactive at times makes lightspeed limitations an important factor in the larger plot. Lots of thing only happen as they do because it took centuries or milennia for someone to get from point A to point B.
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Murderbot » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:05 am UTC

chrisjwmartin wrote:If you think that diseases are the only thing we'd have to worry about from an alien invasion, well, I hope you're not in charge if it happens.

If their intent is hostile, it wouldn't matter who's in charge.
pscottdv wrote:Perhaps. The aliens will be dealing with the ultimate long supply-line problem.

Not really. They'll be dealing with the braking problem and possibly trash disposal problem, either of which could also take care of their indigenous life problem, if they see it as a problem. That is, direct their engine toward Earth as they brake, or detach excess mass from their starship flying toward Earth before they brake.
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xtifr wrote:
chrisjwmartin wrote:They might want to wipe us out, for religious or philosophical reasons, but sending down troops to attack us toe-to-toe is about the stupidest imaginable way to achieve that goal.

They might also wipe us out if they think there's a remote possibility that Earth based organisms or AI could pose a threat someday.
xtifr wrote:And dogfights which resemble something from WWII a bit more than anything you might actually see in space probably fall in the same category. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Especially if you've already gone ahead and added FTL. :wink:

Paradoxically, at least one vastly popular SF franchise involving FTL has ship combat resembling that of the age of sail.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby FOARP » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:55 am UTC

xtifr wrote:Ship-to-ship combat in space is probably much trickier than the way it's usually portrayed in SF, but yeah, it's not inherently illogical or anything.

In any case, fiction allows for artistic license, and SF has a set of what are often referred to as "acceptable breaks from reality". Things like, oh, faster-than-light travel, for an extremely obvious case. And dogfights which resemble something from WWII a bit more than anything you might actually see in space probably fall in the same category. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Especially if you've already gone ahead and added FTL. :wink:


Actual deep-space warfare would be weird, and probably wouldn't involve biological entities in the decision-making process (or at least not in the sense of directly piloting the spacecraft involved and firing their weapons). It wouldn't even be like the kind of warfare that the 80's Star Wars program was designed to carry out, because a lot of that was directed towards killing ICBMs which were assumed to be relatively easy to detect.

Instead the focus would be on avoiding detection and the use of highly-sensitive detection means. In space there's a whole lot of space to hide in, and the weapons used would be powerful enough that detection would mean death, so the whole emphasis would be on who finds who first. The kind of stuff we use to detect asteroids would all be in play (e.g., stellar occlusion) but the means used would all be passive as active sensors would give away where you were.

xtifr wrote:
chrisjwmartin wrote:This. It always amuses me how many hipsters have taken the ludicrously contrary view that alien contact could only ever be a good thing. My theory is that it is connected to the weird liberal tic whereby, in understandable moral rejection of cruel conservative racism, every single immigrant is asserted to be a pacifist, ideologically moderate heart surgeon with seven degrees and a puppy.


By "hipsters", do you mean people like Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, who, despite having written an extremely popular alien-invasion novel (Footfall), find the whole idea ludicrous. Note, these are guys who are famous for doing the research. They made the aliens in Footfall quite stupid, because the idea that intelligent aliens might attempt such a thing was simply too ridiculous for them. And even so, they admitted afterwards that they hadn't even managed to convince themselves that such a thing was plausible.

Dr. Pournelle once described himself as "somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan", and was good friends with Newt Gingrich--I don't think anyone could reasonably describe his reactions as "a weird liberal tic".

The supply-line problems are many orders of magnitude greater than those faced by the Europeans who invaded the Americas. Even factoring in the benefits of much greater technology. But beyond that, there's the question of motive. You don't have to be a pacifist peacenik to want to avoid wasting your time and money on incredibly stupid things. To justify the expense and trouble of an invasion of Earth, you need to have some sort of benefit. The Europeans were looking for resources and slaves, and found plenty of both. The aliens can find more easily accessible resources pretty much anywhere they look, and if they're sophisticated enough to build interstellar vessels, will almost certainly have robots which can outperform humans, so slavery would be stupid. So...why on Earth would they bother to invade?

They might want to wipe us out, for religious or philosophical reasons, but sending down troops to attack us toe-to-toe is about the stupidest imaginable way to achieve that goal. If they want our biome (unlikely but possible), a few dinosaur-killers will take care of that pesky human problem without inflicting too much damage to said biome. They don't have to exterminate us immediately; pounding us back to the stone age should make it easy enough to mop up the pitiful remainder.

So, yes, alien contact (if it were to happen while we're still here on Earth) is almost certainly going to be a good thing, because if the aliens aren't good, they'll probably wipe us out without bothering to contact us. Hence, my lack of fear at the idea of a xenobiologist on TV. :)

eta: of course, Grey Goo is a notable exception to the above, but I'm not sure a xenobiologist is who they'd call if grey goo were discovered in the wild.


I has sympathy for your point here - the idea of aliens launching a D-Day-style invasion of earth is somewhat absurd given the technology they would likely have at their disposal. Ultimately, though they would be so far ahead of us (a million years of additional evolution is perfectly possible and even an under-estimate) that it really is hard to say with any certainty what they would actually do. If they wanted to get rid of us the technology they might conceivably have (tailor-made viruses? mind-control?) means that they wouldn't even have to drop rocks on us and mess up our nice little biosphere - it would be over before it even began, with no chance to resist. Or they might have weird reasons of their own to keep us alive. We probably wouldn't even know they had arrived were that the case.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby speising » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:20 am UTC

FOARP wrote:whole lot of space to hide in

How exactly do you hide in open space? Hiding normally involves obstacles between you and your opponent. Unless you can cool your ship to ambient temperature, you'll shine like a lighthouse in IR, particularly when you fire up your thrusters.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Sableagle » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:40 am UTC

Murderbot wrote:Paradoxically, at least one vastly popular SF franchise involving FTL has ship combat resembling that of the age of sail.
Ensign Worf look to the left. Everybody lean to the right? Can you feel that, yeah? We're phasing for love tonight!
speising wrote:
FOARP wrote:whole lot of space to hide in

How exactly do you hide in open space? Hiding normally involves obstacles between you and your opponent. Unless you can cool your ship to ambient temperature, you'll shine like a lighthouse in IR, particularly when you fire up your thrusters.

Yes, and that's the problem with active sensors. To give a more familiar example, you can see a hundred metres or so with full-beam headlights at night, and on a clear night someone on the cliffs of Dover can watch the traffic beyond Calais even if they only use side-lights.
We've already got into complicated sensors and counter-sensors with our air defence system design. An onboard doppler radar looking for incoming missiles can be used as a homing beacon by an incoming missile. A ground-based radar looking for aircraft can also be used as a homing beacon. If you shine a laser on the target to mark it for your missile, the target can detect that laser and respond with evasive manoeuvres and a laser-seeking missile of its own.
You thought submarines lurking below the temperature inversion and towing passive sonar rigs above it were being clever?

I think FOARP isn't talking about sub-lunar-orbit space, though. Ships that are already that close are already close enough to mess with natural satellites, after all. Interstellar or even just interplanetary space travel involves some much bigger distances. We can see Jupiter's moons ...

Image

... from here with a good camera. Those things are rather big, though. The four biggest ones are 5262.4, 4820.6, 3660.0 and 3121.6 km wide. A Star Destroyer is only 1.6 km and the Executor was "only" 19 km long. Various incarnations of the USSSSSSSssssssss Enterprisssssesssss Presscioussss are listed with dimensions between 300 and 700 m. Elite's Anaconda is a piffling 152.4 m. The Galactica is just under 1.5 km long. That's a rather smaller thing to be trying to detect than those moons. Techniques for spotting exoplanets at "up to 100," "hundreds of" and "thousands of" light-years or for spotting 400 m rocks in eccentric orbits around Sol may be more relevant than techniques for spotting an incoming 17 x 7.77 m MiG-23 at 10 km.

They wouldn't need to run thrusters in deep space. They could do incredible damage with 20 robots pre-programmed to get close on ballistic trajectories then adjust course as necessary and crash a 200,000 tonne payload into each of any 20 of Tokyo/Yokohama, New York Metro, Sao Paulo, Seoul/Incheon, Mexico City, Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto, Manila, Mumbai, Delhi, Jakarta, Lagos, Kolkata, Cairo, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Shanghai, Karachi, Paris, Istanbul, Nagoya, Beijing, Chicago, London, Shenzhen, Essen/Düsseldorf, Tehran, Bogota, Lima, Bangkok, Johannesburg/East Rand, Chennai, Taipei, Baghdad, Santiago, Bangalore, Hyderabad, St Petersburg, Philadelphia, Lahore and Kinshasa at 20 km/s. That'd be 100,000,000 dead inside 24 hours and all the banks and internets offline. Then the invasion fleet arrives. Unless they really, really need "gravity" as they travel, they can arrive with heat-shields towards our sensors and life-support systems away from us, making their EM signatures even harder to track.
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby speising » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:45 am UTC

now you're talking about Invasion from Outer Space, though, not "deep-space warfare".

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby orthogon » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:26 am UTC

Sableagle wrote:We can see Jupiter's moons ... [pic] ... from here with a good camera.

<obligatory>That's no moon...</obligatory>
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Sableagle » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:40 am UTC

speising wrote:now you're talking about Invasion from Outer Space, though, not "deep-space warfare".

That's like talking about Operation Sealion instead of talking about the Battle of Britain.
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby FOARP » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:42 pm UTC

speising wrote:
FOARP wrote:whole lot of space to hide in

How exactly do you hide in open space? Hiding normally involves obstacles between you and your opponent. Unless you can cool your ship to ambient temperature, you'll shine like a lighthouse in IR, particularly when you fire up your thrusters.


Super-cooling the exterior of the ship (as proposed for the Skylon) should give you a pretty good start. Non-reflective/scattering surfaces and coatings would also help. Obviously you'd want to keep displays of energy to a minimum so communication and rocket-firing would have to be kept to a minimum - the ship would ideally be autonomous. When you do fire up the rockets you'd want to accelerate at a very high rate to minimise your exposure time, so probably best if you don't bring any squishy organic life-forms along. Weapons could also be relativistic, since 1 gram of mass moving at 0.2c would have a kinetic energy equivalent to 500 tons of TNT you wouldn't need anything that complex if you've got a space-craft that can move quickly.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:01 pm UTC

FOARP wrote:
speising wrote:
FOARP wrote:whole lot of space to hide in

How exactly do you hide in open space? Hiding normally involves obstacles between you and your opponent. Unless you can cool your ship to ambient temperature, you'll shine like a lighthouse in IR, particularly when you fire up your thrusters.


Super-cooling the exterior of the ship (as proposed for the Skylon) should give you a pretty good start. Non-reflective/scattering surfaces and coatings would also help. Obviously you'd want to keep displays of energy to a minimum so communication and rocket-firing would have to be kept to a minimum - the ship would ideally be autonomous. When you do fire up the rockets you'd want to accelerate at a very high rate to minimise your exposure time, so probably best if you don't bring any squishy organic life-forms along. Weapons could also be relativistic, since 1 gram of mass moving at 0.2c would have a kinetic energy equivalent to 500 tons of TNT you wouldn't need anything that complex if you've got a space-craft that can move quickly.


Supercooling the exterior of the ship sounds cool, but you've got to do something with the heat - you can't just reduce entropy across a region without having a greater increase in entropy associated with it. If you have a fair idea of where your target is, you can reduce heat leakage in that direction, but only by increasing it more in some other direction, meaning that you'll be easier to spot from those angles.

Of course, if you're staying inorganic, you may be able to use devices that are happy in the cool, and avoid having a glaring heat signature...

Relativistic weapons have their own problems - once you're moving fast enough, space stops looking so empty, so you need to think about drag...

And there are valid concerns about autonomous devices programmed to kill squishy organics that are expected to end up taking significant damage - their IFF had better be very robust...

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:13 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
FOARP wrote:Super-cooling the exterior of the ship (as proposed for the Skylon) should give you a pretty good start.

Supercooling the exterior of the ship sounds cool, but you've got to do something with the heat - you can't just reduce entropy across a region without having a greater increase in entropy associated with it.

Relevant.

So if your ship is big enough and your engine is small enough, you can stay close to ~2.7 Kelvin, so you look like the rest of space.

But your 80-horsepower moon isn't going to be much of a weapon.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby somitomi » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:00 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:But your 80-horsepower moon isn't going to be much of a weapon.

Hey, minivans are really practical and comfortable vehicles. :P
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby FOARP » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:14 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
FOARP wrote:
speising wrote:
FOARP wrote:whole lot of space to hide in

How exactly do you hide in open space? Hiding normally involves obstacles between you and your opponent. Unless you can cool your ship to ambient temperature, you'll shine like a lighthouse in IR, particularly when you fire up your thrusters.


Super-cooling the exterior of the ship (as proposed for the Skylon) should give you a pretty good start. Non-reflective/scattering surfaces and coatings would also help. Obviously you'd want to keep displays of energy to a minimum so communication and rocket-firing would have to be kept to a minimum - the ship would ideally be autonomous. When you do fire up the rockets you'd want to accelerate at a very high rate to minimise your exposure time, so probably best if you don't bring any squishy organic life-forms along. Weapons could also be relativistic, since 1 gram of mass moving at 0.2c would have a kinetic energy equivalent to 500 tons of TNT you wouldn't need anything that complex if you've got a space-craft that can move quickly.


Supercooling the exterior of the ship sounds cool, but you've got to do something with the heat - you can't just reduce entropy across a region without having a greater increase in entropy associated with it. If you have a fair idea of where your target is, you can reduce heat leakage in that direction, but only by increasing it more in some other direction, meaning that you'll be easier to spot from those angles.

Of course, if you're staying inorganic, you may be able to use devices that are happy in the cool, and avoid having a glaring heat signature...

Relativistic weapons have their own problems - once you're moving fast enough, space stops looking so empty, so you need to think about drag...

And there are valid concerns about autonomous devices programmed to kill squishy organics that are expected to end up taking significant damage - their IFF had better be very robust...


Taking this to it's extreme, you could reduce emissions in all directions but a tight beam along one direction, making you undetectable except in that direction (though the beam could be scattered by the interstellar medium so maybe this isn't perfect).

EDIT: or you could just drop the heat straight into your nice portable singularity. Though obviously carrying around a mass like that might not be the easiest way of staying undetected.

And honestly I have no idea what problem could possibly result from programming a fleet of killer robots and loosing them on the galaxy to roam space for all eternity... http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_ ... e_(episode)

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby speising » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:18 am UTC


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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Murderbot » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:55 am UTC

Sableagle wrote:Ensign Worf look to the left. Everybody lean to the right? Can you feel that, yeah? We're phasing for love tonight!
This is how I remember the Federation-Cardassian war too.
Sableagle wrote:We can see Jupiter's moons ...

Image

... from here with a good camera.
That's incredible.
Which moon is it and what camera did you use?

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:06 pm UTC

Murderbot wrote:Which moon is it and what camera did you use?


I see 4 patches of lens-flare in that picture, which could plausibly be the four Galilean moons.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:12 pm UTC

FOARP wrote:Taking this to it's extreme, you could reduce emissions in all directions but a tight beam along one direction, making you undetectable except in that direction (though the beam could be scattered by the interstellar medium so maybe this isn't perfect).

EDIT: or you could just drop the heat straight into your nice portable singularity. Though obviously carrying around a mass like that might not be the easiest way of staying undetected.


Maybe that's what some quasars are? Stealth ships dumping their heat? There's going to be some limit on how tightly you can focus a beam of waste heat radiation before the heat produced by focusing it exceeds the heat emitted by the beam. I don't know enough theory to give a reasonable guess at the limit there.

The mass of a pinhole black hole isn't going to be detectable at ranges greater than the mass of the machinery used to control it anyway.

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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Sableagle » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:33 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Murderbot wrote:Which moon is it and what camera did you use?


I see 4 patches of lens-flare in that picture, which could plausibly be the four Galilean moons.


They are. I checked their positions that night after I took it and they correspond. I forget which one's which now.

Camera is one of these, which drinks batteries and has no manual focus but does pretty well at taking pictures in Berlin's botanical garden, the English Lake District, Madeira, Morocco, the N Yorks Moors, Austria, the vicinity of Mont Blanc, Patagonia, Vietnam and the Dales. It also takes close-ups of spiders if you want to.

Where does "arachnologist" fit on that chart? I'd guessing it's somewhere way down and to the left of "spider."
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby DanD » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:20 pm UTC

FOARP wrote:
Taking this to it's extreme, you could reduce emissions in all directions but a tight beam along one direction, making you undetectable except in that direction (though the beam could be scattered by the interstellar medium so maybe this isn't perfect).

EDIT: or you could just drop the heat straight into your nice portable singularity. Though obviously carrying around a mass like that might not be the easiest way of staying undetected.


Or you start your stealthed run with a mass of ice cooled to 0.1k, and dump heat into that until you reach equilibrium. This would be hard to maintain for any length of time keeping the ship at cosmic background, but it can certainly be used to minimize signature.

The other thing, of course, is using the enemies assumptions against them. If, hypothetically, the only known FTL drive has a specific and simple to detect signature, then your enemy's outer perimeter guarding is probably going to look, primarily, for that signature. Their satellites might also look for thermal variation, but it's going to be less emphasized. So if you develop a different sort of drive, or figure out someway to suppress that signature, it might function as "stealth" even if you aren't controlling all things they might detect. (i.e. "stealth" airplanes don't have a reduced visual signature, but minimize radar and heat signature, since those are the two techniques that most automated systems use).

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Murderbot
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby Murderbot » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:35 am UTC

Sableagle wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:I see 4 patches of lens-flare in that picture, which could plausibly be the four Galilean moons.


They are. I checked their positions that night after I took it and they correspond. I forget which one's which now.

Camera is one of these, which drinks batteries and has no manual focus but does pretty well at taking pictures in Berlin's botanical garden, the English Lake District, Madeira, Morocco, the N Yorks Moors, Austria, the vicinity of Mont Blanc, Patagonia, Vietnam and the Dales. It also takes close-ups of spiders if you want to.

Where does "arachnologist" fit on that chart? I'd guessing it's somewhere way down and to the left of "spider."

Sweet. The first monitor I saw this image on was crappy and dusty, so I couldn't see the bright dots and thought Jupiter was one of its moons. It's still pretty incredible to me that handheld reflection cameras can resolve them.

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pogrmman
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Re: 1895: "Worrying Scientist Interviews"

Postby pogrmman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:31 pm UTC

Murderbot wrote:
Sableagle wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:I see 4 patches of lens-flare in that picture, which could plausibly be the four Galilean moons.


They are. I checked their positions that night after I took it and they correspond. I forget which one's which now.

Camera is one of these, which drinks batteries and has no manual focus but does pretty well at taking pictures in Berlin's botanical garden, the English Lake District, Madeira, Morocco, the N Yorks Moors, Austria, the vicinity of Mont Blanc, Patagonia, Vietnam and the Dales. It also takes close-ups of spiders if you want to.

Where does "arachnologist" fit on that chart? I'd guessing it's somewhere way down and to the left of "spider."

Sweet. The first monitor I saw this image on was crappy and dusty, so I couldn't see the bright dots and thought Jupiter was one of its moons. It's still pretty incredible to me that handheld reflection cameras can resolve them.


They’re quite bright — if they weren’t so close to Jupiter, you’d be able to see them with the naked eye. People with sharp eyes have seen them with the naked eye before. It requires pretty good vision though.


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