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Schlock Science, Canonical
http://zoo.nightstar.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=15034
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Author:  Irashi [ Thu May 28, 2009 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

I have a question. How did amorphs evolve from memory storage devices?

Evolution by natural selection requires that there be a replicator, which has a less than perfect copying fidelity. Errors in the copying process are mutations, these are random but the mutations are selected (naturally) depending on their utility for the survival and continued propagation of that particular replicator in that particular environment.

In all life on earth these replicators are the DNA (or RNA in viruses) that make up our genetic code. For about 3.5 billion years all life on earth consisted of single celled organisms, until the Cambrian explosion 500m years ago in which multicellular organisms appeared. Each cell in those organisms are all clones to serve the interests of the same replicator, though there would be symbiotes and parasites in there too, over time becoming seamlessly melded with the replicators of the original host. So a multicellular organism would be a kind of colony for replicators of many different origins, over time.

When it's time to reproduce a multicellular organism the germ cell is created with a random mixture of half of the genetic information from the previous cell through the process of meiosis, from which a new organism is constructed after fertilizing another such germ cell.

So what would serve the role of the replicator in a long term carbo-silicate storage device? And how would there be enough selection pressure to drive the process of blind selection to take it from a jar of goo to a sentient being like schlock which. Also once reaching that state apparantly stops evolving in a physical way altogether, according to schlock's talk about the birds and the bees, his species doesn't exchange codes for gross physical structure, only personality information.

Also I'm wondering, if life forms in the galaxy use the same kinds of replicators as us and the same amino acids as we do, how do different species stop their immune systems from being completely overwhelmed by trillions of previously unencountered species of bacteria upon setting foot on another world, ala War of the Worlds?

Actually, nanotech might be the easy answer to that last one...

Author:  Novulae [ Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

trisceliya wrote:
What sets the San Diego zoo apart from other zoos? We are planning to go to San Diego in March and will be there for 2-3 days. Everyone says to go to the zoo. I know that it's supposed to be an awesome zoo but we are not big zoo fans. Don't get me wrong. We love animals but we've been to zoos so many times that it tends to get boring. What makes this zoo different? We have a limited time in San Diego and really want to spend our time wisely.


wtf?

Author:  Nusa [ Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

A google search shows the identical query in MANY different blogs around the internet. The fact that it showed up in this thread points to automated blogging based off keywords, at least partially. Even if a human had to press a few buttons, they clearly didn't spend any time reading the thread.

The sad thing is advertisers pay people to do this crap.

Author:  Novulae [ Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Nusa wrote:
A google search shows the identical query in MANY different blogs around the internet. The fact that it showed up in this thread points to automated blogging based off keywords, at least partially. Even if a human had to press a few buttons, they clearly didn't spend any time reading the thread.

The sad thing is advertisers pay people to do this crap.

They could at least proofread it

Author:  strange_person [ Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Irashi wrote:
So what would serve the role of the replicator in a long term carbo-silicate storage device?

The self-repair mechanism.

Author:  Whitehawke [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Also, you probably don't absolutely need mutations, at least for sexually reproducing species. I've seen some tentative suggestions that in such species mutations are net harmfully, actually--the minimal amount of "boost" they provide to the evolutionary process is swamped by the harm they do.

Far more important is the exchange of genetic material between the parents. The "one strand from parent A, one strand from parent B" produces far more diversity than mutation and does it with far fewer critical problems.

Author:  Novulae [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Whitehawke wrote:
Also, you probably don't absolutely need mutations, at least for sexually reproducing species. I've seen some tentative suggestions that in such species mutations are net harmfully, actually--the minimal amount of "boost" they provide to the evolutionary process is swamped by the harm they do.

Far more important is the exchange of genetic material between the parents. The "one strand from parent A, one strand from parent B" produces far more diversity than mutation and does it with far fewer critical problems.


Sure, but mutation is the only way that new features can occur. You don't go from protozoa to humans without mutations.

That said,yes, the vast majority of mutations are harmful, and the offspring dies. It's the rare occurrence of the beneficial mutation that advances the species.

Last but not least, mutation is not an intended process. It occurs by the natural effects of probabilistic laws.

Author:  Whitehawke [ Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Novulae wrote:
Whitehawke wrote:
Also, you probably don't absolutely need mutations, at least for sexually reproducing species. I've seen some tentative suggestions that in such species mutations are net harmfully, actually--the minimal amount of "boost" they provide to the evolutionary process is swamped by the harm they do.

Far more important is the exchange of genetic material between the parents. The "one strand from parent A, one strand from parent B" produces far more diversity than mutation and does it with far fewer critical problems.


Sure, but mutation is the only way that new features can occur. You don't go from protozoa to humans without mutations.

That said,yes, the vast majority of mutations are harmful, and the offspring dies. It's the rare occurrence of the beneficial mutation that advances the species.


You missed my point. According to what I understand, swapover DOES create new traits, DOES introduce more diversity than mutation, and IS sufficient for evolution without mutation. I admit I'm not an expert, so I can't explain the mechanisms except by analogy, but if you really want the answers I'll talk with my lab tech friend and get the full way-the-hell-more-detail-than-you-want version.

Author:  strange_person [ Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Yes, swapover can create new traits by exploring combinations of existing genes. However, only mutation can actually create new genes, and thereby expand the combinatorial space.

Author:  Krennson [ Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Irashi wrote:
I have a question. How did amorphs evolve from memory storage devices?


Vog's brain sounds like it was extremely similiar to schlock's Distributed brain, and it "can survive outside his head". Also, a lot of Vog's people were uploaded into 'machines' Schlock's ancestors were memory storage devices.....

I'm guessing that people's uploaded minds were stored in amorph network storage drives, and at some point, either Vog-type brains were accidently mixed with a batch of network storage drives, or a manufacturing defect or industrial accident caused the network storage drives to make the few minor changes needed to effectively BECOME vog-type brains.

and that's all it takes. a mobile amorph storage blob, with one or more human-type minds stored inside, that eats to live and lives to eat....

based on how amorphs repoduce, all evolution since then probably consisted of deciding what skills and knowledge of shapeshifting your generation gained that you want to pass on to the next generation.

http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20070902.html

Author:  Whitehawke [ Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Krennson wrote:
Irashi wrote:
I have a question. How did amorphs evolve from memory storage devices?


Vog's brain sounds like it was extremely similiar to schlock's Distributed brain, and it "can survive outside his head".


Are we sure that Vog's brain isn't an amorph? Maybe that's all that amorphs are is disembodied Vogons. (*)


(*) i.e., people of Vog's species, not horrific poets and builders of hyperspatial bypasses. Thanks for all the fish, and the memories, Douglas!

Author:  Betsumei [ Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Whitehawke wrote:
Are we sure that Vog's brain isn't an amorph? Maybe that's all that amorphs are is disembodied Vogons. (*)

(*) i.e., people of Vog's species, not horrific poets and builders of hyperspatial bypasses. Thanks for all the fish, and the memories, Douglas!


You mean, the Bradicor?

Author:  Krennson [ Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Quote:
Are we sure that Vog's brain isn't an amorph? Maybe that's all that amorphs are is disembodied Vogons. (*)


I suspect that the FIRST amorph was, basically, a disembodied bradicor brain. or else an amorph storage device that was EFFECTIVELY a disembodied bradicor brain.

and either way, that 'brain' decided that life as an independent mobile object was cooler, and probably decided to corrupt some additional long term storage devices, and the rest was shapeshifting practice and history.

Author:  Novulae [ Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Krennson wrote:
Quote:
Are we sure that Vog's brain isn't an amorph? Maybe that's all that amorphs are is disembodied Vogons. (*)


I suspect that the FIRST amorph was, basically, a disembodied bradicor brain. or else an amorph storage device that was EFFECTIVELY a disembodied bradicor brain.

and either way, that 'brain' decided that life as an independent mobile object was cooler, and probably decided to corrupt some additional long term storage devices, and the rest was shapeshifting practice and history.

No. The amorphs were organic memory storage units that the Bradicor uploaded their consciousnesses into. Their civilization crapped out, but after a million years or so, due to evolutionary processes, those organic memory storage units evolved a consciousness of their own

Author:  Krennson [ Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Novulae wrote:
Krennson wrote:
Quote:
Are we sure that Vog's brain isn't an amorph? Maybe that's all that amorphs are is disembodied Vogons. (*)


I suspect that the FIRST amorph was, basically, a disembodied bradicor brain. or else an amorph storage device that was EFFECTIVELY a disembodied bradicor brain.

and either way, that 'brain' decided that life as an independent mobile object was cooler, and probably decided to corrupt some additional long term storage devices, and the rest was shapeshifting practice and history.

No. The amorphs were organic memory storage units that the Bradicor uploaded their consciousnesses into. Their civilization crapped out, but after a million years or so, due to evolutionary processes, those organic memory storage units evolved a consciousness of their own


yeah, but the EMBODIED bradicors were still around with the amorph-like superbrains. and one of the memory storage units might have still contained the shrapnel of one or more 'stored' conciousnesses that was left after the identity wars. it's not that hard to think that a CERTAIN level of bradicor-type intelligence was assimilated during the more-or-less-accidental creation of the very first amorph brain. It would explain why they apparently went straight from "chemical cocktail" to "Mobile, self-aware, intelligent being." ordinarily, we would have expected a NON-intelligent version to occur first, and for there to be non-intelligent amorph genetic cousins still wandering around on the planet. Since non-intelligent amorphs don't exist, i proposes that SOME type of bradicor thoughts were included in the first step of amorph evolution.

Author:  Betsumei [ Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Perhaps there were non-intelligent amorphs, but given that they can swap memories and personality elements, perhaps the non-intelligent amorphs were converted into intelligent amorphs by meme-swapping. They are, after all, probably effectively immortal, and their reproduction is mostly about the swapping of memes, not genes.

Author:  An Old Ore [ Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Not sure if this really fits into the Schlock Science Canonical thread since it's not a fundamental, but I thought that this little gadget needed a mention: the bone phone (third panel). The implication is that it is a communication device that is built into the head (ear bone? jaw bone?) to allow the user to talk whilst not having any apparent way to do so.

Without further specification, it might not be detectable either (unless one is specifically looking for it)?

Considering that Massey has an (off-the-shelf?) communicator tie, there must be limited use/need for a bone-phone. Which makes one wonder how Kathyrn got it...

Author:  Ishidan [ Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

An Old Ore wrote:
Considering that Massey has an (off-the-shelf?) communicator tie, there must be limited use/need for a bone-phone. Which makes one wonder how Kathyrn got it...

...she's a spy.

Author:  richv [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

An Old Ore wrote:
Not sure if this really fits into the Schlock Science Canonical thread since it's not a fundamental, but I thought that this little gadget needed a mention: the bone phone (third panel). The implication is that it is a communication device that is built into the head (ear bone? jaw bone?) to allow the user to talk whilst not having any apparent way to do so.

Without further specification, it might not be detectable either (unless one is specifically looking for it)?

Considering that Massey has an (off-the-shelf?) communicator tie, there must be limited use/need for a bone-phone. Which makes one wonder how Kathyrn got it...


It's probably "gray-tech," or technology which is semi-legal (like soldier boosts). The technology exists now to implant a microphone and earphone into a human, and micro-power versions of BlueTooth could connect them to a cell phone. It would be necessary to have a way to change or charge the battery, and it would be very expensive, but it's not impossible. In 1000 years, it's very likely the tech would be easily available, but be considered somewhat underhanded.

Author:  Whitehawke [ Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Credomar and its Hyperspace Death Ray
http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2009-12-17 and http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2010-11-08 tell us the following:

*) Credomar can shoot anything in the Milky Way. By implication, it cannot shoot outside the Milky Way, so it cannot hit targets in (e.g.) Andromeda.

*) It can "breach unified shields and overwhelm Teraport-area denial fields." The word "overwhelm" makes clear that it does this the same way Petey does -- it has more power available to open wormholes than a TAD generator has to close them. In other words, this isn't magic and it isn't new science.

*) The beam will appear directly in front of (or inside) its target and will be moving in any desired direction.

Author:  Khettien [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Apologies if this has been previously asked, but I wasn't able to find it in a casual search.

Why haven't the teraport/T.A.D.S. been directly weaponized? By that, I mean that being able to toss a teraport device at a target and teraport the target in such a way that it never reforms, or allowing the energy involved to 'bounce' and act like a (presumably?) conversion bomb.

Even if you only take a chunk of the target, instead of the full thing (if that's possible?) you could do unrecoverable damage. I don't recall seeing any evidence of a way to prevent the teraport effect from starting; if I recall correctly, the TADS merely prevent the wormholes from forming/stabilizing.

Author:  Whitehawke [ Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

It's been proposed a bunch of times, and the Word of God answer is "if you can get a teraport device close enough to teraport something, you can get a missile close enough to blow it up."

As to why you should prefer a missile to a teraport...my impression is that it's so much easier to keep wormholes closed (TAD) than to open them (teraport) that a frigate's TAD can keep a battleplate's teraport from working.(*) That means that even if you manage to sneak a teraport device onto a ship's hull, it simply won't work as long as the ship has its TAD engaged.(**) So, easier to just blow it up.


(*) There's no canonical proof of this that I'm aware of, but if it were NOT the case than Petey's ability to punch through TAD would not be so astounding.

(**) Note that the TAD and the teraport use the same wormhole generation hardware -- if you are opening wormholes so that you can travel through them, you are teraporting. If you are slamming the door on wormholes that other people are trying to open near you, you are TADing. So every ship that can teraport implicitly has a TAD generator.

Author:  Whitehawke [ Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

When the DaMEs killed the Tunguska, there were about 100,000 survivors, per Howard:

http://zoo.nightstar.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=18806&start=8

Author:  Habeed [ Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Regarding the amorphs evolving : My answer is that clearly random chance couldn't create such sophisticated entities. There's no room for mutations to happen - good data storage hardware will have internal error correction to protect the data from changing.

No, in this case the science is clear. It must have been intelligent design. Someone deliberately programmed the self repair equipment in an amorph blob to be modify the amorph to have the traits we observe. Maybe that someone was a wealthy, brilliant being with a long beard and a bathrobe who in the beginning decided to create an ecology of amorphs.

Author:  richv [ Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

The environment was highly contaminated with Howard-only-knows what after the wars. Only the Bradicor and the mutated offspring of their bio-engineered devices could survive. Surely there was some intelligent design--you wouldn't expect engineers to employ stupid design, but I can (as an engineer) accept various pre-programmed survival imperatives which were built into robust memory storage devices resulting in self-aware AI's. Religiously, you'd have to call me an Agnostic--until somebody presents me with scientific proof that a God cannot exist, I'll accept the possibility. There's already scientific evidence that prayer works and souls exist, so I'm willing to accept that Amorphs and other sufficiently-advanced AI's are people with souls. The body is irrelevant. Petey copied his memories into an organic body. Would that make him a person with a soul? If so, would copying his mind into a computer than kill him? I'm willing to accept Howard's word as Law in the Schklockiverse, but here in our world, I think that anything that behaves like a being probably is.

Author:  djublonskopf [ Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Habeed wrote:
Regarding the amorphs evolving : My answer is that clearly random chance couldn't create such sophisticated entities. There's no room for mutations to happen - good data storage hardware will have internal error correction to protect the data from changing.


Good data storage hardware will indeed have internal correction to protect the data from changing. But it won't necessarily protect the hardware from changing, nor the software organizing the data. Why not design your hardware to adapt itself . . . preserving the stored data, but preserving it in ever-more-efficient ways through creative hardware and software evolution from generation to generation? You never have to build another data center if your existing data center keeps having kids . . ..

Author:  Ishidan [ Mon May 02, 2011 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

djublonskopf wrote:
Good data storage hardware will indeed have internal correction to protect the data from changing. But it won't necessarily protect the hardware from changing, nor the software organizing the data. Why not design your hardware to adapt itself . . . preserving the stored data, but preserving it in ever-more-efficient ways through creative hardware and software evolution from generation to generation? You never have to build another data center if your existing data center keeps having kids . . ..

Oooh. Every sysadmin's nightmare. The spontaneously self-modifying undocumented system.

Author:  Howard Tayler [ Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Somebody (or several somebodies) should mine this particular topic for things to put in the brand-new Schlock Mercenary Wiki over at http://ovalkwiki.com.

Author:  Leicontis [ Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Krennson wrote:
Irashi wrote:
I have a question. How did amorphs evolve from memory storage devices?


Vog's brain sounds like it was extremely similiar to schlock's Distributed brain, and it "can survive outside his head".

I've been wondering for a while - does this mean that if an amorph were to eat a Bradicor, they could assimilate his memories and personality the same as if they'd eaten a fellow amorph?

Author:  Krennson [ Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Schlock Science, Canonical

Leicontis wrote:
Krennson wrote:
Irashi wrote:
I have a question. How did amorphs evolve from memory storage devices?


Vog's brain sounds like it was extremely similiar to schlock's Distributed brain, and it "can survive outside his head".

I've been wondering for a while - does this mean that if an amorph were to eat a Bradicor, they could assimilate his memories and personality the same as if they'd eaten a fellow amorph?


Vog and his compatriots chose to stick to a single body, rather than being uploaded to a main databank... and I think Schlock's ancestors were the data storage areas for the main databank Vog declined to join. I imagine that the hardware design COULD have been made compatible between both brain types, but it would also make sense for them to have been made deliberatly incompatible... Vog's brain may have been encrypted, or contain some sort of 'poison pill' that destroys data when placed in contact with an amorph.

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