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The Nightstar Zoo • View topic - Schlock Science, Canonical

The Nightstar Zoo

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:45 pm 
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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...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:52 am 


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:04 am 
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.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:17 am 


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:38 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:22 pm 


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:24 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:50 pm 
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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.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:46 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:09 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:40 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:17 am 


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:06 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:12 am 
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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.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:24 am 
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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...

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:33 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:44 pm 
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"A sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
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"Sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."
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"Magic is just another way of saying 'I don't know how it works.'"
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:56 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:20 pm 
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.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:15 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:06 pm 
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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

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:35 pm 
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.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:36 am 
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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.

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===============================================
"A sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke
"Sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."
Jack L. Chalker
"Magic is just another way of saying 'I don't know how it works.'"
Larry Niven
"Any technology, no matter how primitive, is magic to those who don't understand it."
Florence Ambrose


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:23 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:13 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:49 am 
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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.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:29 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:26 am 
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