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Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5

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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by JohnRoth   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:53 am

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Daryl wrote:There also can be non rational drivers of reproductive selection in the gene pool. What if some of the enhancements as a side effect led to buck teeth, or alternatively to exciting violet eyes? Not all genetic advantages make actual sense in coping with an environment. If they did then all birds would have camouflage colouring.


That's highly likely for several reasons. The first is that many genes do different things in different cell types. The second is that you don't inherit individual genes from your parents - you inherit chunks of chromosomes that have many hundreds of genes on them. If one of them has a high positive selective value like, say, the ability to digest milk as an adult, it will drag the rest of them along with it. Those chunks get chopped up and shuffled over time, but that time is measured in hundreds of generations.

Oh, and your example? Birds have the coloring they do so they know which ones to mate with. Camouflage is way down on the list.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by Randomiser   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:22 am

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Can someone remind me what the Winton Mods consist of and how and why they came to have them?

Some of the biological discussion, while interesting in the abstract is just that, abstract. We are not discussing some random mods operating in an unknown and precarious environment. We are discussing carefully designed mods operating in a high-tech, advanced healthcare, reasonably civilised society with enough food for everyone. So no starvation, no 'buck teeth', no somatic overload that causes early death. The only problems in breeding might be prejudice, but Honor's large extended family, at least before Oyster Bay, suggests that hasn't been much of a problem for quite some time.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by emeye   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:31 am

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runsforcelery wrote:
Vince wrote:No. Not because she is a genie, but because Haven didn't release Honor (she escaped from the People's Republic of Haven State Security prison planet). The Republic of Haven did release (parole) Mike Henke, but since Mike isn't a genie, they don't get a free wish.

:geek: :)



Good point . . . except that Mike is a genie. :twisted:

To be honest, I'm a little surprised that no one (to the best of my memory) has ever made the connection between the SKM's ferocious opposition to genetic slavery and that fact that its ruling dynasty are all genies! :lol:


Ah, but they did get their wish.

Until the dastardly author made Mesan Alignment get their wish, too.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by ldwechsler   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:33 am

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JohnRoth wrote: There also can be non rational drivers of reproductive selection in the gene pool. What if some of the enhancements as a side effect led to buck teeth, or alternatively to exciting violet eyes? Not all genetic advantages make actual sense in coping with an environment. If they did then all birds would have camouflage colouring.


Daryl wrote:That's highly likely for several reasons. The first is that many genes do different things in different cell types. The second is that you don't inherit individual genes from your parents - you inherit chunks of chromosomes that have many hundreds of genes on them. If one of them has a high positive selective value like, say, the ability to digest milk as an adult, it will drag the rest of them along with it. Those chunks get chopped up and shuffled over time, but that time is measured in hundreds of generations.

Oh, and your example? Birds have the coloring they do so they know which ones to mate with. Camouflage is way down on the list.


I would guess that when they talk about a modification like Meyerdahl they must be discussing a group of genes that are locked in. Is that so hard to do? Well, right now, probably yes.

But we're talking 2000 years in the future. I mean, Mendel was around a bit more than a century ago. And we are playing with the genome. Over time, certain mods will be made. We have heard very little about people on Manticore being hit with disease. Most genetic diseases will have been eliminated over time. Get rid of the bad gene and it will gradually end. Yes, very complicated. NOW!! But later on, chances are it will be done.

When a mod is done to be able to survive on a planet...as has been done for Grayson, it pretty much has to be dominant...or people die. For the Meyerdahl, it probably is pretty much the same. Yes, there can be side effects. Grayson's were particularly gruesome but thanks to Allison, that could change...although it will bring many changes to the planet the leadership might not like.

As for the buckteeth, etc., mentioned earlier. We have not heard about that for Honor or her father or other people from Sphynx. And those could be easily fixed anyway. But they are unlikely to happen.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by tonyz   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:44 am

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"Fitness" is not an absolute -- it's related to the environment. Honor has a heavy-worlders' strength and speed, for instance, but we've already seen a couple of times that all that additional capability comes with the need for a lot of fuel. In a low-resource environment, the Meyerdahl mods would be maladaptive, reducing fitness as Honor and Alfred Harrington both starved to death well before Alison would have. (Honor got hit with that during her StateSec captivity when perfectly adequate rations for a non-genie left her slowly starving. As a historical example, in the Stalingrad Pocket the big burly German soldiers were quicker to starve than short skinny guys. Or another - short and fat is good for the Inuit in arctic climates because the body loses less heat, tall and thin is good for Bantu in Central Africa because it's easier not to overheat that way. Switch body plans to different environments and Bad Things happen.)

Different interactions can have very different combinations in very different environments. (I'm sure the Mesans recognize this in theory, but I'm guessing that because they're generally on top the heap with adequate nutrition it's maybe a bit hard for them to fully consider that having to eat 5000 calories a day instead of 2000 would really be a problem.)
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by JohnRoth   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:57 am

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Randomiser wrote:Can someone remind me what the Winton Mods consist of and how and why they came to have them?

Some of the biological discussion, while interesting in the abstract is just that, abstract. We are not discussing some random mods operating in an unknown and precarious environment. We are discussing carefully designed mods operating in a high-tech, advanced healthcare, reasonably civilised society with enough food for everyone. So no starvation, no 'buck teeth', no somatic overload that causes early death. The only problems in breeding might be prejudice, but Honor's large extended family, at least before Oyster Bay, suggests that hasn't been much of a problem for quite some time.


There's a very short discussion somewhere that one of the early kings (possibly the first one) got the best genetic mods he could buy from anywhere for his children. I don't remember where it was, and I don't believe there was any discussion of what it consisted of. High intelligence and a good degree of moral integrity would seem to be rather obvious.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by JohnRoth   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:09 am

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Daryl wrote: There also can be non rational drivers of reproductive selection in the gene pool. What if some of the enhancements as a side effect led to buck teeth, or alternatively to exciting violet eyes? Not all genetic advantages make actual sense in coping with an environment. If they did then all birds would have camouflage colouring.


JohnRoth wrote:That's highly likely for several reasons. The first is that many genes do different things in different cell types. The second is that you don't inherit individual genes from your parents - you inherit chunks of chromosomes that have many hundreds of genes on them. If one of them has a high positive selective value like, say, the ability to digest milk as an adult, it will drag the rest of them along with it. Those chunks get chopped up and shuffled over time, but that time is measured in hundreds of generations.

Oh, and your example? Birds have the coloring they do so they know which ones to mate with. Camouflage is way down on the list.


(Almost there, but you reversed the attributions for what Daryl and I said. Fixed.)

ldwechsler wrote:I would guess that when they talk about a modification like Meyerdahl they must be discussing a group of genes that are locked in. Is that so hard to do? Well, right now, probably yes.

But we're talking 2000 years in the future. I mean, Mendel was around a bit more than a century ago. And we are playing with the genome. Over time, certain mods will be made. We have heard very little about people on Manticore being hit with disease. Most genetic diseases will have been eliminated over time. Get rid of the bad gene and it will gradually end. Yes, very complicated. NOW!! But later on, chances are it will be done.


Every generation adds new mutations. Current measurements seem to vary between 30 and 60, depending on the age of the parents (older = more mutations, males 4 times as many per year as females). Most of these are in "junk" DNA. You cannot simply clean the "bad" alles out of the genome, sit back and rest on your laurels.

ldwechsler wrote:When a mod is done to be able to survive on a planet...as has been done for Grayson, it pretty much has to be dominant...or people die. For the Meyerdahl, it probably is pretty much the same. Yes, there can be side effects. Grayson's were particularly gruesome but thanks to Allison, that could change...although it will bring many changes to the planet the leadership might not like.

As for the buckteeth, etc., mentioned earlier. We have not heard about that for Honor or her father or other people from Sphynx. And those could be easily fixed anyway. But they are unlikely to happen.


I'd assume that the designers were competent enough to avoid most unwanted side effects. Grayson was a quick hack job by someone who was barely competent enough to know what he was doing.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:10 am

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JohnRoth wrote:
Randomiser wrote:Can someone remind me what the Winton Mods consist of and how and why they came to have them?

Some of the biological discussion, while interesting in the abstract is just that, abstract. We are not discussing some random mods operating in an unknown and precarious environment. We are discussing carefully designed mods operating in a high-tech, advanced healthcare, reasonably civilised society with enough food for everyone. So no starvation, no 'buck teeth', no somatic overload that causes early death. The only problems in breeding might be prejudice, but Honor's large extended family, at least before Oyster Bay, suggests that hasn't been much of a problem for quite some time.


There's a very short discussion somewhere that one of the early kings (possibly the first one) got the best genetic mods he could buy from anywhere for his children. I don't remember where it was, and I don't believe there was any discussion of what it consisted of. High intelligence and a good degree of moral integrity would seem to be rather obvious.


I don't believe integrity can be programmed into the genes. I suspect the Wintons got a high degree of protectiveness as well as great intelligence as part of the genie package. I can see their being VERY protective about those they believe/feel a responsibility to. This would explain Elizabeth's almost pathological response to the targeting of her family by one Peep administration/regime after another. Oyster Bay would be tailor made to refocus that protectiveness against the MAlign.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:26 am

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Randomiser wrote:Can someone remind me what the Winton Mods consist of and how and why they came to have them?

Some of the biological discussion, while interesting in the abstract is just that, abstract. We are not discussing some random mods operating in an unknown and precarious environment. We are discussing carefully designed mods operating in a high-tech, advanced healthcare, reasonably civilised society with enough food for everyone. So no starvation, no 'buck teeth', no somatic overload that causes early death. The only problems in breeding might be prejudice, but Honor's large extended family, at least before Oyster Bay, suggests that hasn't been much of a problem for quite some time.



The Winton mods are fairly minor, in a lot of ways, compared to, say, Honor's Meyerdahl mods.

The Meyerdahl mods are actually fairly extreme where things like physical strength and toughness are concerned. The truth is that you've never really seen an example of Honor's brute strength, because her martial arts training usually precludes her needing to do all that grunting, heavy-duty, sweating stuff when it comes to hand-to-hand and she hasn't been schlepping any missiles from the magazine to the launcher the way Harkness was doing in OBS. Trust me, it's . . . impressive. (I did think about pointing out just how much upper-body strength, in particular, she demonstrated when I wrote the scene in which she snatches Andrew LaFollet's dead weight up off the deck, tosses him over her shoulder, and sprints for the lift with pulser darts whining and skipping all around her. But even though I know some of you will find this difficult to believe, I decided that wasn't the point to interrupt the action to drop an infodump on you! :lol:)

On the other hand, although I can't remember exactly where it happens, at some point in one of the books Hamish comments that if they run into a mugger (or something like that) he'll hold her jacket and feed her bonbons while she deals with it, and it isn't entirely a joke. He's not even in her class at that sort of combat, and the bonbons were an oblique reference to her metabolism. (There are quite a few of those buried in the books, actually.) The truth is that Honor could arm wrestle Thandi and probably win at least two out of three times despite the fact that her apparent muscle mass is much less than Thandi's. Her reaction speed is also better than Thandi's, and her bones and internal organs are stronger and tougher (respectively), as well. On the other hand, Thandi doesn't have the ravenous sort of metabolic requirement Honor does.

The Winton mods actually predate the colonists' departure for Manticore by one generation, which makes them a fairly early package. They included adjustments to increase intelligence, longevity, immune system function, and a couple of associated elements. It is probable ( ;)) that the famous "Winton Temper" owes something to the intelligence mods, since (as Allison explains to Honor at one point) the geneticists have discovered that modding for extra smarts often has secondary effects. (Those secondary effects are one reason the Bardasano line was almost culled by the Alignment. In that case, the secondary consequences tended to be pretty . . . extreme.) The basic Meyerdahl mods don't include an intelligence adjustment, but Honor and her dad are descended from the relatively small group who received the Meyerdahl Beta package, which does. And Honor is darned sure in her own mind, after discussing it with Allison, that her temper is a direct result of that part of her own modifications.

The original reason for the Winton mods (it was the original Roger Winton's parents who ordered the package for their children, and there's still a branch of the family on Old Earth) was to correct/delete a family tendency towards both diabetes and pancreatitis. They simply decided that while they were paying the hefty price tag associated with fixing those, they might as well go for a few other benefits, as well. This is rather different from the original reasons for the Meyerdahl mods, which were designed to suit human beings to an environment in which they had never evolved. As such, the Winton mods have no readily apparent "external" differentiation like Honor's strength or her metabolism. Also, unlike the Meyerdahl package, the Winton mods aren't "locked," although they have a very pronounced tendency to "breed true" or re-emerge after missing a generation.

They are also distributed fairly broadly through the population of the planet Manticore, considering that they arrived in-system solely with the Winton family, because of the constitutional requirement for the heir to the throne to marry a commoner. They have nowhere near the penetration of the population as the Meyerdahl (and similar heavy-grav) mods have on Sphinx, but a surprisingly high percentage of Manticorans are directly related to the Wintons after all these years!

At any rate, remember that the original colonists left Old Earth well before the Final War, which occurred while they were in transit. That means the SKM never had the same degree of anti-genie prejudice other star nations had (I think Stephanie actually reflects on this in ABF), and that was yet another reason Manticore's always been such a strong supporter of the Cherwell Convention.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #5
Post by pappilon   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:14 pm

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runsforcelery wrote:
Randomiser wrote:Can someone remind me what the Winton Mods consist of and how and why they came to have them?

Some of the biological discussion, while interesting in the abstract is just that, abstract. We are not discussing some random mods operating in an unknown and precarious environment. We are discussing carefully designed mods operating in a high-tech, advanced healthcare, reasonably civilised society with enough food for everyone. So no starvation, no 'buck teeth', no somatic overload that causes early death. The only problems in breeding might be prejudice, but Honor's large extended family, at least before Oyster Bay, suggests that hasn't been much of a problem for quite some time.



The Winton mods are fairly minor, in a lot of ways, compared to, say, Honor's Meyerdahl mods.

The Meyerdahl mods are actually fairly extreme where things like physical strength and toughness are concerned. The truth is that you've never really seen an example of Honor's brute strength, because her martial arts training usually precludes her needing to do all that grunting, heavy-duty, sweating stuff when it comes to hand-to-hand and she hasn't been schlepping any missiles from the magazine to the launcher the way Harkness was doing in OBS. Trust me, it's . . . impressive. (I did think about pointing out just how much upper-body strength, in particular, she demonstrated when I wrote the scene in which she snatches Andrew LaFollet's dead weight up off the deck, tosses him over her shoulder, and sprints for the lift with pulser darts whining and skipping all around her. But even though I know some of you will find this difficult to believe, I decided that wasn't the point to interrupt the action to drop an infodump on you! :lol:)

On the other hand, although I can't remember exactly where it happens, at some point in one of the books Hamish comments that if they run into a mugger (or something like that) he'll hold her jacket and feed her bonbons while she deals with it, and it isn't entirely a joke. He's not even in her class at that sort of combat, and the bonbons were an oblique reference to her metabolism. (There are quite a few of those buried in the books, actually.) The truth is that Honor could arm wrestle Thandi and probably win at least two out of three times despite the fact that her apparent muscle mass is much less than Thandi's. Her reaction speed is also better than Thandi's, and her bones and internal organs are stronger and tougher (respectively), as well. On the other hand, Thandi doesn't have the ravenous sort of metabolic requirement Honor does.

The Winton mods actually predate the colonists' departure for Manticore by one generation, which makes them a fairly early package. They included adjustments to increase intelligence, longevity, immune system function, and a couple of associated elements. It is probable ( ;)) that the famous "Winton Temper" owes something to the intelligence mods, since (as Allison explains to Honor at one point) the geneticists have discovered that modding for extra smarts often has secondary effects. (Those secondary effects are one reason the Bardasano line was almost culled by the Alignment. In that case, the secondary consequences tended to be pretty . . . extreme.) The basic Meyerdahl mods don't include an intelligence adjustment, but Honor and her dad are descended from the relatively small group who received the Meyerdahl Beta package, which does. And Honor is darned sure in her own mind, after discussing it with Allison, that her temper is a direct result of that part of her own modifications.

The original reason for the Winton mods (it was the original Roger Winton's parents who ordered the package for their children, and there's still a branch of the family on Old Earth) was to correct/delete a family tendency towards both diabetes and pancreatitis. They simply decided that while they were paying the hefty price tag associated with fixing those, they might as well go for a few other benefits, as well. This is rather different from the original reasons for the Meyerdahl mods, which were designed to suit human beings to an environment in which they had never evolved. As such, the Winton mods have no readily apparent "external" differentiation like Honor's strength or her metabolism. Also, unlike the Meyerdahl package, the Winton mods aren't "locked," although they have a very pronounced tendency to "breed true" or re-emerge after missing a generation.

They are also distributed fairly broadly through the population of the planet Manticore, considering that they arrived in-system solely with the Winton family, because of the constitutional requirement for the heir to the throne to marry a commoner. They have nowhere near the penetration of the population as the Meyerdahl (and similar heavy-grav) mods have on Sphinx, but a surprisingly high percentage of Manticorans are directly related to the Wintons after all these years!

At any rate, remember that the original colonists left Old Earth well before the Final War, which occurred while they were in transit. That means the SKM never had the same degree of anti-genie prejudice other star nations had (I think Stephanie actually reflects on this in ABF), and that was yet another reason Manticore's always been such a strong supporter of the Cherwell Convention.


IIRC, The Winton Mods were a most highly classified state secret, at least the specifics of them, not the fact that they had them.
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