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Communications bottleneck

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Louis R   » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:01 pm

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Actually, the development of radio lagged the exploitation of electricity by a good 2 generations - the first large-scale exploitation of electricity was the electrical telegraph. A device created to resolve a problem that the Sharonans simply don't have. A device that was created by following up a long series of earlier, more-or-less successful, solutions to that problem, extending back several thousand years, by applying recently observed phenomena to it.

You're probably being fooled by the fact that it took those 2 generations for the first useful domestic-scale applications, electrical machinery and - most important of all - generation and distribution systems, to appear. [All of those, BTW, are necessary prerequisites for radio.] The reason that generation is the bottleneck is that primary batteries were - and remain, AAMOF - very expensive - basic electric motors actually predate the telegraph, but couldn't be successfully commercialised because no one could afford to use them. However, the driver for pushing electricity out of the parlour was its application to long-distance communications, which both made it clear that many useful things should be doable and provided reams of data to apply to the doing - and, ultimately, to the analysis of the phenomena involved that lead to the idea of radio.

Radio is the first example in history of the application of scientific theory to the creation of technology. Without a theory of electromagnetism it is very, very unlikely that any set of observations will lead to anybody stumbling over it, simply because the effects are so very subtle. Once the idea appears, it would seem that the Sharonans should be able to run with it, but we don't have any clear evidence that they've made all the enabling inventions in either theory or practice.



n7axw wrote:
phillies wrote:Radio?

Hertzian (radio) waves were predicted by Maxwell. The experiment by Hertz and perhaps the Russian fellow confirmed the theory. For decades thereafter, the nonlinear detection device was the *coherer*, a decidedly steampunk creation*. Do these people *have* theoretical physics?

*Yes, I am old enough to have met an electrical engineer who designed a circuit using commercial coherers. I have also seen a Ford trimotor in commercial operation. However, these are a distance away from modern equipment.


Egads, phillies, you sound ancient... :lol:

Seriously, the development of radio historically happened side by side with the exploitation of electricity. There is no real reason to believe that this wouldn't be true for Sharona as well, athough it's valid to observe that the voices undoubtedly have had an impact on that.

Don
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Astelon   » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:53 pm

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The shornians also have no CURRENT need for a radio. They have an existing system that works well enough compared to their needs. A MODERN radio system would help with communicating among the combat forces, but the shoranians are far from modern systems. Until then a Voice is just as good, or better.

The author has stated that the physics of the worlds are different than those that we know. It is not clear that a radio would even work on Sharona or Arcana. Although it appears that Arcana may have some kind of short range "wireless" technology for transferring information from one crystal to another. (No mention of having to make the crystals touch for it to work has been made.)
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:28 pm

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Astelon wrote:The shornians also have no CURRENT need for a radio. They have an existing system that works well enough compared to their needs. A MODERN radio system would help with communicating among the combat forces, but the shoranians are far from modern systems. Until then a Voice is just as good, or better.

The author has stated that the physics of the worlds are different than those that we know. It is not clear that a radio would even work on Sharona or Arcana. Although it appears that Arcana may have some kind of short range "wireless" technology for transferring information from one crystal to another. (No mention of having to make the crystals touch for it to work has been made.)


I've pretty well stated my POV on this subject and I'm not going to rehearse.

BUT

How does Sharona support a planetary population of 10 billion people without a modern infrastructure. I agree that it's not modern, mind you. They are about 150 years behind us technologically. Or does that 10 billion figure include all of the universes in which they have settled?

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:06 pm

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tonyz wrote:I don't see any indication that the inner worlds have any limits on Voices. Yes, the line outwards from Traisum to Hell's Gate is short on Voices because it's so recently developed and has such a low population density that they don't have enough warm bodies out there. But we're specifically told that the inner rings have plenty of backups for redundancy.

And while you are quite right that if they could manufacture radios they could cover lots of stuff easily, I see no evidence that they've yet even thought of the idea of using electricity to transmit messages, either with or without wires... and with the Voices, right now, they have no reason to even try and think along those lines.
And radios would probably transmit through portals. So you don't have to physically walk the message (or Voice) across to relay the message.

That also means that they don't have to be as easy to find because they don't have to be parked next to the portal.

Also, if radios go though portals then even quite basic ones could be used to increase the efficiency of the Voice net on the fringes. If you've only got one voice they have to cycle back and forth across the portal at pre-set times to listen for messages; and even the most urgent message has to wait until they're on the correct side of the portal to receive it. But with even a simple spark gap radio you could sent an signal through the portal asking the Voice to come back and receive the full bandwidth Voice-net message.

Also, for the ocean gaps you could sent a quick alert by radio and also have that alert cause the port on each side to launch a fast ship with Voice aboard until they enter range mid-ocean to pass the full bandwidth message. Though I wonder if for the duration of the war they'll start detailing ships with Voices aboard to patrol mid-ocean as a Voice-net relay. It wouldn't be fun, but their technology is plenty capable of outfitting a ship for a multi-month patrol.


All that said the equipment you needed for long range radio communication (and its power source) in the 1910s wasn't exactly trivially sized; nor is it very portable (there's a reason ships were the first vehicles to carry long range radio). A Voice is a lot more portable that a theater-range radio of the era.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by tonyz   » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:56 pm

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Well, yes, if they had radios they could do amazing stuff with them, but we have no evidence that they even suspect that radios might exist.

(I'm guessing that if and when somebody finds their way through another portal into the Hell's Gate universe, that somebody might have radios and electronic technology, which will be equally baffling and alarming to both Sharonans and Arcanans...)
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:58 pm

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tonyz wrote:Well, yes, if they had radios they could do amazing stuff with them, but we have no evidence that they even suspect that radios might exist.

(I'm guessing that if and when somebody finds their way through another portal into the Hell's Gate universe, that somebody might have radios and electronic technology, which will be equally baffling and alarming to both Sharonans and Arcanans...)


You're right. There is no reason to believe that they have radios. They would have to invent them. Given their current tech base, they could do that. Whether or not it will happen is an open question. We will have to see how the story arc develops.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:06 pm

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Just an additional thought here...

If it is true that the further away from home you get, the less effective both talents and magic are, then developing radio for military use gets more important and the side that has it will have an important advantage...

This assumes that the physics of the different universes allow it. At this point in time, there is no reason to believe differently.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:54 am

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No, IMHO radios
would probably *not* transmit through portals.

And any airplanes or motor vehicles trying to go
through them would see their active electronics
cut off as they passed through.

OTOH, textev shows that non-electrical steam engines
carry their locomotives straight through Larakesh Gate
without any trouble at all!

Bring on the Stanley Steamer!
Steam Airplanes, anyone?

HTM

Jonathan_S wrote:
And radios would probably transmit through portals.
(big snip - htm)
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:46 pm

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Sounds like you expect a bit of handwavium to operate here, Howard. Light travels just fine, but radio does not?

Magic might well operate in ways that do not penetrate the portal. Mental prowess might well be similar enough with magic to be impacted the same way by portals. Heck, for all we know magic and Talents are functions of some universal spirit essence or mind of God that transcends all creation. Light then, like any other non-spirit energy travels just fine between universes, but magic and talents are limited in their ability to cross universes.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:No, IMHO radios
would probably *not* transmit through portals.

And any airplanes or motor vehicles trying to go
through them would see their active electronics
cut off as they passed through.

OTOH, textev shows that non-electrical steam engines
carry their locomotives straight through Larakesh Gate
without any trouble at all!

Bring on the Stanley Steamer!
Steam Airplanes, anyone?

HTM

Jonathan_S wrote:
And radios would probably transmit through portals.
(big snip - htm)
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:37 pm

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Light travels just fine because it is Natural.
Radios, and electrical wires, are Artificial,
so the Gates stop them.
Radio Waves are Natural, of course, so they go right
on through ... like light waves.
When Light is artificial altered, as in a Laser Beam, it
is stopped by the Gate Face, and doesn't even reflect!

Or so I believe, and guess, and presume.
I don't recall any textev on these subjects.

But "a bit of handwavium," Peter?
You're thinking too small, I ween.
We have here three whole books of handwavium, ink and
paper wavium, Dragon Naturally Speaking voicewavium,
and numerous other sorts of wavium!

Howard T. Map-addict

PeterZ wrote:Sounds like you expect a bit of handwavium to operate here, Howard. Light travels just fine, but radio does not?

Magic might well operate in ways that do not penetrate the portal. Mental prowess might well be similar enough with magic to be impacted the same way by portals. Heck, for all we know magic and Talents are functions of some universal spirit essence or mind of God that transcends all creation. Light then, like any other non-spirit energy travels just fine between universes, but magic and talents are limited in their ability to cross universes.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:No, IMHO radios
would probably *not* transmit through portals.

And any airplanes or motor vehicles trying to go
through them would see their active electronics
cut off as they passed through.

OTOH, textev shows that non-electrical steam engines
carry their locomotives straight through Larakesh Gate
without any trouble at all!

Bring on the Stanley Steamer!
Steam Airplanes, anyone?

HTM

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