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(SPOILERS) Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?

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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by cralkhi   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:18 am

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Weird Harold wrote:[Again, the answer is obvious: Every cubic meter used for stealth equipment is a cubic meter that can't be used for a colonist or supplies


But if that was a limit, why did they feel like they needed 8 million colonists? Was it just that that was the highest number of people they thought they could reasonably save given the ships available?

How does that help the chances of survival more than having 80,000 colonists? That would still be enough to scatter across a planet to avoid being wiped out by a local disaster, at a low-infrastructure tech level that doesn't require huge industrial bases or anything (say, 2 cities of ~10000 people, 10 big towns of ~1000 people, 250 villages of ~200 people).

I think 80,000 people would be far more than enough to carry on and support all the skills needed for a pre-industrial society; a few hundred might be enough, and a few thousand almost certainly would be.

And there wouldn't be any genetic issue, given how low-genetic-diversity humans are already; even a few hundred people would probably be plenty, especially if you included people from different regions so local bad recessives were less likely to be shared. (Some suggest that all Native Americans come from a founder population of <100 people.)

In fact, the island of Pingelap repopulated from only 20 people over two centuries ago; they did end up with a high incidence of colorblindness, but nothing really crippling. Still, there might be effects farther down the line... but you wouldn't need anything even remotely on the scale of 8 million.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by alj_sf   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:15 am

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There is a major difference in the numbers needed between a case of absolute endogamy with the case where you can have external apport once every few generations. In Safehold case, the latter is not possible.

I agree that 8 millions was not necessary, but a large base is a very good thing, especially if a not foreseen situation arise, cf Nuncio and Grayson cases in Honorverse. And as the efforts for terraformation go, prepping for 80 000 or 800 000 is essentially the same amount of work.

cralkhi wrote:How does that help the chances of survival more than having 80,000 colonists? That would still be enough to scatter across a planet to avoid being wiped out by a local disaster, at a low-infrastructure tech level that doesn't require huge industrial bases or anything (say, 2 cities of ~10000 people, 10 big towns of ~1000 people, 250 villages of ~200 people).

I think 80,000 people would be far more than enough to carry on and support all the skills needed for a pre-industrial society; a few hundred might be enough, and a few thousand almost certainly would be.

And there wouldn't be any genetic issue, given how low-genetic-diversity humans are already; even a few hundred people would probably be plenty, especially if you included people from different regions so local bad recessives were less likely to be shared. (Some suggest that all Native Americans come from a founder population of <100 people.)

In fact, the island of Pingelap repopulated from only 20 people over two centuries ago; they did end up with a high incidence of colorblindness, but nothing really crippling. Still, there might be effects farther down the line... but you wouldn't need anything even remotely on the scale of 8 million.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by Weird Harold   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:17 am

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cralkhi wrote:But if that was a limit, why did they feel like they needed 8 million colonists? Was it just that that was the highest number of people they thought they could reasonably save given the ships available?


I don't think there was anything "reasonable" about how many they thought they could save. Operation Ark was the last hope of saving any humans from the Gbaba, so there would have been pressure to save as many as possible and then squeeze in a few more.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by Dilandu   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:56 pm

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I don't think there was anything "reasonable" about how many they thought they could save. Operation Ark was the last hope of saving any humans from the Gbaba, so there would have been pressure to save as many as possible and then squeeze in a few more.


Well, in this case, you need to optimize the number of colonists and supplies, and equipment required.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by SWM   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:44 pm

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AAAGH! Someone has ruined yet ANOTHER thread I was reading by including an unmarked spoiler from the snippets!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE--if you want to post a snippet or other spoiler in a non-spoiler thread, mark that individual post as a SPOILER. I am getting really tired of people throwing spoilers around like they were confetti.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by n7axw   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:06 pm

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SWM wrote:AAAGH! Someone has ruined yet ANOTHER thread I was reading by including an unmarked spoiler from the snippets!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE--if you want to post a snippet or other spoiler in a non-spoiler thread, mark that individual post as a SPOILER. I am getting really tired of people throwing spoilers around like they were confetti.


???I could be mistaken here, but isn't the stuff here coming from OAR???

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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by EdThomas   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:19 pm

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evilauthor wrote:-Snip

If anything, this may be a more logical "second arrow" for the Federation if lyonheart is right about the covering fleet for Langhorne being the last one of its size. You don't need nearly as many resources to preserve 80 million electronically stored mind copies as you do 80 million flesh and blood human beings.


OAR 8 million As many as half a million on the biggest ship.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by Randomiser   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:16 pm

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n7axw wrote:
SWM wrote:AAAGH! Someone has ruined yet ANOTHER thread I was reading by including an unmarked spoiler from the snippets!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE--if you want to post a snippet or other spoiler in a non-spoiler thread, mark that individual post as a SPOILER. I am getting really tired of people throwing spoilers around like they were confetti.


???I could be mistaken here, but isn't the stuff here coming from OAR???

Don


Dilandu quotes snippet #6 a couple of pages back.
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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:35 pm

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Dilandu wrote:
I don't think there was anything "reasonable" about how many they thought they could save. Operation Ark was the last hope of saving any humans from the Gbaba, so there would have been pressure to save as many as possible and then squeeze in a few more.


Well, in this case, you need to optimize the number of colonists and supplies, and equipment required.


The number of colonists they could get out was dictated by the amount of lift and supply/terraforming they could provide. The limiting factor, frankly, was building the warships for the effort; the colony fleet was being built simultaneously, with a standard number of cryogenically-stored colonists on each vessel. When the time for the breakout came, they took as many ships as they thought they could get through with the covering force available to them --- which happened to give them 8,000,000 people, not 6,500,000 or 800,000 or 80,000 --- and sent them out in an effort to save as many lives as possible.


The mission plan, as I said earlier, called for dispersing them broadly over the surface of whatever world they found, and, frankly, they were lucky to find one as hospitable to humanity as Safehold. The idea was to insure planetary survival by redundancy in case the terraformers had missed something, there was an outbreak of some previously unexpected disease, or other environmental factors turned some or all of the planetary system toxic for some reason. They didn't think that was a likely outcome, but they also weren't disposed to take chances on it. And given the transportation difficulties their pre-tech civilization was likely to experience, they also wanted to be sure that each enclave they set up had enough genetic material and diversity to avoid the consequences of geographically imposed inbreeding. Since they wanted lots of enclaves, that meant they needed lots of colonists.

Now, there's been some talk about a second colony, and I will say that the original mission plan was written before they knew they'd be able to get that many people out. That being the case, there's no reason that Langhorne --- who modified the heck out of the original plan --- couldn't have modified it in a difference direction, instead, and chosen to use the second terraforming fleet to establish an additional colony with 4,000,000 or so colonists, exactly as people have suggested. Except, of course, for the reasons I pointed out earlier about why he and Bedard wouldn't have wanted a second colony which might well interfere with their master plan to save humanity.


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Re: Why did they put all their eggs in one basket?
Post by cralkhi   » Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:50 pm

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Ah, if they were planning for a smaller number of survivors it all makes sense then.

alj_sf wrote:There is a major difference in the numbers needed between a case of absolute endogamy with the case where you can have external apport once every few generations. In Safehold case, the latter is not possible.


Sure, but I had gotten the impression that the Pingelap bit was a case of complete isolation (until the Japanese military showed up anyway). If not, that does change the picture (I agree Pitcairn isn't such a case).

The early Native Americans were probably isolated though, at least for very long periods -- traveling through the Arctic during the tail end of an ice age can't have been easy.

And I suppose that the time that has passed in Pingelap's case isn't enough to prove indefinite viability.
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