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Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Louis R   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:24 pm

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Actually, since we haven't been given diagrams we don't have any idea what the symbols being used look like.

Five 'll get you ten that they do indeed look just like the ones on your keyboard, but we don't _know_ that. IIRC, the term Arabic is used, which would be a giveaway in itself, but maybe they actually are. [FYI, the numerals in Arabic are actually rather difficult for your average westerner to read]

Tararoys wrote:
OrlandoNative wrote:

More insidiously is the dissemination of Arabic numerals and higher order math. At first it'll look like it supports the Writ because Langhorne said 'X does Y' and the math supports it. But sooner or later someone will take a serious look at orbital mechanics and realize the Ptolemaic universe Langhorne insisted on using doesn't hold up.

That's the big one, I think.

Merlin has commented on a number of times that one of the reasons the Writ is so effective is because it works. It holds up under what 'test conditions' exist, and when those conditions fail they fail exactly how the Writ says they fail (I recall one character thinking about sailors unable to keep the dietary laws and suffering scurvy, for example).

But Ptolemy... With enough observational data and the right mathematical tools, Ptolemy goes 'nope!' and then you have a situation where the math everywhere else supports CoGA is also telling you that something is Not Quite Right.


I always thought the arabic numerals were a big mistake on Merlin's part. The only way you could have exactly the same arabic numerals as you did on Old Earth would be for someone with a memory of old earth to tell the safeholdians. There is no way archangelic visitors with knowledge of earth's history are going to believe that Rajer Mahklyn (sp) came up with them all on his own. That's a flair-lit tip off for 'Fallen Influence Here!' And a very little investigation would show the oh-so-coincidental arrival of Sejin Merlin to Charis at exactly the same time the numerals were 'invented.' Even local safeholdians are suspicious of the coincidence- somewhere in the books there's someone wondering if all the 'fathers of innovation' are really responsible for their own inventions.

The new sale plans, the trunnions, and the gunpowder could be local inventions, but not *exactly the same numeral system Old Earth used to have.*

So I wonder if that is going to be a plot point at some point.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Louis R   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:35 pm

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ON,

I believe you've been away for some time. I know it's tricky and time-consuming [it took me something like 4 months to catch up after an absence], but you really should read _everything_ before starting to post again: this is the second time in a day you've directly contradicted a post by Himself. In this case it's not entirely your fault - since Joat was paraphrasing, his source isn't immediately clear. However, since the info comes from the beginning of the opening post of this thread, I would have expected you to have noticed it even if you didn't read the intervening commentary.

OrlandoNative wrote:
phillies wrote:In principle there could also have been archeological studies. The Gabab killed everyone, but records or artifacts might have been overlooked, e.g., the odd-orbit wrecked hulk of a starship that is very certainly not on the same design scheme as the locals' ships.

While there is more information here on the destroyed alien civilization (I don't believe OAR mentioned it to be multi star system); I don't think there was any *obvious* clue left to imply they'd been destroyed by outsiders. Otherwise the original conclusion wouldn't have been that they destroyed *themselves*. Certainly if such "solid" evidence *did* exist, the Federation would have undergone a crash priority armaments buildup - and that wasn't the case until *after* Crestwell's World was destroyed.

No, prior to that; it would appear that the Federation only did some modest military buildup, just in case. They probably figured that since they were almost 5 times the size of the destroyed alien civilization, and more technologically advanced, that they were strong enough to resist whatever overcame the others.

Unfortunately they were wrong.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Kael Posavatz   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:07 pm

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Louis R wrote:Actually, since we haven't been given diagrams we don't have any idea what the symbols being used look like.

Five 'll get you ten that they do indeed look just like the ones on your keyboard, but we don't _know_ that. IIRC, the term Arabic is used, which would be a giveaway in itself, but maybe they actually are. [FYI, the numerals in Arabic are actually rather difficult for your average westerner to read


As I recall, when Cayleb and Merlin have their scene in OAR where Merlin first introduces the New Math, Cayleb remarks (or thinks) how much a zero looks like the letter 'o'.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by phillies   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:48 pm

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Kael Posavatz wrote:
Louis R wrote:Actually, since we haven't been given diagrams we don't have any idea what the symbols being used look like.

Five 'll get you ten that they do indeed look just like the ones on your keyboard, but we don't _know_ that. IIRC, the term Arabic is used, which would be a giveaway in itself, but maybe they actually are. [FYI, the numerals in Arabic are actually rather difficult for your average westerner to read


As I recall, when Cayleb and Merlin have their scene in OAR where Merlin first introduces the New Math, Cayleb remarks (or thinks) how much a zero looks like the letter 'o'.


We know from the independent invention of the zero by the Maya and the symbol that they used that something about that shape is reasonable as an independent invention.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Randomiser   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:13 am

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phillies wrote:
We know from the independent invention of the zero by the Maya and the symbol that they used that something about that shape is reasonable as an independent invention.


Maybe so, but if you don't know about the Mayan example, most of us, seeing a standard "0" as the symbol for zero, is still going to look very suspicious. No matter what the symbols actually are, calling the system "arabic" numbers is a red flag, which the TUTT will find out about as soon as it start asking about the new number system.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:23 am

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Randomiser wrote:
phillies wrote:
We know from the independent invention of the zero by the Maya and the symbol that they used that something about that shape is reasonable as an independent invention.


Maybe so, but if you don't know about the Mayan example, most of us, seeing a standard "0" as the symbol for zero, is still going to look very suspicious. No matter what the symbols actually are, calling the system "arabic" numbers is a red flag, which the TUTT will find out about as soon as it start asking about the new number system.


While Arabic Numerals may come back and bite Merlin, I think at the time he reintroduced them he had no knowledge of the scheduled return of the Archangels. All he had to worry about was an OBS bombing over-advanced tech, not anyone reading the bookkeeping and maths texts.

Merlin and Nimue are very aware of what's been lost; one of the minor points in the book is the determined use of Welsh to name the seijins. Welsh is not going to go gentle into that good night, dammit, it's going to go into the Safeholdian history books.

I think that might be why he also refused to give Arabic numerals a fake name. The people, language and culture might have died - but the mathematics they invented not only lives, it's a way to remember them. Even if, right now, Merlin can't explain what he's doing.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Isilith   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:16 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:
While Arabic Numerals may come back and bite Merlin, I think at the time he reintroduced them he had no knowledge of the scheduled return of the Archangels. All he had to worry about was an OBS bombing over-advanced tech, not anyone reading the bookkeeping and maths texts.

Merlin and Nimue are very aware of what's been lost; one of the minor points in the book is the determined use of Welsh to name the seijins. Welsh is not going to go gentle into that good night, dammit, it's going to go into the Safeholdian history books.

I think that might be why he also refused to give Arabic numerals a fake name. The people, language and culture might have died - but the mathematics they invented not only lives, it's a way to remember them. Even if, right now, Merlin can't explain what he's doing.



I always find it ironic that we credit the discovery of "Arabic Numerals" & "Algebra" to the Arabs. When they were actually Persian and Indian in origin. Arab scholars spread the knowledge and introduced them to the Europeans. ( Yes, I know, the Greeks had some chunks of Algebra already figured out, before someone brings that up. ;) )
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:12 pm

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Isilith wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:
While Arabic Numerals may come back and bite Merlin, I think at the time he reintroduced them he had no knowledge of the scheduled return of the Archangels. All he had to worry about was an OBS bombing over-advanced tech, not anyone reading the bookkeeping and maths texts.

Merlin and Nimue are very aware of what's been lost; one of the minor points in the book is the determined use of Welsh to name the seijins. Welsh is not going to go gentle into that good night, dammit, it's going to go into the Safeholdian history books.

I think that might be why he also refused to give Arabic numerals a fake name. The people, language and culture might have died - but the mathematics they invented not only lives, it's a way to remember them. Even if, right now, Merlin can't explain what he's doing.


I always find it ironic that we credit the discovery of "Arabic Numerals" & "Algebra" to the Arabs. When they were actually Persian and Indian in origin. Arab scholars spread the knowledge and introduced them to the Europeans. ( Yes, I know, the Greeks had some chunks of Algebra already figured out, before someone brings that up. ;) )



It's because the textbooks were written in Arabic - for that matter, I think some of the mathematicians who worked with the Indian ideas were ethnic Arabs working in the Persian Court.
Others were, yes, Persians writing in Arabic. They didn't just spread the knowledge; they were very fine mathematicians in their own right.

I think the Arab scholars can claim the invention of the decimal point; it's a long time since I did history of science.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by evilauthor   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:24 am

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If Merlin were really concerned about being found out by intelligent opposition left behind by Langhorne/Chihiro, then he wouldn't have used the name "Merlin" to begin with. That name alone would be as big a red flag as Arabic numerals if not more so because it's telling anyone who knows the King Arthur myth EXACTLY who the agent spreading forbidden knowledge is.
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Re: Through Fiery Trials, Snippet #1
Post by Kael Posavatz   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:39 am

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The concern for a potential intelligent opponent wasn't even a consideration until Paityr shared that 'family story' about the archangels coming back.

I think the analysis was something along the lines of, if there was an AI or human intelligence keeping track of things the CoGA would never have become internally corrupt, at least not to the degree it had. That as things existed circa OAR, that corruption was going to keep applying pressure until something broke at which point society would destabilize, fast, and sooner or later someone facing an existential crisis would throw the Proscriptions out the door.
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