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Spoilers! Loose threads

Aliens? Invading aliens? What will Earth do? Well...we may have a few more resources than we first thought. Come join a friendly discussion about David Weber's newest Tor series - "Out of the Dark."
Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by Joat42   » Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:56 pm

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PeterZ wrote:This discussion about evolutionary tract within the story has been central to explaining other HG species and will likely be central to explaining who put that machine on earth.

Not necessarily, the whole discussion about the evolutionary tracts is within the story itself done from a human perspective as way to explain how humans differ from the other races, but it's all speculation and conjecture at this point. Heck, the 5th race/OG could be AI's for all we know.

Aliens are alien, so any speculation of a motive behind an action is just that, a speculation which is fraught with misunderstandings. The books illustrate those pitfalls several times throughout the books, just look at the misunderstandings between humans, shongairi and the sarthians. Humans exploited those misunderstandings when they dealt with the shongairi, but they themselves fell victim to it on Sarth when dealing with the sarthians.

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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:33 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Indeed so. Yet any change of world view has to begin somewhere. A starting point of a pure predator would probably have deeper Us vs. Them demarcations to overcome. It can't be any other way for a species that lives by killing and consuming other animals. Regarding other beings as just objects for their appetite is clearly a separation between us and them. Omnivores can sustain themselves with plants as well as other animals. Transitioning between viewing other beings as food is less an existential threat as would be the case with predators.

A pure predator would be far less likely to take a hands off attitude to the universe after they have achieved their nanite tech. They would be much more likely to see other beings as their prey to "hunt" as they see fit. Standing aside and letting things flow as circumstances direct would be much farther from that base PoV than would be the case for omnivores or even herbivores. Predators gain their sustenance through their direct actions; kill then eat. Herbivores can grow food which requires creating crops and then letting the plants develop. The former requires constant direct activity and the latter requires letting the universe develop on its own to some extent.

So, yeah, considering the evolutionary track of the OG is helpful to answering why that machine was left to create Vlad.


But we don't have history past 150k T-years ago, we don't know how evolved the 5th founding race was at the start of the GH. It's possible they already were very advanced, more advanced than the other four, which would explain why they simply disappeared. That is, they already had one foot on the other side of Transcendence.

But anyway, the point is that no one apparently develops technologies as fast as humans so even this hypothetical fifth race is unlikely to outpace us. Therefore, they're also likely to have evolved their nanite evolution over at least a few millennia. And I argue that, in doing so, even predators cease to be predators. Before you can change your own body into nanites, you you have the technology to synthesise food out of basic components (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, some nitrogen and trace elements like phosphorus [for things like ATP]). Moreover, the population growth precludes hunting in the first place, so the culture of predator is likely to give way.

We have evolved from hunter-gatherers to farmers and herders. And unlike Vlad, this fifth race would have evolved into nanites gradually. They'd have benefited from the precursor technologies too.

Actually, at GH races' stage of development, it really shouldn't matter whether they're eating meat (raw or cooked), vegetables, protein sludge, or a mix of all of them. I suspect that the GH's tendency to classify as herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore ends up pigeonholing the races and driving their actions according to expected lines of development more than they otherwise would. We see some of that in the dialogue, where the characters argue that they can't be certain of the conclusions from this classification, only that it is what the GH thinks is right.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:12 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:snip
But anyway, the point is that no one apparently develops technologies as fast as humans so even this hypothetical fifth race is unlikely to outpace us. Therefore, they're also likely to have evolved their nanite evolution over at least a few millennia. And I argue that, in doing so, even predators cease to be predators. Before you can change your own body into nanites, you you have the technology to synthesise food out of basic components (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, some nitrogen and trace elements like phosphorus [for things like ATP]). Moreover, the population growth precludes hunting in the first place, so the culture of predator is likely to give way.

snip

I would argue that the data set is corrupted on technological development. We have no idea what rates of tech development was ante-Hegemony. We don't know just how rapidly the 5th species developed their tech. We don't know the degree that humanity was influenced by the OG. We don't know just how many species were influenced by the other Hegemony species to curb tech development.

Also, my point has never been about culture but sorts of nearly hardwired attitudes about the universe around a given species. Predators have evolved brains that comfortably and justifiably view other animals as "Others". Quite simply those that eat and those that are eaten. Even within the those that eat category, predators will distinguish between degrees of competitors. Such a PoV is central to their forms of thought. Sure, like any idea that can be overcome. However, once a predator reaches a certain level of societal and technological development without discarding that attitude, their success becomes a positive feedback loop for keeping that attitude. I am thinking Niven's Kzin here.

We don't know what sorts of hardwired attitudes the 5th species kept from their evolutionary track. We don't know what happened to them. What we do know is that some entity with seriously high tech was on Earth during a period where humanity experienced its greatest surge in technological development. To illustrate, had Julius Caesar and George Washington been neighbors each living with his level of technology, they would have comfortably discussed their lives without the other being completely lost. With the exception of gun powder, Washington's technological advantage was mostly a refinement of Caesar's. it was not qualitatively different. However, if Washington and any independent farmer of today were neighbors living with their level of technology, Washington would be lost in his neighbor's magic devices. The first gap is nearly 2 millennia and the second is just over 2 centuries.

That sort of surge may be normal to other species only orders of magnitude slower than was the case for humanity. Given the OG's machine found on Earth, assuming that surge was unaided strikes me as a dubious assumption.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:13 pm

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PeterZ wrote:We don't know what sorts of hardwired attitudes the 5th species kept from their evolutionary track. We don't know what happened to them. What we do know is that some entity with seriously high tech was on Earth during a period where humanity experienced its greatest surge in technological development.


Correlation is not causation. There's no evidence that we were helped.

We don't know that the lab or ship that Vlad fell into was only recently arrived. It might have been there for millennia. So his transformation and our surge of development can be entirely coincidental.

Moreover, it appears to have been uninhabited and Vlad's discovery of it entirely accidental. So if whoever brought it to Earth intended to give humanity a benefit, they didn't do a good job. But this is a weaker argument because Vlad says he doesn't remember very well and he might not have been exposed to the crew manning the station in the first place. His fall might not be accidental either, they might have decided it was time to uplift someone and he just happened to be close by.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:17 pm

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PeterZ wrote:We don't know what sorts of hardwired attitudes the 5th species kept from their evolutionary track. We don't know what happened to them. What we do know is that some entity with seriously high tech was on Earth during a period where humanity experienced its greatest surge in technological development.
ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Correlation is not causation. There's no evidence that we were helped.

We don't know that the lab or ship that Vlad fell into was only recently arrived. It might have been there for millennia. So his transformation and our surge of development can be entirely coincidental.

Moreover, it appears to have been uninhabited and Vlad's discovery of it entirely accidental. So if whoever brought it to Earth intended to give humanity a benefit, they didn't do a good job. But this is a weaker argument because Vlad says he doesn't remember very well and he might not have been exposed to the crew manning the station in the first place. His fall might not be accidental either, they might have decided it was time to uplift someone and he just happened to be close by.

Yet correlation DOES mean related. Just how does the presence of beyond GH tech relate to humanity's surge of advancement? Was humanity's potential recognized by the OG? Was it encouraged by the OG? Was that machine a simple experiment to see if the human mind could make the transition into a machine?

We don't know. We only know that the beings who created that high tech were interested enough in humanity to leave that machine for Vlad to run across.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:03 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Yet correlation DOES mean related. Just how does the presence of beyond GH tech relate to humanity's surge of advancement? Was humanity's potential recognized by the OG? Was it encouraged by the OG? Was that machine a simple experiment to see if the human mind could make the transition into a machine?

We don't know. We only know that the beings who created that high tech were interested enough in humanity to leave that machine for Vlad to run across.


One thing does not imply the other. Humanity may well have had its surge of post-Renaissance technological development completely independent of the OG. They may not have been here for us, they may even have arrived before the GH survey vessel. And especially if they predated the survey vessel by a mere T-century, they'd have come at the tail end of the Black Death and about one thousand years of stalled development (in the Western world; there was a lot of mathematical and scientific development elsewhere, but not much got applied to engineering). They may not have seen anything significant about us, nothing to make them decide to do anything about it.

And yet correlations are suspicious. Why were two alien ships on or around Earth at the same time? Given that we are not actually close to the Hegemony, the chances of a coincidence there are pretty low (close to astronomically low but not because they're not independent random variables). So the likely scenario is that this correlation implies a common cause of some sort: it's possible the OG ship came to Earth because they knew the GH was on its way. Whether one beat the other is not relevant. What's relevant is why there was a lab underground in Romania: was that an observation outpost that Vlad wasn't meant to fall into? Or was he selected?

The scenario of accident implies that the lab had only been there a short time. If it had been a long time there, statistically someone else would have fallen in over the years and survived. Remember that Dacia and Thracia had those names as Roman provinces and that Thracia was part of the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire on and off for a thousand more years. It was also the path that many crusaders took to get to Constantinople, so a pretty well-trampled region.

And is the lab still there? With 20th and 21st century mapping technology, we ought to have noticed it. With GH-level tech, certainly. So either it's not there any more, or its stealth is still active. If it's there, are there OG still inside, in hibernation?

If it's not there or if people aren't inside, what happened to them?
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by Joat42   » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:51 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:And is the lab still there? With 20th and 21st century mapping technology, we ought to have noticed it. With GH-level tech, certainly. So either it's not there any more, or its stealth is still active. If it's there, are there OG still inside, in hibernation?

If it's not there or if people aren't inside, what happened to them?

Considering that they now have 3D printers, they can print thousands of drones to scour the area. The problem I see though, since we know the nanites soak up radiation and and the installation is in a cave it probably wont show up on any scanners.

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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by Theemile   » Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:08 am

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Joat42 wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:And is the lab still there? With 20th and 21st century mapping technology, we ought to have noticed it. With GH-level tech, certainly. So either it's not there any more, or its stealth is still active. If it's there, are there OG still inside, in hibernation?

If it's not there or if people aren't inside, what happened to them?

Considering that they now have 3D printers, they can print thousands of drones to scour the area. The problem I see though, since we know the nanites soak up radiation and and the installation is in a cave it probably wont show up on any scanners.


It's back handed, but.... map the background radiation and look for anomalous voids or lowered regions. It would be helpful if you could build a drone scanner that could block out cosmic rays from above, but Drones with multiple tons of lead slabs on top of them will look and fly funny.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by Joat42   » Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:18 am

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Theemile wrote:Considering that they now have 3D printers, they can print thousands of drones to scour the area. The problem I see though, since we know the nanites soak up radiation and and the installation is in a cave it probably wont show up on any scanners.


It's back handed, but.... map the background radiation and look for anomalous voids or lowered regions. It would be helpful if you could build a drone scanner that could block out cosmic rays from above, but Drones with multiple tons of lead slabs on top of them will look and fly funny.[/quote]
Are you proposing that they build...lead balloons? ;)

---
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by Theemile   » Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:09 am

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Joat42 wrote:
Theemile wrote:Considering that they now have 3D printers, they can print thousands of drones to scour the area. The problem I see though, since we know the nanites soak up radiation and and the installation is in a cave it probably wont show up on any scanners.


It's back handed, but.... map the background radiation and look for anomalous voids or lowered regions. It would be helpful if you could build a drone scanner that could block out cosmic rays from above, but Drones with multiple tons of lead slabs on top of them will look and fly funny.

Are you proposing that they build...lead balloons? ;)[/quote]

More like Zeppelins... :D
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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