Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by SoronelHaetir » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:50 am

Martin,

Except that if the entire world was re-made then I would expect that too to be incredibly apparent, based on a very short fossil record. Right now we have been told that Feay and vulpers are close enough to inter-breed with their Earth counterparts. Either that holds across the biosphere (in which case it should be apparent that the Feay were moved because the biological record doesn't go back far enough on Draconis) or it does not hold in which case it should be apparent that something happened to cause the Feay and vulpers to appear on Draconis while everything else is native. Before spaceflight the religious explanation could have been enough for the Feay but after seeing other planets with fossil records going back millions or billions of years it should seem very odd to the Feay that on Draconis it only goes back a few tens of thousands.

Even if basic biology (DNA/RNA, chlorophyll based plants and so on) is somehow common across the galaxy that doesn't really help with individual species. There is now enough contact with other species that it should be a giant red flag to both humans and Feay that they did not develop independently.

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by Omegano » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:19 am

MartinK wrote:In the end, AI programming isn't limited to AI being stupid but AI being limited by their programming. And considering the fact that most computer games are still entertaining if played against an AI opponent even years after multiplayer became an easily archievable alternative I have to assume that we can come up with something better than Star Wars EP2 drone armies, if not on the level of a Terminator AI.
You may not realize how right you are. Did you know that AI in games are often made to be LESS capable than they can be? That is because playing against an unbeatable opponent isn't FUN, and games are supposed to be FUN. Sometimes it would end up being EASIER to make the unbeatable AI than the fun one. I'd argue that the reason that battlefield AI in the Subjugation universe is looked at as badly as it is, is because they never let a game AI programmer try to make one.
I know that for "allowing the story" reasons better-than-life-AI opponents aren't allowed, but man if that wasn't one of the single biggest things Fel did that I disagreed with.
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by MartinK » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:06 am

SoronelHaetir wrote:Except that if the entire world was re-made then I would expect that too to be incredibly apparent, based on a very short fossil record. Right now we have been told that Feay and vulpers are close enough to inter-breed with their Earth counterparts. Either that holds across the biosphere (in which case it should be apparent that the Feay were moved because the biological record doesn't go back far enough on Draconis) or it does not hold in which case it should be apparent that something happened to cause the Feay and vulpers to appear on Draconis while everything else is native. Before spaceflight the religious explanation could have been enough for the Feay but after seeing other planets with fossil records going back millions or billions of years it should seem very odd to the Feay that on Draconis it only goes back a few tens of thousands.
Oh, vulpars are close enough to foxes to interbred? Interesting, I seem to have forgotten that.

Anyway, it isn't necessarily all that bad. On earth we have fossils going back billions of years not only because evolution tends to take that long to go from single cell organisms to.. well... us but also because we have had multiple mass extinction events. Thats not only when a big asteroid hits earth but also when a mega vulcano (Yellowstone, etc) does its thing or when all those little organisms in the ocean turn the carbon in the atmosphere into poisonous oxygen and there is nothing that breathes oxygen so it goes from 2% to 20% awefully quickly. Well, a few mass extinction causes are obviously necessary for life as we know it to evolve but others aren't quite so helpful. Who says there had to be dinosaurs, why couldn't it have been humans to evolve then?

Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. It took 500 million years to go from elemental soup to the first single cell organism. Then it took another 1.5 billion years to get to the first multi cellular organisms. Now we have yet another 2 billion years for those to evolve into bacteria and other tiny stuff swimming in the ocean. The first creatures with bones and noteworthy sizes only came up 500 million years or so ago. Thats known as the cambrian explosion since suddenly there were all sorts of things swimming, jumping, walking, running or dragging itself around.

Besides the mountains of fossilized calcium from ocean creatures that are nowadays our massive limestone deposits all over the world and the oil thats essentially plant matter that grew and died at a time when no bacteria existed to take it apart and reuse it like we are used to nowadays there isn't a fossilzed bone to be found from that time period. I'm sure there have been countless critters that had no hard bones in their body so we likely never got a hint about them.

Right now would be the time I would select such a world to transplant another worlds species tree on it. First you put plants that outcompete the ones already existing. Wait a few decades - or a few hundred years perhaps - and you can put the first batch of creatures on it... and so on and so on.

While we always see documentaries about dinosaurs and perhaps a little bit about the time after the dinosaurs but before primitive humans killed off the megafauna on earth thats only because we know best about that time. In geological timeframes that is a very short time indeed. And while we have frozen whool mammoths to analyze DNA, we have none from dinosaurs. So we, as in modern humanity, do not even know if we were once transplanted.

And without the dinosaurs we wouldn't even know how unlikely it would be that the first evolutionary explosion of species resulted in modern life.

I expect that when we get out into space and find other planets that support life as we understand it, we will find billions of years of fossils that never resulted in sentient life. Or perhaps dead worlds were the sentient species never got to a technological level before some mass extinction event wiped them out. Or perhaps a sentient species that is less socialized that humans are and thus rarely cooperated in groups larger than villages. To really get going you need nations or large corporations.

Still, someone must have archieved spaceflight before us. I wonder were they are. Damn that Fermi paradox! If all humanity worked together, I believe we could build a multigenerational colony ship in orbit and sent it off to another world to colonize. Sure, it would take generations to build and longer to arrive - but since it is possible someone somewhere must have done so already.
Even if basic biology (DNA/RNA, chlorophyll based plants and so on) is somehow common across the galaxy that doesn't really help with individual species. There is now enough contact with other species that it should be a giant red flag to both humans and Feay that they did not develop independently.
On that note, humans were discovered only very recently. Until then, there was no giant red flag to wave. And since the discovery of humanity the Faey kind of got very busy with first those pesky humans that didn't want to become a client race and then those annoying invaders from another galaxy. So, any red flag due to evolutionary inconsistency and surprises would not get much attention at all. Sort of like: "Is it a problem for us now?" - "Uh, no, Sir, but it tells us that..." - "Good, then go away and don't come back until i'm bored again!"
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by expedient » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:33 am

Omegano wrote:I know that for "allowing the story" reasons better-than-life-AI opponents aren't allowed, but man if that wasn't one of the single biggest things Fel did that I disagreed with.
The problem with this whole argument is that there is an example of limited computer game style AI swarm droids being used in this universe. A very effective one too. Or do you have another description for the disposable "toys" that 3D employ?

It's been hinted that the Faey and others have been developing their own weapon swarms after seeing how effective the Karinne "dirty tricks department" has been.

The limitation with these toys is that they first need to be cheap and second not have recoverable technology that would be effective if turned against the Karinnes.
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by expedient » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:13 pm

Addendum

The Syndicate battle philosophy of space combat has been to build ships too big to disable. Presumably this was because the Consortium had a huge tech advantage when it recovered Karinne Faey and equipment from Exodus. The torsion beams were probably one shot one kill before they developed the diffusor defence.

They have not been using space fighters for a long time. The Faey used them because they had shield penetrating weapons in MPAC and utilised telepathic attacks. The Consortium are not vulnerable to telepathy and Syndicate weapons were perhaps not strong enough at small sizes to damage their ships.

They are using similar combat tactics to the CCM (including telepathy) on the ground as presumably the Consortium planetary citizens are vulnerable to these things.

In essence the Syndicate are geared up to fight one enemy, the Consortium, and will have to radically adapt to fight the Coalition.
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by Rakshasa claw » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:58 pm

Maybe. But the simple fact is that being at a technical disadvantage the why the Benga are would only exacerbate the problems of using AI. My opinion obviously, but still.

As for the programming... yes you can program anything into the drone. However, the problem that you aren't seeing is that the victor in battle is the one that makes the second to last mistake. The ability to innovate and consider alternative ideas almost always results in victory. AI works well for simple things like chess where the rules are clearly known... for war there aren't sufficient rules to program enough contingencies to counter their lack of innovation. But it's also clear we aren't likely to agree on this... so agree to disagree?

Edit: As for computer games, they are also not good examples of AI in war. Most computer games have very strict rule sets to allow them to be easily learned. So even if games were built where computer "AI" are impossible to defeat... real war doesn't have the same limitations and so the limitations of only following programming can become a problem.

Note: I'm not saying that deploying drones couldn't be valuable. Just that I doubt the can effectively be deployed en masse with the expectation of turning the tide in THIS particular war. The technological disadvantages the Syndicate has already forces them heavily into a quantity being its own quality situation... so even with their advantage (having the resources of an entire galaxy) doing additional things that will require even larger quantities of "troops" being deployed seems poor strategic planning.

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by SoronelHaetir » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:45 am

Re. real-life generation ships: you have to have a reasonable target first (that is one that you want to be at once you arrive), plus a reason for the investment. Right now both of those are lacking.


As Larry Niven wrote in one of his comments on Ringworld, with the idea of setting the star in motion and using the entire thing as a spaceship, a moving ringworld would be a bird of ill-omen.

As for not being sure humans are actually native to Earth I do believe the fossil record is complete enough for that. We might not be able to say that RNA/DNA developed here but the stages after that aren't particularly holey (yes, pun intended). Plus, of course, there is the entire matter of just how well genetics fits together.

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by SYED » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:13 am

What if those ancient aliens only seeded the telepathic upgrade? It cause other changes, which in some cases made creatures from different worlds able to have geneticly viable children.
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by MartinK » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:46 am

SoronelHaetir wrote:Re. real-life generation ships: you have to have a reasonable target first (that is one that you want to be at once you arrive), plus a reason for the investment. Right now both of those are lacking.
Well, of course. Humans have come up with a system that works for them: capitalism. It provides a lot of motivation to do.. stuff. ;) Well, let's rather say it comes with a lot of problems but we haven't managed to come up with a better working solution so far.

My thoughts when I mentioned generation ships was more in the ways of other civilizations that either had a reason to leave their world - I can come up with several right on the spot - or a system which forced them to expand no matter what. BTW: Our economics tend to be based on growth as well, just not extreme enough to motivate space expansion so far.

Anyway, I'm assuming that there are other sentients out there, that some are social enough to work together and some of those will manage to reach a tech level sufficient for generation ships. So, based on a "it happened once, it will have happened many times before" approach - were the heck are the aliens? Or is it just that no other civilization blasts out its media into the universe like we do and thus we don't see them? Or it is so rare that there isn't one for us to find in our own galaxy and any other galaxy is so far away that anything smaller than a dyson sphere is impossible to detect for us? Hm, I doubt we would notice even vanishing stars in other galaxies right now.
As for not being sure humans are actually native to Earth I do believe the fossil record is complete enough for that. We might not be able to say that RNA/DNA developed here but the stages after that aren't particularly holey (yes, pun intended). Plus, of course, there is the entire matter of just how well genetics fits together.
There are dozens of monkey or ape races. Many of them can't possibly interbred anymore. Yet, there is only a single sentient race on earth: humans. We know that long ago, there was a second race, the Neanderthals. Who happened to have died out just as long ago and those remains in the valley that gave them their name were the only ones we ever found. As seen by the many monkey and ape races, shouldn't there be just as many races similar to humans around?

And no, the differences in skin color, hair color or slanted eyes are purely cosmetic and don't make them other races. Might as well categorize cats in different races based on their fur coloring.
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by SoronelHaetir » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:07 pm

Umm, where did you get the idea that only the one set of Neanderthal remains were found? (at least that's what I read you to mean by "and those remains in the valley that gave
them their name were the only ones we ever found"). They have been found all over Europe and southwestern Asia, and over a time span of at least a couple hundred thousand years.

As for whether Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis were the only ones to make the leap from sentience to sapience I'm not sure the evidence is strong enough to say one way or the other for other hominids. It could even be a question of what threshold you require for sapience.

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by Rakshasa claw » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:39 pm

Actually, the evidence is pretty strong to suggest that Neanderthals did not exactly die out. Rather it seems more likely that at least a portion of them actually interbred with Homo Sapiens. I mean, the average modern human has a few percent of Neanderthal DNA.

For the record, the different skin color, slanted eyes ARE part of the definition of separate races. Hence, why Asians, Africans, and Caucasians all have different skin color, eye types, etc. They are not different species, but rather different races i.e. sub-species within the greater species. Star Trek and other shows have done their best to confuse the issue by not making a distinction between the two words. It's similar to how people suggest that people of Hispanic descent are a different race. They aren't. Most of them are primarily Caucasian from Spanish or Portuguese descent rather than being from English or French descent. Some of them are a different race (primarily anyway) as in they have a largely African descent. But at present there are only three actual racial groups of Homo Sapiens on the planet: African, Asian, and Caucasian. There is some argument about Australian (i.e. the aboriginal groups there), so that might be a fourth group. Note: Indians... people from India are Caucasian despite being much darker than Europeans. Those particular genetic traits (pale skin, blond, blue eyes) didn't become a major grouping until well after the Caucasian race had migrated outward. It's only in the United States (maybe Western Europe too, not sure) where the word Caucasian is used to imply "white".

The race/ethnicity thing is mainly a political thing to gain influence at the expense of the tax payer, and as such I'm done discussing it here as it's not appropriate.

All of that aside, it is quite curious that to date only Homo Sapiens and our "immediate" ancestors show any signs of sentience. Assuming that we evolved here without any outside influence after this many million years one would imagine that some other species would have reached human levels. I mean, let's face it mammals are young relative to lizards or fish (I'd say insects, but they don't typically grow large enough on Earth to seem reasonable as a sentient species). And, yes it's possible that a species of fish has evolved sentience and merely hides from us for... reasons.

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by MartinK » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:22 pm

SoronelHaetir wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:07 pm
Umm, where did you get the idea that only the one set of Neanderthal remains were found? (at least that's what I read you to mean by "and those remains in the valley that gave them their name were the only ones we ever found"). They have been found all over Europe and southwestern Asia, and over a time span of at least a couple hundred thousand years.
It's not? I have to admin, I haven't been all that interested in long dead species that evolved parallel to us or came from the Homo anything evolution tree and went another way. Guess you learn something new every day. :-) On the other hand, I haven't heard of anything other than homo sapiens and homo neanderthalis. I'm assuming that a new found would make widespread news.
As for whether Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis were the only ones to make the leap from sentience to sapience I'm not sure the evidence is strong enough to say one way or the other for other hominids. It could even be a question of what threshold you require for sapience.
Well, that has always been a slippery slope, hasn't it? Humans lay claim to the title of the only sapient species on earth as of right now. Anything else is considered less than human, an animal. It is mostly a world colored in black and white, a world with a clear delineator between us and animals. But that is just us justifying why we domesticate and/or kill animals whenever we want. It is a grave sin to kill another human, but to set out a mousetrap to get rid of vermin is no sin at all. I like to eat meat and have no problems with killing pigs or cows for food either, although I'm rather happy not to be the one who does the act.

On the other hand, I don't think there is a clear delineator to be found. Some races of animals are rather more intelligent and others are most certainly not intelligent at all. Elephants or dolphins come to mind. Anyone who ever owned a pet knows that neither cat nor dog are just bags of meat with no intelligence or personality following animalistic instincts. Pigs are rather curious and clever as well. I've met some humans I don't consider as intelligent as a cat I once lived with. :-D
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by MartinK » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:51 pm

Rakshasa claw wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:39 pm
Actually, the evidence is pretty strong to suggest that Neanderthals did not exactly die out. Rather it seems more likely that at least a portion of them actually interbred with Homo Sapiens. I mean, the average modern human has a few percent of Neanderthal DNA.
Yes, human DNA contains a few bits of Neanderthal DNA. Which is a bit surprising since I always assumed that the difference of a species versus a race means that races can interbred while species can't.... or can and end up with a sterile offspring. Hmmm... still, without any Neanderthals left the few mixed breds watered down over the generations.
Star Trek and other shows have done their best to confuse the issue by not making a distinction between the two words.
Dang, and a while ago I thought about using species versus calling those races. Then I went and did it anyways. You are right of course.
But at present there are only three actual racial groups of Homo Sapiens on the planet: African, Asian, and Caucasian. There is some argument about Australian (i.e. the aboriginal groups there), so that might be a fourth group. Note: Indians... people from India are Caucasian despite being much darker than Europeans. Those particular genetic traits (pale skin, blond, blue eyes) didn't become a major grouping until well after the Caucasian race had migrated outward. It's only in the United States (maybe Western Europe too, not sure) where the word Caucasian is used to imply "white".
So, indians are considered caucasian. And native americans or native australians are in doubt? What about the Eskimos?
All of that aside, it is quite curious that to date only Homo Sapiens and our "immediate" ancestors show any signs of sentience. Assuming that we evolved here without any outside influence after this many million years one would imagine that some other species would have reached human levels. I mean, let's face it mammals are young relative to lizards or fish (I'd say insects, but they don't typically grow large enough on Earth to seem reasonable as a sentient species). And, yes it's possible that a species of fish has evolved sentience and merely hides from us for... reasons.
Actually, mammals first showed up 300 million years or so ago, at the height of the jurassic. But since dinosaurs were at the top of the food chain mammals had no opportunity to grow all that big until after the majority of the dinosaurs met with an unfortunate end. The only dinosaurs to really survive that and thrive again are our modern day birds. And since the mammals ended up producing humans any bird big enough to be worth hunting, which means anything bigger than us, got hunted. Guess the emus are lucky enough that humans didn't get to australia too soon.

Insects also got much, much bigger millions of years ago. The atmosphere at the time was much thicker, thus enabling both those insects to grow to ridiculous sizes as well as allowing dinosaurs of dinosaurian dimensions to actually fly. There are also thoughts around that the thick atmosphere was the reason dinosaurs got as huge as they did and still walk around on land. The air at the time was around 31% to 35% oxygen when sea skorpions as big as our crocodiles lived. *shudder* I really hate big bugs. Just looked up biggest bugs ever, found Arthropleura. Thats a giant centipede as big as a human. Really not sorry those are long dead.

On another note, at one point in early human history we as a species almost went extinct. Around 75.000 years ago, at a time humans still lived as hunters and gatherers, a supervulcano erupted. It's known today as Lake Toba in Indonesia. All the usual consequences as seen in movies or read in stories like Harry Turtledoves book about the eruption of the Yellowstone supervulcano were there and with it went most of the human population at the time. Similar small genetic pools were found to correspond in time in other mammalian populations. At least thats the theory. Shame we can't really watch the past unfold.

It might just be that the Toba extinction event, while hitting us pretty hard, wiped out most any other ra.. uh.. species. Though we should have found fossils like we did on the Neanderthals.
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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by SoronelHaetir » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:03 pm

There are plenty of other members of the gens Homo, the very early H. habilis for example and the slightly younger H. erectus. There were even other species around during the early period of H. neanderthalis. Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo

As for the interbreeding test marking the difference of species or not there are at least some biologists now using Homo sapiens neanderthalis for exactly that reason (just as domestic dogs are now generally classified as Canis lupus familiari rather than Linnaeus' Canis familiaris).

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Re: Retribution, chapter 5, (spoilers)

Post by Rakshasa claw » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:39 pm

I still stand by the fact that mammals are young compared to lizards. The fact that they first appeared in the Jurassic era AFTER lizards had grown into megafauna (aka Dinosaurs) proves that.

It is possible that other sentient species existed prior to that supervolcano, but it's hard to say either way without any sort of evidence.

The Native Americans (I really hate the term, how many generations are required to be "native"?) are primarily of Asian descent, and the Inuit (Eskimo is actually offensive to them, :P) just didn't travel as far south as most of their kin as far as I know. It is worth noting that apparently there are multiple groups of natives in the North American Arctic and Inuit doesn't refer to all of them. But to my knowledge while Eskimo is the only term that includes all of them, they still find it offensive.

Also, pretty sure that prehistoric man wasn't able to directly hunt out the megafauna. Unless I'm mistaken, most groups of prehistoric man would have been small and would have needed to gather other tribes to effectively hunt them. I'm not saying that humans hunting them wasn't a factor in the extinction of the megafauna... just that I don't think we were the driving one. More likely it was indirect predation, where we hunted the competing predators because they ate us and that caused an explosive growth of the herbivores who then ate their food and starved. It's hard to say either way, but I just can't see tribes of prehistoric man hunting herds of elephants or larger animals to extinction.

Edit: Regardless, pretty sure we should either find a different forum or get back onto the topic of this one.

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