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  #31  
Old 08-20-2011, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
That speed is larger than 0.75c, AFAIK.
Depends on your field size, actually.


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I'm actually surprised he hasn't said anything, considering how defensive he was on IRC. Avatar most definitely has internal logic problems, despite Cameron's attempts to avoid them.
There wasn't any reply to make to your OP. Your own logic is hugely inconsistent within your other anti-Avatar arguments (remember the 2 hours you spent backtracking on IRC as I consistently pointed out holes in each 'unobtainium synthesis' argument you could present?

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It does if the fuel is ridiculously expensive. Manufactured antimatter is going to be at least as energy-expensive as Unobtanium.
YET AGAIN, unobtainium can not be manufactured.

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Yeah, if you can do astro-engineering, (i.e. covering Mercury in solar panels, Dyson shell fragments) you can produce that quantity of antimatter in days or less, but there's no evidence to suggest that the RDA have access to those.
Says you. That is significantly less sophisticated than reaching a system 4.4ly away. If humans hadn't stuck their collective heads back into the sand after Apollo, we could theoretically have had them today, in addition to asteroid mines and similar.

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Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
^ That.

I wonder how a hydrogen ramjet would work, though? Use another energy source to get the craft up to a speed at which interstellar hydrogren concentration becomes high enough for sustained fusion?
Yes, there is low enough friction for that to be practical - an ion engine would work well for that. A large enough field could also conceivably collect from a wide area for the engine.

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Originally Posted by Moco Loco View Post
OHOHO, wait until HNM sees THIS. I saw all that up in IRC yesterday, and if I recall correctly, he put you to shame on the claim that unobtanium can be synthesized on Earth. I know this specifically was more about antimatter, but it gets around to whether the cargo being retrieved is worth the trip.
Sadly, this part is actually at least mathematically accurate, unlike the 'unobtainium should be synthesised' argument.

That said, yes, antimatter is only used for 50% of the accel/decel burns discussed here.

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Originally Posted by Helicoradian View Post
Perhaps the RDA found a way to produce or harvest antimatter without expending a massive amount of energy? That would allow them to produce more of it given a set amount of energy available for production.

But the first few trips to Pandora would have been a real challenge, because the early ISV's were so much more massive due to using low-temperature superconductors instead of Unobtanium. They would have had to carry much more fuel...
This seems most likely.

There was one original ISV, which was around 3 times the size (~3km long) thanks mainly to cooling systems for the superconductors required and with the same cable length and cargo modules.

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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
Good stories do not need to double-back on their own logic. Minority Report doesn't,
Yes, it does. Significantly.
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Star Wars doesn't
Parsecs as a measure of time and an anti-planet laser. All I need to say to point out the physics failures inherent there.

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There are tons of justifications for going to an alien planet. "We're mining for profit and shipping the proceeds back with antimatter-powered rockets" is not one of them, because the RDA can't possibly do it profitably, which defeats the whole point of the exercise.
Again, as you failed to repsond last time I said, not only do they likely have a monopoly on the use of unobtainium (so a value is actually arbitrary, and possibly even based on shipping costs), but you are failing to take into account the added value of its applications* as well as the use of flora from, Pandora on Earth.

*e.g. the global maglev system to allow construction to be completed for a tiny fraction of the cost, or the use of any superconductor in power distribution at critical points would cause huge savings.

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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
There's a difference between being consist with RL, and being consistent with itself. I don't care about the first, but Avatar can't even do the second, even though most stories can.
It's more consistent that ANY other scifi I have watched or read with the exception of Stephen Baxter's, which is quite possibly the hardest scifi to exist. Your objections are based primarily on elements that you dislike and on present-day conditions[/i] - if they had said it did 0.75c and the journey took 8 years, THAT would be an inconsistency. You use the package-deal fallacy in your claims that unobtainium should be synthesisable, which also completely goes against all scientific history and rare elements/compounds at specific times.

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Originally Posted by Fkeu'itan View Post
Hmm, I smell a troll.
I'm starting to think you're right. This thread reminds me very much of this (which I never got any reply to or acknowledgement of).


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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
The spaceship only appears for a couple of minutes, but I'd have thought whether or not it's possible to actually make a profit from what the RDA is doing would be pretty important.
There is not enough data on several critical components, most importantly the Earth system.

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And since it is such a important plot device, why not handwave it just a little bit more? Make unobtanium the fuel of an FTL drive, and the problems are solved!
Because then it changes the physics of Pandora by a LOT.

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Other movies' logic has flaws, sure, but find one movie that shoots its own premise in the foot in the way RDAconomics does. I don't remember one.
Star Wars. There you go
I also just realised something, are you using current day dollars? you have absolutely no idea how much 20m even is in the future.

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And I'm sorry if I gave the impression I didn't like the film; because I do. It's incredibly effective at throwing you into the world. However, Cameron sacrificed consistency for his plot, and IMO, that's pretty vital for suspending disbelief. For instance, imagine if, at the end of Harry Potter
Spoiler: pretty useless spoiler, but whatever 

That'd be a pretty badly-written ending, wouldn't it?
Again you misunderstand consistency and give a completely unrelated analogy - see my previous example of consistency. It is never stated as impossible, or even enough data to implicitly make that judgement, and therefore, by definition, it is consistent.
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  #32  
Old 08-20-2011, 01:17 AM
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Clarke, for most people, plot is what matters most. And that's why I give JC leeway on the Venture Star. It's a necessary device to set up the main plot, but it's not the main plot itself. Most people don't get caught up in little details like the fuel economy of a starship, most people care more about where the starship is heading. I think the $2 billion profit attests to this. If people really cared so much about the ISV then the movie would have flopped, but they don't. JC knows that Pandora is what people cared about, and if he had to stretch things a bit to make that happen (same with "RDAconomics"), then so be it. As Fkeu said, it's artistic liscence, and for that to ruin the entire movie is a bit anal retentive to say the least.

Ashen - *sigh* Of course not. The problem I have is when people hold a double standard against a movie, and examine the movie with an extra-fine magnifying glass compared to other movies, and when they find a problem, they denegrate the work and the director instead of giving the director the artistic liscence they sometimes need.

I get it, the ISV is not very realistic. You found that out, good for you. But taking swipes at JC - or his work as a whole - for doing what had to be done to make the rest of the movie work is just plain uncalled for.
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  #33  
Old 08-20-2011, 02:31 AM
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Tsyal Makto: EXACTLY. It is a single point, where I could fill pages from other films/series that I like and even longer ones from films/series that I dislike - Avatar is the second most realistic scifi I have even seen, after Stephen Baxter, as mentioned before, and I freely admit that while his books are great, they would make terrible films.
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  #34  
Old 08-20-2011, 04:07 AM
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The better the movie, the more disbelief I am willing to suspend. I enjoyed Star Wars enough to not be bothered by sounds in a vacuum. I enjoy Star Trek enough to not be bothered by violation of the special theory of relativity. I enjoy Superman enough to not be bothered by feats that defy the laws of inertia and tensile strength (picking huge objects up on nonload-bearing attachment points). By far the biggest technical flaw in Avatar is how the avatars transmit huge bandwidths of sensory data back to the lab when it takes a machine the size of an MRI on the other end to do likewise. But it doesn't bother me either because the movie already won my affection.
  #35  
Old 08-20-2011, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Depends on your field size, actually.
Bigger fields require quadratically more power. (For a field that extends further from whatever you're generating the field from.) Power seems to be at a premium.

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There wasn't any reply to make to your OP. Your own logic is hugely inconsistent within your other anti-Avatar arguments (remember the 2 hours you spent backtracking on IRC as I consistently pointed out holes in each 'unobtainium synthesis' argument you could present?
I'm still failing to understand how a few pieces of electronics could be dearer to transport than a human. (Considering they'd weigh, what, a thousandth? A ten-thousandth of the mass?)

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YET AGAIN, unobtainium can not be manufactured.
Even built atom by atom? If so, how is that possible? Nigh-arbitrary conditions can be created in the lab, and we have the technology to manipulate individual atoms now let alone in 140 years when there's business demand for it. (I wouldn't think IBM would say no if they were told "We'll pay you the GDP of your country to invent this process for us.")

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Says you. That is significantly less sophisticated than reaching a system 4.4ly away. If humans hadn't stuck their collective heads back into the sand after Apollo, we could theoretically have had them today, in addition to asteroid mines and similar.
There is no evidence for that in the film/background material, though, is there?

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Yes, there is low enough friction for that to be practical - an ion engine would work well for that. A large enough field could also conceivably collect from a wide area for the engine.
I thought we wanted to get there relatively quickly? An ion engine won't help to get you there fast, and fast is rather important when you're doing business. (You actually have far, far fewer issues if you're fine with getting to Alpha Centuari in 20 years rather than 5, but that's not what happened.)

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Sadly, this part is actually at least mathematically accurate, unlike the 'unobtainium should be synthesised' argument.

That said, yes, antimatter is only used for 50% of the accel/decel burns discussed here.
The above is for one burn. How many burns are we actually doing with the antimatter?

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This seems most likely.
There was one original ISV, which was around 3 times the size (~3km long) thanks mainly to cooling systems for the superconductors required and with the same cable length and cargo modules.
You could expose your superconductors to the vacuum, (and maximize surface area and so forth) so I'm not sure why you're using that much cooling. However, the engineering difficulties of actually constructing a Project Valkyrie craft are somewhat irrelavent if you can never economically build one.

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Yes, it does. Significantly.
When? I honestly can't remember.

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Parsecs as a measure of time and an anti-planet laser. All I need to say to point out the physics failures inherent there.
Neither of those are universe-consistency failures, though. Nothing in SW contradicts them as potentially fact. Also, there's two different explanations for parsec-as-a-time. (i.e. the Kessel Run is a distance rather than time-dependent race, or Han is trying to pull a fast one. I like the latter.) Also, to maintain believability, the writers never explain how the Death Star produces that power, so, by default, they can't get it wrong. For all we know, they feed the power from Dyson spheres through wormholes towards the planet. Writing an explanation and getting it wrong is, IMO, worse writing than leaving no explanation at all.

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Again, as you failed to repsond last time I said, not only do they likely have a monopoly on the use of unobtainium (so a value is actually arbitrary, and possibly even based on shipping costs), but you are failing to take into account the added value of its applications* as well as the use of flora from, Pandora on Earth.

*e.g. the global maglev system to allow construction to be completed for a tiny fraction of the cost, or the use of any superconductor in power distribution at critical points would cause huge savings.
I haven't actually used any market figure in the argument above. The only non-justified value I've used is the power generation the RDA has available, and I would have thought it unlikely that the RDA would even have 200x USA's power, since that implies it doubles faster than once every 20 years. I don't think it's done that historically, but feel free to prove me wrong.

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It's more consistent that ANY other scifi I have watched or read with the exception of Stephen Baxter's, which is quite possibly the hardest scifi to exist. Your objections are based primarily on elements that you dislike and on present-day conditions[/i] - if they had said it did 0.75c and the journey took 8 years, THAT would be an inconsistency. You use the package-deal fallacy in your claims that unobtainium should be synthesisable, which also completely goes against all scientific history and rare elements/compounds at specific times.
(I don't remember it being named as Alpha Centuari in the film, so 0.75c * 8 years isn't too bad as "Hang on..." moments go.)
And of course I'm focusing on elements I dislike; I don't dislike internally consistent things. Is there a particular thing you want me to analyze instead?

Also, what package deal fallacy?

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I'm starting to think you're right. This thread reminds me very much of this (which I never got any reply to or acknowledgement of).
So pointing out any flaws in Avatar is trolling?

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There is not enough data on several critical components, most importantly the Earth system.
What data could influence the OP calculations? The only factors I can think of are harvesting antimatter, and the power generation available. (And AFAIK, the former isn't mentioned in any of the background materials.)

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Because then it changes the physics of Pandora by a LOT.
...Does it? I mean, once you've said the magic words, "FTL fuel", you're also implicitly saying, "This is not the physics you're looking for." If you just say "antimatter," you don't have that disclaimer attached. Did you see the flak the newest Star Trek film got over having "black holes" which clearly weren't? It didn't get any flak at all for the concept of "red matter," because it doesn't exist, so the writers couldn't have gotten it wrong.

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Star Wars. There you go
I also just realised something, are you using current day dollars? you have absolutely no idea how much 20m even is in the future.
I have not mentioned the number "20 million" anywhere. (I have on IRC, but not here. You do have a fair point that I don't know how much that's actually worth, but it's irrelevant to the OP calculation.)

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Again you misunderstand consistency and give a completely unrelated analogy - see my previous example of consistency. It is never stated as impossible, or even enough data to implicitly make that judgement, and therefore, by definition, it is consistent.
...How can I misunderstand consistency? Besides, I quite clearly have enough data to make it appear infeasible, if not impossible, otherwise I couldn't do the first half or so of calculations in the OP.
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  #36  
Old 08-20-2011, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
I'm still failing to understand how a few pieces of electronics could be dearer to transport than a human. (Considering they'd weigh, what, a thousandth? A ten-thousandth of the mass?)
I already pointed this out, but you still need humans to maintain them, and far more qualified and better-paid ones at that - also, you can't build them on Pandora with nothing there to, and you can't do it from nothing with no humans there. your argument is a 'chicken and chicken egg' scenario, where even if such a plan was logically possible, you are increasing the time to first return by 20-30 years, not to mention that with no human presence, any action taken is EASY to counter.

[img]Even built atom by atom? If so, how is that possible? Nigh-arbitrary conditions can be created in the lab, and we have the technology to manipulate individual atoms now let alone in 140 years when there's business demand for it. (I wouldn't think IBM would say no if they were told "We'll pay you the GDP of your country to invent this process for us.") [/img]
YET AGAIN, placing individual atoms does not create a compound, you are thinking of a mixture. If that was true, then oil and things like diamond would be insanely cheap, and there would be no emissions.

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There is no evidence for that in the film/background material, though, is there?
Doesn't the extensive energy infrastructure count as a logical one?

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I thought we wanted to get there relatively quickly? An ion engine won't help to get you there fast,...
That was a small aside on feasibility and not at all related to your anti-Avatar argument. Stop looking for perceived weaknesses without context.

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The above is for one burn. How many burns are we actually doing with the antimatter?
Two - I already said that.


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You could expose your superconductors to the vacuum, (and maximize surface area and so forth) so I'm not sure why you're using that much cooling. However, the engineering difficulties of actually constructing a Project Valkyrie craft are somewhat irrelavent if you can never economically build one.
Space is not cold. I honestly expected better from you with the understanding you profess to. The entire reason it has those huge radiators is to allow cooling - much of the older ISV would have been larger radiators. Directly exposing a superconductor with no radiator would cause it to overheat almost as soon as any heat source near it was active.

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When? I honestly can't remember.
Not only is wanting to kill someone completely different from an attemp anyway, but,
Spoiler: in case anyone cares and hasn't seen it 

(taken via google since I couldn't remember the details myself)


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Neither of those are universe-consistency failures, though. Nothing in SW contradicts them as potentially fact. Also, there's two different explanations for parsec-as-a-time. (i.e. the Kessel Run is a distance rather than time-dependent race, or Han is trying to pull a fast one. I like the latter.) Also, to maintain believability, the writers never explain how the Death Star produces that power, so, by default, they can't get it wrong. For all we know, they feed the power from Dyson spheres through wormholes towards the planet. Writing an explanation and getting it wrong is, IMO, worse writing than leaving no explanation at all.
The parsecs thing is fanon - certainly, it's an understandable effort, but to me, getting something so basic so wrong is telling of the level of care that went into it - if it was an attempt to show them as not knowing what they're talking about, surely they'd have noticed? When it comes to the latter - that is very true, but what I am saying is that it isn't something people take issue with.


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I haven't actually used any market figure in the argument above. The only non-justified value I've used is the power generation the RDA has available, and I would have thought it unlikely that the RDA would even have 200x USA's power, since that implies it doubles faster than once every 20 years. I don't think it's done that historically, but feel free to prove me wrong.


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(I don't remember it being named as Alpha Centuari in the film, so 0.75c * 8 years isn't too bad as "Hang on..." moments go.)
If you only take things literally stated in the film as admissible, then where is this problem you have with Avatar? oh wait, based on background

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Also, what package deal fallacy?
"If humans can reach A. Centauri A, they should be able to synthesise unobtainium" - it is equal to "If humans can build a nuclear reactor, they should be able to synthesise oil in an economical manner" - the two are entirely unrelated.

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...(And AFAIK, the former isn't mentioned in any of the background materials.)
...and there's your answer. they are arriving there, so while there is no number given (much like SW), it is clearly sufficient. If Earth's power output was defined then yes, that may make it inconsistent.

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Does it? I mean, once you've said the magic words, "FTL fuel", you're also implicitly saying, "This is not the physics you're looking for."
...and there's your problem - then it wouldn't be realistic.

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Did you see the flak the newest Star Trek film got over having "black holes" which clearly weren't? It didn't get any flak at all for the concept of "red matter," because it doesn't exist, so the writers couldn't have gotten it wrong.
Clearly you never read anything I wrote on the subject (not that it was much as I much prefer to forget that thing ever happened). the criticism WAS there, just from different angles - people with a high internal knowledge of ST were far more likely to complain about the random plot devices as well as the complete physics failures (and another example of ACTUAL internal inconsistency (as opposed to inconsistency with the current state of Earth) in transporting several ly onto a target moving FTL)

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I have not mentioned the number "20 million" anywhere. (I have on IRC, but not here. You do have a fair point that I don't know how much that's actually worth, but it's irrelevant to the OP calculation.)
I honestly don't see how it is irrelevant - all you calculated was a mass of antimatter required, making no implication about cost. That said, yes, I did bring the IRC one into here with that.


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...How can I misunderstand consistency? Besides, I quite clearly have enough data to make it appear infeasible, if not impossible, otherwise I couldn't do the first half or so of calculations in the OP.
You point out that the ISV would require a large amount of fuel. That is all you did.
Inconsistency would be if someone actually stated in canon that it needed a different amount.
consistency: 5. (logic) Freedom from contradiction; the state of a system of axioms such that none of the propositions deduced from them are mutually contradictory.
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  #37  
Old 08-21-2011, 01:05 PM
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wow this thread has got big. why bother investing this much energy into nitpicking at something that's not even the main focus. it's all about the world of pandora, not the ISV venture star
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  #38  
Old 08-21-2011, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
YET AGAIN, placing individual atoms does not create a compound, you are thinking of a mixture. If that was true, then oil and things like diamond would be insanely cheap, and there would be no emissions.
Diamonds and oil can both be synthesized. Synthetic diamonds are already cheaper than their naturally occurring counterparts, and synthetic oil soon will be. I'm not sure why you think they would be "insanely cheap" just because they can be synthesized.

As Clarke said, pretty much any compound imaginable can be synthesized in a laboratory. Whether or not it would be cheaper to synthesize unobtanium is impossible to say. If JC says it's not, then that's the way it is, but rest assured, it could theoretically be synthesized.
  #39  
Old 08-21-2011, 07:05 PM
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Exactly - it may be possible, but considering the conditions for its formation (which would also seem to be near-unique to some condition in A. Centauri A), they would be too difficult to reproduce if they are even fully understood to a replicable degree at all. I never said that oil or diamond can't be synthesised - just not reliably, cheaply or on a large scale.
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  #40  
Old 08-21-2011, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Exactly - it may be possible, but considering the conditions for its formation (which would also seem to be near-unique to some condition in A. Centauri A), they would be too difficult to reproduce if they are even fully understood to a replicable degree at all. I never said that oil or diamond can't be synthesised - just not reliably, cheaply or on a large scale.
Condition is basically irrelevant when you're building things atom by atom.

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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
I already pointed this out, but you still need humans to maintain them, and far more qualified and better-paid ones at that - also, you can't build them on Pandora with nothing there to, and you can't do it from nothing with no humans there. your argument is a 'chicken and chicken egg' scenario, where even if such a plan was logically possible, you are increasing the time to first return by 20-30 years, not to mention that with no human presence, any action taken is EASY to counter.
...Why do you need humans to maintain them? That just means your robotics tech isn't advanced enough.

Also, of course you can't teleport them there, (since this isn't that kind of universe) but if the robots can reproduce most of themselves, you only need to send one ship, total. Even if you do need to send humans, you might have to send one, perhaps two humans per every 10 you'd need mining. Since, y'know, it's impossible for any harm to come to them, barring HG's machinery catastrophically failing. (If it just fails a little, then they can go repair it. )

And what action would there be to counter? These robots don't need to be human-like. They could be bulletproof spiders.
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YET AGAIN, placing individual atoms does not create a compound, you are thinking of a mixture. If that was true, then oil and things like diamond would be insanely cheap, and there would be no emissions.
Yes it does; individual atoms are unstable, and grab onto anything they can find. Placing individual molecules doesn't do that automatically.

And now you're just making things up. Why would there be no emissions if we could assemble diamond from carbon?
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Doesn't the extensive energy infrastructure count as a logical one?
Not if it's used for fusion, as I believe the manual elaborates on.

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That was a small aside on feasibility and not at all related to your anti-Avatar argument. Stop looking for perceived weaknesses without context.
Alternative engine designs would've been a good point, actually.

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Two - I already said that.
The above argument is for one. A second antimatter burn multiplies your fuel requirements all over again, i.e. up to 2409. Where on earth are you going to get to 2.4 tons of antimatter for every kilogram of payload?

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Space is not cold. I honestly expected better from you with the understanding you profess to. The entire reason it has those huge radiators is to allow cooling - much of the older ISV would have been larger radiators. Directly exposing a superconductor with no radiator would cause it to overheat almost as soon as any heat source near it was active.
(Space is cold, just not conductive.)
Like I said, it's completely irrelevant if you can't possible break even building one.

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Not only is wanting to kill someone completely different from an attemp anyway, but,

Spoiler: in case anyone cares and hasn't seen it 


(taken via google since I couldn't remember the details myself)
He exploits the nature of pre-crime? The writers should have elaborated on that one slightly, yes, but it's not impossible for him to have done it.

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The parsecs thing is fanon - certainly, it's an understandable effort, but to me, getting something so basic so wrong is telling of the level of care that went into it - if it was an attempt to show them as not knowing what they're talking about, surely they'd have noticed? When it comes to the latter - that is very true, but what I am saying is that it isn't something people take issue with.
That's where the idea comes from - earlier drafts of the script say Obi-wan does notice, and reacts.

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OK, assume the world power output doubles every 15 years, as that graph seems to approximately show. That'd be 2.748×10^23 J per year. That actually reduces the time to 9 months, which isn't that bad, I suppose... if the RDA controls the world, and uses all energy everywhere to harvest antimatter to fuel this thing. Wouldn't you agree that's somewhat unrealistic?

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If you only take things literally stated in the film as admissible, then where is this problem you have with Avatar? oh wait, based on background
It's still a "Hang on, the writers can't be bothered" moment if A. Centuari ever actually gets mentioned.

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"If humans can reach A. Centauri A, they should be able to synthesise unobtainium" - it is equal to "If humans can build a nuclear reactor, they should be able to synthesise oil in an economical manner" - the two are entirely unrelated.
It's more like, "If we can (theoretically) synthesize unobtanium, us + 140 years of technology can as well."

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...and there's your answer. they are arriving there, so while there is no number given (much like SW), it is clearly sufficient. If Earth's power output was defined then yes, that may make it inconsistent.
The manuals talk about fusion power. Fusion power isn't exactly relevant when you have Dyson infrastructure.

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...and there's your problem - then it wouldn't be realistic.
Cameron doesn't care about realism when it's Cool. See the flying mountains.

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Clearly you never read anything I wrote on the subject (not that it was much as I much prefer to forget that thing ever happened). the criticism WAS there, just from different angles - people with a high internal knowledge of ST were far more likely to complain about the random plot devices as well as the complete physics failures (and another example of <b>ACTUAL</b> internal inconsistency (as opposed to inconsistency with the current state of Earth) in transporting several ly onto a target moving FTL)
I haven't, actually. Got any links?



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I honestly don't see how it is irrelevant - all you calculated was a mass of antimatter required, making no implication about cost. That said, yes, I did bring the IRC one into here with that.
The cost is months and months of time, at minimum. If you put slightly more realistic figures on it, the time rises to decades. See below.

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You point out that the ISV would require a large amount of fuel. That is all you did.

Inconsistency would be if someone actually stated in canon that it needed a different amount.

consistency: 5. (logic) Freedom from contradiction; the state of a system of axioms such that none of the propositions deduced from them are mutually contradictory.
The ISV requires implausible amounts of fuel, for the technology shown. For instance, if the RDA can manufacture the fuel needed for a one-way 50 ton ship in 6 years, that takes 1160TW. That's 1/150th of the power that Earth receives from the Sun. (Not taking into account the stuff above about the second burn.) The technology to gather that doesn't appear to exist, (since any amount of fusion reactors would be so pitiful in comparison as to be irrelevant) but even if it did, there are more profitable things you could do with it than send it off on interstellar missions.

Like, say, mine the whole asteroid belt at once. If you actually had a solar collector large enough to gather that power, the resulting laser beam is a case of "Vaporize it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."
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  #41  
Old 08-23-2011, 03:07 AM
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Condition is basically irrelevant when you're building things atom by atom.
You don't seem to understand the difference between assembling a basic chain of an element and a complex crystal structure, not to mention your preferred method is pure pseudoscience (manipulating individual atoms with nanotechnology is impossible, because of the limits of complexity even before you reach the astronomical cost of producing such devices, and yet you have the audacity to accuse JC of not being realistic.

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...Why do you need humans to maintain them? That just means your robotics tech isn't advanced enough.
BECAUSE IT'S 2154. Not 21540.

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Also, of course you can't teleport them there, (since this isn't that kind of universe) but if the robots can reproduce most of themselves, you only need to send one ship, total. Even if you do need to send humans, you might have to send one, perhaps two humans per every 10 you'd need mining. Since, y'know, it's impossible for any harm to come to them, barring HG's machinery catastrophically failing. (If it just fails a little, then they can go repair it. )
Great way to dodge the question. You've still not only added decades to the time of first return even if you did somehow get a presence there, but you'e made it almost pathetically easy to counter, ruined all pretence of performing operations there responsibly (and therefore losing the contract) and increasing operational costs with increased complexity.

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And what action would there be to counter? These robots don't need to be human-like. They could be bulletproof spiders.
Then how do they mine? You're trying to dig your way out of the proverbial hole here and sinking further with each reply and attempt at moving the goalposts.

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Yes it does; individual atoms are unstable, and grab onto anything they can find. Placing individual molecules doesn't do that automatically.
That's why they default to stable forms. That's why compounds like oxides exist at all. That's why substantial pure sources of almost any non-gas element are exceptionally rare.

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And now you're just making things up. Why would there be no emissions if we could assemble diamond from carbon?
Pot calling the kettle black much? You're the one complaining because Avatar does not indulge your personal favourite things that you wanted to see. If such nanoassemblers as you postulate were available and in use, all waste could be recycled into raw materials and Earth would not be the polluted, overpopulated wasteland it is said to be. I never directly linked it to any specific material - I was saying that if any compound could be assembled in such a manner, then humans would have access to far superior materials or everyday purposes, and there would be no waste as it could be recyled into new organic or inorganic compounds.

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Not if it's used for fusion, as I believe the manual elaborates on.
How not? A zero-loss energy network is the same no matter what the source is.

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Alternative engine designs would've been a good point, actually.
...and add 20-30 years to the journey time, in addition to prompting complaints from the unpleasable section of people that an ion engine would be outdated 143 years into the future, much like chemical rockets with oxidiser are beginning to be seen as outdated currently.

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The above argument is for one. A second antimatter burn multiplies your fuel requirements all over again, i.e. up to 2409. Where on earth are you going to get to 2.4 tons of antimatter for every kilogram of payload?
Just because the amount of energy required is extremely high, it does not mean it is impossible to attain. Growth tends towards he exponential, and fusion provides a completely untapped source of energy from exceedingly common sources. My original argument was actually that you completely misunderstood what consistency even was - I even stated outright that I had no rebuttal to your original post, before you started complaining about things that you personally wanted to see in the film.

[quote[(Space is cold, just not conductive.)[/quote]
Read the page. Yes, 'space is not cold' is a simplification in that is is cold, and an object that does not generate its own heat will eventually reach background temperature, but slowly - an active heat source will counteract this. The hottest superconductor available today has a critical temperature of 133 K - the heat of the engines and systems on board the ISV make radiators a necessity.
Like I said, it's completely irrelevant if you can't possible break even building one.


He exploits the nature of pre-crime? The writers should have elaborated on that one slightly, yes, but it's not impossible for him to have done it.


That's where the idea comes from - earlier drafts of the script say Obi-wan does notice, and reacts.


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That actually reduces the time to 9 months, which isn't that bad, I suppose... if the RDA controls the world, and uses all energy everywhere to harvest antimatter to fuel this thing. Wouldn't you agree that's somewhat unrealistic?
You're assuming linear growth.


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It's still a "Hang on, the writers can't be bothered" moment if A. Centuari ever actually gets mentioned.
The ISV's velocity is not mentioned either, all we have is a timeframe and the knowledge that the ISV would not be capable of any form of FTL. Assuming a very maximum speed of c and no acceleration time (yes, unrealistic, but this is theoretically speaking), there are still only three stars reachable within that timeline (the entire Alpha Centauri trinary system - the next most distant star is Barnard's Star at 5.9ly).


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I haven't, actually. Got any links?
Sadly, no. I wrote it quite a while ago now and am fairly sure I neglected to save it - I actually missed several critical physics errors until they were pointed out to me later, over inconsistencies and outright contradictions with canon.
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  #42  
Old 08-23-2011, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
You don't seem to understand the difference between assembling a basic chain of an element and a complex crystal structure, not to mention your preferred method is pure pseudoscience (manipulating individual atoms with nanotechnology is impossible, because of the limits of complexity even before you reach the astronomical cost of producing such devices, and yet you have the audacity to accuse JC of not being realistic.
...What is the difference? I would have thought it only one of precision. (and possibly cooling)

And you're calling something we've already demonstrated, 140 years before the fact, pseudoscience? How does that work?

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BECAUSE IT'S 2154. Not 21540.
And look at Terminator! We've not even had the computer 70 years, nobody could possibly say what it'll do 140 years from now. Assuming you can't get your robots to self-maintain, then just remote-control them with ansibles...

...and before you point out that the ansible can only do 3 bytes/hour, just bring a billion of them. You can, after all, quantum-entangle particles by the quadrillion quite easily.
Quote:
Great way to dodge the question. You've still not only added decades to the time of first return even if you did somehow get a presence there, but you'e made it almost pathetically easy to counter, ruined all pretence of performing operations there responsibly (and therefore losing the contract) and increasing operational costs with increased complexity.
In order:
The tradeoff between return time and expense is up to the mogols, but I'm fairly sure that having a crew that's mostly robots instead of humans will save you fortunes per trip, for the simple reason that you don't need to ship out more heavy humans.

"Performing operations responsibly?" How is the RDA doing that one? And why wouldn't I be? They're not trying to disguise the fact they're mining Unobtanium, are they?

Yeah, true, I've increased the costs of the actual mining operation, since the machines involved are more complex and thus more likely to break. However, I saved literally tons and tons and tons of mass-energy on the actual trip there. That adds up to substantial portions of all the energy hitting Earth at any given time.

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Then how do they mine? You're trying to dig your way out of the proverbial hole here and sinking further with each reply and attempt at moving the goalposts.
They build the mining machines when they get there? (You honestly can't tell me the RDA shipped all of one of those bulldozers to Pandora. )

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That's why they default to stable forms. That's why compounds like oxides exist at all. That's why substantial pure sources of almost any non-gas element are exceptionally rare.
Yes, which means in your nanotech assembly lab, they'll snap together like building blocks.

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Pot calling the kettle black much? You're the one complaining because Avatar does not indulge your personal favourite things that you wanted to see. If such nanoassemblers as you postulate were available and in use, all waste could be recycled into raw materials and Earth would not be the polluted, overpopulated wasteland it is said to be. I never directly linked it to any specific material - I was saying that if any compound could be assembled in such a manner, then humans would have access to far superior materials or everyday purposes, and there would be no waste as it could be recyled into new organic or inorganic compounds.
(If the 22nd century played by my rules, then they'd only bother with Pandora to the extent it's an ant farm. "Ohai, yeah, we're the ubertech species next door. Drop by and have some tea once you've got a space program.")

Well, that's just another reason to develop the technology then, isn't it? I mean, look at the business proposal: not only do they get a monopoly on this ubiquitous uber-material, but also full credit for completely rebuilding Earth. Not only that, you can provide food for everyone, and all sorts of massive, world-changing things that you can reduce to publicity stunts.
"Buy RDA. We solved world hunger. "

However, there is the proviso that the materials would only be as cheap as the nanotech, which isn't necessarily "zero." It might only be economical for Unobtanium.

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How not? A zero-loss energy network is the same no matter what the source is.
Yeah, but it'd be like maintaining water wheels when you've got the Hoover dam. You wouldn't bother with the pittance a fusion reactor gives you when you've got Dyson architecture.

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...and add 20-30 years to the journey time, in addition to prompting complaints from the unpleasable section of people that an ion engine would be outdated 143 years into the future, much like chemical rockets with oxidiser are beginning to be seen as outdated currently.
...And cost you umpteen more tons of fuel. Although, why are we catering to the unpleasables?

Quote:
Just because the amount of energy required is extremely high, it does not mean it is impossible to attain. Growth tends towards he exponential, and fusion provides a completely untapped source of energy from exceedingly common sources. My original argument was actually that you completely misunderstood what consistency even was - I even stated outright that I had no rebuttal to your original post, before you started complaining about things that you personally wanted to see in the film.
It's impossible to obtain without either technology or resources that would render it irrelevant. (Taking the figure from the original post, 80 years is more than enough to time to invent, patent and mass-utilize a synthesis process.)

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Read the page. Yes, 'space is not cold' is a simplification in that is is cold, and an object that does not generate its own heat will eventually reach background temperature, but slowly - an active heat source will counteract this. The hottest superconductor available today has a critical temperature of 133 K - the heat of the engines and systems on board the ISV make radiators a necessity.
Err.. thanks for leaving that quote lying around?
"Like I said, it's completely irrelevant if you can't possible break even building one."

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You're assuming linear growth.
Linear growth of what? Because the predictions for world power supply were explicitly exponential.

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The ISV's velocity is not mentioned either, all we have is a timeframe and the knowledge that the ISV would not be capable of any form of FTL. Assuming a very maximum speed of c and no acceleration time (yes, unrealistic, but this is theoretically speaking), there are still only three stars reachable within that timeline (the entire Alpha Centauri trinary system - the next most distant star is Barnard's Star at 5.9ly).
Ah, I thought it was actually specified as 0.75c somewhere. I suppose that, if you interpret the quote nicely, it could take slightly longer than 5/6 years for Jake to get to AC, which means you need quite a lot less fuel. (But it's still ludicrous amounts. You can't get to 1:1 payload-to-fuel no matter what, since that only takes you up to 17%c.)

Quote:
Sadly, no. I wrote it quite a while ago now and am fairly sure I neglected to save it - I actually missed several critical physics errors until they were pointed out to me later, over inconsistencies and outright contradictions with canon.
Ah, yes. Star Trek is not the best example of thought-out sci-fi, I'd agree.
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  #43  
Old 08-24-2011, 01:28 AM
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And you're calling something we've already demonstrated, 140 years before the fact, pseudoscience? How does that work?
The atomic and cellular levels are like the difference between Earth scale and light year scale. By making one small enough, it has nowhere near enough complexity for any kind of processing, or even active manipulation in a mechanical manner.


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And look at Terminator!
"Look at a completely unrelated film" - wow, you're taking troll logic to new heights here.

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Assuming you can't get your robots to self-maintain, then just remote-control them with ansibles...
"There is a drawback, however, in that you can only send three bits of information per hour and it is extremely costly at $7,500 per bit."
"However, the tunneling process was far from perfect. The particle would adopt the desired state only once in ten thousand attempts. The other 9999 were random. But McKinney was undeterred. He developed a highly redundant, error-correcting encoding scheme and was able the achieve a data transmission rate of three bits per hour. All current Superluminal Communications technology is based on his invention."

The price clearly prevents multiples, and three bits per hour is not sufficient for real-time anything, at all. Data can not always be infinitely parallelised, and even if it could, you are still looking at a 20 minute lag in between each parallel set of bits.

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...and before you point out that the ansible can only do 3 bytes/hour, just bring a billion of them. You can, after all, quantum-entangle particles by the quadrillion quite easily.
Volume of particles is clearly not the limiting factor here - indeed, having multiple particles when encoding a bit has an extremely low success rate would just cause excess interference and degrade the SNR even further, actually reducing throughput.

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I'm fairly sure that having a crew that's mostly robots instead of humans will save you fortunes per trip, for the simple reason that you don't need to ship out more heavy humans.
1. R&D
2. Parts
3. Maintenance

The fact that they are not used shows it has proved implausible in their feasibility studies in-universe.

Quote:
"Performing operations responsibly?" How is the RDA doing that one? And why wouldn't I be? They're not trying to disguise the fact they're mining Unobtanium, are they?
Going "hurr durr robots lol" is very different from sending a small group of humans where they can keep up the pretence that they are performing their actions responsibly and maintaining good relations.

Yeah, true, I've increased the costs of the actual mining operation, since the machines involved are more complex and thus more likely to break. However, I saved literally tons and tons and tons of mass-energy on the actual trip there. That adds up to substantial portions of all the energy hitting Earth at any given time. [/quote]
Perhaps, but, as above, they have lost out on the ability to keep up the pretence of all provisions they have to abide by in their contract. The energy vs costs is a tradeoff, particularly since you seem to believe that no humans would suddenly be needed, which seems extremely unlikely.

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They build the mining machines when they get there? (You honestly can't tell me the RDA shipped all of one of those bulldozers to Pandora. )
I never said that, stop fighting straw men. It doesn't prove a point and just makes you look even more desperate.
Clearly, they had to being some type of equipment to start building equipment there in the first place, but past that point, anything that can be locally made is.

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Yes, which means in your nanotech assembly lab, they'll snap together like building blocks.
They default to a single form (e.g. diatomic gases) - anything else requires energy and/or the right conditions. Yet again, those conditions may include gravitational, electromagnetic and/or radiation conditions.

(If the 22nd century played by my rules, then they'd only bother with Pandora to the extent it's an ant farm. "Ohai, yeah, we're the ubertech species next door. Drop by and have some tea once you've got a space program.")

Quote:
Well, that's just another reason to develop the technology then, isn't it? I mean, look at the business proposal: not only do they get a monopoly on this ubiquitous uber-material, but also full credit for completely rebuilding Earth. Not only that, you can provide food for everyone, and all sorts of massive, world-changing things that you can reduce to publicity stunts.
...so now you've changed track to 'complain because a technology that is likely theoretical and under investigation is not implemented yet if it ever is'? wow, this is hilarious.

...And cost you umpteen more tons of fuel. Although, why are we catering to the unpleasables?


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It's impossible to obtain without either technology or resources that would render it irrelevant. (Taking the figure from the original post, 80 years is more than enough to time to invent, patent and mass-utilize a synthesis process.)
So in your opinion, a majority of compounds were discovered less than 80 years ago? Wow, this just gets better and better. Knowing something's composition does not magically create an ability for synthesis.

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Linear growth of what? Because the predictions for world power supply were explicitly exponential.
This one was a mistake on my part, fair enough - although, honestly, doubling at such a rate will be insufficient for the population growth when coupled with the increasing standard of living - that graph only shows a small section of time.
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  #44  
Old 08-24-2011, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
The atomic and cellular levels are like the difference between Earth scale and light year scale. By making one small enough, it has nowhere near enough complexity for any kind of processing, or even active manipulation in a mechanical manner.
So what does a cell do? What do enzymes do?

Quote:
"Look at a completely unrelated film" - wow, you're taking troll logic to new heights here.
IOW, the date is arbitrary. Terminator has sentient AI by 2010, Aliens doesn't by some multi-thousand-year date in the future.

Quote:
"There is a drawback, however, in that you can only send three bits of information per hour and it is extremely costly at $7,500 per bit."
"However, the tunneling process was far from perfect. The particle would adopt the desired state only once in ten thousand attempts. The other 9999 were random. But McKinney was undeterred. He developed a highly redundant, error-correcting encoding scheme and was able the achieve a data transmission rate of three bits per hour. All current Superluminal Communications technology is based on his invention."

The price clearly prevents multiples, and three bits per hour is not sufficient for real-time anything, at all. Data can not always be infinitely parallelised, and even if it could, you are still looking at a 20 minute lag in between each parallel set of bits.

Volume of particles is clearly not the limiting factor here - indeed, having multiple particles when encoding a bit has an extremely low success rate would just cause excess interference and degrade the SNR even further, actually reducing throughput.
1/10,000 error rate? Really? That high? And what makes you think more communication lines produces interference?

...And can't data be infinitely parallelised? I know you end up with skewing your packets, and your cost multiplies per parallel line, but I wouldn't have thought either of these would be an issue in these particular circumstances.
Quote:
1. R&D
2. Parts
3. Maintenance

The fact that they are not used shows it has proved implausible in their feasibility studies in-universe.
...Parts? Parts? Parts, as an additional expense, when you're building them all on-site? (And the ones you can't build on-site you ship in such large quantity you only need one ship) R&D is an issue, but it's a one-time cost. You can have this set-up going for centuries on one R&D investment.

Quote:
Going "hurr durr robots lol" is very different from sending a small group of humans where they can keep up the pretence that they are performing their actions responsibly and maintaining good relations.
I don't see how robots/humans makes any difference to their activities when they actually get there, or even their PR. Or are we assuming, technology == pollution == bad?

Quote:
Perhaps, but, as above, they have lost out on the ability to keep up the pretence of all provisions they have to abide by in their contract. The energy vs costs is a tradeoff, particularly since you seem to believe that no humans would suddenly be needed, which seems extremely unlikely.
Maybe a tenth as many humans would be needed? And I still don't know what "pretence" we're maintaining, since AFAIK, it wasn't at all suggested that the RDA was not there for the money.

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I never said that, stop fighting straw men.
I know you didn't, I just don't know what the alternative was.

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Clearly, they had to being some type of equipment to start building equipment there in the first place, but past that point, anything that can be locally made is.
So bring that equipment to start with. You then save oodles and oodles of energy on all subsequent launches.

Quote:
They default to a single form (e.g. diatomic gases) - anything else requires energy and/or the right conditions. Yet again, those conditions may include gravitational, electromagnetic and/or radiation conditions.
We can do energy. Breaking a given substance down into component atoms isn't difficult. ...Well, it is difficult, but you know what I mean. We can do it, since we've got very reliable power sources.

Quote:
...so now you've changed track to 'complain because a technology that is likely theoretical and under investigation is not implemented yet if it ever is'? wow, this is hilarious.
TBH, you don't need generalized nanotech at that point. You just need an unobtanium synthesis process, and at worst, this will be nanotechnological build-from-scratch. Most likely, it'd be simpler for any RL molecule.

Quote:
So in your opinion, a majority of compounds were discovered less than 80 years ago? Wow, this just gets better and better. Knowing something's composition does not magically create an ability for synthesis.
The majority of high-value compounds were discovered less than 80 years ago, e.g. the entire plastics and semiconductor industries. You seem to be willfully ignoring the economics involved in "Is it economical to build a process to do X?" In the case of unobtanium, this is, seemingly, always "Yes." (Since the alternative is literally astronomical energy investment.) It isn't guaranteed in any other material.

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This one was a mistake on my part, fair enough - although, honestly, doubling at such a rate will be insufficient for the population growth when coupled with the increasing standard of living - that graph only shows a small section of time.
Assume every single one of the 20 billion humans living on Earth uses the current per-capita maximum of 898.62GJ/year. That adds up to about half of the power you need for your one-way starship. The RDA does not rule the world, or have 100% efficient generators.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
So what does a cell do? What do enzymes do?
What relevance do they have to a difference in scale? An enzyme and associated proteins are huge compared to the scale you were until recently talking about.


Quote:
IOW, the date is arbitrary. Terminator has sentient AI by 2010, Aliens doesn't by some multi-thousand-year date in the future.
Exactly. Thank you for disproving your own point.


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1/10,000 error rate? Really? That high? And what makes you think more communication lines produces interference?
No, a higher particle count per line would since the majority would not adopt the desired state. Stop being intentionally obtuse.

Quote:
...And can't data be infinitely parallelised? I know you end up with skewing your packets, and your cost multiplies per parallel line, but I wouldn't have thought either of these would be an issue in these particular circumstances.
It is still 3 bits/hour. That means the average latency is still 20 minutes even if you had 10,000,000 of them (which actually would be prohibitively expensive).

Quote:
...Parts? Parts? Parts, as an additional expense, when you're building them all on-site? (And the ones you can't build on-site you ship in such large quantity you only need one ship) R&D is an issue, but it's a one-time cost. You can have this set-up going for centuries on one R&D investment.
you're still multiplying the on-world presence needed, as well as, as I mentioned before, abandoning all pretence of following the contract.

Quote:
I don't see how robots/humans makes any difference to their activities when they actually get there, or even their PR. Or are we assuming, technology == pollution == bad?
No, the fact that there is no communication and therefore none of the cooperation that there was meant to be - you know, the entire reason avatars were started in the first place.


Quote:
Maybe a tenth as many humans would be needed? And I still don't know what "pretence" we're maintaining, since AFAIK, it wasn't at all suggested that the RDA was not there for the money.
Why else are they there then?
Also, great way to move the goalposts again
If humans ARE required. there is no conceivable reason not to use manual operations where possible on a world which impeded electronic operation and has an atmosphere that also causes increased maintenance requirements. Any kind of self-maintenance by robots would be limited in scope to known and programmed procedures, and without the marines, there would be no defence at all.

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So bring that equipment to start with. You then save oodles and oodles of energy on all subsequent launches.
They did.
Now you've resorted to restating what actually happened in defence of some 'robots lololol' point?

We can do energy. Breaking a given substance down into component atoms isn't difficult. ...Well, it is difficult, but you know what I mean. We can do it, since we've got very reliable power sources.[/quote]
...and reproducing the conditions during a the formation of a star and associated solar system on a macroscopic scale?

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TBH, you don't need generalized nanotech at that point. You just need an unobtanium synthesis process, and at worst, this will be nanotechnological build-from-scratch. Most likely, it'd be simpler for any RL molecule.
Then why were you going on about 'use nanotech'?

Quote:
The majority of high-value compounds were discovered less than 80 years ago, e.g. the entire plastics and semiconductor industries. You seem to be willfully ignoring the economics involved in "Is it economical to build a process to do X?" In the case of unobtanium, this is, seemingly, always "Yes." (Since the alternative is literally astronomical energy investment.) It isn't guaranteed in any other material.
You seem to be ignoring the fact that knowledge of unobtainium's existence is less than 80 years old in any case, and that there are siple structures that today can not be reproduced which, while doing so would not prove economical, it would be a huge advancement in the related technology - no pure research turns a profit in the theoretical or development stage.

Quote:
Assume every single one of the 20 billion humans living on Earth uses the current per-capita maximum of 898.62GJ/year. That adds up to about half of the power you need for your one-way starship. The RDA does not rule the world, or have 100% efficient generators.
...so the maximum energy use is not going to increase, particularly not in a world without any usable farmland and an almost lack of natural light?
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